Saturday, 29 September 2007

Saturday in Town

Any Saturday in town is a busy day. Folks come in from the outlying district, locals rise early to drive the short distance to the queue to enter Sainsburys car park, mums with kids make sure their little darlings are on their worst behaviour before leaving home, and to start the day the postman rings the wrong bell at 7:30 just to let you know he has been up since 4:30!

The fruit and veg stalls in the market do manage to look attractive in the sunshine. I have always been tempted to get the camera and attempt to capture the great colours shown there. I have never managed to get round to it, but one day, one day…. It is a small market town, much changed since the days cattle were penned in the town centre and real country folk wandered around speaking only in vowels, Ooo, aaarr, and all that. If you ever come across those that remain you feel you are trapped in an episode of Radio 4s ‘The Archers!’

The towns size is small, around 30,000 when I arrived eleven years ago, touching nearer 40,000 nowadays, yet on Saturday few appear to relish travelling the fifteen miles to one or other of the bigger towns in the area, instead I am under the impression they all want to be in ‘Tesco’ at three o’clock just when I am buying my ‘two for £5’ chickens. Now why should that be? Have they all deserted the other supermarkets just to annoy me? It seems so. The impression I am left with when in ‘Tesco’s’ at such a time is that I have some sort of sign across my forehead or on my back saying ‘This One!’ This gives the women permission to shove their trolleys straight at me as if I was not there, the aged men, always the older ones, permission to stand in the middle of the alley with a trolley and stare into space, and it also allows any brat within miles the right to scream and yell at much more than the regulation ninety decibels whenever I am in the vicinity. It never fails to amaze me the way mothers go on after you shove a kiwi fruit in the gob of such children, I mean it is full of Vitamin ‘C’ is it not?

Of course, after standing for a short eternity in a queue of folk who have no idea how to smile or communicate in anything other than confrontational grunts you then find a youth on the checkout who is going through his ‘hardman’ phase.’ Glancing contemptuously at you he hurries the goods through the till and repeats the total cost in an urgent manner while you struggle manfully to open the bag. Then taking his time to return the change, deliberately pushing it for all it’s worth he utters either a cheeky word or throws the money in such a way you drop t under the feet off all and sundry. The phrase ‘forgive your enemies’ comes to mind at this point, although by this time you have grabbed him by the throat and granted him your best ‘Glasgow Kiss.’ Unfortunately, not coming from Glasgow it hurts you as much as him. Then of course everyone else in the queue starts to complain, as they will have to wait longer. Then there is the problem of the other staff, the security man, the two, rather large and unpleasant police constables, the surly desk sergeant and the uncaring magistrate to deal with – and all for two chickens! Well, that’s how it usually works out for me anyway…..

Taking your headache through the market, being crushed by passing pushchairs at one side and ridiculously fat women at the other one heads for the charity bookshops. Well, they actually sell all the usual dross and are always full of women finding cheap clothes that make them look good, while what I buy makes me look like I have been to the charity shop! How come? Anyway it is the books we look at, I really need nothing else, the place is already full of tat, I glance quickly at one sometimes two or three rows of books and wonder what they tell us of the folk who live here. In this place we learn that the women are drenched in Catherine Cookson and Barbara Taylor Bradford type tales. In short, pap! Row after row fill the five charity shops we have left here, nothing more stimulating than those large annuals loved so much by the kids who received them at Christmas that most have pages missing, badly drawn stick men all over them, and the occasional remnant of sticky bun holding the thing together. When I lived in London the nearest ‘War on Want’ shop was in an area full of middle class trendies. The shelves were packed with good, and often pretentious, things. Vast quantities of books on architecture, history, art, society stood alongside photographic works from the best around, religious and philosophical works rested by books on advanced maths, which I ignored, and the society reflected was an educated thinking populace. Not, it must be said, a better one, although many thought they were, but a ‘thinking’ population. Here we are blest by Jilly Cooper……

Fighting past the hordes who stand with their pushchairs blocking the passageways, getting as close to the stall with the radio tuned to the football, and wondering just how the fat woman over there will ever attract folk to her driving lessons when surely if she enters a car it will tip to one side, passing the man selling cheap watches, my last one from him lasted exactly 24 hours, and resisting the attractions on offer at the ‘Wimpy’ bar I make for home.

