The World This Week From Mennies

Saturday 24 September 2022

Well, another Saturday night and a pint in Mennies. Back a week now from my trip around the Med and getting back to normality, if there is such a thing in this mad, crazy world we live in.
Not the best of cruises I have been on. P&O , very British , very poor service and very poor food. Probably sums it up except for, I won’t be back.

The last week was marked by the Royal funeral which made the cruise even worse as people were constantly talking about it and believe it or not they closed some of the entertainment venues on the ship so that you could go and have a forced mourning in your cabin.

I suppose the conversation of the week was one night at dinner when a lady announced that it was nice to see Andrew in his uniform again. I mentioned that I didn’t realise there was a pedophile uniform. However , it is probably understandable as the Queen had a habit of knighting pedophiles.

I don’t know if anyone else has noticed but the world is basically fucked, or at least the western world is, and the coming recession in many western nations is by coincidence related to the current proxy war with Russia. Actually, I should qualify that. The coming recessions are directly related to the SANCTIONS imposed by stupid politicians in western nations against Russia.

This whole debacle has shown that Russia can be a good friend but a bad enemy, take note.

Right , I can’t think of anything else to moan about, so I will wish all of my friends the world over a good and peaceful weekend and remember, this life might not be the party you expected but seeing as we are here we might as well dance.


The World this Week From Mennies

Saturday 18 September 2022

The eight anniversary of the independence referendum

This is a posting I wrote 8 years ago, the day before we went to the polls in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. Everyone in the yes Bus team and all the other groups had put in an amazing amount of work in the months leading up to the referendum.

We were not successful, but we left a fantastic legacy for the SNP to take forward.

This was shown 8 months later when we sent 57 out of 59 MP’s down to Westminster. Unfortunately, Nicola Sturgeon had become the leader of the SNP and therefore the independence movement by then, and she failed to capitalise on the legacy we had handed to her on a plate.

Since then, she has all but destroyed the independence movement and I for one am bitterly disappointed that all of that work and goodwill set out on the streets of Dundee has been wasted.

Only when that awful woman leaves office can we get back on the road to independence.

8 years ago

Bob Costello

18 September 2014  · Scotland  · 

My Grandson Bobby

Later today Scotland decides whether to take its destiny in both of its hands and wrest its independence from the grip of Westminster or remain a junior partner in a failed Union which has passed its sell-by date. all the arguments have been aired on both sides and we have been on a journey with independence as the final destination. we will find out tomorrow whether we have arrived at that destination.

I have had the privilege to have worked with a dedicated team made up of both members of my own family and a band of brothers and sisters, brought together by a common goal, that goal being the independence of our country. We formed one of the many grassroots teams which sprung up all over `Scotland and we worked hard, boy we worked hard. We made a difference, there is no doubt about that. Dundee has been named the Yes City.

 Tomorrow everyone must place their vote as they see fit, taking into account all of the arguments as they see them. I feel the argument for independence is unanswerable and it will simply put Scotland in the natural state for any country. I feel we will make the right decision, but either way, we must get on with the task at hand and that is making Scotland a land fit for our Children and their children.

On Friday morning I have to look my three wonderful Grandchildren in the eye and say, ” I tried my best, I tried my very best “.

I would like to thank all the wonderful people I have had the privilege of knowing whilst on this tremendous Journey. It is them who have made this all worthwhile.

Tonight, we marched to the sound of the pipes, it was very special.

The streets of Dundee

A Nautical Nomad

Mediterranean cruise P&O 4- 18 Sept 2022

Well, that’s me on my travels again and this time I am taking a P&O cruise around a section of the Mediterranean, taking in La Coruna, Valencia, Toulon, Barcelona and Seville (Cadiz).

My trip started on Saturday with a 2 AM rise to get into the centre of Dundee to catch the Xplore airport bus to Edinburgh airport. Great service which drops you at the departure door of the airport. We now have two services to Edinburgh Airport, the other being Ember A relatively new company started by a couple of young guys who had this innovative idea a few years back of operating fully electric busses initially on a route from Dundee to Edinburgh and have now added a Glasgow route to with others to follow.

We as a company work very closely with Ember and our connection started a few years ago just before Covid hit. We at the time ran a coach company and a vehicle repair company and were approached by these guys who had, at that time, just an idea, to start and operate these electric buses. They were looking for a company to service and repair these electric buses and we agreed to assist them. Unfortunately, Covid came on the scene and this prevented the start of their venture. However as soon as covid started to recede they were back with a plan and we gave them a section of our yard space, along with office accommodation, and off they went. They now have 8 vehicles and have two routes up and going, Edinburgh and Glasgow and operate a very strict maintenance regime. Best of luck to them.

