Hearts starlet Sam Nicholson admits he has been on a summer mission to bulk up in a bid to survive in the land of the giants.
The 20-year-old acknowledges that an almighty physical challenge awaits the Jambos as they step up from facing part-timers in the Championship to going toe-to-toe with likes of Celtic and Aberdeen on a weekly basis.
He even finds himself dwarfed in training this season, with Hearts’ recruitment policy clearly aimed at competing in the rough-and-tumble top flight. Juanma Delgado cuts a hulking figure at six-foot-three, Blazej Augustyn is just an inch shorter and Juwon Oshaniwa, who is Tynecastle-bound, stands at six-foot-one.
However, the diminutive winger insists he has been punching above his weight for his whole career.
And Nicholson, who made headlines around the world when suffered facial injuries due to a ‘Kung-fu’ challenge from Livingston’s Jason Talbot, insists he is up for the fight after hitting the gym with Hearts fitness guru John Hill in the close season.
The Scotland under-21 internationalist said: “I went away for a week in Portugal and a week in Ibiza, but apart from that I have been in all the time. I did gym work on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
“Our sports scientist Hilly [John Hill] would give us free time after it to do running if we wanted to, but for me I needed the gym work to get a wee bit bigger.
“I’ve struggled to put on weight for a couple of years, it seems to be the body type I have.
“I sort of came to an agreement with Hilly. I suggested that I needed to get bigger and he said straight away: ‘Aye, you definitely do!’
“I have noticed a difference although Blazej [Augustyn] and Juanma are a bit too big for me!
“Teams like Aberdeen and Celtic are full of guys like that but I don’t find it intimidating – I like a challenge.”
The imposing stature of his new teammates notwithstanding, it is their characters which have impressed Nicholson.
Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson has been candid in his desire to sign hard-working, amenable personalities, insisting the chemistry in the dressing room is almost as important as the quality.
Nicholson continued: “The new lads have all settled in really well. They are nice people and I think Robbie [Neilson] and Craig [Levein] are taking that into consideration.
“Everyone gets on well and we had that last season, the most important thing to have in a team is a good dressing room and I think we have that.
“I was sad to see other boys like James Keatings, Brad McKay and Danny Wilson go, but we wished them all the best and it is just part of football.”
Nicholson was a part of the Jambos side which endured relegation 2014 and, amid suggestions they could gatecrash the top six on their return to the top flight, he does believes the current side is better equipped than the one decimated by administration two years ago.
He added: “I think we have a stronger team this year than we had then. The top six is definitely a target. It’ll be a hard season for us but we’re looking forward to it.”]]>
Katherine Fotheringham, 37, was perched on a rocky outcrop called John Knox’s Pulpit, about to capture the beauty of the Lomond Hills, Fife.
Just as the sun burst through the thick clouds and she took the “perfect” snap on the 1,500ft peak, a ewe appeared from nowhere.
Katherine, from Skene, Fife, said: “We were quite high up. It just stuck its head around as I took the picture, it was quite funny at the time.”
The picture was uploaded to social media with the caption “Thank ewe!”.
It has attracted hundreds of likes and comments from people who couldn’t resist turning the photo into a pun.
Jean Bradley wrote: “How did ewe get away up there.”
John Campbell added: “What are ewe doing here.”
Ian McKellar joked: “Photobombing with style.”]]>
Rosy the golden Labrador was sighted adrift on Loch Broom, Wester Ross, which eventually leads out to the Atlantic ocean.
A local, ironically a kayaking instructor, took photos from his window of the amazing sight and uploaded them to Facebook.
He told friends the dog “had stolen” the kayak from his neighbours.
The six-year-old pet spent half an hour on the water and was eventually returned to shore by a rescue party in a rowing boat.
Investigations eventually pointed to that perennial parental problem – bored teenagers on their summer holiday.
Rosy had been playing with her owner’s sons, Michael, 18, and Sean Obsorne, 15, at the water’s edge near the harbour in Ullapool.
At some point Rosy ended up in the kayak and being carried out to sea as the boys watched helplessly.
Will Goodall Copestake, a 24 year old outdoor instructor, posted on Facebook as the incident unfolded: “In more interesting news…my neighbour’s dog just stole his kayak and now seems to be thinking ‘this was a bad choice’….”
