St Andrew’s Day . . .

Andrew the Apostle (Greek: Ἀνδρέας Andreas), also known as Saint Andrew, was an apostle of Jesus according to the New Testament. He is the brother of Saint Peter. He is referred to in the Orthodox tradition as the First-Called (Greek: Πρωτόκλητος, Prōtoklētos).

According to Orthodox tradition, the apostolic successor to Saint Andrew is the Patriarch of Constantinople.

The name “Andrew” (Greek: manly, brave, from ἀνδρεία, Andreia, “manhood, valour”), like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the JewsChristians, and other Hellenized people of Judea. No Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for him.

Andrew the Apostle was born between AD 5 and AD 10 in Bethsaida, in Galilee. The New Testament states that Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter, and likewise a son of John, or Jonah. He was born in the village of Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee. “The first striking characteristic of Andrew is his name: it is not Hebrew, as might have been expected, but Greek, indicative of a certain cultural openness in his family that cannot be ignored. We are in Galilee, where the Greek language and culture are quite present.”

Both he and his brother Peter were fishermen by trade, hence the tradition that Jesus called them to be his disciples by saying that he will make them “fishers of men” (Greek: ἁλιεῖς ἀνθρώπων, halieis anthrōpōn). At the beginning of Jesus’ public life, they were said to have occupied the same house at Capernaum.

In the Gospel of Matthew (Matt 4:18–22) and in the Gospel of Mark (Mark 1:16–20) Simon Peter and Andrew were both called together to become disciples of Jesus and “fishers of men”. These narratives record that Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, observed Simon and Andrew fishing, and called them to discipleship.

In the parallel incident in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 5:1–11) Andrew is not named, nor is reference made to Simon having a brother. In this narrative, Jesus initially used a boat, solely described as being Simon’s, as a platform for preaching to the multitudes on the shore and then as a means to achieving a huge trawl of fish on a night which had hitherto proved fruitless. The narrative indicates that Simon was not the only fisherman in the boat (they signaled to their partners in the other boat … (Luke 5:7)) but it is not until the next chapter (Luke 6:14) that Andrew is named as Simon’s brother. However, it is generally understood that Andrew was fishing with Simon on the night in question. Matthew Poole, in his Annotations on the Holy Bible, stressed that ‘Luke denies not that Andrew was there’.

In contrast, the Gospel of John (John 1:35–42) states that Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist, whose testimony first led him, and another unnamed disciple of John the Baptist, to follow Jesus. Andrew at once recognized Jesus as the Messiah, and hastened to introduce him to his brother. The Byzantine Church honours him with the name Protokletos, which means “the first called”. Thenceforth, the two brothers were disciples of Christ. On a subsequent occasion, prior to the final call to the apostolate, they were called to a closer companionship, and then they left all things to follow Jesus.

Subsequently, in the gospels, Andrew is referred to as being present on some important occasions as one of the disciples more closely attached to Jesus.[12] Andrew told Jesus about the boy with the loaves and fishes (John 6:8), and when Philip wanted to tell Jesus about certain Greeks seeking Him, he told Andrew first (John 12:20–22). Andrew was present at the Last Supper.[13] Andrew was one of the four disciples who came to Jesus on the Mount of Olives to ask about the signs of Jesus’ return at the “end of the age”.

Eusebius in his Church History 3.1 quoted Origen as saying that Andrew preached in Scythia. The Chronicle of Nestor adds that he preached along the Black Sea and the Dnieper river as far as Kiev, and from there he traveled to Novgorod. Hence, he became a patron saint of UkraineRomania and Russia. According to tradition, he founded the See of Byzantium (later Constantinople and Istanbul) in AD 38, installing Stachys as bishop. According to Hippolytus of Rome, Andrew preached in Thrace, and his presence in Byzantium is also mentioned in the apocryphal Acts of AndrewBasil of Seleucia also knew of Apostle Andrew’s missions in Thrace, Scythia and Achaea. This diocese would later develop into the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Andrew, along with Saint Stachys, is recognized as the patron saint of the Patriarchate.

