Saturday, December 27, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Eco Christmas Trees

Sanderson's Wynd Primary School have been making Christmas Trees from recycled materials.
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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Old news

At the start of this month, I spent an enjoyable, if challenging, day with the Imagineers from Sandersons Wynd Primary School at the Scottish heat of the Lego Mindstorms Challenge, which took place in the new Informatics Forum at Edinburgh University. Our team acquitted themselves well, particularly in the teamwork category, being pipped at the post by just one point.
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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Red sky in the morning

... shepherd's warning ...

Saturday, December 06, 2008


On 15th December, this year, Pownce (I wonder what will happen to the URL) will close. It has been said, many times, that it is only when you are about to lose something that you appreciate how good it is. Pownce is a microblogging website. It doesn't impose the 140 character limit of Twitter, and permits richer content. It is mobile friendly - the mobile version allows you to read and write through a single interface.

Pownce has been acquired by Six Apart, and there is the possibility that some of the community will move to Vox. But Vox is different - it doesn't (in my opinion) have Pownce' elegance. There is a connection between technology and community (and, I guess, commerce - the decision to close Pownce was, presumably, a commercial one). I, for one, shall mourn the passing of a platform which, surely, deserved better.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Monday, December 01, 2008

You learn something every day

Originally uploaded by Glaswegian

I didn't know that Roget (compiler of Roget's Thesaurus) was a graduate of Edinburgh University ...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Neither well nor ill

I seem to be betwixt and between. I wasn't well enough to accompany the children to Sunday School (in two senses - to go along with them, and to play the electronic piano while they and the other children sang). But I was (just) well enough to drive myself and my son to Tesco's this afternoon to buy their exclusive box set of Ben 10 figures (an opportunity not to be missed).

Then my daughter needed help to figure out how to make a beanie (some kind of hat, not, as I previously thought, a small, cuddly toy). Various alcoholic beverages have helped me through this weekend, but the jury is out as to whether this is healthy. Isle of Jura was reduced at the Co-op - a taste of heaven ...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


My wife's mother has been taken into hospital. It isn't clear yet whether she is seriously ill. Currently, it is looking like a catalogue of ailments, which could have been avoided if her living circumstances were more suitable.

I wonder at what point my mother in law has to be told that someone else will take the decisions. It's difficult. I don't think that my wife wants to be responsible. But surely anything is better than what we have now.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The new wibSite

One joyous consequence of the wibSite's makeover is that I can login again. Which means that I have two blogs, again ...

As ever, time has been a commodity in short supply (although following some communication from British Gas, it appears that money, too, may become scarce). An Asperger trait of which I am increasingly conscious is the inability to multitask. I suppose that I've always been aware of a deficiency in that department, and tried to counter it with "must try harder". So it is with some relief that I accept this aspect of myself, and try to manage my life accordingly.

It can be a good thing. If I allow myself to focus on the task in hand, I cease to be aware of many anxiety-inducing thoughts. And, hopefully, as I single process, I may be doing a better job ...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Kudos to the people who manage the wibsite, who are persevering with the move to a new hosting service and, at the same time, to a new system. We (the wibloggers) really do appreciate what you're doing. The old wibsite has been archived, which enables me to link to Tractor Girl's helpful review of P!nk's new album, which I duly went out and bought on Monday, and which has provided an astringent soundtrack to this week.

The upright slats from our fence, which were lying on our lawn, have been stolen, which is sad, and creates more problems. The surveyor considered the damage to be wear and tear (although I'm pretty sure that there was human intervention), so no help from the insurance company. I'm considering some kind of temporary repair, while we find somebody who can replace the whole fence.

Just have to keep going, I guess ...

Friday, November 07, 2008

A difficult week

Unfortunately (for blogging purposes), mostly difficulties which I can't write about ...

But to-day, I'm on leave, having an admin day. I've spent much of this morning reconciling accounts - not exciting, but it has had to be done.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Private Passions

There is a programme which is broadcast on Radio 3 at the weekend, where Michael Berkeley interviews a celebrity who chooses music which means a lot to him or her - a kind of upmarket Desert Island Discs. I've been thinking recently that I should maybe reveal some of my private passions, so here is one - the slow movement of Anton Bruckner's 7th Symphony. Historically, the composer wrote this movement following the death of his hero, Richard Wagner, and it is undoubtedly deeply felt.

It is about, and expresses emotion. For me, I guess, it is a vehicle, whereby I can bring near to the surface the overwhelming sadness which, mostly, I hide. Sorry, please move on - the sight of a grown man crying ...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Our fence is broken

Or, has been vandalised, we think ...
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Thursday, October 30, 2008


Or rather, we're getting towards the end of the week, which is good, although you could accuse me of wishing my life away ...

