The season is well underway, and so is Skip Cottage Curling. Many of you have been on the ice by now for your first club game. I see that more and more blogallies are accessing the site every day, and I'm heartened by this. There are lots of curlers, in Scotland and further afield, who want to know what's happening in the curling world. And that's how I see the function of Skip Cottage Curling, to celebrate the various dimensions of our sport in the best way I can, on a daily basis throughout the season.
Yesterday was the deadline for contributions to the Royal Club's new electronic magazine, YOUR Curler. A letter was sent out back in July to, amongst others, all those who had been involved with me in my seven years as Editor of the Scottish Curler. It said, "A huge gap was left when the old Scottish Curler magazine ceased publication and since then there has been no other outlet for Club and local curling news, or the wider issues surrounding the game."
So, Skip Cottage Curling is not considered an outlet for the wider issues in our sport! Never mind the slap in the face that I felt when I read this, I found that last phrase a bit rich coming from the Royal Club which chose totally to ignore on its website Lord Doherty's decision in the Court of Session to award damages to one of its Scottish Champions who had sued the National Coach for defamation, see here. The biggest story of the year, but not even a mention. Can the Royal Club ever take an independent, unbiased view, I wonder?
If you want to discuss the wider issues in the sport, there is of course the Scottish Curling Forum. How much better could it be if some at the Royal Club got involved in these discussions? After all, the Royal Club has now embraced Facebook and Twitter.
However, we don't carry grudges at Skip Cottage, and I am on record as being supportive of the YOUR Curler initiative. I am looking forward to the first issue dropping into my email IN box. I understand it will go out to more than 7000 of the Club's members.
I do like to have the opportunity to discuss the 'wider issues surrounding the game'. I usually confine my own views to the occasional editorial, based on my own observations and what others who love the game say to me. There's a new editorial today, see here. I wonder if my own views therein will be favoured by Royal Club stalwarts. I suspect not.
I am grateful to my 'blog supporters' - my advertisers - who help me to offset some of my expenses. You will have seen many of them before, from last season. Braehead and Forfar Indoor Sports are two rinks that appreciate what I'm trying to do, as is Curl Aberdeen in the guise of the Petrofac Aberdeen City Open. You want financial advice, then I can point you in the direction of Ferguson Oliver. McMillan Hotels were the first to offer support when I started up the blog, and the Scottish Liqueur Centre, home to Bruadar and Columba Cream, is continuing its support, even though the company will not be the title sponsor of the Scottish Curling Championships this season. British Curling Supplies try to keep me looking smart, and is your source for curling equipment.
You will notice two new links this season. The first is to Ailsa Craig Jewellery, the place to head when you are looking for that elusive Christmas present for a friend or loved one. A wee curling stone, perhaps? And then, mindful that many reading the blog don't just play curling, I welcome Happy Golf as a blog supporter. Happy Golf has become the main web site in the UK and Ireland for amateur golf events. The proprietors have an offer for any reading this who might have accommodation available for enthusiastic golfers. There is an exclusive offer for Skip Cottage surfers/curlers of 50% discount on their Accommodation Listing. Link can be found here.
But what made the difference last season was the generosity of friends and supporters of the blog who gave generously to keep me on the road. It does not come easily to me to ask for help, but you all know how everything is getting more expensive these days. So, if you can spare even a few pounds, and want Skip Cottage Curling to continue, your support would be much appreciated. You can donate online, or my address is in the contact bar above. Perhaps those who are in the habit of pinching photos from Skip Cottage without permission and without posting a credit on their Facebook albums or blog might consider donating towards new, much needed, camera equipment. If all who do this were to donate a pound coin every time they remove a photo, I would have fewer financial worries!
Have a great season everyone!