Long goodbye

Tender Touch – Fearful Heart

Fearful Heart?

“Oh how wrong we were to think immortality meant never dying”  Gerard Way

light touch

hands touch hearts touch

Death comes for us all: sometimes in an instant and, for some, as an agonised drawn-out process.

The visit to my doctor is routine for a man of my years. No sweat.

I park near the Surgery (doctor’s office), and, fiddling with my phone, watch a car arrive. It’s an elderly couple.

They pull up opposite me. I send my text– then observe – I don’t intrude.

Slow progress

They take time leaving their car, disengaged, in a  world of their own. Their inwardness reminds me of people travelling on the Tube in London … they’re in a bubble.

Tender touch

Their gentle progress exudes fragility and, once inside, the perception remains. Wife sits stiff, brave. Husband grabs a magazine. When Wife is called, Husband continues reading. As Wife passes him, he reaches out and they touch hands like a butterfly brushes a windblown flower; a private, fleeting, powerful contact.

Fearful Heart

My attention wanders and returns to Husband. His gaze is always at the same page – I can tell by the garish advert. When Wife returns they rise, book another appointment and leave with a slow step. I sit moved, thoughtful and feel the stirring of this poem. Here it is …

 

Long Goodbye?

Circumspect they leave their car
Unsteady feet, attending hands
Heads close as tango dancers

Bright sun shares kisses never felt
In a fog of mutual support
Their unrushed steps well-timed

One hand grips rail, her other held
Slow steps rise to fateful door
Shoulders meet to balance

I follow in the wake of pain
And sit nearby aware, empathic
No talk fills their waiting

There he sits with magazine
Eyes stare focused on his lap
Reading not an inky word

The doctor comes and calls a name
She stands slow, when erect moves off
His strong help barely glimps’d

But I saw subtle hands connect
A low five of support, such depth
Years of love in a single touch

For just a mo’ our eyes connect
Tendrils of fear escape control
And withdraw, fast as pounding heart

How many years their love withstood
Cruel slings and arrows, rocks and stones
Now entr’ng life’s departure lounge

A brittle smile, a nod … alone
A caring head drops to stare at … nothing
He waits her soft return

She’s back, a new appointment made
Ginger steps move away, in hope
Or resignation, I cannot say

© Mac Logan

patience

Runaway Costs, Who Cares? … me for a start

Meanwhile, back in 2014 …

Who Cares?

Find a scapegoatWhy should we worry about runaway costs in procurement? We’re talking billions of loss and wastage, never mind fraud and error. True, I’ve banged on about this for a while, but by February 2014 we had good news—it’s getting better. Oops, two days ago the same source (SKY NEWS) reported a major overspend.  Makes the BBC IT blunder, at £100 million seem minor.

The ever more advanced weapons piling up in the arsenals of the wealthiest and the mightiest can kill the illiterate, the ill, the poor and the hungry, but they cannot kill ignorance, illness, poverty or hunger.” Fidel Castro

The ability to kill millions is essential

Stephen O’Brien (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development – May 2010 to September 2012), rightly in my view, justified providing, and increasing, aid to the poorest people in the third world. He got a hard time for what was a small percentage of the cost overruns.

Charity begins at home … so save some cash

We may feel concern about the cost of supporting the poor in other countries when we’re feeling broke ourselves. We may ask where the money will come from. No one mentions the runway costs of procurement and the apparent lack of professional control or concern.

Margaret Hodge, the former Labour minister and then chair of the public accounts committee, told the Guardian:

“The carriers’ starting cost was £3.5bn, is currently about £6.2bn, and is likely to rise to up to £12bn. There will be nine years without a carrier, and it will be at sea for fewer than 200 days on average.”

For example: new UK aircraft carriers – the start cost was £3.5BN. By April 2011 the BBC reported a cost estimate of up to £7BN. By November 2011 the Guardian reported expected costs up to £12BN; *and* the newly ordered F-35 jets, we learned, couldn’t land on them!

Imagine, to save money we buy less jets than we say we need and they won’t work anyway (until we pay more for adaptation). The PM said it would cost too much to cancel the contracts.

If we fixed situations like these we wouldn’t need nearly so much austerity pain. Nor would we question helping the poor and oppressed world-wide. The cost of procurement is a national disgrace and needs focus as a key priority for our cash strapped government.

Our politicians have admitted they don’t know how to sort the problem? How can they overcome vested interests? What should we do about the greedy/naughty/corrupt people hiding in the wings? Who could help?

© Mac Logan

Unblock Writers’ Block or … have a melt-down on me

Writers’ Block?

“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.” Philip Roth

Writers' BlockWill computers ever replace writers?

A Twitter exchange with a writer got me thinking. She was concerned about the idea of technology replacing writers.

  • Could it happen?
  • Will our creative spark save us?
  • Can we writers plug-in to a creative stream whenever we want?

Let’s do an experiment

“Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?” Kurt Vonnegut

Do you have a challenge getting started or unblocking yourself?

Why not try a wee experiment?

