The Sabbath 2 – Thirst after Righteousness

In Scotland, it used to be the case that one could only purchase alcohol on a Sunday, if one were a “bona fide” traveller.  If memory serves me correct (I’m think back over 40 years here), only hotel bars were open in the evening; pubs closed all day.

My friend Murray and I used to take the subway to Buchanan Street, Glasgow.  Opposite the station was an hotel with a large bar. Of course, technically, we were “travellers”

On one occasion, I noticed a group of middle aged men sitting in a corner.  They were wearing dark suits and black ties.

An undertakers’ convention?  or perhaps they’d been to a funeral as mourners and were stopping off for a drink before going home?  no, no funerals on a Sunday.

Then I overheard one of them say something like “Blast! I’ve left my watch at the Kirk – I took it off when we were cleaning up the Communion cups”

They were elders from some church nearby!  Obviously, a case of “thirst after righteousness” 🙂


It was only in the late eighties that off-sales were legally permitted to open in Scotland on a Sunday (I think only in the evenings).

On the first Sunday of this happening, I drove from Musselburgh where I lived at the time to Portobello which is a short distance away. I did so because I didn’t want to be spotted buying booze on the Sabbath in my own town.

There was a Haddows in the main street and I duly bought some beer (and crisps) which I carried out in a branded plastic bag.

Now, immediately outside that “offie” was a bus stop and, just as I left the shop, a bus pulled in and, to my horror, several members of my congregation’s (Woman’s) Guild got off.

One eyed my Haddow’s carrier bag……

….. “Oh just some odds and ends” said I, “the boys wanted some crisps”

With a wry smile on her face, one of the ladies said, “you’d better get them home then, while they’re still chilled!”

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Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic

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