Lothian Buses (presumably) have installed bus trackers at the stops along part of my usual route to work. I like them, although, of course, they don't make the bus come any sooner. It's intriguing, though, to watch them trying to cope when things go wrong. To-day, however, we got a pleasant surprise, being told that our bus was due in 9 minutes, when it appeared. My theory is that the company was being proactive, after a couple of no shows earlier this week, and had slotted in an extra bus.

A bit tired, these days, but doing what we can ...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lidl discipline

As Jan has observed, it is difficult to come out of Lidl with only what you intended to buy. Yesterday, though, I excelled myself, emerging with a popcorn maker (though no popping corn - having asked a helpful shelf stacker to direct me to the spices, I hadn't the nerve to go back for directions to popping corn, which I suspect they wouldn't stock, anyway). I consider it to have been an excellent buy, however - not expensive, and highly effective (having followed the instructions to the letter, I found myself running to cupboards for bowls to catch the overflowing generosity of the machine).

And I have long observed the practice of supermarkets of placing desirable items by the checkouts, in the hope of tempting a shopper to make an impulse purchase. On this occasion I was somewhat surprised to see a leek (probably abandoned by a previous customer), but my attention having been snared, I proceeded to buy a bag of mini marzipan butter stollen - another excellent purchase - and a considerable improvement on the sweets and chocolate usually on display elsewhere ...

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I'm seriously thinking of putting this blog on lithium - how do you get from "there's probably no god" to "our God is an Awesome God" in just three days?

I have a lot of time for Rich Mullins. I discovered him through the ragamuffin connection, from Brennan Manning's "Ragamuffin Gospel". I sense that he has an authentic voice - he speaks truth (whatever we mean by truth) ...

And then yesterday evening we went to see Hannah and Harvey (at the Brunton Theatre). We were expecting a fanciful, cuddly tale for children (to be fair, it was 'recommended for everyone over the age of 10'). We got a somewhat harrowing insight into childhood mental illness (for black bunny, read black dog). But it was OK - I'm pretty sure that our 8 year old son coped - and probably learned something ...

Friday, October 24, 2008


Since we came back from (summer) holiday, a song called "Our God is an awesome God" has been playing frequently in our living room. The hostess for our first week at Abbot Hall is an accomplished dancer, and taught the young people actions to go with the song (in a version sung by Kirk Franklin). For some reason I had an idea that the song was originally by Rich Mullins (who was tragically killed in a car accident), and I've been happy to have that hunch confirmed (and an iTunes purchase made) ...

Maybe the song is repetitive (depending, of course, on how it is sung), but an uplifting anthem doesn't go amiss, once in a while.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A step forward

Thanks, Jackie, for not blowing me out of the water - which I perhaps deserved ...

Knowing, as I do now, that I have Asperger's, I realise that my perspective may be different from many people's. I am not comfortable with the idea that someone else's truth may be different from my truth. I suppose that I can accept that we are all dealing with approximations to the truth, but that doesn't really resolve differences too well. One can still end up with the argument that my approximation is closer than your approximation. I'm still reckoning that 'out there' is something which we may or may not be right about ...

I'm thinking back to my youth (ages, perhaps, from 8 to 18), when I was well aware that I was having to deal with at least two quite different views of what Christians believe. I attended (with my parents) what was probably a fairly liberal church (of Scotland). At school, I belonged to the Scripture Union group, whose doctrine seemed to be much more sharp-edged than what I was encountering on a Sunday morning.

I am particularly reminded of when the two worlds collided (although that isn't quite a true description - truer to say that a third world, which probably had more in common with the second world, collided with the first world). For some reason, I attended an evangelistic meeting at another church in the town where I lived. I went forward (which is another story), which led to the evangelist contacting my minister, presumably to encourage him to follow up this new convert. Whereupon my minister approached me, somewhat distressed, to say that he didn't understand why I needed to be converted, since I'd grown up in his church, and was already a Christian.

I find, as I write this, that I am confronting layer upon layer of questions, which may be why, at a somewhat more advanced age, I find myself trying to unpick the curious mixture of ideas which continually bash into each other whenever I try to think through an issue related to my faith.

First principles

Does God exist? There must be, at least, the possibility that He doesn't. Since human beings all have different ideas of what God is like, then surely one explanation is that He isn't there at all - we've all made Him up.

If He does exist, what is He like? Again, we receive mixed messages. At the same time, He is kind, loving, and just, and eternally punishes some people simply for not knowing about Him.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


On Sunday morning, the bible reading was the passage where Jesus told his interrogators to "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." The children's address consisted of the story of Eric Liddell, who opted out of the 100 metres race at the Paris Olympics in 1924 because the heats were to take place on a Sunday morning. He went on to win the 400 metres - an inspiring story. But (but, but, but) would anybody (ministers of the Church of Scotland included) expect or support such behaviour to-day?

The moral of the story, as spelt out by the minister, was that if any of the children happened to be, say, in the school football team, and there was to be a practice session on a Sunday morning, they should say - sorry, I can't take part - on Sunday morning I go to church. What a burden to lay on young shoulders!

