A Nautical Nomad

Cruise to Faroe Islands, Iceland and the Shetland islands

Day three Torshavn Faroe Islands

After a slightly bumpy night at sea we arrived in Torshavn, the capital City of the Faroe Islands, quite possibly the smallest capital City on the planet, but what it loses in quantity it makes up for in quality. Torshavn is a lovely town. Spotlessly clean, well ordered and efficient, with everything working. Not a single beggar or homeless person on the streets. Simply a town and community as it should be, exuding confidence and contentment.

The Faroe Islands are an autonomous independent country with their own flag, although still theoretically a dependency of Denmark. They have their own currency, the Faroe Islands Krona, although the Danish Krona is also accepted in all the shops.

A group of 18 islands with a population of 49,000 people. The main industry being fishing and fish processing, but with tourist related cottage industries sprouting at an ever increasing pace as the island group becomes ever popular on the cruise circuit and of course the airport, built by the Royal Engineers during WW2, increasing in popularity as an entry destination.

The history of the island group can be traced back to the discovery by Irish hermits who arrived here prior to the landing by Danish Vikings in the first half of the 9th century, who, both settled here and used the islands as a stepping stone to further discoveries in Iceland, Greenland and indeed North America where they landed some 600 years before Columbus got lost and stumbled on the Caribbean islands in the 15th century. Calling them the West Indies as he actually though he was sailing to India.

Until the late 19th century the Faroese were mainly sheep farmers before turning to the sea for their lively hoods where now there is a thriving fishing industry which includes fish farming based in the many sheltered fiords cutting into the land masses of the islands. They have one of the best broad band systems on the planet with an amazing range of 80 miles out to sea.

So after a very pleasant day in Torshavn with multiple capachinos being consumed as I took advantage of the excellent ( and free) wi fi in one of the many cafes in the town, we have now cast off and underway to Iceland, land of fire and ice where we have several ports of call with an overnight in the capital Reykjavik.        

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A Nautical Nomad

Well here I am once more bobbing up and down on the sea heading on a North West bearing in the North Atlantic, heading for the Faroe Islands.

This is day two on a 13-night cruise with Cruise Maritime on the Magellan. Yes, some of you might recognize the ship name and recall that I cruised once before on this ship, about three years ago, relating a far from pleasant experience in the process. So, why might you ask am I on this ship again? Hmm, well the answer is, firstly, the itinerary, secondly the fact that I am a firm believer that most businesses work on the principal that they learn from their mistakes and improve as time goes on, thirdly, masochism seems to be one of my traits.  

So my first day( yesterday) started at a leisurely pace with a taxi from home to Dundee docks, a 10 minute drive, great, compared to the usual overnight in Edinburgh followed by a full day traveling across to somewhere like Fort Lauderdale with another one or two nights there before embarking on a cruise. Huge saving in both time and cost, although I must admit the travel experience itself is generally rewarding. Arriving at the “cruise terminal” just before 16.00. Now when I say Cruise terminal, I should explain that as far as Dundee is concerned it is several marquees strung together resembling a refugee processing station. I could not help but cast my mind back to when I was a director in the Dundee and Angus Tourist Board and made the case that Dundee could be a prominent cruise terminal with its natural deep water port and advantages position on the East coast, advocating a purpose built terminal. Well here we are some twenty-five years later and we have aspired to a tent to welcome visitors to Dundee, a situation that is put to shame by the small Banana Republics of the Caribbean.

So boarding was completed with a reasonable amount of Cruise Maritime-esq confusion and I was pleased to find the Cabin ready for occupancy. Few teething problems like a strange smell in the cabin, a safe that was inoperable, a light switch that fell off the wall when I tried to switch a light on and air conditioning that was not working. After a quick inspection under the bed to make sure a previous guest had not died causing the bad odor, I phoned reception to get the faults attended to.

