Thursday, 14 August 2014


I know it's one of the things that Facebook users hate, but I was recently challenged to post three positive things in my day, every day for five days. We are now on Day 4!

Being a fundamentally negative person who always dwells on what has gone wrong, or what I could do better, it's been a really good exercise for me, and I'm finding at the end of the day that I'm spoilt for choice!

So many positive things are happening in our lives, but we depressives will always dwell on the negatives. So, although I'm not going to post beyond five days, I'm determined to sit down with a pad every night and continue the exercise!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Looking Again for a Priest

With the unexpected resignation of our Associate Priest, Revd Alison Jones, our two parishes, once again, are looking for a priest to join us.

Alison was kind enough to emphasise the tremendous welcome and love she received here, and the fact that  she felt very supported by me and enjoyed working with me, but had to leave because of vocational and personal reasons. We will miss her.

However, it's not a very comfortable feeling being left on your own to support two parishes when the initial plan was to have three priests here, one being non-stipendiary. Many sermons yesterday probably honed into Simon Peter trying to walk on water, and talked about not waving but drowning. I refuse to drown, so unless I tell you otherwise, I'm still waving!

And, yes, I have faith that God will sort it, and St Augustine's and St Mungo's will carry on and go from strength to strength despite this setback. There must be clergy out there who would love to minister on the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond!

I know I can count on the Blogging community for their prayers in the coming months, and any offers of support will be generously received!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

My City

Yes, we're back from the incredible sunshine in Greece to the incredible sunshine of West Dunbartonshire, and although the workload is as big as ever, and the future seems to indicate that my job may become totally unmanagable without extra help, we are basking in weather which I could really get used too. Of course, our friends from the Commonwealth, it's always like this in Glasgow during the Fair Fortnight!

Being in Glasgow yesterday, my home city, it was wonderfully vibrant as the opening ceremony og the Commonwealth Games was due to take place in the evening at Celtic Park! The place was awash with colour and excitement, and folk from all over the world admiring its beauty, and accepting its hospitality! "Mon, an huv a swallow wi' us, pal!"

The ceremony itself, I thought was just wonderful, and the only people moaning about it seems to be some grumpy locals who for some reason didn't see the humour in it and the way Glaswegians, and Scots in general, are always ready to have a laugh at themselves.

So, there were giant Tunnock's Teacakes, and Irn Bru girders holding up the Forth Rail Bridge, and Andy Stewart from bygone days, but the sentiment, and the tone was just right. What about these Scottie Dugs that led each team in? Wonderful! Even Her Maj had a laugh when the Baton wouldn't open! It was probably rusty with all the sweaty hands that have touched it over the last few months!

Yes, yesterday, I was proud to say, "I belong to Glasgow"!

Monday, 16 June 2014


On one of the most glorious of mornings in West Dunbartonshire, here I am getting ready for the Annual Trip to Kefalonia. Captain Correlli's Island.  Imagine leaving this sunshine and wonderful scenery for the sun!

For those thinking about it..... there's still a big dug at The Rectory with a houseminder! Not that my Blog Friends would think of looting, but, hey, there are some half-decent sermons lying around.

It's great to get one real holiday a year, and this is it! See you all sooner than I might wish!

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Honours Galore!

It's hell having to keep a secret, but today the Honours List was published, and Georgie, my Sacristan, has been awarded the BEM. Georgie's commitment to CHAS, her community, the elderly and her church has at last been rewarded with official recognition. I am so happy for her!

That's two BEMs in a year as Barbara Barnes, one of my Trustees was given her gong this time last year!

What a wonderful congregation we have!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Getting There!

Good Morning! It's nice to see you again. Out of the foggy mists of depression and turmoil, I'm back, happy, positive, and raring to go again. It helps, too, to know that my holidays begin a week today, and sun awaits!

Seriously, I've been through the worst two months of my life, and without the gentle support of a small handful of folk, I doubt that I would ever have emerged from the darkest of tunnels. Thanks! You know who you are.

Having lost interest in everything that I am normally passionate about, not being able to get up in the morning, wanting to dive back under the duvet perpetually, unable to even speak to real friends, afraid to answer the phone, panic attacks, and the list goes on; I had ceased to function as a normal, living human being.

Dad's death was the catalyst for my world collapsing, and all the stresses and strains of the past year suddenly ganged up on me and led me to places I didn't want to go. Not good!

