Perhaps I had ambitions to be an MP - or an undertaker!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

This is the flag of Scotland - the St. Andrew’s Cross, also known as the Saltire.

Various stories relate that in the 4th century a number of St. Andrew’s bones were brought to a Scottish monastery, located where the town of St. Andrews now stands. In the mid-10th century he was made Patron Saint of Scotland, and November 30th is St. Andrew’s Day.

He is also patron saint of Ukraine, Russia, Rumania, Patras in Greece, Amalfi in Italy, Luqa in Malta and Esgueira in Portugal.

I was interested to discover that relics of the saint are said to be kept in the Basilica of St Andrew’s in Patras, Greece, in the Duomo of St Andrew in Amalfi, Italy, in the Church of St Andrew and St Albert in Warsaw, and also in St Andrew’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Edinburgh.


The Scottish thistle has been the emblem of Scotland since the reign of Alexander III in the 13th century.

The story of how this humble plant acquired such an honour goes back to the feuding between Scotland and Norway. It’s said that one dark night an invading army of King Haakon’s men were stealing up on a camp of Scots, hoping to surprise them. One of the Norwegians in his bare feet stepped on a thistle and let out a cry of pain. This alerted the Scots and the attack was repelled.

In 1470, when James III was on the throne, the thistle appeared on Scottish silver coins.

It seems that not everyone admires the Scotch thistle. In some parts of America it has been declared Public Nuisance No1 and was said to be “an noxious and annoying little Scottish weed.”


Scotia’s thistle guards the grave,
Where repose her dauntless brave;
Never yet the foot of slave
Has trod the wilds of Scotia.

Free from tyrant’s dark control -
Free as waves of ocean roll -
Free as thoughts of minstrel’s soul,
Still roam the sons of Scotia.

Scotia’s hills of hoary hue,
Heaven wraps in wreathes of blue,
Watering with its dearest dew
The healthy lochs of Scotia.

Down each green-wood skirted vale,
Guardian spirits, lingering, hail
Many a minstrel’s melting tale
As told of ancient Scotia.

Wake, my hill-harp! Wildly wake!
Sound by lee and lonely lake,
Never shall this heart forsake
The bonnie wilds of Scotia.

Others o’er the ocean’s foam
Far to other lands may roam,
But for ever be my home
Beneath the sky of Scotia!

(Henry Scott Riddell 1798-1870)


Now, on a lighter note - a Scottish joke.

Jock had been in the pub all day and at closing time he found it impossible to stay on his feet. A couple of men managed to get him to the door and he assured them he would be all right. However he kept falling down and the only course open to him was to crawl home. Keeping as quiet as possible, he crept upstairs. His wife was sound asleep and he succeeded in getting into bed beside her. When he awoke next morning, his wife was already up and dressed. “So ye were drunk again last night?” she said. "What makes ye say that?" he asked. "Because that was the pub on the phone. Ye left yer wheelchair there again!"


Finally, this video compiled by "glasgow1234" has some great pictures to accompany an instrumental version of "The Flower of Scotland."


Johann Sebastian Bach with a difference!!!


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