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SCOTTISH CHARITY NUMBER SC006235 THE CHARITY LEGAL NAME St Andrews Church of Scotland: Dumbarton

Church News

Saturday 19th June

Thought for the Day


Nil-nil, the result of last night's football match. Although no goals were scored, commentators (paid or 'expert fans') regard it as a Scottish victory, because they played a better game and were at an 'away' ground. Much as fans of any sport will enjoy a good game, well played, whoever wins, when it is a traditional 'enemy' then there is a visceral hope that the other side will be soundly trounced. It's a feeling that is often not confined to the sporting environment. We can see it in the world of politics (between and within parties, between countries), and we probably all have stories of it relating to business or wherever we work, and maybe even within families and between neighbours too. There is probably plenty of scope for PhD theses on whether it is to the good of society at large that such sentiments are confined to, and worked out in, the sporting environment. But does it help create a better world if 'grinding their face in the mud' extends to all other aspects of life?

Lord, help us to handle the negative feelings we have about other people. Help those in positions of power – in politics, in business or wherever – to handle their negative feelings, to accept differences, and work for inclusive communities. Help us in the hard task of trying to bring hostile individuals or groups together

PS Now that we are seeing a general easing of Covid-related restrictions, we are looking at how we take Thought for the Day forward. As a first step we will, from next week, drop the daily picture, which started last year to remind people confined to their house or flat what the wider world looked like

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                        Attingham Park Walled Garden                    

Attingham Park Walled Garden

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Friday 18th June

Thought for the Day

There was an attempt at a record-breaking run by the Royal Scot from London Euston to Glasgow Central yesterday, but it failed by 21 seconds. We may never have been anywhere near a world record or any other kind of record, but we can probably identify with missing something by a very narrow margin. Maybe we have missed the bus/ train/ ferry by 21 seconds or fewer. Maybe we just missed out on passing an exam, or bidding for a house, or being elected to some body, or winning some competition. Losing can be hard, but there are times when we can also legitimately look at what we did achieve, and be proud of it – we tried our hardest, we gave of our best. Even if we didn't try our hardest, we can still learn that maybe next time if we do, then the outcome could be different

Lord, help us to cope with setbacks and defeat. When we have done our best, help us to recognise our achievement. When we haven't done our best, help us to recognise the need to put in more effort. Help us never to see ourselves, or anyone else, as 'failures'

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                          Gooseberries       

Gooseberries

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Thursday 17th June

Thought for the Day

Yesterday Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin met in Geneva. Nothing startling came out of the meeting, nothing startling was expected to come out of the meeting. But at least they met and talked. Our circle of contacts does not usually include the leaders of world Powers, but often (usually? always?) includes people with whom relations are difficult/ awkward/ frosty. Do we avoid them, because we find the encounters uncomfortable or unpleasant? Do we prefer to sit and 'nurse our wrath'? Do we try to keep encounters to the bare minimum? Do we try to keep meeting in the hope that one day the ice will thaw a bit, and (even if we don't become the best of friends) at least we don't dread the prospect of encountering them by accident?

Lord, when relationships with other people work well, they are a great part of life. But they don't always work: sometimes we just don't have anything in common with someone, and struggle to have any kind of conversation; sometimes our outlook on life is poles apart from theirs; sometimes there is 'history' between us that can't easily be ignored or swept away. Help us to cope with awkward or difficult relationships – ideally working towards a good one; but where that is not possible, at least reaching a point where we are not embarrassed, feeling uncomfortable or filled with dread when we meet, or think we might meet

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                         Passionflower       

Passionflower

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Wednesday 16th June

Thought for the Day

The Government's Committee on Climate Change has issued a report warning of the need to prepare for the impact of climate change over the rest of the century – looking at issues such as flooding risk and rising average and peak temperatures. Some of us may take the line 'well, I'll not be here then to worry about it', but our young folk will be, and may curse us if we do nothing to make life easier for them. It may be that Dumbarton will not be recording temperatures in the high 30s and 40s, but we may face challenges from increased rainfall and flooding (not to mention rising sea levels). While so much focus is rightly on the immediate impact of Covid 19 on our lives and livelihoods, let's not forget the longer term issues associated with climate change 

Lord, we are fortunate to have such lovely scenery around us. Help us to care for it, both for the present and for future generations

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                      Cherries            

Cherries

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Tuesday 15th June

Thought for the Day

The media are full of comments about the easing/ending of Covid restrictions following the Prime Minister’s statement yesterday and the Scottish Clinical Director’s remarks. For most of us restrictions can be frustrating, though we have grown used to many of them, and we can feel uncomfortable if someone without a mask comes within 2m of us. There are a range of other perspectives on them: those with businesses unable to open or to operate profitably because of the restrictions; people who have to isolate because they (or their children) have been in proximity to someone who has/or might have tested positive; those working in healthcare who are trying to catch up on the backlog of cases, cope with an increasing number of Covid-related cases and the re-arrangement of facilities that requires, as well as with their own tiredness and stress after the last 15 months; those who see hope of meeting up with family abroad retreating into the distance; some areas have very few cases, some have high instances. What works for us doesn’t work for someone else, and vice versa. It’s so easy at a time like this, after fifteen months of unprecedented restrictions, to focus only on what ‘we’ want. Balancing our wishes with those of other people is hard. Let’s hope that as communities and countries we can do that, to think of the needs of others and not just ourselves

Lord, any postponement of easing restrictions is hard to accept, when plans were made and hopes were raised. Help us to think not just of ourselves, but also others, and their needs

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                          Kitchen garden - vegetables          

Kitchen garden - vegetables

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              moderator                                                       

At the closing of the General Assembly, I had the opportunity to launch a joint initiative between the Church of Scotland and Christian Aid, encouraging members to give a financial gift in thanksgiving once they had received full vaccination for Covid-19.  It has been much on my mind as to how fortunate I have been to have received my two vaccinations; but had I been living elsewhere in the world, the story would have been quite different.  In my year as Moderator, the plan is to visit Lebanon and Malawi.  Just taking these two places as examples, the percentage of population vaccinated with only one vaccination is 4% and 0.8% respectively.  That is against more than 60% of our population in UK.
 
The World Health Organisation have said no-one is protected until all are protected, therefore we are urging the UK Government to do all that it can to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available throughout the world.  Alongside this we must also seek to limit the impact of the virus on health, livelihoods, and personal safety, for those in the poorest parts of the world.  By supporting Christian Aid in their efforts to provide basics such as soap, water, and food, we can ensure that vulnerable communities stay safer as they wait for vaccination.
 
