January 2014

Page 4

33 articles in January 2014

Aa few years ago there was a small stir of excitement in our area. It briefly lit up the gloom of our northern Scottish winter like the Northern Lights, which are quite visible to us at this latitude.


Apparently a man – a Marine, no less – had walked, wearing nothing but a grin and a beard straight out of Lord of the Rings, from the South of England into Scotland, up past Loch Ness and the Highlands where I live and on to the very northernmost point, John O’Groats – in winter. A Scottish winter, at that! I’m not sure where his starting point was but he must have walked about six hundred miles. Forest Gump would have been impressed. It was either a very brave, or foolhardy course of action, depending on your point of view but it certainly bought him his fifteen minutes of fame.

There he was on TV, being carefully filmed from the waist up, the way they used to film Elvis Presley in the early days.
“Everyone”, he said, “should be free to follow my example if they’ve a mind to”.’Not even as a joke’, thought the whole of Scotland, ‘and even less in winter’.

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Aas I walked into the teacher’s room between classes I noticed two of my colleagues talking to each other in the corner of the room. Their chairs formed a right angle, with one another facing forward and the other facing to the side. A frightening image came to mind because it looked like a confessional without the partition.

Right then I was transported back to my childhood when my mother and father told me I had to go to confession every Saturday morning to confess to everything bad I had done during the past week. The basic flaw in this logic was how many sins could a 10-year old boy commit in the course of one week? But, arguing was futile because it was more important to go to confession than it was to sin in the first place.

My mother used to drive me to the church at 9-o-clock every Saturday morning. She would visit with the other churchgoers while I walked alone up the center aisle to the confessional booths. That walk scared the hell out of me because I knew I was getting closer and closer to the stage where God lived. One thing I clearly understood was that God was not poor. He lived in a place that was surrounded by gold ornaments and rich red and purple tapestries.

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A hunter of wild animals, who lived in Africa in the early days, shot a lion and lioness, and the wild man, who had befriended the two animals, was devastated at their death, as he considered them to be his children. This is the story of how he came to be alone, how he managed to survive in the bush and what became of him in the end.

Tthis man lived with lions in the early days in the Transvaal of South Africa. His name was Mashubashen and it is a true story that happened in 1905.

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