Friday, August 18, 2023

20 factoids about the land of the unicorn.

Our NHS is marvellous. Most of the time, for the non urgent situation is moves slower than a Staffordshire Bull Terrier away from a wood burning stove.   We have a family situation, one of those genetic cancers that pop up with regularity amongst those sharing female DNA. It's had another wee go at us so  there was  appointment, scan, another scan, another appointment, operation, then tattoos and now the radiotherapy starts. All since the 1st June. That was on the non urgent side of urgent and once it was tissue typed, the foot lifted from the pedal a little.

It throws many things into dissarray. Bouchercon  has been off and on the table  more often than a midgie net  over a salad.  It's back on.

That might change.

However, there's enough doom and gloom in the world so here's quick blog  based on a article I read on the webpage, Scotland from the road. Facts from there. Sarky comments via yours truely.

Here’s a few facts about the wee country I live in. They are not very sensible.  Neither is the wee country I live in.  


There’s one county on the face of the planet where Coca Cola is not the favourite soft drink.   WE buy much more Irn Bru than coke. It's made from girders and has the more brilliant adverts. Like the one where the wee boy punched The Snowman ( ala the Briggs cartoon) for stealing his drink.


Westray to Papa Westray is the worlds shortest commercial flight. 47 seconds. 1.5 miles. Slightly longer than getting to Bouchercon.  The next best flight is to Barra where the plane lands on the beach. The tidal timetable and the flight timetable mirror each other exactly.

Political conflicts rages, well it doesn’t, but there’s always a wee bit of narkiness about who owns Rockall. Scotland? Ireland?  It’s a small island in the North Atlantic, uninhabited except for puffins etc and they don’t care very much. It's a bit of rock. And appears in a famous Goons script.


The Saltire / St Andrews cross  was created in 1190  for a battle.  We will fight with anybody. We don't care.

Bonniebridge has more than 300 UFO sightings a year and is the UFO capital of Europe. Might have something to do with the amount of the local ‘refreshment’ that is consumed. Kind of alcohol refreshment.

Our other monster is in Loch Morar- she’s called Morag. That's Nessie's girlfriend. Is that genderist? Also could be a result of alochol consumption.


                                             This could be a lord of the rings tree asking a pal to dance.

Europe’s oldest tree is somewhere between 3000 and 9000; the Fortingall Yew. And it lives in Scotland. I was going to do a blog  at Glencruitten Cathedral Of Trees. We went. They had chopped down the fir trees to try to re-establish the native growth so the photos are a bit meh.  I'll go back in 500 years and see how they are getting on. 

The tallest cinema in the world is in Glasgow.  I can’t go to it as I sit there thinking 'how do we get out if here if it goes on fire'. Same thing as I think in a MRI scanner. Been once, didn’t like it. Never going back(The cinema, I mean. The scanner is fine with me)

11% of all Nobel Prize winners are Scottish. 25 times greater than the average per capita. So there you go!  It's there in black and white.

Scotland is the most educated country in Europe. 52% have University/college or vocational qualifications. But of course, there is a contra argument to this - degrees were effectively downvalued. When I was going to uni, it was a qualification  that 5% of the population could achieve. Now everybody and his dog has a degree. So the big five are really the places to go for a degree that means something. Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, St Andrews. 

 We also have the worlds tallest hedge, a beach hedge planted in 1745. It's  100 feet high and a mile long.  So it grew tall before the electric headcutter was invented.

Since 1861 a cannon has been fired at Edinburgh castle every day, except Sunday, Xmas day and good Friday. I’m sure you’ve all heard it. Mons Meg and all that. But Mons Meg now only fires for theatrical purposes ( New Year?) and it's a  wee army cannon gun thingy that fires at 1pm.  You could mistake me for Tom Clancy with my Tech Speak.

As well as many useful things we invented the deep fried pizza, known as the pizza crunch. Can have as many as 2000 calories. No, I’ve never eaten one.  I never intend to.

The most northerly pod of dolphins in the world live in the Moray Firth. They are bottlenosed There’s about 200 of them. I think they must have waterproof duvets or something. I believe Great White Sharks are coming to these waters.

Cyclist becomes world champion despite having to stop mid-race for a poo in stranger's house

Mathieu van der Poel won the men's road race at the UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow, but revealed after his victory he "couldn't have carried on racing" if a Scottish couple had not let him use their bathroom

As happened in the cycling world championships -  it is against the law to refuse a stranger the use of your toilet.  Matt Van Der Poel needed to empty his bowel, front page news. ( He won the road race for the non cycly types out there)

The national bird of Scotland is the golden eagle. About 500 pairs.  This is a good thing. The national animal of Scotland is the unicorn.  That says alot about our government.

Seemingly Scotland won the world elephant polo championships in Nepal in the year 2000. I  have nothing to say, nothing at all. Except how did the elephants hold the polo stick? Why not just bat the ball with their trunks?

The first fire brigade was in Edinburgh in 1824. I think it might have been predated by a big fire.

Scotland is home to the largest Buddhist temple in Europe. Eskdalemuir. Alan and his brother have been many times and  love it very much.

St Valentine? His  remains live in a box in a church in the gorbals. I kid you not. That's what I read.

So that's twenty factoids to brighten your Friday breakfast.




  1. I like the unicorn being the national animal! I wonder who got the dragon?

    1. The Welsh, The English, just about everybody else got a dragon. Too cold for them up here, and the wind blows their flames breath out.

  2. You are my uniform unicorn inspiration in every way imaginable. Barbara and I hope y'all make it over to San Diego. We all could use some big Scottish hugs.-- Jeff

    1. Looking forward to seeing you all there, a bit of a wing and a prayer but fingers crossed.

  3. That above comment was intended for you and Alan, Caro, but we'll be happy to add Michael to the hug fest.-- Jeff

  4. Caro--So sorry to heart about all the things complicating your life at the moment. Still hoping I might get to meet you at B'con, but for now, thanking you for this great post, full of so many "factoids" I didn't know. Take care.

    1. I'm pretty sure I'm going to San Diego ( Is that nearly a song?), as long as there are no more curve balls!