So, to Dinner, where I was allocated a table with two other guys from South of the border who resembled Laurel and Hardy, if you remove the humor element of that pair. I tried to converse but to no avail, so after the first 5 minutes I gave up and let them sleep. I was sitting there contemplating the next few nights at dinner with these bundles of fun when I felt a hand on my shoulder and turned to see the Cavalry had arrived in the form of David Morrison, a good friend and fellow independence supporter who was on the cruise with his lovely wife and her sister. Saved, and met up with them later once I has safely seen laurel and Hardy deposited in the morgue.

So a very pleasant evening after all, with the Morrisons, good conversation and of course a few pints of beer.

So on to the “Late night Disco” to be entertained by “our resident DJ, Eric “which opens at 11.15 and by the looks of things closes at around Midnight with “Eric” no where to be seen. I went in there at about 11,50 and thought I had wandered into the wrong place as there was not a lot of people there and not even one on the dance floor. So, I thought, “well I am early, probably liven up later “and ordered a pint. The waiter offered to bring it over to me and indicated the tables around the dance floor. I told him that I would sit at the bar whereby he tried to guide me towards the tables by putting his hand on my shoulder. I advised him not to do that and made it plain that I was very capable of sitting where I wished. It turned out that they were trying to dissuade people from using the disco so that they could get finished early and get cleaned up and I was moped around where I was sitting in a very deliberate attempt to make it plain that it was time to go to bed. Absolutely unbelievable.

The ship is generally in not too bad condition, it is an ex-Carnival ship made plain by the very distinctive winged funnel. The corridors are nice and wide, and the décor is of a reasonable standard. There is a problem in the Bistro dining room, which is the buffet area, as it is far too small for the ships compliment and very difficult to get a seat at mealtimes. The food quality is again reasonable if not top class.

I had a call from reception asking if the smell was still there and I confirmed it was, so they sent an attendant who said he couldn’t smell anything, but he had a cold. I suggested they send someone who did not have a cold.

So formal night tonight and I have just discovered that I have not brought any dress shirts with me so I will be kilt less tonight, I will however wear some trousers.  

Found a shirt that would do, so went to dinner resplendent in national dress, joining the Morrisons at their table as I did not relish another encounter with Laurel and Hardy ‘ Nice dinner and good company. After which the ladies retired to their rooms leaving David and I in the bar recounting our various business activities and experiences over the years, with of course a lengthy discussion of where we are in the fight for independence, all washed down with several pints of beer.

Overall a good day and onward to the Faroe islands tomorrow. 

Game of Gnomes

I refer to the attached article in the daily Record

This is about SNP, Alister Campbell wanabees without the intelligence

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/snp-infighting-more-like-game-16157699

This is the chickens coming home to roost and all fits in with the SNP culture in general which is probably the reason we, in the independence movement, are in the present position of being parked up in a layby on the road to independence. There have been significant problems in the culture of the SNP in Dundee going back to the referendum campaign in 2014 and some of these problems have connections to some of the people named in this piece. I and others campaigned vigorously throughout the campaign with the Yes bus team but received scant support from the SNP, in fact, some of their actions ( or inactions) could have been seen to be actually counterproductive.
This resistance and incompetence from the SNP in Dundee did not end with the campaign, no, it carried on throughout the period following the 2014 disappointment. We, in the team, wanted to get out and carry the message of independence to the people who, for their own reasons voted no. We expected the SNP to be of a similar mind and carry on a campaign on a lower level to address the issues we lost the referendum on such as the promises that were never going to be fulfilled, We wanted to address the lies told during the campaign such as the awful targeting of pensioners regarding pensions in an independent Scotland.
We arranged rallies and entertainment events but were thwarted at every turn by the SNP controlled council and to make matters worse they actively attempted to disparage efforts made by myself and another female activist, unbelievably using a unionist newspaper to do it. A couple of the people named in this article as officers/employees of the SNP based in the Dundee West office were among the main protagonists in this attempted character assassination.
I have personally warned Chris Law on several occasions that two of these named people would eventualy cause major problems for both the SNP and the independence movement in general. It is now becoming very apparent that he was not of a mind to listen.