In this very tangible way, as we seek global justice, here is a practical opportunity to give real expression in 2021 to loving our global neighbours.  I sincerely hope that you will join with me and together we will respond generously, as a mark of our gratitude for what we have received.
 
To give a gift, please click on the following link: https://giving.give-star.com/online/christian-aid/cos-just-vaccine-rollout

A Prayer of Thanksgiving
God of Hope, Sustainer of all life,
We give You thanks for the Coronavirus vaccines, for the skill and wisdom of scientists, NHS staff and Key Workers.   
By the power of Your Spirit, may we overflow with hope and joy as we see our friends, families and neighbours protected.
God of Justice, Protector of the vulnerable, may we be your well-washed hands and willing feet.
Move us to give and act, to challenge the injustices that anger You.
May we seek to protect all Your children, particularly those for whom the vaccine is out of reach.
With hope and trust we pray,
Amen.

Yours sincerely,
Rt Hon Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC
Moderator
General Assembly of the Church of Scotland

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Thursday 10th June

Thought for the Day

Among the characteristics of the countries represented at the G7 are commitment to liberal democracy, respect for human rights and separation between government and the justiciary.  The freedoms that we enjoy (even during lockdown!) we so often take for granted – but there are millions (perhaps even billions) of people who do not enjoy such freedom. They do not have the right to express their opinion, to criticise mistakes by government or corruption. Many women and people from ‘minority groups’ (whether defined by religion, health, ethnicity, or sexuality) are treated as (at best) second-class subjects, and in many cases specifically persecuted. Without displaying hypocrisy or neo-colonial attitudes, how can the liberal democracies in developed economies support the human rights of people living under authoritarian regimes?

Lord, liberal democracy has many failings, but other systems have many more. We believe that people have human rights which should be respected, enabling them to be themselves, even when that means going against cultural ‘norms’ – always provided that my expression of personal identity and views do not inhibit anyone else’s freedom. Inspire those at the Summit to consider ways to protect and promote human rights around the world. Inspire us to recognise the freedoms we have, to use them wisely, and to respect others’ rights.

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                          Moorhen               

Moorhen

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Wednesday 9th June

Thought for the Day

All countries have taken a hit to their economies during the pandemic, usually with the most vulnerable being most affected. Will the G7 leaders talk about how the wealthy democracies can assist poorer and middle income countries to rebuild their economies? Will they express concern that more authoritarian countries could step in and take on that role if they don’t act? Will they be ready to commit financial resources?

Lord, many of the most vulnerable people in all countries have suffered most during the pandemic. As government leaders at the Summit consider how to stimulate more developed economies, inspire them to remember the needs of poorer and middle income countries, and of the poorer and more vulnerable people in every country. Encourage them to work for a world that everyone has access to healthcare, education, safe water and sanitation, adequate supplies of food and meaningful work

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                                 Woodpecker         

Woodpecker

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Tuesday 8th June

Thought for the Day

One of the topics for the G7 agenda is considering how to co-ordinate a global response to any subsequent  pandemics. It’s a laudable and necessary aim, having seen the highs and lows of the global response to Covid-19. Perhaps they might like to talk about: i) how to make it easier for governments to disclose that case numbers are rising, marking the start of a pandemic; ii) how to make it easier for a government to admit that maybe something happened within their borders to trigger the start; iii) how to respond when government leaders around the world, and large sections of their population, deny the existence of the virus and the need for appropriate measures to respond to it; iv) how to promote greater inter-government co-operation in areas from research to PPE production to vaccine distribution, and avoid a scramble to ensure that ‘my folk’ are at the front of the queue; v) to ensure that there will be a common approach to matters like travel restrictions. There are probably many more things that need discussed on this topic – hopefully officials will continue the talks after the Summit finishes

Lord, the pandemic of the last fifteen months has had a major impact on the world. We greatly appreciate the co-operation there has been between scientists and governments around the world, but there were times when co-operation could have been much better, and when some leaders gave very confusing or misleading comments. Inspire the discussions at this weekend’s Summit, and any follow-up by officials, on greater co-operation

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                     Goldfinch                  

Goldfinch

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Monday 7th June

Thought for the Day

Friday sees the beginning of this year’s G7 Meeting, which is being held in Cornwall. This week’s Thoughts for the day will focus on some of the topics that will (or should) come up at that meeting. Last week, ahead of the meeting, there was agreement among Finance Ministers to set a minimum rate of Corporation Tax. There are still various hoops to go through before this becomes a world-wide agreement, and no doubt accountants are already seeking ways to avoid paying more. I suspect that for most people it is one of those topics that cause the eyes to glaze over – they don’t understand it, or it sounds like a complete ‘turn-off’. But it could have an impact for many of us. If it leads to increased government revenue from taxation, how will that money be spent? Will it be used to cut the deficit, or will it go on things like health and education? Will companies absorb the extra tax and cut their profits, or will we see higher/new charges for customers of some companies? Will it have any impact on improving conditions in poorer countries? Do we leave all such questions to the ‘experts’, or should our input be heard too?

Lord, international finance and global corporations  are  topics that many of us struggle to understand, so we tend to leave them to ‘the experts’. But such topics have an impact on us – sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly.  Help us to pay more attention to them, and to be ready to express our views to the ‘decision-makers’. Inspire the ‘decision-makers’ to make choices that move the world in the direction you would like it to go

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                          Chaffinch       

Chaffinch

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Saturday 5th June

Thought for the Day

Many people have had the experience of ending a visit to an elderly relative with ‘Well, see you next week’, and receiving the response ‘if I’m spared’. There is some element of that in the air as we wake up this morning to many in Scotland moving to a lower Level of Covid restrictions. We are encouraged to hear of the continuing progress with vaccinating the country, and talk of further easing of restrictions. Yet we also hear of concerns about rising numbers of infections linked to the Delta variant, and the possible one found in Nepal (Alpha-Delta or Epsilon or whatever), and saw the changes to foreign travel and the break put on much of the Central Belt moving into Level 1. The data on the way forward is uncertain. The danger is that the message is seen as confusing and people either ‘do their own thing’ or become angry and resentful when restrictions get tightened/ don’t relax as originally envisaged