Andrew is said to have been martyred by crucifixion at the city of Patras (Patræ) in Achaea. Early texts, such as the Acts of Andrew known to Gregory of Tours,[ describe Andrew as bound, not nailed, to a Latin cross of the kind on which Jesus is said to have been crucified; yet a tradition developed that Andrew had been crucified on a cross of the form called crux decussata (X-shaped cross, or “saltire”), now commonly known as a “Saint Andrew’s Cross” — supposedly at his own request, as he deemed himself unworthy to be crucified on the same type of cross as Jesus had been. The iconography of the martyrdom of Andrew — showing him bound to an X-shaped cross — does not appear to have been standardized until the later Middle Ages.

Wikipedia : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_the_Apostle

The link to the Wikipedia article above will show all the references for those who wish to read further.

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THE SINGLE TRANSFERABLE VOTE . . .

Thomas Wright Hill (1763-1851). 

From my early years as a young adult and a member of HM Forces I soon found that the constant urging for people to vote in elections was specious. I could not vote where I was stationed as I could never get on the local electoral register as I was not at any one place for the necessary period of time. I could however vote in my designated place of permanent residence which in practice meant wherever my parents had their address. That meant I was stuck with constituencies in which there was a big Conservative majority and so any vote other than for a Conservative candidate was really a waste of time. It might have had some statistical use for the historians of later years analysing the political scene, but for me voting for someone to represent my views at that particular time – utterly useless.

So, for many years – which included three years overseas – with my parents both dead, I took no part in the voting process as we moved around, and even after leaving the services the moving around continued and it was not until the early 1980s that I was able to get on to the electoral roll where we lived. By that time I had read enough to make me become interested in the Electoral Reform Society, and what I learnt through them was enough, and remains enough, to convince me that the only fair way to conduct elections for national or local government is by using the Single Transferable vote

I knew that this had been worked out 130 years ago, but I did not know until today that an attempt had been made to design and use a fairer system even earlier than that. The article below is from the Electoral Reform Society and begins by describing the work of Thomas Wright Hill to that end. This does not, of course, solve the problem of the mobile population, but it does at least offer the hope that if a person can get on the electoral roll somewhere, their vote at that place may well do some good.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This December, the UK we will be voting in yet another general election using First Past the Post – a system where one party can gain an overall majority of seats with only 35% to 40% of the votes.

Further, three-quarters of people will be voting in seats where there is very little chance the MP will change. Both major parties will be piling up millions of votes in seats so safe the extra votes make no difference, while losing neighbouring seats by a handful of votes.

The ERS’ recent polling revealed that almost a quarter of voters plan on voting ‘tactically’ in the next general election, as voters are so confident that their preferred candidate has no chance that they will vote for someone else.

But what if there was a way for these surplus and wasted votes to actually have an impact?

Faced with similar problems, on 17 December 1819, the Birmingham Society for Literary and Scientific Improvement held an election under a new system devised by one of their leading members, Thomas Wright Hill (1763-1851). Their aim was

“to secure (as nearly as possible) an accurate representation of the whole body … because experience proves that, owing to imperfect methods of choosing those who are to direct the affairs of a society, the whole sway sometimes gets into the hands of a small party; and is exercised, perhaps unconsciously, in a way that renders many persons indifferent, and alienates others, until all becomes listlessness, decay, and dissolution.”

In Hill’s system, members were to vote initially for their favourite candidate, and then:

“every one who has five votes shall be declared a member of the committee; if there are more than five votes given to any one person, the surplus votes (to be selected by lot) shall be returned to the electors whose names they bear, for the purpose of their making other nominations, and this process shall be repeated till no surplus votes remain, when all the inefficient votes shall be returned to the respective electors, and the same routine shall be gone through a second time, and also a third time if necessary…”

This was the basis of the system we now know as the Single Transferable Vote or STV. Carl Andrae introduced a form of STV for elections to a new Danish federal parliament in 1855, including the crucial idea of preferential voting. Rather than handing back thousands of ballot papers, a voter could list how they would vote if their paper was handed back, in advance.

At this point though, only votes beyond the amount needed to win could go to help someone else get elected. The equally crucial idea of allowing those who voted for candidates who don’t stand a chance of being elected to transfer their votes (which was implicit in Hill’s original idea) was only rediscovered in 1865 by Thomas Hare. Allowing such transfers gives independent and minority party candidates a fair chance because voters can put them as their first choice without risking their vote being wasted.

Various other improvements in detailed rules followed over the years, culminating in the conceptually simplest but computationally difficult version of STV introduced by Brian Meek exactly 50 years ago as we entered the computer age. Meek further pointed out that with computers doing the counting voters could be allowed to include equal preferences for some candidates in their vote.

The first attempt to introduce STV for the UK Parliament was in 1872. In January 1884, a diverse group of academics, parliamentarians and members of the legal profession gathered at 7 Clarges Street, Westminster to found the Proportional Representation Society to campaign for STV, they later became the Electoral Reform Society.

There were further near misses in 1884 and 1918. The latter did result in a few UK seats – the university constituencies – being elected under STV from 1918-1950; those elected in this way included Ramsay MacDonald and John Buchan. The discussions of 1918 did, however, lead to STV being introduced for parliamentary elections in Ireland, which continues to use STV, in 3 to 5 seat constituencies. Only the Tasmanian House of Assembly has a longer continuous history of STV, from 1907.

One of the advantages of the multi-member constituencies used in STV is that they can be fitted to natural communities. The first attempt to get STV in the UK in 1872 used constituencies based on existing counties and boroughs. The recent Expert Panel report (2017) advocated STV with constituencies based on local authority areas for the Welsh Senedd.

A major advantage of such a scheme is that changes in the number of voters in each constituency can usually be accommodated by changing the number of seats, rather than its boundaries.

Possible multi member comstituencies.
http://lder.org/stv

On the 200th anniversary of the first use of Thomas Wright Hill’s scheme, there will be a meeting celebrating the bicentenary at the Royal Statistical Society on 17 December 2019, with speakers including ERS research officer Ian Simpson, Make Votes Matter’s Klina Jordan and Denis Mollison (Heriot-Watt University). If you’d like to hear more about STV, we’d love to see you there.

This article was written by the organiser of the bicentenary event, ERS member Denis Mollison.

The map is to be found HERE

Thomas Wright Hill in Wikipedia.

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Have I told you this before . . . ? No. 3

Alan Parry ~ Cotswold Stone Cottage

Once upon a time we lived in the Cotswolds. We did not have a Cotswolds income, just my service pay, but not being then anywhere like eligible for a service married quarter we had to make shift where we could, and we ended up by great good fortune in a portion of  a village Rectory.  The walls were very thick, thick enough that you could have a window seat underneath a window within the thickness of the wall. We were there in the winter of 1962 – 1963 which began on Boxing Day of 1962 and continued until early March, and were grateful for their protection.  The house was built of that beautiful Cotswold stone and on the ground floor were flagstones through the gaps in which earth worms would occasionally appear.

Most windows had leaded lights which were bent and bowed and provided ventilation in the summer and cold draughts in the winter. In the aforesaid bad winter the condensation from our general living froze onto the glass and sealed up the cracks, and the draughts ceased.  We bought a cooker which used Calor gas and by the judicious keeping in hand of a spare cylinder, we survived being snowed in without having to go without hot food. We used paraffin convector heaters in those days – which contributed water vapour to help the window sealing process and the paraffin tank at the village shop, like the widow’s cruse, never ran out all the time we were there.

