Monday, 11 May 2015

Historic week in Scotland, and absence without leave

Apologies for the lack of posting over the last few days, but for this was for various reasons in what has been an unbelievable fortnight. To start with, I had a series of operations on my arms and shoulder to remove a few small growths, with the added complication that one of the wounds reopened after the stitches were removed a week later, so typing was something of an issue!

At the same time as this was all happening, however, there was also a general election in the United Kingdom last week, and I was also working hard to help get my local SNP candidate Patricia Gibson elected. That in itself was an extraordinary process - our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (pictured right with my son Jamie) made a visit to our town here in Largs last week, a visit reported across the UK wide media, whilst my wife attended a business breakfast in Glasgow at which she spoke just a couple of days before. I then had all the usual campaigning chores to pursue, including leafleting, street work, doorstep canvassing and social media campaigning, followed on Thursday, the day of the election itself, with door knocking to help gather the vote, work as a polling agent and then the final stage, to attend the count itself in Ardrossan. The election turned out to be perhaps the most extraordinary period in Scottish history for decades, when the SNP succeeded in gaining 56 of the 59 seats on offer, including one for our Patricia.

To add to the drama, south of the border there was an equally remarkable and historic result (and for the pollsters, completely unforeseen!) in favour of the Conservative Party. The politics of what this all represents for the foreseeable future is for discussion elsewhere on other media (honestly, no comments please, I'm all politicked out!!!) - but hopefully it does explain my absence! After being in a state of denial for the last couple of days of the momentous events of the last week, we finally unwound from the whole thing by attending my sons' Boys Brigade display on Friday evening, and then yesterday watching some great performances at the Rugby 7s in Scotstoun, with some great performances from Scotland, England, South Africa, Fiji and other teams in what was an equally amazing sporting event.

Right now, I am getting well and truly stuck back into my genealogy pursuits, one of the most immediate concerns of which is to get the latest podcast online. Again, I had problems here in that I was hoping to do that at the end of April, but I unexpectedly had to put my PC in for service over the Bank Holiday weekend, but I hope to do so shortly. I also have several news stories to post on developments across Britain and Ireland, and then a new Pharos course to start this week (see - there are still spaces should you wish to sign up!

Just to end though, a few pictures from the campaign!

A few obligatory pics of my, wife, son Jamie and myself with our FM!

Our new MP Patricia Gibson, and her husband Kenny Gibson MSP; plus obligatory selfie!

Braving hypothermia to watch Scotland at the Rugby 7s


For details on my latest book Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, and my other genealogy guide books please visit To commission me for genealogical research, please visit my research site at

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