The World this week from Mennies

Sat 20 July 2019. Trump, Sturgeon, Corbyn, Iran, Tory leadership


Another week and a busy one at that business wise with even more questions on the political front. The World is truly going crazy. On the other side of the Atlantic we have Donald Trump proving his racist credentials by suggesting four Democratic Congresswomen should go back to where they came from and here is his words.

“They should go back and fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

Three of them were actually born in America and one has been there for two decades. So here is the president of America making blatant racist and false remarks, concerning four members of the American Government. This is astounding. But worse was to come because at a Trump rally the crowd were encouraged to chant “send them home”.

Now, the man is nothing more than an immature spoiled child, but there is something rather more frightening than this unwise expression of underlying hate in the US and that is this. This Man was voted in by this underbelly of deep rooted race hatred which was supposed to have been quelled during the fifties and sixties when segregationists like Governor Wallace ruled in places like Alabama and the colored people were treated very much as second class citizens.
Now trump is using this deep rooted hatred of fellow human beings for political advantage and the scary thing is that it appears to be working. Even more scary is the fact that if people like Trump can gain political advantage through playing the race card then it is democracy in action. representative democracy is a form of government wherein its citizens vote for or elect a representative to represent them in Congress or the Senate. So that is the kind of behavior the people voting for Trump will expect him to carry out on their behalf . It is as simple and as scary as that.

Remember, Hitler was not a dictator, he was voted in to his position by the people of Germany.

Nicola Sturgeon

The gloss of Nicola Sturgeons reign is speedily evaporating , more so with her latest snub of Angus McNeil MP. Who proposed a motion to be debated at the forthcoming SNP conference concerning an alternative way forward on the road to independence. A suggestion that I myself made a couple of weeks ago and have made many times in the past. That the SNP should go for the next election ( Scottish or Westminster) on the a manifesto of independence. This in order to asses the will of the Scottish people concerning independence. Incredibly the motion was refused. So the SNP ( the party of independence) will not discuss independence. This is so incredible that I am lost for words. In the last few weeks when my blogs have been critical of this stance and been followed by several snide and insulting comments amounting to “Nicola has a cleaver plan but she is not telling any one about it”. I have asked the question, ” since Nicola was made party leader can you give me one credible item she has introduced to make independence any nearer or one measure of preparation for any future referendum. I have not had one single answer to these questions. It really is time for her and her husband , who is the chief executive of the party to go. Unfortunately there are too many snouts in the trough of Westminster and Holyrood for any credible challenge to her rule to be mounted. The time is now, for a new party to be started.


Jeremy Corbyn has eventually fallen off the fence and has made it ( more or less) clear that the Labour party will support a new vote on the EU before any agreement is finalized . This of course was followed by a predictable upsurge in Anti-Semitism claims . The reason being is that this change of policy has made Corbyn more electable , Corbyn supports the Palestinian peoples claim for their own homeland and Israel does not like this one bit. Therefore they are bringing their paid up members of organizations like Friends of Israel to bear on slandering Corbyn and his party with accusations of Anti-Semitism. Now Anti-Semitism is a hatred of Jews and does not include a dislike of the murderous practices of the Israeli government in their treatment of the Palestinian people, although the Israeli government would like to think that it does. Another crazy situation in a mad World.


America took an other step towards initiating a war against Iran with further ships being put in the vicinity of the straights of Hurmuz and a report that one of these ships shot down an Iranian Drone . This obviously because Iran shot down one of theirs within Iranian airspace.

Background to this was the agreement with Iran to stop any moves towards the establishment of a nuclear capability made in 2015 with more or less the whole World, and broken by President Trump a year ago. The reason being that Israel did not like the fact that America and the West were not at war with Iran and they preferred to be the only country in the middle east with nuclear weapons. Trump as Israel’s poodle has therefore put in place measures to cause conflict with Iran and of course compliant Britain stopped and impounded an Iranian Tanker at Gibraltar a couple of weeks ago.

So here we go again , America dragging its allies to war at the behest of Israel, the only glimmer of hope is that the EU will resist this madness and in some way recover the agreement that the US is intent on destroying.

