Tag Archives: Western Infirmary

The “Show” must go on

My beloved Father died 39 years ago yesterday (on 21 February 1976) in Glasgow  – at the Western Infirmary. Yesterday, he was very much on my mind. What a decent and honourable man he was, and a loving and beloved Dad, whose counsel was wise, realistic, and positive.  I wish that I was even half the man that he was.

It was a Saturday – early evening – when he passed away.  After the usual formalities, I took my mother home (widowed at the age of 55), and stayed with her until almost midnight.

I then drove home to my Manse – some 40 miles away  – where my beloved wife (and one year old son – fast asleep) was waiting.

After talking things through for an hour or so, I went into my study and stayed up all night, writing a sermon from scratch; my organist was a wonderful, delightful, talented musician – who often was given the praise list half an hour before the service – so no problems there, with what hymns would be sung.  Davie – you were wonderful, as a musician, and as a friend.

This was my first Charge and had only been there for a couple of years – so no “Golden Oldies” to rehash.  I think that I finished typing my notes about 6.30 that morning.

And, in the pulpit on time on the Sunday morning. Haven’t a clue what I preached about (it’s somewhere in my files).

Then, after a snatched lunch, back down the road to Glasgow.

Foolhardy? Professional? Let the congregation down with sub-standard material?  What do YOU think?P

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The Show Must Go On!

Not much should prevent the preacher from taking a service.

I remember reading about a vicar in a lonely rural parish.  His wife died suddenly on Christmas Eve but he still went to his little church on Christmas Day to conduct worship and administer the Sacrament.  Nobody turned up, but, as he had to, he went through the whole liturgy – all on his own

If we are to be truly professional and true to our calling, then we should try to rise above personal circumstances.

My father (aged 62) died in the Western Infirmary in Glasgow early on a Saturday evening. I went back to the family home and stayed until 10 or 11 p.m. Drove the 30 odd miles back to my manse, grabbed a sandwich, and spent half the night preparing a sermon – which I preached during Sunday worship while conducting the service A quick bite and then back down the road to Bearsden.

And I loved my Dad dearly – it wasn’t a case of “couldn’t care less”

I conducted my Mother’s funeral just a handful of years ago.   And wrote the Eulogy for my late wife’s service last June.

I’ve been in the pulpit with a bleeding nose, migraine, flu and a cracked open skull following being beaten up (this was on  Christmas Eve (and there is a post about it on this blog – you’ll find it at 6 May 2012)

Thick-skinned?  Some may say so…. but one is called to spread the Message “in season and out of season”


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Burns Suppers

The Meenister’s Log

At this time of year, many different groups of people get together to celebrate the birthday of the Scottish Bard, Robert Burns (not to be confused with Rabbi Burns who was the Jewish comedian George Burns’ cousin)

Robert Burns

Weirdly,   it is assumed that the Parish Minister can add to the speechifying, even if, like me, you know or care little about our national poet.  It’s also assumed that all Ministers are excellent singers (I’m tone deaf) and can recite “Tam o’ Shanter” by heart and with all the appropriate actions (I’ve got such a poor memory that even after forty years of ministry, I have to READ the Lord’s Prayer!)


……..here are two examples from different speeches made a long time ago (and for those of a sensitive disposition, please don’t read the latter)

A wee Glesga fella decided one night to play “Partick Roulette”  For those unfamiliar with this phrase – it means frying chips when you’re pissed.

So the pan catches fire and he catches fire with an extra whoosh as he’s wearing a spilled alcohol sweater.

He ends up in hospital swathed in bandages.

To his surprise, out of the corner of his one remaining eye, he sees John Wayne, and the Duke is muttering something like “Oh, my love has a red red nose”

“OMG” he thinks, “I’m hallucinating – nae mare Lighter Fluid fur me”

Then – it can’t be Clint Eastwood, surely?  The “Man with no Name” is reciting “Wee, cowboy timorous feastie”

And Roy Rodgers “Tam o’ Sea shanty”

Enough!  “Nurse!”

“Nurse, where the hell am I?”

“In the bad burns unit”


“In the Western”*

* Western Infirmary, Glasgow  

WARNING – the following is “R” rated – do not read if easily offended (but I bet you will….)

This was at an all male Burns’ Supper in a former mining village:

Jean Armour was worried and agitated.  Her Rabbie hadn’t been home for a couple of nights.

Her friend tried to comfort her, “Och, ye ken whit he’s like, he’ll be hame soon”

And with that, staggering down the street came the man himself, holding a bunch of flowers (probably taken from St Michael’s Kirkyard).

“Here he is!  And he’s brocht ye flooers”

To which Rabbie’s long suffering wife responded, “You know what this will mean?”

“Whit, lass?”

“I’ll be lying on my back all night with my legs apart”

“Oh, dae ye no have a vase?”


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