1 EAGLETON NOTES: March 2021



Sunday 21 March 2021

Catching Up

We've had some good weather. Well, when I say 'good' what I mean is that it wasn't raining and the wind was absent or a tolerable whisper instead of the usual eye-watering gale. In fact on a couple of days we had sun as well. So I've spent a couple of weeks in the garden. I've cut down bushes and spent hours removing the roots to make way for a wild flower bed. I trialled one last year and got lots of pleasure from the colour and the increased bee and insect population.

Many of the plants in the garden are Alpines and they are not in suitable conditions so I've dug out an area and am making a rockery of sorts with a more suitable growing medium.

I have also been moving lots of tubs of daffodils and tulips as well as humping 100litre bags of garden compost etc around.

One thing all this has taught me is that I'm not as young as I was this time last year. Then I could actually pick up 100l bag of compost and put it in the wheelbarrow. This year I struggled. So now I'm planning the garden on the basis that there will come a time (if it hasn't already come) when I have to ensure that things are done in such a way that it minimises lifting large, heavy things.

At 0500 yesterday morning my body sprung (well as springy as my body does anything these days) into action and I set off to be on board MV Loch Seaforth for the exciting journey to Ullapool from whence I would drive to Glasgow for my 16-weekly three days of scans and my drugs trial review.

The main arterial road through the Scottish Highlands from Inverness to Perth and thence towards Glasgow is the A9. As you can imagine it is a very busy road carrying most of the freight to and from the North of Scotland.  However most of it is still 2 lane with occasional 4 lane dual carriageway. I have been travelling up and down it for nearly half a century. I think that I can safely say that I have never seen it as quiet as it was yesterday. It is a road controlled by average speed cameras so people rarely speed on it. Heavy goods vehicles, however, have a speed limit 10 miles an hour less than cars and one often gets stuck behind them until the next dual carriageway or overtaking lane. Not so yesterday.  

There are no toilet facilities open anywhere in Scotland so I made no 'comfort stops' either.

As a result I was in Bishopbriggs in a record time of about 4¼ hours after leaving the ferry in Ullapool.

Today has been shopping day for all the messages I've been asked to get for people marooned on the Island plus, I have to say, some odds and ends for myself.

The next few days will be spent having scans and my drugs trial review. Hopefully. I'll be home on Thursday evening.

Saturday 6 March 2021


The weather has been perfect for the garden. Well, not quite perfect but very good for getting the winter damage cleared away and the basics of the alterations I want to make done. So I've been absent from Blogland most of the time.

However, I did read Robert (Bob) Brague's recent post entitled 'Sorry or Not Sorry'. It's brief. Basically it gave a politician's purported apology and an an analysis of whether it was an apology. It's worth a read because we see the same thing every day and probably let it go without thought or comment. In short when is an apology an apology. 

I have no idea what offence the apologiser had given but it did make me think.

My question, though is 'When is an offence for which an apology is demanded due an unconditional apology?'

I was brought up in a family of strong women with fairly 'modern' views on the role of women but also on the respect that women were due from men.

I was taught to walk on the road side of a lady. I was taught to open doors for my elders and for ladies. I gave up my seat for a lady on public transport. I was taught that compliments were acceptable and that flattery was not. Above all I was taught manners and respect.

I have during my life been complimented on occasion for being a gentleman (thank you, Parents).

In the last few decades though things have changed. I have been told on occasion that I am a chauvinist (and less complimentary comments) for doing all of those things.

To the extent that when I was in hospital a few years ago I was aware that one of the female nurses (who, as it happens I knew 30 years ago when she was a youngster) had a particularly friendly smile when she was attending to patients. I told her, quite spontaneously and without thinking, that she had a beautiful smile. As the words left my lips I realised that men these days have been taken severely to task for such things. I hastily apologised (unconditionally) even though I had in my mind, and in the minds of many I'm quite sure, done nothing wrong but was aware that some might take severe offence at my words. As it happens she responded by saying that I could tell her that as often as I like and thanked me for the compliment.

Bob's argument was that if I had said "I'm sorry if I have offended you" it would not have been an apology. My argument is that things are often not that straightforward.