Birthday Month

B2011 SnowdropcrocusYes – it is that time already, and this year it has taken me by surprise somewhat. This winter seems to have been very long, very dark, very cold and very wet. Usually by March I feel relieved and as if the year has turned towards the spring – not so just now.

The snowdrops are only just starting to fill out and the crocuses look rather startled, as if the cruel cold world in Dalamory is too much for them. I confess to having felt like that myself at times this year. We have been incredibly busy with various projects, including helping Son #3 with his removal. As a result the bones, joints and ligaments have been complaining, even though they may be more supple.

Having a Birthday Month has become a fixture in my blogging year and I know that other people have taken on the idea. It is about actively choosing to engineer or find little treats in the form of outings or rewards each day. They don’t have to be expensive, though I confess that last year’s 70th was an exception. It is an extension of the concept of looking for the good things in each day. One of the things I like to do last thing at night is to think of three special moments in the day. For me, it is about sensing either joy or knowing God present in the world. That is a whole lot better than focussing on all the bad things that are thrown up by the media.

What has your “Polyanna Moment” been today?

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That dress

B2015 ThatdressOK so here is That Dress. It has gone viral and been driving people all over the world to distraction. I see a gold and white dress, HBTW sees a blue and black dress. The best explanation is that the phenomenon was something to do with the light where the dress was photographed at the wedding venue.

Coincidentally, of course, I was the Minister for the Isle of Colonsay in a previous life, so there was no doubt this was going to get my attention. However, the way that the photo went global was amazing. It even made the national news yesterday. What a power for either good or bad – needs a post of its own methinks.

By the way – I think I am back!

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Words one likes to hear

Fit, lively, trim, very good for her age . . . . . .

No – not me, but the dog. She had her booster vaccination and check up today, which involved everybody kitting up in snow-boots, multi-layers and eskimo-style hats. The vet comes to Dalamory once a month and hosts a clinic in the Community Centre. Usually, Misty starts to shiver and shake when we take her to the vet in the big town, but today there were no shivers and no squeals. Just a happy dog having an extra walk in the snow.

Web Mistysnowywalk


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Losing my temper

It’s not often that I lose my temper. Today I lost it with an answering machine. You know . . . . .  the kind of electronic sorcery that directs the call, supposedly, to the right department?  That is they would direct you correctly if they could understand your accent or the order of your words.

Anyway, the losing of the temper was not cathartic, but in retrospect it was quite funny. Yelling and using bad language to a machine and telling it that “I don’t care if you are only a ******* machine,” is more the stuff of comedy programmes than melodrama. Unfortunately, it has felt as if we are living in a soap over the last few weeks.

But – things will surely improve, we are now assured that Customer Services are involved and are prioritising the problem. Maybe there will be a happy ending. Maybe I will get back to blogging about things that really matter, though come to think of it decent service to customers does matter. I ask myself honestly if my problem with so-called modern methods of doing business is to do with my being “elderly” – and the answer is probably a resounding Yes. However, firms should take all of that into account.

For now, I give up. And trust tomorrow will be a better day.

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Holding Post for information

Just to let you know that I have been tied up with moving Son #3 into his new, permanent home. It is great fun helping to set things up, but leaves little time for thinking about the wider world, Christmas, opening mail or worrying about anything much.

Kind of like therapy.

Happy Christmas preparation to you and yours.

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B2014 TeadancenovPerhaps this post should be entitled Having Fun or Decadent Afternoon. In any case it was a new experience for me to go to a Tea Dance. To be honest it was all a bit of a rush, but turned out to be well worth it. I had envisaged something rather genteel and poorly attended, whereas it was packed out and at times raucous and noisy. And I should add here that there was very little alcohol – though I did see two miniatures being displayed on an adjoining table.

There was a live and very lively swing band; they proceeded to serenade us with songs we  all knew well. There were some youngish participants amongst the assembled company, but in the main I suppose it is only the nearly-oldies who have the time to give up a Saturday afternoon to sheer fun. Two bars of Moon River and the Dalamory Dance Class was up and at it. By the time we got to the second half the band was into rock and roll, sixties hits and Elvis. Most of the assembled company joined in one way or another – even reviving the hand jive with some success.

