Perhaps I had ambitions to be an MP - or an undertaker!

Monday, November 10, 2008



Last Monday was my birthday and I posted these haiku on my new HAIKU HOMESTEAD site.

eighty-three today
from the shaving mirror
an old face looks out

closed circuit TV
that old chap looks familiar -
so he should, it’s ME!!!



This card was sent to me by the Sunday School and I see from the reverse side that our address was Burnbank Terrace, Lenzie. That was where I was born, but I think that by the time my second birthday came around we would have moved to the tenement in Kerr Street, Kirkintilloch.


This photo is the earliest one I have. I’d love to know was in my mind as I stood there.


The Christian Church didn’t always approve of observing birthdays and the rejection of celebrating them continued right down to the 4th Century. So many customs and traditions had their roots in paganism and that was the case with birthdays.

An article from the German magazine Schwabische Zeitung in April 1981 explains that the origins of celebrating birthdays “lie in the realm of magic and religion”. It continues - “The custom of offering congratulations, presenting gifts and celebrating, complete with lighted candles, in ancient times were meant to protect the birthday celebrant from the demons and to ensure his security for the coming year.”

Both the Romans and the Greeks believed that everyone had a spirit who attended the birth and watched over him or her for life, and birthday celebrations were partly in honour of that guardian angel or spirit. There was a special significance about sacrificial fire and lighted tapers, which explains why we have candles on our birthday cakes today.

Were birthday parties common in my childhood? I don’t think so, for I can’t remember us having any or going to any. The only children’s party I recall (apart from those held by the Sunday School) was one which our Aunt Frances had for her piano pupils, and all I can remember is that I refused to join in a kissing game and went in a huff.


Here are photos taken at the beginning and end of my schooldays.

Primary 1 at Lairdsland School

I’m in the middle row, 4th from Left. (Notice the butterfly?)
In the back row 4th from left is Betty Hamilton whose aunt was married to my uncle George, the minister who became Secretary of the Baptist Union of Scotland. On the extreme right on that row is Walter Nisbet a 2nd cousin of mine. Standing next to me is Johnny Lang - we came in contact with each other very often through our music, he played trumpet and was associated with the Players Club.
In the front row 4th from the left is Archie Little who later on played violin in our music group.

Year 5 at Lenzie Academy

Back Row -Roderick Maclean, Thomas Morgan, Ronald Renfrew, James Hendry, Robert Goodwin, Harold Street, John Roy, Geoffrey Allan
Third Row - William Rankin, James Anderson, Ian Macpherson, Douglas Smith, David Anderson, Ian Brown, Me, Jack McIntyre, Andrew Buchanan
Second Row - The Rector Mr Farquharson, Vera Hutchison, Nessie Miller, Nancy Creighton, Ian Paterson, Blair Miller, Archie Little, Graham Davidson, Mr Mutch
Front Row - ?? , Nancy Beddoes, Essie Fleming, Mary Graham, Miss Harley, Betty Anderson, Lora Miller, Evelyn Dunn, Alison Macleod

The three violinists are all there - Douglas Smith now in Australia, Andrew Buchanan who sadly died as a result of a street accident a good many years ago, and Archie Little now in Edinburgh.

I’m in touch by e-mail with both Douglas Smith and John Roy who is in Canada.


This poem is rather sad, but perhaps quite appropriate for EIGHTY PLUS.

I REMEMBER, I REMEMBER (Thomas Hood 1799-1845)

I remember, I remember,
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon,
Nor brought too long a day,
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away.

I remember, I remember,
The roses, red and white;
The violets, and the lily-cups,
Those flowers made of light!

The lilacs where the robin built,
And where my brother set
The laburnum on his birthday -
The tree is living yet!

I remember, I remember,
Where I was used to swing;
And thought the air must rush as fresh
To swallows on the wing;

My spirit flew in feathers then,
That is so heavy now,
And summer pools could hardly cool
The fever on my brow!

I remember, I remember,
The fir trees dark and high;
I used to think their slender tops
Were close against the sky;

It was a childish ignorance,
But now ‘tis little joy
To know I’m farther off from Heav’n
Than when I was a boy.


Now, two more photos -
The first one of Jean and I taken a few days after my 56th birthday, and the other on my 60th when the girls in the office organised this surprise for me.


As usual, a video clip to finish with. This trio from Korea are known as 3 Ladies and here they have fun with the opening theme from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. (I had no success when I tried to get more information about them. Google had many references to 3 Ladies, but none applied to those musicians.)


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