Off to pastures old…

M and I are down to the lakes for a couple of days- a present from the kids for Christmas- they found a deal in a hotel near Cockermouth.

Poor Michaela is riddled with a cold, so I think we will be tea-shopping, lake-side walking and standing arm in arm looking at views.

And perhaps contemplating how things change. It is not so long ago that the mountains of the lakes were like Eden to me- they pulled at me like a much loved but half remembered memory. So trips up there with Michaela were quite rare as I was often off into the hills alone or with friends. The times we did go together – taking boat trips and carrying our little ones in back packs – were special too however.

But how odd to be going without the kids. It is almost like a rehearsal for the next stage of life, which is upon us, like it or not.

Emily received her first offer from a University this week- she has an unconditional offer from Glasgow Caledonian to go and do Psychology there. Not her first choice, as she wants to combine physiology with psychology, but well done her anyway as we wait for the other responses.

Which all seems a long road from this trip to the lakes;

Michaela with Emily, some time in the late nineties, Keswick.

Michaela talks about the Timebank!

I am very proud of Michaela- and so here is a chance to show you some of the things she does in her day job.

Recently she was speaking about a local project she has been working on- a local Timebank. (You can watch her whole presentation here.)

The bloke from the NHS talking on the video seems to have totally missed the point- the emphasis is not on ‘services saving money’, or ‘sick’ people doing something to make them better- rather a Timebank is a level playing field to allow everyone to build community connections- where everyone can contribute.

We joke in our family that the first ‘exchange’ of time in Dunoon was a few years ago when Michaela came home with a rusty Shopper bike and told me that I was to make it work again. And they were off! It has become a really great local programme, with some fantastic stories- including a whole wedding- flowers, photography, cars, catering- all arranged through time exchanges! People have some amazingly diverse skills to offer- translation of a document from Russian? No problem. Fix a computer? Easy. Proof read a document? When do you want it finished? Others have involved an older lady who learnt how to write properly using her handwriting skills on certificates, or another person teaching woodcraft skills. It is great.

Michaela would never agree that a lot of this is down to her- she would point to all the others who have worked so hard to make it a success- but I know different. She is just one of those people who makes other people feel safe and included, and by her own dedication makes other people stick in there.


Our anniversary…

Today is our 22nd wedding anniversary.

And I can honestly say that despite the ups and downs of the long walk together (and to be honest, with Michaela there have been very few downs) I love her more now than ever. I am a man blessed.

I know I am biased, but Michaela is a special person. She has the gift (and sometimes the burden) of being a networker, a host, a listener and a safe place for other people. Just recently we have been so very busy and she rarely stops – either working or meeting people or reaching out in some way. Sometimes people seem to want or expect too much of her and I wish I could protect her from some of this but it is simply who she is.

Today though we are going into Glasgow together. Just the two of us. Even though we have stuff to do, it is going to be OUR time.

Autumn is almost upon us;

Bare branches showing
Cold winds come blowing
Stealing this year away
Curlews are calling
The light now is falling
Dark nights are drawing in

There’s a crack in the church bell
There’s ice in the stairwell
Take care my love
Take care.
Close tight the windows
The day is only shadows
Come sit by the fire
With me

The far distant hillside
Is laced up in moonshine
No thoughts of the valley
And maybe tomorrow
We can beg steal or borrow
Some time for just me
And just you

This house is now sleeping
Old floorboards creaking
The warmth’s all but gone
From the fire
So lets climb these stairs love
Dreams waiting a-bove
Let me lie in your arms

Bare branches showing
Cold winds come blowing
Stealing this year away

September 2007


The view from here…

Sometimes the wonder of the world we move through hits you between the eyes.

Last week I had to take M to a hospital appointment. She spent half her life very ill from Ulcerative Colitis, until 10 years ago when for no apparent reason, all symptoms disappeared. However because of all the steroids she took there have been concerns about the effect on her bone density. As it happens however, she seems to be doing OK.

We are all passing through, and many are walking a much harder path than us at the moment. We have no right to demand days like today- all we can do is to be grateful when they come.

On the way back home, we stopped for a picnic next to Loch Lomond. Green salad and French bread.  Me and my wife, with the smell of Spring in the air.

Michaela took these photos…


I am not much into Valentine’s day. It always seemed too plastic. But I am into love…

What more can be said of love?


What more can be said of love

That has not been said before?

You and I find each other


We curved a few moments about us

Like a blanket

Knowing that all of this would pass

This house, this car, this bank balance

These objects shaped from memories


But love is not mixed from dust

It makes a spark that leaps between here

And there

And the dark matter moves

To make room

For you

In me

Holiday photos…

We are back after a lovely few days in St Andrews- the sun shone and it was great to spend time together and to visit somewhere new.


Beach cricket (ours and watching a beach fixture played on Elie Beach.)

All those lovely little villages.

Sailing with Em and Will.

Slow days of sunshine and easy laughter.

Too much good food.