July 22, 2014

What happens when a Palestinian youth looks for his family in a bombed house in Gaza

A Palestinian youth looks for relatives in the rubble that was their home. But there is no pity in Gaza.

Shooting unarmed civilians is a war crime. Some countries and individuals however are above the law.

Warning: violence

And his family find him: New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/23/world/middleeast/palestinian-family-finds-missing-son-in-youtube-video-of-his-shooting.html?smid=tw-NYTOpenSource&seid=auto&_r=0

Tags: , ,
July 19, 2014

The land where the white thistles grow

 

Cirsium vulgare

Cirsium vulgare

One day a year or two back a local farmer stopped me with a wave of his hand and a smile.

‘You’re the woman that takes photographs,’ he said.

I could hardly deny it as my camera was dangling from my fingers.

‘I’ve been trying to speak to you for ages,’ he added, ‘have you ever seen a white thistle?’

I squinted at him and shook my head then remembered having noticed white multi-headed thistles which I now know are Cirsium arvense.

Cirsium arvense creeping thistle

Cirsium arvense creeping thistle

‘No,’ came his dismissive reply, ‘the proper thistles, the big anes, I have them growing over there,’ and he pointed to the track leading to his house.

As it happened it was late in the season and there were none for me to see but I vowed to check them out the following year and capture the unusual blooms with my camera. In the meantime I urged my friendly farmer to get in touch with someone, anyone – perhaps at the university – who might know about white thistles.

The farmer was Leslie Angus and he was keen to share his most unusual thistles with the world but he was a busy man with better things to do with his time.

As luck would have it the following summer none of the white thistles flowered so I had to content myself photographing the common but pretty purple ones. The year after that I was chatting to Mr Angus and mentioned that they hadn’t flowered again but he put me right – they had but in a different site and as I hadn’t been out so often during the poor summer our paths hadn’t crossed and I had missed another opportunity to see them.

This summer things were very different. The weather was lovely and the conditions for walking were benign.

Mr Angus met me one day in a state of excitement. ‘I was hoping to catch you, they’re flowering.’

He led me into one of his parks and we made our way past a herd of curious cattle to the place where the white thistles grow.

They were magnificent. He hadn’t imagined them nor had he been pulling my leg. There they were; bold, striking and very, very white.

white thistles Aberdeenshire

white thistles Aberdeenshire

I took a few pictures and went home to investigate incidences of white thistles but then I happened to glance at a restaurant review in a local newspaper and was astonished at one of life’s coincidences; a photograph of a table arrangement included a single white thistle. On closer inspection it didn’t look quite right. I phoned the restaurant and its bemused owner informed me his thistles were indeed artificial.

Artificial white thistles seem to be quite popular; they are used as buttonholes for weddings as any glance at Google images will confirm. It so happens that Carole, Mr Angus’ daughter, has her own florist business and this summer one lucky groom actually sported a genuine white thistle in his buttonhole at his wedding.

White thistles do exist.  The aforementioned Cirsium arvense frequently display white blooms and worldwide different varieties of thistle include several whites but they are rare among Cirsium vulgare, the spear thistle – the one we see at roadsides and around edges of fields.

Thistles in the wrong place can be the bane of farmers’ lives. They are tenacious once they get into the soil and a pest to weed out.  Not that Mr Angus minds. He appreciates their exquisite rarity. While the purples are grand the spectacle of one or two whites among them makes them even more special.

Escutcheon of Gordon Fencibles

The thistle has been Scotland’s flower emblem for nearly 1000 years from the reign of Alexander III when its jabbiness was supposed to have caused barefoot Norse invaders so much pain when they trod on them they cried out and alerted the Scottish guard. The thistle became the symbol of the House of Stuart, the oldest Scottish chivalric medal is the Order of the Thistle and where would Scottish regiments be without a thistle to decorate their bonnets? The plant has given its name to sports clubs and is the motif for a host of organisations and businesses including the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the Carnegie Mellon University and the Perelman School of Medicine, Pennsylvania in recognition of their Scottish roots.

white thistle, Aberdeenshire

Scotland’s national flower is the thistle but which one is a moot point. Some say it is the aforementioned Cirsium vulgare while others declare it Onopordum acanthium, the woolly or cotton thistle, but there are doubts over how long that species has grown in Scotland. The same caution applies to Carduus lanceolatus and what of the dwarf thistle Cirsium acaule or the musk thistle Carduus nutans? How about the melancholy thistle Cirsium heterophyllum or Carduus benedictus, Lady’s Thistle?  Carlina vulgaris is a member of the same family and has pale flowers but it hardly fits the bill. The list of thistles goes on and really whichever was the original emblem doesn’t matter too much. There are possibly as many opinions on the flower that represents Scotland as there are thistles varieties.

