Keep in touch

Bits and pieces to keep us interested


3rd December

I'm not such an early riser but with the days becoming shorter I was able this morning to witness quite a spectacular sunrise.

We found quite a few interesting bits and pieces among Diane's mum's things: -

And I loved this photograph of a wee lad proudly displaying his "Purple Pinky" after having had his Polio vaccination. It was in the weekly update from Terry Zeigler Rotary International's Polio Guru.

  • “Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”
    G.K. Chesterton,
  • “Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.”
    Virginia Woolf,
  • Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.”
    Groucho Marx,

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30th November

Happy Saint Andrew's Day!

Diane took a turn and began clearing through a whole pile of stuff that we have had of her mother's when she stayed with us. She came upon these.


Takes ye back eh?

  • “Information is not knowledge.”
    Albert Einstein
  • “Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”
    Martin Luther King Jr.
  • “It is not that I'm so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.”
    Albert Einstein
  • I have no wish to know what you can't do! I only want to know what you can! - Sandy McGill

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27th November

This week we enter into December and our Christmas lunch at Grange Manor. It promises to be a super occasion with a great speaker and 62 diners present. I really am looking forward to it.

On an entirely different subject, two years ago we bought a Clematis to climb up my newly constructed pergola. We planted it last Spring and it grew to about three or four feet produced one flower then died! We were surprised to see it rise like a phoenix this spring and it has grown right through the summer to a height of about  6 feet but absolutely no flowers - until now! I was totally gobsmacked to realise that we have a winter or autumn flowering Clematis. It is in it's element at present.

The other three corners of the pergola have been planted this year but with summer flowering plants.

  • “... there is no shame in not knowing. The problem arises when irrational thought and attendant behavior fill the vacuum left by ignorance.”
    Neil deGrasse Tyson,
  • “The greatest mistake of the movement has been trying to organize a sleeping people around specific goals. You have to wake the people up first, then you'll get action.”
    Malcolm X
  • “Scientia potentia est." - Thomas Hobbs

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19th November

Andrew has reminded me about the Amazon Smile facility. It costs nothing and can benefit the Club quite substantially if you take a little tme to make sure that whenever you purchase anything on Amazon you do it on Amazon Smile after having nominated your Charity as The Rotary Club of Falkirk Trust Fund. This is Andrew's page.

George, President Linda, Bill, Robert Craig, Diane and I along with 6 others had dinner at Cafe Corvina last night and then were entertained by "Big Band Theory" at the Trinity Church. It was a lovely evening of fellowship and entertainment that brought back many memories.

I managed to photograph the mist this morning. The photo doesn't yet do it justice. I think that I might either have to take photographic instruction or buy a better lens.

  • “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
    Mark Twain
  • “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
    Aldous Huxley
  • “In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
    George Orwell

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18th November

Not long now until we start our Christmas fundraising campaign. We are not fielding the Sleigh this year but instead are presenting Santa on a red velvet throne in the foyer of the Supermarkets. All so much more civilisd and comfortable. Hopefully this will entice more of us to lend a hand.

Our membership drive seems to be bearing fruit as well! we now have a number of application forms returned and being processed.

Not only that! Our Christmas lunch on 1st December is now to be attended by at least 60 people and looks like it's going to be a huge success in terms of Club fellowship.

George Stevenson's address to the Club yesterday brought a few memories back for me. In the late eighties early nineties while at Cumbernauld Swim Club I met a lady, mother of one of the swimmers, who had only just completed her training as a Justice of the Peace. She recounted a story where a newly appointed JP was so overawed and traumatised by her first foray as a judge she became tongue tied while sentencing a petty shoplifter and is reputed to have said "I have no option but to sentence you to death!"

  • “He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary."
    William Faulkneron on Ernest Hemmingway
  • “I am not the editor of a newspaper and shall always try to do right and be good so that God will not make me one.”
    Mark Twain
  • “Yet Trump has managed to convince his legions that making vile comments about someone is a revolutionary act, a badge of honor and a long-overdue tipping of society's scales back toward reason and truth. Sometimes he's right, but so is the proverbial stopped watch.”
    Kathleen Parker

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15th November

Today the Foodbank requested Long life milk, Orange Juice, Pasta Sauce, Tinned Veg, Corned Beef, Tinned Fruit, Tea/Coffee, Tins of Tomato, Deserts and Jelly, Soap and Shower Gel. As ever Linda stepped up to the mark and delivered 114Kg of the requested goods to the Foodbank. That brings our total so far since March 2020 to £11,732.89 and 6,303.8 Kg.


