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

Friday, May 8, 2009


This week’s quote:-

Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think (Chinese Proverb)

This week’s haiku:-

rows of stilettos
in the Oxfam shop - the old
woman tries them on



I came across this website when I was looking for haiku sites. There are 16 or 17 excellent photos, each with a haiku, of Kurimoto Japanese Garden in Alberta, Canada. The garden is part of the University of Alberta.

For anyone interested in chess, 50 Chess Games for Beginners is a very entertaining site, and you can certainly learn a lot by following those games.

One night last week I found this striking picture -



Hands up anyone who has the remotest idea what it is.

Well, I had heard the word mentioned by my parents when I was very small, and I seem to remember that it was a series of questions and answers about Christian beliefs.

This week I discovered that in the 18th century in Scottish schools very often the Bible and the Shorter Catechism were the only text books the pupils had. When I consulted Google, I learned that the latter book consists of 107 Questions and Answers. I vaguely remember my mother saying that in her day children had to learn some of it by heart, and I found the first question familiar -
Q - What is the chief end of man?
A - Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.

I assumed that, if there was a shorter catechism, then there must be a longer one, and Google told me that the Larger Catechism consists of 196 - yes, 196 questions and answers!!!

Both catechisms were tied up with the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1646, which had resulted from an Assembly called by Parliament to define Christian beliefs.

In Scotland to begin with, schools were often held in a stable, a hayloft or a hut, usually without desks or chairs. The teacher, who was expected to have a knowledge of Maths, Latin and Greek, would also be the registrar of births, marriages and deaths, as well as precentor in the church and session clerk.

However it wasn’t unusual to find in the 18th century old men or cripples, who had no other way of earning a living, teaching classes of children to read and write. Some of these unofficial schools became known as “adventure schools” and over the years there were quite a few in my home town Kirkintilloch.

“Blind Anne” an old lady with one eye held such a school in a garret, and charged the pupils 2 pence per week. There was another run by an ex-Army sergeant who had been in the Peninsular War, and, though he himself was poorly educated, he was considered to be a fine teacher.

What must have been the first night school in the town was held in an attic of the Black Bull Inn, from 9.30pm till 11.00pm. Incredibly this was for children who had been working long hours during the day at the looms. The class continued all through the year, and it’s said that Mr Mackay the teacher carried out his duties with no fee.

In 1840 a school began in an empty loom shop in the Hillhead district, and the men behind the project were delighted to hire a University student as teacher. One day one of those men was passing and was surprised that there was no sound at all coming from the premises. Thinking what a good choice they had made in selecting the student, he went in to find the class gathered round the young man who was constructing a kite. That was NOT what was expected of him, and he had to go!!!!


This painting “A Private View at the Royal Academy” is by William Powell Frith (1819-1909). He was noted for his large pictures, absolutely packed with people from all walks of life. Probably his best known are “Ramsgate Sands, Life at the Seaside”, “Derby Day” and “The Railway Station”.


I like this little poem by Leigh Hunt (1784-1789).

Jenny kiss’d me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
Sweets into your list, put that in!
Say I’m weary, say I’m sad,
Say I’m growing old, but add,
Jenny kiss’d me.


A FEW WEEKS AGO I mentioned my first girl friend. We had a lot in common for she was a singer and I was a pianist, and we appeared together at two or three local concerts. Later she became a professional and performed in seaside concert parties.

While I was in the RAF at Brize Norton, I met a girl who lived in the nearby village and we became immediate friends. The reason again was - music. She played the piano, but there were two other things that drew us together - we both had the initials JJ, and the same birthday though I was a few years older. Obviously it was meant to be!!!!!!!

Her father had the local grocery and she worked in the ladies clothes shop next door. We got on very well together and it was a sad day when I was demobbed. I think we both knew that the affair had to end, and I certainly wasn’t ready for a serious relationship.

In this blog on 5th December I mentioned Bunny Shayler the comedian in the RAF concert party. He was a civilian worker on the station and lived with his wife in the village. They were very pleasant people and a good few years ago, when we were in that part of the country, we paid them a visit. At that time they had a very successful photography business, which sadly failed a few years later when the Americans left Brize Norton.

For quite a few years we exchanged greetings at Christmas, and Joy Shayler always sent us a card with a watercolour picture of flowers she herself had painted. Both she and Bunny are now dead.



A little video of a most attractive creature - a slow loris. This little animal is found all over south east Asia. Its life span is 20 years, and it feeds on fruit, animal prey, gums, shoots and birds eggs.


On 24th April my blog contained this photo, and I wondered if anyone knew what the insect was.

Margaret was able to tell me that it’s a Praying Mantis.
This is a clearer picture of a Praying Mantis.



From the early 1940s, here are The Inkspots singing “Do I Worry?”



Trinity said...

I find your hobbies rather extensive, from classical music to oriental literature such as Japanese haiku and Chinese proverbs. Why do you like oriental culture so much?
The picture you posted is so soothing and serene that it makes me think of the cello solo at the begining of Dvorak Symphony No.8 mov 1.
PS:There are no comment formats in your latest posts.

John said...

A difficult question! When I first got a computer, I was surprised at the number of educational websites available. I began reading the history of the Jews, then Judaism, Buddhism, Zen (which I still don't understand) and Taoism. Taoism appealed to me because of its simplicity.(See )
But I must be honest - I've dabbled in too many different things, so I'm not an authority on any of those subjects!!!