Saturday, 3 December 2016

Scottish Borders Gallery. An Exotic Mixture.

                                               ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN
As it was a two day weekend trip to the Scottish Borders I had enough photos for a second set. This is a Rhea, a large flightless bird from South America and like all its ilk it packs a powerful kick with its sharp claws. Some have escaped from farms in Germany and are now running wild there with a breeding population of over 100 birds- which is an ever present danger threatening the world today with plants, animals and spores getting everywhere they shouldn't now that travel between countries is so easy and fast, with few restrictions.
Having said that, I , like most folk, like to see the exotic and they don't come much better than this meadow in a secret location I will not name here. Rheas, Alpacas, Donkeys and Geese sharing the open ranges in a landscape not that far removed from their original homeland territories. They all seem to get on ok here together apart from the odd clumsy mishap.
Rhea eggs with one broken. Probably a hoof rather than a predator.
Not the culprit on this occasion as it was already smashed when we arrived but a likely cause given the proximity of the eggs to the fence and folk arriving to pat the donkeys and see the animals up close. I've since learned rheas can lay up to a dozen eggs and deliberately sacrifice a few to predators while guarding the rest on a concealed nest but these rheas didn't appear to be sitting on anything elsewhere. It was November and very cold so maybe too late in the season. Also there didn't appear to be an actual lined scoop to keep the eggs insulated from the cold wet ground so they would chill down very quickly even with a bird sitting on them.
Lovely markings on this donkey.
Road sign and autumn colours.
Museums in Bigger. Although a small town/village it has several interesting museums including a puppet theatre and an old gas works that supplied the area in the past. Not many of them left in the UK.
Village in the hills. Late autumn colours.
Broughton. Not much in this small village for tourists but a favourite for interesting cycling trips with lovely scenery and several fine cycling or driving loops passing through either here or Biggar.
What the surrounding countryside looks like. Either pleasant rural farms, small woods or....
high rolling hills and moorlands...
leading up onto even higher hills with giant hog back summits and a real feeling of big wide skies and far flung horizons...
Donkey and Geese Meadows lower down.
Sheep Country.
In a bothy. Crossword puzzle.

A bothy fire.
The Southern Uplands.

Perceptions and opinions. I've been a fan of Kate Bush since we were both teenagers as I'm roughly the same age as her and I used to drive past her family house in London when I visited friends nearby and I'm well aware she came from an upmarket middle class area. Her house was one of the largest on her street even before she was famous and she has always had money and a certain privileged lifestyle, albeit with a bohemian outlook. It came as no surprise to me therefore to find she supports Theresa May and thinks she is a credit to the UK. It would be more of a surprise to find she supported anyone else given her background and it does not diminish her obvious talent in any way for me personally. What it does highlight is the gulf in thinking between those who have little and those who have a very comfortable lifestyle. A decade of ongoing austerity means nothing to them and they naturally have a very different view of the world to those on the bottom rungs. Recent soundbites from the Conservative party show that very clearly. Despite bad results in the UK and America voting for dangerous loose canon outsiders they still appear completely oblivious, re-branding themselves 'the caring party' but still implementing the usual austerity cuts wholesale to services and people telling us 'they get it' and grudgingly saying they now understand how 'we' feel. My question is- How can they when they live such a very different reality to the rest of us? It's like me saying I understand what it's like to be homeless. I live in a house at the moment so I don't.

                            Chalk message in an underpass frequently used by rough sleepers.
Actually, they still haven't a clue why people really voted for Brexit against all the predictions or best common sense and seem to have no inkling about the growing levels of genuine anger over inequality in this country and other places around the world where the poor have steadily became poorer year on year and the greed of the rich elite has only increased and been rewarded. In the 5th richest country in the world ( the UK actually climbed two places higher during and after a so called recession) it now costs far more in infrastructure and wages to sanction and punish the people on the bottom rungs than if you just gave them all a basic minimum universal income to live on, no questions asked, and cut out all the complicated levels of bureaucracy and stigma involved in the benefits system which is blatantly cruel, unfair, and hasn't worked properly for years now. I watched a film the other night that suggested we are rapidly going backwards as a society from even the period of 20 years ago where the ordinary folk that make up the supporting pyramid numbered roughly around 80 percent to a 20 percent top tier- which in monetary terms wasn't all that far above the masses. It's now a staggering one percent of the elite that owns more money than the other 99 percent of the population combined so something has to change. At the risk of appearing a leftist nutter, which I'm not as I can't stand politics normally and steer clear of politically motivated people in general but I've been banging on about this since the blog started, on and off.
Here's a more educated view on this same subject and a warning. Worth a read.

Anyone got any appetite for World War III ?  Many historians believe it is coming. But will people listen in time? Did they ever listen before in the past? History gives us the answer to that as well :o(


Linda said...

I really enjoy the beautiful tours you share and all your lovely photos! Thank you so much for sharing. And thanks, as well, for all your kind comments on my blog, I really appreciate your visits and comments, it means a lot to me. As far as Aled Jones goes, I chose that song because it is a Christmas carol and for the month of December I will be sharing SOME Christmas related videos. This is why I put 4 or 5 videos on my blog...I have a large audience of different age groups, from children to people in their 90's, and they all have different tastes, etc., so I try to have something for everyone. I know that many people love the animal videos so I always to include one or two of those as well. I hope you have a great weekend, and thank you so much for sharing your photos, I love the tours you share. :)

Anabel Marsh said...

Ooft - beautiful tour and then a rant! I must agree about basic income, I'm rapidly coming round to that point of view. Full employment is never coming back, technology has seen to that. For goodness sake, they were talking about the coming of the leisure society when I was a teenager which is not yesterday. Why expect someone to graft away at a mind-numbing job just for the sake of it when machines can do many things better? And why expect job seekers to spend 35 hours per week looking for non-existent jobs? The system at the moment seems designed to make most people's lives as miserable as possible. Improve education and give people enough to actually live on, then they might begin to achieve something. *Gets back in my box, realises it will never happen* Harrumph.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Linda,
A point well made. I still can happily miss watching Aled Jones though :o)

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel,
A rant? I thought it was rather restrained and understated myself. You know things are really bad when even the Bank of England comments on a growing social divide in the UK and I read recently about a proposed trial scheme (in Fife I think)to give people there a limited amount over a period of time, instead of social security, just to see if it worked out not only more cost effective to maintain but produce a better or more positive result instead of the big stick and skinny carrot approach we have now. Funny how the number of people in work now appears to be falling, according to the latest statistics, yet also less folk seem to be claiming benefits? Answers to this modern puzzle on a postcard...

Linda W. said...

Love all the unique critters you found in your secret place. Sigh....I really don't want to start ranting about politics, but I'm totally worried about Trump taking over the reins here in the US....I fear the middle class will be a thing of the past. And I worry that our Pres-elect will shoot off his mouth at the wrong time and start WW III.

Carol said...

I think that, if Theresa May does actually put in place the things she's saying she will, she'll suit me. She's already overturned some of the really silly things which were going on, like soldiers getting sued for taking orders and so on. I just hope she manages to get Brexit through. I was outraged to read, yet again, that the high-brow papers still think the 'uneducated' voted for Brexit - I'll have them know both Richard and I have excellent degrees!

Kate Bush is a bit too 'off-the-wall' for me (or maybe up the wall) and I'm sure only men like her really!

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Linda W.
Very wise. Can,t really see how a team of millionaires and billionaires assembled by P.E.D.T. will have the interests of the ordinary people top of their agenda but time will tell. Trojan Horse story springs to mind :o)

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
as I said in the sub-title everyone will have their own perceptions and opinions.
I admired a comment from artist Grayson Perry a while back who said that just the word 'like' attached to anything by a person was an entire complex package of upbringing, values, belief system, education,life experience, and attitude combined into one word- like or dislike. Very profound I thought so I remember it every-time I like or dislike anything now.

Anonymous said...

As usual a fine and diverse collection of photos. I had no idea Rhea's were now successfully running wild in Europe. Fascinating. Agree with the rant by the way :)

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Andy,
I look on it more as a level headed and considered opinion on the whole austerity and ongoing 'punish the poor' drive throughout the UK over the last few years rather than a rant and the latest research, or lack of it, backs up this view. I had a week going into Glasgow's city centre recently every day for the first time in ages and the growing social divide between the have and have nots is very obvious and pronounced there, hence the observations in this post. I'll put up the city centre photos later. Don't want too much doom and gloom at one go but every single street corner seemed to have someone begging on it and sleeping rough outdoors at minus 5 degrees is not something you do unless you have no other option.
The rheas in Germany may have to be culled at some point if they become a nuisance. Wild mink escaped from farms is the obvious genie out the bottle from years ago as they can hide easily in the river systems without attracting much attention.

Carol said...

I remember the animal rights people got a real slating about the minks escaping into the wild - they all conveniently forgot that there were NO minks here until the stupid fur trade folks brought them over here!

blueskyscotland said...

Just a footnote to the 'rant.' By lucky coincidence tonight's BBC 1 news mentioned that 3.8 million people who had jobs in the UK were also classed as living in poverty due to low wages.... and that's after they deliberately changed the poverty line to wipe numbers off the list. 12 percent of the UK working population are now officially classed as living below the poverty line so gone are the days when being in work was a passport to a better lifestyle. So many jobs these days are part time, poorly paid or zero hours contracts. People being referred to food banks have hit an all time high in this country yet again, year on year,and many of the folk getting emergency handouts are actually in work. Apart from anyone unemployed or disabled these are the people that will suffer most when the new range of cuts to benefits are implemented and with not much of a cushion of money to fall back on all it takes is a small change in circumstance to fall into debt then become homeless. So I stand by my recent observations in the post. Call me cynical but it seems that we, the taxpayer, are paying for everything under the sun these days, including rewarding the richest one percent who set off the recession in the first place,( which could very easily happen again) and getting very little back in return.
Yours Mr Angry.. and proud of it :o)