Monday, 29 June 2009

Just the Job

Belated Congratulations

Aman de Sondy, a great friend of St Aug's received his doctorate last week. Here is a wee pic with Margot who was at the celebration!
It's taken a lot of hard work and sweat to get to this point! Well done, Aman, who is busy umpiring at Wimbledon this week!

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Frustration & Anger

'Twasn't a good visit to father last night. In his confusion he's bitterly angry and frustrated that he's restricted to the confines of Ward 15. A couple of "escape" attempts have not helped the demeanor of nurses who have more to do than chase after 84 year-olds who go awol and have to be rescued from the main road.

Social Work, obviously, badly let us all down last week, and that hasn't helped, but the anger and aggression towards the RW and me last night was quite phenomenal. I've got myself into a state of despair now. I don't see any way out of this, because whatever Care Home he ends up in will have the same restrictions, and he'll have to accept that his days of freedom to wander wherever he wants are now gone.

My sister is going up today. Don't think I could face another roasting within 24 hours!

From Fr Jimmy - A Truth Unfortunately!

Man is taking a walk in Central park in New York.
Suddenly he sees a little girl being attacked by a pit bull dog .
He runs over and starts fighting with the dog.
He succeeds in killing the dog and saving the girl's life.
A policeman who was watching the scene walks over and says: "You are a hero, tomorrow you can read it in all the newspapers: "BraveNew Yorker saves the life of little girl"
The man says: - "But I am not a New Yorker!"
"Oh ,then it will say in newspapers in the morning: 'Brave American saves life of little girl'" - the policeman answers.
"But I am not an American!" - says the man.
"Oh, what are you then? " The man says: - "I am a Saudi !"
The next day the newspapers says:
"Islamic extremist kills innocent American dog”.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Canine Hero

Nine-week-old Cocker Spaniel, Copper, was handed over to the charity Cancer Biodetection Dogs by Sgt Tracy Reid, of Strathclyde Police. He will be trained to detect the scent of cancer from urine samples.

Worst Nightmare!

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Home or Homeless?

And so it came to pass that yesterday the Social Work Dept saith unto me, "Lo! We have found a place in a Care Home for your father." So, I arose and went unto my father, in hospital, and saith unto him, "Father we have found a home which shall be your home, and it is just around the corner from your old home and many flocks of people will visiteth thee and thou shalt be happy" (For a week or two.) And father was greatly pleased, and saith, "Thanks be to Jehovah who hast given me this great gift!" And he crieth and huggeth, and we were greatly comforted.

Then saith Social Work unto me, "Now I shall show you that the SW Dept giveth and the SW Dept taketh away. Behold, the bed that was for your father to lieth upon may not be his, because the woman, whom I have putteth into hospice care, may yet come back to the bed I have given unto your father, so it cannot be his bed until I decideth whether the woman dieth or not."

And so there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth, and, yes, teeth were provided.

Advertising - The Way to Go!

"They should lift the church skywards," he says of the stunted turrets topping St. John's gleaming brick tower.

But restoring them to their original Georgian grandeur and replacing the leaky roof over St. John's – the centerpiece of the chocolate-box Walham Green parish in West London – is beyond the fundraising prowess of his 250-strong congregation.

"The state won't help," he explains.

Indeed, despite owning 60 percent of all buildings listed on the country's historic register, such as St. John's, the Church of England receives only a tenth of the cash divvied out by authorities for restoration.

Last month the Church of England said the recession has punched a £1.3 billion ($2.1 billion) hole in its investments. So, Rev. Osborne must now reluctantly turn to advertising.

"A billboard on the church tower will help us become a self-funding parish," he explains.

If planning permission is granted, St John's could quickly match the £190,000 ($311,000) cash injection by English National Heritage, Britain's main architectural conservation charity, and meet the estimated $800,000 costs of a revamp.

There will also be strict rules to protect the integrity of the church, crafted by the Church of England and the advertising agency specializing in sales of space on "unconventional" sites.
"There'll be no ads promoting sex, booze, gambling, or cigarettes – so, a giant Wonderbra ad will not be disturbing the residents of Walham Green," the pastor says.

Now, Rector's Ramblings is looking for appropriate adverts for the high bits in St Augustine's Dumbarton. Any ideas?

31 Years - Still busy!

It has been an extremely stressful and emotional day, much the same as the day of my ordination to the Diaconate on the Feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, (24th June), 1978. I remember the excitement and the joy of the day itself, my unbounded enthusiasm, my energy, my impatience to get going and into ministry rushing head first into something I really knew nothing about!

Todays morning prayers were supplemented by great reflection on that day and how I've changed. My expectations are very different, my experience great and very varied, the joys and the pain that have moulded me into what and who I am today - still a servant of God, but perhaps with lots less energy and certainly a different sort of enthusiasm.