  • “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
    Mae West
  • “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
    Albert Einstein
  • “What is now proved was once only imagined.”
    William Blake

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13th November

On Friday I received an email from a teacher! It used the word "Photo's" purporting to be the plural of Photo. What chance have our children got if the teachers have no knowledge of grammar.

This morning it was miserable and misty early on. The ground in the field is muddy and the place looks a wee bit forlorn. Then these guys showed up.

"The rut's done, a' the hinds are pregnant, nae antlers tae fecht wi' even! Whit'll we dae noo!"

  • “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”
    Oscar Wilde
  • “I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.”
    Marilyn Monroe
  • “Don’t walk in front of me… I may not follow
    Don’t walk behind me… I may not lead
    Walk beside me… just be my friend”
    Albert Camus

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5th November

Well that's the first day of our Poppy Collection at Tesco redding completed and what a day it was. Some time ago Ian asked us to buy £1,000 of Poppy pin badges to sell this week and we were a bit retiscent about spending that amount of money so we agreed to £500. Yesterday that £500 worth of pin badges was sold out by 3.00pm. The collection cans were full of very high value currency including many £5, £10 and £20 notes. We won't know how much was there until Tesco count it but it was a lot of money!

As for the Poppy Pins the £500 worth actually netted £530.05 because folk were putting in a fiver for instance and taking no change. £30.05 will therefore be added to a can at some point over the coming week.

  • “We learn from failure, not from success!”
    Bram Stoker.
  • “In youth, it was a way I had,
    To do my best to please.
    And change, with every passing lad
    To suit his theories.

    But now I know the things I know
    And do the things I do,
    And if you do not like me so,
    To hell, my love, with you.”      Dorothy Parker

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31st October

For some considerable time now we have been using Colgate Total toothpaste. Recently the packaging changed to a more sustainable and recyclable HDPE (That's High Density Polyethylene, a thermoplastic polymer produced from the monomer ethylene.)


The thing about that material is that it doesn't deform like regular toothpaste tubes and it really is a helluva job to get the last of the toothpaste out of the tube.

Last week we had reached a stage where we were just about ready to admit defeat and start a new tube when I had another lightbulb moment and cut the tube with a pair of scissors.

And, by dipping the toothbrush into what remained in the truncated tube, we got another week's worth of toothpatste out!

  • “He who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions.”
    Confucius
  • “It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”
    Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi

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29th October

So much happening recently that I saved this for a quieter day. The Shelterbox tent was taken to Laurieston Primary School where the kids were blown away by the concept. Mary and Nancy visited and Andrew Wilson (shelterbox Guru from Grangemouth) supplied the muscle.


This next one was sent to me by Mary who entitled it "Nancy covered her poo!"

  • “Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
    Shel Silverstein
  • “Who are you to judge the life I live?
    I know I'm not perfect
    -and I don't live to be-
    but before you start pointing fingers...
    make sure you hands are clean!”
    Bob Marley
  • “A wise girl kisses but doesn't love, listens but doesn't believe, and leaves before she is left.”
    Marilyn Monroe

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28th October

Last night we held our "Come and meet Rotary" event. It was a humungous success from every point of view. All but three of the invited guests who had accepted the invitation showed up on the night. There was a buzz about the room as our members mingled and chatted and, in some instances, met old colleagues and friends the presence of whom on the evening came as a complete surprise.

President LInda started the evening off, welcoming everyone (who until then had been enjoying the chat and the drinks reception) and outlining the purpose of the evening. She handed over to President elect David to introduce the powerpoint presentation. David quietly and eloquently took everyone through the show that had been developed over the past month by Andrew and him.

A finger buffet allowed further mingling and chatting then a presentation about Rotakids by President Linda was followed by short interviews of Stewart, Ausat and Mary giving their experiences of Rotary.

The venue was perfect and the management could not have been more helpful in the organisation of the evening. We anticipate that there may be at least 6 new members produced as a result. Well done everyone!

