Thursday, 10 September 2015

traffic light apologies

The gaffer tape suggests the Stornoway ferry terminal traffic lights did not make this statement of their own free will: . (I took this photo last week.)

western secular humanism

Matthew Parris said something interesting on the most recent Spectator political podcast (The View From 22) which I've just listened to: 'Western secular humanism [is] simply an offshoot of Christianity without God'. Which seems fairly accurate.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

a school photo from autumn 1983

A combination of Facebook talk of a possible school reunion and being at home in Lewis with my old school photos prompted me to break cover, photographically, on Facebook, with a photo of myself holding an old school photo.

It's a photo of just me, taken (in the music department, if I remember rightly) in advance of going to the National Mod in October 1983, in Motherwell, when I was on sixth year. The only time I ever went to the national mod. Me, Ronald Murray, Calum Macrae and a choirload of girls, which made me wonder - too late - why I hadn't done it before.

I sang Mi'n Seo Nam Onar, still the only Gaelic song of more than five lines which I know all the words of. Perhaps going in for Mod competitions again would be the only way I'd ever get around to actually learning Gaelic songs. I remember I went in to school to sing it in front of a gaelic teacher so she could check my words (I was, as now, a 'learner', though of course doing no actual learning, just forgetting). She looked at me and asked who'd done my gaelic with me. My mother. It was, of course, perfect.

I came second in my competition to Donald Shaw. If I'd won, perhaps today it would be me who was in Capercaillie and married to Karen Matheson. A lucky escape.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

catherine maciver

Through the 50th/1984 school anniversary Facebook group and related Facebook conversations, I'm hearing about classmates who have died since the 40th reunion. Annice mentioned Hector Macdonald and Anna Morrison, neither of whom I can place, which doesn't make me feel very proud of myself.

(In fact, I can't place most of the people who have posted comments on the Facebook group page, which is the kind of thing which makes me unsure about going along to a reunion, if such a significant proportion of those there are people I don't remember. But then, just think of those you do know who will be there.)

Someone else mentioned Catherine Maciver, and when I queried whether this was the one from Sandwick, East Street I think, Carol confirmed it was. The person who originally mentioned her said she had died of MS the year before last or early last year.

I was so sorry to hear this; I have very fond memories of Catherine, and we were friends in the same circle for a while. As with so many of my former classmates, I have no idea of how her life went after we left school.

I remember in particular one bog slog we did - when most of the school did a sponsored walk in the moor - Catherine and I walked together and talked for quite a section of it. I don't expect it stayed long in her memory particularly, but it was very significant for me, because really it was the first time (let's say in my Nicolson years) that I ever had a normal, extended conversation with a girl.

(I often think the things we remember about others, or the things we associate with them, might completely baffle them if they knew - a song or album, say, that when we hear we think of them, that perhaps they don't feel a personal connection with at all any more, or even remember particularly liking.)


Former Teachers and Homeless Eskimos: Iain D Campbell's article from the Stornoway Gazette of a couple of weeks ago about Cicero - Calum Macleod - my old Latin teacher, who died recently. He was a good teacher, and a lovely man.