I remember sitting with my mother and father when everyone had "gone home" after a massive party, and just bursting into tears! I think I suddenly stopped laughing at one point and just broke down instead!

The rest of today was spent in great activity, one of those days when I rarely had a moment to myself. Emotional pastoral moments, holding the hand of a very sick friend, emotional family moments, some serious theology teased out with an unexpected visitor to the church, and the practicalities of a Site Meeting and wandering about the new hall in construction. I guess it was days like this that I dreamed about 31 years ago.

Today too has left me drained, and as I think of sleep, I realise that perhaps too often a day's ministry means suddenly stopping laughing and realising my real and utter need of God in my emptiness.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Perfect Day

Well, the day seems perfect until one considers where one might take Archie for a walk! You see, Archie and other people's picnics don't mix very well, so a walk in one of the local parks is a "no-no"! In fact, everywhere that normal people go to sit on the grass, share some sandwiches, and drink some tea or coffee from a flask are just no-go areas.

Archie believes in sharing, and that the kindly folk have just brought him a spot of lunch to aid him on his way. It becomes embarrassing. One can't just offer to buy a family, with howling children who have just lost their cake, a new picnic!

So, this lunchtime saw us having a leisurely stroll along the path of the River Clyde in the shade of Dumbarton Rock and Castle. A beautiful walk it was too, until Archie found the smelliest, slimiest piece of the River and rolled gloriously in it all. Don't be fooled by appearances... this dog is a slut!

However, we DID manage to capture the Castle in all its glory. Not often you'll get a photo of Dumbarton with glorious blue skies!

Monday, 22 June 2009

Day Off

It's the "Day Off", although a couple of sick visits will be squeezed in between a good blether over lunch with some clergy, a dog walk, and of course a visit to father.

He's still in hospital awaiting a place in a Care Home, and it's taking forever. He's now getting really aggressive and extremely unsettled in the ward, and the hospital will be pleased to see him go I think. Social Work have been incredibly slow in placing him somewhere, anywhere, even as a stop-gap until he returns to his native and beloved Glasgow. Prayers, please, that something happens soon.

It was strange, at the end of last week, giving up his tenancy, disconnecting his phone and his Sky etc etc. Almost like a death, but in reality just the beginning of his final chapter. In saying that, he's had more comebacks than Lazarus, and the old codger will probably outlive me!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Busy Wee Weekend!

Apart from having Fiona from Taiwan, who has been a delightful and wonderful guest, much has happened over the past couple of days.

Off to High Mill School in Carluke on Friday afternoon, with Fiona, to see the children's Talent Contest. This was their final fundraiser for our school in The Gambia, and they have done exceptionally well over the year, raising cash through sponsorship, bring-and-buy and all sorts of other things. Their Head Teacher, pictured, is Anne Reifer, (nee Semple), who was a childhood "sweetheart" of mine when we were at school together all these years ago, so it was wonderful to catch up over the past few months!
We were presented with a cheque for £800 which goes an awful long way in The Gambia! We can now repair our building and enhance it after the Rainy Season. Anne.s school is moving to temporary premises until a new school is built, and we have been offered so many resources and furnishings to go in our container which is off to The Gambia later in the year.
Well done to Anne, the teachers and mostly the pupils of High Mill! You are wee stars!
Saturday morning was Synod, and I resisted the temptation to take Fiona! It was a quick and productive meeting, and gave me the opportunity to get a wee rest before having our great friends over for dinner last night. Linda produced a "Christmas Dinner" for Fiona, and even the dogs ate well!
Happy Father's Day to all you "Fathers" out there, spiritual and otherwise!

Friday, 19 June 2009

A Weekend Visitor

The RW and I are joined up to Host, an organisation which takes foreign students, studying in the UK, for little breaks to learn about and savour British culture and family life. They usually stay only for a weekend, and we fit in what we can, from trips to Loch Lomond to doing the weekly shop with us! They love it!

Today, Fiona from Taiwan is coming for the weekend. She's studying at Leeds Uni, and wants to see more than her University Campus for a wee while! Boy will she be in for a shock! Three dogs, a cat, and the occasional mouse thrown in!

It's a great thing to do and is mutually beneficial. Try it at least once! You'll enjoy the experience!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Wonders Never Cease

Managed to get an appointment with my own GP at 12.30. Convinced receptionist that it was vital!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Oh Heck!

Thunder in Dumbarton this afternoon. Was the Lord not pleased with my sermon?

The dugs are cowering under the settee!

Heart of the Matter

The old heart is up again and racing. GP tomorrow! If you hear nothing else, they've kept me in the hospital!

Actually, it's a bit better than yesterday morning when I felt I should actually go to The Vale. The thought of being "kept in" with no priest on Sunday held me back. Let's see what tomorrow brings!