In his reflective epic poem, A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle, Hugh MacDiarmid’s Scotland is the thistle whichever one he had in mind – ‘The thistle’s like mysel’ and so the object of his musings on the state of Scotland:-

The thistle rises and forever will,

Getherin’ the generations under’t.

This is the monument o’ a’ they were,

And a’ they hoped and wondered.

Thistles grow thick and fast in this country and despite their designation as weeds they have traditionally proved useful as fodder for animals when chopped up although they are not grazed by them which is just as well or I might never have got to see those white ones in Mr Angus’ cattle park.  Bees and insects love them for their nectar; Mr Angus has noticed that in mixed clumps of purple and white thistles bees are especially attracted to the white ones.  Once flowering is past and seeds have set on those silky filaments green and gold finches move in to devour the tiny seeds.  And we should not forget that the thistle has been used in herbal medicine, possibly for as long as plants and people have lived side-by-side.

Pliny recommended thistles as a remedy for baldness and bad breath and as an effective carminative but he mentioned only purple ones so we may infer from this that whites were as rare as hen’s teeth in 1st century Rome as they are in 21st century Scotland. Culpeper in his Complete Herbal however does mention white thistles – but cotton ones which as we know do produce white heads more readily.

Go into any pharmacy or health store and you will find milk thistle, silybum marianum, extract offered as an effective remedy for constipation and for strengthening the liver. Its use was banned by the Olympic committee – for athletes and not spectators I am assuming.  Thistle is an ingredient in several contemporary medicines. It is said to be an antidote to Deathcap and Fly Agaric fungi poisoning.  Thistle down was once used by the poor to stuff pillows which suggest there used to be many more thistles around in medieval Scotland than there are now.

Time to consult the experts. Dr Heather McHaffie of the Scottish Botanic Garden in Edinburgh has never come across a white spear thistle but compares incidences of whites to an albino ‘without the pink eyes!’ Such a shame. White spear thistles are rare and very attractive but just imagine them with pink eyes.  They’d be queuing up at Mr Angus’ gate.

Cirsium vulgare

Professor Ian Alexander of Aberdeen University has seen whites in both Cirsium vulgare and the more common Cirsium arvense, the creeping thistle. This latter thistle, as its name suggests, spreads vegetatively by rhizomes and that is perhaps why white flowers are so much more common among them. He explained that where a white plant sets seed – the result of cross-pollination from different flowers – then more white thistles could populate the area.  This would fit in with Mr Angus’ experience of the thistles growing in the same spot, although not necessarily producing white flowers every year.  Mr Angus suspected the white form originated from a garden variety stocked in a former near-by nursery but as Professor Alexander said, cross pollination will produce the white form from time to time – Dr McHaffie’s albinos minus pink eyes.

While we might venerate the thistle on the one hand its incidence as a weed condemns it on the other. Saskatchewan in Canada is atypical in that there the plant is encouraged for its medicinal properties and value as animal food but the bonnie Cirsium vulgare is included in the Global Invasive Species Database making it a persecuted plant. However I would imagine that there are people who would love to provide a corner of their garden for that rare beauty the white spear thistle.

 

Lorna Dey (first published Leopard Magazine November/December 2013)

July 19, 2014

The Better Together #Vote No #No Thanks #Naw Movie

Just thought I’d provide a platform for Better Together so we can fully grasp what they stand for.

July 16, 2014

The Coalition Government Colouring and Activity Book

Originally posted on Pride's Purge:

(satire?)

