As most of my Facebook friends know today is both my 33rd wedding anniversary and also the first day of our annual holidays: this year to Orkney but first of all staying tonight near Inverness.

It's been a long day, tiring because of the driving but good just to be the two of us together talking all day. Memories of holidays of past years, memories of a very dear friend who was remembered at today's memorial service at Methodist Conference, hopes for the future (especially our grandchild coming), thanks for terrific youngsters and their partners have all been shared today.

Then at our lodge tonight we discover that somewhere along the line my wallet has gone missing. Car searched, pockets, bags, everything but no sign and so the only conclusion can be that it's dropped out of my pocket somewhere or I've been pick pocketed !

Fortunately we've been able to cancel all cards and Alison still has access to the bank account so nothing is seriously spoilt.

Upsetting ? Yes, but compared with the tragedies in France, Tunisia and Kuwait today and at other times, this is of no great importance.

Irritating ? Certainly, but we still have health and a good holiday with special friends to look forward.

Inconvenient ? It'll certainly make the holiday different, but that'll be the full extent of the problem.


You see I'm taking the attitude that human life and the loss of it that we've seen today is of far more importance than a mere piece of leather and a few cards. It's all about perspectives and getting problems into proportion. It's taken me a lot of years to learn that but as I look around the world today I am just so grateful for what I have.

Alison and I celebrate 33 years today in the knowledge that tomorrow is the start of the next year of our wonderful lives together. Sadly for many, tomorrow will be the start of lives without their loved ones. I pray for them, for peace and comfort, for the raising up of love and tolerance throughout the world and tonight I especially give thanks for my beautiful wife, for Rebecca, Vikki, Michelle and Mark and my grandchild to be.

I am blessed.


Food & Drink

Every now and then come special moments and it's interesting to see how often they centre on food and drink.
This weekend has seen the marriage of Ellie to Andy: Ellie and her sister Julia have always been special to me and I regard them as honourary Goddaughters. So this weekend Alison and I spent the time staying in a cottage with our friends, Alison and Stuart, with Andys family and the constant cry was “there's food in the kitchen, help yourselves” or “who wants a cup of tea?” and all of this on top of the traditional wedding reception with its associated food and drink.
This evening has been spent at our local Chinese restaurant, Wing Wah, with the Circuit staff and families saying an early farewell to a colleague, Gordon and his wife Sue, as they prepare to move on to a new appointment.

No doubt when our new colleague, Sue, arrives we will be organising another meal to welcome her and in addition to her Circuit welcome with its accompanying cup of tea and biscuits !

What is it about food and drink that makes these occasions so important ? I think that we relax when 'at table' and so friendship and fellowship deepen and become more binding. We relax to the point of opening ourselves up more to each other and to more meaningful conversations. I've found that it's over food or even just a simple cup of coffee, that some of the more intimate moments can be found; its across the table that memories are created.

Little wonder then that Jesus is so closely associated with food and drink: loaves, fishes and 5000+ people, coming to the house of Zacchaeus for tea, in the home of Martha and Mary, in the home of Peter when healing his Mother in Law (she then cooked), sharing an evening meal with two disciples at Emmaus, breakfast on the shores of Galilee, and ultimately that last meal which we re-enact at Sacrament.

Maybe the Church needs less meetings with endless committees arguing over standing orders and more fellowship gatherings around the table, for its here we get to know each other and, as community, will start to deal with the more important things of life; each other.


“Where shall I put that smile ?”


As you can see from the photograph I’m still in the middle of working on my latest Wasjig. Loving it but also finding it extremely frustrating !

In this particular one it’s not the sky that’s the problem, nor the grey building bricks on one side of the picture (nor is it finding that I had a fifth corner piece, as I found in a previous jigsaw !!), but it’s the sheer volume of faces. Some with big beaming grins, some with hopeful expressions, some angry and some looking lost. With the high proportion of faces it’s actually quite hard getting the right one onto the right body.

But isn’t life like that? This particular wasjig begins with the picture on the box of mods and rockers enjoying a night out, and the picture I have to recreate is of the same folk 25 years on in the same street observing how they’ve changed over the years. Apart from reminding me of how I’ve changed its fascinating to realise that despite new trends, new fashions and new ideas much of life still boils down to good relationships between people: and to achieve that it’s about accepting that people are good at heart, often damaged by life’s knocks, sometimes having taken the wrong direction, sometimes holding regrets and bitterness for longer than is healthy, but at the heart of each one if us is a God-created spark.

God made us in his own image, Genesis reminds us, and so within each of us is the ability to be God-like. I don’t mean that in an egotistical, self-centred way but in the sense that we all have the ability to hold the character of God, goodness, generosity, love, tolerance, respect,




NOW, where shall I put a smile today ?