Tory Leadership

Tory leadership and a choice between Laurel and Hardy, Johnstone and Hunt, with Johnstone widely being lauded as the winner and next prim- minister at which point he will immediately throw in the UK’s lot with that other village idiot Trump making it a near certainty that we will be at was with Iran within 6 months.

Speculation abounds as to whether Johnston will call a general election, but on the basis of Turkeys not generally voting for Christmas, I would say that this is probably not a goer, with one slight reservation and that is this. A possible coalition with Nigel Farage’s party of no hopers. Can you imagine that? The thought puts shivers up my back and mentioning Nigel Farage , he is apparently coming to Dundee, no doubt in the hope that there will be a day of incidents that he will put down to extremism. I have had it suggested that perhaps the yes Bus team might make an appearance, well I think people like that deserve only to be ignored.

The Nitty Gritty

So a couple of pints in my favorite hostelry and no doubt some political discourse, as there was last evening, with good discussion , debate and an element of hilarity with Grieg, Roy, Ray and of course my Nemesis John who always gives me a run for my money on the political front.

So wherever you might be on this fragile planet of ours I raise my glass to you , have a good and safe Saturday evening



The Saltire and the Blind

Last Saturday I sat down and put my concerns regarding independence in a blog titled “Scotland’s Armageddon” where I put forward the suggestions as to how we could achieve independence and how I had concerns that the SNP leadership had not seemed to have considered them , although to me they seemed very valid and logical moves especially in light of the UK government’s point blank refusal to allow a section 30 .

To be clear, a section 30 temporarily modifies schedule 5 of the Scotland act which deals with reserved matters and in particular the reserved matter of the Union of The Kingdoms of Scotland and England and has the effect of recognizing the result of a referendum on independence which would nullify that Union.

It is worth noting that the Scotland act is quite clear that there is two separate Kingdoms brought together in a Union and at no time was either Kingdom subsumed into or by the other.

Ok, so my blog was expressing concerns that the leadership of the SNP seemed content to go down that one very narrow road of seeking a Section 30 derogation and I laid out alternatives, one of which was to use an election ( either Scottish or Westminster) to gain a mandate for a move to independence which would encompass the need to assess the will of the people. That would satisfy the UN charter on self determination.

Well, Monday Morning and I opened my twitter feed to discover that Angus McNeil ( MP for the Western Isles) was about to start a process which would encompass just that., He was to submit a motion to be debated at the SNP Autumn Conference which would make the next election ( Scottish or Westminster) a vehicle for independence gained through the election being fought on the basis of a manifesto of independence.

Because of my concerns ( expressed in my blog of last Saturday ) as to the commitment to independence being displayed by Nicola Sturgeon, I thought , brilliant Angus, go for it. I saw this as a way of marginalizing a leader who had lost the will to achieve what she was supposed to be there for in the first place .

Unfortunately just today it would appear that the leadership have blocked the motion. So in other wards the leadership of the SNP are to block a legitimate move towards independence . Absolutely incredible, Nicola Sturgeon is now seen for what she is and that is more intent on saving the Union than providing a road map to Scotland’s independence.

This is nothing new, but it is stark, and giving the unavoidable conclusion that all is not well at the top of the SNP . I personally have had grave concerns regarding Nicola Sturgeons commitment to an independent Scotland for some considerable time and as an example I cast my mind back to an incident a few days before the Scottish elections in 2016.

I together with a few of the yes bus Team went to what was supposed to be a public meeting in the Queens Hotel Dundee, where Nicola Sturgeon was to be speaking. It turned out that it was “public meeting” in name only and only SNP members had been invited. I was one of the first there and was greeted by a look of panic by the few political staff and activists setting up the hall. I had had recent issues with the SNP regarding various “independence” rallies which had resulted in my resignation from the SNP after 30 years of membership. Originally it had been planed that the meeting would consist of a speech from Nicola followed by a few soft questions by the faithful. This was hurriedly changed to a system where any one who wished to ask a question was to write the question on a piece of paper along with their name and give it to the political manager who had shown surprise at me being there .

