Anyone who has watched the brilliant BBC TV series 'Coast' and the subsequent 'A History Of Scotland' will recognise the name and face of Neil Oliver, quite my favourite factual presenter.
I've always loved him as a presenter, but this is the first time I've read a book by him, and I must say, it makes for easy reading.
As a child, growing up in England, I've learnt a great deal about English history, but never really paid much attention to the history of its' closest neighbour. Reading this book, I've been amazed by just how important Scotland has been to the history of England, and most specifically, its' monarchy.
Oliver gives you all the facts and figures, whilst managing to make what could be a very dry subject, thoroughly interesting, and in places, even entertaining. He writes in a style that, if you're familiar with his television programs, means that you can almost hear him speaking the words, instead of just reading them on the pages of a book.
He leads you through Scotland's turbulent history, right from the dawn of time to modern days, in such a way that the history flows effortlessly and smoothly. I found myself totally engrossed.
If you have an interest in history, then this is a book to be strongly recommended.
Heaven knows why some people write blogs! I know why I write mine.
I've just been reading another person's blog, with comments about 'blogger jealousy' and I'm amazed! How can people become jealous of other people's lifestyles, without ever knowing that person, or understanding the circumstances of their life? Don't they understand, the world of blogging, with the best intentions in the world, is not completely real? You only get to see what the blogger wants you to see. Whether it's how proud they are of their children, how clever they are at making things, how committed to their religious beliefs they are, or whatever. You don't very often get to see what they're not good at, what they fail at, how they lose their temper with a loved one over something trivial, or lose their car keys, or forget a dental appointment. You can't really know a person, or understand them, without meeting them, and spending a considerable period of time getting to know them. Reading a blog, is the same as reading a novel. You are introduced to the main character, you follow the plot learning as much about that character and no more as is necessary to follow the storyline, and when you have finished reading, you close the book.
I read other blogs because I'm curious. Curious about other people, how they live, what their thoughts are, what they do. But I don't envy them. I only have a few blogs I follow regularly, and those are mostly about things I'm interested in, whether it be motorcycles, craftwork, or whatever. Other blogs I just select at random, when I have spare time to kill.
There's only one blog I read regularly, where I am actively interested in her life-style. That's not to say I'm jealous of her, or her life-style, because I'm happy with my own life, thank you very much. But I admire her free spirit and her way of life, and who knows, had my life panned out differently, maybe I would be living in a similar world myself.
If any of you have read my blog, you would have found that I use it to put my thoughts into words - to cement my own thoughts and reasoning, to express myself in a way that it is not always possible to verbally. I also post about things I'm interested in, motorcycles, music, crafts, history, and yes, occasionally, I write about things I've made. But not to elicit praise, more to store my ideas, and realisations.
For years now, I've worked in the computer industry, and I've seen computers change from industrial machines to a 'must-have' for every home. Whilst it can provide great entertainment, and is a boundless source of information, I do fear that some people have become addicted to modern technology to the point where they are in danger of forgetting what it's like to stand in the street chatting to a neighbour, or wandering around the shops seeing and feeling the products at first hand, or whatever. Simply interacting with life outside for real, instead of existing purely in a cyber-space world.
This does not necessarily bode well for the future, because, it seems to me, people are becoming evermore isolationist, devoid of compassion, and really only interested in themselves.
After two of the old-style CBF1000s models, now got meself the all-new, all-singing, all-dancing CBF1000FA.
Such an improvement over the old model. New frame, new engine, new suspension, new bodywork, new brakes, new instruments..........and on it goes.
Having only had it just over 12 hours, not really had much chance to try it out yet, but so far, I'm impressed! The engine is silky-smooth, with none of the throttle response lag the older model suffered from.
It's slimmer than the older model, and far more stylish. Instruments are a vast improvement, with a well-lit, easy to read digital display (which I haven't found my way around yet), the side stand has been moved to behind the footpeg (can't find it without looking yet), the new topbox is roomier - no longer have to lay my helmet on it's side.
Only two down-sides - they didn't do a lairy colour this year, and having owned one in orange and one in gold, I miss that. But given a choice of red (never have liked red bikes, except for the old Kawasaki GPz's in Firecracker), black or white and black, I opted for the latter, simply because it matches our other newbie, the VFR1200DCT.
And Paul? Well.............................that's his name ;)
What's black and white with wings? - a magpie
Where was the bike built? - Honda's plant in Italy
What's Italian for magpie? - Gazza
English football fans will now understand why Paul....................
Oh, and those tyres have GOT to go. Why on earth did Honda fit such a good bike with 15 year old technology? BT57s are CR*P
Could go for my usual Avon ST Ultra 2 Storms, but the new Michelin Pilot Road 3 are getting such good reviews, I may just opt for them instead.