I hesitated to write this prematurely, but now I have a week of normality back again, I'm confident that I will not be revisiting the black hole again soon.

So, finally, after the fifty days of unremitting joy of Easter, this is actually my Easter week beginning, and the darkness of Holy Saturday has gone. The only thing that would be a real bummer now would be England winning the World Cup! That's not going to happen though, and I'm glad I will be in Greece for most of it!

So, good morning world! It's nice to see you again, and a pleasure to be a part of life again!

Friday, 30 May 2014

Getting There

It's been a long time since my dad's death now. He died in Tuesday of Holy Week and we are still within our fifty days of unremitting joy! After the Easter duties and another funeral, then the internment of ashes, I just kinda broke down.

It wasn't my dad's death, really, but that was the catalyst, and grieving over my mum too, who I'd never really grieved over properly, together with all the stresses and strains of the past few months, just made me explode and land like a heap of jelly.

The depression returned with a vengeance, almost to the point where I didn't even care about Partick Thistle. I was sorry for myself, yes. My job was too much, the bickering which goes on in Community Projects was unbearable, the tensions of moving house, changing job, and the expectations of myself and others went through the roof.

I didn't want to get out of bed, speak to anyone, care about anyone, not even a replacement new car, and the total inability to be executor and write to folk and phone folk was simply adding to the darkness. I was angry. Very angry. Mostly with myself. I still am, really.

I crept into churches and led services although I had been signed off sick, and still am. I preached angry sermons which I shudder about now, but they were part of a process. My GP has been terrific and is looking after me. She cares. She understands. 

I compiled a new Joint Parish Magazine which looks ok, and did pewsheets and became active in social media and responded to hundreds of emails. My GP says, "but I signed you off". How do you sign off a priest? It's maybe easier if you are a part of a big clergy team, but I'm not! The Diocese is short of priests and getting cover is hard and expensive for your parish!

But, let's get back to the depression, for the cloud is still there. I have to say that the Parish support, and the Diocesan support has been terrific, and I'm glad to have a Bishop who is understanding. Mental health is not often dealt with very well in the Church, but I am lucky! You can't get in unless you're a bit crazy at St Aug's and I'm finding out that it's much the same at St Mungo's!

There is nothing worse than the paralyses that comes over you when real depression strikes. It is the bottomless pit of anger, anguish and despair, and, you know, you can look physically great at the same time. I've smiled from my throat up, rather from my heart for four weeks now! There is no light at the end of the tunnell. There is only despair, agony, self doubt, self-loathing, and the sure and certain truth that things will not get any better. You deny your partner's love and care, because it is impossible to do anything but detest someone like you.

And sleep is the relief. The time you can break free from it all, yet you wake up and the pit of the stomach churns!

But how can this be? How can a man of faith who believes in the power of God say these things? I think I would respond to terminal cancer in a more positive way. Does that answer your question?

I blog this today for two reasons.

One is that I see a light, maybe just a glimmer, at the end of this dark tunnel and am beginning to function slowly again. And, two, for those still in the darkness, for I sensed the crucified Jesus somewhere in there. Despite the Alleluias, I was still in Holy Saturday.

Maybe this will help someone. I hope so!

Saturday, 26 April 2014


It's new to me, this grieving, and I'm surprised. The emptiness, the desolation, loss, and cold comfort.

Of course, I thought I knew all about it, for hadn't I grieved and cried over many parishioners in the past that I loved dearly? And my mum had died 15 years ago, and I grieved. Well I thought I did! Then there were all the beloved dogs. Part of the family they were!

But this is different. It's my last parent, and I'm grieving both mum and dad in a way, and in a depth, I never thought possible. June will see me ordained 36 years, and I thought I understood the deepest of depths, but I was wrong. All the Alleluias in the world don't help, although they certainly got me through the process and through the Requiem.

The thing is that I don't want anyone or their kind words or hugs. I want to be on my own and remember both of them, and laugh and cry and sleep if I can.

The world goes on and we are in the Season of unremitting Joy! Sod that for a game of soldiers, but I know there will be an Easter morning for me. Sooner, rather than later, Lord!!!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Dad's Eulogy from my brother Graham

Dad was born John Wyllie Macaulay on the 25th May 1925 and would have been 89 next month. Everyone knew Dad as Jack or Jackie.