Here are some sample pages from the forthcoming Coalition Government Colouring and Activity Book I’m currently working on:

cameron coloringesther cabinet meetinghomeless spikesduncan smith wordsearchDaily Mail hate pageiain duncan smith coloring2lib-dem-spinelessnick clegg spot the differencesad boy no toysvince lost balls

Educational and fun at the same time, the book will be published at cost price just in time for Christmas so will make a perfect stocking filler for your loved ones to enjoy hours of endless fun using it in the lead up to the next election.

.

Please feel free to comment. And share. Thanks:

View original

July 14, 2014

This is today’s UK so don’t tell me we’re better together

Voting yes gives us a chance to establish a different way of approaching society’s problems so that life isn’t made easier for the wealthy and harder for the poor.

July 10, 2014

Vote No and we lose our free NHS in Scotland: leading surgeon speaks out

July 9, 2014

Build around not through and we can have Marischal Square

Aberdeen City Council is totally wrong in its outrageously misleading development of Broad Street - initially bandied around as the formation of a civic square fronting Marischal College.

There is no doubt the spec for the development was drawn up entirely with commercialisation in mind and the public consultation was the usual tokenistic gesture politics for surely there never was any intention to modify economic  priorities  with anything as prosaic as public opinion.  

It is clear that while Aberdeen City Council is happy to provide a blank sheet for the creation of shops, offices, parking  and a hotel it is less interested (uninterested) in what the people of the city want.

Of course councils ignoring peoples’ wishes is hardly a new phenomenon but it is disappointing when it occurs without even the suggestion of any sop to popular opinion.

Contrary to what the Labour group says there is nothing, absolutely nothing in this design to attract people into the city. On the other hand a large photogenic square would most definitely become a tourist attraction as well as a potential hub for local people.  Think of what social media could do to spread images of Aberdeen’s fine civic square with the backdrop of the magnificent Marischal College. Wouldn’t that enhance the attractiveness of Aberdeen?

This development used to be referred to as Marischal Square. Now there is NO SQUARE – instead there is a bog-standard street to be built – and not even a broad one despite being on Broad Street.

But there is a compromise that the council should grasp.

Create a square, or rectangle, from the old St Nix to Upper Kirkgate and along the Flourmill Lane, preserving Provost Skene’s House, with commercial properties. Instead of building over the whole area buildings would surround it. This would result in an open public space facing Marischal College. Such a space would enhance the attractiveness of any hotel fronting an open area instead of into a narrow street.

Surely it is time for the council to listen to its critics over this debacle. It’s not so long ago several of its members were very vocally critical over the awful proposals for Union Terrace Gardens but this is as bad and here we find the Labour group are poachers turned gamekeepers.

You are wrong Jenny Laing, you are wrong Willie Young  - Aberdeen Civic Society and the thousands of people who provided you with their sensible views are correct. In fact you should both be thoroughly ashamed of your small-minded approach to what is a unique opportunity to lay down a real legacy for the city. It speaks volumes that you can’t see this.

Shops, offices, hotel in green. Marischal Square in orange.

Shops, offices, hotel in green. Marischal Square in orange.

 

http://lenathehyena.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/the-marischal-odeon-or-gone-with-the-wind-a-muse-and-council-joint-production

http://lenathehyena.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/move-along-now-nothing-to-see-here-aberdeens-latest-civic-square-debacle

http://lenathehyena.wordpress.com/2013/11/09/the-card-square-project-marishchal-goes-phut

June 28, 2014

The Wonderful World of Jodi Le Bigre

 

 

overgrowth

OVERGROWTH

What struck me about this picture at first viewing was the tight composition, the subtle palette and fascinating detail which draws the eye in and around the scene. It looked Japanese; the women’s faces slightly oriental and their costumes exotic and painstakingly depicted.  A finely drawn wooden hull rises out of the water - all bulk and weight and grainy texture.  On board the women are mostly bunched up with a few outliers, one immersed in the water.

I liked the piece immediately I saw it at the Aberdeen Artists Society exhibition in Aberdeen Art Gallery so I thought I’d look at more of the artist’s work.

