Oh Flower of Scotland – an Addendum


just chucking this pic in because I love it and shows AJ and her life-loving best

Don’t worry, nothing to add on the Scottish issue. I’ll leave it the those gentle folk, it is their vote and that is how it should be in a democracy (cf Catalunya, but that is another question).

I just realised that I had failed to mention the person who really does deserve the credit for progressing on Ava-Jane’s speech and language… AJ herself!! She is working so hard and making such an effort, it is great to watch. She screws up her face and pushes the words out. We are trying to get some volume into her speech, she always cups her mouth to call, rather than actually speaking louder, but she is getting there.


Oh Flower of Scotland


this is a very old pic of AJ but I love it and have just recovered some pics from an old PC.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This is going to be a ranty blog post; you have been warned. I’ll be ranting about Scotland a little later on, so those of you who need to avert your eyes, stop at the heart-warming bit and read no further.

So the heart-warming bit is that I received a call today that made me as proud of myself as I have ever been and for a fairly smug person, that is probably saying something. The call was from a woman from Speech and Language Therapy at AJ’s school.  She told me that she had just taken over AJ and was testing her one the objectives that her previous therapist had set and AJ was far surpassing all the objectives she had been set. Then she asked me if we had hired a private Speech and Language Therapist over the summer and should she liaise with them to continue the good work.

“No, that was me…” I spluttered in a slightly choked up, faraway voice.

So it really is working. AJ is learning to speak. In my last post, I had said that I was going to be working on her speaking in our week alone together, and we did. Her progress wasn’t that obvious and then one night, in the middle of the night, she woke up and was really chatty. I decided to take advantage of this and all of a sudden, she was trying to say everything. “Pink cat” “One, two, three rabbits.”, none of it was particularly coherent but given that it was about two o’clock in the morning, it was no less coherent than I am at that time of the night.

But what it meant, to me, was that she had suddenly “got” language. Up until then all her words had consisted of two, repeated syllables – Mama, Dada, Bobo, Toto.

The therapist must have thinking “Oh, my, I have got a geek on my hands”, when I started spurting, “we are working on a distinct change between a consonant and a vowel and to improve her plosives and I also think she needs to focus on her consonant clusters…” Yup, so poor old Ava-Jane has got to put up with a lot, I do try to make it vaguely amusing.

She and I took ourselves off the village pub this evening and on the way, we sang “Pub, pub, pub, pub”, to practise the difference between a voiced and an unvoiced plosive.

Oh crap, I just realised the above was supposed to be the heart-warming bit and it looks a bit nerdy! I do know that however smug I might feel at the progress that AJ has made I can, by no means, claim all the credit. Ava-Jane is progressing because of a wide variety of factors, because of the hours of physical manipulation she has done with Boro over the last year, particularly this summer, because of the hours she spends chatting to my mother about exactly how “my dolly” needs to be dressed, because of playing the fool with Molly and because of singing “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep” with Fo. That last one is hideously cute; she combines signing and words and an enormous grin.

Well I am back from the”Pub, pub, pub, pub” and have poured myself a Bowmore whisky, a present from my Scottish  cousin, who is just about only person who my rant might be directed at with a vote in the referendum, my other Scots friends are ex-iles/-patriates.

So the rant… Scotland please don’t go. The independence vote has suddenly become a hot topic and it has become the topic of conversation south of the “border” recently. I have been worrying about it for while because to me it would be such a massive shame if Scotland went for independence.

My Dad was Scottish and I have always harboured a certain Scottishness within me. I support Scotland in the rugby, which means, to me, that I want England to lose every time they play, whoever their opponents are. My England supporting friends are outraged at this. Being an ornery old git, this stance gives me particular pleasure.

So I can completely understand the “Fuck you!” position, one which has only been enhanced by the fact that the whole thing was waved through by an Etonian. Saying “Fuck you!” to David Cameron is a position I can only whole-heartedly endorse and I am not even working class, I am a Radleian (the fact that spell-check marks that as a “no spelling suggestions” word, shows that my private school, for all its pretensions, isn’t the sort of school that gets added to online dictionaries.)

