Thursday, 24 July 2008

Alix's book meme thingy

Ok, I'll go along with it too. Those I've read are in red and those I intend to read are in blue. I've read a number of Shakespeare's plays and certain parts of the bible (won't be reading any in the future though) so they won't be in any colour.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 The Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible*
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare *
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce (Like many people I have tried and failed to complete this tome)
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I'm rather pleasantly surprised at how many of them Ive read. Thanks to Alix for setting things in motion.

Friday, 18 July 2008

A confession of idiocy

Having not been keeping too well for most of the week and still feeling a bit below par I decided that I'd make an effort to get into the office this morning. Up at 06.30 and Catherine drove us up to her Parent's house for showers (our boiler has broken down for the third time in 8 weeks so no hot water or heating), then a quick coffee before getting dropped off at Perth railway station for the 08.13 to Glasgow (£21.70 return). I arrived in the office just after 09.15 and was surprised to find the door locked and the place in darkness. Having made the assumption that my colleagues were over in Glasgow East helping with the by-election I started wading through my email. Then a slight concern started niggling at the back of my mind - wasn't there something I'd forgotten to do? Checked my diary and nothing in it for today. Then went online to Elspeth's electronic diary and what should I find?

Today is Glasgow Fair Friday and our office is closed for the public holiday!
How foolish do I feel now? Very, very, very.

At least I know in advance that Monday is also a holiday and my Sister-in-law will get her birthday card and present sent in time. Might also have a look at the summer sales too.

Monday, 14 July 2008

On censorship

It appears that those of us who are Office Bearers of the Scottish Liberal Democrats are denied our democratic rights to publicly voice an opinion regarding the forthcoming Scottish Leadership election.

In due deference to these asinine rules I hereby declare that I favour no one candidate over another and that any partisan posts which you may have read on this blog are simply a figment of your imagination. Due to the rules of my party I have again found myself in the incongruous position of being censored. Happy I am not.

This issue is a hivefull of bees in my bunnet.

Friday, 4 July 2008

The real reason for Nicol's resignation

It seems that he's started a business in Prague!

You couldn't make it up

The BBC news website often provides amusement with quirky stories and, to my mind, is a winner with this one about the drunken Swede:

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Nicol's full resignation statement

“Last week I informed the Convener of the Scottish Liberal Democrats that I intended to stand down as Party Leader.

“Today I am formally announcing that decision, with immediate effect.

“Everyone involved in politics knows that there are stresses and strains on family life.

“But when it goes beyond that, when it crosses a line, something has to be done.

“And at that stage - when you have to make a choice between family and politics - there can only be one answer. The health and wellbeing of your family has got to come first.

“With four children between the ages of 4 and 12, my family has got to be my priority.

“As an MSP representing a constituency well away from Edinburgh, I have been away from home at least four working days each week for more than nine years.

“As a Party Leader the responsibilities have been even more demanding. You have to be available every day, every week. There is rarely a weekend, a birthday or a family holiday when the demands of the job do not intrude.

“That is not to complain – long hours and long absences from home go with the job.

“But it can all have an impact.

“And when that impact becomes too great, it is time to put my family first.

“I will continue to represent Aberdeen South in the Scottish Parliament. I intend to remain a strong campaigner on behalf of my city and my constituents.

“It has been an honour and a great privilege to lead the party over the last three years and to be part of the first generation of Liberal Democrats to be in government in Britain since the Second World War.

“In that time the Scottish Liberal Democrats have achieved much for the people of Scotland. We succeeded in scrapping student tuition fees, in setting bold targets for renewable energy and in delivering a fair voting system for local government.

“As a Minister, I welcomed the chance to deliver the Parliament’s first cut in business rates, to introduce enterprise education for every child and to kick start new wave and tidal projects to release Scotland’s potential to be the renewable energy powerhouse of Europe.

“And, during my time as leader, the Party shook the foundations of Scottish politics when Willie Rennie gained the Dunfermline and West Fife by-election from Labour. We also gained Dunfermline West at the Scottish election, and across Scotland saw our number of votes and our share of the vote increase – a notable achievement for a party which had been in power for eight years.

“Our party is united and our shadow cabinet team has been taking the fight to the SNP in Parliament with a strong and consistently effective performance.

“And I have enjoyed challenging the new First Minister at question time each week. I will miss that.

“I will miss it all, a great deal.

“My hunger for change in Scotland – tackling global warming, building the role of young people in our country and stopping the slide of civil liberties – is no less now than when I started in politics 25 years ago.

“However, that drive and that passion comes at a price. And it is a sacrifice that that my family should no longer have to make. Their happiness is more important than any political office and that is the reason for me standing down as leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats.

“Our new leader can be assured of my total support and my constant encouragement. It has been a fascinating few days in Scottish politics and today’s announcement will be for most another unexpected twist.

“But the fundamentals are clear.

“The Liberal Democrats are united, strong and growing.

“Labour are coming to the end of their time at Westminster. The SNP are starting to find government tougher than they expected. Broken promises catch up with you. And the Conservative strategy of continually propping up the SNP in Holyrood remains to me simply staggering.

“I believe that there is a huge opportunity for our party at this time. It is going to be an exciting few years.

“And I wish my successor great success.

“Finally, I want to thank friends and colleagues for their support, advice and encouragement. They know who they are – at Westminster, at Holyrood and across Scotland. I will not get into that cliché of mentioning a long list of those who have meant so much to me over the years, but they know who they are.

“Above all, however, I want to thank my wife Caris and my four kids for all their help - and all they put up with - in supporting my life in politics.

“That other cliché is for a politician to say he is looking forward to spending more time with his family.

“In my case it happens to be true.

“Perhaps my announcement today should alert people to the demands which are placed on politicians and their families.

“For me, it is simpler than that. Recognising those demands, it reflects what I must do - as a personal, not a political, priority.

“Thank you.”

Nicol Stephen's resignation as Scottish Leader

Although I didn't vote for him as Leader and had some reservations about his Leadership of our party in Scotland, I know Nicol to be a thoroughly decent human being and determined to put his family first and foremost. There have been straws in the wind recently regarding his growing frustration concerning his severely limited "quality time" with Caris and their four children. I think that he has taken a difficult decision, especially as he has been the only opposition leader regularly and effectively able to lay heavy blows on that man Salmond, but I do applaud Nicol for his conscientious decision.

Thank you Nicol for all you have contributed to the cause of Liberal Democracy in Scotland during your watch as Scottish Leader. I am sure you will continue to make significant contributions in your role as MSP for Aberdeen South. Best wishes.