Feathers%20sq[2]

Jodi Le Bigre’s approach is truly fascinating. Take the oil on wood, Feathers – it is an amazing painting soft and multi-faceted and coloured from a restricted her palette. The birds’ feathers are as sensuous as any 18th century fabric in say a Ramsay painting. In a humorous aside a bird in the botton right corner gazes at its own reflection in a stone or something shiny.

Looking through her website the variety of Jodi’s approaches become apparent.  Just as she’s lived in different parts of the world - her native Canada, France, Japan and now Scotland so she’s been absorbing ideas and motifs from all manner of influences. It was in Paris that she learned printing which she’s used to great effect in Overgrowth.

A%20Lonesome%20Place%20(w)[1]

In her oil, A Lonesome Place another of her fascinations is demonstrated – medieval life and imagery. Here she has created a frieze-like effect with the line of blue-faced people ranged in front of four idealised trees while in the foreground there are exotic and monster birds along with a fleshy woman exposing her leg and her ghost-like companion to her right. I’ve no idea what’s going on in the picture but it is fairly surreal and the more you look into it the spookier it becomes. The overgrown bird reminded me of Max Ernst’s fantastic and threatening species partly human.

overgrowthdetail2

Let’s take a closer look at Overgrowth, Jodi’s etching in black and sepia inks with touches of watercolour. The meticulous detailing that’s gone into the different costumes and effects in the water – hugely time-consuming and wholly worth it in the quality of the piece. The women share the same face, seen from different angles – pensive and guarded they consider their predicament.

If you look at the image at the start of this blog you can make out one or two strange green figures wrapped in ivy which I think allude to Jodi’s view that we become who we are by absorbing all sorts of influences from our environment  including the natural world we pass through in life.  In the picture ivy grows up around the boat, trapping it and some of the women within its tendrils – is this the overgrowth?

In Jodi’s own blog she  includes a poem by Aberdeen’s makar Sheena Blackhall on Overgrowth.

Twenty Geishas

Twenty Geishas went to sea
In a vessel of polished pine
The traders’ routes offered to fill their coffers
For sharing virtues free

The Flying Dutchman closed his sails
For the Geishas to step aboard
And what transpired it certainly fired
Their spirits which simply soared

The Marie Celeste, they encountered next
Do you wonder it’s not been found?
With kisses of honey and blandishments sunny
The steersman he ran aground

So if twenty Geishas you should see
When you’re sailing the ocean wide
Don’t let them on deck, your ship they will wreck
Keep hard on the starboard side!

melancholia I

Durer’s Melancholia I

I have always been delighted by illustrations from Grimms Fairy Tales and the like and pictorial references to medieval people, places  and things. I like shape and form and the intricate little details that captivate the eye.

My favourite artist is Albrecht Durer who lived in Nuremberg in the 15th and early 16th centuries.  Durer is the absolute master in precision and fine detailed draughtsmanship. His eye was impeccable. His sense of humour compelling. He was simply the greatest and most complete artist of his genre. His wonderful  engraving of Melancholia I may represent his own feelings of melancholia on the death of his mother. Melancholia’s face is black, signifying black bile – four humours were believed to determine the constitution of any person – sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric and melancholic with the latter associated with creativity. On Melancholia’s head sits a garland of herbs suggesting suffering and headaches which Durer suffered from following his bereavement. It is one of the prints on exhibition currently at Duff House in Aberdeenshire.

Sadly not there is Durer’s painting of a Blue Roller bird.roller bird

This work shows how he meticulously captured the construction and texture of the bird’s feathers. An Italian painter once asked to see the brushes he used for depicting fur and feathers and did not believe Durer when he picked up an ordinary bristle paintbrush.

nurnberg

This scene of Durer’s own city of Nuremberg, a mastery in composition leads us back to Jodi Le Bigre.

La%20Rencontre%20-%20Jodi%20Le%20Bigre[1]

La Rencontre is  a lovely example of her medieval hilltop town which could be anywhere in continental Europe. There are two figures in the foreground collecting branches presumably for fire or building. Behind them is the manmade world of stone town houses and churches and walls as in Durer’s picture the urban landscape occupies the background while around is the natural environment that supplies so much that is necessary for peoples’ existence.

Jodi recognises how we are shaped by our environments. Since coming to live in Aberdeen she has encountered the Doric. Take a look at this.