The question I wished to ask was concerning the omission from the election manifesto of either a commitment to independence based on the result or at least an intention to wrest control from Westminster, of the ability to hold a meaningful referendum without recourse to the Section 30 clause in the Scotland Act. When it became clear that Joe Fitzpatrick ( who was choosing the questioners) was not to give me the chance to speak, I walked out of the meeting , which because the meeting had been held in a rather small room ( about 80 present as apposed to several hundred in her previous meeting in Dundee) meant I had to walk right in front of Nicola causing somewhat of an intake of breath by some present.

I wrote a blog after that titled “A letter To Nicola” link below .

Now, the reason for this lengthy explanation is to make the case that this recent behavior from the leadership is nothing new and in fact has been this way ever since Nicola became leader, and in this respect I would ask you to think back and suggest any thing or any credible initiative Nicola has instituted that would bring independence any nearer? I cant think of one.

I would suggest that this latest deliberate block on a very credible strategy by Angus McNeil has made Nicola Sturgeons position untenable. I think she should step down and make way for someone with independence as their main driving force.

If this does not happen then we , in the independence movement should seriously consider starting a new party. “The Scottish independence party”

The problem with following blindly is that one day you might wake up blind.

God forbid, but I feel that day is not far off

Scotland’s Armageddon

I sat down to write a blog on where we are on the road to independence and to be honest, I am finding it difficult not to duplicate the many blogs I have written on the subject.

I have been accused many times of wrongly criticizing the SNP and, in particular, Nicola Sturgeon. I have honestly tried to look at other alternatives and indeed places to place blame, because one thing is certain and that is we ( the independence movement) are in an awful position and the people with the mandate to deliver independence are the SNP with Nicola Sturgeon at the top.

So, what do I mean by an awful position? Well here we are, almost 5 years from the last referendum where we had a campaign lasting around two and a half years, raising support for independence from 27% to at least 45%, with, (until recently) support raising only marginally. The reason support increased at all was nothing to do with any credible independence related initiatives embarked upon by the SNP and all to do with the actions of the Tory government by way of broken promises and exposure to the lies and misinformation put out during the last campaign , as was the increase from 6 to 56 SNP MP’s in the Westminster parliament.

Ever since the day Nicola took over the leadership of the SNP the cause of independence has been swept under the carpet. This was very noticeable, even during the campaign to elect MP’s in the 2015 General Election and in this respect I will always remember the incident ( related many times before) where we ( the Yes Bus team and Yes we Care Dundee) were to hold a rally in the City Square of Dundee the week before the general Election. A week before the rally I had a visit at my office from Chris Law who at that time was the SNP chosen candidate for the Dundee West constituency together with his political assistant. I had known Chris for many years and had , through my workshops , renovated the Spirit of Independence, a 50 year old ex-Army fire engine that Chris had used on a highly effective trip around Scotland during the campaign.

The purpose of Chris’s visit surprised me, as he asked if I could postpone the rally until after the General election. I couldn’t believe my ears. I said to him “Chris, this is a pro-independence rally, the SNP’s main function in life is to deliver independence, you are the SNP candidate for Dundee West, we (the Yes bus team) campaigned for your adoption as the independence candidate. What is going on?

His next words almost floored me. He said “Stewart Hosie has said that we can’t have saltires and Yes signs being waved around the Square the week before a General Election” I was lost for words.

We did eventually agree to postpone the rally and what happened next is a story in itself and can be accessed on the blog, link below, as during the pleas to postpone the rally I had told Chris and his assistant that as it was so close to the date , there wouldn’t be enough time to get the necessary permission to hold the rally on the new date , the week after the General election. I was assured by both there that “it would be sorted “meaning, the rules would be adjusted to suit their agenda. In the event, it wasn’t “sorted” and we showed up in the square on the new date to find that panic had ensued because the gruesome twosome had immediately forgotten their commitment and had not rearranged the date with the SNP council, so on the very Morning of the rally the licensing board chairmen had to be found and signed off the permission there and then. Well the SNP did not exactly cover themselves in glory in that incident but there was more to come, because some time later we organized another rally and this was to be the Mother of all cock ups by the Dundee SNP as they , in their endeavor to spoil it actually used the excuse that they were refusing permission to hold the march element because “I had failed to apply for the holding of the previous rally in time” Yes you just couldn’t make it up straight out of a Blackadder sketch. Read below the saga of the second rally.