Watching the queue at the cashpoint I wonder that there is anything left by this time of day and collect yet another leaflet, not from the ‘Kings Church’ this time, the local music group advertising their next out of tune spectacular. The traffic which has polluted the atmosphere while arriving now does the same on the slow road home. Piled high in the boot are masses of real bargains from the supermarkets that will no doubt be thrown out rotten and unused in the weeks to come. It lies alongside the desperately wanted shiny new objects that will soon lie gathering dust under the bed or broken on the floor of the kids room.

Cynical, who me?

Maybe, but this is real life, well, with a slight exaggeration here and there, and I suddenly find I love it. How funny. This is home, in spite of it all, and it’s better than some places I’ve been.

I must be sick…….

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Stop Abuse!

Someone somewhere has decided we should join together to 'Stop Abuse!' A somewhat strange use of terminology I thought as it does not indicate what it means by abuse. However I am willing to go along with it and am aware not only of the many forms 'abuse' can take but sadly I am also aware how easy it would be for me to join in certain types of abuse, and then justify it to clear my conscience. How come you say? Because I am human, that is why. Anyone who seeks knowledge of humanity will soon realise that the best of us indulge in 'abuse' of one sort or another.

Venom is often found in humans at football matches. We feel united with those around us as 'our' team takes on the opposition. Sometimes this teamwork, this unity, confronts opponents who cheat or 'abuse' 'our boys.' The reactions we feel often erupt into venom , often deeply held from previous encounters with such opponents, and released with only limited control. On occasions this leads to groups rioting, and individual acts of violence which we say we abhor, but often feel were justified by the other sides behaviour. usually it is seen in shouts and bad feeling, and is controlled so well we can satisfy ourselves we did not step over the mark. Jesus however never 'abused' his enemies, even from the cross! I wonder how I can feel so much resentment at the way a referee seemingly aids Rangers every time we play them? Somewhere it says, 'Speak frankly to your brother, but do not hate him on your heart.' Even at mere football matches most of us fail in this.

But it happens in the workplace where we talk about others, gossip is abuse. It happens when we short change our customers or our boss, when we don't help when required, when we look the other way, when we encourage others to indulge TV, drugs, films or anything else that destroys them,no matter how mild it may seem.

But some abuse is nasty. Those involved need help and sometimes straight forward restraint if they will not change. There are many examples.

Domestic Abuse. Usually this refers to women assaulted by their husbands and other men in the family. Certainly this is the case, and I have come across this on occasions in surprising places. Class, wealth and situations do not cause nor hinder such abuse. However men also suffer much abuse at home,often physical, more often emotional, constant nagging, being ridiculed and finding their woman playing around with other men. Which is worse, abuse of women or abuse of men? Neither, both need help and as a society we are biased towards women, but I feel it is time we judged justly and offered help to both male and female in these situations. Strange how in this world today so many 'counsellors' can be found, on TV, Radio on and magazines, mostly women's magazines, yet as a nation we spend so little on Marriage guidance or 'common sense' relationship counselling.

Animal Abuse. For a nation so keen on pets we treat them very badly. if we don't fatten them so they can hardly walk, abuse by kindness, we leave them in plastic bags in the river, or kick them to death for fun. The RSPCA & SSPCA can curl your hair with the stories of ill treatment of animals. Yet we allow anyone to buy almost any pet and there is no check on them except the animal organisations. Dangerous dogs should for one be sold only to those trained and capable of handling them. But I suppose that costs money!