He later said: “The kids were mucking around and the dog just jumped in and floated out.
“It could probably have done with using a paddle.”
Owner Lisa Osborne, 56, said: “It was a beautiful day. One of the best this year.
“She was out with my sons, they were kayaking. There’s a curve to the beach, so she was heading out past the pier.
“She was out for about half an hour, sitting there solidly. She’s a very relaxed dog, she has great faith in her humans.
“They just assumed the canoe would come back in, but she just kept going.”
Michael said: “It was about 5pm, we had just come down to the beach for a bit of a play.
“We didn’t expect her to go so far, so we launched the other boat we had.
“She seemed quite relieved to be rescued – she didn’t climb into the boat straight away but she did when I told her to.
“She just sort of clambered out. I think she had been quite happy sitting there.”
He added: “She’s normally quite a lazy Labrador. She just lies about in the sun and she’s quite fond of her food.”]]>
Irene Smith was one the first pupils at Bell’s Brae Primary, Lerwick, Shetland, when it opened in 1957 and returned 19 years later as a teacher.
In her first ever P1 class in 1976 was a girl called Jennifer Wadley.
Jennifer herself went on to be a teacher at the same school and is now taking over the top job at Bell’s Brae from Irene, 65.
And Irene not only inspired her replacement as headteacher. The newly-appointed deputy head of the school, Cheryl Simpson, 37, was also a student of Irene’s in the class of 1983.
Speaking of Jennifer, Irene said: “She was a good student, they were a lovely class that first class
“She was a very conscientious pupil. She had a lovely smile, I remember that.”
Irene added: “It’s lovely to see former pupils having the same commitment to teaching.
“There is a bond there – an understanding and familiarity.
“It’s so nice to think you’ve had some impact, that they’ve wanted to go into the same career as you.”
Irene herself was promoted to deputy head of the school, which has almost 400 pupils, in 1994, was acting headteacher in 2004 and was running the school again this year until her retirement.
Irene, whose last official day at work was today, said: “The funny thing is, I never applied to be headteacher. I just stepped up.
“People do come back to Shetland, but I don’t think this has happened at Bell’s Brae before.”
A 1976 class picture shows Irene standing proudly next to the class, with Jennifer beaming out from the front row.
Jennifer remembers fondly her time in P1, saying: “Irene was always a very calm person.
“She has such a lovely way with words.”
She added: “I always wanted to be a teacher, right from the very start, and that was down to the fact that all of the teachers were fun and caring and supported you.
“I never wanted to do anything else.”
She recalls returning to her old school as a part of work experience programme, and Irene’s words of encouragement: “If this is what you want, go for it!”
“I’ve learned so much from her”, she added.
Jennifer, who was Jennifer Sinclair when a pupil at the school, said Irene always stood out in her recollection of primary school.
“I can remember that Irene was always visible.
“When I was in P2 Irene and my class did a celebration for the Queen’s jubilee.”
She added that Irene’s support continued through her time as a pupil, teacher training and returning to the school.
When she started at the school as a rookie teacher, Irene was there to inspire.
Jennifer said: “She would always be stopping by and asking how you were getting on, and saying,’Go for it!’”
“For me it was quite lovely coming in. I can honestly say I got nothing but support.”
Mrs Wadley also nominated Mrs Smith for a Lifetime Achievement award at this year’s Scottish education awards.
As part of the nomination process she gave a glowing report of her former teacher.
“She will cover a class with an engaging lesson at a moment’s notice, supervise at breaktime, referee a football match, dry tears, sort out disputes, ensure a lost child gets home, organise a school trip, spend a sleepless night in the local outdoor centre, search for a missing jacket, be a DJ, take the role of a Victorian headmistress…the list is endless!”
Irene took home the lifetime achievement award at a ceremony on June 10.
The £2,000 devices, which create a thick fog-like cloud, are usually fitted in high-end jewellers and banks.
But a video shows how a Fog Bandit was tested inside a barn containing tractors and other equipment worth tens of thousands of pounds.
As soon as the alarm is triggered, at a farm in Jedburgh, Scottish Borders, a dense cloud fills the interior and can be seen billowing out of the doors.
Tractor and quad bike theft has increased threefold in five years with organised gangs stealing to order.