Lord, we appreciate the opportunity to do so much more than we could a couple of months ago. We know what we would like the next steps to be, and some of the data suggests that we could head in that direction, but other data suggests the need for caution, or maybe even steps in the opposite direction. It is confusing for us, and very frustrating for some whose livelihoods/ childcare arrangements etc are affected. Help us to live with uncertainty, and to treat decision-makers with respect. Help those who have to look at all the data and make decisions affecting others

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                        BVR 2 Aylsham Mark Timothy        

BVR 2 Aylsham Mark Timothy

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Friday 4th June

Thought for the Day

The decision to move Portugal from the Green to the Amber travel list has produced much comment in the media. There is no doubt that it will be a big blow to those who had booked holidays, or those currently on holiday there, finding that they will now have to isolate for 10 days on their return – with implications for work, childcare, support for older relations etc. The media love to talk about holidays – especially foreign holidays. But have we heard them comment much on those who cannot afford to go on holiday – those who lost jobs or businesses during the pandemic, those who had to resort to foodbanks and applying for Universal Credit, those who had to move in with family or friends, those whose children didn’t engage much with schools during lockdown? What is being done to support them over the summer, to help them to make the most of the good weather and/or time off school? What can we do to help them?

Lord, we have long understood that people cannot work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We need time for rest and recreation. For some the financial cost of going places or doing things to find that rest and recreation is just too much. Yet they may be people who, because of other issues, particularly need it. Help us to consider carefully whether there are things that we can do

PS we are preparing some online material for the summer holidays, thinking particularly of families who are staying in and around Dumbarton over the summer

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                      Duchess of Sutherland 3             

Duchess of Sutherland

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Thursday 3rd June

Thought for the Day

Media North and South of the border are commenting on education matters today: exam grade appeals in Scotland and the money available for a catch-up plan in England. Many of the comments tend to be phrased with a focus on party politics and personalities, rather than the situations of pupils, staff and families/carers. It has been a very difficult fifteen months for both – we applaud all that they have done, but we also recognise that there are ongoing issues that could continue to have an impact on individuals, communities and the economy as a whole for years to come. Can we achieve a consensus on what is needed, and how it will be funded?

Lord, we express our appreciation for the work done by teachers, pupils and families/carers over the last fifteen months to keep providing education to our young people during the pandemic restrictions. There are significant on-going issues that need to be addressed. Inspire decision-makers to work together on the way forward, and help us to know what we can do to support them

 

Picture of the Day

                                                             Kidderminster Museum                        

Photo taken in Kidderminster rail museum - sign is a relic from a former era

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Wednesday 2nd June

Thought for the Day

It’s good to hear that in West Dunbartonshire we are moving next week to Level 1 (along with Argyll and Bute, and many other areas), but it isn’t a time to gloat, when there are neighbouring areas like East Dunbartonshire and Renfrewshire that remain in Level 2. We’ve been there and had the t-shirt, when we were under greater restrictions than other areas. We feel their frustration and pain. Vaccinations are going well, but we are aware that government advisers are warning that a third wave might be beginning. Let’s hope people hear that message too

Lord, we want to express our appreciation for all the people working to contain the Covid virus, and all the sacrifices that the wider community have made to support each other. We are also aware that many are carrying severe scars from the impact of the last fifteen months, in terms of mental health, financial position/job etc. Inspire those in government to put the right measures in place to help them. Help us to do what we can to help too

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                   Bewdley Down departure             

Bewdley Down departure

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Tuesday 1st June   Volunteers Week (1-6)

Thought for the Day

Eight years on from the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Birmingham is appealing for 13,000 volunteers to help with next year’s Games there. Our community and country wouldn’t run the way it does without volunteers: from parent-teacher councils, to youth organisations, to charity committees, to sports club committees, to National Trust for Scotland guides, to helpers at events like the Euros, we depend on people volunteering to help. They willingly give of their time (and money) to help the wider community. I remember hearing one youth organisation leader being accused by a parent of being ‘mad’ for ‘doing all that work without being paid’. Volunteers are happy to do it, and find satisfaction and fulfilment from doing it (well, most of the time). In Maslow’s terms it is part of Self-actualisation (don’t worry if that doesn’t mean anything). The first week of June is a chance to acknowledge and celebrate those unsung heroes, the band of volunteers that keep the country running. Maybe a chance too to consider whether there is anything else we can do

Lord, thank you for all those who volunteer in so many ways, and help to keep our community and country operating. Help them to find satisfaction and fulfilment in what they do.

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                       Bewdley goods wagons                   

Bewdley goods wagons

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Monday 31st May   Garden wildlife week (31-6/6)

Thought for the Day

This is apparently Garden wildlife week. I know some folk in Dumbarton and the Vale have deer that come and eat their flowers, some have squirrels that cause trouble. We have occasional visits from our friendly local hedgehog that seems to be doing its stuff with the snails and slugs. Mixed approaches to mammals in the garden. But we can also have birds, and insects. If the latter are midges we aren’t keen on them (though some birds and bats will enjoy them for lunch or dinner) but bees and other pollinators are important for our flowers and fruit/vegetables. The whole eco-system fits together. It’s hard to say ‘we’ll have bees and hedgehogs, but not midges, slugs and deer’. We need the first group, so we have to put up with the second. It all adds to the rich diversity of life in Dumbarton and the Vale.

(PS I wonder what they say about the rich diversity of human life locally?)

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                    Bewdley engine       

Bewdley engine

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Saturday 29th May

Thought for the Day

Vaccine roll-out versus variant spread is a phrase that had been mentioned by several politicians or scientists over the last couple of days. Roll out of the vaccine helps protect people from the spread of the Covid virus, particularly thinking about the variant first spotted in India. In Scotland we have seen Glasgow remain in Level 3 (and don’t we remember how we felt when we went into restrictions last Autumn, while other areas were still free to do much more?). Questions are being asked about whether we will move to Level 1 on 7 June as originally hoped. And in England there is talk of some restrictions staying in place on 21 June. The virus doesn’t have a brain, but at times it seems to behave as if it is a very clever operator trying to be one step ahead of us all the time. Those who take the decisions on relaxing or imposing restrictions have difficult decisions to make, taking into account public health, the demand on the Health Service, jobs and livelihoods, education, childcare – and how they try to counter the sensationalist headlines of media commentators. Meanwhile there are many, many people in other countries who do not have access to the healthcare or vaccines available here. This pandemic is by no means over yet

Lord, help us to appreciate the challenges faced by decision-makers, businesses, families etc, and be ready to offer help and support. Help us to remember the difficult situations faced by many people in other countries, who do not have access to healthcare or vaccines. Inspire world leaders to take positive steps to support them

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                    Engine House Gordon          

Engine House Gordon

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Friday 28th May

Thought for the Day

It’s a holiday weekend. The forecast suggests that it might actually be dry and warm, if not necessarily sunny to start with. Hopefully a chance to be outdoors and enjoy the great scenery around. But will people respect the countryside, or leave litter everywhere?