Aged Abuse. So many folk find it so easy to abuse the elderly. I do! How many times have you been walking through a street or a shop and been held up by some old fogey dithering about in front of you? Did you smile sweetly or curse under your breath because you were in a hurry? I have. Geriatric wards of hospitals are full of old folk who never see visitors. Sometimes they are senile and difficult to deal with, sometimes far from home and soon forgotten by their family. I used to think this awful, then realised how I have failed my ageing mother. How easy that is.....

That's enough abuse. Stop it the best way you can by helping wherever possible those around you who suffer, even if that means calling in the authorities. But the best way to stop abuse, and the hardest, is to avoid abusing others ourselves. I suppose that is part of 'Loving your neighbour,' I must make more effort in this......

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Phone and Broadband Troubles

Terrible fear gripped me the last few days. The phone, which I hardly ever use, started crackling.This was not just a nuisance on the few calls I made but the Broadband connection failed regularly. The answer was to log on to BT and report the fault, simple really. However anyone with experience of BT and their ability to delay a repair will understand my fear. A fear based, not on the time and the nuisance value, but on the fear that without the connection to the outer world I might have to get a life!

Yes indeed,without this small, black, broken box of tricks I may indeed end up actually speaking to people. This could be life changing! Lack of phone calls I could endure.I use an ansafone anyway as there are so many folk out there who want to sell me double glazing or a new broadband/phone connection. Some sell insurance and some sell kitchens but whatever, they get the same answer. Some indeed reject the answer, and the manner in which it is put , however, the Christian can always use a simple and useful, time consuming trick with such folk, tell them about Jesus. Many here the news for the first time, and not at any time will they call you back, even though they have your number! Evangelism and and end to nuisance calls in one go. Lazy folk use the ansafone, as they never leave a message.

However living without the web? I would be seeing spiders within a week! On the occasions I have had to return to Edinburgh to visit my aged mother I find my fingers running over imaginary keyboards. Looking at the TV and I see a monitor, and with the bilge she watches I can tell you a Google search box is a more inviting sight! The PC is the way I keep in touch with my football team, this way I get up to date info from those in the know, the fans. I can, thanks to linking to Chinese systems, get live football, sometimes involving the Hearts. Through this black box I can read Blogs from a wide variety of interesting people, papers worldwide can be read online, I can send E-Cards on birthdays thereby saving cash, when rich I can shop for books and other things. Information on any subject under the sun can be found - sometimes accurately! Churches worldwide can be contacted in a flash, friends can be acquired,or lost, commerce can take place,and most importantly, I can sit here and tell the world where they are wrong, not that the world listens to me of course. I can spout any rubbish I like and only a few ever bother to disagree - and I ignore them.

Without this box I would instead be forced to watch TV, or read the papers, or worse still, I may have to go out there and communicate with real people! This would be a disaster - I have forgotten how! However the blessings were not taken from me, BT and their marvellous engineers, in whom I never lost faith, fixed the problem, at least it works now. The phone line sounds clear, the PC works without failing every few minutes, and I smile a lot.

Well, at least I got the windows open and the curtains drawn back for a few hours, so it's not all bad eh?

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Still Unemployed

Yes indeed how lucky am I? I am so important to the world, so necessary to the nation that I am still out of work one year from leaving Royal Mail. The reason I left was the wee pain in my knee caused by the beginning of arthritis, or so the doctor thought. I confess I was happy to go along with that. My knees, both of them, were giving me much pain anyway and a change was on the cards. The climbing five story blocks of flats six days a week had done my knees no good. One day a week would have been sufficient for them to recover but they have never got over the strain that began then. I was delivering over 750 drops at the time, far more than anyone else, and getting no help whatsoever, and when I came of that walk they shared it between three others! The knees however never got over the stress and although I ended with an excellent walk, flat and delivering to good people on the whole, it was getting too much for me. Now I understand another 100 houses nearly are being added to that round and the young lad doing it is finishing an hour later than I was!