OK, but let's be consistent. I knew of an elder who was building his own house at week-ends. So he took a holiday from church - nobody batted an eyelid. What if a parishioner announced that he or she was going to run the Edinburgh Marathon? What if half the congregation goes straight from church to the supermarket, or the garden centre, or the diy store?

At a crisis point in my life, my parents had arranged for me to see a psychiatrist. The only time he had available was on a Sunday morning. Should I go and see this man, who is unlikely to support a religious view of life, or should I trust God, and attend church? If it is obvious to you that I should see the psychiatrist, then why do you support Eric Liddell's decision to put God before country?

And finally, another Christian sportsman, Bernhard Langer won a major tournament, which happened to finish on Easter Sunday. He played (of course), and won, and announced how proud he was to win this competition on the day that we remember Jesus Christ rising from the dead ...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Please ...

Dear Mr. Brewer

We are writing on behalf of 498 supporters of cartoonist and blogger Dave Walker, a group which includes bishops, national journalists in the UK and US, lawyers, clergy, and concerned members of the public.

We would like to ask you please to contact Dave Walker and withdraw the demands made in the 'Cease and Desist' letter which you sent him in July. Your letter, as far as we know, instructed Dave to remove all his posts about the recent history of SPCK bookshops or face action for libel. With the pressures of the impending Lambeth conference, and a very short deadline given by yourself, Dave complied. He commented at the time: “I have therefore removed all of the SPCK/SSG posts on this blog, as, although I believe I have not done anything wrong I do not have the money to face a legal battle. The removal of these posts is in no way an admission of guilt.”

Many of us have read the posts concerned, and are surprised, to say the least, that they could be called libelous. Indeed, the first three posts make no mention at all of yourself, the Society of St. Stephen the Great, or anyone associated with you. The 4th post reports your takeover of the bookshops with the comment “this is splendid news.” Another post is a simple link to your SSG video on YouTube. Other items include verbatim reports of your own statements, and in the simple post on the death of Steve Jeynes, dozens of people used the comments to expressed their grief and condolences to Steve’s family.

Dave is a reasonable man, and if all critics were as fair as he is the world would be a better place. If you were able to reconsider, and point out specific statements and claims you were unhappy with, we are sure Dave would be happy to correct them where appropriate. This is the normal process of debate on the internet, and in real life, and follows the strong tradition of free speech for which our countries stand and are rightly proud.

So this is a polite request from all of us: please contact Dave Walker, advise him that your ‘cease and desist’ communication no longer stands, and let him report freely.

Yours sincerely

8 signatories representing the ‘We Support Dave Walker’ group.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


We're back, after spending a few days in a caravan. It was a good holiday, helped by the relatively good weather we had. And we made some interesting visits, including Paxton House and Bamburgh Castle (on the beach neighbouring which the kite helicopter incident took place).

Home again - wife and daughter attending an amateur performance of "Summer Holiday" in Edinburgh, while son and I hold the fort at home ...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Kitus Interruptus

Sorry, couldn't resist ...

I was on the beach, flying my kite, as you do, when I realised that a helicopter was flying towards the beach at low level. I was frantically reeling in the kite, wondering whether the kite or the helicopter would come off worse if there was an entanglement. Thankfully, the helicopter roared overhead, a few metres to my right, without fouling the kite string.

Some time later, a gentleman approached me, introducing himself as the helicopter pilot. He said that they would be filming for an hour and a half, and could I 'be aware'. I said to him that I was happy to call it a day - indeed at that point I was trying to retrieve my kite without it ending up in the sea.

Not a hazard you expect ...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


This is Green Week. It is also likely to be remembered as the week I stopped taking public transport to work and started driving (again). Monday morning was the last straw - I arrived at my desk 45 minutes late, partly because one of my buses was 20 minutes late.

My daughter said to me this morning that this is Walk to School Week. I told her that as far as I am concerned, it is Get to Work on Time Week ...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Cold winds

Financially, and meteorologically. Brings a new attitude - greater realism ...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Yesterday evening I attended a meeting of our local after school club management committee. This morning, I shall be attending our regular team meeting at work. Obviously, the content of these meetings isn't blog fodder, but these days I am having to give a great deal of thought to the question of how my participation in these meetings is affected by my having Asperger's Syndrome. Of course, being diagnosed hasn't changed me. But I am now aware that there may be factors which affect my performance at meetings which previously I could not take into account. Essentially, I am operating under a disability.

Imagine a blind person running a race, unaware that the other competitors can see. It would be a mystery to him how they so easily find their way around the course. I am criticised for not contributing enough at meetings. The truth is that it takes me all of the effort I can muster just to keep up with what's happening - to follow. There is no way that I could ever take the lead.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Morning sunshine ...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

What's the use?