Lord, we moan about the weather, but we need its variety. Hopefully people may be able to enjoy the holiday weekend outdoors. Help them to remember the guidance for not catching/passing on infection, and remember to take their litter home

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                      Engine House engine           

Engine House engine

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Thursday 27th May

Thought for the Day

I don’t know how many of us followed every moment of yesterday’s meeting of the House of Commons’ Committee enquiry, but if we missed any or all of it, there is plenty about it in the news today. Was it revenge and retribution, was it ‘the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth’, was some of it amplified or even made up, was it exposing mistakes and cover-ups? We may have to wait till next year’s Public Enquiry begins to get some clearer answers. Maybe there are various points to ponder arising out of this: how do we weigh up one person’s evidence against another’s; how prepared could any Government be for the sort of public crisis that we have seen over the last year; were mistakes made that could and should have been avoided; how do people who lost loved ones, or livelihood, or career opportunities, or suffered ‘long covid’ symptoms, or were among the ‘front line’ workers, feel when accusations of failures and cover-ups fly about – should they be offered support? And there is always the thought that, if we had been in charge, would we have done any better?

Lord, it’s always easy to criticise and point the finger at someone else. Help us all to learn from the experiences of the last year, and take positive steps to ensure that we are better prepared for anything like this in the future. Help us also as individuals and a community to support all who have suffered because of the Covid pandemic

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                Bridgnorth engine 2              

Bridgnorth engine 2

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Wednesday 26th May

Thought for the Day

There was much furore yesterday in England about guidance that appeared online appearing to discourage travel to areas where Covid infection rates are high, and applying restrictions within those areas – all interpreted by those affected as ‘lockdown by stealth’. In the end the guidance was removed and it was put down to a failure of communication. Whether it was or it wasn’t, we all know that so often in life failure in communications or inadequate planning can cause all sorts of problems, undermining trust, and breed conspiracy theories. When people start to ‘smell a rat’ behind some plan or proposal it is more likely that human error or failure to think through an idea properly lie behind their concerns, rather than a carefully crafted conspiracy. Maybe it’s a reminder to us to think carefully about what and how we communicate, and to pay closer attention to detail when doing things or making plans

Lord, we have all made mistakes when communicating with others. We have all ‘cut corners’ when making plans (sometimes for understandable reasons, like being under pressure off time), only to find that sorting out the problems takes longer than if we’ve put in the extra effort at the start. Help us to pay more attention to both matters, and to be more understanding when other people get it wrong

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                          Bridgnorth engine 1          

Bridgnorth engine 1

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Tuesday 25th May

Thought for the Day

There was an item in the news today about plans to develop offshore windfarms in Scotland, with the potential that they could appear all round the coasts. There was a time when coal-fired domestic heating, railways, power stations and factories produced visible smog across built up areas like the Central Belt, and left buildings stained a dirty grey/ black colour. We switched to coke then gas for most heating, and petrol and diesel cars and buses became the dominant means of transport in many areas. We couldn’t see the fumes, and they didn’t have the same impact on the appearance of buildings, so everything seemed fine. In fact the fumes were in the air affecting our health and affecting the climate. Now we are planning to aim for a carbon neutral economy – which means increased supplies of renewable energy to heat our homes and offices (plus all the appliances we didn’t have 20, 50 or 100 years ago), and to operate our transport systems. The switch should give us cleaner air to breathe, but there will be a visible impact on the landscape from windfarms. Will we see people accepting wind turbines becoming a regular feature in the landscape, a price we have to pay if we want clean air, all the things like cars, computers and washing machines that we regard as ‘essential’ to modern life, and take steps to address the climate crisis; or will they complain that they are ruining the view?

Lord, there are so many times in life when we have to make trade-offs, because we can’t have everything, and some of our wishes directly conflict with each other. Making those trade-offs can be hard, and what is acceptable to one person is not acceptable to another. Help us to be ready to think through what we want, to accept that some of our wishes conflict with each other, and to engage in public debate. Help those responsible for making and implementing public policies to cope with trying to ‘square the circle’ of aspirations and needs

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                      Bridgnorth Tank          

Bridgnorth Tank

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Monday 24th May

Thought for the Day

Last week I watched as a lady was feeding seagulls. One bird caught a piece of bread (or whatever it was), and then another viciously grabbed its wing with its beak. The first gull (with the food) gave out yelping noises (whilst hanging on to the bread) and put on a very pained expression. Clearly the one who attacked it was putting it in a lot of pain to try to get the food from it. I don’t know whether one was older than the other, whether they were of the same or different sexes, but it seemed like a clear case of bullying – the one who was stronger was trying to use its strength to get what it wanted, and didn’t care if it hurt someone else in the process. Look around the world and we see human beings doing much the same, whether it’s on an individual basis, groups within countries, or the governments of one country against another. An example in the news today might be the behaviour of Belarus and the Ryanair jet, but we could also look at Russia, or Myanmar or China or… How do we stand up to bullying, whether in the playground, in a neighbourhood or on the world stage? It isn’t just an academic question – it can affect the lives of all of us

Lord, bullying is not new, and it’s not confined to human beings, but it is fairly widespread in the human community. We often feel inclined not to notice it, not to want to get involved, but that only makes it harder to tackle in the long run. Help us, help all in positions of leadership, to be ready to stand up against bullying – and to be ready to recognise when we might be doing the bullying

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                      Wroxham  Blickling Hall            