However glad I was to leave there are several problems trailing after it. One is my age, 56 now and even though I look 24 I feel 70 at the moment. Another is employers reluctance to know about arthritis and the third is my lack of 'skill' at anything other than humping and carrying. The fourth is the undoubted fact that I am dumb! This is not exactly a surprise to some! However having no skill, I have never even got around to learning to drive, money and time never came together, I know lots of things that are useless where employment is concerned, and my knee prevents me taking on most of the temp jobs on offer as they almost all involve standing for long periods or humping things. Both are against the docs advise. I could do some temp work, although I am now so unfit through a succession of flu type virus that just keep returning, and the lack of exercise that work gives, and I am on my own and as such wary of the long term effects which could arise.

What to do? There are jobs, and age, knee and sometimes sex, hinder. Far too few jobs are suitable, and I am wary of the physical side. Now you are saying what I, and many others are saying, 'Get off your knees and get on with it,' but I honestly have no idea what to do now. I occasionally get depressed, at the moment am to tired to care, but with the cash run out and nothing in the pipeline I sometimes wonder what to do. When I pray about this I am afraid to look skywards. I expect the gray clouds to part and a blinding, shining light to appear and a voice, full of love and care, to say 'Just get on with it!'

Monday, 17 September 2007


Why is it that when a virus does the rounds t always finds me? Is there some sort of signalling device implanted within me? Has a previous virus, cold or flu type, left some sort of 'spyware' within me so that the next generation of bug can seek me out all the easier? I wish I could have it deleted! I sometimes think I have been carrying this bug since 1987! Since then colds and flu type virus changed their approach. Up till that time a bug would land, waste me for three or four days then leave. Now they arrive piece by piece, affecting one part of the body for a few days, then moving slowly around the rest, one area at a time. This means one bug can last three months and leaves only so the next can move in. I know this happens to others so I wonder if it is our age or, more likely, a change in the beastly things.

Today one of my online friends asked prayer for a wee lass suffering real illness. A wee prayer for Emma would be appreciated here. This lass has a real sickness yet I let everybody know about mine! In the days of long ago I worked in the NHS, one of the great successes of the Labour Party of 1945. In one hospital , neurological, we came across Multiple Sclerosis sufferers, those with brain tumours and many such serious sufferings. Some died, some were left crippled, some were Christian most not. I often think of them when the bug hangs around and wonder how those folk coped. I am not sure I could.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Blogcatalogue Avatar

Now here is a thing. On Thursday I changed my avatar from the bust of Thucydides to the Rampant Lion flag of William I. Yet nothing happened! I tried again, and still nothing happened, and so I thought I had failed. Just now I log on and LO! The avatar has changed - four days late! Is this a miracle? Could it be the system is always four days late?
I suppose the wise man would check what shows up as his last post - but I canny be bothered so I won't. I had to change it. After Scotland's wonderful win on Wednesday I thought it appropriate, I also wanted something a bit more colourful, hence the Lion Rampant as opposed to the Saltire.

As I recall William I left Scotland with little bar the flag. he served Scotland for many years and not always wisely. Here is an excellent, brief, history of the king of Scots from so long ago. Note, he is King of Scots not Scotland. The democratic Scots did not allow the king to own the land. Indeed if he failed the Scots he was removed democratically - usually with a democratic battle axe!

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Heart of Midlothian 4 Rangers 2

Now there is no reason to think I am going to write about football that often, but I will today!
Once more the Heart of Midlothian were written off by the world around. Once again the media hype overstated the merits of Rangers Football Club. Once again their winning start to the season was put in its place by the men from Tynecastle. Rangers Football Club, the most arrogant in the league, came to Tynecastle gloating in their five previous victories. Victories indeed, against the clubs from the lower reaches of the league. Now however they faced the biggest club outside of the 'Old Firm,' the club more than capable of dealing with them. A club with a bad start to the season, losing 5-0 at Celtic Park, but a club who's players have got together and sorted themselves out. Rangers, and their grovelling media, ignored this of course. In the minds of Walter Smith and his men the Hearts were a week team to be rolled over and left behind.

This did not happen!