The process has been skewed since the shiny russet-faced toff shoved the one whose name fortunately sounds like the emblematic fish of Scotland up against the wall and asked him “Well haggis-muncher, are you with us or against us?”

“Fuck you!” and thus a campaign was born.

What worries me most is the small-minded bickering that we will be wasting time and money on if the vote goes “Yes”. How we decide to split the national debt is the kind of thing that I understand is way beyond my ken and probably very important but how we decide to split the Union Jack is going to be the thing that we spend most hot air discussing.  [ooh, just randomly found a ‘Best of Marc Bolan album’, great stuff]. What do we call the country? Calling it the United Kingdom would feel like some form of mocking irony. The remaining limbs of the country would consist of a kingdom (ruled by a queen), a principality and some provinces of an island that were colonised by unionists during our only brief flirtation with a republic under Cromwell. Think of all the crests across the nation that have the lion and the unicorn. The lion is Scottish and the unicorn is English. Will these have to be remodelled to reflect the new reality? “You know you can stick you’re ficking unicorn and its great big horn, don’t ye?”

We have so many, many things to be worried about in our world today and, in my opinion none of them would be resolved by fracturing into ever smaller units. Would Scotland separating from rUK really go anywhere towards solving the genuinely important problems of our times:

  • are we going to fry ourselves and the only planet known to be hospitable to life?
  • if we don’t fry are we actually going to go down in flames clinging to religions forged in the Dark Ages?
  • why is our global economy so imbalanced that we make the Victorians look like egalitarians?
  • iOS or Android?… sorry!!

Who are we really ruled by? The SNP claims that Scotland could float into the great blue yonder if only it were unshackled from the imperialist oppressors? Likewise UKIP promise us some gin-swilling free trade utopia if only we could break free from dead weight of the EU.

Who are we really ruled by? Corporations, companies have far more of say over law making than any government. We have spent years privatising everything that vaguely had a sale value to remove “the dead hand of the state” and a number of these industries have been monopolised by state owned industries from France to China.

We have made one of the most basic definitions of statehood entirely dependent on a foreign nation: defence. The United (for now) Kingdom is unable to prosecute a war without the support of the United (for now – but that’s another story) States. We are completely dependent on their technology in order to make our armed forces function. If you do not have an independent defence policy,m you cannot have an independent foreign policy.

…oh and our press, either side of the border, is in the hands of a clique of unaccountable, transnational oligarchs

And that’s why the arguments of UKIP and the SNP are so small; we have already surrendered the important things, we’ve outsourced the economy and our defence and our basic press freedoms are laughable. All we’ve got left is the swill to bicker over.

[I am now listening to the new U2 album which suddenly appeared in my iTunes library. What has become of the music industry when a band like U2 have to foist their music upon you, I hand’t even requested it!? Makes you wonder about the rest of us in the “creative industries’.]

Salmond paints this picture of a Scotland untainted by the sins of the UK over time and space. Just looking at recent history, the last two but ones prime ministers were Scottish and the greatest failing in a wide field of appalling financial mismanagement was the Royal Bank of Scotland.

I watched a film last night called “No”, about the campaign to remove Pinochet from power in Chile. The ‘No’ campaign was up against it arguing that Pinochet should not continue in power. They hired a marketing expert who decided that they should focus only on the positive even though the objective of their campaign was a negative.

The ‘Better Together’ campaign could well have taken a leaf out of that Chilean campaign. They could have  made a much more cheerful, jolly ‘No’. Who the hell thought that putting Alastair Darling in as your lead performer was a good idea? “Let’s get the really charmless guy who was chancellor of the exchequer when the economy dive-bombed, he’ll win ’em over.” WTF!! And now apparently Gordon Brown has threatened to return to front line politics if the SNP do not come clean about their shenanigans. I hate to say this and realise that it makes me sound all Jeremy Clarkson but really when GB returning is a threat rather than a joke, you have to say “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”

I do hope that come September 18th, we will not be having to come to terms with the fact that we are even further splintered than we are today. I hope that maybe we might have given ourselves a chance to reflect about how our nation should governed. I hope that I can spend another summer like the one I had this summer, without feeling like a foreigner. But these are just hopes and as they so often are they will likely be dashed.