My mother and the Christmas cactus

Now and again I have a sad reminder of a specific time when I upset my mother rather badly. There may well have been other occasions when I did something unkind or ill judged, but this one has stayed in my memory. Mostly dormant, it re-emerges at intervals, to provoke and disrupt. Just as itContinue reading “My mother and the Christmas cactus”

Ageing and illness in a turbulent world

For nearly all of my 77 years on this earth, I have lived in the Dumfriesshire parish of Kirkmahoe. Not easy to find on a map, it’s a delightful place of rolling green pastures that slope down to the banks of the River Nith, just as it nears the end of its watery journey andContinue reading “Ageing and illness in a turbulent world”

The Christmas Eve dinner: a mystery story

The motorway is down to one lane in the deepening snow. I’m in a convoy of vehicles making cautious progress as we all head north. Driving home for Christmas.   I reach the Scottish border. The Gretna outlet store, now re-named Caledonia Village, is crammed with last minute shoppers. I take the next exit, headingContinue reading “The Christmas Eve dinner: a mystery story”

Barry Graham and the spirit of Loch Arthur

Over the last decade I have taken many friends, visitors and colleagues to the Loch Arthur Farm Shop, in Beeswing near Dumfries. I’m always pleased when the visit coincides with an opportunity to chat to Barry Graham, who in the interview with me below tells us his intriguing story. One challenge I have had atContinue reading “Barry Graham and the spirit of Loch Arthur”