After running the bluenoses from Mordor into the ground we are left with a storming 4-2 victory! We took them on, including the ref who failed to send the goalkeeper off after his awful kick at our striker, failed to book several players because they wore the blue shirt, and ignored a blatant elbow! But he booked ours easily enough. Mind you, he had a good game! Ii must say I thought he benefited the Rangers in a way he would not apply to other clubs. I could be wrong, and some disagree, but that was my reading of his behaviour.

I rejoice in the win, why? Because they are a big club and a big club full of arrogance, sectarian bigotry (just like their friends Celtic), and supported unquestioningly by the media - simply because that is where the money lies! I have to admit I do get hyped up about these games. So many times I have seen us beat them and been robbed by a referee, from Glasgow, or bad luck, or some unfairness. These things happen, but they happen more against the 'Old Firm' than anywhere else. This includes our major city rivals Hibernian! I get s angry, uncontrollably at times, and it worries me. My emotions are so out of control sometimes, age, a bit of a bug, and the result of the years, all have their effect. It worries me mind. I think next big game I should miss.....

Still, we are on the way back up the league. Another few wins and we will be at the top and the spirits will be lifted. Funny how a simple thing like football has such an effect on us. Cities and countries can be boosted by a good football result. A successful side is mentioned often on TV and industry benefits. Businesses flock to that town, money arrives at the door, production increases because the people are happy! Yet how depressed we can be when we lose! What a strange people we are.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

France 0 Scotland 1


Cry your eyes out French boys! World Cup Finalists, some of the greatest players in the world, and we stuffed you!!!!! Woohooooo!

Now I am not one to gloat, that would be unkind, however after Mr Trezeguet was seen gloating after a victory over Scotland a few years ago, and after we beat France at Hampden earlier in this tournament a certain Mr Henry went into one of his huffs and was heard saying 'Wait till we get you in Paris.' Well Mr Henry, we waited, and we won! WooooHooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!

Will you blame the ball boys this time? Will you question the French fans who jeered you at the end, and indeed during the game? Will you turn on the manager, although he has been subject to much abuse for some time? Will you do anything other than humble yourselves and start disciplining yourselves to play according to your ability and work hard to make the most of that? For France that is the way forward, for Scotland it is more hard work, good tactics and teamwork. That has always been the way, especially as we have few of the great talents of yesteryear available these days. The folks like McKay, Baxter, Law and all are few in number today, but the hard work and discipline and skill of those available can produce more good results like the one last night.

By the by, where have all the talented players gone? Kids do not play football five nights a week like we used to. In fact a field we used has been planted with several trees and these have taken root and now grow steadily on what used to be the centre spot for 'big games!' How times change! When a 'No Ball Games' sign appeared it was soon disappeared quicker than someone who opposed Al Capone! Today kids will play football if they go 'training with their club.' Now this is fine as they have better coaching than we ever got, we in fact had no coaching whatsoever. But the disadvantage is they are now limited in the number of games they play 'In case it has an effect on their future health,' what rubbish! Playing 15-25 a side games did no harm to Alan Gilzean or Denis Law. Too much of the 'nannying' of kids does not a footballer make. of course it can be said the little brats don't want to pay football anymore, preferring computer games and studying for 'O' levels and Highers that do them no good in future lives. But they stopped playing before computer games were invented, so there is a culture change. I wonder what caused it?

However, for today we rejoice in McFadden's goal and Scotland's victory. We know there are three more very hard games ahead, if e avoid complacency, work hard, and get the luck elsewhere we can actually qualify for a tournament we usually miss out on. While England always get easy routes to the finals, as they have again, we get the World Cup Winners AND the Runners up! Some things never change!

But this time we can do it! 'Mon the Scotland!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

H.V.Morton 'In the Steps of St Paul'

I have just finished reading through a tattered ancient copy of this book. I first read it many years ago and found it gave a very good understanding of the background in which Paul moved. Reading it again I found that had not changed. Morton travelled through the Mediterranean in 1936 and describes the contemporary world at the same time as the world long gone. I was left wondering if the changes from 1936 to 2007 were greater than those over the preceding two thousand years.