Wroxham Blickling Hall

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Saturday 22nd May

Thought for the Day

Apart from Covid and the 1995 interview with Diana Princess of Wales, this week has also had regular reports from the area sometimes referred to as the Holy Land, sometimes Israel/Palestine, on the fighting there. There have been casualties on both sides, including children and other non-combatants. There is no need to rehearse here the long story behind the conflict, the pain each side has suffered, the injustices experienced, the hardships many face etc. Can there ever be peace here? We hope so, both for the people who live there, and because the conflict in that land spills over into the conflict in many neighbouring countries, peace there could help to pave the way to peace in those other places. But it is a hard and difficult road to create peace. ‘Blessed are the peace-makers’, but they can find themselves being shot at from all sides. Many may want peace, but some with the weapons don’t. Let’s continue to remember the victims of the conflict, and all those who are working for peace and healing

Lord, the Holy Land may have seen more conflict over the centuries than almost anywhere else. Be with all those who are wounded from the recent conflict, all who mourn loved ones, those who are suffering hardship, or feel the pain of injustice. Be with those who are seeking to bring healing and rebuilding. Be with all who are striving to establish peace there and in other parts of the Middle East. Give them the stamina to continue. Help those with entrenched positions to be ready to accept that peace and justice are worth the price they are asked to pay

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                       Soldier's Leap Killiecrankie          

Soldier's Leap Killiecrankie

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Friday 21st May

Thought for the Day

Over the past few years we have become aware of the concept of ‘fake news’ – the deliberate spreading of misleading or untrue information - something we particularly associate with some users of social media. There are concerns that some governments may be behind some of the deliberate misinformation, and we even had one prominent politician declaring that we live in a ‘post-truth’ age. Among the unwritten, but hard won and dearly cherished values of liberal democracies are: i) a belief that there is such a thing as ‘truth’, that people have a right to hear the truth, and that all organisations (including government, the media, the church etc) should strive for the highest standards in delivering the ‘truth’ – cover-ups are not to be tolerated, and when mistakes are made sincere apologies are required; ii) that the media should be free from interference by government or any personal, commercial or other interest in pursuing ‘the truth’. The case of the BBC and the interview with Diana Princess of Wales is high profile because of the people involved, and clearly has caused deep pain to those affected by it. There may be many other cases which don’t hit the headlines where the high expectations of truthfulness are not fulfilled, and have not been thoroughly investigated. This is not the place to focus on the details of a specific case, but it is a reminder to us not be complacent in expecting always to be provided with the truth, to insist on the highest standards, to be ready ourselves to face up to telling the truth, and apologise sincerely when we have erred

Lord, ‘truth’ may be hard to define, but we know what it is. We know that we like to be told the truth, and we know that we are also capable of not telling the truth if it suits us. Not telling the truth leads to a break down in trust, and a breakdown in trust can destroy relationships and the operation of society. Help us as individuals to strive for truth (and a readiness to admit errors, and offer sincere apologies). Help us to work for the highest standards in communal and public life too

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                         Aberfeldy General Wade's Bridge      

Aberfeldy General Wade's Bridge

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Thursday 20th May

Thought for the Day

It was announced last night that there is to be (another) major overhaul of the rail system. Whatever our views on how the railways should be run, we probably all have memories and stories of rail journeys, some good, some bad – and in the nature of things, it is the bad ones that tend to be remembered most vividly. Sometimes the reason for delay is entirely outwith the control of anyone associated with the rail network – such as severe weather or vandalism. As in so many areas of life, it is how it is handled that makes all the difference: say nothing, leave people on their own for ages with no information, and they become angry and frustrated. Apologise, keep them informed, ensure that they have something to eat or drink, and they are more likely to appreciate your concern, and realise that the fault isn’t yours. I remember one occasion when I worked in London, when the train came to a grinding halt one sunny Friday evening. We waited, and we waited. Then someone came on the tannoy to say that as we had gone through the last station (at 100mph) someone had jumped in front of the train. The poor driver was in no state to communicate with us. Train staff, like many people who work in many other professions can face danger, and also trauma. As we would urge businesses to treat customers and passengers with respect, let’s encourage people to treat their staff with respect, and not just as objects to be abused

Lord, things go wrong, that are at times outwith anyone’s control, but how such situations are handled is crucial to subsequent attitudes. Help management in businesses and other sectors to realise the importance of respecting customers or passengers, to keep them informed and supported. Help customers and passengers to respect staff, and not subject them to abuse

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                          Loch Tummel from Queen's View        

Loch Tummel from Queen's View

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Wednesday 19th May

Thought for the Day

Controversial comments always attract more attention than conciliatory ones, and are regarded as providing more stimulating commentary in the media. I thought of that when I heard a raft of clips from a Radio 5 Live phone-in being replayed on another channel. People were expressing their views (dare one say, venting their spleen) on the topic of people who have chosen not to be vaccinated when offered the opportunity. The topic raises a whole range of issues to think about: in a free country should people be compelled to be vaccinated; is it ethical or lawful to take sanctions against someone who chooses not to be vaccinated; is it ethical to choose not to be vaccinated, thereby putting others at risk, or incurring costs for the NHS in treating you if you subsequently succumb to that illness; is it more effective to convince people that they should be vaccinated (or take any other step regarded as being in the ‘public good’) or shame them into doing it; are there times when shaming is the only option; could there be unwelcome consequences of shaming, if it leads to greater prejudice against a certain section of the community?

Lord, there are trade-offs in life between ‘my’ freedom and someone else’s freedom. Sometimes they can be achieved with reason and mutual goodwill on both sides, but sometimes one or other party digs their heels in. It happens in major issues of public life, it happens in small private matters. Help us to cope when we find ourselves in that position. Help governments and those in authority to cope when faced with issues like people choosing not to be vaccinated

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                         Speyside Loch an Eilean    

Speyside Loch an Eilean

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Tuesday 18th May   Walk to school week 18-21 May

Thought for the Day

What are your memories of going to and from Primary School each day? Did you walk, cycle, run, get a lift in the car, go on the bus or train? Did you go by yourself, with a group of friends or siblings? Did an adult accompany you? Did you have a major road to cross? Probably our answers will vary, reflecting where we lived, how close the school was, and in which era we went to Primary School. Many of us probably grew up at a time when there were far fewer cars about, and such as there were went much slower. On the other hand, there were fewer designated crossings, and road marking were sometimes less clear. Roads are now much busier, and cars go faster. The pattern of family life, and the pattern of work, have changed too – so that it is often necessary for a parent to drop off the children at school as they head off to work, or to arrange for a grandparent to do ‘the school run’. Walking to school isn’t always easy to fit into the family schedule – and with the spread of new housing developments it can involve a long walk – but there are health and environmental benefits in being able to do it. This is a week observed nationally trying to promote it

