Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tuesday 20th February

My first love is history, sport figures so low down my list of favourite things to do, that it has probably slipped off the paper. From those days on a freezing cold field with much larger girls bearing down on me with intimidating hockey sticks - I gave in, you can have it, not worth fighting over!  I think I lack the competitive spirit sadly.  Pottering around on a pony I would enjoy, take the dog long walks, but chase or hit a ball was beyond my comprehension...
So Olympics sweep by, except for the rather entrancing vision of North and South Korea coming together.  But there is one form of sport that sets me off giggling that is curling, a form of housewifery but cleaning the ice instead.

 "the distinctive blue-grey microgranite found on the island of Ailsa Craig was (and still is) the material of choice for manufacturing curling stones? The island has been quarried extensively for this purpose, many stones being finished in the Mauchline Curling Stone Factory in Ayrshire."

Now that as a fact interests me, is it the smoothness of the granite that allows it to sail across the ice.  The above photo was taken from SCRAN, a history archive of Scottish history, there is also a lovely video taken by Lord someone (don't worry I will go and find it and bore you more) taken between 1929 and 1959, (gosh can't those toffs date anything?) On looking I have to buy the film, but it was the 6th Duke and Duchess of Montrose, and show preparation well under hand.
There are other stone balls in Scotland from prehistory, beautifully carved no one can understand how they were used, definitely not used for curling, fastened to a rope and swinging a bit like a bolas one theory, ball bearings for moving the great megaliths another, think I like the scrying or foretelling the future theory best.  

Now the Towrie decorated ball (Dated from between 3200 to 2500 BC) from Aberdeenshire, so Celtic looking, is definitely a scrying ball. Or, of course a carver had time on his hands and just sat down and carved a splendid looking ball - definitely not football though.


  1. I've seen some of those balls in The British Museum and up on Orkney. They are intriguing and must have taken hours to make.

    1. Lucky you to have been to Orkney Aril. never seen them in the BM would have thought Scottish museums held most of them, there are about 400 I think.

  2. I always think they are rather Chinese looking.
    am not a sports fan either but I must say that the footage of Wigan beating the great Manchester City last night (which has been played ad infinitum on TV news all day today) has been pretty gripping.

    1. "I always think they are rather Chinese looking." Dont think the Chinese made it to our shores 5000 years ago ;) Actually I did catch a glimpse of the goal that won the day, but the shock on the Manchester faces was a bit comical....

  3. Those have always fascinated me too, and set me wondering about their purpose. Scrying could pretty well be their purpose. There is a brilliant article on them in one of my PSAS books from 20 years ago.


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