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How to become contagious

VIRUS PANIC! proclaims this morning’s Daily Mirror while at the other end of the news spectrum, the Financial Times, offers a longer headline “Virus triggers worst run on markets since financial crisis.” Increasingly the news – as well as our future – is being dominated by the spread of the coronavirus. “If this virus spreads, we are doomed,” tweets one Nigerian as his country registers its first victim of the virus. Contagion is a primitive terror. We instinctively recoil from the diseased; we fear contamination. The lepers ring their bells and shout “Unclean, unclean!” And so when Jesus reached out and touched the leper, he would have shocked those observing from a safe distance.

We all need a retune

Y You had to laugh! I came in yesterday hoping to catch the BBC News at Six. However, no joy – our television wasn’t working. And then I remembered that Freeview TV had updated its signals and I needed to retune our tuner. No problem – press a few buttons and in five minutes or so, we were back in business. However, by then we had missed the main news and found ourselves watching North West Tonight to be told in the intro that later in the programme they would be showing Freeview viewers how to retune their television. It sounded like a good idea until one of the presenters realised that only those Freeview viewers who had already managed to retune would be watching. Some necessary e

Never, ever turn round!

“Come on, Victor! You can do it!” With just 10 metres to the finish line, my heart sank as one of the marshals shouted encouragement. That could only mean one thing: that Victor, my nemesis, was tracking me to take me on the line. To say I was terror-stricken is no exaggeration. You may know that Victor and I have been battling it out since the Ormskirk ParkRun started nearly six years ago. To begin with I was victorious but then as Victor improved and I was slowed down by injuries, he has regularly been finishing in front of me, sometimes by a fair distance. (Incidentally, the ParkRun is not a race but a timed run over 5k, just over three miles, but Victor and I totally ignore th

Volunteering to bless

Doing my 9k run yesterday morning I came across the first litter picker on Swanpool Lane at precisely 1k. Then just 300 metres later, at the far end of Victoria Avenue, another two, showing equal determination and diligence. I hadn’t realised it at the time but now that I have gone online I discover these three litter pickers were part of a larger community event organised by a local councillor. And as volunteers clearing up their own neighbourhood they were going beyond what could be expected of a regular council worker, delving deep into thick laurel bushes (even onto private land). I totally agree with Bill Bryson when he says “As I see litter as part of a long continuum of an

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