Category Archives: Notes and Tales

The more, the merrier

Among my earliest memories of my father, a quiet, hard-working, decent man, is going down with him to the vegetable patch he worked and cultivated, in the south west of Glasgow. For although he spent most of his life in … Continue reading

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Shoe polishing with Flash

I was Second Porter in the old Grand Hotel in Glasgow’s Charing Cross, in 1968. My brother Neil was page boy, and our mutual friend Mike was also a porter. On the night staff, one of the night porters was … Continue reading

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Miss Potter’s Flick

Now here’s a thing you need to know about fencing, though it shouldn’t put you off. Sometimes – not often, thankfully, but sometimes –¬†you take a hit in the nuts. If a bloke hits you in the jewels, he stops¬†instantly, … Continue reading

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Maggie’s house

Last month, Maggie’s house burned down. “Have you got a few minutes to talk?” she said on the phone. I’ve always got time to talk with Maggie, whatever I’m doing. “There’s been a fire”, she said, “everything’s gone, Alec.” I … Continue reading

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Lawrence Winfield

Lawrence, 1950 – 1998 Every year my brothers and sister and I make a point of having at least one get-together in Glasgow, travelling from wherever we are, by way of making sure we keep in touch, and by way … Continue reading

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Retribution and a name

This is a story about my brother’s name. It will mean nothing to anybody except myself and a few others, but I’m going to tell it here, because I’m still startled at how it was resolved. I’ve said many times … Continue reading

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What not to tell teacher

Ali was a little late getting home from school. He’d just come back from visiting William, with whom he’d been playing snooker. William was convalescing on return from hospital, recovering from severe head injuries sustained in a road accident. Did … Continue reading

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On (not) doing it yourself

Chaos Theory predicts that startling events may result from insignificant beginnings. I have read Structural Stability and Morphogenesis from start to finish, and nowhere is there a discussion on the bifurcational consequences of using a small screwdriver. Rene Thom may … Continue reading

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A tale of two (or more) maggots

Life Chez MacPhee during my time as an OU student wasn’t without what might be called ‘moments of interest’. Perhaps I should have stuck to mathematics and hard sums, but the lure of science, and practical science, proved hard to … Continue reading

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Ali’s web

I had come home later than usual one night, long past Ali’s bedtime, and as I came upstairs, Frances said to me “I think you should go upstairs and see what Alasdair has done.” My heart sank. This is normally … Continue reading

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