Although our car had its correct dose of anti freeze there was one occasion when I went to work and as I climbed the hill to the airfield there was a tremendous gurgling noise from under the dashboard.  The heater circuit had been frozen and the extra heat generated by hill climbing produce enough hot water to clear the pipe work.  I told our Met man about this and he said he wasn’t surprised as on that day the temperature in the valley was 14° C below that on top of the hill.

At that time we had one of the original Austin Minis – the Alec Issigonis variety, none of this modern BMW stuff – but I decided as another child was on the way, to get something bigger and something we could use for holidays, so we bought an old Austin J4 van formerly the property of the Cirencester Washed Potato supply Company with a diesel engine which I hoped would give us a better fuel consumption that a petrol engined version.  I began the conversion process and as the time of arrival of the new infant my parents came to stay with us.  As my father and I were in the process of cutting out a window panel from the side of the van my mother appeared in the kitchen doorway and said, “I think you will have to stop that, the waters have broken”.

The Rector at that time was a nice old man but not what you would call technical.  There was an equally elderly rotary mower in one of the old stable sheds with which I mowed a piece of grass to the side of the Rectory. It was not a part of our garden but it did look better is it was kept tidy. The Rector was most gratefull but was at great pains to brief me abut the use of the mower. “It is MOST important”, he insisted,”to put oil in the petrol.  If you don’t it will ruin the engine. You MUST put the oil in the petrol”.  So I said i would do that, and I quite understood and it must be because it was a two stroke. The Rector said he didn’t know about that but I MUST be sure to put oil in the petrol.

Well, I did this faithfully for some time until one day I thought that in addition to this I had better check what looked like a filler cap low down on the crankcase.  I unscrewed this and found nowt but a dribble.  Why does it have a filler to put oil in the crankcase if it is a two stroke I thought ? So I cleaned off the engine a bit – it had probably never been cleaned since it left the place where it was bought – and I found an obvious valve chest, and inside it – valves !! So it was not a two stroke at all, but a conventional, side valve four stroke.  I filled up the crankcase with oil, hoping it was not too,late, told the Rector what I had found and carried on using the mower until we left and it performed perfectly well.  I think they build these little agricultural engines tough because thy know what sort of treatment they are likely to get.

 

Some tears later, probably through the deaths column of the “Church Times”, I learnt that the Rector had died after a car crash which was sad He had a little Austin A35 saloon in which I rode with him once or twice and the experience made me fear something like this might happen

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Embrace – Running Home . . .

Below is a cut and paste job from an email received today about this magnificent marathon running event – or to be accurate, whole series of events. I have included all the links, so if appeals for giving offend you, look away now . . .

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

He’s done it!!

For most people just finishing a single marathon would be a challenge. Finishing an ultra-marathon would be beyond us. But 14 in one year? That is superhuman!

Mark, our Regional Manager for Scotland, has been running pilgrimage routes across Scotland and the North of England all this year, to raise money and awareness about the even bigger challenge that Iraq’s Christians face as they try to rebuild their country and their lives after war.

Mark says, ‘And so it ends. 14 ultra-marathon pilgrimages, 33 full running days (plus a few extra mornings), roughly 200 mid-run check-ins, 57 church engagements, 25 offers of overnight accommodation, 20 running partners, seven separate pairs of shoes, five falls (three descending to Ballachulish mind you), three toe nails, one lost running day, and one heckle … I’ve mentioned before that common refrain of pilgrims, that ‘every ending is a beginning’. Never has it felt truer than now.’

You can read more from Mark and how he’s feeling following his epic challenge on his last blog post.

As a final celebration, we enjoyed a ceilidh last Saturday in Edinburgh – thank you to everyone who came and celebrated with Mark and his family, and gave so generously via the silent auction on the night.

And there is still time to donate and help make a better future possible for the people of Iraq:

Look out for our January magazine where we’ll update you on how your support has helped change lives in Iraq.

BBC Songs of Praise

The BBC have followed Mark’s progress and are broadcasting an update on this coming Sunday’s Songs of Praise programme. It airs at 1.15pm on Sunday 1 December – you can read more about it here.