  • “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
    Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “Anyone who thinks sitting in church can make you a Christian must also think that sitting in a garage can make you a car.”
    Garrison Keillor

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26th October

Andrew has been busy again lighting up Falkirk for World Polio day.

  • “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.”
    Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi
  • “The only true wisdom is in knowingthat you know nothing.”
    Socrates
  • “What you're supposed to do when you don't like a thing is change it. If you can't change it, change the way you think about it. Don't complain.”
    Maya Angelou

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25th October

Today is "World pasta day" Why? I hear you say! Don't ask me it just is! It got me thinking however. I thought that I knew my pasta. I have made pasta. I have a pasta maker! The pasta maker doesn't make Pasta it simply shapes it and ensures that it is of the proper thickness. Then I thought How many different kinds of Pasta can you get and why?

It is estimated that there are approximately 350 different types of pasta - and about four times that many names for them! This is due to the fact that some types may have different names in different languages, or even in the same language: in Italy, for example, names vary according to the region or area. In addition, pasta manufacturers and cooks may come up with new shapes or give new names to old shapes…the possibilities thus become endless!

Italian pasta names often end with the masculine plural suffixes –ini-elli-illi-etti or the feminine plurals -ine-elle, to convey the sense of "little"; or with -oni-one, meaning "large". Other suffixes exist too: -otti ("largish") and -acci ("rough", "badly made"). In Italian, all pasta type names are plural. Pasta ending in 'ini' may be a smaller version of a particular shape, and pasta ending in 'oni'  the larger one. For example, spaghettini (smallest), spaghetti (regular), spaghettoni (largest).

Now I have simply copied this from athe web site "Italymagazine.com" but I will bow to superior experience and knowledge of those among us who know better!

  • “Go to heaven for the climate and hell for the company.”
    Benjamin Franklin Wade
  • “′Classic′ - a book which people praise and don't read.”
    Mark Twain
  • “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
    Albert Einstein
  • “You don’t have a soul, Doctor. You are a soul. You have a body, temporarily.”
    Walter M. Miller Jr.

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24th October

It's World Polio Day!

So far this year in Endemic Countries: -

  • Pakistan - 20 Wild Polio cases reported in 2022
  • Afghanistan - 2 Wild Polio Cases reported in 2022
And in Post Endemic Countries: -
  • Mozambique - 7 Wild Polio Cases reported in 2022

Considering that there were in excess of 300,000 cases EVERY YEAR in 1983 when we began this thing we cannot stop! We are succeeding. We will succeed.

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23rd October

I think that I have mentioned before about how sometimes we can look out over the Forth Valley and see it filled with mist. I've never managed to catch that with a photograph before so I tried again this morning and failed again!

There are a few of our members at the last District Conference of District 1020 at Peebles. Andrew has sent me these photographs.

I've been going through my bookshelf again and revisited "Planning our new homes. A report by the Scottish Housing Advisory Committee" (1944 3 shillings net).

I am reminded again about just how sexist and misogynistic our Government bodies were at that time. Is it possible that nothing has changed?

Note the "minimises the work of the Housewife"!!!

  • “If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.” Albert Einstein
  • “Sometimes it's the questions that are complicated and the answers are simple.” Doctor Seuss
  • “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.” Jim Henson

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22nd October

Yesterday a busload of us visited the Burrell Collection with George Honeyman. We were met in the foyer (before they were officially open, I discovered later) and split into two groups. The group to which Diane, my brother, his wife Elaine and I were allocated was the same group that included George. We were led through a proportion of the old areas of the museum before heading downstairs to the new area that has been being fitted out for the past two years. Laura, our guide (who curated and created the space) studied Sir William Burrell at Glasgow University and majored in Art History. She was a superb guide with a knowledge of her subject that was almost intimidating.

During the tour Laura made numerous references to Doctor Tom Honeyman and on each occasion deferred to George with the line "your ancestor" to which George replied "The family just called him Tommy!" George was justifiably proud and posed for us willingly.

Before the renovation there was an exhibit which took the shape of a reconstruction of a room in Hutton Castle the home of Sir William Burrell. At that time the visitor to the museum was only able to stand in the doorway and look into the room. Now that the renovation is complete visitors can wander through the room at will. The photograph above was taken there.

