What a guy!

I’m not a great TV buff, but I was intrigued with the programme last night, charting the efforts of a 16-year-old Eton boy called Alex. He suffers from Cystic fibrosis, which is normally a debilitating condition. But from somewhere, this highly-gifted lad (he is a brilliant organist) was able to carry out his ambition to conduct the College choir and orchestra.

He endured the routine of pills (over 50 a day), injections and physio with fortitude and achieved his ambition, to the acclaim of his Master, family and friends. I hope we hear more of this lad. he seemed to prove that an illness does not have to mean a disability.

Anyone who, having seen this programme, complains of a cold or a headache, should be ashamed of themselves!

Words, words….

You only have to read some random blogs to appreciate the richness of the language we share. We are lucky to live and work within the framework of a tremendously-eclectic group of scribbles on paper to which we attach meanings, which in turn can be understood by others.  Those of us who blog obviously love the written word, and because of the fact of having to type them, we can take the time to choose and change them. We also have the luxury to savour the words themselves, and I know that sometimes I allow myself a wry smile if I find a good combination of words to express what I mean.

Lady loves reading fiction and autobiographies, whilst I like factual books, and we both do Crosswords and all the more recent variants, so we are both lovers of the written word.

But have you noticed that I haven’t mentioned the spoken word. Having spent the majority of my working life with those who have a hearing impairment, my great wish is to help them back to being able to enjoy the sounds of communication. Those who are profoundly-deaf have their own language (known as sign-language) with a syntax all of its own, but for those for whom the spoken word is the preferred choice, hearing and under-standing is what they want.

….so where is this leading?……..well, I would love to make a list of people’s favourite words…. say 5 or 6….. I once invented ‘intertwingled’, which I now use consistently.. have you ever made up a word, and what does it mean?

Please pass a link from here to your contacts and we might end up with an ‘alternative’ dictionary of useful words.

Now, that’s eating!

Daughter celebrated a rather important birthday yesterday, so as a family we all went out for a meal last night.

It was in a lovely town in Perthshire called Auchterarder (quite difficult for non-Scots to say!…..think of it as Och..terr…arr…dur…). It was at one time, on the main road from Dunblane to Perth, but now is by-passed. It was a good example of ‘ribbon-development’ where houses and shops were strung along both sides of the lovely wide road for over a mile.

In some ways it is a rather un-remarkable town (it does have the snooker player Stephen Hendry as an inhabitant!). But there is a wealth of lovely shops, as it is really the market town for the area, and they are well-worth seeing.

However, a few years ago, we were up seeing Daughter there and I suggested she look for a nice eaterie. She knew that we liked Italian food (but not excluding food from anywhere else!) and discovered Cafe Cento. For those with a classical background (or even a bit of common sense) Cento means 100, in Italian, and the address is at 100 High Street….so it is really easy for me to remember the name and the address at the same time!

The couple who run it are obvious very enthusiastic about it and it deserves to be well used as the food, ambiance and the service are second to none. (Which reminds me, I must give Gordon Ramsay a phone to tell him he has some stiff competition up there)

So if you are heading north and see the sign for Auchterarder, take the time to have a nice evening meal at Cento……honest I have no shares there….would just wish them the best of luck!….Buon Appetito…….

Why irishpisky?

I’m intrigued with the wonderful range of nom-de-plumes used by bloggers! You only have to look at a few to realise the strangeness involved in coming-up with such a nickname. Many are down-right odd, others are quite plain, yet others are obviously a way for people to express themselves without any fear of criticism, (as many bloggers remain anonymous to all but a few close friends) and yet others must give us little insight into the person.

My own one is composite…I think the irish bit is a little obvious! The pisky part may not be so evident! It is a shortened form of Episcopalian, which is the scottish form of Anglican.

But it would not always have been so for me. Coming from a N Ireland Methodist background, and arriving in Scotland at an impressionable age (i.e. late teens) I met the person who was later to be the Young Lady of the House, and we eventually married. Her father was a minister of the Scottish Episcopal (Anglican) Church…..and the rest is history.

We attend the Cathedral, a wonderful building in the busy West End of Glasgow, close to the University of Glasgow, with a diverse ethnic congregation, growing at the rate of some 11% per year…. and not just old fogies like me! The music, architecture, ambiance, and above all, the friendship, is superb.

So if you are ever in Glasgow with an hour to spend, go along to Great Western Road, near Kelvinbridge subway.


Back home

Returned with the Young Lady of the House, last night, after spending a week in Cyprus, from Boxing Day (a very-early start!), an uneventful (but boring) flight to Paphos, and a week of over-eating, walking, reading, and generally lazing about, in the heat. Only in the last couple of days did we feel a slight ‘coolth’ (my word….opposite of warmth!) in the breeze.

A small amount of rain broke the clear sky one night, and, boy, they were glad to see it! They had had no rain from March to September, and since then, nothing worthwhile. So they have problems with availability of potable water, and yet there are obviously plans afoot to add even more complexes, resorts, hotels etc round Paphos. Can they not see that it is un-sustainable!

We did what we could to minimise our ‘water footprint’, and felt we were quite good, but what were we amongst so many?

Guilt about using water has disappeared now that we are home to the cold and wet, as we are having a snowstorm, but we still feel it is our duty to help the environment by wasting as little as possible.

We often wonder whether we would like to live in such an equitable climate, but there is something to be said for the large differences we see in our climate…..but maybe I could be pursuaded to stay in a warmer area just a little longer each year!