(2021 01 05) Completing a jig saw puzzle is as good a way as any to transition from one year to the next. Lynne and I like to start one on Boxing Day and get it done early in the new year. We have a half-finished one on the dining room table just now. It’s fortunate that nobody joins us for dinner these days. Each new year is a new puzzle. The one we’re working on first is a 750-piece Ravensburger puzzle. The picture is dominated by a big red Northern Cardinal on a cement bird bath, surrounded by yellow and blue birds, and clustersRead More →

(02 December 2020) It has been 18 years to the day since my mother died. I will always remember her last words to me. She was in her bed in Spruce Lodge, a long term care home in Stratford. I was in a chair pulled up to her side. Her breathing was shallow. I spoke to her mostly to fill in the silence. I’m not much of a conversationalist at the best of times. I get even worse when the person I’m talking to doesn’t respond. After a while, I leaned in close and asked, Are you there, mum? She opened her eyes briefly andRead More →

(09 November 2020) Some of the skills I learned as a young parent are proving useful now. One of these I perfected while teaching my kids to fish. It’s all about waiting. Put a worm on a hook and drop it into the water at the edge of a dock. Then wait for a fish to come along and bite it. Take the fish off, toss it back into the water put on another worm, and wait again. There’s a lot of hurry up and wait during a pandemic. A lot of things happen by accident. Serendipity, you might call it, when the unintended consequenceRead More →

(25 October 2020) I was 28 years old before I had my first night in a hospital. That includes the time I spent being born and learning to breast feed. That happened in the upstairs bedroom of 34 Gala Street in Glasgow. It was roughly nine months after my father was released from the Royal Navy and sent home from the war. My parents already had my older brother on their hands. He was a month short of his second birthday when I arrived. They rented the room in the house next door to my grandparents. In the summer of 1975 I was married withRead More →