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Renfrewshire, Scotland Sco

Look what I found growing from my compost!

I noticed this in a border where I had used some compost from my garden bin. It looks like a small tomato plant, but not certain if it is that or cucumber, etc. Can anyone tell me for sure. Not often we manage to grow those in the west of Scotland. And there are still global warming deniers. :)




Tomato. We often used to get them coming up in odd places, especially when we used to use sterilised sewerage sludge.

27 Jul, 2019


Definitely a tomato. Given that it's quite small but flowering it could be a bush type cherry tomato but no good way to tell before it fruits really

27 Jul, 2019


Cherry tomato it will be as I eat these every day and it will be from soft fruit that I have placed into the compost.

27 Jul, 2019


Sorted for freebie toms then!
I'm always interested in people's user names so I googled yours. It's a good one! Does it connect in any way to your family history? I read some poetry that was translated from the Gaelic. It was kind of dark & gloomy? Lots of women being aged by the burdens of collecting seaweed, etc.

27 Jul, 2019


Wow that is really cool.

28 Jul, 2019


Darren, the name is really from my admiration of a Gaelic poet Somhairle MacGill-Eain. Some of his stuff is lovely and you are right about Gaelic literature being quite dark. However, that is because it tended to reflect a culture and language that was being lost or oppressed. I speak some Gaelic but it is not good and since I have used it little since learning the language almost 30 years ago, it has been difficult for me to strengthen it. However, to appreciate the poetry, it is best to do so in the language as it is more descriptive and colourful than the English translations which often appear drab or depressing. However, if I can recommend a single piece it would be Hallaig. You can find it quite easily - I think. I know that you used to be able to get spoken versions of the poem and if you can find that, listen to the Gaelic version. You may not understand it but maybe can appreciate the flow and rhythm of the piece.
As for the ageing women, you may be picking up on the 'waulking songs'. These were songs sung by the women as they worked the wool when preparing cloth for tweed. They are very rhythmic in order to provide a beat to which they would sit in rows and work the wool. A bit like see shanties, I think where the men were drawing in their nets. And finally............. Some of the most beautiful Gaelic songs are the hymns. On initial listening they sound mournful but when you listen to them a few times you get to appreciate them more. They are usually in the style where the cantor would lead followed by the congregation. I think that they would be sung ad hoc as the cantor would lead using themes from that day's teachings and they could go on for some time. If you want to listen to a lovely hymn/song look for An Ubhal as Airde - The Highest Apple.

Ok........ that was a bit of a lesson. Hopefully it was not too boring. :)

28 Jul, 2019


Not at all boring! I'll look for some of your recommendations as audio. The instinctive understanding of poetry must surely be similar to music regionally? If I were Jamaican then reggae would appeal to me more deeply but as I'm a grammar school boy from the South East of England then I've got a soft spot for self-conscious white boys with guitars...
The links to British history of the name are a bit mind expanding though in terms of history? Am I right in thinking that it's origins would go back as far as the conversion of Viking settlers to Christianity?

28 Jul, 2019


Good question Darren and wonderful answer Somhairle. I do not speak Gaelic but searched the 'net for a way of saying welcome to the people who viewed our pallet exhibit at Gardening Scotland. We get lots of overseas visitors at the show and some of them have travelled to visit places their ancestors left to emigrate all over the world. My daughter had a maths teacher who hailed from the western isles and she persuaded the music teacher who was also the choir mistress to get the girls singing in Gaelic. They got on so well that they went to two Mods. Their pronunciation was not perfect but they did score the highest marks for the quality of their voice music. We were very proud of them and I'm pleased to know that we do now teach in Gaelic as the childrens first language at several schools in Scotland. My uncle's party piece at family gathering was to sing 'Mouth music'. It is normal to sing without instrument accompaniment.

28 Jul, 2019


Darren. You are right in thinking that the name has Norse links. Somerled - Somhairle in Gaelic - was a Viking who was the Lord of the Isles. In the 13th century that part of Scotland was semi-autonomous and ruled by the Lord of the Isles. Only after the Stuart dynasty became established, did the Western Isles become fully integrated into Scottish rule. Somerled actually got pretty close to overthrowing the first of the Stewarts - Robert II - when he got as far south and inland as Renfrew where he was beaten and killed in battle. I am honestly not sure about the religious connections at all.
Scotsgran is correct too in that we now have a few Gaelic schools in the country. The largest being in Glasgow where they are educated through the medium of Gaelic.

29 Jul, 2019


I knew Gruff Rhys a bit when he was at uni with my brother & before the Super Furry Animals. It was interesting hearing his perspective on being British but having English as his second language. Didn't stop us giving him some stick when Wales got beaten in the rugby though😊

30 Jul, 2019

How do I say thanks?

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