"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Tartan Day at the Capitol

Tartan Day in NH was officially on the 6th of April, by gubernatorial proclamation. However, the House wasn't in session that day, so we celebrated it today, with a little help from the School of Scottish Arts (its director was Queen Elizabeth's piper), the St. Andrew's Society of New Hampshire, and a distinguished visitor from Scotland. I was sporting my McCallum plaid, as usual.

The pipers assemble in the antechamber.

A quick sporran check before the start of festivities.

Piper piping.

We were honoured by the presence of the Lord Provost of Glasgow...Mr. Bob Winter, visiting NH in his official capacity. He made some charming remarks.

After his brief address, he was presented with a couple of jugs of NH maple syrup.

He presented NH with Scotch whisky. The really good stuff. (No question about who got the best in that exchange!)

In addition to the bagpipes, the dance students performed a Highland Reel. We also had some fiddle playing, as seen in this video:

We started the day's legislative activity in a time warp, because procedurally we hadn't adjourned from the March 26th session, meaning that in legislative time we were still stuck on March 26th. And we had to stay there for the purpose of reconsidering a particular controversial anti-discrimination bill that we had killed on the 26th, at the end of a long day. So for the next 3-plus hours some 15 amendments were proferred and debated. There was a late attempt to table the bill. And to indefinitely postpone it. All motions were voted down. At long last it was time to vote on the bill...it passed by a single vote! (Should I take credit? I was on the prevailing side....) I confidently predict that said bill is Dead on Arrival in the Senate and will never, ever make it to the Governor's desk.

By then I was wondering what had happened to that bottle the Lord Provost brought with him. I was ready for a wee, or not so wee, dram. And I don't even like Scotch!

Then we adjourned from the March 26th session, and hey, presto, it was April 8th. By then it was 2 p.m. and we were all starving so we recessed for lunch. I went with my regular lunch gang to the Thai place across Main Street. I ordered a starter, fried squid rings with a spicy vinegar-y dip.

Back into Reps Hall at 3:05 to begin the battle of the biennial budget, aka House Bill 1. There were a handful of amendments, and an effort to table, but we passed it. (By more than a single vote, I might add.) Tomorrow we take up the "trailer" bill, aka House Bill 2, which contains all the revenue mechanisms that fund the budget. Things like taxes (ooooh) and fees (double ooooh) and licenses (triple oooooooh) and tolls (quadruple oooooooooh) and raiding the Rainy Day Fund (actually, that shouldn't upset anybody too much...if these aren't rainy days, I don't know what is.)

I've had an intermittent headache all week long, and I'm starting to think it's budget-induced. Here's hoping that after we pass these bills over to the Senate, the ache will vanish.

Got some writing done. Think I hit my quota, or damn near.

Here at the Lodge we dined on gratin dauphinoise last night and therefore had the angel hair pasta and fresh pesto tonight. I only ate a little, 'cause I'd had lunch not that many hours earlier.

The full moon is spectacular tonight.

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