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How we will remember covid?

“When difficult times are past and periods of growth and flourishing have come – when the wilderness seems far away – what do we do with those difficult experiences and memories?” I’ve only just read these words, written by my daughter as it happens, in her day-by-day commentary of the Old Testament book of Hosea for the BRF. She could have been writing about our experience today of the Covid pandemic. For many it has been a truly disturbing time, not least because of the dearth of social contact, especially in the early months of the Lockdown. Many are still fearful, especially as our schools are about to reopen. Whole sectors of our economy are experiencing economic collapse. I’ve

Epiphany in Arizona

Blokes of my age and era are notoriously bad in keeping in touch. I find, like Peter Kay the best way for keeping track of old friends is by watching Crimewatch UK. But then I get the occasional break. I bump into my old running rival Colin in a bookshop in Manchester or a church member tells me his nephew Doug as at school with me. This week I made contact after 50 years with James, who worked with me as a counsellor at YMCA Camp Brooklyn, Pennsylvania over the summer of 1970, a formative experience. We got on well. His family in California were to show me wonderful hospitality. James had just graduated in theology and about to take a course at St Andrew’s, Scotland. So that aut

Why the iconoclasm?

“Where’s Zimbabwe?” I finally asked my fellow student Richard, responding to the prominent lapel badge he invariably wore with the legend “Free Zimbabwe.” It was, literally, ‘in your face.’ That was 50 years ago, shortly after the British colony of Southern Rhodesia had declared Unilateral Declaration of Independence during my first term at university. This triggered a 15-year guerrilla war as the white colonialists vainly tried to hold onto power against the black nationalist forces. One of the first actions of the new majority government in 1980 was to rename their country confining, at least they hoped, the 19th century imperialist Cecil Rhodes to history. They soon changed the na

Becoming my father.

“Ross, you look just like your father!” Only yesterday evening, while visiting our daughter, Jacqui once again glimpsed in me my late father in a particular facial expression. For a brief moment I became Walter. In a strange way it is mildly unsettling when your wife suddenly thinks that you are someone else. It helps to know she has a high regard for her father-in-law! Strangely, as I write this blog I can look out of the window to the house where Eric lives – and Eric used to work with my father! He has told me tales of how he used to play jokes on his colleagues, which sometimes misfired! Very much in character but nevertheless I enjoyed hearing tales of my father from a differen

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