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    Newsletter 7th January 2011

    CONTENTS
    --------
    Electric Scotland News
    Electric Scotland Community
    The Flag in the Wind
    Geikie's Etchings
    Historical Tales of the Wars of Scotland
    Glencreggan: or A Highland Home in Cantire
    Kay's Edinburgh Portraits
    William McTaggart, R.S.A., V.P.R.S.W.
    History of India - An Historical Disquisition
    Ten Tales by Sir Harry Lauder
    Cavendish - The settlement of P.E.I.
    The Lairds of Glenlyon: Historical Sketches
    Lossiemouth Project
    Scotland, Social and Domestic
    The Tower of Craigietocher
    Traditions of Perth (New book)
    Glasgow and it's Clubs (New book)
    John Dunlop
    Alastair's Canadian Journal


    Electric Scotland News
    ----------------------
    Here is our first newsletter of 2011 and hopefully with the start of this second decade of the 21st century we'll be able to put some new and interesting content and services in place.

    Some of this will of course depend on Steve and I hope he'll be able to devote more time to the site this year. We have much to do and we need to take our site to the next level as it were. During this year we look to do a site makeover and add more functionality to the site. We're looking at expanding our content to new areas.

    We are in the process of doing a deep review on what we do and where we might expand in the year ahead. At the moment we are a very large history site and we will of course continue to focus on this. That said we want to expand our operations and hope to bring a new focus on tourism.

    we feel we could do much better with our Electric Scotland Community so we'll also be focussing on that with new facilities being brought in. We will also be doing some serious searching for people with good knowledge on various subjects to see if we can't provide better information through the forums.

    While I often ask for feedback I don't often get it but this time I'd be grateful if those of you that are regular visitors to the site could take some time to review what we offer and tell us what more you'd like to see us making available in the months ahead.

    The site right now does focus on Scotland, the Scots and the Scots-Irish. This isn't cast in stone so we are looking at whether we might expand our reach to other countries in the world. We already do some of that due to our focus on Scots in the world.

    The Lossiemouth project is taking off but it is likely to be a few more months before we see the results of all the work we've put into it paying off. I'd like to do a similar project in other parts of the world with a good Scottish core. That means we will look for a place in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

    We intend to bring in a shopping mall to the site this year that will be a permenant part of our offerings.

    We have been ditching some of our domains and bringing that content back under our main Electric Scotland site and this work will continue. We intend by the end of this year to just focus on the Electric Scotland domains of .com, .net and .org.

    We are also reviewing our scotgenealogy domain and indeed considering whether we need to offer this facility at all. There are plenty of other sites that offer this facility.

    Our ScotCards domain will likely go this year but we are looking to retain it but under the Electric Scotland domain. We do intend to bring in a tie up with another company that offer the same facilities but also offer the option of also sending a physical card as well. I can actually see me using that facility myself.

    And so if you are enjoying some facility on the web and think that it would be good if Electric Scotland could offer the same type of facility then do let us know and we'll certainly consider it. We intend to get more bandwidth this year so we can also offer video streaming which will give us more options.

    As you will likely know we can create our own videos and tutorials so if there is some aspect that you'd like better explained let us know and we'll see if we can't produce something to help.

    At the end of the day I just happen to do what I love doing which is exploring the history of Scotland and the Scots at home and abroad and making my findings available on the site. That said even I need to change focus from time to time and is why I'm having a good think to where we might go next. As some of you may know I've always enjoyed reading SF & Fantasy and I have been pondering whether I should create a wee nich on our site to explore this genre.

    And so I am looking at all options to see where we might go next so please take a little time out if you can to send me any thoughts you might have... I'd very much appreciate any ideas you may have.

    -----

    As you will know the Burns Supper season is almost upon us and you can learn loads about our Bard at http://www.electricscotland.com/burns


    ABOUT THE STORIES
    -----------------
    Some of the stories in here are just parts of a larger story so do check out the site for the full versions. You can always find the link in our "What's New" section in our site menu and at http://www.electricscotland.com/rss/whatsnew.php


    Electric Scotland Community
    ---------------------------
    We had a lot of fun over the Chritmas holidays in the forums and I note we have more new members joining over this period. we have purchased new software to add to the facilities we already have in the community which we hope to bring you in the next month or so.

