Archive for January, 2016

Ne’erday 2016

January 1, 2016

Today is New Year’s Day (known here as Ne’erday), a public holiday in Scotland. Virtually everything is closed, and it’s a time to meet up with old friends and relations.

I’ve lost my voice, almost certainly virally, but with luck and care, I’ll be better soon. So I thought it time to gather together a few thoughts.

Firstly, I’ve come to realise just how much I usually talk. Particularly with friends and family visiting, not being able to talk – or only being able to talk a little made me realise how much I do talk. I should listen more.

Secondly, being a little unwell made me able to read the books I’ve been reading through impossibly slowly, and some of those I’d been given for Christmas. Henning Mankell’s “A Treacherous Paradise” is a wonderful recreation of what Africa must have been like to a white person in the early 1900’s. Now I’m reading William Dalrymple’s “From the Holy Mountain“, a recreation in the late 1990’s of a much earlier travelogue by Moschos (The spiritual meadow). This includes a great deal about early Eastern Christianity, particularly in the time around the foundation of Islam: it puts quite a number of issues into perspective, not least the huge differences between the many forms of Christianity practised there at that time, and modern Western Christianity. It puts a very different context into the issues of today. I should read more.

To close let me share a thought I had as I bought a newspaper in the only open shop in the town. Imagine if we had militant fundamentalist Scots whose religion forbade the opening of shops on the Ne’erday holiday – would there have been a crowd of kilted hairy Scotsmen (and women in plaids too) demonstrating against the shop being open, and threatening prospective customers with their sgian dubh’s?