Downstairs is devoted to an explanation of how the collection came to be in the care of The City of Glasgow and highlights the part that Doctor Tom Honeyman played in that. The next two photographs show George and his neice beside the board which briefly explains what happened.


What came as news to me was that even after having donated his collection to the City of Glasgow, Sir William Burrell continued to add to the collection. Most notably among the items that were so obtained were a beautifully ornate carved oak ceiling and a series of stained glass panels of global importance.

We all met in the restaurant after the guided tours and enjoyed a lovely lunch. I would recommend the steak sandwich although it is not for the faint hearted. I couldn't finish mine.

We'll be back!

  • The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. Jane Austen.
  • “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” Wm. Shakespeare.
  • "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." Albert Einstein.
  • “Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” Grouco Marx

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20th October

My sister emailed me the other day and, for a reply, she "waited with baited breath" I replied to her (jokingly) that I was curious about what she hoped to catch with her "baited breath" but wished her success in her venture nonetheless. I then went to the dictionary because I realised, smartarse that I am, that I had no idea where the word came from or what "bated breath" actually meant.

There are as many different notions about what the derivation of the word is as there are dictionaries to ask.

The Oxford English Dictionary (a hard copy of which weighty tome I keep on my shelf) has this to say: -

I like to think that the origin of the word as used in the context above relates to the Falconry part. You wait with anticipation and fluttering breath for a response.

  • Be yourself! everyone else is already taken! Oscar Wilde.
  • Two things are infinite; the Universe and human stupidity and I'm not sure about the Universe! Albert Einstein.
  • If you tell the truth you won't have to remember anything Mark Twain

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19th October

Things have moved on apace! With the active assistance of PDG Calum Thompson we have unearthed the following: -

Prior to our District being entitled "1020" it was District "102" and prior to that it was District "2" which included much if not all of what is presently District 1230. (full circle then)

In 1955 our own Festus Moffatt (Snr) was District Vice Chairman, later to become the last District Governor of District 2. His conference was in Oban and the Conference convener was Inglis McAulay's father, Campbell McAulay.
I am told that the first District Conference of District 102 (later to become 1020) was in 1972 and coincidentally was also held in Peebles. (Fitting then)

Calum has also let me have the following photograph which shows the Presidents of the District 2 Clubs in 1955. Eric Denholm is shown top left with the Falkirk President's chain. Eric Denholm was CEO of "The Stirlingshire and Falkirk Water Board" as it was then.

Curiously I approached RIBI on the same subject asking for any historic references to Falkirk that they might have and was told that their archive is not accessible by Clubs! That's got to change surely.

Also unearthed by Calum is the fact that the District Youth Exchange Officer in 1972 was a member of this Club much the same as it is today with Jim Cairns. In 1972 it was Tom McGowran, Editor of the Falkirk Herald. His wife Iris is/ was a member of The Inner Wheel Club of Falkirk.

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18th October

Often in the evening I have these lightbulb moments! I had one last night! Out of nowhere I thought about our Rotary lectern with the three bronze plaques listing the names of all of the Club Presidents since the beginning. I thought about how one is not supposed to polish bronze and the time when the engraver got Manus McMonagle's name wrong and proceeded to turn the plaque over, polish it and re-engrave all of what was on the original side on what would become the upper side. This meant our lectern displayed and still displays two beautifully patinated bronze plaques and one brightly polished on the right hand side.

Then I thought about the bell and the display cases with the bars that have been removed from a crowded and heavy President's chain. And then there was the Inner Wheel Clock that was placed by the President's position each week as a reminder that 2.00pm was to be observed as the end of the meeting. I have that at home but sadly it needs to be repaired. Is there a clockmaker among our ranks I wonder.



All of these things were once proudly laid out each week at our meetings by the sergeants (Antecovid).

Now it is no longer possible to carry on these traditions.

I would like to think that we could record that history for posterity somehow and I have resolved to create a space here on our web site that does just that. What we do with the actual artefacts is something else. I believe that at least some of the earlier bars removed from the chain are actually gold although I may be wrong on that count. There is a possibility, I think, that the facility at Callendar House may be interested in receiving them into their archives where not only we but anyone who might be interested in the future would be able to see them in the flesh.

