5 a day is good for your health

The health fanatics tell us that we need five pieces of fruit every day for our well-being. But we also maybe need five doses of something else each day for our health……Yesterday we were at Pitlochry with some friends to join in a Songs of Praise….and I think we achieved the five things we needed

  • Visiting a beautiful old Church in Blair Atholl 
  • Travelling in gorgeous  countryside
  • Good company
  • A sing-song of old and new hymns
  • Perfect weather
  • A ‘light supper’ provided by Holy Trinity Episcopal Church

Oh,dear, that’s six…never mind….That means I can carry one forward to today, now that I’m back at work!

How did your weekend go?

Where does it all go?

A question has arisen in my mind. The aforementioned wedding has (hopefully) a barbecue as part of the proceedings. But the weather forecast does not look too good. So that set me thinking. In spring and summer, supermarkets and garden centres are full of barbecues, patio heaters etc, and clothes shops are promoting skimpy beachwear (for the ladies at least!). The equivalent happens at Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day and Hallowe’en.

So, when the promised heat -wave does not arrive, or people are turned-off buying Christmas tree lights, chocolate and/or fireworks, what happens to all the unused stock? Are there large secret warehouses marked on the outside with their contents, which will not need to be looked at for twelve months? Do they suddenly become empty, or are there a succession of lorries in January, bringing in the un-sold Christmas tat, whilst at the other end of the building, other lorries are taking out all the Easter stuff still stored from the previous year? You can work out the rest of the sequence for yourself. In fact, come to think of it, the stock could be on moving pallets, trundling along at exactly the right speed to allow them to traverse the floor of the warehouse, just in time to be taken out at the next appropriate season.

C’mon, you great suppliers and warehouse builders, how about a round of applause for a brilliant idea……British inventors can still come up with the goods!

We’re off to a match..

………….No, not a football or rugby match….but one of the great rituals humanity has invented…a wedding. A son of one of our favourite couples is getting wed today in a lovely setting and we have been invited to witness the event.

Why do we all do this? Actually I think that the clothes industry had something to do with the concept of weddings, as the Young Lady of the house decided that certain items in her wardrobe HAD to be replaced, whilst I managed with a new shirt and dickie bow (Oh, yes, this is still high fashion for me! ).

We all dress up and make conversation with people we have never met before, and will probably never meet again, eat little nibbles which we know are not really allowed within the regime of eating which we should be following, sip at fizzy alcohol, while we know we still have to drive home, face the wrath of the Other Half if we are seen to be in the humorous company of a young lady half our age (or maybe even a third of our age!), and feel uncomfortable in those shoes which we really should have broken-in!…..and yet, and yet…..

There is still something about seeing two young people going through a rite of passage, which the Young Lady of the house, and I, undertook many years ago. Whether it is your own children, close friends you have known since their youth, or a totally unknown pair, we all hope for them the security and happiness we have enjoyed for almost four decades.

The problem is, expectations are probably much higher in most aspects of life, for them. Our generation often started off with very few material goods, and in fact we have some still. We were not well off and often had to make-do (a phrase not often used now-a-days).

Someone once said that you could tell you were getting old, as many a sentence started with ‘When I was your age…..’ and ended with ‘Of course, a pound was worth a lot of money then…..’. However, enough of my maudling memories.

No, really, I am looking forward to getting dressed-up, and seeing this young couple taking the next step in their lives together. I also suspect that it will not only be my Young Lady who has to wipe away a sentimental tear………

Songs of Praise

Final preparations are in hand to drive north on Sunday,with some good friends, to join the Churches in the Pitlochry area, to meet at the Festival Theatre Garden, and sing some well-kent melodies and harmonies.

For those of us who love to exercise our lungs in public, what is it that makes joining in a large choir so wonderful? Is it the comradeship, the mutual mistakes, the thrill of well-sung harmony, or some strange primitive sensation bringing us together in a common purpose, where no-one is more important than others, and equality is all?

A few months ago I joined over 500 other choristers in the Glasgow City Hall to practise and then perform the Brahms German Requiem, all on one day! Some feat…..and (besides several Austrian holidays) one of the few occasions when I was able to justify the time spent as a youth learning the gutteral formation of awkward long words!

