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

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


When I came across these puppy photos I just had to put them on the blog.


This week's quote:-

One lifetime isn't enough.
Just when you start to learn -
it's time to go. (Luis Marden)


Here are two postcard views of the Spider Bridge, Kirkintilloch. We always knew it as “The Spider’s Bridge.”

It was built in 1888 to provide a suitable route from the village of Waterside to Lenzie Railway Station. The local newspaper of that time described it as a “giddy, shaky, spider-looking inclined plane over the valley of the Bothlyn.”

During its long life, it was a popular walk, especially on Sunday afternoons, when many folk visited the adjacent cemetery.

Sadly no one seemed to be interested in preserving the bridge, it fell in to disrepair and eventually had to be demolished in 1987.

I was among many who were disappointed at another piece of local history disappearing.


Another poem from my schooldays was “La Belle Dame sans Merci” by John Keats (1795-1821). The reader is Sean Barrett, but you can follow the words below.

O, what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has wither'd from the lake,
And no birds sing.

O, what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel's granary is full,
And the harvest's done.

I see a lily on thy brow,
With anguish moist and fever dew;
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
Fast withereth too.

“I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful, a faery's child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.

“I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She look'd at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.

“I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long;
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
A faery's song.

“She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna dew,
And sure in language strange she said -
I love thee true.

“She took me to her elfin grot,
And there she wept and sigh'd full sore,
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
With kisses four.

“And there she lulled me asleep
And there I dream'd! Ah! Woe betide!
The latest dream I ever dream'd
On the cold hill side.

“I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried - La Belle Dame sans Merci
Hath thee in thrall!

“I saw their starv'd lips in the gloam,
With horrid warning gaped wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
On the cold hill's side.

“And this is why I sojourn here
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge has wither'd from the lake,
And no birds sing.”


Can you remember the last time a doctor looked down your throat and asked you to say Ah? Or held your wrist to feel your pulse? Or listened to your chest through his stethoscope?

When he had finished the examination, he would write out a prescription which you would present to the chemist. Invariably you would get a bottle of mixture with a horrible taste, specially concocted just for you!

Of course there was usually a corner of a shelf in your kitchen containing a selection of medicine bottles. Apart from those which had been prescribed in previous years, there would be essentials like Syrup of Figs, Emulsion, Malt and the children’s favourite - Castor Oil!!!

I mentioned recently that there was no National Health Service in my young day, and, since the doctor had to be paid for, many mothers held off as long as possible before seeking medical advice. Jean tells me that her doctor charged half-a-crown for a house visit. There were occasions, she says, when her mother would give him his money, but he would quietly leave it on top of the coal bunker as he left.


Here's a song recorded by Jessie Matthews in 1937. Born in 1907, she made her debut in a London theatre when she was 12 years old. Her career on stage, screen, television and radio spanned 60 years and in 1970 she was awarded the OBE. In 1979 her one-woman show in Los Angeles won her a United States Drama Logue Award. She died in 1981.


I was pleased to learn that John's Quiet Corner had been recommended to by someone in Philadelphia who wrote "This old man blogger has some really amazing images and poetry selected - and he updates frequently."


No comments: