The luck of life

It’s been some time since I have attempted to amuse/entertain/inform/persuade/cajole fellow-bloggers with a posting here. I left you in the middle of Alaska when we were on a marvellous cruise trip from and to Vancouver. It was great and we arrived back home to get on with our semi-retirement, and to sort out the hours of video and hundreds of photos to recount the happy times.

………..and suddenly the BBC brought us news and photos of a liner beached just off Tuscany (a favourite spot of ours) and the loss of life, injury and terror involved. Whatever happened or caused it to happen may eventually be explained but things for those people involved will never be the same again.

How many times have we gone down a road where there had been a recent fatality, got on a plane after one of the same types had just crashed, or feared to get on a Pendolino train knowing what happened recently on the Edinburgh/London express?

I know that statistically travel is safer than it has ever been, and vast numbers of people traverse the roads, sea and sky of this earth of ours in perfect safety, but let us remember in our hearts those who set out on a journey and never arrived.

Another death…..

A death has been reported…..not Michael Jackson….but a young child only a few months old, brutally killed by a 15 year old baby sitter… and yet the position within the order of news is perhaps some indication of how little we (or the media) feel about such an event. Or is it because we are so used to hearing it, just like the stabbings of young men in London.?

Jackson made a lot of money, and achieved a lot of power in his life. How he decided to use this was up to him. On the other hand, the little child never stood a chance in his brief existence.

I don’t know how we bring back a sense of revulsion about such murders and find a way to prevent them, but perhaps we have to re-assess how we value life.

The death of a celebrity may or may not prove important in the long-run, but if we continue to accept murder of innocent children with no effective way to deal with the perpetrators, then our civilisation is doomed.

Another Good Man Gone!

We’ve just lost a good friend to a brain tumour. He was only about 52, and we got to know him when he came to join my choir. He showed an immense talent for music composition, keyboard skills and a wonderful sense of humour through even the dark days. He also came over as very thoughtful, caring and non-complaining.

He had looked forward to going to Ballachulish, Argyll in March to join in Evensong. His health had badly deteriorated, and we were very unsure about whether it was wise for him to go. If anything had happened while up there, the distance to a suitable hospital would have proved catastrophic, and we might have carried this in our mind for many a long year.

My final opinion was sought, and I had to say YES, as I could never have forgiven myself if I has said NO. In the event, two members very kindly looked after him over the weekend and he thoroughly enjoyed it. It was his last major event outside his hospital and hospice.

So, ‘CARPE DIEM’…..never let an opportunity of any kind go by….you may never get the chance again!

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!

A small Borders town


Over 40 years ago, (1967 to be precise) when Lady of the House and I were just engaged, I was living in Watford, and used to travel up on Friday overnight by coach (11 hours!) from London to Glasgow to visit her, and make sure the wedding was still on!

The coach had a few ‘comfort stops’, and the one north of the Scottish border was in a small neat market town. We knew when we had arrived there as we were rudely wakened from our slumber by the lights going on and the doors being opened. We were graciously allowed the facilities of the local hotel, before we headed on our last leg to the arms of our loved ones, and Lockerbie to its own devices.

Fast forward to  Christmas-tide 1988 and we were preparing for the festivities. Son was still at school and Daughter preparing for her passing-out parade at the Scottish Police College the next day.

We had promised hospitality to the young son of friends, who was driving up the A74 (which skirts a number of pleasant small market towns), and my folks who were over from Ireland and were also driving north.

They had all arrived safely and we were looking forward to having a Happy Christmas…..and then we turned on the television and heard what had happened to that little Borders town……………….

The Irony and the Nonsense

As I mentioned earlier, last Friday was All Souls, when we remember those known to us, who have died.

Sunday 11th is, of course, Remembrance Sunday, when we bring to mind those not necessarily known to us, whose lives were taken by war. But what about those whose lives have been blighted by war, with permanent injuries, or perhaps having lost a loved one….maybe we should have some more consideration for them!

We often display our acknowledgement at this time by the wearing of a white or red poppy. Isn’t it somewhat ironic, therefore, that the Health and Safety Executive have presumably been involved in the design of a poppy which now only uses a plastic stem, in case we might draw a drop of blood from the previous little pin!

For goodness sake……when last did anyone get an injury from the Poppy pin? In any case, where is the harm in feeling a small amount of temporary pain, and losing one drop of blood, considering what those poor men and women went through to give us the chance to wear a poppy.

Political correctness gone bonkers! 

Dona eis Requiem

This Friday is celebrated as All Souls, when we remember those of our loved ones who have died. We shall be at St Mary’s Cathedral with other members with peace and quiet in which to contemplate life and death. There is no doubt, that at some time in the future, soon or late, we shall join those being remembered.

So why do we pray for them, and not just give them the occasional thought? Do we wish to keep their memory alive and so keep them eternal, at least in our minds? Do we hope to intercede on their behalf, and so make their time in the hereafter more comfortable? Do we wonder what is happening to them?

While silence will be a large part of the time, the choir will be performing one of the most evocative pieces of music, with which I have ever been associated, ‘Requiem’, by Gabriel Faure. There has been a debate about whether he wrote it as a response to his father’s death, but whether or not, we know that his parents both died at that time, so one can then begin to understand the dramatic effect which it has on the human psyche.