 I digress, so an early trip through to the airport followed by a two-hour delay in my Loganair flight to Southampton, the explanation of which was strange, to say the least. An announcement informed passengers that adverse weather conditions causing a wet runway in Southampton was the cause of the delay, which was complete nonsense as a quick reference to Google showed that, there was a chance of light showers and a wind speed of 10 miles per hour. I feel that this was expectation management and building in a weather excuse in case the delay exceeded the 3-hour mark which would have kicked in the compensation trigger. When the flight arrived in Southampton the runway was bone dry.

My transport to Southampton

Airports are so unreliable at the moment that I decided to go to Southampton a day early. However, Southampton not being exactly the Las Vegas of the south can be quite a boring place to spend an overnight. What I did notice however is that prices were very high. No doubt a combination of expected increases in fuel and power occasioned by sanctions imposed on Russia together with the effects of Brexit on supply chains.

Old city wall Southampton

Sunday, and some time to kill before boarding and a chance to wander around the quite extensive parkland in the centre of Southampton, watching the squirrels and rats frolic in the Sun. Yes, rats, I saw more rats than Squirrels.  

View from the ship

Then on to the ship which is the P&O Britania. P&O is not my favourite line, but I think I have been with them three times when they were either offering a very good deal or when a particular cruise worked in with my travel plans and this was one of these occasions as the cruise I had planned had been cancelled at the last moment because of mechanical problems. The cruise I was to have taken was a Fred Olson one from Rosyth which is only 50 miles from Dundee and the reason for that one was that I have recently had a wee operation and was convalescing ( no lifting). Rosyth meant I could be taken there, and my case deposited at the drop, with no airports to navigate with luggage. However, as Robert Burns would say, “ the best-laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley” so in order to sort the luggage problem I arranged for a courier to collect it from the house and deliver it to the ship.

The atrium

So onboard the ship and no luggage at the door of the cabin and as time went on, I began to have concerns that it had not reached the ship. Anyway, to cut a long story short it did arrive eventually at 11 PM that night. Thank goodness as I was not looking forward to 14 days without luggage.

The Crows nest at the bow of the ship as we sail into the bay of Biscay

So, Britania, and a very British ship, which means the food is awful and the general organization quickly turns into disorganisation. I have also found in the past that some passengers seem to think they are in a bubble where everyone has the same prejudices as them. Now they aren’t, and the vast majority of English people you meet on one of these cruises are perfectly amenable people, there are a few who spoil it though and the last time I was on a P&O ship, some of the comments concerning asylum seekers in the English Channel, and people from the EU who have settled here, were just awful. However, up to now ( and this is day 5) I have not seen much of that kind of behaviour. Mind you, the reason for that could be because most of this prejudice seems to come out at dinner tables. Because of the chaotic booking system, I have not been able to get a table in one of the restaurants yet and have ended up eating at the buffet which is of a level commensurate with a works canteen.

A square in La Coruna
Narrow spotlessly clean streets

There are a lot of days at sea on this trip, and up to now, we have docked at only one port La Coruna which was on Tuesday. A lovely town with lots of narrow streets, a good many of them pedestrianized. There are a couple of nice beaches on the far side of the town. A 40-minute walk will take you to the Torre de Hercules which is the oldest still-functioning lighthouse in Europe.  La Coruna is also where the Spanish Armada left Spain to sail to England. The true story of the Spanish armada is a tale worth telling as it is an example of even back then in the sixteenth century that propaganda was rife. However, that is a story for a day when I am utterly bored and have nothing to do.

Part of the old city wall

I have just heard that there seems to be an issue with the Queen’s health. Now I am in no way a royalist and believe that in this day and age, when no one except for the severely mentally challenged, believes that monarchs are chosen by God. I would not take any satisfaction over an old woman arriving at the end of her life. However, monarchs are way out of date and belong back in the dark ages. It is therefore time for the countries of the British Isles to grow up and put the monarchy where it belongs and that is in museums. Or perhaps another way which I suggested many years ago would be to privatize them whereby the public could buy into them.

However, if the queen has come to the end of her life I am not looking forward to the atmosphere on this ship, the quintessence of Britishness, as it will be like sailing in a morgue, but good luck to the old lady.

So, we head up the coast of Spain with the next port being  Valencia which I am looking forward to visiting.

Have a good day folks