It is hoped the devices, which can fill a garage with fog so thick you can’t see your hand in front of your face, will protect farmers and their expensive equipment.
Kerry Barr, Lothians and Borders manager for National Farmer’s Union (NFU) Scotland, saw the machines in action at an event on a farm this week.
“It’s a very good deterrent I thought,” she said: “It is very disorientating. I do think it would genuinely work.
“There were a lot of people impressed by it and how quickly you couldn’t see anything.
“I would certainly urge farmers to look into different things and try new methods of deterrents.”
Fog Bandits hit the headlines in September last year when a gang, who carried out a £230,000 raid at a the Argyll Arcade, were seen running from the heist after the fog alarm was triggered.
Dramatic footage showed what looked smoke filling the arcade as the thieves, dressed in dark clothing, ran away. Three men will be sentenced in July after admitting at the High Court in Glasgow to armed robbery.
David Jordan, Sales Manager for Bandit UK, is carrying out demonstrations thoughout Scotland.
He said: “It gets a signal from the alarm system – the alarm sounds and fills the space with a dense fog. What can’t be seen can’t be stolen.”
Gavin Millar (40), who has a farm in the Scottish Borders, also had one of the machines fitted to his garage for a demonstration. He said: “I thought it was excellent.
“The whole place was filled within seconds – you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face.”
He continued: “Rural crime is an increasing problem – every year it appears there is more.”
Police officer Kirsty Neish from the Police Scotland’s Safer Communities team was at one of the demonstrations and said: “It’s an unusual device.
“If you have a small barn where you store quad bikes or power tools for example, it’s an excellent bit of kit.”
She continued: “Rural crime always affects the Scottish Borders. It’s definitely a deterrent.”
She said the fog has a menthol smell so it is not mistaken for smoke from a fire.
“It’s really surreal,” she added.
The Scot dared to critique one of the championship’s best loved traditions yesterday after being served the £8-a-time drink stuffed with massive sprigs of mint.
The gin-based spirit is mixed with lemonade and fruit to make the iconic tennis tipple but a bartender near centre court appeared to have got carried away while serving Andy’s mother.
Pimm’s themselves admitted it was not the “best serve” they’d seen this week.
Judy, who has been at Wimbledon all week, posted a snap of her drinks on twitter just hours after her son sailed through to the third round of the men’s singles.
Next to the photo taken with the grass courts of the All-England Club in the background she wrote: “I love to Pimm. But seriously, what’s with the foliage overdose? #pointless”
As well as the usual cucumber and fruit pieces, sticks of mint can be seen hanging out the top of the glass.
About 230,000 glasses of the very British cocktail are sold at Wimbledon each year. A large one will now set you back 20p more than the £7.80 it cost in 2014.
Some tried to convince Judy of the upside to excessive greenery like ?Carol Strach who replied: “It’s the health option Judy, healthy!”
But others were more critical of the efforts of bar staff.
Joanne Davies ?wrote: ”That is ridiculous!! Will go up your nose!!”
Grant Kane ?added: I’d be more concerned about the spillage as a result of too much foliage.”
While someone calling himself Partick Princess claimed: “Sloppy delivery too!! #PimmsOClock”
The official twitter account for the drink also responded to the unusual garnishing.
“Certainly not the best serve we’ve seen this week,” @PimmsGB wrote. “Do we spy an unforced error in the foreground?”
This is not the first time the club’s take on Pimm’s has faced criticism.
Last year scientific analysis revealed tennis fans were getting Pimm’s from Wimbledon so diluted it had just 2.5 per cent alcohol – half as strong as is officially recommended.
A spokesman said that customers could request a Pimm’s without ice if they did not want to water their drink down.]]>
Rankin suggests his caffeine habit could be part of his success, saying some of the ideas come when he’s “wired to the universe” at bedtime.
The 55-year-old admitted to his coffee habit in an article for lifestyle magazine ShortList.
He admits that when he began writing, he thought “booze was the answer” but found that the words “turned to mush with the aid of a couple of whiskies”.
The “real sharpener”, he discovered, was coffee.
“It kickstarts my day and powers me through the working hours,” he said.
“So what if I’m consequently wired to the universe when bedtime comes? Sometimes the ideas come then, too.”
He admitted that as a teenager, he added three spoons of sugar to his cup to improve the “blandest supermarket offering” that his parents would buy.