Finally – a big thank you to everyone who has supported Mark and Running home in 2019, and a massive well done to Mark!

# # # # # # # # # # #

I support Embrace the Middle East because it seems to be one of the few charities doing anything for the people there so affected by our wars and commercial interests over the years. It seems to me that individuals have got to chip in themselves as it is no good thinking that our Government is going to show much interest.

For those who live in the Midlands there is a Carol Service at Lichfield Cathedral on Thursday, 5th December next.

 

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Do not try this at home . . .

Did you ever see a TV Cook use one of these ?

I sometimes wonder just why the BBC et al broadcast so many cooking programmes ? Could it be that they are all in hock (as so many people and things are these days) not to the Russians – who seem to be the most popular and to have a bottomless pit of money – but to the major food corporations.  Every programme I see has some whizz kid (some are quite elderly whizz kids now) – who start off with a handful of herbs – “easily obtainable at many supermarkets” they say, (by which, I assume, they mean Waitrose),  but never seen by ordinary folk – who then proceeds to chop them finely with a curvy knife operated at the speed of light while the rest of us are hunting around the kitchen trying to find where we put the scissors.

They proceed to put their recipe together in moments by tipping in the correct amounts of food which are handily all standing by in bowls and containers having been prepared by a legion of production assistants while the great man or woman enjoys a last G & T in the green room.  It usually begins with chopped onions and ditto garlic but no one ever has to stop because of watery eyes. Into the frying pan they go – sizzle, sizzle – no one ever seem to clean up afterwards, and never, but never, have I seen one of them go to his or her cupboard and search around to find the Schwarz jar of garlic salt or garlic granules (“Italian Herbs” are good by the way).  And they tell us to use butter plus olive oil (to stop the butter burning). Who buys butter ?  The health police would have us inside in short order if we did. And have you seen the “add some seasoning” in which enough salt to revivify the Pacific Ocean goes in ?

Then when it is all tipped into the beyond the reach pricewise, upmarket, casserole dish or baking tray it goes into the conveniently placed, already heated, built in oven half way up the wall.  Did you ever see one of them on his or her knees opening the oven door and taking out all the baking tins and wondering where on earth to put them ? No, I thought not.

Out it comes and it is always lovely, and after the one taster mouthful the next shot is of an empty dirty plate plus knife and fork.  Never, “Oh Dear ! it seems to have got a bit burnt !”  The presenter never seems to put on weight and we are not told who ate the food (do the studio people put on the weight perhaps ?) or whether it actually went into the waste bin. I wonder how many “takes” there are before they get the one we are actually allowed to see.

The poor viewer sadly concludes that it might be better to rescue that old loaf from the fridge and knock up something on toast so as not to waste it.  Realising that cookery a la TV is not very practical unless there is a day or two to spare in advance (who makes all this never ending supply of stock ?), a few items readily available at the little local supermarket go on the shopping list on the fridge and another day closes.

Does the food industry air this clever and entertaining type of programme to put us off and thus send us off to the shops for something we can do – preferably in the microwave ?

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Have I told you this before . . . ? The Fosse Way No.2

The Fosse Way was a Roman road in England that linked Exeter (Isca Dumnoniorum) in South West England to Lincoln (Lindum Colonia) in Lincolnshire, via Ilchester (Lindinis), Bath (Aquae Sulis), Cirencester (Corinium) and Leicester (Ratae Corieltauvorum). It joined Akeman Street and Ermin Way at Cirencester, crossed Watling Street at Venonis (High Cross) south of Leicester, and joined Ermine Street at Lincoln.

