For the latest news from Scotland see our ScotNews feed at:

Electric Scotland News

Did a video about the Humour section on Electric Scotland which you can view at:


Coronavirus pandemic: Tracking the global outbreak can be read at:

Scottish News from this weeks newspapers
Note that this is a selection and more can be read in our ScotNews feed on our index page where we list news from the past 1-2 weeks. I am partly doing this to build an archive of modern news from and about Scotland as world news stories that can affect Scotland and all the newsletters are archived and also indexed on Google and other search engines. I might also add that in a number of newspapers you will find many comments which can be just as interesting as the news story itself and of course you can also add your own comments if you wish which I do myself from time to time.

The unsurpassed 125-year-old network that feeds Mumbai
Dabbawalas deliver hundreds of thousands of meals on foot and by bike in one of India's busiest cities every day. The new wave of food-delivery start-ups wants to know how they do it.

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SNP's Hate Crime Bill fails on all counts
WITHIN THE LAST FORTNIGHT, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf published his proposed Hate Crime Bill and sent it out for a consultation, to conclude on the 24th July 2020.

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Boris Johnson is right - it’s time to put our trust in the common sense of the British people
A series of chaotic pre-briefings and reverses meant, by the time the PM delivered a perfectly competent address, his words had been lost in a clamour for detail and clarity.

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Will the decline of America on the world stage take Canada down with them?
Sergio Marchi: It would be prudent for the Canadian government to weigh the continued decline of the U.S. as a real option and what this would mean for our national and global interests

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Firm seeks world first with hydrogen gas for Levenmouth homes
SGN says it has asked Ofgem if it can build the H100 Fife facility to serve 300 homes at Levenmouth with the option to expand further.

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Poverty and coronavirus in Edinburgh: solutions in shared humanity
Edinburgh, the wealthiest city in Scotland, is amongst the hardest hit economically by the coronavirus crisis in the UK

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Social distancing - the case against
SOCIAL distancing, even when voluntary and though less oppressive than enforced stay-at-home lockdown, remains extremely costly in terms of economic activity and productivity, basic liberties and health outcomes.

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For free traders, it’s two cheers for the Government’s tariff plan
Under the newly published tariff plan 60% of UK trade will be tariff-free

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Sturgeon's Intolerance of dissenting views is not entirely bad
THANKS TO A VOTE by the Scottish parliament on 19 May, some transparency has been restored to the workings of the devolved administration.

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Scotland needs a shake-up
Why not produce our own Beveridge reports?

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Electric Canadian

101 Helpful Hints for the Visually Impaired
Our thanks to Chrissy Miller for providing this information in pdf format which can be read at:

Canadian Investments and Opportunities
Issued by Canada General Investment Corporation, Limited (1909) (pdf) which you can read at:

Canadian Geographic
January/February 2020 edition which can be read at:

Canadian Forces Attrition Forecasts
What One Should Know (Dec 2008) (pdf) which you can read at:

Cree Nation
Did a major update on the videos for the Cree Nation as many were no longer available but also some really excellent ones have become available. You can view these at:

Cannabis Cultivation
A new page to explore how this sector is progressing since making it legal which can be read at:

Electric Scotland

The Potato
Its Culture, Uses, History and Classification by William Stuart (1923) (pdf) which can be read at:

A Seed Saving Guide for Gardeners and Farmers
Learn how to plant the best varieties, maintain your crop "genetics", cultivate, harvest, process and store seed. Plus a crop specific chart and resources for gaining more seed growing knowledge from the Organic Seed Alliance (2010) (pdf). You can read this Guide at:

The Photographic History of The Civil War
In Ten Volumes, Francis Trevelyan Miller - Editor-in-Chief and Robert S. Lanier, Managing Editor. Thousands of Scenes Photographed 1861-65, with Text by many Special Authorities (1911) (pdf)

You can read these volumes at:

Butchering, Processing and Preservation of Meat
By Frank G. Ashbrook, Fish and Wildlife Service, United States Department of the Interior (1955) (pdf) and you can read this at:

Donna Flood's 2020 Journal, May 16, 2020
You can read this at:

Added a wee collection of videos on how to preserve eggs and meats as well as keeping chicks. You'll find this around half way down our Agriculture page at:


Life in a Country Manse about 1720

IN a pocket book of homely and homemade appearance clad in a cover made doubtless from the skin of one of his own flock—ovine not human—Mr. James Laurie, the minister of Kirkmichael has noted down from the years 1711 to 1732 memoranda of his income and expenses, his bonds, his bills, drugs he used, wages he paid, crops he reaped, books he bought, bargains he made. For twenty frugal years this venerable little note-book served him, and after the lapse of 180 years it may also serve us; for it affords glimpses of the quaint quiet rural life of Scotland in the early part of the eighteenth century.

Mr. James Laurie, who had Iaureated in Glasgow, and was in 1711 ordained minister of Kirkmichael in Ayrshire, was son of Mr. John Laurie who after prudently evading the ‘Killing Times’ in Scotland by serving a presbyterian congregation in Ireland, became after the Revolution successively minister of Penpont and Auchinleck.

