Category Archives: Community

In limbo

(Also available as a podcast here) It rained late this afternoon. In the silence that followed the birdsong was almost deafening. What do they notice, I wondered. A change in the air? Fewer people? Less noise? Finely attuned to their … Continue reading

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Songs of hope

(Also available as a podcast here) At this time of year when the air is still and cold, mist gathers over the River Tay and hangs above the salmon pools, making ghosts of the venerable beech trees that line the … Continue reading

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Across the great divide

I’m watching Debate Night, the new BBC Scotland channel’s answer to Question Time. It serves to underline a question I have been asking myself more and more frequently in recent months: how do we engage with people who hold diametrically … Continue reading

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Acts of kindness

In late January 1973 I arrived in Chile overland from Argentina. I was travelling with a group organised by the adventure company, Encounter Overland, whose regular itinerary, up until that point, had been the hippy trail from London to Kabul. … Continue reading

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Paying attention

Birnam, the village where I live, and neighbouring Dunkeld, across the river, have a combined population of just 1,100 souls. For our size we’re unusual in having an arts centre, fully equipped with a 150-seater auditorium, studio and meeting spaces, … Continue reading

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Hawks and angels

Nestled into steep woods on the slopes of a Cotswold valley stands a manor house built of stone the colour of pale honey. It has tall chimneys and gothic windows and a walled garden full of vegetables and fruit trees … Continue reading

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On purpose

Extraordinary as it seems today, my first job was as an articled clerk with a firm of London chartered accountants. I can distinctly hear my lawyer father and banker stepfather saying, almost as one, ‘My boy, with a law degree … Continue reading

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Other hearts

I was brought up in the Scottish countryside. Home was a house with a field and a wood, an old stables building and a walled garden. It was a late 18th century manse, elegant though not grand. In earlier times, … Continue reading

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In concert

On Easter Monday I took part in a concert in Dunkeld Cathedral to raise money for Syrian refugees. If that sounds grand, it wasn’t. It was very much a community event, conceived by the cathedral organist, Michael Anderson, and local … Continue reading

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Baby’s back

Maybe it’s an antidote to the continuing darkness – though it’s not quite as dark as this time last week – but I feel compelled to write about uplifting things at the moment. Last week it was wee Dougie and … Continue reading

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