Here’s what to do:

Simple task

“writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.”
Charles Bukowski

  1. Open the first spam or selling type email at the top of your email inbox
  2. Go five lines down and seven words in to find your starter word
  3. Write 250 words based on the word you find
  4. Complete the rough text in under half an hour
  5. Have a we correction session if you’ve time

… “for” self-selected as my word …

Dare to begin

“Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and inspiration will find you.”
 H Jackson Brown Jr

Why not try the experiment. One piece of advice: if you do, just start!

I started at 09:21 (I finished at 09:46).

‘You need something for that …’

… A mumbled  statement and I missed the first part. Something for what?

I rushed to the mirror and stared at myself. Was it the reddish-purple pimple with the yellow tip at the end of my slightly gnarled nose? Or my black, cracked, rough-edged fingernails? God, they looked like crumbly tombstones (talk about pizzazz) . Then there were my slightly cheesy feet stuffed into my creaky black lizard leather boots; sooo comfy and, okay, they’re slightly dilapidated, but the heels give me an impressive, rather intimidating height.

Something for that! Something for what? There’s  my fabulous, furry, feral feline; an appropriate cat for someone like me, you know: big and ugly, like a few pounds of greenish tripe. Of course, he smells better than cows innards most of the time.

Apart from scaring children … He sneaks up on them, making loud, alternate growls and hissy-spits, while arching his craggy, clumpy, mangy back. When up close, he bulges his dirty red eyes, and lunges with menace as little horrors shriek ‘MUMEEEeee!’ What a wonderful familiar presence for a girl to have.

In fact, there’s only one real problem with him … flatulence! Inferno fragranced the air with a hiss from a nether place. That was it! It was the scent of sulphur I needed something for.

It’s always good to solve a problem. I’m glad my friend didn’t insult me because I’d have been forced to turn her into something vile: a leprous frog, a squishy caterpillar … a politician …

I drafted the above 250+ words in twenty-five minutes. This was followed by a correctional review within the timeframe.

I’d love to know how you get on. Please share. Would you like more exercises?

Please respond to the poll.

© Mac Logan

hands

Great people, great tale, surprising location

Surprising Location

When was the last time you busted a gut? The other day turned into a hive of physical activity for me.

We cleared a shed. My big car (Citroen C5 Estate) lugs loads of stuff.

When we dropped off our last load at the Pittenweem tip (dump) we admired an amazing creation beside it.

Great People

There we learned this remarkable and moving story.

Great Tale (brief video)

© Mac Logan

trolling wordle

Trolling: a Raging Bile Soaked Journey to the Land of Spite and a World of Hurt

Journey Into Darkness

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. Mark Twain

angry personIn the old days people started heartless rumours with a reasonable chance of avoiding accountability.

These days there’s a better chance a victim will find out.

What’s more, even your best friends might tell you …

Vicious intent, thoughtless action

It starts with an innocuous call … ‘I have to tell you something.’ The caller, air flow cut by a clenched diaphragm, pauses. ‘There’s an email circulating … eh … and you’re in it. You need to know.’

The mention of a name grabs the listener’s attention. ‘Him?’ A trickle of shock … ‘Why?’

‘Who knows. It’s reached Head Office, they think you ought to know …’

‘When things were sticky last year I helped him. I went out on a limb.’

‘We all know that. It didn’t stop him sending poisonous emails to other people.’

‘What’s the problem?’

‘He’s still raging, demented … he had a conversation with an old contact of yours who clearly doesn’t like you very much.’

‘Dislike happens in my line of work. Not often, but it happens.’

‘He’s blaming you and he’s spreading a bitter-man’s bile.’ …

You can select two answers in this poll

Connected world, connected … everything

Sometimes you can’t avoid conflict. I know the person being attacked very well.

What advice would you share to help fix the problem? I’d welcome helpful thoughts.

© Mac Logan

bubble-squeak

Will Trouble Make the Bubble … Squeak?

Parliament, over many years and in many diverse ways, has allowed its powers to ebb away, to the extent that it has become a weak institution, with very little power and little relevance to the concerns of ordinary people. Richard North

Bubble, What Bubble? Trouble, What Trouble?

we-didnt-mean-itEverywhere you look there’s potential trouble in the Westminster Bubble. You know, that place where UK politicians, who aspire to serve us, expend phenomenal energy and effort on our behalf … or, perhaps, in small-minded battles of spin, deceit and vengeance.

We elect our leaders. That’s what democracy is all about, isn’t it?

The Northern Bubble Con

When will the voters, who protested by voting leave, realise they were conned? Continue reading

Tattie scone ingredients

Scottish Cooking: Tattie (potato) Scones – Skins an‘ a‘

Tattie Scones?

Tattie scones coolCulture is all … especially when it comes to cooking. Look how we fell in love with curry, Chinese food, Thai and so on. Here’s back at you, world.

Tattie Scones are simple, incredibly tasty and can accompany a wide variety of foods. Here’s how to make a basic version which is vegetarian as long as butter is okay in your cooking.  Continue reading