Lord, the world and the education system have changed a lot since many of us were at school. Families face challenges that were not around a generation or more ago. In so far as it can be accommodated into their pattern of life and work, help parents or guardians to discover the benefits of walking to school, even if only

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                        Inverness Castle & River Ness      

Inverness Castle & River Ness

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Monday 17th May

Thought for the Day

Along with most of Scotland, West Dunbartonshire is now in Level 2, so from today there are many things that we can do that we could not do yesterday. After last Autumn many have a sense of ‘looking over the shoulder’, slightly afraid that our new-found freedoms could at some stage be curbed if the number of cases goes up again. The roll-out of the vaccine programme should make a difference from last year (or so we hope), but we are conscious that Glasgow, which is not all that far away, remains in Level 3, and case numbers are rising in East Renfrewshire too (and we saw the photos of George Square on Saturday and yesterday). If we look over the border we see/hear conflicting messages – the Prime Minister echoing scientists’ words of caution, while some of the media and some politicians rubbish the idea of needing caution. So what do we do? Having spent the last year being urged to think of our family, friends and neighbours, to be careful not to spread infection, to remember those who lost their lives to Covid, their relatives and the tremendous work done by healthcare and social care staff, are we just going to throw that to one side and think only of ourselves now, and what we want? Or will we continue to think of others, and what we can do to ensure that there is no risk of us passing on an infection (let alone catching it ourselves)?

Lord, we are glad that infection rates have fallen to the point where we can now be in Level 2. We express our fullest appreciation to all who have brought us to this point. We also express our concern for those not able to enter Level 2 yet, and those in other countries where infection rates are still very high. Help us to keep thinking of others, and not ourselves

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                 Inverness View N from Castle                  

Inverness Ben Wyvis View North from Castle

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Saturday 15th May  Christian Aid Week Livelihoods and migration

                                                                                     christianaid         

Thought for the Day

If you are a farmer (whether subsistence, or growing cash crops) and there is a drought so that your crops, and maybe livestock, die, or you have floods that wash away your crops, what do you do? You might be able to survive for a couple of years, but eventually you would have to give up. They need to feed families, pay for education and childcare, maybe pay rents or debts. So they leave the land, and many end up on the edge of towns or cities, often doing unskilled or dangerous work, for low returns. Some may be sold tales of a land flowing with milk and honey (named Europe, or Britain, or the United States, or Australia), and either on their own, or having contracted themselves to ‘people traffickers’, they set off on a dangerous journey that may lead to death or deportation. In destination countries they tend to be referred to as ‘economic migrants’ or ‘illegal immigrants’. The impact of climate change is not limited to just farmers – it also affects fishermen and many other livelihoods

Lord, climate change affects the livelihoods of so many people, with many having to give up traditional jobs and move on in search of work. Inspire governments to work together in assisting people either to manage to continue with their jobs despite climate change, or to find meaningful alternative employment.

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                   Caithness East Coast                

Caithness East Coast

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Friday 14th May    Food security

Thought for the Day

People in Dumbarton and West Dunbartonshire may grow food for fun in the garden or allotment, but in order to live, we buy what we need in shops or supermarkets. We notice when some of our favourites are not available, and we may notice if the price goes up significantly, but otherwise the story of what appears on our table is largely unknown to us. The chances are that the ingredients of one day’s menu will encompass the globe (well they don’t grown tea and coffee in Clydebank, or oranges in Renton). So climate change in Africa or South America is something that can directly impact what comes to our table. If the harvest fails in one place because of drought or flooding, the chances are that international businesses will be able to access something similar from another market – albeit that the quality and price may be slightly different. But what about the farmer whose harvest failed? They miss out on income (which affects access to healthcare, education etc – things we are used to getting for free), and may well run short on food for their own table

Lord, we tend not to think about where our food comes from, the people in the long chain that brings it too our table, or the impact of things like climate change, over-fishing, cutting down the rain forests to grow cash crops etc. We are part of an inter-connected world. What happens in Africa or South America affects us too – but usually much less than it affects the people there. So often we think about ourselves and now, not the availability of food for generations still to come. Help us to think more about the issues around food. Inspire decision-makers in government and business to focus on people and future sustainability, rather than immediate profit

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                     Caithness Orkney from Dunnet Head         

Caithness Orkney from Dunnet Head

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Thursday 13th May   Ascension

Thought for the Day

It is now 40 days since Easter. Taking literally the phrase that Jesus left his disciples to return to his father’s side, the church has designated the Thursday 40 days after Easter as Ascension Day. We celebrate Jesus’ return to glory, and the completion of his work on earth. We also acknowledge that the task of building a world of peace and justice, wholeness and fullness for all is not complete (look at the news headlines and it might seem more appropriate to say ‘is far from complete’). As the disciples were tasked with the role of continuing that work with the Spirit’s power and guidance, so the heirs of the apostles (each generation of the church) are similarly tasked. Whether it’s Climate Change, poverty, corruption or whatever, we need to work with like-minded people to achieve peace and justice, challenge those in authority, and try to live out what we say. That’s where we need God’s help through the Spirit. It all fits well with the spirit of Christian Aid Week

Lord, we praise and acknowledge your greatness and glory. You vindicated Jesus, and he completed his task on earth. With the Spirit’s power and guidance you want us to continue his work. Help us to focus on your objectives, and be inspired to serve faithfully and with full commitment in the work you have for us to do

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                  Sutherland Durness Beach looking W       

Sutherland Durness Beach looking West

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Wednesday 12th May   Christian Aid Week  Wildlife and habitats

Thought for the Day

Here in Dumbarton we are very fortunate with the variety of habitats that we have (hill/ crag/ moor, woodland, salt water shoreline, fresh water shoreline/ river/ burns) and the variety of wildlife (foxes/deer/rabbits/otters; gulls, oyster-catchers, herons, egret, dippers, ravens, house martins, finches, sparrows, crows etc etc). But so often the shoreline or the paths through the woods are marred by litter (blown there, dropped there, or washed up on the tide). New development revives the town, but it takes away land where animals or birds lived and fed, and can upset patterns of drainage.

Across Scotland and Britain as a whole many habitats have already disappeared under new developments or new farming practices. Some species (including humble pollinators required for growing crops) have fallen very significantly in number and are now considered at risk. They aren’t just ‘nice to spot’ things but have a part in the overall balance of the environment. As with dodos, once they’ve gone, they’ve gone.

