In memory of Alasdair Knox

I’ve only just come across this post, which dates from September 2014. I didn’t share it at the time because I thought it might be insensitive, but I’m doing so now not so much because time has passed, but because it reminds me so acutely why it’s so important to honour those we love. Appropriately … Continue Reading

Remembrance Day 101

Yesterday was the hundredth anniversary of the very first ceremony of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in London, and while we have long since lost all direct connection to the Great War, we still need to take the time to stop and think about what we’ve learned, and failed to learn, from one of the most … Continue Reading

Margaret’s Final Curtain

A singer and entertainer all her life, Margaret was 89 when she died. A member of ‘The Russell Sisters’, she performed a cabaret mime act for many years in the many social clubs around Easter Road, Leith and Abbeyhill, and her sons, Rikki and Raymond, made sure that her last appearance was a hard act to follow! … Continue Reading

Rites of Passage

Can you imagine attending your own funeral? The old joke is that it’s the best party you’ll never go to, but that may no longer be true.Last year, in his Channel 4 series Grayson Perry helped to create a ‘living funeral’ for Roch, a man who’d been living with Motor Neurone disease, and it was … Continue Reading

Will you have a cup of tea, father?

I was a big fan of Father Ted – and not just because Father Dougal and I share a surname. A bit further down the billing but no less important to the show’s success was Mrs. Doyle, housekeeper of Craggy Island Parochial House, played by the brilliant Pauline McLynn. Her catch phrase invariably comes to my mind when someone offers … Continue Reading

A Greener Way to Go

I was delighted to see this article in today’s Guardian, not least because it prompted me to visit my archives, where I found this piece I wrote about resomation for Humanitie Magazine in 2010.  When a body is buried in shallow soil, one of the principal biochemical aspects of natural decomposition is alkaline hydrolysis carried … Continue Reading