He begins his travel in Jerusalem and journeys through Syria (Antioch), Ataturk's Turkey (Tarsus), and visits what was left of Lystra and Derbe while staying at Konya (Iconium). His time at Ephesus left me wishing I could up sticks and go there now. How important this city once was, what wealth, what influence both secular and religious, now a pile of stones! Morton also continues as well as he can to the Greek towns (Phillipi, Corinth and Athens) where Paul once struggled and suffered, ending his journey in Rome. On each occasion the writing gives a good indication of the towns as they once were, Pauls possible life and work, and, f or me, left a desire to visit at once

H. V. Morton was once famous for his travel books, many are still available, and his writing style is easy on the eye. This makes the books easy to read as well as informative. I was left with a new understanding of the daily life Paul endured. We think of him as a tough man who suffered so much for his God, but he also had times of comparative wealth and hard labour. While working to avoid living of his converts he shows us his integrity his concern for the church and each individual member is seen in his concerned letters. At all times he faces opposition from one section or another. Lessons for all there today. I found how practical Paul was. No superstitious saint he, while he worked miracles by the power of God he also made his own plans and did not expect Jesus to lead him by the hand in things he had to do himself. His was a realistic faith in a practical God. All to often I will not act until I 'feel' it right. This is more 'daft' than 'Spiritual.' Paul, while led by the Spirit shows no 'daft' approach.

These books are n one sense out of date, however Morton gives us insights into the NT that we often miss. This i the type of book I recommend to folk as it is easy and informative. Too many Christian books are either too heavy or to 'Spiritual' to be much use.

Saturday, 8 September 2007


Yes indeed Facebook, I have been dragged out of my isolation into this worldwide phenomena called Facebook. Like all normal males of a certain age I would of course ignore such flippancies. These fancy dan happenings belong to the 'young' generation, an organisation I no longer belong to. However a woman, as always Blackberry juniper, has 'invited' me to enroll. This I dutifully did, now I a struggling to work out how to make it work. So far this woman has sent me hugs, which I could not find, drink, I could not drink, and flowers and that have enlivened my garden. There are many other 'happenings' within Facebook but I really cannot work out how they work. The one I enjoyed most was the virtual bookshelf, much more my idea of fun!

But it must be asked, what is the point? Fun? OK I'm all for that, timewasting maybe, great for those at work, deepening friendships, yeah OK. But how do they make their money? Someone somewhere is earning a penny or two from this and it is not me. So how do they cash in? Go on, answer me. You don't know and neither do I. I bet that lassie does not know either. Typical. That you see is one of the many troubles with females, they get you into things and when it goes wrong, and it will, they blame you! Tsk!

And another thing, she complains I never mention her but do you think she will take her face away from her man to read this? No! Will she give Facebook and her enormous wide circle of friends a miss to reply? No! This is typical of a bird who wonders why men watch football and ignore them. We know what gives us a better answer! Which reminds me, the game will start soon, so I, like the meat in the fridge, I'm off!

Friday, 7 September 2007

Mrs McCann Official Suspect

It appears Mrs McCann, mother of the 'abducted' child, is to be declared an official suspect this morning, according to Sky News. I would have thought the parents should have been 'official suspects' from the start. There has always been questions in this case. The use of the media to give huge coverage for the 'missing child' was a clear giveaway. This was always over the top.
The press decision not to ask probing questions and to emphasise the 'emotional distress' of the parents indicates how easily they can be used by those who know the ropes. The PR guru for the McCann's was an ex 'Daily Mirror' employee who knew the correct ropes and used them well.

What happened? Where is the child? If she was killed accidentally who removed the body? how many of the 'friends and family' are also involved here - if anything untoward has occurred?
It has to be said they may be perfectly innocent - although from what little we know I doubt it. The child may well have been abducted - but the parents are at fault for leaving her alone.
In the end the truth may come out - but I doubt it will make good reading.