However it was a wonderful event and the sheer numbers of those singing the same part as I was, carried me forward to the right notes (well, at least, mostly!).

So, be prepared for a report next week, on the weather, the singing, and the hardness of the seats (as we have been warned to bring cushions!).

Quo Vadis youth?

I think that the spate of killings by relatively-young people has introduced a scary aspect into our view of respect for others. The fact that a teenager can, by using a gun, knife, or simply a kick, deprive another person of the most human right of all, that of life, must be one of the greatest problem to be tackled by society. Surely the talk of human rights has to be applied first of all to a victim and his/her family, and must supercede the demands of a thug, of whatever age.

Just now we don’t seem to have a way for a large number of our young people to work off aggression or energy in a constructive manner. Many of course do get through the difficult time of teenagehood unscathed, but what can be done about, or for those who go badly off the rails?

Is it beyond the wit of parents, friends, teachers, society in general, and Governments, to develop the concept of respect for the property and life of others….or have we all, in our own way, lost some of that respect so they are only a reflection of what they see in us?

Losing direction?

The old faithful Sat Nav has started to give problems. I’ve had it for several years and it has been a faithful servant. Now, let’s get one thing straight…. I loved geography at school, I can read maps, and I have always loved planning (just ask the family), and then finding my way along a journey, whether it be on  holiday or on business.

However, with today’s busy roads, and the extremely large atlases now on sale, it is hardly practical or safe to be trying to navigate in this manner. So, a new one had to be acquired, and a new set of instructions and display options to be mastered…..all just in time for a number of long-distance journeys about to be undertaken.

But the atlas will still be with us…just in case!

Harbinger of Autumn….in August?

We live close to an area of old peat-diggings, called Lenzie Moss. It is a protected area with a range of wildlife, which is sensitively used by local residents and it also has a group of Friends. In summer it dries up and you can see and feel the well-known material we all sprinkle on our garden. In winter it can become a dangerous quagmire,  and it is advisable to stick to the paths and duck-boards. As autumn approaches, it produces a morning mist which is plainly visible to us as we eat breakfast. Today, this mist has appeared, and there is a lot of condensation on the car windows, there are no clouds in the sky, just that lovely even colour which is a harbinger of a fine day ahead. So maybe the Moss is just playing a joke on us, and Autumn isn’t here yet……

I to the hills will lift mine eyes….

Ever so apposite in the last few days. From our front bedroom we look out on the Campsie Fells. A low sun on a cloudless sky can make them look incredibly three-dimensional…and when the orange globe starts to take its rest, then suddenly we see a great sleeping whale..

As if we’re not lucky enough, recent trips to Tighnabruaich, and Inverary (where we will soon be singing Evensong) must encompass two of the most wonderful and mind-blowing parts of Scotland. Still relatively-quiet roads enhance rather than ruin the countryside and ‘to travel is as pleasant as arriving’.

Kelvin shows a striking photo taken in Glasgow, and whilst he obviously loves the City, I still find a wonderful peace in the rural scenery…must be my Irish countryside upbringing!

Wherever you find your peace I hope the weather will rest from the irritation it has caused us all recently.

Garden observations

After yesterday’s rain, today allowed some gardening clear-up to be done. Roses, with black-spot-covered leaves, have been disappointing but taking away a lot of growth has uncovered another world, which has not been seen for a while.

Snails, spiders (large and minute), red ‘blood’ mites, and slaters have all had their world disturbed in the name of tidiness. They will no doubt find another area of cover, and the foliage has been neatly diced, to go off in the green bin to the great Council Recycler.

The garden border looks very bare now, but the smaller plants are getting some more light, so they will be happy……so not a bad day all round…….that is until the Young Lady of the house demands some weeding!


Car v Bus (2)

Luckily we took the car, as it poured, and poured, and poured! Got what I needed and came home, whilst the Young Lady did not purchase anything! To celebrate this unusual event we got some very expensive Thornton’s chocs….still it was worth the price!