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A sad farewell

Have been caught by my own writings today. Yesterday I discussed preparing for the unexpected. It is 1700 hours, and this is me just sitting down to write today's notes. They will be rather shorter as well as much later than ever before. Why?

After a week in the south, the return journey went fairly well albeit having to leave at 0715 for the four-hour drive up the A9 and then across from Aviemore to Keith and then home, was rather earlier than I would wish.

During the journey, several text messages came in. I have previously written about how smart the little three-year-old Honda that I got last December is. A prompt comes up to say that the phone has had a text message. A press of a button and it reads it out.

A very welcome message that my god-daughter Darcey made a successful transition from home to school. And thoroughly enjoyed doing so. Mum, on the other hand, is finding that the ergonomics of the kitchen, otherwise known as the office, is fighting her off via the gift of …
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Be prepared

Louis Pasteur said that, "Fortune favours the prepared mind".

But in undertaking my Parliamentary duties in Edinburgh, in the constituency or elsewhere, each activity requires preparation. Sometimes that preparation is a quick read of a note prepared by my staff who do much of the heavy-lifting that keeps the Stevenson show on the road. But much has to be personal. The first hour of the day when I read a variety of news media is my filling the brain with things to say when the question requiring an answer is one not previously anticipated.

But day to day preparation is a small part of preparation. Ron Rivest was the mathematician in a group of three who developed a viable public key cryptography system. What does that mean? Does it matter you might say?

Basically, it allows important, particularly financial, information to travel across the public internet without being either read or modified by anyone other than the intended recipient. When I say public internet, a compari…

Listening and speaking

We are now about seven months from the dissolution of Session 5 of our reconvened Parliament. And many members are making decisions about their political future. Yesterday, colleague Linda Fabiani was the latest to signal that she would not be a candidate in 2021 when the General Election for Session 6 takes place.

The reasons will be very varied. When someone who has yet to reach middle age decides to leave us, the reasons are likely to include social issues. It has long been recognised that being an elected Parliamentarian means taking up a job that is anything but nine to five.

It's not the only job where one may be away from home many nights each year. Just ask the many offshore oil workers who will be away for several weeks at a time. Or fisherman who spend their week in often stormy waters to bring a delicious array of marine bounty to our tables.

Many riggies come from the North-East of England and have significant journies to make before starting their actual work. Like ma…