Crazy Idea

I have worked in the addiction field for almost 30 years. As a result, it could be argued, I myself became addicted to a substance in a bottle. Very predictable, very socially cool up to a point.

News in a Scottish tabloid Sunday reports today that Phoenix, in Possilpark, Glasgow, is having problems with a teenage drug-dealer next door, who is passing tenner bags of smack through their windows.

I worked in Possil for eight years, and was partly responsible for the first detox/rehab unit in Scotland, together with the first Parent Support Group which met in my dining room, and a 24 hour helpline.

Shortly after I left, Phoenix moved in. (I spent a day at a Phoenix House so I know what they are about) I thought it crazy to set up a house within the community of Possil, with so much addiction, and therefore dealing going on.

Our "clients", once clean and sober were sent to country settings away from the inner-city to rebuild their lives. That seemed sensible. Why Phoenix thought that a rehab in the Drug Capital of the World would be successful I know not.

Maybe they should have asked some of my Parent's Support Group?


It seems that we may have a problem with bees. They obviously want to join the pet family in The Rectory! I have removed two young carcasses from the kitchen, and encouaged 7 others to live and escape via the kitchen window. It's not a problem for me, but canine noses may well get a nasty sting if they're not careful!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Every Thing is Allright!

Well, the heart is down to an acceptable level.... and everthing is ok!

Except that the new hard drive will not let me install Office etc. Major crisis!


The old heart has popped up again in a big way, and I'm fed up! Could do without this at the mo!

Took some flecconide and hopefully, with rest, I'll get back to normal!

New Primus

Step forward an Irishman to become our new Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church! It's wonderful to have a Blogger as Primus!

+David is a fan of Madpriest, and other blogs within the SEC, although, sadly, he has never listed me as a blog to watch! He obviously has taste!

I look forward to working with him as we prepare to elect a new Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway!

Friday, 12 June 2009


Got the laptop back today with new hard drive. Of course all my programmes are missing, and most of my data. If you normally get the Parish Mag by email, then I'm sorry, but I've lost your email address!

Now we have to rebuild it! It's going to take months!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009


The RW has gone to France for a few days to visit son's new home. Even Archie has gone on his holidays for a day or two, which leaves me alone with the Dynamic Duo of Toastie and Peanut, and of course the Silent Assassin.

It is strange, but rather comforting, to have the house to myself, and the silence is good. I like being alone sometimes, the space gives me time to think and reflect and I'm in no rush to put on the TV or fill the void with noise of any kind.

Of course I love the RW, and her company is such that I want it forever, but she's not a "silence" person, and sometimes I am. I will miss her and want her home long before she's due, but until then I'll wallow in the silence and listen to what may be being said!

Laptop Decisions

The bottom line is that the hard drive on my laptop is dead, deceased, gone. However, the computer whizz I've recently discovered in Dumbarton managed to save most of the stuff on the said hard drive and put it on a DVD Rom for me. He was up until 2am, the soul, just rescuing what he could!

I can't afford a new laptop. Greek Island holidays and new laptops don't come at once, and I've decided to put in a new hard drive meantime. It's still a costly business, but necessary! We'll be eating pies and beans for the next couple of months!

Of course the car needs serviced, too!

Do you think I could put the dogs out to work?

Threat to Marriage?

Gay folk or Porn? What or who should we target? Have a read at this!

BNP and All That

Much is being written and discussed after two English regions in the UK returned a BNP candidate in the European Elections. One of the best bits I've read on the topic was found on this blog.

Monday, 8 June 2009


Laptop still refusing to start Windows despite several attempts. All my recent work and photos are on the Desktop, including all the work for the pending Church Magazine. Suicidal thoughts pass calmly before me........

From Ekklesia

A wee bit from our Simon Barrow's Ekklsia today:

Disappointment and concern have been expressed by Christians and church leaders following gains made by the far-right British National Party (BNP) in last week’s European Parliament Elections - the results of which came in last night.

In elections held on Thursday 4 June 2009, the BNP won two seats in the European Parliament and three seats in local councils around the UK.

Free Church leaders, Anglicans and Catholics deplored the BNP's gains. But the religion and society think-tank Ekklesia says the churches need to do more than express dismay. They have to combat the narrow nationalist and "Christian nation" rhetoric the far-right is using.
The Rev Graham Sparkes, Head of Faith and Unity for the Baptist Union of Great Britain, declared; “It’s deeply disappointing that we now have a racist party representing Britain in Europe for the next five years and it is vital that our remaining UK representatives dedicate themselves to promote the common good.”

Many commentators predicted success for the BNP due to low voter turnout, anger and resentment in the light of the economic crisis and the political scandals of recent weeks. However, the gains were nowhere near as great as the party itself predicted.
Anti-racism campaigners say that efforts must now be redoubled to combat prejudice and to tackle the inequality and social division which breeds it.

