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
I get lots of cards and messages from families and friends after my funerals and it’s hard to know what to do with them. Even though speaking about death is become a more accepted part of contemporary life, it doesn’t feel quite right to share them on social media, or at least I haven’t yet found … Continue Reading
I saw a story the other day that took me aback a bit. Father Joseph Anthony Toal is the Roman Catholic Bishop of Motherwell and he found himself all over the papers when an instruction he’d sent to his clergy was leaked to a journalist. He even made the Daily Telegraph. He told his priests to refuse requests … Continue Reading
Should the poppy continue to be the flower of remembrance, or should we allow it, once again, to be the flower of forgetfulness?
The culture war over the poppy’s meaning continues.
To the nameless millions who lie in mass graves,
From the forest of Katyn to the killing fields of Cambodia,
From Treblinka to Shatila:
We will remember you.
There are emails you don’t want to get, and this one from Marie and Keith is one of them. On 8th February 2014 you married myself and my husband at Dundas Castle. It was a beautiful ceremony and we were thankful we chose you to conduct it. This is a really difficult email to write … Continue Reading
I’ve long been a fan of Grayson Perry. Not just of his work as a potter which is as subversive as it is beautiful, but also of his clear-eyed attempts to understand and explain the human condition. He’s a gifted communicator, whose easy directness allows him to connect with people from all cultures and walks of life, and … Continue Reading
Many humanists are scientists, by inclination if not actual training, and I noticed today a new summation of what humanists believe that places emphasis on ‘science and reason’. As someone who failed physics ‘O’ Level and had a chemistry essay published in his school magazine as an example of ‘humorous writing’, you may already have … Continue Reading
I’ve conducted a number of ceremonies recently for former members of the armed forces, and I’ve been very touched to see their old comrades turn out wearing their berets and regimental ties, accompanied by a standard bearer with the colours bearing their battle honours.Peter’s funeral had all of those elements, but what made it extra … Continue Reading