Thursday 24 June 2021

A Week of 8 Nights

After the restrictions of the last 15 months my life is returning to normal in many ways: the old normal. Of course in many ways, such as travel abroad, it's a different story but then I have no desire to travel abroad now.

After my Goddaughter and her family left I had a wee period of 'Island life' and gardening.  A week ago Anna arrived. We've been coffeeing, walking, visiting friends and their gardens, having friends to dinner and going to friends for dinner. It's been a wonderful week of complete contrast to the lockdown. There are reminders every so often about mask wearing (I think I shall continue to wear one in shops for the foreseeable future regardless of the rules) and social distancing but little else.  On the Island almost everyone has been vaccinated and the cases are few are far between.

I ran Anna to the airport a couple of hours ago and within 39 minutes from take-off in Stornoway she was ready to disembark in Glasgow. It will take her longer to get the final stretch from the airport home. Well, I thought it would be she is already on the motorway on the Airport Bus. I shall speed up my typing and thought process.

I could not have enjoyed the week more. 

Now for some time gathering my thoughts, gardening, coffeeing, having new brakes put on the car and visiting Blogland before I go to Anna's for my drugs trial review at the Beatson in Glasgow and collect my brother, CJ, from Penrith (to where his wife will bring him) and we'll come back to Lewis (via a couple of nights at Anna's in Bishopbriggs).

Friday 18 June 2021

Discretion v Bravery

In New Zealand 

W (female)  "You are not coming out for coffee with me in pink shorts. You are a man."

Me "They are burgundy, not pink."

W "You can call pink any colour you want but you're not coming out with me in pink shorts."

I go and change into blue shorts. We go into town for coffee.

Walking down the main street we meet a 2m tall Maori built like a tank. He is wearing pink/burgundy shorts identical  to mine.

I turn to W (who has obviously not missed the Maori) and open my mouth. 

I realise that anything that came out of my mouth might well be the last thing that did.

I pretend that I've never seen the Maori.

Tuesday 15 June 2021


A First Class stamp in the UK costs 85p so 12 cost £10.20 

However, on Amazon they can be bought for the bargain price of:

Or if you really want to push the boat out:

Ironically both sold by the same seller, postage01Solutions.

One excuse they have given is that they post them to you. The Post Office will do that too faster and more cheaply.

Saturday 12 June 2021

On Being Bullied

I disliked school. However I loved English language and literature and mathematics and, oddly, geography but I loathed history. As, even then, I had a very poor memory I was useless at languages and anything that involved using the gifts I was sadly lacking.

What I did have as a schoolboy was a reasonable ability with the English language. I never fought physically. I tried to argue my way out of trouble. Schoolboys don't respect that. They respect fists.

Bob Brague, in his post of 21 May mentioned 'The one act of violence in my life'. I too had one such moment.

In the Fifth Form during a maths class the teacher left the room. One of the school bullies (of no greater stature than I) was sitting behind me. He decided to start flicking my ears. I lost the plot. Turned round fully to face him. Picked him up by his blazer lapels and flattened his nose all over his face. Leastways the amount of blood seemed to indicate that was what had happened. There had been no resistance because my action was obviously completely unexpected.

After class I waited for a retaliation but it never came. Word had got out. His credentials as a school bully had been wiped out with one single, but well aimed, punch. 

So far as I can recall that is the one and only such act of physical violence I have perpetrated. Well there was one more but that was entirely self defence and that's another story.

Tuesday 1 June 2021

A Quiet Two Hours

Apart from seeing a friend on Saturday morning and attending to the washing machine for 4 loads of washing on Sunday I spent from Thursday lunchtime until well into Sunday evening in the garden. The weather was fabulous.  By Monday morning my body knew it had had a good workout so it was just as well I was out for the whole day for coffee and then lunch over on The West Side with another friend of 47 years. My body appreciated the day relaxing in the sun. 

Today my Goddaughter, partner and young son arrive off the lunchtime ferry for a short stay. I'm hoping the sun will come out by the time they arrive.

So this morning I've done all Sunday's ironing and I've got a short while to catch up with life, the universe and everything.  However, I've just decided to write a few words instead.

Those were the words. Here's a few close-ups from the garden.

Oxalis adenophylla, Silver Shamrock


Centuria montana, Perennial cornflower


Saxifraga umbrosa, Wood Saxifrage (I've always known it as London Pride) Flower is 1 cm across

Rhodiola rosea, Roseroot.