Boarding @ Home: Day 108/84: Paper soldiers in Scottish Field?
Getting PR in Lockdown ...on being countercyclical! Martha Bryce, who runs our PR in Scotland, put out our press release some three weeks ago, when real life was in total hiatus. It's always been my tactic in 'bad' times to put out stories or promotion so that journalists with words to pen every day/ week/ month can have a choice of copy. At MCB where we were spending £2m each year on leaflet promotion we always stayed with it when library budgets were being cut because most of the pack cancelled their publicity; and it always, yes always, worked. Such was my ambition when we rejigged our 275 Commemorations in June to be 'more' digital but still offering as much f2f as possible in September. The response was mixed and not good until the Press Association picked up the release and began spreading it about … with the result that Scottish Field below ran the message and later this week The Times is on to it as well. We can't celebrate the 275th Anniversary next year because that's Culloden and Falkirk's 275th; it's 2020 or nothing for us. As the cutting below shows it's the paper soldiers that Arran cut and pasted two years back that have caught the attention …
Pay Your Taxes by July 31st or delay till January 31st 2021? The way we work/ trade means Avril and I make considerable donations in Scotland in support of the Battle Trust and Barons Courts so we are paying our income tax with Gift Aid clawbacks on 40% rate in two parts of which the second 'was' July 31st but the Chancellor's Covid packages allows it to be delayed until January 31st 2021. No interest added! We've decided to pay now because of course in 2021 there will be the next half year to pay as well …. But so far today has been good news for the Prestoungrange Gothenburg, assuming Scotland goes with the flow. The Chancellor's announced a service industry selective VAT vacation and reduced that tax from 20% to 5% in hospitality and events from next Wednesday …. [that's us!] and during August maximum of £10 per head eating out voucher for everyone in the land on Mondays/ Wednesdays. And a £1,000 per person Bonus to employers for each one of their furloughed staff who comes back and is still in post by January 2021. Can't say he's not creative; hat off from me.
Zooming again today with Scottish Battlefields Trust [SBT]. I've got to log off this Blog in a moment or two because the SBT is having its quarterly webinar Trustees' Meeting at 4pm. It's been hard hit by the pandemic as we sought to wind up the Historic Environment Scotland [HES] 3 year project for East Lothians' battlefields. We've made much progress in Dunbar  and with developing a template/ guide for the 40 Inventoried National Battlefields across the nation where SBT aims to give myriad fillips from 2021 onwards … if we can get more HES support. The discussion concluded to take it steadily and use the Draft Template as the basis for discussions with HES and build to a mutually agreed approach for September 2021 rather than another shot in the dark, so to speak. Meanwhile myriad bits and bats arise. Once again there was a 100% turnout of Trustees on screen as we found with the Trustees of Prestonpans. There's clearly a moral to that which we must capture and understand and carry forward as we devine how the putative Centre for Prestonpans can simultaneously be both digital and human f2f. But then again, the concluding comments as the next meeting date was set was the hope it can be f2f again on October 14th!
...continuing our counties - a Jacobite cameo in Wiltshire. At the time of the invasion at Torbay by William of Orange and James' daughter Mary in 1688 King James II gathered his main forces, altogether about 19,000 men, at Salisbury. James himself arrived on 19 November 1688 but his troops were not keen to fight William and Mary and the loyalty of many was in doubt. First blood was shed at the Wincanton Skirmish in Somerset where the Scots Brigade of the Dutch Army was defeated on November 20th. Whilst in Salisbury James heard that some of his officers such as Edward Hyde had deserted. History tells he broke out in a nose-bleed which he took as a bad omen only compounded when his commander in chief, the Earl of Feversham, advised retreat on 23 November. The following day John Churchill, a longstanding supporter and later to rise to Duke of Marlborough], deserted to William and on 26 November James's second daughter Princess Anne did the same. [She was of course destined to succeed William III & Mary II as Queen in 1702 until 1714.] King James II returned to London that same day never again to be at the head of a serious military force in England and fled to France in December. The only other encounter between loyal Irish Catholic troops and the Dutch was at Reading on December 9th where the invaders won the day with the active support of the townsfolk. The route the invaders took, The Orange Way, passes near where the Kennet & Avon Canal towpath stands and runs for 350 miles from Torbay to London, pictured below in Wiltshire.
Published Date: July 8th 2020