However, what these incidents told me was that something was amiss in the SNP attitude to independence and the result of the 2015 General Election which was a massive 56 MP’s returned to Westminster showed just how bad the SNP were at assessing the feelings and mood of the people which put the comment by Stewart Hosie” we can’t have saltires and yes singes being waved around the square” firmly in the context of the SNP not really knowing what they were doing. I think it is true to say that the 56 MP’s sent down to Westminster was not because of the SNP but despite them.

This has been followed by a catalogue of misread, confusing and miscalculated strategy over the last. almost 5 years manifesting itself in every election since, showing a drop in support for the SNP, with the snap General Election in 2017 returning a massive loss of half a million votes for the SNP. The only way the SNP could ameliorate this loss of confidence was by announcing some independence initiative or other weeks before each election. Every single promise, subsequently to be backtracked on until another election loomed.

We have had statements from Nicola, like the people will tell us when we are ready for another referendum, without actually explaining what is involved in telling her, so the people carried out mass rallies. This being the only way they could make their voice heard. Unfortunately, Nicola was selectively deaf and soon stopped asking for the people’s voice to be heard as it was apparently telling her something she did not want to hear.

These rallies were scantily supported by SNP politicians who, on a few occasions made cursory appearances and indeed we in the yes Bus team were subject to a campaign of vilification for having the audacity to hold a rally in Dundee (the yes city) and invite Tommy Sheridan to speak. This campaign set up by members and officers of the Dundee West SNP office. We had several incidents of obstruction of independence rallies by the SNP council on an ongoing basis.

At no time did Nicola Sturgeon appear at any of the rallies nor did she offer any kind of support even by way of a simple good luck message. Not a single mark of respect or support. This in marked contrast to her support for gay events, going as far as to lead one of these gay parades in London. I really do not see why she should put her own sexual orientation before her job by using her position to champion causes out with her remit as both leader of the SNP ( party of independence) and First minister of Scotland before showing support for what should be the SNP’s raison d’etre.

We have had the spectacle that was the Scottish Act 2016 played out in parliament where something like 80 amendments were put forward by the SNP and almost every single one of them ignominiously voted down out of hand. We have had numerous occasions of Scotland being sidelined and humiliated in Westminster like the EVEL laws brought in by subterfuge, meaning the no Scottish member of parliament could even debate a law concerning England, a country we subsidize. All this and much more and still no move towards another referendum or other form of determination of the will of the Scottish people.

Then of course we had the referendum on the EU, something we were told during the independence campaign was not going to happen and the only way of guaranteeing remaining in the EU was to vote no. Scotland voted by 62% to 38% to remain but we are to be dragged out against our will, and still no move by Nicola to even prepare for another referendum, not only that but Nicola has made it quite clear that she is just not interested in going down any other rout than obtaining a section 30 from Westminster . This is a pre-arrangement that the result of a referendum will be honored. Since 1939 there has been 66 countries which have gained their independence from the British Empire and not a single one has had anything resembling a section 30. No, if a country wants independence it takes it under its own volition. Why has the SNP not put provision for this in place? In fact, why have they not made any sort of effort to prepare for an assessment of the will of the people?

Ever since Nicola took over the leadership the SNP have done nothing credible to forward the cause of independence and I am taking into account the flawed report by Andrew Wilsons Growth commission which came away with recommendations that would have tied us to the UK for at least 10 years. Simply ridiculous.

It appears to me that Nicola’s main efforts have been to save the UK and not to gain independence for Scotland this to my mind was made very plain in her so called answer to the vote on leaving the EU. I wrote a blog the day before the paper was due to be published titled “A Road Map to Unionism” and another blog the day it was published titled “I Told You So” Here are the links.

This was indeed a road map to unionism and Nicola has been pursuing this for a long time .

Just because the SNP have not been pursuing independence diligently does not mean our adversaries have not either , no, on the contrary they have never stopped and now it is getting to the stage that the Westminster establishment are seriously worried about Scotland becoming independent as they realize that the subterfuge regarding Scotland’s dependency on England has been seen through for what it was and now they are doing something about it , evidenced by the large capacity civil service building at Haymarket to house UK civil service and the speech from the departing failure of a Prim Minister making a pretty thinly vailed threat to devolution.

