St Andrew’s Night, Dunblane

Yesterday was St Andrew’s Day: 30 November. St Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland (and many other places too), though there’s no major official celebration of it as such. After the helicopter accident in Glasgow, celebrations in the main square there, George Square were cancelled. But we’re 35 miles away, and we had been asked to play a session of (mainly) Scottish music in a local bar, the Dunblane Hotel. Now, there’s a wee crowd of us who play every Tuesday night, fiddlers, whistles, guitars and a singer or two, and myself accompanying (mostly) on my electric piano – and there’s some of the pub’s clientele who seem to enjoy it. And we’d been asked to play on the Saturday, for St Andrew’s Night. So we did, and a good night was had by all. Lots of Burns songs, lots of fiddle tunes, plus the occasional more modern song and tune as well. Good crack, and even some (excellent!) singing by a gentleman visiting from Kingston, London.

Perhaps I drank a little more than I’m used to (by the feel of my head this morning, I’m sure I did), but I really was celebrating. Not only had my University finally put the awful and bloated research excellence framework (REF) to bed, but I also officially stood down as Head of Computing Science and Mathematics at Stirling University. Not that I’m retiring yet, but now I’m just plain Professor. I’ve moved to a smaller office (and thrown out more than 100 Kilos of paper and many books), and I think I feel lighter overall. As my earlier blog post says, I need to think what I want to do now. And in the process of moving, I found several sets of paperwork for projects started, but never completed – perhaps one paper had been written on the area, but then the work dropped due to pressure of the management task, or a proposal started but never submitted. So I’m a bit spoilt for choice about where to start. Decisions, decisions…but for today I’ll keep equivocating about what to really work on first in  my nice new office…

And today? I think tea (lots of it) is about right, sand an eschewing of alcohol. My wife wondered if St Andrew’s Day might be a public holiday in an independent Scotland: I’d say yes,  but I’d make the holiday last from sunset to sunset, starting on the 30th, to permit sore heads to be nursed at home!

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