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77. To kill a mocking bird

It’s Robert’s birthday today. Note the present tense. This day will always be the date of his birth. He would have been 69. This is also the fourth birthday he has missed, since he died. My daughter and I talked about this as we ate a cooked breakfast together in honour of the birthday boy.Continue reading “77. To kill a mocking bird”

76. Shakshouka that explodes

Several years ago I discovered the delicious North African dish, Shakshouka. I’ve been making it ever since. Lunchtime yesterday I ordered it at a restaurant.  The very first mouthful was deliciously explosive – not to damage me, but I was stunned by the level of garlic, sweet chillies and fresh tomatoes. I can’t remember theContinue reading “76. Shakshouka that explodes”

75. Shelter under God’s almighty wing

I have just been on holiday to Cornwall. We stayed within five minutes of the sea and woke to the smell of fish and seaweed. One morning we walked up the steep side of the bay which gave us a magnificent bird’s eye view of the fishing fleet in the harbour. Immediately below us wasContinue reading “75. Shelter under God’s almighty wing”

74. Legacy building

Legacies are being turned upside down. Generous benefactors known to be slave-owners are seeing their statues dislodged, or at least relocated to less prominent places. Gareth Southgate, England’s football manager is remembered for his failure to score in a penalty shoot-out two decades ago. His legacy may be reshaped by England’s performance in the EurosContinue reading “74. Legacy building”

73. Joy and sorrow at a wedding– two sides of one coin

Next week the daughter of a friend of mine is getting married. It has been planned for many months, affected by Covid limitations. But this wedding has been affected by something far more significant than Covid. The bride’s father, my friend’s husband, died suddenly at the end of last year. This wedding, which was plannedContinue reading “73. Joy and sorrow at a wedding– two sides of one coin”

72. Pentecost’s inextinguishable blaze

Yesterday I shared holy communion with an elderly couple in their home – always a particularly joyous time for us all. Because of Lockdown they have hardly been out of their house for months. Every other week they recharge the batteries of their mobility scooters parked in the shed – a symbolic act. They wantContinue reading “72. Pentecost’s inextinguishable blaze”

71. What we’ve learnt about grief

I have just listened (only two hours ago as I ate my lunch) to a radio programme entitled ‘What we’ve learnt about grief’. You can find it on BBC Sounds. It was presented by Cariad Lloyd, a comedian who hosts the Griefcast Podcast. This is described as ‘a podcast that examines the human experience ofContinue reading “71. What we’ve learnt about grief”

70. Colours and cataracts

A few days ago I collected my new glasses. They look good, I think, and an improvement on the previous pair. I can see better too – which is what you would expect from a new pair of spectacles. But I cannot see quite as well as I did when I was younger. You see,Continue reading “70. Colours and cataracts”

69. Three parallel stories

This last week I had a most strange experience. I had a root canal treatment performed by an endodontist – a root canal specialist. Being Covid-secure he and the nurse were gowned up. I only ever saw their eyes. I wore my winter coat because the windows were wide open to circulate fresh, chilly air.Continue reading “69. Three parallel stories”

68. Remembering acts of kindness

The local Christian Schools Trust ran a communion service at the start of each academic year for Christian staff and parents at the schools our children attended. One year Robert was asked to be the speaker. The service was set to be held a few days after 9/11. “What shall I speak on?” Robert asked.Continue reading “68. Remembering acts of kindness”