A Radio 3 announcer, commenting on this news item, asked - what's the use of this huge prime number? By the end of the programme, somebody had emailed in to point out that such numbers are used in cryptography - and hence useful in securing websites, but I was reminded of something said by GH Hardy, a mathematician. He said something along the lines of - that he was glad that he'd never done anything useful in his life - which sounds reprehensible - until you are told that he lived in wartime (I'm not sure which war), when scientific discoveries were increasingly being used as the basis for new ways to kill people.

But for me, personally, I didn't know what to think. My encounter with GH Hardy happened when I was contemplating studying mathematics at university, and a maths teacher suggested that I read his book. To a young person, wanting to find something useful to do with his life, GH Hardy's comment wasn't exactly encouraging ...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Self portrait with the new cameraphone

Not as capable as the old one, but OK ...

Of birthdays and families

To-day is my wife's birthday. And, conveniently, my mother is coming to stay with us for a couple of days because my daughter has arranged with her class teacher for my mother to come and speak to the class on Monday morning about World War II, about which my daughter's class are doing a project, and through which my mother lived. So we (wife, (my) mother, daughter, son, and me) are going out for a meal this evening.

My mother can be somewhat critical when observing the tidiness of house and garden - well, we've done our best ...

Friday, September 26, 2008


Complete with UFO ...



Sent using a Sony Ericsson mobile phone

Thursday, September 25, 2008

If I were to post

And I were to be truthful, I would report that I am not coping.

But I didn't post, and we've had our team meeting, and I've had my lunch, and I've enjoyed listening to some Brahms (the 2nd, 3rd and 4th movements of his 1st symphony). I don't suppose that I'm coping any better, but I'm feeling happier ...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Climbing the hill

These days, I do far less hillwalking than I used to. But when I did, I recall that it was best not to stop too often, but that some rest points were needed. I always seemed to be at the back of the party, and was often frustrated when the main group paused, just long enough for the stragglers to catch up, and then set off again.

The great moment, of course, is the achievement of the summit, often coinciding with time to consume our packed lunches. But I'm thinking also of the mid morning break, on the shoulder of the hill, perhaps the cars still in sight, tiny, far below. Between two worlds - the demanding, complicated world of normal life - and the bracing otherness of the high plateau ...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Still dealing with the (mostly positive) repercussions of reading "The Shack". I've been challenged to become more aware of God's presence. I think that I'd settled into a view of God as being 'out there', not 'here'. And consequently I'm having to consider that God (or Jesus, or the Holy Spirit - my grasp of the concept of the trinity isn't great) is interested in every aspect of my life - not just prayer times and church attendance. Which I've always accepted in theory, but found difficult in practice.

Many years ago, I attended some kind of gospel rally in the Music Hall, Aberdeen. Where the speaker made some comment about how much more valuable was the event taking place than what usually happened in the Music Hall. And I was thinking - the event which I had previously attended (most recently) at that venue was a symphony concert. Did he really have the right to claim that what he was presenting was significantly better than the moving, uplifting, edifying concert I'd been to a few weeks before?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Back to work

We seem to be enjoying an indian summer. First day of the teaching term - the campus suddenly switches from being relatively quiet to being populated by (young-looking) students. And I need to turn my attention from home stuff to work stuff ...

Sunday, September 21, 2008


The sun is shining. I've opened the (house) windows, and really should be in the garden, tackling some weeds. My wife and daughter are in church; my son is downstairs playing his new DS game (Pokemon). But my heart is heavy. No big reason; just my constant inability to surf the wave of life. I always seem to be just beneath the surface, gasping for breath, struggling to reach the surface.

I'm being more candid than I usually am, inspired by my friend Ian's reference to the story of Hannah Modra. I know someone who (perhaps not unexpectedly) took her own life. And I am constantly aware of my own inner darkness - to-day so out of tune with the day's brightness.

And this isn't a 'poor me' post. I know how fortunate I am, and am truly thankful. It's just - perhaps mostly tiredness - I don't know ...

And I would add my prayers to Ian's. I'm back remembering the Shack, and that papa (God) loves us with such a gentle love, past understanding ...

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Yesterday, I crashed through my electronic in-tray (our call management system, at work). I'm quite pleased that I managed to do something with most of the items therein, possibly not the right thing, or the best thing. So I can start next week, which is already overloaded, with somewhat less baggage than I had at the start of this one.

And I'm quite pleased to have my Saturday mornings back. Last year, our daughter attended a ballet class which involved me in driving her there, driving back home, trying to do something useful in the intervening period, and driving out again to bring her home. Her ballet class this year is midweek, which brings its own challenges, but has allowed me to sit at the computer this morning to make some inroads on the pile of family and home admin. Trying to be realistic - I don't want to spend the day at the computer, but hopefully over time the height of the physical pile of papers sitting in my in-tray here will diminish ...

Friday, September 19, 2008


I have just finished reading The Shack. For most of the book, I felt that the writing was too sugary to be nutritious, but I guess that by the end I had been pretty well won over. Perhaps it was the contrast between the darkness of the event depicted in the first part of the book, and the primary colours brightness of the central section that made me uncomfortable. Anyway, it's provided continuing food for thought, and some encouragement, for which I am grateful.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Meta blogging

Thanks for the comments - they mean so much ...