With all of that in mind I am sure that there are quite a few of our elder statesmen who might be able to contribute material for such an undertaking. Things like District office for instance. I know of Ian Rule and Jim Watson who were both District Governors and I believe that Festus Moffatt was at one time District Treasurer but when and for how long I have no idea.

So! let me have anything that you think might be interesting to include.

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17th October

In ten days time we will play host to a number of visitors at the Brockville suite at the Community Stadium. So far we have 19 people attending. When the invitations were sent out they were addressed to the invitee and his/her partner. I don't think that it has been said before but I think that it would be good if we took ours too! I know that Diane will be there. Some time immediately before the event I will circulate an updated list of who's who among our guests.

I was watching the "Antiques Road Trip" as we normally do of an evening and all of a sudden realised that we are being duped into believing that the participants are driving the classic cars all over the country. It was only when one of them crunched the gear while changing from 1st to 2nd gear that it reminded me that these cars are quite different to the ones that most of these people are used to today.

I mean, when was the last time you drove a car with a choke? When was the last time you drove a car that didn't have a synchromesh gearbox or power steering? If you instructed any of these people to double declutch in order to avoid crunching gears on the way through the box they would look at you like you were speaking a foreign language! I believe that they are filmed in the cars over a very short length of road and probably never get out of first ot second gear.

What about the "Dip Switch" being a button on the floor of the car next to the clutch? Or even the absence of wing mirrors. No electric windows! No heated rear window! And quite often as on many cars the windscreen wipers were powered from the vaccuum in the inlet manifold of the engine and when the engine was working hard the windscreen wipers would only just manage to move.

Halcyon days indeed!

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16th October

I have only just finished reading a book called "Blood Legacy" by Alex Renton. It is a record of the papers of the Fergussons of Kilkerran in Ayrshire of (whom the author is a distant relative) and their dealings in the slave trade in the 18th and 19th century. In the latter stages of the book I discovered something that should have been headline news but never quite made it, I cannot understand why!

In 1835 the Government borrowed £20m in order to compensate slave owners for the loss of "their property" when slavery was supposedly abolished in this country and its colonies. That loan was only repaid in 2015. It was in 2018 when somebody from the treasury tweeted on its official Twitter channel to its hundreds of thousands of followers the following: -

Whoever it was seemed to have thought that this was something to celebrate but David Olusoga (A House through Time BBC) was incensed by this insensitive tweet and replied: -

"So basically, my father and his children and grandchildren have been paying taxes to compensate those who enslaved our ancestors, and you want me to be proud of that fact. Are you f**king insane???”

So! it would appear that it took the British Government 170 years to pay back a loan of £20million. They don't say which Bank actually ended up receiving the money but I am certain that it would have benefitted right royally from the incurred interest over that time. It wasn't just the slave owners that were the bad guys!

I should say that my interest in this was peaked by a piece of my own family history. My Great Grandmother was Nanny to the Fergusson Household in Kilkerran. Her sister was a housemaid at the same time. According to the records my Great Grandmother had two children born 7 months apart!!! My father took the view that one of the children was not in fact hers but was that of her sister who had been put upon by the master of the house who subsequently persuaded my Great Grandmother to bring the child up as her own. That child was my Grandfather!

The truth of the matter is probably much different. I spoke about this once with Bob Howatt Senior Consultant Gynecologist at Rottenrow. He said that it was not uncommon for chidren to be born 7 months apart at that time, The miracle, he said, was that the child survived.

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15th October

Robert and I shared an email from Bert at Apeldoorn today: -

I don't know about you but I think that that was a result!

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11th October

What a weekend that was.

Well I say weeekend but it all began on Thursday. We had a visit from District Governor Duncan Collinson for his Gubernatorial Address. Duncan referred to the adjective in his presentation but did not elaborate. You will recall, I hope, that I posted something here when Gordon was agreeing dates with Duncan. Duncan corrected Gordon's description of his address and offered "Gubernatorial" as the proper adjective. After a wee bit research I discovered that it most properly relates to the State Governors of the USA. But hey ho!" Duncan's address was inspirational and to the point. He had obviously done his research (I like to think by looking here and our facebook page).

He was also witness to Bob Spears at long last presenting a Ukraine Flag to the Club which had been given to him by a colleague recently returned from there. Bob had hoped to have the gentleman himself present but had proven to be too difficult.


That afternoon the Dutch contingent from Apeldoorn 't Loo was to arrive. I had been told that it was to be at 15.00 but Bert texted me to let me know that they were to visit Stirling Castle first. It was Diane's birthday and I had promised to cook her a special meal so I was unable to welcome them when they eventually arrived at the Park Hotel. That was down to President Linda and Robert Craig.

Friday morning saw us visit Graeme High School and St Mungo's High School along with all 14 of the visitors to witness the result of everyone's efforrts to have defibrillators installed in the schools. Conspicuous by his absence was Bill Laurie still in the throes of Covid and that was great shame because we had a great couple of visits and Bill had been central to the organisation of them.

President Linda, Robert Craig, IPP Narek and I joined the guests as they were entertained right Royally by the Heedie, staff and pupils  at each of the two schools. Michael Gillan, photographer from the Falkirk Herald was there at Graeme High to record the event. It was noted during the visits that (as was the case at our schools' days) all but one of the pupils were of the feminine gender. I later realised that much the same was true of the staff representation.

On return from the Schools it was decided that our friends would dine at Boardwalk and in order to avoid the serious traffic congestion on the Camelon and Glasgow Roads I undertook to steer them through the back streets of the metropolis that is Kemlin ! I started out at the Park Hotel leading a caravan of four cars and ended up at Boardwalk with only three. The fourth must have made it in the end because everyone was present in the evening at The Courtyard where they were joined by Robert Craig, George Honeyman, John and Margaret Struthers and Jim and Kareen Cairns. No one told me and I am delighted to see that Bill Laurie was present too! It was only when I went to import Jim's photie that I saw him!

And a great time was had by all!

I would have been present too and so would IPP Narek but we were both at Perth for the 75th Anniversary Celebration of St John Scotland.

Then on Saturday we were joined by Grangemouth Club at Tesco in Redding for a collection in aid of the victims of the Pakistan Floods. We raised in excess of £800 then and once we add the Giftaid that will be swollen to over £1,000.

PHEW!

9th October 2022

Yesterday we were joined by members of the Grangemouth Club at Tesco in (the) Redding with our collection buckets. The object was to raise funds to aid the victims of the Catastrophic floods in Pakistan. The generosity of the Tesco customers knows no bounds and we collected in excess of £800 and by the time David recovers the Giftaid on that we will have exceeded £1,000.

Of course as usual there was the odd foreign coin among the donations and the following indicates the position in that regard from yesterday's collection: -

I am thinking that the owner of the wee charm might be missing it so if you recognise it then simply get in touch and I will reunite you.

I always enjoy these outings. Yesterday George and I had a great blether with Judy Johnston and when a young lady popped cash into the bucket and said "My dad was in the Rotary" I said that was nice. She then said "Are you Mr McGill?" to which I replied "Yes, Sandy McGill!" She then smiled broadly and said "My dad was Sandy Bovaird!" We had a great chat after that.

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6th October

Since we have returned to regular face to face meetings I have fallen out of the habit of posting here. I actually intended this morning to delete the page altogether until I saw what I had last posted. It was then that I thought that since the Pandemic some of us have been less assidous in attending meetings and that's a shame. It means that this page is the only way that they will have been able to meet Charlie and any other new members that we may be successful in recruiting.

The meetings have become something different to what they were before but nonetheless enjoyable. So if you are one of these people then why not make an effort to attend, it doesn't have to be every week! I always said to my clients when I was working "You have my work and personal email addresses, home, mobile and work telephone numbers you can reach me 24/7 - except for 2 hours on a Thursday lunchtime which is my time!"

I had a visit from Robert Craig yesterday and ought really to have shown him more hospitality but as it was I had to go out and was anxious to get moving so I virtually chased him out of the door. Sorry Robert. His visit was about the plaques for the Defibrillators and I was so ashamed of the untidiness of my study that I left him standing in the kitchen while I retrieved what I sought from my study.

This morning I resolved to rectify that situation and began to tidy my study.

