An Honourable Member?


We have been involved with a couple of politicians over the fast few days. They were different in every way; one is a middle-aged male local councillor whom some would say has a reputation for using his physical presence , incisive questioning, and vocal power to get things done; the other is Westminster’s youngest lady MP, demure, quietly-spoken, inclined to listen a lot, with a disarming smile.

The first was chairing a meeting on the effect of various roadworks on our local economy. During it all he defended the office-bearers and paid members of the local Council, and he also accepted that he as one of the elected councillors must take the rap for any gross errors. Now why can’t others be prepared to make that statement….and maybe a few Bank Directors and Chairmen!!

The young lady MP in question was on a fact-finding mission, visiting our two shops (amongst other places) this morning. Son has known her during his political dalliances. They had not met for some years but she still remembered his name and even where he lived. She showed a genuine interest in our businesses and asked intelligent questions. She had a good knowledge of life in general but it was still amazing to think that as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, she might be responsible for such a tremendous responsibility come the next election!. It was a thoroughly-enjoyable meeting and I hope she took away a number of opinions which might help to mould her future thinking!

So, two quite different politicians from different parties,who, in their own way, have a passion about politics……but, I believe, for the benefit of their electors….who are after all paying the piper!

More power to their political elbow!

Good Gracious!

I had to attend a meeting on Saturday in Stansted regarding my profession of audiology. Like many others we can only keep our licence to practice, by acquiring a number of ‘points’ . These indicate that we are keeping ourselves up-to-date with current ‘best practice’.

They can sometimes be no better than social events, but this one actually proved very good. The final speaker was from a charity called Hearing Concern, on the south coast of England, and was given by someone of whom I had never heard. However, I occasionally detected a slight intonation or phrase from my home country Northern Ireland. I was just about able to say the county from which it came, and then the thought would be ‘Maybe it’s just my imagination.’ There had been some questions and answers at the end, in which I participated.

She came over to speak to me afterwards, and it was then that I asked her where the accent was from. ‘I was just going to ask you the same question’ she said. It turned out that we were both from Lisburn near Belfast; both went to the same small High School; knew manyof the same teachers, despite a 9 year difference, and she lived very close to where my folks had lived!

Some co-incidence!

Really just a small cog….

I know we are all pre-occupied with our own time on this earth, and the short section of time we call life. However to put this very basic information into perspective, it is very salutory to watch the following website, for just a few minutes, and see how we fit-in to the larger picture, and also how much pollution we are producing as a nation. Have a look at it. …’s fascinating!

Singing in Argyll….NOW WITH PHOTO


 On Sunday our Choir ‘Angelus Singers’  went to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ballachulish, at Argyll near famous Glencoe, for the service of Sung Evensong. You can’t miss the Church, in its glorious setting halfway between Glencoe and the Ballachulish Bridge. It has an ancient history with the graveyard of especial historical interest, and they have the Communion Cup and Plate reputedly used by the Jacobites just before Culloden. The building is in some need of restoration, but the beauty is still evident. 

The fact that we were asked made us feel very proud, as the area of course is full of musical choirs, who participate in the Mod Festival, and Gaelic is still extensively spoken.We were supplemented by some local choir members, and a total of  18 singers filled the choir stalls. This allowed us to have a rousing service of well-known hymns, traditional sung responses, collects, Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, and Psalm 119 (only a small part!). In addition we had an Introit and Anthem. The performance of the latter, ‘I saw a new heaven’…. was a first performance. Words of the Revelation of St John were the inspiration of this piece, and it is dedicated to the present congregation, and those who have gone before.

The weather was foul, during the two hour  journey both ways, but ballachulish-original-churchwe all arrived safely. We couldn’t  process from the ‘old church’ (really an old storehouse), to the ‘new church’  (1830’s)  because of the rain and snow.  The  organ then threw a tantrum by ‘ciphering’, when certain stops and notes got stuck and kept on playing! The organist kept her cool and and played well under the circumstances!

An excellent congregation had braved the weather, many from a long distance, and obviously enjoyed the old well-kent words, spoken and sung.
So it was a great event, and shows that many people working together, despite the many problems can produce something bigger than any of us.

How fortunate can anyone get to be in the midst of some of the most wonderful countryside in the world, and sing our hearts out!


Friend or Family?


A couple of Sundays ago our Provost at the Cathedral preached on the strange precept that we can turn a famous saying round and get nearer the truth.

We normally say that ‘You can choose your friends but not your family’. but he asked us to consider that ‘Your friendsare not really chosen, the friendship forms itself, but you do choose how you will relate to those we call ‘family’.’

It seemed a very strange concept to me, especially when we talk about ‘making friends’, but it set me to thinking……maybe certain friendships are ‘natural’ in that they seem to appear from no-where….a chance meeting on holiday, speaking to someone at a bus-stop… my case, meeting the Lady of the House first at a car with a puncture. There was nothing contrived about it…it just happened and that chance meeting has always felt as if it was meant to be and we were the lucky recipients of chance.

Family members are another matter…we have no choice of who are our relations….but we do actually decide and select those with whom we choose to keep in contact. We do act in different ways to nephews, neices, uncles, aunts, parents, children etc…..each interaction is different and we choose how we will communicate with them.

So do you get on better with friends or relations. Let me know….if you have the courage to put it in print!