Saturday Saunter: Birdsong, football and good news

Good Saturday to you,

It’s the weekend again and time for another Saturday Saunter, this time being written on Thursday evening with the sun still in the mostly cloudless sky as I start this post. In the background is the quiz show Tenable, normally presented by Warwick Davis, who I like, but at the moment hosted by Sally Lindsay, who has a great dry wit. There’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure.

Restrictions are lifting in Scotland at the moment; some have gone already, while others are changing from Monday. Being able to travel a bit further is particularly welcome, not only with the good weather but also for health and wellbeing. We managed a walk at the RSPB reserve at Lochwinnoch the other day, which was great. It was good to hear birdsong, or a greater range of birdsong anyway, and it was a beautiful place to be. Despite it being close to the railway, the trains didn’t detract from the calm. Then again I like trains anyway. As time goes on, it will be possible to go further – indeed, it will be possible to go to other parts of these islands as of Monday – but being able to go more than a few miles and see different wheelie bins cannot be underestimated.

When writing these posts, I try to keep away from what’s dominating the news. Last week I wrote about the Forth Bridge and Holyrood but kept firmly to that without delving into what was in the news related to those particular places. I can’t be bothered writing about the European Super League. What I will write about is women’s football. I’ve been reading a really decent book by Steven Lawther about the history of women’s football in Scotland, Arrival: How Scotland’s Women Took Their Place and Inspired a Generation, mainly concentrating on the national team but also going into how the women’s game has been scandalously underresourced in Scotland. That is changing but slowly, of course. The BBC’s coverage of the SWPL is decent and getting better. Coincidentally there was an excellent post this week on the Origins of Football in Scotland website about the very early history of women’s football, including the very first recorded instance of women playing football in Scotland, in Carstairs in Lanarkshire in 1628. Go read that.

One story that I found fascinating was that NASA’s Perseverance rover has managed to produce oxygen on Mars. This could help make travel to Mars possible in the future and it is an incredible thing.

Persevere quote from the Water of Leith: a stone with ‘So with the darkest days behind / Our ship of hope will steer / And when in doubt just keep in mind / Our motto Persevere’ written on it.​
Persevere quote from the Water of Leith: a stone with ‘So with the darkest days behind / Our ship of hope will steer / And when in doubt just keep in mind / Our motto Persevere’ written on it.

Also in the news this week was that a new map has been produced of the battlefield at Culloden, produced with the aid of airborne laser scans. I’ve only been to Culloden once and the visitor centre is very decent, giving a broader perspective of the build up to Culloden, from the Jacobite and Hanoverian sides. Culloden is one of the better known Scottish battles but this map will bring an even broader perspective to it, which can only be welcomed.

My to-read pile is growing exponentially all the time. I’ve not long finished re-reading The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane so I have decided to flit back to football history before delving back into nature writing. I’ve been trying to work through books I’ve had for a while as well as newer books so next I’m thinking the recent biography of Andrew Watson, the first black football international, then H Is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald. That will probably last me a wee while, mind. My podcasts have been the same as ever but I have been delving more into BBC Sounds recently and the Radcliffe and Maconie shows from BBC 6 Music have been bringing decent banter, albeit not at the time it’s actually being broadcast.

With that, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 24th April 2021. Thanks for reading. There’s been a nice reaction to the first Streets of Glasgow post about Glebe Street and there will be another Streets post on Tuesday for a change for one-week-only. Until then, a very good morning. Mar sin leibh.

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