What we learned this week… about Scottish coinage, rhinos, racing calamities and ancient fish suppers in Orkney

What we learned in yet another tumultuous week in the world of politics, sports and current affairs.

Connolly parts?

Reactions to Nicola Sturgeon’s latest policy paper on Scotland’s economic prospects should it vote Yes in a future referendum have been mixed. The Prime Minister confirmed that a newly independent nation would continue to use sterling, prompting one of his former advisers to dismiss the plan as ‘absolutely p**h’. Given such language, why not adopt a new currency “The Connolly” with 100 Billies for Big Yin? Ridiculous, of course. But no more absurd than other political developments.

Goodbye Braverman

After all, on Tuesday Conservative Home Secretary Suella Braverman launched an astonishing tirade against what she described as the “wokerati anti-growth coalition reading Guardian and eating tofu”. Within 24 hours Big Quorn’s forces had returned fire and Braverman had been expelled from the Cabinet.

So near, yet so far

Eilish McColgan ran hard this summer and won gold at the Commonwealth Games. But his British and European records at the Great Scottish Run were invalidated after it was discovered the course was 150 meters too short. Annoying? Yes, but by no means unusual in athletics. The Manchester Marathon was 380m short for three consecutive years from 2013 to 2015. And the Brighton Marathon was 568m too long last year. Nobody can use a tape measure anymore?

Eilish McColgan of Scotland celebrates winning the Commonwealth Games 10,000m final but her Great Scottish Run records have been invalidated.

Rhino Joy

There was real cause for celebration when a rare white rhino was born in central Scotland. After a 16-month pregnancy, the female came into the world at Blair Drummond Safari Park as the sixth offspring of long-term partners Dot and Graham, both 22. Southern white rhinos are classified as “near threatened” by the International Union for the Nature Conservancy’s Red List of Threatened Species. The other subspecies – the northern white rhino – is functionally extinct, with only two known creatures in the world – both female.

Balanced diet?

Archaeologists have found that a woman who lived in Orkney 1,800 years ago had a diet that consisted mostly of fish suppers, but not the kind you find at your local chipper. The results showed that seafood was an integral part of her diet during her childhood and that she ate a lot of fish towards the end of her life. The UHI Institute of Archeology suggested she may have played a special role within her former community and dubbed her The Elder.

Ewen Bremner, Ewan McGregor, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle, reunited for T2 Trainspotting

Major role for Jonny

He was fascinating as Sick Boy in Trainspotting, as world record-breaking cyclist Graeme Obree in the film The Flying Scotsman and as Sherlock Holmes in the American television series Elementary. But doubts have been cast over Jonny Lee Miller’s casting as former Prime Minister John Major in The Crown’s new series. Netflix producers have already fallen into hot water with Major and other politicians over “fictitious” parts of the script. Sorry guys, but this is a drama, not a documentary.

Shoot for Fergie

Former Arsenal co-owner David Dein wanted to make Sir Alex Ferguson manager of the Gunners in 1986 before leaving Aberdeen for Manchester United. He told the Sacked in the Morning podcast: “I promoted Alex to take the job, but some board members were suggesting George Graham, so I wondered if Alex, being a bit more experienced, could be manager and George his No. 2”. Fergie has always made it clear that he would only leave Pittodrie for another job – at Old Trafford, so that sounds like wishful thinking.

A nod to Poland

Ferguson’s assistant Archie Knox went on a spy trip 40 years ago – and found himself in a John Le Carré novel. After traveling to Poland to scout European opponents Lech Poznan, he was greeted by a guard who followed him wherever he went – even to the stage where they slept in the same hotel room. Knox said: “It was strange to get so much attention. What made it worse was that he spoke as much English as I spoke Polish – which sucked. Yet after that, I can now nod my head in Polish!

Aberdeen manager Alex Ferguson (left) and his assistant Archie Knox celebrate with the trophy in Gothenburg in 1983.

burning problem

The Scottish SPCA reported that an owl had been rescued after being trapped in the flue of a wood-burning stove in Aberdeen. Their staff were alerted by a member of the public to release what was initially believed to be a hawk in the Hazlehead area. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service were also involved and the bird, a tawny owl, was eventually removed. He was checked and given food and water before being released into the wild. And yes, we give two boos.

Larry for the best post

Oh, and of course, Liz Truss became the latest Prime Minister to leave Downing Street even as Larry the cat proclaimed: ‘The King asked me to become Prime Minister because this nonsense has gone on long enough.’

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[What We Learned this week… about Scotland’s currency, rhinos, racing calamities and ancient fish suppers on Orkney]


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