Dad will always be remembered for two things; his pipe and a glass of whisky or as he termed it his "wee dram"

Dad grew up in Maryhill and may explain his love for Partick Thistle which he managed to pass on to us. Dad would be taken to Firhill and then lifted over the turnstile and this was subsequently done with Kenneth and I when we were young we would be taken to the games and lifted over the turnstile.

By following Partick Thistle Dad taught us a very valuable lesson in that it wasn't always black or white or even green or blue, it could be red and yellow. Dad taught us that it was perfectly acceptable not to be "one of the crowd" that we could in this case follow a football team that wasn't the popular one and to stand up for what we believed in.

In the past few days we have been going through a lot of the documents that he had kept and came across a school report card from North Kelvinside  which he attended. In first year after his first set of exams Dad was ranked 2nd in the class of 33. This was amazing to read because Dad had always told us he didn't do well at school and encouraged the 4 of us to work hard at school which we did and we all went on to third level education. 

Dad joined the Navy in 1943 at the age of 18 and served on many different aircraft carriers. Dad was discharged from the Navy in 1946 and then took up an apprenticeship to become a grate builder. While working on a fireplace in a house Knightswood he met the love of his life Myra McRobbie.

Myra and Jack were married on 28th February 1949 and in December of the same year the first little Mac appeared, Jacqueline who was then followed by Kenneth, Gale and myself.
Dad then switched his craft from grate building to become a tiler, this was because he would tell everyone he had a "flair" for it after laying the last kitchen or bathroom floor tile.

Dad was a very proud man and took great care in his work. He worked for amongst others Norman Campbell tiling company and whenever they took on jobs the request was usually we will give you the work as long as Jackie Macaulay is doing the job. The great legacy for the family is that Dad's work is still scattered around Glasgow, he worked on the swimming pool on the QE2, Queen Street Station, Drumchapel swimming pool to name but a very small examples. There was a time when if you drove through Bearsden and saw the front steps tiled with "Rustic Red" or "Autumn Gold" chances were that Jack had tiled them.

We always had a laugh when we were out for dinner, because whenever we went somewhere to eat in Glasgow, chances were that dad had tiled the bathrooms. However, on the few occasions he didn't do the work himself he would immediately excuse himself and go and inspect the work of someone else. Dad would then return with a whole list of why the tiling job was particularly bad.
Dad cared very much for the family and when working at a time when the building trade was required to work on Christmas day would wait until all the kids had gone to the living room to see what Santa had brought, Dad would then head off to work at the risk of getting the sack.
Dad worked at a time when the man earned the living and the woman stayed at home bringing up the kids. Jack and Myra always put the 4 of us first and knew that our education was so important to us all.

Dad worked very hard and took on additional jobs or "homers" as they were called to bring additional income. He would do evening jobs and also worked week-ends to provide for us.
Dad finally made the decision to become self employed, he was always afraid that he wouldn't have enough work. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Dad never advertised and always had work through recommendations, he was so busy he took on additional folk to cope with the work.

Everyone can remember showbiz double acts, Morecombe and Wise, The two Ronnies etc, but the tiling trade had its own celebrity couple, Jack and Jake. Jake was our Golden Cocker Spaniel who travelled with Dad on his jobs. Dad would get most of the tiles for his jobs at the CTD and between the smell of the pipe and the scent left by the cocking of his leg ( I am referring to the dog here and not Dad) everyone could tell that the tiles were delivered from the CTD with that unique aroma of pipe smoke and pee.

We had a unique alarm clock in our house, this involved being woken to the sound of scraping, and by that I mean the scraping of burnt toast over the kitchen sink. Cooking wasn't one of Dad's strong points, but he more than made up for it in being a truly wonderful Dad.
I couldn't talk about Dad without discussing his driving.

There are numerous stories to tell but I have picked out a couple which I think are worth telling.
Dad learned to drive at a relatively older age compared to most people. There was a time when he had his provisional licence and Kenneth and Dad were heading to Johnstone to do a job. Dad was on the motorway (which he shouldn't have been) and was driving in his Morris Minor. Kenneth was watching the speedometer reach 85mph and said to Dad that the speed limit was 70mph. Dad turned to Kenneth and said "Oh I thought that you had to be above 70mph"

Another time was when we headed off to Firhill to see Partick Thistle play. On this particular occasion he didn't have his usual parking spot and we were parking beside the canal. As we are looking for a place to park there are lots of folk getting out of their cars and walking to the ground. Dad then finds a parking space and then starts to reverse in. As he does the car goes over a little bump. There is a lot of shouting and as we look out, the little bump was someone's foot. The guy was very annoyed and approached the car. dad rolls down the window unaware of what he had done. Dad as always had his pipe in his mouth. As the guy approached Dad he just grabbed my Dad's pipe. The look on his face was priceless as he couldn't believe that someone had the audacity to take his pipe. Everything was calmed down and we went to the game staying several yards behind the guy limping to the ground.

