The Italian highlanders who may have Scottish roots

Mamma mia, laddie!

High up in the mountains of northern Italy, just a few kilometres from the Swiss border, the people of the tiny village of Gurro speak a strange dialect, incomprehensible even to the other villages in the same valley.

They have peculiar surnames, and the women’s traditional costume features a patterned underskirt that looks suspiciously like tartan.

One possible explanation is that their forefathers include a unit of Scottish soldiers – the Garde Ecossaise – who served the French King, Francis I, and were defeated with him at the Battle of Pavia, near Milan, in February 1525.

The story goes that while trying to make their way home the Scots stopped in Gurro, where they got snowed in for the winter. Many locals believe they never left.

Scottish penguin promoted to Brigadier in Norwegian Army

Of course.

An inhabitant of Edinburgh Zoo has received an honour from the King of Norway’s Guard.

King penguin Nils Olav has been awarded the status of Brigadier and began his new post by inspecting the regiment who are in Edinburgh for the Tattoo.

This is not the first time the battalion’s mascot has been honoured.

Sir Nils was awarded a knighthood by King Harald V in 2008.

Video at the story shows the Brigadier inspecting his troops.

James Bond…Presbyterian?

Ardent Presbyterian

Ok, so this is a question no one has ever asked about James Bond:  his religious upbringing and heritage.  It is a subject raised in the latest Bond film now in theaters everywhere, when Bond returns to his ancestral home.

”Skyfall” is in fact the name of the family estate in Scotland.  It’s a dark and gloomy pile of stone, one that looks to be abandoned, but is in fact still being looked after by Kincaid, the family groundskeeper.

I have to admit, my heart skipped a beat. I had never thought of Bond as having a family, a boyhood, religious convictions of any sort.  Until now…

Of course, Bond has many Presbyterian qualities:  he’s stubborn, independent, undeterred by the enemy and he looks great in a suit.

Barricaded in the house, with the enemy closing in (I’m not really spoiling anything) there is a need for an escape route…

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Guy claims to have solved the Loch Ness Monster mystery; says its just a giant catfish

Well, then, heat up the grill, and start fishin’! 😉

After nearly quarter century camping out by the banks of Scotland’s Loch Ness hoping to glimpse “Nessie”, the most dedicated hunter of the legendary monster has given up, concluding it is just a very big catfish.

Steve Feltham, who gave up his girlfriend, house and job in southwest England in 1991 to spend his life looking for the Loch Ness monster, believes he has solved the mystery behind its many sightings, the Times newspaper reported on Thursday.

Rather than being a primeval beast, he suspects it is a Wels catfish, a native European catfish that the paper said could grow up to 13 ft (4 meters) long. Victorians introduced the fish to the dark waters of the loch to provide sport.


“The monster mystery will last for ever and will continue to attract people here, monster or not,” Feltham said. “I certainly don’t regret the last 24 years.”

That’s good, seeing how much you gave up for it, lad.

Pork and chocolate, together again!

Wait; what?

A Borders butcher has created an “eggsperimental” delicacy to mark Easter.

On sale at Foston’s Fine Meats in Duns are scotch eggs – with a chocolate twist.

For butcher Greg Foston has replaced the traditional hens’ eggs with Cadbury’s Creme Eggs.

He has wrapped the Easter treats with sweet chilli pork meat which, he claims, compliments the chocolate “perfectly”.


Scottish University Creates Fabric That Always Smells Like Whisky

Because what could be better than smelling like you’ve been boozing, even when you haven’t been? 😉

Johnnie Walker Whisky and Harris Tweed Hebrides, two of Scotland’s most iconic brands, teamed up with Heriot Watt University to create a new smart fabric that permanently smells like whisky. Because who doesn’t want their clothes smelling like booze all the time, right?

Woman finds three-inch leech in nose after South East Asia trip


A backpacker found a 3in (7.5cm) leech that had been living up her nose for a month after a trip to South East Asia.

Daniela Liverani, 24, from Edinburgh, had been having nosebleeds for weeks but put them down to a burst blood vessel from a motorbike crash.

Ms Liverani was having a shower last Thursday when she was realised the dark shape wriggling in her nose was actually an animal.

Hospital staff used forceps and tweezers to remove the parasite.

Ms Liverani believes she picked up the leech in Vietnam or Cambodia, but even when she felt it moving up and down her nostril, she thought it was a blood clot.

She told BBC Radio Scotland: “Your initial reaction isn’t to start thinking, oh God, there’s obviously a leech in my face.”