Seeing Red

The topic for Kilbarchan’s meeting last week was ‘Red’ and it was interesting to see how this was interpreted. We learnt that Red was the first colour babies could see and also that many animals were not actually red – the red fox and red squirrel were good examples.

With a similar theme we heard about Vivaldi with his crop of curly ‘red’ hair ( actually ginger) inherited from his father, which prompted friends to nickname the composer ‘il Prete Rosso’ – the Red Priest. He probably should have been unfrocked for his unsavoury behaviour with young girls but was a talented and prolific composer, admired and copied by Bach.

We heard about the Lion Foundry in Kirkintilloch where many of the iconic Red phone boxes were made and the meaning of Red in difficult cultures around the world were also mentioned. Communism and Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book with Red also being the colour thought to bring good luck and fortune in China.

Red knitted hearts, made during Covid times for loved ones was next and Russia’s Red flag and the colour Red also featuring in their traditional costumes – also seen in traditional dresses in Mexico and the Flamenco dresses of Spain. However, the iconic Red Bullfighting cloth doesn’t make the bull mad at all because bulls can’t see that colour – who knew?

Then onto R E D – a local driving school which led to learning that Driving Tests began in 1903 but did not become compulsory until 30 years later and that Sat Nav’s became part of the test in 2017. Scotland has 9 of the 10 best test centres in the UK. The 10 worse are all in England’s inner cities. In 2021/22 52.5 % of male drivers passed 1st time with 48.2% of women.

Lastly, everyone’s favourite, the Robin. Many were surprised to hear that Robins, who are quite territorial, only live an average of 13 months so the one they thought came back each year (not that they go far) was likely not to be the same one.