A good St Andrews Day dance to start the run-up to the festive season. Now I had better start taking Christmas seriously. How about you?


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B2014 MistycommunitybeachBirthday Greetings to Misty who is 9 years old this week. What a lot of fun we have had over the years, and let’s hope there are many more left.

One of my friends has been trying to instil me with a can-do rather than an Oh-my-goodness kind of attitude lately. It is partly to do with all that is going on healthwise, homewise and familywise. (Are they even words?) She suggested that instead of writing a catch-up list for readers of all that had been happening, that it would be better to give a flavour of what will be happening. Maybe that is a good idea. On the other hand, lots of people are starting to wake up to the fact that Christmas is just around the corner, resulting in a kind of subdued hysteria. See what I mean – an immediate riposte in a negative or alternative manner?

We celebrated by watching Love Actually last night. It is a feel-good romcom and was supposed to soothe our troubled souls and make Christmas seem like less of a chore and more of a pleasure. One thing the film did not do, was show the mystery and magic of Christmas as Christian festival. Yes there was a nativity – but with a lobster and an octopus . . . . . . . . . .  OK so it was irony, but real candles and carols would be better. If I am honest, this is one of the times in the year when I miss being a Minister in a parish

So here are some of the things that are keeping me busy:

  • Big change in my sight, resulting in new spectacles and thicker lenses.
  • Extra blood tests and health check-ups.
  • A removal for Son #3 which involves a lot of clearing up and clearing out.
  • AGM of the Community Garden
  • Campervan Repairs and Service
  • Urgent dental work
  • Keeping up (however reluctantly) with world affairs and trying not to get despondent.
  • The Usual Dance Classes
  • Perhaps a trip to Oban to go to a Tea Dance – Yes, A real live Tea Dance.
  • Cards, shopping, organising and all the usual paperclog
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Double Delight

B2014 DvdphilomenaI’ve had a double delight of films this past week. Philomena starring Judi Dench is a marvellous film which unfolds in unexpected ways. Basically it is the story of an Irish Mother who searches for her long-lost son. I don’t want to say too much about the plot because that would spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it. Let’s just say that if I had known the ins and outs, I probably wouldn’t have watched it and mine would have been the loss. It is one to watch over again.

It gets a nine and a half out of ten – fully five stars out of five. I wonder if you can guess why I am being a bit picky and not giving a full score?

B2014 DcdsavingmrbanksSaving Mr Banks is an intensely moving, if slightly quirky film. It is the story of the making of Mary Poppins, but also gives background of the author’s early life. PL Travers reminds me of many a buttoned-up woman of the fifties and sixties. I know it doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but in reality it just works.

Emma Thompson is exquisite as usual, and her attention to details and background research means that she delivers a compelling and true-to-life performance.  Tom Hanks is totally believable as Walt Disney – his supporting players at Disney Studios are excellent.

It is also a 9/10 – but then I nearly always enjoy Disney films.

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Care Homes

One of the first things I did as a trainee Minister was to visit older people who were living in residential accommodation. I quickly found out that it could be depressing or uplifting in varying degrees, and often it seemed to have a lot to do with the attitudes of the staff. There is nothing worse than going into a large room with a circle of high-backed chairs the occupants of which are slumped over sleeping whilst a tv blares in the corner.

Sadly, we can probably all relate to that. Then of course there are the better Care Facilities where maybe the carpet isn’t quite so pristine, but at least there is life about the place, possibly with a cat or dog in residence. Changing the ethos of a residential home is a hard job and switching from observance of safe systems to an emphasis on the quality of life and reasons for living is not accepted everywhere.

I have just read about one such “experiment” in the US – Dr Bill Thomas of Changing Ageing writes movingly about how life has dramatically improved for one group of residents. It is a resumé of Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, writen by Atul Gwande.

41MlO-goWjL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_You need to be warned that I cried reading the review from Bill Thomas – goodness knows what will happen with the book itself. However, it needs to go on my Christmas list.

In the meantime, can we spare a thought for all those who live in residential facilities where things have yet to change.

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Christmas Pudding

Well it was her mum who called the littlest Grandie a Christmas Pudding. Anyway, I couldn’t resist this photo.


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