And I did manage to put on the blinkers, and tackle just one job, not completing it, but, hopefully, moving it along. The fear is, of course, that those jobs which I had to lay aside now bite me. In my home life, given the opportunity, I can usually work my way forward, one task at a time, through a myriad of tasks. It's more difficult at work, where I have less control, and people have a habit of criticising me for not doing something, when I was doing something else. I should be able to defend myself, but I don't always know who's right. Asperger's again, to some extent, I guess ...

Anyway, better get on. Thanks, again!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


This is one of those waving a banner type posts. Not a proper journal entry.

It's mid morning. Work is impossible. But if I go to my boss and say that work is impossible, that will intensify the crisis. And the only relief that it will bring will be that the tasks will be redistributed. And I shall have failed again.

I can try, as is my usual practice, having surveyed the mess, to tackle one job. Move that job, hopefully, one step nearer to completion. While being acutely aware that other jobs will be waiting. And with the prospect of desk duty this afternoon. Where I can sometimes actually help with, on a good day, 10% of the calls.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Rocks in a swamp

There is a thread over on the ship along the lines of, "Why blog?" I was intrigued by one of the contributions, by the writer of glimpsesofcolour. Her blog is therapy, drawing attention to glimpses of colour in a life otherwise overshadowed by the greyness of depression.

Why do I blog? I, too, battle depression. I sometimes think of my blog posts as waypoints. If I blog early in the day, it is to put down a marker; if late, it is generally to try to identify a positive aspect to the day. Perhaps it is best to think of John Bunyan's Slough of Despond (is it pronounced 'ow' or 'uff'? I always wonder), and of the traveller making the best route that he can.

Friday, September 12, 2008

And thanks to Tired and Emotional

For this inspired rewrite of history ...

And as I drove home this evening (after dropping my daughter at Focus in Prestonpans), whoever orchestrates the sky was surpassing him (or her) self - in one direction a glorious sunset, in the other what looked like part of a rainbow ...


I have just listened to, and been refreshed by, a tearFund prayercast. But I am acutely conscious that I have been able to do so only because to-day I am not well enough to be at work.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Asperger's, again

These days, I am reading a book called Asperger Syndrome Employment Workbook, by Roger N Meyer. It isn't an easy read, but over and over again I find myself saying, "Yes, that's true of me." This morning, the author asserted that Asperger's Syndrome is 'always' accompanied by dysthymia (a sort of low level, ongoing depression). He relates how he looked at childhood photographs and noticed his flat expression - in my case, my parents were forever telling me to smile, and I would contort my face into what felt like a grimace, and they would, apparently, be happy.

Another book I am reading is Alan Jamieson's A Churchless Faith. I am impressed by how sympathetically he describes the questioning which some people go through when they find that their received faith is inadequate.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


As readers of this blog will probably realise, I have a fragile personality. I have decided that I cannot cope with anonymous comments. But I would not wish to disenfranchise serious commentators who happen not to have a Blogger account. So I am happy that Blogger now supports OpenID as a way for someone who wishes to comment to identify him or herself.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Step by step

I don't entirely know where I am going with this. I still can't update Classical Jaz. We enjoyed the Clone Wars, but I found Ocean Terminal a scary place.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land

Leaving soon for the cinema, to see Clone Wars with my son. My presbyterian soul feels that I should be in church, but since my son regularly elects not to attend church, and therefore one of us (his parents) stays at home to be with him, I don't think that my guilt feelings are appropriate.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


To-day's challenge was to prioritise - recognising that, at the day's end, plenty that one would have liked to have done will not have been done. But we have done, I think, what we had to do - haircuts for father and son, shoes (ballet and school) for daughter, a visit for grandma ...

Friday, September 05, 2008


Not literally, I hasten to add. It's just that, owing to a technical fault, I am currently unable to post in the usual place.

I've been listening to Beethoven's 9th symphony. Inspiring stuff. I have a set of CDs of the Beethoven symphonies performed by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras. Clean, satisfying performances. What struck me about the last movement of Beethoven's 9th (the famous choral finale) was how different the climaxes were from, for example, those in Mahler's symphonies. The late romantics build up to their climaxes, whereas Beethoven's seem to come from nowhere, like water bursting through a breached dam.

Moving on

Just too cumulatively tired ...

Monday, September 01, 2008

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

Yes and no

It was a good holiday, but being back and facing the task ahead is
terrifying ...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Are holidays a good idea?

Ask me in two and a half weeks ...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Counting down

Just 3 days to go, and we're on holiday!


Just trying cellSpin ...

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Anticipating an interesting day - the Museum of Flight down the road is hosting its annual airshow. After yesterday's sun and blue skies we have cloud and drizzle - but I wouldn't have wanted it to be too hot, with two children in tow and the risk of sunburn.