However, his grandmother then gifted him an old-fashioned percolator, which produced coffee leaving him “twitching for Britain”.
It was during a trip to Seattle that he first encountered American coffee giant Starbucks.
“To this day I remember my first hit of that smoky, almost burnt confection,” he said.
“People often talk of ‘meat sweats’, but this experience went beyond that. I was having coffee sweats, my toes tingling, synapses zinging.
“This was coffee as crack and I wanted more, more, more.”
Rankin also revealed that he used to frequent the same Edinburgh cafe as JK Rowling and Alexander McCall Smith, where coffee was a “godsend” when he was stuck on a story.
He concluded: “I can’t imagine starting the day without coffee.
“It has inspired artists and writers for centuries, and will continue to do so.”
In a reference to TS Eliot’s poem ‘The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock’, he added: “I measure my life in coffee spoons.”
Scots athlete Sir Chris Hoy has also spoken of his love for the drink – and is so hooked that he even brought a coffee machine with him to the Olympics in 2012.
He admits that be became obsessed after taking a barista course in Perth, Australia, and his daily ritual involves picking out his favourite beans before grinding them.]]>
The General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) ruled that Ciaran Earle was guilty of misconduct but would not be struck off the register.
Mr Earle admitted to driving while over the legal limit in Edinburgh 2003 after drinking two pints before getting behind the wheel.
In 2009 he was convicted for another driving offence, this time for driving at 40 miles per hour in a 30 zone, again in Edinburgh.
While in 2013 he was found to have driven a van without a valid licence or insurance.
However, the teaching watchdog said Mr Earle’s drink drive conviction was more than 11 old and happened before he was a teacher.
It concluded: “The Panel did not consider that one drink driving conviction in 2003 and one speeding conviction in 2009 demonstrated a pattern of behaviour which showed a disregard for the criminal law.”
In regards to the charges for driving without a valid licence or insurance the panel accepted that was “a result of an administrative error on the part of the DVLA”.
It concluded: “The Panel determined that the Respondent’s fitness to teach is not impaired.”
The GTCS did not identify the school Mr Earle teaches in.]]>
The popular Sunday evening programme will come to Balmoral, near Ballater, on Thursday 30 July.
Some of Britain’s leading antiques and fine arts specialists will be on hand to offer free advice and valuations to visitors, who are invited to raid their attics and bring along their family heirlooms, household treasures and car boot bargains for inspection by the experts.
Antiques Roadshow presenter Fiona Bruce said: “This will be my 8th year on the Antiques Roadshow and I still feel so lucky to be presenting the programme.
“Every week is different; a new location and thousands of new visitors. The only constant is the pleasure of the unexpected – we never know what will turn up, from the most fabulous Faberge to the most humble object with a riveting story.”
During the last series the Antiques Roadshow unearthed some amazing finds – a portrait by a renowned artist painted on a pillowcase in a POW camp, Star Wars memorabilia valued at £40,000 and a Chinese enamel box bought for 20p and worth over £10,000.
The doors open at 9.30am and close at 4.30pm. Entry to the show is free and no pre-registration is required.
The Grounds, Gardens and Exhibitions will be open as usual and the normal admission charge will be waived on the day. Parking will be within the Estate on grass and there will be a parking charge of £5 per car. The car parks on the A93 will be closed for the day.
People with large or heavy items should email: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Antiques Roadshow, BBC, Whiteladies Road, Bristol BS8 2LR, as we may be able to help transport them to the venue.]]>
15 bat-wielding teams participated in the frenzied contest, including groups from Disability Sport Aberdeen, Aberdeen Inspired and Instant Neighbour.
But it was the team from YO! Sushi Union Square who were crowned the Ping Pong champs after battling it out against the Hazelhead Hawks. The winning team walked away with a £200 gift card and a £500 donation to their chosen charity, MS Society Scotland.
Union Square General Manager, Ryan Manson, said, “Today’s ping pong tournament was a huge success.
“Not only did we have a total of fifteen teams take part, but we saw some amazing skill and fighting spirit – and whether you were taking part or observing, it was great entertainment here in the centre.
“A huge congratulations to the winners from YO! Sushi. We are looking forward to next year and hope to see our winning team defend their well earned title”]]>