Yes, because of SNP inaction to get a campaign going or to take advantage of the many opportunities to call a referendum, the SNP have allowed the UK to put in place a mechanism for the dismantling of the devolution settlement, meanwhile Nicola fiddles while Scotland burns.

As regards to a way to achieve independence and Nicolas gift to the UK by making it clear that she will not consider any other way except by a section 30. Well a section 30 is not actually required by any country who wishes through the majority of its people to become an independent nation.

The UN charter of self-determination makes this very clear.

The right of a people to self-determination is a cardinal principle in modern international law, binding, as such, on the United Nations as authoritative interpretation of the Charter’s norms. It states that people, based on respect for the principle of equal rights and fair equality of opportunity, have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no interference.

That makes it very clear that there is a simple rout to independence and there is no constriction to this in the devolution settlement. Even if there was then in international law this supersedes this and remember, the UK is a member of the UN.

The process would be this, first we have to determine the will of the people and that can be done in two ways. A referendum, of which there is no impediment in the devolution settlement or constitution (no written constitution anyway) to stop this happening as apposed to the situation in Catalan where there was a condition in the constitution to prevent an unauthorized referendum. Or there can be an election where the SNP went on a one issue manifesto, that of independence. If a majority was gained in one of these ways, then independence could be declared, and negotiations opened with the UK regarding the split of assets borders etc. At the same time countries would be encouraged to recognize an independent Scotland and I know of at least 27 who would no doubt be ready to do that.

Now, why this has never been explained by the SNP is a mystery, it is almost like they do not want independence and remember many people have loaned the SNP their vote to gain independence and will thereafter go back to their natural elegance as Scottish Tories, Scottish Labour or Scottish Lib Dems . Could it be that the SNP realize that and wish to hold on to the power they have at present by continually dangling the carrot in front of the electorate?

The SNP must wake up or they will be responsible for the biggest political disaster ever in Scotland because the unionists are becoming desperate, more so with the prospect of a no deal Brexit happening as they could not survive without Scotland’s assets.

Nicola Sturgeon is sleep walking into Scotland’s Armageddon

A Nautical Nomad


Well, some more photos of my sojourn to the North Atlantic and here I am in Reykjavik the capital city of Iceland and an impressive capital city it is. The city is about three miles from the cruise terminal and necessitates taking a shuttle to get there, which I did in the Morning, spending the day wandering around the city and indeed the harbour. See photos of the very impressive Opera house.

The photo of the figure with half his body encased in rock had no explanation and I wondered if indeed it depicted the banking industry with their very complicit roll in the financial crash of 2018. However one of my friends explained that it is a depiction of a faceless civil service employee. You will remember the actions Iceland took after the banking crisis when they jailed the bankers and bailed out the people .

Iceland’s economy is very heavily dependent fishing although tourism is making significant inroads on the once dominant fishing industry.
Iceland is not a full member of the EU but is part of the EEA on the lines of Norway, therefore, it is subject to about 20% of EU law. As such it is not part of the Eu fishing policy although its internal fishing regulations work very much like they do in the EU. They have sustainable policy’s much like the EU and a quota system again much like the EU which mean that quotas can be traded. This has been the subject of discord in the fishing communities as there are around half a dozen very wealthy families who own most of the quotas along with the fish processing stations.

I decided to make another trip into the city last night to sample the nightlife and indeed chose to walk the three miles. On the way, I diverted somewhat from the footpath which ran along the side of the road and ended up walking along the beach where I came upon the strangest house I have ever seen. It was like walking on to a scene from Mad Max, see photos below.

A couple of Icelanders were also walking by, saw me taking photos and came across to tell me the story of the house.
Apparently, it is owned by a famous filmmaker who I think is called Raven. He is obsessed with the Vikings and all things Norse. His most famous film was The Flight of The Raven” He is a recluse now and rarely seen. I must admit it was an eerie place. See photos,

So, on to the city and visits to various hostelries, almost all of which had live entertainment. Note the young lady who I think was a member of the tourist board as she seemed intent on making my visit to Reykjavik memorable.