In the September of 1955 I and the rest of my course took up residence at RAF Hullavington in Wiltshire where we were to commence our basic flying training. I cannot speak for others on my course at this distance in time, but I was mightily impressed by the appearance of the station. It was of the same design of buildings as most other immediately pre war Royal Air Force stations, but instead of being built in brick it was of Cotswold stone, or at least something matching and resembling it. The result was pleasant and easy on the eye and it fitted into its surroundings very well, where it could have been a proper eye sore. It was alleged that this construction was as a result of the intervention of the Duke of Beaufort who insisted on it, but I have no means of verifying this assertion. But it made me aware that there was a Duke of Beaufort, and he went up in my estimation.

Alas, this happy chance was not to last and in a very short time a group of us were told to pack our bags and take ourselves off the RAF Swinderby where we were to convert to the Vampire to see how we got on ! This was an experiment. It proved successful, and after a brief return to Hullavington we became fixtures at Swinderby. My then girl friend, then fiancee, then later, wife lived and worked in Bristol so I journeyed up and down the A 46 which ran right past the airfield and was, and still is, the old Fosse Way. In later years we were at RAF Little Rissington in the Cotswolds and on several occasions traversed the Fosse Way by following its course on the Ordnance Survey maps. At one time you could do this quite easily but as time went by the county surveyors “improved” things, built staggered junctions, arranged diversions and so forth as they do, and the process of sticking to the old road became more of a fiddle and much less fun. But the memories still last. One thing I remember is that my parents had a painting of a tree lined road “near Warwick” and I came to realise that this was indeed the Fosse Way. Where that picture went I don’t know, but when I stumbled across this painting by David Gentleman it brought back all these reminiscences. The way in which the line of the metalled road is continued as a green track while the tarmac bends way is, or was, typical of how it used to be.

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The Experiment, by Marius van Dokkum

Marius van Dokkum, The Experiment

I love this picture. It is probably not “great art” but the attitude of the man in his messy overall, relaxing, leaning with his right hand on a paint spattered cupboard, legs crossed, wearing wellie boots, taking in what he has done, just seems to me to be be a bit of perfect catching of the moment by the artist.

His easel has its back to us, but we can tell that he has been applying paint liberally. In his left hand hanging loosely is a bucket that has obviously recently had thick blue paint in it. From the bottom of the canvas there are copious spillages of the blue paint hanging down in blue steamers and accumulating on the floor and running away off the foot of the picture. To the right we see a dripped spillage of red paint, and there is a tipped over bucket that once held red paint by the man’s feet. Ominously, as yet unused there is also a bucket of yellow paint with the distinct possibility that it might yet be brought into play. To one side there are more buckets, six altogether, and tins of paint, some empty, some with lids on, evidence of past, and possibly future activity.

And between the man’s lips there hangs one of those small continental cigars which we used to see for sale in this country round about Christmas time. He has his head back, as smokers do, to avoid their own fumes, and gazes reflectively at his work – which the artist suggests in his title, is an experiment.

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Have told you this before . . . ? No.1

Kate Lycett : “Early Autumn”

Kate Lycett describes her painting thus :

EARLY AUTUMN

Original media: Inks, gouache, acrylics, gold leaf and gold thread.

Measures 75 cm x 59 cm (mounted)

This was painted as a commission for some friends from my Choir. The view over the buildings is the beautiful view they have from their attic window up in Birchcliff. I began drawing for this in September when the light was rich, and the leaves just beginning to turn. The afternoon sunshine caught the velvet green of the hills, and the heather on the hills toward Todmorden. The buildings in front are Osborne Street and the Zion chapel.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Some 25 years ago I worked for a charity which had a regional office in Salford, Greater Manchester. Inevitably, therefore, we were bidden from time to time to go there for meetings, and sometimes we went of our own volition because at that office there was based our IT expert, a lovely lady of whom I was ( and remain all these years later) in considerable awe. She was I gathered, a grandmother, but she didn’t look old enough for that, and furthermore she came to my house once to update my computer – I forget its make now – and to my amazement took the lid off the computer itself, removed a green card full of electronic gubbins and popped in a new one. I do not know which card it was, but I had no idea that you could do such things, and was totally in awe of someone who could. My technical expertise at that time was limited to what we got told over the phone from London when something went wrong and I had just about got to grips with a “soft reboot” and a “hard reboot”.