I have a copy of every Club handbook that has been issued since I joined the Club in 1989 (except one). Among these, I found, are two special anniversary booklets. (Stewart Look away!)


There should have beeen one for the Golden Jubilee but I can't recall whether or not there ever was. If there was then I don't have it but I began to think that it is still not too late to have one manufactured for the Platinum Jubilee. What do you think?

  • If you educate a man, you educate a man! If you educate a woman you educate a generation. Brigham Young (Pity he didn't educate them to eschew polygamy)
  • Science without religion is lame!- Religion without Science is blind! Albert Einstein.

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16th September

President Linda inducted her first new member yesterday. Charlie Morrison is a long time friend of Andrew Niven and Andrew was really pleased to be introducing him to our Club. Charlie has been a great supporter of Rotary as a friend until now. Now he will no doubt prove himself to be a huge asset to both the Club and the wider Rotary family.

It should be said that President Linda was chainless in reverence to the request from RIBI that chains of office be eschewed during the period of mourning for Her majesty Queen Elizabeth.
  • “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ― Margaret Mead
  • “Never memorise something that you can look up.”  ― Albert Einstein
  • AND: -
  • “Maybe our favorite quotations say more about us than about the stories and people we're quoting.”
    John Green

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15th September

I am beginning to feel that Diane and I are perceived as "That old couple at Muir Rig". We opened our back door this morning to a basket left on the doorstep by our neighbour!

I'm not altogether sure how we are going to be able to use all of the content (Except the wine that is!) There were tatties, carrots, parsnips, cabbages, beetroot, swedes, squash, marrow, cucumber, courgettes, leeks, tomatoes, sweet peppers, chilli peppers and tomatoes. I can see us having a vegetarian diet for some time to come.

  • “Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticised anyway.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt
  • “I can't give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: - try to please everybody all the time.”  ― Herbert Bayard Swope

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11th September

I have a less than perfect internet connection which maximises out at 20Mb/s download and 25 Mb/s upload. I can't get anything like that via my landline which offers something like 0.5Mb/s in both directions. So my broadband router is a mobile router which gets its intenet via the phone network. As a result things take a wee while to download at times and this page was becoming tiresome so I have deleted everything before October last year in an effort to speed it up. Whether or not that is effective remains to be seen.

Our grandchildren Jorja and Shaw are at a Scout "Camp" this weekend at Lochearnhead Scout Station.


Wow! that took me back! Picture it! - 1966 - The First Falkirk Rover Crew was sharing a campsite at Ardchullarie More with the Stirling Cadets (They were girls who were being trained to be leaders in the Guide movement) Ardhchullarie More is on the East shore of Loch Lubnaig about half way up the loch. The camp was chaperoned by the Cadets' boss, Mary Nixon, a strict disciplinarian whose task in life was to ensure a physical presence between the boys' and the girls' camp sites.

There was a contingent of English Scouts at the same time visiting the Lochearnhead Scout Station and we were conscripted to entertain them there. Diane and Sandra sang. They did a lot of that then! and we, the boys, led by Bob Fearns, proceeded to enlighten those present about the life and habits of the native Scottish Haggis.

You don't see many of them because they are becoming extremely rare. This rarity is in essence as a result of the physical make up of the animal and it is surprising that it was able to have reached the level of population density that it, at one time, enjoyed.

The animal has three legs and because it exists on the slopes of the Scottish mountains two of these are shorter than the other. This enables the animal to stand with its two left short legs on the high side and with its long right leg on the low side can assume a perfectly horizontal stance with no effort whatsoever. Unfortunately this also means that it is only capable of travelling anti clockwise around the mountains.

In the act of procreation the male requires to aproach the female from behind. The female Haggis however is not always receptive to approaches from the male and often feigns acceptance only at the last minute to dodge the advancing male and allow him to pass her. At this point the male's only recourse is to run as fast as he is able all the way around the mountain until he meets up with his paramour again. If she is still there that is.

I have no recollection of how these things were received but I have nothing but pleasant memories of the occasion, which I believe to be among the earliest occupations of the "Scout Station".