Somewhat anxious about the travel arrangements - we're leaving the car at home (well, not quite - we're driving to the station), and taking the train and a shuttle bus - I'm just hoping that the the shuttle bus is big enough for all to fit in ...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Will I ever escape from the prison of too much to do, too little time - and the consequential tiredness? I live in continual dread of failing to get something done, or doing something inadequately, because I haven't the time, and I haven't the energy.

Another meeting, this afternoon, with somebody whose job it is to help us; but being invited to attend yet another meeting is not being helped, unless something is then offered. I'm tired, and afraid that in my fear and my frustration I will come across as uncooperative.

Pray for me ...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Top deck

As holiday time approaches, and I wonder how I shall survive away from a computer, I guess that it is only natural to be trying out some mobile blogging options.

And, a little more prettily

With a title ...
At last! I can use ...

Just testing

From the café ...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Reaching for the sky

Needing, on so many fronts, just to take one day at a time ...

Trying to be creative

Frustrated ...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Breaking the silence

Silence can be golden - not always ...

I'm finding it difficult to report on what is happening around me these days. A crisis, I guess. On many levels. Too many questions - reminds me of the old days of trying to solve applied maths problems - if there were too many unknowns, the problem couldn't be solved ...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A crucial week

As I've been told often, a crisis can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it. So, looking back on the turmoil of this week, I have mixed feelings. But, to focus on the positive - I have discovered (or, rather, re-discovered) a new resource - Scripture Union's WordLive which means that I no longer feel that I'm trying to haul myself up by my bootstraps. And there's a mobile version, which means that with my web-enabled mobile phone I have access virtually anywhere ...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Where am I?

This is a peculiar darkness ...

Work terrifies me, these days. There is simply too much to do. Perhaps, if I had different skills, I would be able to get other people to perform some of the tasks - but I don't. I've had my second interview with the lady who is trying to decide whether or not I have Asperger's. It's an odd experience. I had to complete a questionnaire which was designed to assess how well I empathise with other people. As I worked through it, I was conscious of how much, throughout my life, people have said to me that the one thing which is more important than anything else is what they generally call love, but which seems to me to be something like empathy. And here I am, being asked - do I empathise? Of course, it feels like a trick question.

So, if, because of who I am, I can't empathise (maybe I can - the doctor seemed to be thinking that I do empathise - but then if I've put so much effort into trying to empathise, surely I have been able to, to some extent - but, then, maybe I've been fooling myself all along). What I'm trying to get my head around is - how can they say that love is everything, if there is a group of people who are unable to love? Except, I suppose, that empathy and love aren't necessarily the same thing.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Picture postcard

It's been an odd day; for a while this afternoon the sun shone, but the sky darkened as threatening clouds moved in, and rain (maybe some hail) began to fall. This, by the way, is our church - more rural than you would expect for the community we live in ...

Friday, April 04, 2008

Getting my head down

Yesterday was a logistical nightmare (and, in the event, a significant achievement) - but highs (in terms of somehow managing it) tend to be followed by lows - and I'm struggling to get useful work done to-day - which is a problem because there's too much to do and too little time (as usual) - so I'm using every tactic available to get my head down and keep working ...

Saturday, March 29, 2008


I've been ironing Hama Beads (I searched for a suitable link, but I can only find people who sell them). Contrary to the forecast, the sun is shining. The visiting cat prefers to stay indoors, however - I guess that it's still cold outside.

Of course, Easter was last week-end, but with it coming so early this year, the children are still on holiday. Life still feels like a struggle to keep our heads above water - it's difficult to think of anything positive to report. We're having new windows and doors fitted, in about 10 days' time. In preparation, the computer has been moved - it now resides in what feels like a good location - the landing in this house has an open space which is like an extra room. And my wife says that she's been sleeping better since the computer was moved upstairs - I wonder if the gentle swishing sound of the fan could be soporific. But it's more difficult for me - my desk is still downstairs - it used to be easy for me to swing round from my desk to the computer whenever something needed to be recorded electronically.

But I am enjoying the more open, brighter space. I guess that this arrangement will stay.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring - imminent?

I can't think where I got that idea! It's been so bitterly cold ...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

It's been a long week

But to-day did feel as though spring might not be too far away ...

Thursday, March 13, 2008


In a crowded hall, waiting for the concert to start, my knees cold because my jeans are wet - I had to change a (car) wheel because of a flat tyre ...

But eagerly anticipating a feast of music ...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

We're expecting gales

The south and southwest of the UK have been experiencing severe weather, which is reported to be on its way northwards and eastwards.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

I wouldn't call this a self portrait, would you?

You can tell that I'm struggling with the 365 Days project when I say that I seriously considering making this to-day's offering.
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Friday, February 29, 2008

If to-day hadn't been Friday, I don't know what I would have done

I just had to keep pushing myself, every step of the way.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The break point is never far away

I suppose that from the outside, my continual angst doesn't make sense. Yes, as I drove home this evening, if I had misjudged my position on the road at the wrong moment, I could have been involved in a head-on collision, and be in no state to be writing this. It feels as though we are living on the edge, but I don't suppose that we are.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tummy bug

A day at home, never far from a toilet ...