Secretary for Church and Society for the United Reformed Church, Frank Kantor, condemned "the BNP using their position to promote their racist policies."

"We will continue to counter their messages of hatred and fear,” he said.

Simon Barrow, co-director of the religion and society think-tank Ekklesia, which has been warning of the rise of the far right and their use of 'Christian' rhetoric for some time, said that "more than condemnation or hand-wringing distaste is required to tackle the BNP and others who seek to foster fear and anger towards particular groups in society."

"The BNP have openly been using 'Christian nation' rhetoric," he pointed out. "Churches need to dissect and reject attempts to identify and conflate faith, race and nation, as well as combating the mainstream drift towards blaming, targeting and scapegoating migrants."

Barrow added that "inequality, pockets of serious deprivation and the growing gap between governors and governed produced by a political system in need of major reform have also built the resentment that causes some people to mistakenly vote for the BNP. 'Business as usual' is not an option now, for the churches or anyone else."

Well said, Simon, and we look forward to your next visit to St Aug's!


The RW had a couple of disasters yesterday. We won't go into them too much, but the last one involved our dinner all over the kitchen floor, broken pyrex, three dogs and a lot of tears.

Today there is another one! The laptop won't start up Windows, however much I swear at it, and it obviously needs a doctor. I've had to borrow the church laptop meanwhile, but I'm sitting thinking abour all the files I should have backed up but didn't! Will they be saved, or will it be the second big computer disaster in nine months? Can only hope and pray that it will be healed!

Father is very depressed just now, and still in hospital awaiting a Care Home place. He's thoroughly miserable, and is good at transferring that to me. He knows the buttons to push!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Murder Mystery Night

We had a wonderful St Auggie's night tonight with a Murder Mystery in church. All my mentally challenged folk were there to make it a great evening. It turned out that the RW was the murderer! So, I'm going to bed soon..... but will I sleep?

Some pics on the Parish Site.

Friday, 5 June 2009

It's Come to my Attention...

Just received this photo today of what Archie has been up to while we were on holiday. Stealing from picnics is childsplay, but stealing someone's pint and peanuts requires a lot more guile than you would imagine!

Still Living with Memories

The Church of the Sweet Kissing Virgin, Petra.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Waiting at home for us....

Accommodation in Lesbos

This looks like an intriguing place to stay, but we preferred our hotel, thanks!


Missing the sunsets of Lesbos!


Well, the cardioversion did the trick, and the heart is now beating at a regular 60 - 70 bpm rather than the absurd 150 we reached yesterday. Hospital says to take a few days off but I should be fine to partake of the Murder Mystery Night in church tomorrow, as long as it's not me that's being murdered! I'm typecast as the womanising born again Christian Councillor! Should be fun!

Meanwhile, a gossipy lunch with a Church of Scotland minister friend should help my recovery enormously! These guys have their uses!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Returning to the Fold

It is maybe only now, after nearly four sweltering days in Dumbarton that I dare write about the sun-soaked holiday! Fourteen days on a beautiful Greek island was just what the doctor ordered, and I've returned all laid-back and full of the Lesbian Serenity. Well, 13 days, really, as the first 24 hours was spent in Manchester Airport, thankfully most of it in a hotel room. Greece was shut as a result of a fireman's strike!

Lesbos is a wonderful island, so very beautiful, and populated by wonderful, friendly people who enjoy their food, and seem to live to produce good food, then spend the rest of their time eating it and sharing it with others! It lives in a deeply held and strong Orthodox tradition, and most of the monasteries and churches are just breathtaking, and very much alive too. I would challenge anyone not to be moved by the beauty and "feel" of the Church of the Sweet Kissing Virgin in Petra.

If that's not your scene, then the RW pays tribute to the exceptionally fine wines of Lesbos which need to be tasted with relish if you ever visit! We were in Mollyvos and visited the hot springs nearby. Enough to scald you to death, and we ended up in the "private baths" where you could choose your own temperature! (and your own partner, presumably).

Back to reality now! I'm due in to the Vale Hospital on Wednesday for cardioversion, a stop-start of my heart to try to get it into regular rhythm again, although the hospital today say they may cancel if my blood isn't quite thin enough for them! I'll be hammering the warfarin until then in the dizzy hope that all will be well by Wednesday evening. Dad is still in The Vale, and we're trying to get a Care Home fixed up for him, although Social Work seem to be very slow in their deliberations, much like the Church, I guess.

Archie hasn't changed! Off we went for a run in the park this afternoon. Unfortunately, Archie spied a family picnic a mile off, and by the time I caught up with him, most of the food was gone. I humbly apologised, but my ears are still ringing with the curses that followed our hasty retreat. I couldn't even offer to pay for it, because I didn't have my wallet, and it was a home-made picnic anyway. (ie not bought from the Sandwich Shop) He's not even repentant......