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WHEN Robert Louis Stevenson collapsed and died whilst opening a bottle of wine in the early morning of 3 December 1894, the Samoan islanders whose cause he had championed insisted on standing guard outside his home until daybreak.
OLIVER Goldsmith's perceptive description of the village schoolmaster in his epic poem The Deserted Village sums up perfectly the traditional view of a good old-fashioned British education. Teachers were strict and imposed discipline along with the three Rs. Unless told to speak, children were expected to be seen and not heard.
DONALD Trump has made his mind up then. The windswept, 800-acre site at Balmedie in Aberdeenshire is to become the "greatest golf course in the world". It will boast a 500-bedroom hotel to rival that at Turnberry in Ayrshire and will one day host the Open Championship.
LITTLE did the good people of Selkirk realise, when an Edinburgh archer named Charles Nairn competed for, and won, the town's most ancient and prestigious sporting prize - the Silver Arrow - that it would be nearly two centuries before the historical artefact was returned.
HE WAS one of the greatest military and political heroes in United States history, the founding father of modern-day Texas after whom the fourth largest city in America is named.
THE ROBOTIC piper designed by academics at a US university is to make its Scottish performing debut - with a little help from scotsman.com.
HE WAS arguably America's greatest short-story teller, satirist and wit. The son of an Orkney sailor who settled in the New World, he went on to become the first American writer to achieve international fame and that country’s first true "literary artist".
LOCH of Skene is a dark and forbidding place at the best of times, particularly so on cold evenings in the dead of winter - the type of weather there in Aberdeenshire that makes the waters freeze over. On such occasions those who dare venture to the lochside can gaze out at what seem like a mysterious set of curved tracks embedded in the ice. Tracks which look newly made by a coach or carriage.
WHEN the controversial plan to amalgamate Scotland's infantry regiments into one "super-regiment" was announced, the Black Watch was on duty in southern Iraq. Opponents to the decision shook their heads in dismay. It seemed a particularly insensitive way to handle what was already a highly emotional move.
IT IS enough to make traditional Scottish bagpipe aficionados choke on their chanters and mutter darkly that "it could only happen in America".
SO BEGINS the ballad of the quaint 13th-century figure known as Scotland's Nostradamus and his enchantment by the Queen of the Fairies.
IT WAS 7pm on 21 December 1988, a wet and miserable winter evening. In the small Dumfriesshire market town of Lockerbie local people were looking forward to Christmas, some wrapping presents and others preparing their dinner. Fourteen-year-old Steven Flannigan had just braved the weather to go to a neighbour's house to set up his present of a new bicycle for his younger sister Joanne.
THE NAME of Henry James Bell has its own special place in the annals of nautical history. The engineer, born in Torphichen, West Lothian, designed the world's first practical steamship, the Comet, and had it built in a shipyard in Port Glasgow. It was launched in 1812 and is one of Scotland's much-lauded inventions. Bell was a pioneer in his field in the early days of steamship transportation which were fraught with danger.
THE LYRICS of the lament are agonisingly accurate. When the horror and the enormity of Scotland's worst mining disaster began to sink in to the relatives of those left behind in the dingy little town known as "Dirty Auld Blantyre", their cries of sorrow could be heard for many a mile. The hills around Blantyre truly echoed with their mourning.
IT WAS the era of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. The Swinging Sixties were just that, a time when the Captain Mainwarings of regimented post-war Britain were swept away in an orgy of student demonstrations and Ban the Bomb marches. The country's rebellious youth got high on marijuana or LSD, women took the contraceptive pill and all indulged in "free love" - to the horror of their elders.
IT IS a well-oiled journalistic mantra - never let the facts get in the way of a good story. But there are some stories that contain so much information, most of it conflicting, that the process of separating fact from fiction becomes an almost impossible task. All of which brings us neatly to the town of Tobermory on the Isle of Mull - more specifically, to its bay.
DRIVE along the shores of Loch Oich - one of three lochs forming Scotland's Caledonian Canal - and you will find yourself amid some of the most spectacular Highland scenery imaginable. The view across the loch from the store in the village of Invergarry is breathtaking.
IT SOUNDS like one of these pieces of useless information that crop up in Scottish trivia quizzes. Which of the 52 cards in a standard set of playing cards is referred to as "The Curse of Scotland"?