I just wish that I could reach a place where, even just for a while, everything that needs to have been done has been done, and I can just relax. Now, I relax at times, when I have to, but just to recuperate, so that I can get back to catching up - always catching up.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

God smiled at me!

He was standing on his head.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A religious Sunday

I've been to church twice to-day, and we (the children and I) went swimming this afternoon, so it's been a pretty full day.
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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Flaming Nora

We were at a ceilidh last night. The band was Flaming Nora; the event was a fundraiser for Fischy Music.
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Thursday, February 21, 2008


Through the window of a number 30 bus

Posted by ShoZu

Strange Sunset

Posted by ShoZu

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Still looking out for spring

But, of course, we are still in the middle of February; I shouldn't have been surprised by the cold fog which engulfed us this morning and this evening.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Winding down

I gave the third of three presentations this afternoon. As I've just said to my wife, it has seemed for the past three weeks or so that my life has been on hold. I wonder just to what extent my physical debility has had a psychological component.

So I'm picking up the threads. To-morrow morning, the surveyor comes to measure up for the new doors and windows we've ordered. To-day, I picked up the car after it had passed (with some work) another MoT. And to-morrow, of course, is St Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

An official birthday

Actually, I think that having a birthday in early February is good - anything that cheers us up at this time of year has to be welcome. But I reckon that the real star of these days has to be the humble snowdrop - what better sign of hope than this?

Monday, February 11, 2008


Thank you for your wishes; unfortunately, this virus which won't go away turned my birthday into something of a non-event. The battle continues ...

But my son, kindly, gathered some of his toys which he knew that I enjoy playing with, and gave me them as a present. Wonderful.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

It's my birthday

Unfortunately, the virus which I thought I'd seen the last of is still bothering me. It's becoming a family tradition. Nine months ago, our daughter endured her birthday meal feeling rotten. Yesterday evening was my turn, although the meal was pleasant.

To-day is my actual birthday.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Whatever my mental state

Portobello Town Hall
Originally uploaded by Glaswegian

I hope that I can show you an interesting photo.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Surely spring is just around the corner

I took this picture this morning:

Erskine Williamson Building

And yesterday's presentation - I was pleased to see, in the lecture theatre, that the lectern was brick (or possibly concrete) - I could have sheltered behind it if there had been trouble - in fact, someone in the audience admitted that they were giving us a hard time ...

Monday, February 04, 2008

I'm not cut out for this

To-morrow, I have to stand at the front of a lecture theatre, and give a presentation. Essentially, it's the same spiel as I gave two weeks ago, but the venue is daunting, being a proper lecture theatre. Also, having to talk with academics frightens me, especially this particular group, as the department where I used to work (18 years ago) is part of this school. There will be people in the audience alongside whom I used to work.

I have to go through with it, but I wonder if I shall ever be in control of my life, able to say, "no," to things which I really don't want to do.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

We've been swimming

A notable day, on at least two counts. This morning, for the first time, I was helping with the Sunday School at our local parish church. And this afternoon, while my wife was visiting her mother, the children and I went swimming. Of course, I have swum before, but this particular arrangement is new, and worked well.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Crisis mode

Can't really say why.

Thursday, January 31, 2008


Just when I thought that I was on the mend, the virus doubles back and wallops me from behind.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Catching up

Back at work to-day; spent the day catching up. If I'd been off any longer, I'm not sure that it would have been worth going back - I'd never have caught up!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


It's been raining for most of to-day. The visiting cat was especially grateful this morning for some warmth, and to be in the dry. I reckon that I'll be at work to-morrow, although I felt dizzy while walking the aisles at the local store.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The dreaded lurgy

This is where I'm glad that I didn't sign up for Blog 365. I've been laid low, presumably by the same bug which caused our son to be off school for two days. I'm more or less back on my feet now, although I have to move slowly, otherwise I feel as if I'm about to keel over.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A convoy

A convoy
Originally uploaded by Glaswegian

There's a bus theme running through my 365 Days photos on flickr, so I thought that I could appropriately post an old picture (I took) of a couple of 26's. Last year's panto (in the Brunton Theatre - just behind me when I took this photo) included a brilliant gag referring to the hearts on these buses (you can just see part of one in the top left hand corner of the picture). I'm not sure that I can capture the humour - you had to be there ...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I don't know what to do

But right now, I guess that I should go to bed, and try to get some sleep.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


The chap I share an office with is a musician; as I tried to get back down to earth this afternoon we talked about performance - the enabling adrenalin rush - I was saying that to give this morning's presentation I had to become a different person. Which is OK, provided that I can find the space now to put myself back together again. It doesn't help that my wife and I were up half last night cleaning up after our son, who was sick.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Up to high doh

To-morrow I have to give a presentation at work; I'm anxious; I don't know how it will go. It's difficult to think about anything else.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Oh, yes we did

The last performance of the season - panto at the Kings Theatre, Edinburgh. It's not often that pantomime packs an emotional punch, but this one did. You know the rules - the handsome guy gets the girl - well, not this time - the clown got the girl (and the circus). I'm trying not to spoil it for you, so I'm not telling you the title. So there!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

There seems to be a world shortage of sonic screwdrivers

At least, neither Toys R Us nor Woolworths had any; in the end, we settled for a Judoon trooper figure.