I complained to Chris as a result of his employee being involved in the debacle that was in the process of unfolding in connection with the March last year in Dundee organised through AUOB. That is a story on its own and the subject of two blogs I wrote at the time. See below.

https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/bobsblog.scot/2946

https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/bobsblog.scot/2976

Incredibly one of these employees of an SNP MP and partner of a Scottish Government minister was part of a cabal set up to carry out a march, the express purpose of which was to subvert the normal application process and conduct a march with “non-compliance” ( spokesperson for the secret committee set up for this purpose own words) being its main aim. Because I objected to this illegal course of action and insisted in compliance and proper public liability insurance I was once again pilloried and in fact received threats of violence.

There is a lot more to come out regarding some of the characters in this black comedy and indeed the reasons we find ourselves in this situation on our road to independence and it can be firmly placed around the culture within the SNP leading back to ( and even before) Nicola Sturgeon became the leader of the SNP

As if that was not bad enough there were attempts made, ( unsuccessfully) again by one of the people mentioned in this article to take control of the yes Bus facebook site. This was only resolved when it was made plain to an SNP Scottish government minister’s office that the press would be involved in her partners part in this and other matters.

There is more, much more, and this will be made apparent when I get around to writing in depth about my experiences in connection with the SNP and the fight for independence in Dundee.

In the meantime, I await with interest to see just what attempts are made to remove these undesirable and disruptive elements from within the SNP structure and culture.

To be honest, I am not holding my breath

The World this week from Mennies

Sat 4May 2019

Nicola Sturgeon,English elections, Brexit, Trump, Anti Semitism

Well another week almost in and quite a week it was, both in business and politics and on a personal point my bathroom renovation which has taken up a good part of my week.

The end of last week saw the long awaited “update” on the independence cause by Nicola sturgeon. Now I emphasize “update ” because , despite an upsurge in hopefulness by the faithfull, there were a growing band of commentators who, like me had no illusions as to what the outcome of the “update” was to be, and that was not the expected (by many) date for another referendum but merely yet another can kicking exercise. That is exactly what we got. With a statement amounting to ” sorry to ignore the best ever time to hold a referendum but we are putting this off as long as we possibly can and that is until possibly just before the 2021 Scottish elections.

Quite simply a total and utter disgrace and now , as far as I am concerned this has turned my opinion of Nicola Sturgeon from incompetent to willingly anti independence and more likely pro federalization. There is simply no other construction I can put on this and it seems to have been this way since she took over leadership of the SNP. I put forward a theory regarding this in my blog , “one last letter to Nicola” and that was that this hiatus in the independence cause is directly linked to the Alex Salmond case and in particular to three of the complainants and the relationship between the Murrel family and them especially in connection with various statements Nicola has made regarding contents and attendees at meetings held. If this has any bearing on the possibility of affecting any future or present opportunity to go for independence then the Murrels should remove themselves from office and let another team take over to provide a proper road map to independence.

If this speech by Nicola was not enough to convince everyone that independence has yet again been put on a back burner, we had MP Pete Wishart making his unofficial bid to become the next House of commons speaker This tells us two things , One, that Pete Wishart is delusional and two, that we are re not going to be seeing another referendum for quite a few years yet.

Ok so yesterday we had the results of the local elections in England and some results they were, with a direct message to whoever was listening ( and that was not many politicians by the sound of it) that there is no appetite in England for leaving the EU. There was a massive shift of the vote from the two parties who are pro Brexit to parties who are pro EU membership. This was as clear as the nose on your face but all we had last night was politician after politician bending the truth to ” the people are fed up waiting and they just want us to get on with leaving the EU”. Absolutely incredible and of course this was not challenged in any meaningful way by either the BBC or Sky journalists. Absolutely pathetic. if there was ever a clear expression of the people’s will then that happened yesterday but still we have political selective myopia rampant in Westminster.


Then we had the unedifying sight of Gavin Williamson the foreign secretary being sacked for passing on state secrets. He wont be much of a loss as he is the guy who as a gesture of gunboat diplomacy , a few weeks ago threatened to send one of our wonderful new aircraft carriers to the south china sea to intimidate the Chinese, until someone told him there are no aircraft for them. At least it brightened up an otherwise dull day In Beijing.