Lizzie's%20Dother%20-%20Jodi%20Le%20Bigre[1]

Lizzie’s Dother is a sweet, magical watercolour. Lizzie is crouched into the too-small frame provided by the artist for a woman of her bulk and so her skirts fall into creases that flow and bunch and give her form. The sweep of Lizzie’s long hair is repeated in the lines of the bundle that is her dother. And they are surrounded by lilies, symbolising innocence.

I think it reads in Doric along the bottom, She wis mindit o aa the ither quines at she’d held the same wye, which is just brilliant.

communion%20sq[1]

Communion belongs in a book of folk tales and shows Jodi’s undoubted talent to apply herself to so many different styles.  Here an old woman has her back to us as she communes with her geese in front of peasant houses. Notice how the woman’s headscarf echoes the orange and shape of the birds’ beaks.  Again the palette is muted and there is a sublime softness to the piece.

Marginalia%20-%20Jodi%20Le%20Bigre[1]

Marginalia is set in Aberdeen with the Citadel in the background and a Bosch-like clamour of figures occupying the foreground. The city’s iconic bird the seagull are shown harnessed as draught animals. The saved and the damned are separated by a sturdy Aberdeen hoose and oil supply vessels grace the backdrop of the north sea.

Der%20Nikolaus%20-%20Jodi%20Le%20Bigre[1]

A Christmas card - Der Nikolaus - to my mind  shows Santa Claus as Robbie Coltrane.

This drawing of a procession of matryoshka dolls in a scene out the Daphne du Maurier’s The Birds. I don’t begin to understand the juxtaposition between the Russian granny dolls and the contemporary figures in the foreground but it’s fun and notice the third doll turning to gaze up at the gathering  threat of the birds flying overhead.

I suspect the inside of Jodi’s brain is fairly interesting. I’ve not come across another artist who has reduced her figures to such a bare minimum as Jodi does in her composition comprising a group of skeletons oot and aboot including the child waving to us while her or his, it’s impossible to tell, parent is trying to direct the child’s attention to a birdy in the sky.

Here a plague doctor from Renaissance Italy shares space with a walrus, an acrobat and a stilt walker. As I said, the inside of Jodi’s head must be a place of wonder.

Young and brimming with talent Jodi Le Bigre – you can find her website at http://jodilebigre.com

June 2, 2014

Aliens Act 1705 – yes that’s us Scots. The Union bludgeon.

sco
On 29 November 1704 the Lord High Treasurer of England was at the House of Lords explaining to a no doubt hostile audience why royal assent had been given to the Scottish Act of Security.

This Act was drawn up by the Scottish parliament in response to the terms of the English Act of Settlement of 1701 in which it was determined that the protestant House of Hanover would provide a successor to the British throne.

(In 1604 the crowns of Scotland and England were joined in a union under James VI. There was not at this time a union of parliaments and so were separate governments in both Scotland and England.)

The more quick-witted among you will have noticed therefore that an English parliament took a unilateral decision over the future of the monarchy not just for England but for Scotland as well thereby assuming its right to determine aspects of political control for both, presuming that Scotland, if indeed Scotland ever came into its consciousness at all, would fall into line.

It is not as though there were no Scots at Westminster then. In fact several were there representing (I use that term loosely) Scottish interests; men in key positions willing to go to any lengths to enhance their ambitions and augment their personal fortunes irrespective of the impact on home-based Scots.

The Scottish Act of Security was drawn up amidst a storm of protests within Scotland over how the liberties of the nation might be preserved. At stake the Scottish economy and wider Scottish liberties of religion and law which were seen as being under threat from an overpowering parliament in England that had taken no cognizance of its Scottish counterpart with its unilateral pronouncement over the crown successor.

While not in a union of parliaments, legislation from Edinburgh had to have approval of the monarch – in London. The monarch’s representatives, Lord High Commissioners, carried out this role until superfluous- following the Union in 1707 when the Scottish parliament was subsumed into England’s.

With publication of the Act of Settlement alarm bells were ringing across Scotland over what might be imposed here and led to the Scottish Act of Security which asserted Scotland’s right to determine its own monarch and not accept one imposed on it by England.

