Monthly Archives: November 2008



Nearly two years ago, I visited my daughter who was working in Sri Lanka. It was a beautiful country, full of welcoming people, lotus pools, water buffalo and – and ever increasing tension and violence. The Government had decided to resume the war with the ‘Tamil Tigers’.

Now, at last, the British media are starting to report this terrible destructive conflict. We as individuals can’t do much to change the situation, but I continue to believe that the truth has a path and an importance of its own.


Listen and weep. Small countries cannot afford civil wars – nobody can afford civil wars. Sri Lanka has the potential to be a prosperous country.


Guilty pleasures

What is a guilty pleasure? I suppose it is in part one we feel slightly bad about having, and in part one we actually would not enjoy all the time. A pleasure which is only a pleasure at all when rationed.

Like taking a Sunday off church. It has been a busy week, with my first day as an employed (as opposed to self employed) person for a long time, and a more or less working Saturday as I went to the Tisec graduation, which means a drive to Perth and back. It left me bone weary and with a huge backlog in the house and around the small holding. I decided that I needed a Sunday here, working my way slowly through the backlog, drinking coffee at intervals, and having a peaceful time.

Church provides a kind of backbone to my life, and like my back it is sometimes more ache than pleasure. Today is like sagging into a favourite chair. A gasp of relief, even if in the long term it is not very good for me. Not something for every Sunday, just today as I convalesce.


When I walk down the track (a frequent option for a quick dog walk in foul weather) I walk looking at the street lights of Kilmarnock. I feel that I am very much part of the huge urban mass that stretches in brilliant dapples to my west – on up into Glasgow and Stirling until it is quenched in the peace of Perthshire and Argyll.

When I turn and walk uphill, home, I look into the beautiful tranquil dark. Ahead of me lies peace, and the start of the Southern Uplands, and miles of moorland.

I live in border country.


A dear friend, Bill Felver, used to say that he had been puzzled over the behaviour of the wonderful Mary Crawford in ‘Mansfield Park’ until he realised that Miss Austen had just made up that part of it (and of course Mary had never really behaved like that.)

I too have been puzzled, but over the behaviour of Marianne in marrying Col Brandon, which seemed such a foolish thing to do. Until I realised that the Col. is really Alan Rickman.

Whole sole?

I had forgotten how long ago it was that I bought my favourite ankle boots from the factory outlet shop in Dewsbury. They were actually bloke’s boots tried on in desperation when I could find nothing in ladies. They were comfortable for the moment I first put them on and they never seemed to age much – until today, trudging round Cumnock in the rain I was suddenly aware of horribly cold and wet feet. Nothing to be done but to endure. I got home, eventually, and inspected the old faithfuls. No, there was not a hole in the sole – the whole sole had fractured in about five places on each foot. The boot equivalent of major organ failure, I suspect. So now they are NO MORE, and I need to search for replacements which, like my poor departed friends, are so comfortable that I feel a little happier each time I put them on.

I will not draw moralising attention to the numerous possible Good Lessons in the above.

Razor wire tight rope

Just occasionally (;-) ) I am thankful that nobody would ever entrust a particular service to the laity. It is particularly true of Remembrance Sunday. It is a terrifyingly vertiginous balancing act. There we sit. Those like me, lifelong pacifists, terrified that it will all slip into the glorification of war. And there sit those who believe with equal passion that we need to defend ourselves and fight for right. And there is a real need to acknowledge the heroism of those who put their lives on the line because even if the cause is misplaced the nobility of sacrifice is still there. And there is a need to acknowledge the horrible futility of war: at best a descent into the barbarism of the toddler years.

The dispassionate part of myself who sits in as recorder on the rest of my feelings, would like to note that last Sunday at Kilmarnock, that razor wire tightrope was successfully negotiated.

One small step….

One of the things which made me rejoice in my new home was that it was so safe for cats, or, in this case, Cat. Puddy Em has been under house arrest since she ‘was in collision with’ a car two years ago, and was found celebrating her recovery by sitting on the white line in the middle of the road.

so, after a couple of weeks here, I opened the door and set her on the step. em-for-blog

She looked at me in horror and she fled back into the house. So it is with great pleasure that I can announce that she has begun to spend a little time outside, and to go hunting in the grass that edges the yard. And perhaps I too will begin to take steps in the new life…