I found a bar with live music and dancing which made the evening worthwhile heading back to the ship in the early hours, still in broad daylight. All in all an interesting bight out in Reykjavik.

A Nautical Nomad

Tip to the north Atlantic day 11 Shetland Islands

Well, hard to believe but another great day weather wise and indeed company wise. After disembarking I walked into the town of Lerwick, a busy town and the capital city of the Shetland Islands. A town of small winding streets with no distinction between pavement and roadways.

Shetland took the oil industry by the scruff of the neck when it first came knocking on its door in the seventies, demanding a share in the bounty from the seas, and it got it, with hugely improved roads community centers and school facilities. The island community also benefited from the money spent on harbour improvements and of course the spending capacity of a large amount of oil-related personnel brought in to service the oil facilities built on the islands.
The Shetlands were originally under Danish rule but in 1469 were gifted to Scotland as a dowry on the marriage of James 3rd to Princess Margaret of Denmark.
During the second World war, Shetland was an important military facility and base for the Shetland Taxi, which was a name given to a hugely successful operation to transfer members of the Norwegian resistance between Scotland and Norway.

So after disembarking and exploring the town I found a nice café, intending to have a coffee and get some wi fi but a nice surprise was waiting in the form of Sheena Wellington and her husband Malcolm, Sheena for those of you who don’t know was the lady who opened the new Scottish parliament in 2009 when she sang “A Mans a Man For A That” So I joined them for some coffee only to be further surprised when Jean Urquhart arrived.

Sheena and Malcolm had arranged to meet her. Jean was a blast from the past, indeed to my hillwalking tour days as the Caleigh Place in Ullapool, which Jean owned, was one of the hotels we used whilst doing hill walking tours for an American company and I spent many a happy night in the Caleigh place, a hotel like no other. Jean was an SNP MSP for some time before leaving because of the change in SNP policy regarding NATO membership, a very principled lady.

Sheena and Jean had arranged to meet up as Jean was now resident in Shetland and I was persuaded to come along on a tour of the island in Jean’s car. A great trip around the island on a beautiful sunny day, ending up at Jean’s home, which sits a few steps from a most wonderful sandy beach. Tea and a good blether mainly about independence rounded off a perfect day. We got back to the ship with 5 minutes to spare. All in all, a great and unexpected day.

Next stop, Invergordon tomorrow.

A Nautical Nomad

Leaving Iceland

So, after 5 days in Iceland visiting 4 ports, we are now heading South East towards the Shetland Islands. Both Iceland and the Faroe Islands have opened my eyes to just what small independent countries can do when they put the welfare and well-being of their people before corporate or political interests.

I have long fought for the independence of Scotland and in doing so have had to wade through the swamp of misinformation and downright propaganda put about by people with vested interests in keeping Scotland shackled to the decaying and rotting corpse that was the English empire. The reason for this is of course that without Scotland’s assets and tax take, England would be on its way to becoming a Third World country and the people who govern us know this full well, more so now as we watch the pantomime of the Tory leadership contest. A contest of clowns in a circus of their own making. The outcome of this comedy will be that once again Scotland will be governed over by people we never voted for, people who will tear us from the European Union, a union in which we in Scotland voted 62% to 38% to remain.

So, looking at Iceland gave me hope, a country of fewer than 400,000 people, a country with a far higher standard of living than the UK. A prosperous and stable country governed by the people, for the people. A country that bailed out the people and jailed the bankers in the western financial crash in 2018. A country that told Britain to get lost when they tried to claim for bailing out the branch of the Bank of Iceland based in London. The reason being that it is up to the county whose regulatory system failed, to bail out the banks not the country of origin.

Iceland does not have a standing Army whereas Scotland is charged £3.5 billion per year as a share of the UK armed forces. What could our social serviced and the NHS do with an additional £3.5 per year? Iceland does not have Weapons of mass destruction as we do, and our imperial masters are about to spend over £200 billion on upgrading this useless system, Trident.

