I have thoroughly enjoyed the Tokyo Olympics on TV and as I watched the athletics it brought back memories of the days when I could run, jump and throw things well enough to get me national recognition, but not quite to the standards expected of an Olympian. On a number of occasions I represented Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the Decathlon. However one match against Holland in Vlardingen, 1963, is carved into my memory, as that was the day when I demolished a hurdle in the 110 metre race and as a result met a legend of track and … Continue reading Hurdling: Take it in your stride!
In all my 20 odd years of competitive athletics, my performances were just never quite up to Olympic standards. However not to be beaten, my wife Ann and I travelled over to Greece a few years back where we visited the original Ancient Olympic Arena at Olympia. I must have been crazy to try a 100 metre sprint in the 30 degree heat, especially since I had not worn a pair of spikes in over 30 years, but the old urge took over! It was a interesting day out and one that we both thoroughly enjoyed. I find the history … Continue reading The closest I got to the Olympics
There are loads of new short stories in More Ports More Storms, my second book of the Zander Trilogy, and I wanted to share with you one such story which involved Zander, many years before he got involved in Sailing. How much is Fiction, I will allow the reader to decide, but let me say that I was there and have the T-shirt to prove it! In the late 1960’s, Zander was training to be a Chartered Engineer and was required to work at a place called Harthill, where construction was underway to create the first Motorway Service Station in … Continue reading Explosives and Jewellery!
I made up the following clip from photos I took during a visit to the Crimea with my wife in 2007, during the period of a few years that tourists were allowed to visit. No one is allowed to visit there now and even Russians need special authorization to be allowed in. The Defence of Sevastopol was a significant event in the Crimean War between Russia and the military alliance of Turkey, Great Britain, France and the Sardinian Kingdom. (1853-1856) The 349-day long siege, which lasted from October 1854 until September 1855, is depicted on one of the largest panoramic paintings in … Continue reading Panoramic Video – Crimea
The following relates to Chapter 56 and 57 in my 1st Book A Storm in Any Port describing some of the places the crew visited. The crew of the Emerald sailed back across the Firth of Lorne, up the west side of Luing, before steering through the narrow channel that separates the islands of Easdale and Seil. They were all in need of some light refreshments, which invariably means finding a Hotel where they can sample some beer and local spirits, so it was Grunt, who suggested they head for Puilladrobhain – translated in Gaelic as ‘the pool of the … Continue reading Puilladrobhain
Joe Biden gave a nod to the film Chariots of Fire, in his first address as president-elect, in January 2021 – “Now, together, on eagle’s wings,” Biden told the crowd in Delaware, “we embark on the work that God and history have called us to do.” This line, via Isaiah 40, mirrors the climax of Liddell’s sermon in the film: “They that wait upon the Lord … shall mount up with wings as eagles.” (1) When I read the content of President Biden’s first address as president-elect and saw his quotation from the Eric Liddell and Harold Abraham biographical film … Continue reading My Dad’s reunion with Eric Liddell
For the past couple of months, I have been working on my 3rd book of the Zander Trilogy, A Storm in A Tin Cup and I apologise that I have not been able to keep up to date with all the kind comments received on the website posts, and throughout social media platforms that I am connected to. I have become engrossed in getting A Storm in A Tin Cup finished and the daily re-reading and checks take up most of my time. I am hopeful that I can get this to the publisher within the next couple of months, … Continue reading Thank you!
The nearest island to the north of Barra is Eriskay and to Zander, that was probably the best place to go. His mind made up, the skipper went back up on deck and informed the crew of his decision; it was either Eriskay or turn back. Having come almost one third of the way towards the Outer Hebrides, his crew were not in the mood to be going back anywhere. To them Eriskay was an island of intrigue, romance and adventure and was not only the focus of the song, the Eriskay Love Lilt, but it was there that Bonnie … Continue reading Something Galore – Eriskay
When researching for part of my first book, a friend of mine, Ian Spiby who lives on the island, sent me some intriguing photos of large fossils he came across on the beach near Fornells, Menorca. Anyone have any ideas on what these creatures were? Ian has left his wristwatch to help estimate the size of these imprints. Continue reading Fossils found in Menorca
On a fine, if lightly clouded, blue-skied day, the puffer was tied up to the stone jetty outside the western basin of the Crinan Canal, ready to fulfil a charter. To the west of her, the sea spread away over the Sound of Jura towards the shimmering outline of the blue-grey mountains that marked the islands of Jura and Scarba. On board, the crew was awaiting the arrival of the client, top man of a well-known international corporation. He and the last of his guests were driving over by car from Edinburgh. As soon as they arrived, the puffer would … Continue reading The Worm Turns – Crinan
Anyone born at this famous hospital? Zander Duff was born on a stormy night, in this Edinburgh hospital, 1934. As he grew up, he asked his mother the classic question which children the world over ask ‘Where did I come from?’. His mother had spent a large part of her life in and around the theatre, so recounting the following description, was second nature to her!. “It was on the Titanic in 1912, that your grandmother, heavily pregnant, was helped into one of the lifeboats by none other than Captain Edward J. Smith himself, which allowed your mum here to … Continue reading Elsie Inglis Hospital – Edinburgh
Photo © John Jones Rhum – The Pelton Wheel Generator for Kinloch Castle; circa 1990 (since replaced) Kinloch Castle was one of the first private residences in Scotland to have electricity, with a dam constructed on the Coire Dubh burn for hydro generation. Photo © Richard Law (cc-by-sa/2.0) Kinloch Castle Continue reading Kinloch Castle