    We got in a tribute to Piper Bill Millan who played at the D-Day landings. You can watch this at http://www.electricscotland.org/show...te-Bill-Millin

    Our community can be viewed at http://www.electricscotland.org/forum.php


    THE FLAG IN THE WIND
    --------------------
    This weeks issue is now available compiled by Jim Lynch.

    You can get to the Flag at http://www.scotsindependent.org

    Christina McKelvie's weekly diary is available at http://www.electricscotland.com/hist...lvie/index.htm


    Geikie's Etchings
    -----------------
    This week we've added more articles...



    Pedlar - "It's a Guid Watch Sirs"
    Travellers Resting



    You can read these at http://www.electricscotland.com/hist...ikie/index.htm


    Historical Tales of the Wars of Scotland
    ----------------------------------------
    And of the Border Raids, Forays and Conflicts by John Parker Lawson (1839). This is a new publication we're starting on which is in 3 volumes. We intend to post up 2 or 3 stories each week until complete.

    This week we've added...

    Sir Gideon Murrays Offer - 1614
    Siege Of Edinburgh Castle - 1640
    A Lawnmarket Conflict - 1640

    You can read these at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/wars/


    Glencreggan: or A Highland Home in Cantire
    ------------------------------------------
    By Cuthbert Bede (1861)

    This week we put up Chapter XV - Shade and Shine

    Geology of the Coast. — Old Scotland. — Mont Blanc an Upstart. — Procopius and his wonderful Descriptions. —How to write contemporary History. — Barr School. — The Scholars and their System. — Rouge et Noir. — A Cantire Winter. — The Climate. — "Coorse" "Weather. — Storms and Mist. — Tempests. — Sunrise versus Sunset.— Much to be said on both Sides. — The Sunset on the Atlantic. — The Painter and the Poet both at fault.

    You can read this at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/glencreggan/


    Kay's Edinburgh Portraits
    -------------------------
    A Series of Anecdotal Biographies chiefly of Scotchmen, Mostly by James Paterson and Edited by James Maidment (1885)

    This week we have added...

    William M'Pherson, Esq., Writer to the Signet
    Alexander Wood, Surgeon
    Lord Braxfield, of the Court of Session
    The Rev. John Erskine, D.D., of Old Grey Friars Church

    I am finding these accounts to be most interesting and often wonder if people of today in these positons get up to the same extraordinary antics. For example the account of William M'Pherson starts...

    Mr. William Macpherson, whose father was sometime deacon of the masons in Edinburgh, was a Writer to the Signet, and, in many respects, a man of very eccentric habits. He lived in that famed quarter of the city, the West Bow, three stairs up, in a tenement which immediately joined the city wall, and looked towards the west, but which has been recently removed to make way for the improvements now in progress, and which have all but annihilated the Bow. Mr. Macpherson continued a bachelor through life, and seemed from many circumstances to have conceived a determined antipathy to the "honourable state of matrimony." He had two maiden sisters who kept house with him; but whether they entertained similar prejudices, or remained single from necessity, we do not pretend to know. The bachelor respected his sisters very much, although in his freaks he called the one Sodom, and the other Gomorrah.

    Like most of his contemporary lords of the quill, Macpherson possessed many "social qualities;" but he quaffed so deeply and so long, that towards night he seldom found his way up the High Street in a state short of total inebriety. On arriving at the West Bow, and when he came to the bottom of the stair, he used to bellow to Sodom or Gomorrah to como down and help up their drunken brother, which they never failed to do; and, for additional security in such cases, it is said he generally ascended the stair backwards.

    Notwithstanding his potations, Macpherson maintained for some time a degree of respectability, at least, consistent with the laxity of the times. When associating with the more respectable bon vivants of these his better days, his favourite saying, before tossing off his glass of claret, of which he was very fond, used to be, "Here goes another peck of potatoes." A glass of claret was then equal in price to a peck of potatoes. The origin of this saying is attributed to Mr. Creech, bookseller, but afterwards became a standing remark with Macpherson. Macpherson at length became, we regret to say, a habitual drunkard. A loss of respectability in his profession was the consequence; and from the practice which he followed of signing Signet letters for very small sums of money, and other low habits of business, inconsistent with the dignity of the Society, his professional brethren at last urged him to retire upon an annuity. This, however, his pride would never allow him to consent to; and he continued a member of the Society of Writers to the Signet till the day of his death.