Kirkmichael, with a population of 700 souls, in those days was a remote parish through which ran tracks over the moors to Maybole and Ayr. There was no village then but only little clachans. There were stretches of heather and bog, in which forty years before covenanters had sought shelter from the malignant pursuers; there were pastures and lands reclaimed from the marshes, on which were grown poor grey oats and beer or barley, struggling for existence with thistles and wild mustard ; there were the heather-covered hovels, in which the crofters lived in peat-reeked rooms or ‘spences,’ hardly divided from the ‘ben’ in which the cows and the poultry had a malodorous sleeping place. Here and there were the mansions of lairds which were sheltered by clumps of trees, which alone relieved the bare woodless landscape. These dwellings were mostly homely and unpretentious. Though there were one or two of more importance, such as Kirkmichael House, near to the manse, which an old writer describes ‘ as desirable a dwelling in all the country having good gardens and orchards, the first in Carrick planted with peaches and apricots.’ The manse, like most of the ministers’ dwellings of those days, would be thatched, with a kailyard in front, the narrow little windows half glazed, giving dim light through walls three feet thick to the low chambers and four rooms which were divided by wooden partitions. Here resided a family consisting of the minister and his wife (Mistress Ann Orr ‘that was,’), sister Betty, and four boys and three girls. Three women servants and a serving man, who slept over the byre, with a herd lassie completed the household.

A stipend of 80 was not wealth beyond the dreams of avarice for the most frugal establishment. But even this income was hard to get. Some lairds are hard up, and they pay with difficulty the teinds of ‘white’ or silver money, or ‘victual,’ in oatmeal and bere; and sometimes three years pass by before the minister is fully paid up his due of meal or money. He takes horse to Dinduft, and there he gets counted out ‘three golden guineas and a banknote,’ but for the rest he is obliged to accept a bill, and some ‘precepts.’ From prosperous Sir John Ferguson of Kilkerran he gets in 1721 ‘nine pounds and 3 and 20 pence and four and a plack,’ which is supplemented by a bill. Impecuniosity being the badge of all their tribe, some of the heritor lairds adopt the plan of giving the minister their ‘precepts,’ or orders on their tenants who were to pay out of their rents the proportion of stipend allocated to their farms, and these men in turn put him off sometimes with a bill. To the farmers therefore the poor minister had to apply yearly for their shares of teinds, a few bolls meal from one, some pecks from another, and there were usually some firlots wanting when brought by grudging tenants to the door. The victual stipend arrived in sacks or creels on horseback — 2 bolls forming the ‘load’ of a horse — and was deposited in the girnal at the back of the manse, with divisions to contain malt, meal, grey oats, white oats, beer and horse corn, which might get musty or eaten by rats before it was used, so that it was better to bargain for ‘white seed corn instead of meal.’

Nor were the heritors more willing to keep the manse in repair than they are to keep its owner in money. The session or minister must look after it when it goes into decay, though the window panes are broken and the casements are rotten. To this the pocket book gives testimony, when it notes in March, 1730,—‘payd William Simson 4 shillings and sixpence for the window in my room, 12 foot of glass, and mending ane old window. Gave John Goudie half a crown for the casement, item 4 shillings to John Goudie for a casement and broads to ye south window in my room and in the low chamber, item to George Montgomery four and forty pence for glass to one of the side of ye windows in the low room, and glass to the clock and setting other glass in ye rest of the windows.’ All which shows there was discomfort at the manse. It is true the cost of living was not great, for the times were simple and the wants were few. Wool or grey plaiding woven by the weaver made the clothes for the minister and his boys, though he had a coat of blue broad cloth for solemn occasions; a gown of ‘Musselburgh stuff’ for ordinary wear satisfied the mistress of the house, made by the tailor1 from a neighbouring clachan, and woollen petticoats and other undergarments were made at home. Judging from the memoranda, shoes seem to have been a constant requirement, and from their cheapness it is not surprising they needed often to be renewed. Shoes for the minister or his wife cost 4s. Scots or 2s. sterling, while those for the youngsters cost only one shilling, and they are ‘soaled’ for 4d. per pair. For 4 4s. Scots five pairs are made for ‘the bairns’ — Molly, Annie, James, John, and Nelly. It was however far more economical to get the shoemaker and his man to come to the manse and work for some days, the wages being about 4d. a day each and their meat. These were great occasions when the cobbler or tailor was expected at the manse, bringing news and gossip for the servants from Maybole. In preparation for their coming the minister set in for their use a quantity of bend leather, a pound of hemp and rosin, and there were tanned skins of his herd to use. It is noted that in August, 1716, ‘James Niven and his servant wrought nine days for which I gave him 6 and 4 pence (6|;d. sterling) per day and seven pence for timber heels. They made 2 pair shoes for me, 2 for my wife, 2 to my sister Betty, 2 to Molly, one pair to Annie, 2 pair to Alexander Kennedy [the serving man], one pair to Margaret Smith, one pair to Katrin Maclennan, one pair to Margaret Brewster the herd lassie.’ Here are thirteen pairs of single soled shoes in nine days for the small sum of 4s. 9d.

Under August, 1722, we find a similar entry characteristic of bygone days. ‘David Gibson with his man came on Tuesday morning and wrought till Tuesday 12 o’clock, and made a pair of slippers for myself, 2 pair cloath slippers for my wife, 2 pair shoes for Betty, a pair to Molly, Annie, and Johnnie; 2 pair to Charles [serving man], so he has got all the shoes I owe him when Martinmas is come. A pair to Janet Mac-gowan which is all she wants till Martinmas is come; a pair to Sarah and a pair of shoes is owing her against Martinmas, 2 pair to Margaret Macnicol which pays all her shoes, and a pair to Janet Morton.’ The wages of each man being only one groat or victual a day, fifteen pairs of slippers and shoes are wondrously cheap at the money.

In the house are living and feeding three women servants as active in the byre and the field as in the kitchen, and a man who has to look after the garden and the glebe, to plough, to reap, to thresh corn, and fodder the cattle.

You can read the rest of this account at:

And that's it for this week and hope you all have a great weekend and mind and keep your distance, wash your hands and stay safe.