So to the US, where Donald is still trying to force regime change on the legitimate government of the country of Venezuela There was an attempt to get some of the army to move against Maduro but by the looks of things it was messed up, something the CIA are pretty good at. Donald had a pretty good week at the end of April when the Muller report laid out just why we should not be jumping to conclusions on Russia every time something unexplained happens.

Anti Semitism is, like all forms of discrimination and bigotry, awful. However , these days it has turned into an industry and blatantly used to stifle debate concerning the government of Israel. Israeli government agencies are insidious throughout the West in their quest to influence public opinion and facilitate friendly politician’s ease into posts where financial.. contributions are found very handy and the resulting reciprocal support welcome. Any one found to be a possible problem as far as say support for the Palestinian people is branded antiemetic. There should be a government enquiry into this ridiculous situation as it inhibits free speech and is anti democratic.

So, after a particularly busy week a pleasant evening in prospect at my favorite hostelry Mennies . Wherever you are on this fragile planet of ours, I wish you a pleasant weekend.

Remember , The problem with having blind faith is that one day you might wake up blind

Slainte

Wings over A Very Pure Scotland

Stuart Campbell, lost his recent case for defamation against Kasia Dugdale earlier in the Week and I have never been so embarrassed by the nonsense that has been written regarding this case by people who should know better. The people I speak of are not the usual cabal of gleeful unionists that one would expect to react in support of one of their own , no the people I am talking about are supposed supporters of independence and indeed some politicians in the Scottish government. The comments made by Fiona Robertson were disgraceful.

Now ,let me be clear, using intemperate language to make points on public social media platforms is not something I would necessarily condone and I ,in my attempts to constructively criticize the SNP and in Particular ,Nicola Sturgeon for their ineffectual handling of the independence cause have received plenty of it from mostly SNP members. The politicians know it goes on but deliberately do nothing about it as they probably see it as a way of undermining descension.

Stuart Campbell has a very direct manner and is known for his forthright dialogue. Not everyone’s cup of tea but really, when you see the forces arranged against the independence cause do we really need people in responsible positions like Robertson acting in that grovelingly suppliant manner. Offering support to the opposition.

Let me tell you a story about the SNP and Wings Over Scotland. During the Referendum Campaign in 2014 I and others ran the Yes Bus Dragon For independence Team in Dundee. A loose group of politicaly diverse supporters of independence . We campaigned hard throughout the campaign in and around Dundee. We were never short of volunteers and we had a very effective system which consisted of a hub of better versed activists based around the bus and people out on the streets handing our leaflets ( when we could prize them from the SNP) they would bring people over to the bus where they could speak to someone who had in depth knowledge about their particular concern.

Now at that time the SNP had a problem ( one of many) with Wings over Scotland because he had called an a**e hole, an a**e hole and they were in one of their holier than thou modes. At that time Wings brought out The Wee Blue Book. It was a god send to us on the streets and we did everything to get our hands on copies and it so happened one of our team, Brian Doonthetoon was a wings member and managed to get his hands on a goodly amount of them , but we just couldn’t get enough. Now to start with the Dundee SNP shunned this publication because of the aforesaid holier than thou attitude, although under pressure from myself and others they eventually relented and brought in stocks of them, getting them to actually give us any was another matter as was any campaigning material especially the stock that was held in the Hub in St Andrews street, it was really awful.

Any way about this time it became apparent that we had several problems in getting certain massages out and explained, and one of the main problems was the monetary situation and the reluctance of Alex Salmond to put forward a plan B, although we had plan B,C and D . Now it would take me 20 minutes standing in the square to explain properly why we firstly had several alterative plans but wouldn’t need them any way as the UK government would have to accept monitory union as without it the UK economy would be at risk. This was very time consuming to explain the range of justifiable concerns that people had . Then came along a lifeline, the wee blue book, it was a God Send.