    No case, however trifling—no client, however poor or disreputable, was latterly beneath the legal aid of Macpherson; and no mode of payment, whether in goods or currency, was deemed unworthy of acceptance. As an instance of his practice, he was seen one day very tipsy, plodding his way np the West Bow from the Grassmarket, with an armful of "neeps" (turnips), which he had obtained from some green-stall keeper, in remuneration for legal services performed. Not being able to maintain a proper equilibrium, his occasional "bickers" at last unsettled his burthen ; one or two of the turnips, like Newton's apple, found the centre of gravity, and in attempting to recover these, nearly the whole of his armful trundled down the causeway. Macpherson, determined not to lose what might otherwise contribute much to a favourite dinner, coolly, and as steadily as possible, set about collecting the turnips, and actually succeeded, to the astonishment of every one, in accomplishing his object. On arriving with his load at the accustomed stair-foot, he shouted, as usual, for Sodom and Gomor-rali to render assistance; and by their aid he and his cargo eventually reached his apartments in safety.

    You can read the rest of this account at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/kays/vol133.htm

    The other entries can be read at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/kays/index.htm


    William McTaggart, R.S.A., V.P.R.S.W.
    -------------------------------------
    Painter and Artist and a man of considerable talents.

    Added Chapter VIII. Landscapes, 1889-191

    One of the most notable features of McTaggart's work is its extraordinary variety. No two pictures by him are alike. If some are related in look or subject to others, each even of these is informed by visual as well as by
    spiritual qualities, which differentiate it from the rest. Everything he painted possesses a character and is steeped in a mood of its own. Moreover, although he practically gave up portrait-painting when he left Edinburgh, this variety was never more marked than in the work done during the last tweny years of his life—the period covered by this and the preceding and succeeding chapters.

    You can read this at http://www.electricscotland.com/hist...rt_william.htm


    History of India
    ----------------
    by William Robertson

    We've now added Section IV - General Observations.

    You can read this at http://www.electricscotland.com/hist...a/indiandx.htm


    Ten Tales
    ---------
    By Sir Harry Lauder (1908)

    We found this charming wee book and thought we'd add it to the site. We've added the next tale...

    Two "Deserters"

    and you can view this at http://www.electricscotland.com/hist...entalesndx.htm


    Cavendish
    ---------
    Have now compleed this book which can be read at http://www.electricscotland.com/hist.../cavendish.htm


    The Lairds of Glenlyon: Historical Sketches
    --------------------------------------------
    Relating to the Districts of Appin, Glenlyon and Breadalbane by Duncan Campbell (1886)

    We now have up chapters 10 to 13.

    Chapter 10 starts...

    THE estate of Glenlyon did not long remain in possession of the Athole family. The Marquess during the short time he had it, projected, and partly completed, several improvements. He repaired the roads, built bridges, and commenced working the lead mine called "Meall-htaidhe" on the hill of Kerrumore, an undertaking that would probably be now highly remunerative, but which failed then on account of the difficulty of carriage. He, moreover, gets credit traditionally for having been the first to introduce the larch tree to Glenlyon; but in this matter tradition errs. It was Crowner Menzies' grandson who first brought larches from the Tyrol. The larches behind the garden of Meggernie, were the first planted in Scotland.

    After being held by the Marquess for seven years, he sold the estate to Colonel James Menzies of Culdares, better known by the name of "Crunnair Ruadh nan cearc" i.e. "Crowner Roy of the Hens." The history of this man is very curious, but the hearsay version may not be very accurate. The dramatic cast given it by tradition may be an embellishment of the truth; but, unluckily, having no means of testing the matter, I can merely give as I find.