Iceland does not get involved in wars with countries in order that corporate interests can control their oil and in doing so facilitate the slaughter of both the inhabitants of these countries and our own service men and women. Islandic armed forces consist of a coast guard with three patrol boats and a special forces unit of about 45 personnel. Iceland is a member of NATO but does not have to contribute armed forces to any of their peacekeeping operations.

Iceland is a country at peace with itself and all other countries, a model of where we could be in Scotland with independence.

As we sailed out of the harbour of Reykjavík I looked back and saw what Scotland could be, a confident, prosperous and free country, a country at ease with its place among all the independent countries of the world, a country in charge of its own destiny

I will be back

A Nautical Nomad

Cruise to Faroe Islands, Iceland and the Shetland isles day 4


Wow!! that is the word which comes to mind to describe todays visit to Eskifjordur. What a beautiful yet simple place, situated at the head of a fiord flanked with snowcapped mountains on either side. Multi-colored prim houses lining the two roads that meander through the township, every one of them a credit to their owners, I did not see a single one of them in any state of disrepair, just like the fishing boats that inhabit the harbor.

Eskifjordur is an important fishing port for this area of Iceland and most probably where the obviously buoyant economy derives a great benefit from. The township was founded in 1248 but human settlements date back at least 5,000 years. Because of its position it gradually became a major trading hub and key centre of commerce within the Hanseatic League

We docked at 11.30 and I headed along the waterfront to where I could see a water course tumbling down the mountain side in a series of spectacular waterfalls. I had prepared for cold weather as looking from the ship I could see a distinct snow line running along the hill tops, however as soon as I had disembarked I could feel the warmth in the sun and before long my jacket was in the small rucksack I had with me, and my sleeves rolled up.

A group of about 20 young actor/dancers came out of a church hall further along the street all with painted white faces, the one in the front carried a sign saying “ we will dance for an hour and 20 minutes” heading in the direction I had just came from. I was tempted to follow but the mountain called, and so I held on, crossing a burn and finding a rough path which headed through a small wooded area in the direction of the waterfalls.

I had intended bringing proper walking boots but had forgotten to pack them and the shoes had on were hardly suitable but at least gave a good grip on the rocks which were in the main volcanic black Garbo, always a good surface to get a grip on. As I climbed higher the view became more spectacular with every stop for breath I took (which was quite often). Every photo opportunity was also a brief excuse for a rest, and I followed the water course almost to the snow line where commonsense took over and because of the flimsy footwear I turned back, feeling quite accomplished and even ran down some of the hill, just like old times but without the heavy Bergan.

A fantastic unexpected walk  on a gloriously sunny day in Iceland and as I neared the bottom of the hill I spotted a hostelry where I had a good meal of some sort of stew with Chicken and vegetables accompanied by rice and washed down with a large glass of orange juice and free Wi Fi, heaven.

Iceland has less than half a million people, I think it is something like 380 thousand. It is fully independent,  very prosperous and forward thinking. The last war it was involved in was the Cod war with Britain, which was a dispute over fishing rights in the North Atlantic. A war it won without the loss of a single person, against (at that time) a country with one of the largest armed forces in the World, It didn’t win it by force of arms but by what they had where they were. Iceland is the key to the north Atlantic and they have one of the largest airfields on the planet. Probably larger, with longer runaways than Heathrow. They are also a member of NATO, so all they did was threaten to come out of NATO and that brought Britain to heel.

Iceland does not have thousands of ex-service men sleeping rough on the streets affected by post traumatic stress, because of the horrors of war perpetrated by big business to get their hands on other countries oil and they do not have a cesspit of governess like we have in Westminster, because when things go that way they do something about it , they put the culprits in Jail ,like they did after the banking crisis in 2008 , when they bailed out the people and jailed the bankers. They are a stable wealthy country at peace with themselves just like Scotland could be with independence. Oh and as for the currency thing, I went into a supermarket to get a few things this afternoon and paid by card, I got the choice of paying for my purchases in any currency I chose, I chose pounds sterling, it is as easy as that.

So after quite an exceptional day I am sitting in the coffee shop on he ship looking out as we sail back down the fiord heading for the next Islandic port of call on the itinerary, lets hope it is another day like today .