Friday 20th. December, 2013 -- Off to Edinburgh 

There was a warm glow from the summer house as we walked the dogs last thing at night

Coincidences. I tend not to believe in them as they effect daily life, affirming the belief of the late George MacLeod that if you believe in coincidence you will have a very boring life. But some things are strange. A couple of nights ago we were talking around the table about music and old songs and someone mentioned ‘Right said Fred’ as an example of an old song which they had enjoyed. I had forgotten all about it but back in my study the next day (yesterday) I typed ‘Right said Fred’ into Spotify on the computer and up came the song, along with the information that it had been sung by Bernard Cribbins. As soon as I was reminded of the fact, I realised that I knew it (if you know what I mean). But it was such a long time ago and I hadn’t heard of Bernard Cribbins for years and years and years. Later in the afternoon while I was having something to eat, and having no book to read, I turned on the BBC i-player and accessed the most recent episode of ‘Have I got news for you’ and who should be a guest on the programme? Bernard Cribbins. Strange: what a coincidence!

Walked the dog and breakfasted in the farmhouse and then Rachel and I set off for IKEA in Edinburgh leaving Mix in the farmhouse with Olive and Digger. I was amazed at how busy the roads were, although IKEA itself wasn’t overly busy. I bought some bookshelves – the heartbreak of having to leave my wonderful library shelves behind at Wemyss – and we also bought some blinds for the windows of the summer house and then we set off for home. Rachel driving and Rowan and I cramped into half a seat: the rest taken over by shelving. We had gaily bought quite a lot because we had determined that it would fit into the Berlingo, forgetting totally about the accumulated weight of so many shelves. We drove home slowly, stopping at Asda at Dunbar so that Rowan could be walked and I could buy a sandwich for Rachel and myself.

By the time we got home it was already dark and the day was almost over. I had an email with the hymns for Arrochar for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so I spent the time before dinner preparing the music for those services and sending them off to Jamie by email. Then we ate in the farmhouse – another lovely meal – and by the time the meal was over and we returned to the Granary it was blowing a gale, again!

We watched the first part of the dramatisation of the Train Robbers tonight – it was good, well written and tightly acted. Tomorrow we plan to watch the Policeman’s Tale and see how it all unfolds. Memory plays tricks over the years and it is good to be reminded of what actually happened. Tomorrow I gather that we are going Christmas shopping – I hope that the weather has died down.

It is getting close to Christmas -- I have never looked forward to a Christmas as much as I am looking forward to this one. In the past I have been 'in charge'. It has been my responsibility to ensure that all the services and activities happen and happen as they should. I have taken that responsibility very seriously and I have felt the weight of it on my shoulders. (I do understand that God is in charge but I am sure you know what I mean: God entrusts these responsibilities to us.) This year that is gone. I am a member of a congregation and am enjoying taking part in what others have prepared. That's not to say that I don't have responsibilities, but my responsibilities now are different from before. I have made my Christmas plans so that I can be in the little Church here for the Watchnight Service and for Christmas Day -- because being a member of a congregation brings responsibilities as well. In a small congregation just a few people missing makes such a difference and I want to be part of the celebrations here. There has been a lovely lead up to Christmas -- the actual celebrations will be wonderful.


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