Showing posts from December, 2009


For my Scottish grandparents 31 December was the day to complete a thorough house-cleaning, especially fireplaces, in preparation for the big celebration tonight of clearing out the old year and welcoming the new. At the same time it was important to ensure all debts were cleared before midnight.

The origin of Hogmanay is very ancient, but today's Scottish tradition probably owes most to Viking invaders and their Yule winter festival traditions.

I come from a long line of Scottish Presbyterians, who frowned on the celebration of Christmas as a 'Popish' or Roman Catholic feast. From the late 17th century to as late as the mid 20th century in some places, the Kirk virtually banned Christmas, which was not a public holiday for workers during the industrial revolution. Hogmanay was also disapproved of but this pagan festival continued underground. It now seems bigger than ever with public celebrations like that in  Edinburgh, from where my father's family originates.
My mater…

Grumpy Sheep and Paper Shredding

After a school nativity play, I cannot get the song, "I'm a very grumpy sheep, a very grumpy sheep..." out of my head.
The 'sheep' played his part most convincingly, as did the other 4 - 7 year olds in the cast of the popular children's musical 'The Grumpy Sheep' composed by Caroline Hoile. It was fun and tear-jerking.

Later I 'grumped' around my study, trying to achieve a degree of order and cleanliness ready for Christmas and for a visiting family member to use it as a bedroom. Our compost bins are now enriched with a lot of shredded paper. I can see almost all the study floor and it's now clean! So, in the words of the transformed grumpy sheep after he'd been dragged unwillingly to see the baby in the manger, I can now sing, "I'm a very smiley sheep, a very smiley sheep..."This simple repetitive ditty is meant to be memorable, but I'm ready for a change of song in my head now please.
I came across a song while paper so…

The Running Clock

Why does time run faster for some of us as we get older? Am I getting slower at doing all those things I think I ought to do, not to mention all that I want to do in the diminshing time I have left?

Of course for some people time goes slowly, with pain, boredom or isolation unrelieved by the company of good friends and family and the opportunity to pursue satisfying work and leisure interests, or the luxury of shelter, food and health. We're not all in the same situation. But as far as the dangers for our planet are concerned, within the lifetime of my children and grandchildren, perhaps we are.

The idea that time is running out to lessen the damage we've already done to planet earth since the industrial revolution through pollution etc. is being voiced with increasing urgency by many, and especially now as world leaders prepare to gather in Copenhagen. 

It's easy to think none of us individually can do much to change things, but as a certain supermarket keeps reminding us &…