It isn’t just here that there are threats and changes. Whether it’s deforestation in the Amazon, the spread of the desert along the Sahel in Africa, overfishing, climate change making areas unwelcoming to trees or bushes traditionally grown there (some food-linked, like coffee or cacao bushes) it has a major impact for human beings, animals and plants, and impacts that are not just felt locally

Lord, we love the rich diversity of the planet we live on but we are not looking after it well. Inspire governments and businesses to find ways to protect wildlife and habitats, to think of future generations not just immediate gain, and to take the necessary actions. Help us to know what we can do to support and preserve wildlife and habitats locally

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                        Wester Ross Tanera Mor looking N         

Wester Ross Tanera Mor looking North

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Tuesday 11th May   Christian Aid Week  Rainfall and drought

Thought for the Day

We love to talk weather, which usually means that we have a wee moan about it. There were some pretty heavy showers yesterday, but it is supposed to be dry today. We get irritated when the media go on about how lovely the weather is in the South of England, and we’ve got cold, wet and windy weather. Most of the time the weather is an irritation, rather than something that impacts heavily on our lives. It’s different if you are planning an outdoor function like a Summer Fete or School Sports Day, if you rely on tourists and holiday makers coming to your ice cream parlour, tea garden or other tourist/hospitality-related business, or if you are a farmer who needs a suitable mix of weather to grow cereals or crops.

The frosts seen last month and at the beginning of this month were unusual, but not unique, but they made us think, ‘this is different.’ There are a lot of patterns to the weather that are ‘different’ from what they used to be – remember the snow many of us knew when we were young? Some changes occur naturally, but human activity is reckoned to be speeding up change and creating more volatility.

For us it may mean frost in May. For people in places like East Africa it can mean no rain at all for the crops and livestock, and people having to walk miles to collect water from a well for their own use and to grow food, and maintain cattle

Lord, the weather is part of the rich variety of the world, and we need its variations in order to live. But we human beings are creating greater volatility in the weather, affecting the lives of billions of our fellow human beings, as well as the rest of life on the planet. Inspire politicians and experts to take the steps needed to curb climate change, and address the issues already created by it. Help us, when we are moaning about the weather, to remember those for whom climate change has a serious impact on their lives and livelihoods

 

Picture of the Day

                                                               Wester RossTanera Mor looking W                       

Wester RossTanera Mor looking West

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Monday 10th May   Christian Aid Week (10-16) Rising sea levels

Thought for the Day

Christian Aid Week this year is focussing on Climate Change and Climate Justice. One of the effects of Climate Change is the melting of the polar ice caps, and rising sea levels. Countries like the Maldives and some of the Pacific coral atoll nations are worried about their very existence if levels rise as threatened. It is very serious for them, but it isn’t just a problem for ‘far away places’. We have seen flooding at the Quay, in Knoxland, on the A82 at Milton, on the rail line to Helensburgh – and that’s without high winds driving in large waves. What would Dumbarton be like if sea levels rose, say, 2metres/7 feet? How many houses, shops, leisure facilities (football ground, Meadow Centre), public buildings (Council Offices, Knoxland School etc), road and rail links might be affected? (and if you live somewhere else and follow this, how might your community, or your favourite seaside place, be affected?)

Lord, Climate Change affects all of us. Help us to be aware of the ways in which it affects us, and be ready to speak out demanding action before it’s too late

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                    Wester Ross Achiltibuie & Ben More Coigach        

Wester Ross Achiltibuie & Ben More Coigach

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Saturday 8th May   Maternal mental health awareness week (3-9 May)

Thought for the Day

Over the past year we have become more used to people talking about mental health – although that is still a long way from addressing the issue, and from eradicating completely the stigma that tends to go with it. Many of the issues have been around for a long time, though the restrictions of the last year have made the problem more acute for many. Mental health is a big issue for new mums: as many as one in five struggle with it, both before and after birth - in some there may be pre-existing issues; there is the physical impact of living through pregnancy and birth; there are hormonal fluctuations; feelings of inadequacy when confronted with the responsibility of looking after a new child (they don’t come with an operating manual, and every one is different!); feelings of loneliness if friends and family are at work, and you can no longer socialise as before (made worse during lockdown); some not having partner/family support (or having them about, but that’s another issue), living in poverty, or multiple deprivation. Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week endeavours to reassure new mums that they are not alone, and that help and support are available. It also tries to make the rest of us aware that this is a major issue, which affects a large number of families, and may affect the lives of children from the start. For more information visit NHS Inform which has links to various groups, or put ‘Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week 2021’ in your browser

Lord, babies are lovely, but they can also be challenging, especially for the parents. Many encounter anxiety and mental health issues both before and after birth. Help them to find support and assistance both with parenting and with their mental health. Inspire those in decision-making positions to ensure that new parents have all the support they need – especially when they are living with poverty and other deprivation. Help the rest of us to try to understand the challenges new parents in the 2020s  face, and to be supportive where we can

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                     Wester Ross Stac Polly from Tanera        

Wester Ross Stac Polly from Tanera

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Friday 7th May

Thought for the Day

Usually at this stage after an election there has been a flurry of overnight activity as results have been announced and commentators have dissected them in fine detail. But this year the count has only just begun. We will get some results today, and others over the weekend. It fits with the spirit of the last year – waiting. We waited for infection rates to come down, we waited for lockdown restrictions to be eased and to move into lower levels or tiers, we waited for the chance to go places (coffee shop, hairdresser or whatever), we waited for the chance to see people, we waited for our vaccinations. Some are still waiting for some of those things. Waiting isn’t easy. Patience has been sorely tried in many cases. For some people the wait was in vain – the person they hoped to see was no longer there to see them. As we look forward and think about all the issues that need to be addressed – some arising directly from the pandemic (impact on education, jobs, mental health etc), some in existence before it appeared (climate emergency, poverty, inequalities etc) – how ready are we as a community, country and world to wait patiently for something to happen, how much are we expecting action quickly, and how much are we prepared to push for something to happen?