Yes, Karin, it's that time of year when winter seems to be going on and on for ever; I'm longing for the first snowdrop; and hoping again that you're feeling better.

Friday, January 18, 2008

I don't seem to be winning

Even a boxer gets a rest between rounds. But come Friday, and I just exchange one fight for another.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


I've been thinking about the various references in this blog, direct and indirect, to the imbibing of alcoholic drinks. I do drink wine, beer, and whisky (not all at once). I try to keep my consumption within the recommended guidelines. Sometimes I drink enough to feel 'euphoric'.

I know that for some people, alcohol has to be avoided. And that some people disapprove of the drinking of alcoholic drinks. And that alcohol is implicated in some bad behaviour. And that it is dangerous to drive when under the influence of alcohol.

All that I ask, gentle reader, is, please do not be offended by these references. I do not think of myself as a problem drinker, but that is my perspective. Incidentally, I am writing to-day under the influence of nothing stronger than a mug of tea.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wir gettin new windaes

An' new doors! Ah've signed ma name on the dotted line.

We dinna have a lum. The phrase 'lang mae yer lum reek', basically, means 'long may your chimney smoke' - I guess it just means - 'may you prosper'.

But 'dubs' is a word I hadn't come across. Scots Online says that it means 'mud', which is fun. I can guess what 'fou as a puggie' might mean - perhaps not entirely suitable for homework - but, sadly, occasionally an accurate description of this blogger - well, possibly a slight exaggeration ...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The mither tongue

Our daughter has had to compose 10 sentences using Scots words (as homework). I've been having fun, since my mother is a Highlander, I was brought up near Glasgow, and my dad was from London, so dialectically I'm a bit of a mixture.

Lang mae yer lum reek!

Monday, January 14, 2008


Welcome, Ginger Blue, and thank you for commenting.

My wife and I argued, yesterday. It's always hard to recover, to acknowledge that we have differences, and that we have to work through them.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


This afternoon, I gave blood, and now I'm drinking a glass of wine; they're both red stuff, so it makes sense, doesn't it?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Another busy day

But no time to describe it ...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

It was windy, last night

It was windy, last night
Originally uploaded by Glaswegian

The picture says it all ...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The visiting cat

There is a cat which has got into the habit of coming to our door, mewing for food and shelter. Generally, we allow him to come in, give him some scraps to eat, and let him find somewhere comfortable to curl up for a while. But we haven't allowed him to stay the night. It tends to be me who evicts him. We think that he has an owner, so I reckon that the best thing to do is to entice him out with something to eat around the middle of the evening, so if he does decide to go home there will be somebody who can let him in.

It was getting late this evening, and the cat was still in the house. Nobody else seemed to be concerned; I was too tired to do anything subtle, so I picked up the cat and carried him out the back door. His piteous miaow nearly broke my heart, but I didn't let him back into the house. When I opened the door about ten minutes later, he was gone.

I really don't know what to do. I can't believe that he is a genuine stray. So I suppose that my head is now telling me that I did the right thing, but my heart isn't so sure.

Monday, January 07, 2008

First day back at work

Unfortunately, this was one of those days where I ended up with considerably more work to do at the end than I had at the beginning.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Black dog

Back to work, to-morrow; feeling utterly, utterly despondent.

A crazy outing this afternoon - to the beach (well, the sun was shining) - but the picnic came to an abrupt end when our son was clearly suffering in the cold.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Don't blog when drunk

So I'm not blogging ...

Friday, January 04, 2008

A sudden thought

The children and I went swimming this afternoon, unexpectedly. I was thinking that it would be good to do something active - especially with the aim of tiring out our son, who might be more willing then to go to bed when the time comes. Well, it's tired me out ...

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Out of the depths

Short, dark days. Always being responsible for children. Unclear about the future. But grateful for mercies, such as the heat in the house being on, although the boiler needs a replacement part.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

It could have been worse

As we drove to my mother's to-day, the car started to make an expensive sounding noise. I was thinking that we'd have to leave the car with my mum, and find an alternative means of getting home, but, miraculously, when I took the car for a test drive after lunch, there was no sign of the ominous noise. PTL.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A drab New Year's Day

Of course, staying up until one o'clock this morning probably didn't help; and the rain hasn't stopped; but we meant to get out somewhere, and we didn't.