10 Jul

The Thursday before Arbroath my little brother had his prizegiving, and I thought I’d go along for his sake and for old times sake.

Mr Baillie came along. He gave me a very warm welcome, and a strict instruction to take the time to visit him sometime. (Must remember to do so…!) When he heard that I got a First, he turned to me with that familiar stern look of his, and said “Is that all?!”. I knew he was pleased for me then!

It brought back floods of memories seeing the old traditional pipe band, and hearing them play all the old favourites. The platform party came in as usual, albeit with a few changed faces. Tom Mackenzie, the Dux medal donator, was no longer there. He has died, and the medal continues to be donated by his family in his memory. On a lighter note, the teacher who used to be head of English ‘in my day’ is now an assistant head, and thereby subject to duties at the prizegiving. I did not think it was her first time doing the prizegiving, but it was wierd to notice just how nervous she was. As a schoolkid the concept of the teachers being nervous at the prizegiving would never have entered my naive wee head!

For the first time I was sitting up with my parents, and so could get my Dad’s expert opinion on the pipe band. It was interesting the way he told me to look at the player’s faces, and see how some really struggled to get enough breath into their bag, while others were very calm and orderly about it. And nothing to do with the size of folks lungs either… it was one of the medium-sized guys who was clearly the best in that regard. Funnily enough, I wouldn’t even have noticed the lack of the base drum if he hadn’t mentioned… but then I’m not exactly known for my musical ability.

I ran into Mrs Ward at the prizegiving… just a quick catchup on the way out the building. She wanted to know how I’d done, of course. Kate still has two years to go of her Engineering (I think?) course. I meant to get in touch with Kate, but what with one thing and another, it has kinda slipped past so far. The phone number I stored on my pda got deleted when I had to hard-reset the thing due to some dodgy RAM behaviour. So… currently still trying to get-a-hold of that number…

So then we went on our All-Age-Holiday to Arbroath…

On Saturday evening, I happened to speak to my Dad, and thereby joined a rather interesting discussion surrounding politics. A visitor for the evening was gracing my Dad with his collected wisdom. To be truthful, I’ve got to admit to not even being sure of the man’s name, but I think I was told it was George. He was a rather intruiging character, though I’m not quite sure if that is a good or a bad thing. I get the impression, with the right motives, and sufficient perseverence, grace and backing, he’s one of those fellows could go far in being influential within a particular sphere. Whether he does have the right foundation, and whether he is able to choose the right sphere seems to be the big question. Time will tell, I guess.

Anyways, there was a progressive discussion about the use – or abuse – of power. Something to do with the way that the higher up the ladder folks seem to get, the more they seem able to claim as ‘expenses’, while these are the very same people who can best afford to treat themselves. I suppose it is the same old story about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. To be truthful, I could live my life perfectly contentedly without ever tasting some particular expensive wines, for example. However, I know myself well enough to know that I wouldn’t mind the odd expensive meal, especially if I was getting it ‘on the company’ and thereby not actually seeming to pay for it.

Just luxury, I guess.

I find luxury funny. It’s not that I do not like to have decent stuff for myself, or that I do not enjoy quality when I can enjoy it, but I really don’t need it. I mean, not only can I physically live without a lot of luxury, but I can enjoy myself without luxury. I can feel happy, contented, fulfilled, satisfied without any of all this. I would even argue that I am probably more happy when I am not “treating myself” than when I am.

For example, when I allow myself to be contented with the simple things in life, all of life suddenly seems to be rather rosier. Stress seems to vanish as an ‘unneccessary extra’; holidays seem a time when you actually feel fit to start work when you’re finished them; friendship and family ties take on a value proportional to their worth. And money just makes no difference to the situation.

(Aaanyways, to continue with my Arbroath logbook.) Monday afternoon we went raft building. One of those occasions where everyone ends up with a hearty good soaking. There was a bit of ‘teambuilding skills’ too. Interesting, if rather frustrating with a bunch of hyper-active kids 🙂

On Monday evening I talked to Soon-Jo, a Korean pastor. He is an assistant pastor in a church over there, and came over to get some theology training, and also to get the opportunity to see some historical sites first hand.

One evening he asked me if he could compare notes with a “Scottish young person”. His congregation is strictly within the 20-30 age band. He described a rather different situation to that we are used to: apparently the churches are flooded with young people. However, they are not there to hear the gospel; they just want to be entertained, and insist that it is the job of the church to provide that entertainment. We discussed ‘traditions’ and whether – with my background – I thought they were a good or bad thing. I kinda just sat on the fence, arguing that it depended on the tradition, really.

Graduation – but that merits a seperate entry, all to itself!

Wednesday I was shattered after the long day on Tuesday, and kinda never really did much all day, apart from the usual routine.

We had the finals of the various competitions on Friday. The table-tennis final was a real nail-biting finish. All of us in Soon-Jo’s Official Supporters Team were kept on the edge of our seats. With little Leah Thompson sitting on my lap, that lead for a rather precaurious setup, esp. as David had wriggly Emily on his lap on my right, and medium-Esther was holding little-Esther on my left.  Only one cup of tea got spilt.

Soon-Jo was underdog all the way through. Lost the first set 21-18, or something like that, having played catch-up all the way through. Second set was similar, with him just overtaking at the 19 mark, and getting his 21 points in there before his opponent came back. The deciding set he was again trailing all the way, making profound apologies every time he played well enough that his opponent could not return. He earned himself the nickname “Sorry-sorry-sorry Soon-Jo”.  We won, though 🙂 that was the best bit!

The holiday ended with a trip to the most fantastic wee coffee shop. The Silversides took Isabel and my Mum there as a thankyou, and I went too as Mum had promised she’d take me there at some point but had never quite got round to it.

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Posted by on Monday, July 10, 2006 in selfish



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