I had the idea to get a copy of this publication to every household in Dundee and I spoke , initially to John Gibson, a fellow member of Business For Scotland and asked if he would be interested in helping finance the postage. He immediately agreed, There were others in the team that I could have counted on to chip in as well. So the next problem was how to actually do it and I knew the SNP ( I was still a member at that time) had the facilities to produce the addressed and stamped envelopes. I had had loose estimated of up to £14,000 for the operation.

So I went up to the SNP headquarters at the top of Old Glamis Rd and fortunately ( as I thought at the time) there was a fair selection of the elected representatives there , so I put the proposal to them. I would arrange the finance and the people to stuff the Wee Blue Book into the envelopes and get them to the post office. They got together in a huddle and it took them all of two minutes to tell me they were not interested.

I walked out of their offices in a state of shock and frustration at their utter and sheer incompetence. That started me looking more closely at how they actually conducted the referendum campaign in Dundee and I will be writing about the whole campaign experience before long.

So, at the end of the day although I have been very disappointed with the general SNP reaction to the recent verdict Concerning Stuart Campbell, I am not that surprised and I feel the SNP must up their game in connection with what is after all their function in life ,independence. I await with interest the announcement Nicola Sturgeon is the make by Wednesday regarding the next independence campaign. I do not have much hopes that there will be an announcement of another campaign and firmly believe that any campaign in the near or distant future will be without the present first minister and Chief Executive. I also look forward to Stuart Campbell either appealing the judgement or suing the Daily record , as I cannot see any Sheriff holding that they defamed him, but were to stupid to understand the implications.

A Nautical Nomad

Bob Costello

17 April 2018 at 16:26 ·

A blast from the past, some of my wee travel blogs were done on Facebook so I decided to put them here on WordPress, as it is easier to look them up.

Day 5 of my trip (if I include the first night in Edinburgh) and getting into the complete difference from being back home with the hustle and bustle of business, (which Jamie is taking care of back home) to the comparative sedentary existence on board.
This bobbing up and down on the high seas can become addictive and relaxing at the same time. The NCL staff are nice and pretty helpful but the range of activities on board are not exactly mind-stretching and there is a lack any lectures or academic talks you get on other cruise lines such as Cunard, Holland America and Princess. These lines generally have good speakers on long-haul trips like transatlantic voyages, where there are multiple days at sea. There is only a certain amount of flower arranging, quizzes and tossing the bean bag that one can do without wanting to throw one’s self over-board.
However last night there was an interesting interlude in the banality of multiple days at sea cruising, as one of the entertainment activities was the 50s and 60s rock and Roll party and so I went to watch. The band was good and there were plenty of entertainments staff getting people on to the floor, all resplendent in their 50s/ 60s attire.
One of the young ladies came over and grabbed me and took me on to the floor at a pretty lively compilation of Rock around the clock, blue suede shoes, in the mood and more. The upshot was that I got the prize for the best rock and roll dancer AND, wait for it, “the most authentic 50s outfit”!!! The problem was that I did not realise I was wearing a bloody 50s outfit. So that’s it, soon as I get back home I am right down to Primark to get myself some decent designer gear.
Spent a wee while at the disco and had a late night snack of Nachos, the cheese topping of which looked as though it could have been made out of recycled carrier bags.
So, I think a walk on the deck is in order, clear the cobwebs. The decks were all sealed off yesterday because of the high winds. Let’s hope it is a bit better today.
So, have a good day folks
Captain Pugwash, somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean

One last letter to Nicola

Nicola, I have written to you several times without answer, but don’t worry I did not expect an answer as you are, I am sure, a very busy lady and don’t have time for a wee insignificant independence campaigner like me.

The thing is though Nicola, the reason I had cause to write to you was because of concerns I had regarding your performance in connection with what should have been your main purpose in life as leader of the party of independence, and actually most of what I said in my letters turned out to be more or less right on the button.

Quite honestly your performance in providing a road map to independence has been abysmal, and since you took over from your predecessor, the SNP have actively shunned the independence cause along with the wonderful grass roots groups who carried the last referendum campaign from 27% at the start to at least 45%. Latterly it has seemed as though your main purpose in life has been to save the UK.

