Thats me in the kilt.
With just a few days to go before the referendum in Scotland I thought I would write my thoughts on the subject so they are not clouded by the result. Firstly, I think I should give you a potted history as to my connection with the country.
I was born in Plymouth, England to a Scottish mother and an Irish father. I have two older sisters, the eldest being the only one actually born in Scotland, a fact she has never let us forget. I lived in England for the first two years of my life before the family moved back to Scotland. We lived just outside Moffat, Dumfriesshire.
I was educated in Scotland. Firstly at the very quaint Miss MaCallams kindergarten then to Moffat Academy for a couple of years before my parents enrolled me as a weekly border at Rickerby House in Ecclefechan or EccyFeccy as its known locally. After this I somehow managed to pass the common entrance into Glen Almond. Later I went to university in Newcastle upon Tyne and after that went to live in London. So as you can see the formative years of my life were spent in Scotland and we VERY rarely left its borders.
Over the years since I left Scotland I have always said Scotland if anyone asks me where I come from. I do this because that is where I feel I come from. Scotland has shaped me. Scotland has influenced me.
And yet on the eve of the referendum I don't feel I know it at all. To see such a divided country in their outlook saddens me. Which ever side wins they will do so knowing that a huge amount of their countrymen don't feel the same way.
Historically the connection has always been strained but James VI and Ist managed to bring the two countries together and ever since both countries have rubbed along together quite nicely, in my opinion anyway.
I do however believe that the cry for independence if won should be just that, total independence. I don't see why they would want to be connected in anyway shape or form to England. And good luck to them if they get it.
But I don't want them to get it. I don't want Scotland to be independent. To me, they are the same. Going to Scotland to see my parents was going home, not going to Scotland. I feel I should be able to vote yet cannot. this infuriates me as there are so many Scottish people around the world who have no voice, either way.
As you can see in the photograph, on my wedding day I chose to wear a kilt for no other reason that I couldn't imagine wearing anything else for such a significant day in my life. Not as some political statement, just because I feel Scottish.
I still feel Scottish but if the YES vote win I might not be as quick to say Scotland when asked where I come from and that saddens me. Greatly.