  • “Be careful about reading health books. Some fine day you'll die of a misprint.”  Markus Herz
  • "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." Mohandas Gandhi

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10th September

It's that time of year again. The skies above Muir Rig resemble the Battle of Britain as at least 100 swallows feed up on the wing for their flight south for the winter. They travel down through western France and eastern Spain into Morocco, before crossing the Sahara Desert and the Congo rainforest – finally reaching South Africa and Namibia. They will migrate during daylight, flying quite low and covering about 320 km (200 miles) each day. Many of these birds are less than six months old and some are as young as two months having fledged as late as July or early August. It is a spectacular sight in the skies above the house. and when I go out to try and photograph the occasion the noise they make is deafening.

9th September

Yesterday is a date that will go down in History. I think everyone is aware of my political views and those of George Honeyman but when I phoned him earlier today to ask how he was doing (He had pulled a muscle in his neck) he said he was doing fine and recovering but that he "had a wee bit of a tear in his eye regarding the passing of the Queen" I cannot help but agree with him. Queen Elizabeth (I could never get round to allowing her the title of "the second") was an amazing woman who lived her life on the simple premise of Service! She was a credit to our nation and a role model for the generations of a century!

Resquiescat in pace Lillibet!

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27th August

It was chilly last night and, considering the price of electricity, (we have an electric boiler) we decided rather than turn on the central heating we'd light a fire in the living room. Well!, rather like the lady who announced to her husband that the airbags on his brand new Mercedes worked perfectly well, we now know that our newly installed Smoke and Carbon monoxide detectors work!

The fire in the living room is an enclosed Multi fuel stove rather like what you would call a "Log Burner". I had no sooner set the fire and lit it than smoke started billowing out of every opening into the room. I ran outside to check the chimney and there was no smoke coming out of that. By this time the fire was burning well and barring chucking a bucket of water over it there didn't seem to be much I could do about it.

It was a safe enough situation in terms of fire because the fire was effectively contained but the smoke kept billowing out. I shut the fire down with the intention of starving it of oxygen and opened the patio doors. I opened the front door and allowed a through draught to disperse the smoke until the fire died out.

Then without warning the chimney flue began to do just what it was supposed to and all we had to do was retire to the Dining room with our chicken korma and dine in fresh air while our ears were assailed by the screaming of the detectors. Soon everything was quiet and the fire was burning away happily. We left the doors open for a while until all of the smoke had disappeared then settled down for the evening.

This morning I stripped the fire and checked the flue. It was pristine! I believe that whatever it was that was choking the flue last night must have burnt out because there was no evidence even of any residue.

Next year I'll check the flue before setting the first fire of the season!

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26th August

I was chatting to David and Stewart at the table yesterday, telling them of our experience of the day before. We had been watching tele and Diane suddenly shot to her feet screaming "LOOK!" and pointing out of the window! I could see nothing from my angle and after the second or third "LOOK!" I had to get up an see it from her vantage point. There, in the garden were 12-15 stirks (That's a yearling coo for a' you toonies) David reckoned that I should have taken a photograph and posted it here but I was more intent on getting the beasts off my rockery upon which they were sublimely grazing.

Having run outside and herded them back down the side of the house and down the drive I phoned my neighbour to tell him that his stirks were now out on the road. It never occurred to me that his dairy herd are all Holstein or Freisian (or a combination of both) at least they are all black and white. The beasts in my garden were more likely to have been Ayrshire or Ayrshire cross, being a brown colour. It wasn't until the following day that I received a return call from my neighbour telling me that they weren't his but that they had wandered all the way from Bandominie. (Pronounced Ban-DOM-inny). Now that is a farm which is accessed from Castlecary and is in excess of 2 Kilometres away from Muir Rig as the crow flies. How they managed to end up in my garden remains a mystery.

But all of that was eclipsed yesterday when President Linda presented IPP Narek and Jim Cairns with Paul Harris Fellowships. And well deserved they were too!

  • You cannot control the behaviour of others, but you can always choose how you respond to it! Roy T Bennett
  • Is 'fat' really the worst thing a human being can be? Is 'fat' worse than 'vindictive', 'jealous', 'shallow', 'vain', 'boring' or 'cruel'? Not to me. J. K. Rowling

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We are making sure that each High School in the area has at least two defibrillators.

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To celebrate World Polio Day on the 24th October we are lighting Falkirk Purple

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A list of all of the Club Committee Activities

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Park Hotel

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