The child, what about the child? A three year old is abducted, or at least disappears. Would this case be handled in a different manner in the UK? Oh yes. I suspect it would be over by now.
I also suspect there would be less press coverage. Are the McCann's guilty of anything? No!
They cannot be guilty until a jury decides they are guilty. So far they have not been charged with anything. It would be good if they are not. It would be better if the truth comes out however. Whatever that is.......

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Nothing to Say

This cannot be right, I find I have nothing to say. Shome mishtake shurely?
I could write about Jesus and how he has died for me and the need to let myself go fully into him, but I have done so before, often, too often. I could discuss the need for work, how to find it, my poor health, my laziness and dumbness, and the resulting waste of my life and need to live of benefits that do not cover my debts - which increase daily! But we have been there before.
I could mention the weather, a subject talked about constantly by those residing in the British Isles, and no wonder! With the Atlantic emptying itself on your head every other day folk do tend to keep it in mind quite a lot. This summer has been poor, much too much rain, and too little sun for our liking. So I could go on about that but let's face it, that is boring. By the way it is overcast at the moment and the weather man says it will clear and reach over 20% . You know how much faith we can out in them don't you? The Anglia weather girls have a terrible habit of mentioning 'possible showers' when they actually mean heavy rain from 6 a.m. until midday. At least that is what I discovered when I was working as a postman! Bless them....

However you do not want to read these things do you - in fact as you never read this anyway it appears you don't want to read anything I write. So what is the point I ask, just what is the point? I could write anything and you would not notice. Unless I made it a porn site, then I would have readers, er, I mean viewers of course. Porn sites seem to abound on Blogger these days. I wonder why? Still I am not going to scribble about them, not today anyway, so what shall I write?

Nope, I cannot think of anything. So in that case I will avoid wasting my time and instead of using the quill I will browse others desperate cries for attention, if you see what I mean.....

Tuesday, 4 September 2007


I was looking at a photograph of Ephesus taken in 1937 this afternoon. The difference from the, almost sepia coloured, picture and today's brightly coloured photos was striking and I don't mean the colour. The visitor to this ancient city finds a tourist experience in full flow. Buildings have been excavated, signs placed to describe the sights, and I expect, many tourist guides and souvenirs. In 1937 however the town was deserted!

Sitting high above the ruins the photographer snaps the city below. Nothing moves. Pillars rise from the overgrowth of bushes and the occasional tree. The main street runs in a straight line towards the disused harbour. Beyond lies the canal leading to the sea, now silted and disused. To the right occasional ruins rise, to the first floor in some places, stark and lonely. The outline of others can be discerned in the fields around.

How strange I thought, that for centuries this large town has lain here undisturbed, lonely and unloved by those who have passed through. In times past thousands came here drawn by the temple of Artemis. The Theatre alone held nearly 25,000! Alexander the silversmith opposed the Christians under Paul because their God was hindering sales of the objects produced for Diana's followers. As sales fell their opposition reached dangerous levels and this very theatre saw a near riot which caused Paul to move on to revisit Macedonia. In the thirties it stood silent , empty, an overgrown ruin, unloved and uncared for. What history these stones cold tell!

The apostle John ended his life here it is supposed, his tomb was believed to be there in the later centuries. This busy bustling town which had two great men from the early church living and working there, now lay deserted. It seemed to me to be such a waste. Many stones have been removed to the nearby village and reused in the houses there. The sun shone and the wind blew, rain would hammer down at times, and goats and sheep would outnumber the people, for centuries! How lonely and empty the scene was in 1937.