Globe Farm B&B as was . . .
(with acknowledgements to Google Street View)

On these occasions it was sometimes necessary, and often convenient if there was an early start, to stay locally overnight and after some searching I hit upon a guest house just north east of Delph high up on the Pennines at Standedge. I forget now what it was called, (was it “Globe Farm” ?) it was near the “Globe Inn” I think. The husband of the couple who ran it was a chef and it showed in the suppers they did – nothing fancy, but good honest “grub”. My wife used to come with me sometimes, and while I was away at my work, she would go down to Uppermill and browse the shops there. At that time there was an old mill building used as a place for all sorts of small businesses and craftsmen to have premises and she enjoyed that. We went back some years later and found to her disappointment that it was no longer in that role and I think it had become apartments.

Well, to come to the point of this long anecdote, when I went to Salford it was usually via the main roads for time’s sake, but when returning home we often went across country through Calderdale and those lovely names Todmorden, Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd. They were pretty run down after the closure of their main reasons for living, but we still got the message of what they might have been like in their heyday.

The painting by Kate Lycett that I have posted above catches the memory I have of that valley as we drove along it, although the car driver of course sees less of it than the passenger.

The painting brings back further memories. In 1977 I was accepted by the Royal Air Force Chaplain’s Branch on a four year commission, which at that particular juncture was a life saver in itself. My initial appointment was to RAF St. Athan in Glamorgan, and at or about the same time the nation’s firemen went on strike. St. Athan was a big technical training place at that time and so had lots of bodies who could be pressed into alternative service. Equipped with “Green Goddesses” they became the firemen of the South Wales valleys. St. Athan also had a driver training school and the Warrant Officer in charge was a churchgoer. He provided me with a Ford escort estate car when I requested it and I often went “up the valley” to visit Royal Air Force personnel camping out in church halls and community centres all over the place. I well remember sitting in a Green Goddess with some young men (still teenagers I guess) who had just dealt with a fire in a house where the deaths included those of young children and they were visibly very much affected. I took as my example the biographies and histories I had read of the Chaplains of the Royal Army Chaplain’s Department of the Army in World War One, but my senior Chaplain at RAF St. Athan ( who was frequently away) disapproved of my activities when he found out and said our job was to look after the families left behind. Whether a wife in a married quarter surrounded by other similar families had a higher priority than young men dealing with death an disaster I leave you to decide.

These journeys up and down and across the valleys of South Wales drew our attention to the terraced house, and we were intrigued to see that very often a whole street, curving as it followed the valley side and running uphill might have one continuous roof covering the whole row for a considerable length. We only knew roof lines where each house was constructed on a level including the roof which was therefore stepped up or down as appropriate from its neighbour. And so, if you look at Kate Lycett’s painting from Hebden Bridge in Calderdale you will see just such a terrace right at the front of the picture.

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“If its in the papers . . . “

Cumloden, Loch Trool Boating Party, 1888

The dear old Grauniad publishes from time to time quite interesting sets of photos. Today there is a set “100 Years of Scottish Life in Pictures”. Alas the pictures are so poorly titled as to be interesting visually, but not of much use to link with places. One that is given a place name is shown above and the title below the photo is that given to it in the newspaper article. However, when you come to look for Cumloden on or near Loch Trool, it isn’t there – Cumloden seems to be a house on the Penkiln Burn, just north north east of Minnigaff by Newton Stewart. Not so very far from Loch Trool, but not on it. So one supposes that the picture is of a party FROM Cumloden larking about – dare we say ? – see the man with the bottle – on what looks like Loch Trool – a large sheet of water.

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Some new ideas . . .

The site now has a fixed home page with two links to the actual blog and its posts. It seems a bit strange at present because it is new, but I will leave it for a day or two until the mental dust has settled somewhat.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Some new ideas . . .