Love, loss and libraries

Wow, an overflowing (and mixed) bag of submissions this week, so much so that I haven’t managed to fit everything in – apologies for those I’ve had to leave out. Since we’ve just had Valentine’s Day, I’ve gone with the lurve thing – but don’t worry, it won’t be too icky. Promise.

Several of you wrote about the day itself. Happy Science exhorts us to ask for evidence when it comes to aphrodisiacs. Tartantights offers advice on gifts to offer the woman in your life, which would come in handy at any time, but concludes that presents aren’t everything because: “whilst chocolates & cards have a place in my heart, I want a real romantic.” Chocolates and cards are pretty good, mind you. As for Foodie Quine, well, just looking at her post will surely pile on the calories – not helped, of course, by all the pancakes we (ok, I) consumed on Tuesday: suitable recipe available from What’s in Kelvin’s Head if you’re running behind on that one.

After all this indulgence, let’s get out into the fresh air for some exercise. Helmet Camera loves his bike. What he doesn’t love is government policy, or lack of it, on cycling. Domhnall Macsween at Air an Lot was out walking on his croft when he spotted a buzzard making off with one of his chicks, leaving a wounded one behind. He’s not too angry at the buzzard for doing what buzzards do, but is concerned for the chick. (Don’t look if you are squeamish, but I can reassure you that I have taken the precaution of peeking ahead and it seems to be doing ok.)

Losing someone you love is always hard. Kevin Cadwallender’s story Swear is part of Wee Fictions’ Terse, cogent, salient series and shows how the little things can hurt. A sense of loss (of innocence? self-respect?) and regret permeates @dhothersall’s post about a teenage mistake for which he has tried to atone ever since. Edinburgh Eye and Caron’s Musings both reflect on the loss of Reeva Steenkamp who, it was initially suggested, could have been mistaken for an intruder as she attempted to spring a Valentine’s Day surprise on her boyfriend. Subsequent reporting on her death has either centred on the man accused of her murder or been horribly salacious. Or both. The Twitter hashtag #hernamewasreevasteenkamp attempts to reclaim her individuality.

As usual, there has been no love lost between the Yes and the No camps. In the interests of balance I shall sit firmly on the fence and allow one post from each. This week, the UK government published the first paper in its Scotland analysis series and both sides gave it their own gloss: see, as examples, Calum’s Blog and Mike Small’s article on the state of the union. No prizes for guessing which is which.

Turning to the educational, at Think. It’s Free you can read about a Scot volunteering in Ugandan schools and the challenges he meets. Finally, February 9th was National Libraries Day. I was part of a social media project to find out and celebrate the reasons that people use libraries in Scotland – the results are summarised in this Storify which has cute kids, a dog, a cat (cheated on that one a bit) and cakes, but also a serious purpose in the week that Moray has announced its intentions to close several of its branches. Libraries – love them or lose them. Have a good week.

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