Reaction in Westminster was fast and furious. A further act was introduced by it to neutralise what it regarded as a threat from Scotland; possible withdrawal of Scottish troops (arguably England’s favourite and most sought after commodity from north Britain) and Scottish taxes which would weaken England’s involvement in the War of the Spanish Succession.

I’m not going there – sufficient to say think of that war as the 18th century equivalent of superpowers in the 20th and 21st centuries establishing power blocs across Europe and the world.

There were two ways the English politicians, Tory and Whigs (later materialised into Liberals) – little to choose between them then and now – could handle their tricky situation with Scotland- either as good cop or bad cop.

The good cop approach was to open negotiations with Scotland’s parliament and offer a free trade agreement.
The bad cop one was to label the Scots as aliens and bully them into submitting to a political union and Hanoverian succession on threat of a boycott of all Scottish goods throughout England and the English colonies along with the confiscation of property held by Scots in England.

For the point of clarity I should say there were plenty Scots included in England’s governing elite, content to wallow in the trappings of power while selling their own country short – the yoke of bondage as it was interpreted in Scottish circles. Any brave or stupid enough to show their faces back in Scotland were more than likely to have them pelted with stones. This happened quite a lot. Sounds barbaric doesn’t it? The other side had guns and swords – perhaps you find them more acceptable – some of a reactionary disposition do. Stones were the weapons of the poor – or the mob as history dubs them – used as a derogatory term for those not in power challenging those in power.

The mob disapproved of Scotland being bludgeoned and kicked into a political union. There is a trend among our current politicians to suggest the union was welcomed by Scotland’s people as the saviour of the country. This is not true. In fact it is a lie.

Anti-union feelings ran strong in Scotland. Protests over English high-handedness following the union of the crowns in 1604 were commonplace. By the start of the 18th century there was strong opposition to a political union. The Worcester incident is an unfortunate example of the degree of resistance to having Scotland absorbed into the English realm.

Recent transfer of 6 000 sq miles of Scottish water in the north sea to England by Blair’s government in Westminster was an audacious piece of Westminster imperialism. Back in 1705 emotions were high when an English vessel was captured off Burntisland. The captain and most of the crew of the English ship Worcester were hanged in front of 80 000 people for their incursion into Scottish water; a foreign vessel in a hostile act.

Amidst an atmosphere of such serenity and friendship, brimming over with trust, honesty, even-handedness and sacrifice the union was born. And from that point the term Scotland has become largely superfluous so much so that you’ll find in the majority of the histories of Great Britain dispensed with any mention of it whatsoever in favour of the term Britain or England.

It was surely the Alien Act 1705 that threatened to classify Scots as aliens (foreign nationals) – even while sharing a monarchy – whose property might be confiscated and whose trade would be embargoed which persuaded many of the Scottish nobility to agree to a union of parliaments. The lessons have surely not been lost on those who are happy to adopt threats, bullying and hostile posturing, with a not inconspicuous dose of outright lies, to ensure that very unequal union stays put.

May 21, 2014

The Marischal Odeon or Gone with the Wind: A Muse and Council Joint Production

The controversial £107million plan by Muse Development, part of the Morgan Sindall Group, to build a block of shops, car parks, offices and hotel in front of Marischal College in Aberdeen has been lodged with the council and is so awful it is pretty well certain to be given the green light.

The common good land is about to be leased to private developers for the next 35 years to do with as they please. While local opinion is for tearing down St Nicholas House and having no building replacing it thereby creating a large open square to front Marischal College Aberdeen council and the developers are pushing ahead with commercialising the space. Let us hope that 35 years down the line it doesn’t get passed on from one private leaseholder to another until eventually the land is lost to the public. Not that this would ever happen. Of course that has never happened. No of course not.

Various consultations have taken place and some 4000 opinions provided which Muse said have been noted. Well all I can say is you will be hard pressed to detect much alteration in their plans.

Try as I might to open the detailed plans on the council website I failed but at least I had the council press release to reassure me how much the new build will improve the site ‘once dominated by the former council headquarters building St Nicholas House.’

