Blind comedian Neil Skene on the retirement of his trusty guide dog, Rumba.
Talk of “national happiness” and one’s thoughts quickly swoop south and east to the exotic kingdom of Bhutan, a land of prayer flags, brightly-robed monks, monasteries, and a people who are, as stereotype has it, poor but content. It is Bhutan that famously ignores Gross Domestic Product as the main measure of the national good in favour of Gross National Happiness.
Just before he died in his early 90s, my grandfather shot bolt upright in his hospital bed, gripped my arms and cried out repeatedly, “I can still see their faces. I can still see their faces.”
Now here’s a question: do you know what a “body-slam” is? Neither did I. It seems that to body-slam someone, you have to hurl them to the ground in the way a wrestler might deal with an aggressive opponent. It’s an explosive word with violence at its heart.
I was talking to one of my daughters and she used a phrase that to me was so profound: “environmentally respectful”. Flora followed that up with “‘environmentally-friendly’ is just an excuse to seem as though you are doing something to make a difference”.
How is it possible to hear when so much noise is happening all around us? This is one of the biggest problems of our age.
Most of us casually talk about ‘being obsessed’ with a new song/ book/food or being "a bit OCD" about cleaning the house before guests arrive, for example.
After a few weeks back home, visiting Peterhead Prison and interviewing the brave ex-prison warder Jackie Stuart, it was time to leave the UK again. And that’s me until Christmas.
A new phrase was coined by the head of Highlands and Islands Enterprise last week to describe the region’s most pressing problem.
The memory I am about to recount has worn a groove in my mind, stopping and starting like a video as I examine the nuances of the stilled frame.
Maybe I eat too much fish. How many other people have herring for breakfast every day? No one else that I know, that’s for sure. It used to be a mackerel fillet but now I’m on the hard stuff.
The kids are settling down into the new school year, but how is it for you? A welcome return to predictable hours, or a never-ending struggle to evenly balance an awkward school timetable with the competing demands of your employer?
Thanks to the incredible sunny weather of late, Nick is delighted to have his first-cut silage in and covered.
Inon Dan Kehati is an ex-Israeli Defence Force soldier. He was recommended to me by a friend, so I personally met with him in Jerusalem. We spent two hours together talking and drinking coffee. However, due to time constraints and other commitments at the time, this interview was done via Skype, after I had left Israel.
Social media offers us the possibility of direct communication with politicians.
With the spring in our step and the subtle hint of a warm breeze, it seems like summer has finally arrived and we are seeing stripes.
With autumn coming to a swift end, the brisk icy mornings of winter are starting to emerge, with fur coats and woolly scarves making an exit from wardrobes across the region.