    About the year 1620, a boy, known by the name of James Roy of the Hens, was to be found among the hangers-on of the Knight of Weem, the chief of the Menzieses, He was an orphan, and claimed some distant cousinship with the family of Menzies. The chief, pitying the poor orphan, extended to him his patronage and protection, and made free to him the hospitality of his kitchen. The boy's ostensible duty was, to look after the poultry, from which he acquired his cognomen "of the Hens." But everybody was the boy's master, and for each little delinquency the butler deprived him of his dinner. In such a straight, the lad usually made his moan to a comfortable childless couple who kept the neighbouring "tigh-osda," or public. There he was always welcome, his wants supplied, and his hardship sympathised with. Meantime he was growing up such a sharp, intelligent, comely lad, as to give occasion to his kind protectress, the hostess of the inn, to remark, "Many a pretty man would like to have James Roy for his son."

    You can read the rest of this account at http://www.electricscotland.com/hist.../chapter10.htm

    The other chapters can be read at http://www.electricscotland.com/hist...lyon/index.htm


    Lossiemouth Project
    -------------------
    Over the Christmas period we got in some 100 black and white pictures of old fishing boats that used Lossiemouth. I have also added a book in pdf format about "Social Life in Former Days - Chiefly in the Province of Moray" by E Dunbar Dunbar (1865). This book covers much of interest of the way of life in the Province of Moray and thus can be extrapolated to Lossiemouth. You can see the contents pages at http://www.electricscotland.com/lossiemouth/social.htm



    You can see more of this at http://www.electricscotland.com/lossiemouth/


    Scotland, Social and Domestic
    -----------------------------
    Memorials of Life and Manners in North Britain by Rev. Charles Rogers LL.D., FSA Scot (1869)

    we now have up...

    Introduction
    Social Customs
    Drolleries
    Public Sports

    Under Social Customs we read...

    The customs of a people are the ordinary developments of their inner life. These may be of an ephemeral character, but they point to the different stages of thought and action through which the nation has passed. They have seldom been dwelt upon by the historian.

    The middle class of society in Scotland was, a century ago, very imperfectly defined. The farmer was head of the house, while his hinds were held as members of the family. Except the married servants, every one connected with the farm dined together at the same board. The farm kitchen was termed the ha'; it was the dining-room of the establishment. The farmer or gude-man sat at the upper end of the table; next him sat the gudewife, and at each side of the upper end were arranged the children and visitors. The hinds were seated at the lower end of the board. In some farmhouses a line drawn with chalk distinguished the upper from the lower end of the table. In others the family salt-dish was placed so as to denote the boundary line-between the members of the family and their dependants. Dinner was commenced with broth, better known as kail. There was no tureen; the plates were filled direct from the kail-pot by the maid-servants, who supped their own share on their knees, seated on stools at the fireplace. When any of the hinds desired a second supply of broth he rose from his place, and proceeded to the kail-pot. All sat at table with unwashen hands. The hinds retained their bonnets, unless when the gudeman asked a blessing, when each drew his bonnet over his eyes. The broth was supped with short spoons from plates of timber or pewter. The spoons were made on the premises from the horns of slaughtered cattle.

    After the kail a joint of beef or mutton was placed on a wooden trencher before the gudeman, who took from his pocket a clasped knife and fork, with which he "divided" it. The expression divide had a literal significance, for the joint was not sliced, but cut into lumps proportioned to the capacities of the different consumers. Knives and forks were presented to strangers, but the ordinary company separated and ate their portions with their fingers. When the joint was eaten, the broth which remained in the pot was placed upon the table, and was served along with a copious allowance of oatcakes and barley bannocks.

    You can read more of this chapter at http://www.electricscotland.com/hist...l/social02.htm

    The first chapter is now up which can be viewed at http://www.electricscotland.com/hist.../socialndx.htm


    The Tower of Craigietocher
    --------------------------
    We got in some more pictures of this building project and it's looking more like a tower now which you can see at http://www.electricscotland.com/hist...gietocher6.htm


    Traditions of Perth
    -------------------
    Containing Sketches of the Manners and Customs of the Inhabitants during the last century by George Penny (1836)

    This is a new book we're starting in which we again get a glimpse of life in the olden days in Scotland. It's in pdf format and we're breaking it down into readable chunks. The index page is up showing you the topics to be covered and the first chunk is available at the foot of the page at http://www.electricscotland.com/history/perth/


    Glasgow and it's Clubs
    ----------------------
    Or Glimpses of Conditions, Manners, Characters and Oddities of the City By John Strang LL.D. (1857)

    Another new book and continues the theme of the social life in Scotland.