I was more successful finding a link to the Final Report on Pedestrian Level Wind, doesn’t sound like much fun, and discovered the council’s reassurances were less than convincing.

Take a keek at this

http://planning.aberdeencity.gov.uk/docs/showimage.asp?j=140698&index=122914

Wind analysis of the site highlighted a ‘relatively windy microclimate at ground level’ in parts of the area – nearest Union Street – the result of wind ‘blowing around the St Nicholas House building, which is comparatively tall in relation to the surrounding buildings.’

Hold that thought as you check out the picture showing a model of the proposal and absorb its height in relation to surrounding buildings.

According to the Report around the 469 year old Provost Skene’s House it will become significantly windier because wind will be channelled between it and the proposed hotel. Conversely it argued that with more tall buildings the southeast area, around the rapidly disappearing St Nicholas House, would become less windy – losing the wind tunnel impact of St Nix.

The Report envisaged potential problems for pedestrians moving to and from the north and west of the site and suggested this might be dealt with by ‘solid or porous side-screens or recessing the entrances into the building.’

Landscaping would provide other types of screening. I think they mean shrubberies and trees but possibly more screens to
‘create suitable conditions for sitting.’

To avoid being rocketed into space people occupying the roof terraces would have to be sheltered by high balustrades or yet more screens and planting – and possibly guy ropes.

All of the above were put forward as mitigating measures for everyday breezes off the North Sea which are a feature of the Castelgate and Broad Street. When wind levels increase, as they do quite often in this part, then it’ll be a case of haud ontae yer hats folks because you can expect something ‘in excess of Beaufort Force 7′ that’s gale force, around the proposed pedestrianised corner, near to Provost Skene’s which ‘would cause pedestrians to experience difficulty walking’ Nae reading the P & J wi a cappuccino then – small comforts there. But just to be on the safe side you won’t be allowed access when winds get up – ‘restricted access during the windiest times during the year.’ Occasionally winds reach Beaufort Force 8 in this area.

So as well as having their access restricted when the wind blows the good folk of Aberdeen will be subjected to frequent bad hair days when venturing through Muse’s world bearing in mind Aberdeen is windier than many other parts of the UK.

For your information wind levels are classified according to levels of ‘comfort’ for ‘business walking’, ‘carpark/roadway’, ‘leisure walking’, ‘standing/entrance’, ‘sitting.’

Business walking you’ll appreciate means not hanging around but keeping up a steady pace, possibly while carrying a briefcase or other business accoutrements but almost certainly not soliciting with a nonchalant swagger. It is possibly advisable to do the business walk when approaching or circumnavigating Provost Skene’s House to cope with serious wind problems in its vicinity although with the wind at your back you may not require oxygen. It should be added at this juncture that if the proposed hotel were not erected here then wind wouldn’t be an issue but it will be – unless of course Provost Skene’s is demolished which would resolve the wee issue of a wind tunnel between it and the hotel. Business is business after all.

A heids doon fecht wi a nor’easterly isn’t what most folk expected when the council promised a pedestrianised area for leisure and pleasure – brisk walking being the main activity it would seem.

Oh well, there’s always the screens. Sounds like a promising business venture for councillor Swick. They’ll be needing so many screens when this proposal gets the thumbs up it can only be called the Marischal Odeon.

There’s been a lot of wind expended over this project with lots more to come. The bottom line is there’s a strong desire for a very large open square fronting Marischal College. This is not what Aberdeen Council wants because while thousands aired their opinions its money that talks in the end.

With a choice between what the people of Aberdeen want and multinational businesses the council has chosen business all the way.

Councillor Willie Young was quoted in the Press & Journal 17 May as saying
‘Some people who have responded have misunderstood what the consultation was about.
‘The council entered into a binding legal agreement with Muse on a leaseback basis.
‘It was never for the council to determine that it would be an open space – it’s a commercial space.’

Actually it isn’t a commercial space it is common good land and belongs to the people of Aberdeen.

http://lenathehyena.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/move-along-now-nothing-to-see-here-aberdeens-latest-civic-square-debacle/

http://lenathehyena.wordpress.com/2013/11/09/the-card-square-project-marishchal-goes-phut/

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 673 other followers