1 EAGLETON NOTES: September 2019

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Sunday 22 September 2019

I am Puzzled.

I am puzzled by many things in life and the list grows longer as I grow older.

Why do people (now) clap themselves when they achieve anything ie getting a question correct on a TV game show?

Why does no one mention that all the wars and military action being taken across the world are a major contributor to the world's greenhouse gas problem?

Why does anyone gives a monkey about who "celebrities" sleep with (apart, presumably, from the celebrities)? Of course I exclude celebrities in a position of trust such as politicians because, unfortunately, I've got to the stage that I just assume most of them are lying anyway.

Which way round do currency conversions go. I started off my (proper) working life as a trainee accountant. I abandoned it very quickly for lots of reasons: one being that I could not understand double-entry book-keeping. It wasn't until I had my own business that I really came to grips with it. Strange because it is absolutely logical and I had taken, and enjoyed, a course of logic many years ago. I lived in New Zealand with the need to be aware of the fast diminishing value of my UK £ income when converted into NZ$s. I still got/get confused. Please don't tell me it's simple. I KNOW it's simple. That just makes it worse.

Why did my maternal Uncle have a photographic memory even when he was in his 90s and yet I am, infamously, the man who, when introducing his wife to someone, forgot his wife's name?

Why do people crack their knuckles? It's not good for them (it's not harmful either) and it's unpleasant for those around them.

Why do so many women (sic) I know say they can't reverse parallel park? Most of them are excellent drivers but seem to think that that particular affliction is an expected virtue in women.

I am even more puzzled as to why I should think anyone might think this post interesting. Perhaps you don't!

Wednesday 18 September 2019

Home Again (Again)

I arrived home late on Sunday evening after a good journey up the road and a remarkably calm ferry crossing given the huge storm on Saturday. 

Sailing out of Ullapool and down Loch Broom to The Minch

It had been a Good Week. The scans were clear and I'm continuing on the drugs trial. I've spent a couple of days getting back into my daily 'routine' (a silly term because I have few actual routines). I'm up at crack of dawn in the morning to take Gaz to the airport and his return to Italy.

Settling back in wasn't helped by the fact that the internet had, once again, disappeared in my absence. This time it was because the box on the telegraph pole had been destroyed in Saturday's storm. I was reinstated yesterday.

An Engineer up a telegraph pole. He's spent a lot of time mending my phoneline one way and another

My last day in Glasgow included a visit to one of my favourite (and much blogged about) places: Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery. A visit is never complete without seeing the Glasgow Boys exhibition.

Old Willie - The Village Worthy -  Sir James Guthrie 1886

The Last of the Clan -  Thomas Faed 1865

A Highland Funeral  Sir James Guthrie 1882 
The cottage in the picture still stands but is in a derelict state.
It can be found alongside the Black Water river just up the lane from The Byre Inn public house in the village of Brig O'Turk,
As can be seen women did not generally attend funerals at that time

Tuesday 10 September 2019

Sandwiches

Was it Yorkshire Pudding who, not too long ago, wrote condemning the ubiquitous Swiss Army Knife? Whoever it was let me assure them that you were wrong so to do. I have carried a SAK for over six decades since when I was a teenager.

I think that I may have mentioned before how puzzled I've been by sandwich packaging. Today I had chosen a chicken salad sandwich at the Beatson Charity Café in the Beatson Cancer Centre. I'm recently good at puzzles (as well as being reasonably modest) but this sandwich packaging really floored me. 

In the end I used my trusty SAK's largest blade (an ordinary domestic knife having proved useless). The effort was worth it. The sandwich was delicious.   

Saturday 7 September 2019

The Last Summer Visitors

Yesterday my last visitors of the summer left. Summer is over so anyone hereafter is an autumn or winter visitor. In a couple of hours I am off on the ferry to Glasgow for my 16-week review for my drugs trial. It is a great privilege to be on a drugs trial for many reasons: you may get lucky (as I have) and see a huge improvement in the cancer indicators, and it gives you an insight into to the billions  spent on development and trials to see if they work and enable worldwide licensing.

I have known my last visitors since the '70s but they left the Island a few years ago (daughter many years ago). So they spent the days meeting friends and re-visiting places and the evenings allowing me to enjoy their company.

MV Loch Seaforth berthing with my visitors on board

A quiet moment on The Minch with the Mainland visible under a lowering sky

Walking in a very strong wind to Dalmore on the West Side of Lewis

Photographing the waves - we all used to play on this beach together with our families

A peaty river, glorious heather and some sun at Traigh Mhor, Tolsta

A moment when a shower threatened - the beach is a mile long

You don't have to photograph 'big'

After we left (having missed the showers) we left as a shower swept across Broad Bay
 Traigh Mhor is below us on the other side of the sheep

Sunday 1 September 2019

To Tour or Not To Tour.

Today, Cro of Magnon's Meanderings, wrote a post entitled 'Itchy Feet', It's not as long and boring as this one might be so it's worth popping over to get the background reason for me writing this post.

Yorkshire Pudding said in response "I think it is very possible to be rooted to one spot like your old neighbour and to be wiser than somebody who is well-travelled. Some people travel without really seeing. The notion that travel broadens the mind is often fallacious."

A friend who is coming this evening to stay with me for the week is one of the most widely travelled people I know. She and her recently late husband travelled extensively in India and the Far East as well as in Europe and did it the 'intimate' way. They travelled by train from Scotland to Hong Kong and from Scotland to Moscow. They were rarely 'tourists', always travellers. They also lived the later years with houses in both Scotland and France dividing their time between the two. I cannot recall them ever, in the 45 years since we met, going to the USA except possibly when travelling around the world but even then I think they missed it out. Even in his last months when he was terminally ill and wheelchair bound his wife ensured that he was able to travel in Europe. 

My brother, on the other hand, has taken the view in life that there is so much to see in Great Britain that he has never even wandered across the channel (despite his degree being in Librarianship and French and doing his dissertation in French and being pretty good at the language). 

All of them had excellent careers and are/were very interesting people. 

I have never been on a 'hotel holiday' or a package holiday. My wife and I and two children spent a number of years reciprocally staying with German friends for a month each year in Germany and weeks with Dutch friends in The Netherlands. I holidayed for many years after I retired with the friends mentioned above at their house in France. I have travelled by car through a lot of Western Europe and stayed in Italy enough times to have seen a great deal of Tuscany and Umbria. I also lived for 10 years commuting between here and New Zealand as some of you will know from 'A Hebridean in New Zealand'. I've holidayed in Australia too, and stayed with family and friends. 

I think that I have managed to get a feel for the people and cultures where I have stayed that I might not have got as a 'tourist'. However I accept that even that experience has been limited. 

I think, therefore, that there is a distinction to be drawn between those who 'go abroad for a sunshine holiday' and those who go abroad to travel to experience and see other cultures and places. To that extent I can agree with YP's remark that travel does not necessarily broaden the mind.

As for wisdom I think that travel is irrelevant.