Lord, your sense of time is different from ours. We find waiting hard. Help us to be patient when we need to be, but find that hard. It is especially hard to be patient when we are confronted with suffering, injustice or need: in such situations we want things done quickly to put them right. Though we don’t have magic wands to create a perfect world in an instant,  we don’t want to see things postponed for years. Inspire all those who are in decision-making positions to focus on addressing the injustices and inequalities in our society and world, and inspire us to do what we can to address them too

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                    Wester Ross Tanera Mor anchorage         

Wester Ross Tanera Mor anchorage

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Thursday 6th May

Thought for the Day

Election Day. We’ve been bombarded with stories about it for weeks (or is it months?), and now all is calm and quiet on the television and radio because broadcasters are restricted in what they can say on polling day. After 10pm tonight it will be back to bombardment about potential results, actual results etc. It’s easy to forget that in elections we are dealing with real people. Some are better than others at showing empathy and understanding with the electorate, but deep down all have feelings and emotions, and most enter politics because they care about their community and want to do something to improve it. MSPs (as that’s what we’re electing in Scotland) are expected to share their time between Edinburgh and their constituency, and to work at times which others would regard as family or leisure time. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges they have faced in recent years is the development of online, social media abuse. The old saying of ‘Sticks and stones…’ is not true – abuse and false allegations hurt. Whatever the outcome of the election, let’s remember and care for our politicians, whatever our personal political opinions

Lord, we may believe in democracy, but most of us are not willing to stand for public office. We give thanks for the willingness of some people to engage in politics, to represent us, and to engage in the process of government. Whatever we think of their policies and political positions, help us to remember that they are people like us, they have families, they have thoughts and feelings, and a right not to be abused

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                       Wester Ross Sunset over Summer Isles     

Wester Ross Sunset over Summer Isles

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Wednesday 5th May   Sun awareness week (3-9)

Thought for the Day

Amongst other things this is Sun awareness week. On Monday, with heavy rain and wind, we might flippantly have asked if we were supposed to be aware that somewhere in the far blue yonder beyond the cloud there is supposed to be a sun. It’s rather different today with sunshine flooding in. Maybe it’s because sunshine and heat are not  regular features of our weather that we are so keen to sun bathe as much as possible, and strive to get tans. Sunshine is good for us, giving Vitamin D, but it can also be dangerous, causing sunburn and potentially skin cancer. It is because of the risks associated with reckless sunbathing that the British Association of Dermatologists run an awareness campaign each summer, with a week specially designated at the beginning of May. The aim is to raise awareness of the dangers of sunburn and excessive tanning, to prevent skin cancer, and also to encourage people to know how to check themselves to spot early signs of it. For more information visit https://www.bad.org.uk/sun-awareness-campaign or https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/injuries/skin-injuries/sunburn

Lord, a sunny day like today lifts our spirits and we want to be out there enjoying the sunshine. But it can be dangerous if we don’t take the right precautions. Help us to be aware of the dangers of going out in the sun without protection, and of the need to check for signs that medical advice may be needed

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                        Wester Ross Summer Isles            

Wester Ross Road from Achiltibuie looking towards Summer Isles

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Tuesday 4th May   Deaf awareness week (3-9 May)

Thought for the Day

During the last year, with mask wearing and keeping a 2m distance from people, a number of folk have realised that they actually have hearing issues – up till then they weren’t aware how much they relied on being close to someone, and to some extent watching their lips, to have a conversation. Those are features all too familiar for the many who were aware that they were living with hearing loss or deafness. It is estimated that around 1 in 5 people in Britain have hearing loss or deafness. It can cause loneliness and isolation. They can’t easily follow conversations, TV or radio programmes, lectures/talks, hear the telephone or fire alarm. The UK Council on Deafness are using this year’s #DAW2021 to focus on ‘Coming through it together’. We probably all know someone with hearing loss. Maybe we have it ourselves. Are we sufficiently aware of it as an issue when we are talking with others? Are there things that we can do at work, at home, at play to enable people with hearing loss to feel more included? For more information visit https://www.nhsinform.scot/campaigns/deaf-awareness-week-2021 or https://www.deafcouncil.org.uk/deaf-awareness-week/

Lord, hearing is something that many of us take for granted: it is only when it begins to fade, or goes completely that we realise how important it is. Help us to be aware of the needs of people with hearing loss, remembering that it can affect young people as well as older ones. Help us to do what we can to enable people with hearing loss to feel more included and less isolated

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                    Wester Ross Looking N to Achiltibuie                              

Wester Ross moorland and peatbog looking North to Achiltibuie

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Monday 3rd May

Thought for the Day

There are various commemorations taking place today to mark the creation of two separate jurisdictions on the island of Ireland one hundred years ago today – effectively creating ‘Northern Ireland’ as a political entity separate from what became the Irish Free State, now the Republic of Ireland. Differences in identity among communities on the island of Ireland, and difficult relations between governments in London and those communities go back a very long way, and sadly over that time many lives have been lost, many people have acquired physical or mental scars, and communities have been torn apart. In recent years things have been better than they were, but Northern Ireland is still a long way from being at peace with itself. The past cannot be air-brushed out, but let’s hope and pray for wise leadership to help Northern Ireland to address its social and economic problems, as well as its problems of identity, coming to terms with its past and developing a common vision for the future

Lord, we know the problems that have been in Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the pain and anger they have created. We ask for your help in bringing healing to people and to communities there. Inspire its leaders to address the social and economic issues that it faces, and to create a common vision for the future, built on mutual respect, peace, justice and prosperity for all

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                        Wester Ross Head of Loch Broom           

Wester Ross Head of Loch Broom

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Saturday 1st May

Thought for the Day

Today sees the start of ‘National, local and community history month’ – no I hadn’t heard of it either! So after you washed your face in the dew, skipped round the maypole, marched for workers’ rights or whatever, you might like to reflect on how you could learn a bit more about the history of your area. Here are some bits about Dumbarton that you might like to explore:

         Dumbuck crannog

         Blackburn’s aircraft factory

         Carman Hill

         The glassworks

         St Mary’s College

         Denny’s ship tank

Sometimes older people miss having family or friends with whom to share stories of common experiences. Allowing them to open up and tell their stories (maybe involving ‘hard listening’ on our part) can be a real benefit to them, and can also be enlightening to us. How many fascinating stories have been lost because no one recorded them?

Lord, we all have a life-story to tell. Some may be more adventurous than others, but sharing our story, finding someone to listen to it with interest, can be very beneficial. Help us to be ready to listen to others, to encourage them to talk, and with their permission at times be ready to record things

 

Picture of the Day

                                                                       Mallaig 6        

Mallaig 6

 

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