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  • The least of these...

    The contrast between a Hebridean beach and the Emirates cricket ground in Old Trafford could hardly be more stark.  A lone piper plays laments as the flag-draped coffin of a 14 year-old girl is carried across the beach en route to its final resting place.

    Today a family laid to rest their beautiful daughter, one of 22 people killed in Manchester.  Today their reaonsable hopes and dreams for her were buried in the rich earth of the place where she had played a child.

    There are no words to speak in the face of such tragedy.  There is nothing that can begin to touch the pain the sorrow of those who knew and loved Eilidh MacLeod.

    Eilidh is one person, and in some small way symbolises the countless people who, world-wide, are innocent victims of terror attacks.  She is one of "the least of these" of whom Jesus speaks - and the way we treat them, the things we do or fail to do for them, are done to him.

    Rest peacefully, Eilidh.  I never knew you, you are, to me, just a name, just a photograph on a television screen.  To your family, and to all who knew and loved you, you are more precious than gold, more beautiful than diamonds, and leave an unfillable gap in their lives.  May God hold you - and all vitims of terror and violence - safely in the arms of love.

    Eternal rest grant unto her, oh Lord,

    And let perpetual light shine upon her

    May she rest in peace


  • Love Wins...

    Some eagle eyed OB crew member spotted this wonderful moment when a police officer was dancing with children at the #OneLoveManchester event last night, and managed to get it broadcast.  The video lasts just about one second, but speaks volumes.

    Personally, I don't want to see more armed police on our streets.  Armed response can be summoned very swiftly if needed - and can be targeted where needed.  Others of course may think differently.

    This image is defiant and fun and utterly-British (I'd say Mancunian but I know the same spirit exists in London and Glasgow and Warrington, all places I've lived and all of which have known tragedy).  It says that evil cannot defeat good.  It says that fear cannot defeat enjoyment.  It says that love wins.

    Last night Ariana Grande fronted an event that was a peaceful and joyful rejection of evil.  Many profound - and apparently faith-based - words were spoken by young performers.  That this response was possible gives me hope.

  • Perception

    I have a weak right ankle.  It's always been weak, and it's not helped by the fact that it has been twisted, strained and sprained more than a few times through the years.  This morning I began Week 4 of the Coach to 5k programme, and part way through the second 5 minute run interval, my ankle was hurting sufficiently that I chose to abort the run and walk the rest of the time (and then home again!).

    For much of my adult life, I've declared that I couldn't do running becuase of my weak ankle... somewhere along the line I'd forgotten that, and the past three weaks of steadily increasing the amount of running has been problem free.  Today that weakness reasserted itself, and I've decided to take a break for a couple of weeks, and then try again beginning with Week 3 - after all, I was fine with the three minutes runs!

    Of course I'm disappointed to have to stop this programme - I was starting to enjoy it!  But I am also really chuffed with I have achieved already.  Three weeks ago I could barely run for 30 seconds, and today, in total, I ran for about 14 minutes, including one continuous run of 5 minutes.  I could wallow in disappointment, or even be envious or resentful of others who are progressing steadily to greater distances, but actually, I'm really pleased with what I've achieved.  Knowing that I can now run for up to five minutes at a time, and that I can alternate that with walking three or four times, is a good achievement.

    Hopefully in a couple of weeks, having dug out one of my many ankle supports from my distance walking kit, I can have another go.  I may, yet, reach the goal of running for 30 minutes!  For now, I am content to enjoy what I've achieved.