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In Memoriam

I stop myself using the phrase “my mother-in-law” because it comes with many negative connotations. You know the jokes, about how awful she is, but in truth I loved my wife’s mother like my own. She accepted me into the heart of her family, and it was a great shock when she left us so swiftly. She lived her life in the manner of her name and we’ll miss her more than I know how to say and more than I realised.

Grace, I’ll do my best to look after your daughter and family. Thank you for everything.

Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other
That we still are

Call me by my old familiar name
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used
Put no difference into your tone
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow

Laugh as we always laughed
At the little jokes we always enjoyed together
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was
Let it be spoken without effect
Without the ghost of a shadow on it

Life means all that it ever meant
It is the same as it ever was
There is absolutely unbroken continuity
What is death but a negligible accident?

Why should I be out of mind
Because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you at an interval
Somewhere very near
Just around the corner

All is well.

Henry Scott Holland 1847-1918
Canon of St Pauls Cathedral

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City of the Dead

Back, bedraggled and very very damp. However us Scots are made of hardier stuff and didn’t let a few gallons of water put us off (not sure about the two Italian tourists though), so after a nice dinner of mince and tatties at Cafe Gandolfi, the McLean family (sadly minus Louise who has hurt her ankle) headed up the hill to the Necropolis.

I should point out that it had been raining lightly all day and about two minutes into the evening it got heavier and stayed like that for the next hour or so. Typical. I’d post some photos but I’ve just found out that my photography skills are somewhat lacking when it comes to taking photos in torrential rain, in fading to pitch black light, and when I’m trying to keep my camera from getting soaked. Oh well.

Ronnie Scott was our tour guide, and considering he’s just handed in a thesis on the place, not to mention written a book about it, it’s simpler to just assume that he knows more about the Necropolis and it’s history than most people have forgotten. Of course knowledge is only part of what’s required to lead a guided walk and I’m happy to report that he’s also a very good speaker with a nice laidback attitude and no end of crap jokes to keep you groaning.

The tour itself took us on a short circuit of some key areas of the Necropolis, it’s far too big to cover in the hour and 15 mins we had, and Ronnie gave us both a historical, sociological and humourous insight into a variety of the tombs, gravestones and markers. As it was part of the architectural festival he concentrated a lot on the physical appearance of the cemetery, the difference between roman and greek obelisks (romans used plinths, greeks come straight up from the ground), the significance of urns and laurel wreaths and so on, but such is his breadth of knowledge you were also given short history lessons on who was, and wasn’t, buried under which plot.

For example, take John Knox. Despite the large memorial statue of him that sits at the peak of the Necropolis (and which faces Ibrox and has it’s back to Celtic Park, coincidence?) is actually buried under what is now a car park in Edinburgh. Never knew that.

I could go on at length, and get many more facts wrong, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting tour, despite the rain. Thankfully the Friends of the Necropolis organise tours throughout the year, so I’ll be keeping my eye on their website for any more. I’m sure it will be a lovely place to explore on a crisp winter’s day, lord knows the photos would be better than this, this, this or this.

If you are ever in Glasgow I’d recommend that you pick up a copy of Ronnie’s book as it will guide you round the best bits of the Necropolis, and even if you don’t fancy the walk, it’s still an excellent read.

Useful Links:
Friends of the Necropolis
Photos of the Necropolis
More photos of the Necropolis
Glasgow Sculpture
Hidden Glasgow

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A post about stuff

Last week was a struggle, this week and the blogging vista has opened up before me and lain all and any subject placid at my feet. My gaze falters across the landscape, flickering from topic to topic, each one as intriguing as the next.

Bugger that though, here’s a some quick thoughts on a variety of themes.

Firstly a quick thank you… “Thank you”… to those who have taken the time to offer the world the opening lines of their books. So generous. My favourite, so far, is probably John’s “The last person on earth sat alone in the empty house. Suddenly the doorbell rang … “. Although it does ring slightly Gaiman or Pratchett-esque… I do hope it’s original! ;-)


Who do you think will win the Booker? And do you care?


This evening I’ll be spending some time wandering around a large dark area filled with dead people, namely Glasgow’s Necropolis.

“The Necropolis embodies Glasgow at the height of its power as the Second City of the British Empire. The engineers, iron founders, inventors, ship builders, locomotive makers, scientists, factory owners, business people and overseas agents of Victorian Glasgow are buried here. Their monuments were designed by the architects and sculptors who built the city, such as Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The Necropolis was the first ornamental or garden cemetery in Scotland, and among the first in Britain. Its landscape represents a new way of commemorating the dead, which was derived from the famous Père Lachaise in Paris. However, the Necropolis is also home to many thousands of ordinary Glaswegians, who were buried without headstones.”

Should be quite interesting. More on that later.


Saturday afternoon found me standing at the kitchen sink with a bowl of soapy water and my iPod Nano in hand. Whilst I was somewhat wary of bringing soapy water and the iPod into close proximity, I managed to fit it with an Invisible Shield. It was pretty simple to install, the instructions on the site are excellent (once you find them!) and they even link to another site showing the process and which has some good photos of the end result.

Final result looks good, feels a little different but works fine. They also do screens for other products and I’d suggest you have a look at their website for the full range. Ohh and the lifetime guarantee and free shipping is pretty nice too!


Question: Hands up if you would pay me to re-design your site. Just curious as I’m doing a couple of sites at the moment and wondering if I need to “market” myself a little more… but then would I have the time to do the work? Should I make time to do the work? COULD I do the work full time?? Pondering pondering.


Enough of me, how are you? Good weekend?

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