Monday, 3 September 2007


I had a phone call the other night from a man in Iowa asking about our family heritage. Like so many other Americans he has been searching into the family tree. In his case the family line is traceable back to 1685 and a man who was 'encouraged' by the authorities of the day to emigrate. He could have stayed but only if minus his head, and in 1685 such stimulation had a high success rate! In fact he was unaware that we have already had contact with others in that line many years ago. So much so that they came over and visited the family up in Edinburgh and toured the places, much changed, connected with the past. I believe some still have a little contact with them. I missed them however, as I went looking for them and the unhelpful 'Nancy Boys' in the hotel meant I missed them. They went back to the States regarding me as a dunderhead I reckon. So I ask, what's new?

On our side the history is not very exciting. My dad being born in 1908 means he would be 99 years old if alive! Mum is very young in comparison, a mere 94 today. Granddad was born near Norham in 1845, a very long time ago now. Especially when most folks today consider a granddad as someone born in the forties or fifties! Great grandad Robert, they were all Roberts until my brother Robert got sick of it and called his son Stuart, he was a farmer. I reckon this means he was a 'tenant farmer' as opposed to one of the rich guys of the time. Many folk farmed only a few acres in comparison to today's vast fields. They complained just as much I would expect! His son Robert, my granddad went on to drive steam locomotives, no mean feat it has to be said. Sometime along the way he picked up the railway and eventually ended up in Edinburgh. We know he drove the shunter down at the Gasworks at Granton but nothing else about his time on the railway.

Funny what you find out about the folks from the past. One friend discovered her granddad was a bigamist. He had gone to Canada for a while and looking for work ended in the USA, in Louisiana. There he spent few years and was happily married. He then enlisted in the Canadian Army when war broke out in 1914, as did a great many other emigres. After the war his wife claimed the war pension only to discover it had already been paid to his wife! However after checking the Canadians went ahead and paid both women for neither knew about the other. My friend's mother had not known of the story but when the remaining elderly aunts were questioned it was discovered to be true. Nothing had been said because of the shame!

Lack of time and money, especially money, meant we had to end our search such as it was. Had we cash and incentive we could be traipsing round Northumberland and delving into the local studies part of the Newcastle library for more info. However, even using the web it does not get us much further. Well actually that was then, maybe it is time to look up the library and have another go via this wonderful Internet thing.

Saturday, 1 September 2007


Yes I hate the lottery!
Why? I hear you ask, Why? Because other people win it that's why!
Once again the EURO Lottery arrives, once again it reaches £26 million and once again I start spending the winnings, in my mind not for real. Once again someone else wins it!
It's just NOT FAIR!!!!!!
Now all this money form the past couple of years Euro lotteries has been lost to the world.
Lost I tell you! Lost to selfish folk who will indulge themselves on selfish things while the more
generous, thoughtful, kind people, somewhat like myself, who would use the riches gained to benefit the whole world and not just their kith an kin lose out.
It's just not fair!

Who said 'Jealous?' Me? Never! I just want a fairer distribution of wealth for all of mankind, not just a few gathering into themselves all that is available. I mean it is just not right is it, not fair I hear you rightly say. Why should a handful of people have all the cash to squander on their friends and family when I, and folk like me, would benefit the whole world with our share of Mammon? I could be trusted to share with the poorer folk around me, if they behaved properly. I can see many avenues to help the less fortunate, those bereft of hope, and many others beside. I can promise I would not waste my money on houses in the South of France or California. You would not see me driving large four by fours through busy streets, the chauffeur would, and dining out in expensive restaurants is just not my cup of tea, the Chinese round the corner would be enough for me, well five days out of seven anyway. I would not be like the Russian billionaires who buy up English Football teams, oh no not me! I might of course see the need to rescue the Heart of Midlothian from Mad Vlad, but that's understandable isn't it? Buying many houses for the family to set them free from mortgages would be expected although I would not let them buy anything over half a million would I? And I would ensure the cars were ordinary everyday ones, like Mercs and BMW's and the like, nothing fancy.

You see how unfair it is! Other folk, the type that squander cash daily, are winning the money that ought to come to those who would look after it in a manner beneficial for all mankind, folk rather like me for instance. I really think it time that the Lottery was amended to give the generous people in this world a fairer chance of using the cash to the benefit of this world, don't you?