    It is not without considerable hesitation that the following pages are submitted to the public; for the Writer cannot conceal from himself the fact that the lighter matters they contain are very foreign to his ordinary pursuits and avocations. Although nearly thirty years have passed since the idea was first entertained of snatching from oblivion the salient characteristics of a few of the more remarkable Clubs connected with a City which has always been famous for the number and variety of its social fraternities,—and although, loo, even at that early period, an attempt was made to sketch some of the more notable of these, it was not till accident, about eighteen months ago, brought again one or two of the long lost and very imperfect pencillings under the Author's notice, that the thought occurred to him of entirely remodelling them, so as to render those social Clubs the vehicle through winch the ever-changing manners and habits of Glasgow society might be properly portrayed and chronicled. The Writer then began to collect his materials, from various public documents, and from the information of private individuals whose memories still preserved such fast-fading subjects: and he has, during the intervals of his leisure hours, arranged these floating facts and traditions in the form in which they are now presented,—if not with that spirit and playfulness which a more practised penman might have displayed, yet, it is to be hoped, with that truthfulness which may at least render the following pages not altogether unworthy exponents of the norm] history of Glasgow daring the past and present Centuries.

    To these brief preliminary remarks, the Author has only to add his sincere apology for the imperfect manner in which he has performed his somewhat difficult task, trusting that, while his deficiencies cannot be wholly overlooked, the multifarious duties and anxieties incident to an important public office will, in some degree, extenuate any inaccuracies lie has committed, and induce his readers to treat with indulgence that which an otherwise exacting criticism might condemn.

    22 Woodside Place
    GLASGOW 1st November, 1855.

    You can read this book as we get it up at http://www.electricscotland.com/hist...w/clubsndx.htm


    John Dunlop
    -----------
    A mini bio of this Provost of Glasgow which you can read at http://www.electricscotland.com/hist...unlop_john.htm


    Alastair's Canadian Journal
    ---------------------------
    As some of you will know when I first came to Canada the local immigration folk asked if I could do a journal of my life settling into Canada and so in many ways it was like doing a personal diary. However in my case it became a public diary. It was only intended to run until I got my permanent landed status but I decided to continue it up until I got my citizenship which I did.

    I'm not actually sure if I want to continue doing it but as I search for information on historical information on people in history as to what their life was like I feel in some ways I'm laying a foundation for one persons life today which I suppose historians in a hundred years time might find of interest. This means I've continued doing it.

    This one is for a 4 month period from September to December 2010 and so if you want to be bored out of your socks and have nothing better to do you can read it at http://www.electricscotland.net/canada_89.htm


    And to finish...

    A group of architectural students from Glasgow who were on a field trip to York where they stayed in the local university’s halls of residence. Invited to a university dinner while there, one student was perhaps overawed when he was asked at dinner by an academic further up the table: “Which course are you on?”

    His startled reply of “the soup” will haunt him for some time.


    And that's it for now and hope you all have a good weekend.

    Alastair
    http://www.electricscotland.com

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    Re: Newsletter 7th January 2011

    Thank you again Allie for offering history of Scots all over the world! You are doing an excellent job!
    kellyd

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    Re: Newsletter 7th January 2011

    I have been visiting Electric Scotland for quite some time and haven't always been sure what it is that keeps me coming back. I have a number of academic texts and a couple of popular texts as well. This has had to suffice because I don't see myself locking my hounds up for a couple of weeks to go off on a highland holiday.

    I enjoy music, history and nature, but in remote Wyoming, all of these can be somewhat sterile and disconnected.

    I guess I keep returning to Electric Scotland because Alastair has found a way to keep Scottish themes connected to people; something one seldom can experience by reading books or watching films.

    The opening paragraphs of this week's newsletter, pertained to Alatair's thoughts about where to go with Electric Scotland. There are any number of things that 'could' or 'might' be done over time. I am sure that Alastair knows best how to proceed. My only observation about changes herein are that Alastair should present Scotland to the world through his own eyes and his own experience and not worry about what he thinks other people might like.

    I keep coming back to electric scotland because I can read any number of interesting articles pertaining to Scotland and the Scots through the eyes of a Scot who loves the country, its people, its history and arts.