But then, you know all of this stuff as it happened on your watch under your direction. I am sure you sit up all night anyway reading my blogs assiduously so you will be well aware of many of your shortcomings in regard to a move towards independence. You know, I have been in business for over half a century and if I had approached my businesses in the way you have approached independence, quite honestly, I would not be in business today.

We have had one excuse after the other, and missed one opportunity after the other, and the thing is that at no time during these missed opportunities have we been prepared for another referendum, because at no time have you as much as initiated a proper program of addressing the issues which we lost the last referendum on. I think the only action you have taken in this respect was to establish the Growth Commission report. A report that poses more problems than it solves and as far as currency goes actually suggests much the same as the policies we lost the last referendum on.

I have looked at your performance over the years and been mystified as to the ‘reasons’ you have not seized upon multiple God given opportunities, such as the pre election polling, indicating that we, independence supporters, were in for a massive landslide at the 2015 General election-spectacularly missing a golden opportunity, to use this result as a mandate for independence by making it clear that a majority for the SNP would be a majority for independence. If you had taken this route we would have been independent today. Margaret Thatcher ( you know , that lady whose dress style you seem to copy rather too well) made it very clear that if Scotland wished to be independent then all we had to do was deliver a majority of MP’s, mandated for Scottish independence, to Westminster.

The last straw was today when you made this much awaited statement on a possible future of the independence question. Here we are in the best possible position to take advantage of our adversaries utter confusion and you have handed them the get out of jail card, by firstly telling them that (according to you ) they have at all times, the upper hand, as all they have to do is say no to a section 30 agreement, something that not a single country on this planet has ever needed on their road to independence. A section 30 is an artificial construct to subdue the gullible and is absolutely unnecessary for a country to obtain in order to be independent. The other thing you have done, is to ensure that our adversaries have plenty of time to recover from this Brexit mess get themselves in good order and in plenty of time to set up a strong case to prevent Scotland becoming independent. This has to be deliberate because no one in their right mind would willingly assist their opponents in this way.

I would liken your speech today to Eisenhower sending a letter to the German High command, assuring them that we would put off D Day until he gave his permission and had all his forces suitably refreshed and in good order. Also enclosing a map of all the beaches to be assaulted in Normandy.

This brings me to the propose of this letter. After applying common logic to your pattern of behavior in connection with independence, it led me to the conclusion that something was not right, something was going on behind the scenes. Recently, the Alex Salmond case came into the public domain and indeed the court victory concerning the Judicial Review which was won by Salmond, and the resulting remarks made by the judge which showed that the witnesses could have been actually encouraged to pursue the complaints against the former first minister . It also would appear that this whole affair went back to before you became leader of the party and first minister and therefore all that went on in connection with this case happened before or during your time as leader and time when you had within your power the ability to pursue independence but did not. So I looked further into it, more so during the present chaos surrounding Brexit as I realised that with our adversities weakened and at such a disadvantage, that this was the right time to go for independence like no other….but it wasn’t happening.

The other concern I had, was that the controversy surrounding this case effectively takes the former first minister ( the only person I could see who would take advantage of the present chaos occasioned by the Brexit mess we are in) out of the equation.

So here is my question. Taking it that you have made several statements in connection with your contacts with the previous first minister and indeed to the content of these discussions, which may or may not have taken place in private and concerns being expresed regarding the identity of several of the complainants ( three in particular) who could have been politically close to both you and your husband, and could perhaps have been present at some of these meetings. Is there perhaps further information which could eventually come into the public domain and could possibly be very embarrassing, showing a certain lack of probity which could impact on your tenure as first minister and in so doing, affect the independence movement as far as a referendum campaign goes, quite possibly at a most inopportune moment.

I make no accusations and realise that these concerns could be unfounded, so all I am doing is giving you the opportunity to refute this, and perhaps explain why there is this continual procrastination in connection with the road to independence. If by some chance, this information is correct and could have implications concerning a referendum campaign, don’t you think you would do the independence cause a service by removing yourself from your positions and allowing the independence movement to continue on our road to independence. A road which could be made much shorter if a referendum was held before we leave the EU.