A Tartan Tale

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Lairds! Castles! Heraldry!

On Ne’er Day Thea and I, one of us a little the worse for wear having rolled in at 9a.m., were on a mission in Buenos Aires. My daughter had promised to take me to the grandest shopping mall in town – Galeria Pacifico –  to buy me my Christmas present. The picture above is of the ceiling, I kid you not.

As you do when you’re with a teenager, we chanced upon the MAC (make up not computer) window. We we caused utter bemusement amongst the good citizens of this sophisticated city as, after a stunned silence, we shrieked with hysterical laughter, holding on to each other in paroxysms of glee.

The summer theme (it averaged 37 degrees while I was there) was tartan: a ‘Tartan Tale to celebrate holiday, in all its posh, punk, ancestral, anarchic, noble and naughty glory. Royal and raunchy, colours and patterns collide, fantasies come true, punk fairies take flight with enchanted new looks’.

True, the model portrayed a maiden who had apparently stepped from a book of Celtic fairy tales, right enough: straight-backed, green-kirtled; side-saddled, caparisoned palfrey awaiting beside a stylised thicket of medieval roses (I may have made it up about the horse).  Her proud demeanour suggested a damsel in captivity destined to grace the Round Table – and only to be released from the spell of an ancient and evil witch by the application of top quality cosmetics.

The lengthy story filling the shop window told of Castle McGregor by the banks of the River Laird in bonny Midlothian wherein lived the handsome Prince Edward who was yearning to marry the humble servant (who, we knew was in reality an enchanted princess). It was the name of the heroine that sent us completely over the edge to hysteria: Myfanwy.

You couldn’t make it up.



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Good news about funding for children’s books here:

The Scottish Booktrust is to receive £1.05 million from the Scottish Government to enable it to continue its Bookbug reading programme for young children in 2011-12.

Today’s announcement will enable the Scottish Government to maintain funding for the Scottish Booktrust next year, at the current level of £1.05 million.

It will be used to support the Bookbug Programme which provides free books to all children in Scotland – at six weeks, 18 months, three years and in Primary 1. There are also Bookbug sessions in libraries and communities across the country.

The Scottish Government has also been working with the SBT to improve take up and coverage of the scheme in deprived communities, including better joint working through the Play, Talk, Read campaign.

Explicit links made between poverty and poor literacy

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A press release  annonces a ‘New era for Scottish literacy’.

 Breaking the long standing link between poverty and poor literacy will be the focus of action to improve literacy in Scotland.

Published today, the Literacy Action Plan – the first of its kind since devolution – includes a range of actions from early years through to employment, aimed at eradicating poor literacy across the country.

Key actions include:

• Vulnerable families to be targeted as part of the Play Talk Read campaign

• Curriculum for Excellence supporting literacy from a child’s early years

• New National Qualifications to support the development of literacy skills

• More support for workplace learning

Must be a good thing, especially when linked with the pledge to keep early years class sizes down to 25 or under.