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    Re: Newsletter 7th January 2011

    Thanks for the comments. One of the things we are looking at is something I've wanted to do for many years but might just be possible now with new software that is appearing which is to offer personal web sites.

    As I've noted people are going to fewer and fewer web sites these days. To me this means we need to become more of a community and to be frank this current community doesn't do that in the way that I want. I think it's a good basic system but we need to enhance it greatly and that's what we're working on.

    As we already have considerable content it just seems to me that folk could adopt our site as their own site but then customise it greatly so it also becomes their own web site. I still see many people and businesses creating their own web sites but with the way the web is developing it's always going to be a challenge to get visitor traffic. We should be able to do something to help.

    I don't believe that Facebook or Twitter, etc. offer this right now and we need an easy way for folk to configure their own interfaces. That will be the challenge we face to produce something that people will want to use and feel happy with.

    Mind you if you have some ideas on what 'could' or 'might' be done over time then don't feel shy about listing those <grin>

    Alastair

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    Re: Newsletter 7th January 2011

    Hello Alistair...The reason I did not say anything to you in regard to the newsletter NOT coming out on Thursday, was because being an "old" nurse, I assumed that your broken hand was causing you some difficulties. I sincerely hope you don't have to have surgery, to have a pin put in. Thanks for the newsletter. Joan

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    Re: Newsletter 7th January 2011

    Hi Joan.. it was causing me mega problems as the plaster they put on was so think that when using the mouse my fingers wouldn't reach the mouse buttons!!!!

    I took it off and got working again! Actually when they put the plaster on my hand it was very swollen and after a couple of days the swelling went down and so my hand was actually moving within the cast so I didn't think it was doing any good anyway.

    They said someone would contact me the first week of the New Year to arrange an appointment to see their plastic surgeon but if they didn't contact me for me to contact them the following Monday to arrange a visit so that's what I'll be doing on Monday.

    Alastair

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    Re: Newsletter 7th January 2011

    Hey, Alistair...I'm using this as an excuse to take a break from painting my kitchen. Have been renovating the whole kit n' kaboodle for over a month now. I am excessively tired!!! In regard to your hand, any broken bone will be very swollen, and the people/doctors or whoever put the cast on, should have told you to come back, after it got too loose. For you to be using it without the cast is not good. I've been concerned about your hand all along. Okay, this was what I thought was interesting.....I graduated from high school in Dayton, Ohio, from Wilbur Wright HS in, dare I say, 1958. One of the boys in my class was called John Strang, and he had dark hair, wore glasses. I just thought it was coincidental that your book in regard to Glasgow and its clubs by John Strang in 1857, was kinda a doppelganger for my classmate as he was in classes with me in 1957. I remember wondering about his name Strang, and where it came from. I have cousins both in Aberdeen, Scotland, & and near St. Andrews, plus one or so down near Southampton in England. I do not know how you feel about it, but after giving the subject much thought while painting, perhaps some history etc. in regard to England & Scotland?? In my family, the oldest son of my grandfather's family went to Aberdeen from Sussex in England, started an electrical business there. So, I am in both camps so to speak. Better go...waiting for some paint to dry!!! Joan PS: I lived in England for 3 years as my dad was in the USAF as an officer...near Woodbridge & Ipswich, but we did travel to visit the cousins in Scotland.

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    Re: Newsletter 7th January 2011

    As it happens we are exploring the History of England and the relationships between England and Scotland. See http://www.electricscotland.com/history/england/

    I have two further books on Scottish relations with England and I'll bring those forward so that they will be the next two books we'll add to the site.

    Alastair

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    Re: Newsletter 7th January 2011

    I've been a subscriber and regular reader since stumbling across ES in February 2004. My main interest and appreciation has been access to old books in many genres that I would not be able to reach on my own, so I'm very hopeful that feature continues as the sites evolve. I also greatly appreciate the exposure to contemporary Scottish politics through the SNP links, and beyond that, the eclectic mix of features that show up through the newsletter and now, the community. And of course, the personal touch that Alastair threads throughout to hold it all in context. So in my humble view, as long as those features continue I'm completely supportive of any new initiatives that Alastair's pioneering instincts and amazing capacity for work (!) might bring forth. Thanks Alastair as always and best wishes to all!

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