Everyone has heard of Alton Towers and the scary rides that are in the theme park.
Well we had our own "White Knuckle Ride" and it usually took place every time we got into the car with Dad.

The White Knuckle Ride was as follows:
Driving as closely as possible to the curb without touching it, for the most part, it was only every touched when we turned left. As well as driving as close to the curb as possible, the car was about one foot away from the car in front. So you have the picture, now while all this is going on Dad would then decide to light his pipe. This then involved balancing the steering wheel between his knees while searching his pockets with both hands looking for his pipe followed by looking for his tobacco. Dad would then fill his pipe, remember we are about 1 mm from the curb and about a foot away from the car in front. Once the pipe is filled, the lighting of the pipe then followed. This meant that the car was filled with pipe smoke as all the windows were up, Dad didn't like the cold. The car would become so filled with pipe smoke it was impossible to see out the front window.
However, in saying all that, we were all brought and returned safe and sound but not without the odd scare.

Dad and Mum were great dancers, and whenever there was a party everyone would step back and give Myra and Jack the space to do their jiving. In his latter years when he went to Frank Downie House, he would love teaching everyone how to dance.

Dad had a brilliant sense of humour - when he was tiling he would always tell the lady of the house that there was a 50p piece under one of the tiles. When I was working with him the lady would pull me to the side and ask me which tile had the 50p piece under it. I would play along and say that it was back luck to reveal it.

When Dad moved down to Dumbarton he took great delight in telling everyone at St Augustine's he was Father's Father. He also took on the role as bouncer at the coffee mornings in the church. He took great joy in charging everyone their entrance money.

Before Dad went to Frank Downie he spent a short time in a home in Cardross. Dad had to go out to the back to have his smoke, while out he would then run to the front of the house and ring the front door bell and then dash back around to the back acting all innocent.

Dad was cared for very well in the Frank Downie House and to the staff and carers we are extremely grateful. Sandra, Caroline and Kate are here today who cared for Dad for a lot of the time he was at  Frank Downie House.

Dad was a very proud Pappa of his 6 grandchildren, Graham Barry, David, Matthew, Hannah & Eve. He was very proud of what they have all achieved in their lives and loved them dearly.

We have a new generation started now with Alana and Hailey and I am sure Graham and Matthew will have great stories to tell them about their Pappa as their children grow up.

I have tried to give you an insight into Jack Macaulay, our Dad, was he perfect, not at all, was he a good Dad, he was the best. A wonderful man who always put his family first.

Mum passed away 15 years ago on Holy Week and it is very symbolic that Dad passed away on Holy Week as well.

Dad would want us to be happy today and to celebrate his life.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Rest in Peace Pappa!

Dad died on Tuesday morning at 2.15am. It's been a pretty fraught Holy Week, but we are getting there. On the Altar of Repose tonight I could almost see him dancing between the candles! What a soppy guy I am!

Rest well Jack. You gave so many people so much! Read your love letters to mum last night. What a romantic. Probably where I get my soppiness from.

His funeral is in St Augustine's at 1pm on Tuesday, with his remains coming in on Easter Monday at 4.30pm.

Saturday, 12 April 2014


It's been a little while since I've posted. Well, things have been so busy with the linkage of charges and two parishes rather than one. 

And I have ignored the blogging, even though it gives me time to reflect.

Today, I maybe need to reflect. It looks like dad is dying, and my visit today was to a bed in his care home which has brilliantly transformed into hospice mode. They are fantastic and I made the decision to keep him there rather than being transferred to a hospital.

My mum died on Holy Tuesday.

Jack is strong, though, and he may last for weeks and months yet, but today it didn't look like that.

I remember the strong man who worked on the tools, provided for his family, and loved my mum and each of his children equally. He is still strong, although lying in a bed with no recognition, and morphine to take away some pain.

He may well recover, our Jack, for he has had more comebacks than Lazarus, but I fear this may be the beginning of the end.

Say a wee prayer for him, and for Jacqueline, Gale, Graham and me.