Sneaking Out The Back Door

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Well I never been good at goodbyes
I’m gonna sneak out the back door
Nobody can say that I didn’t try
Gonna sneak out the back door
Let it ride, let the whole thing slide
Drift far from the shore
Don’t wanna be missed
Didn’t even exist
I’m gonna sneak out
Sneak out the back door

And when my life is over
I’m gonna sneak out the back door
Before the mood turns sober
I’m gonna sneak out the back door
Hadn’t much of a “Midas Touch”
No luck to be sure
Would you give my regards to the people in charge
While I sneak out
Sneak out the back door

A perfect goodbye to an old family friend.   Everyone has that family friend that you can call your ‘uncle’ or ‘aunt’ even though they are not related by blood, they are always there, and always great fun to be around.   This was Jim, he was uncle Jim and Aunt Marilyn (and Bob, Mitzi, Jura and Jess – the four legged friends).

The memories I have of my younger days of being up in Aviemore will always be a part of me until the day I sneak out the back door.   We often stayed with them in Glenmore in the summer as children and young adults, we watched movies with them, we went walks with the dogs, we travelled throughout the highlands, we enjoyed the holiday photographs on the large projector, we were captivated by the long conversations about live and recorded music.

Only recently after having Amélie and Leo I saw a different side to Jim, I saw a more fatherly side to him that I had never noticed with the dogs.   He was caring and held my children with so much love.   Perhaps he knew he wouldn’t be around for ever, and so had to take these times as precious as we all should remember to.    I’m so glad my children were able to meet with Jim, Amélie was so sad at the funeral, she was very fond of him and “He made her laugh”.   She’ll miss him dearly as will we all.

I am glad and honoured to have known Jim, the gigs I attended with him were always excellent and they always remained the best gig he had ever been to, until the next one.

We were lucky enough to catch many gigs throughout Celtic Connections as well Oh Susanna, Neal Casal, Josh Rouse, Hazy Malaze, Slaid Cleaves, Tom Russell, Ravi Coltrane, and many many more. . .  So, now its time to say Goodbye to an old friend, I’ll always take his memory to gigs he would’ve been at, and I’ll always cherish the times we shared.

See ye up the road ya rascal mccaskill!


My Son, Leo Francis.

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Like when my daughter Amélie Sofia was born, it seemed a good time to take a similar photograph.   Our lives as a family have changed in so many ways,  we have grown in patience for each other (sometimes) and learned about how we parent our children, we have learned that we are both firm but fair parents.   We have also learned that we like to offer opportunity but be mindful not to forget those who have nothing.   Amélie is now at nursery and learning so much every day.   Young Leo is about to embark on a very exciting journey of life, we are so happy and we see a new destination of challenges, different challenges.

He is a beautiful little boy, and will grow into a man with standards and a moral compass that we can only hope to influence and build with him, I hope to shape him into a better man that me, that will be my ultimate goal.   As for Amélie I hope for her the same, that she is strong woman that will be there for her Brother and Mother.   I have no doubt that she will be a smart young woman who will be an excellent Mother one day, just from the way she is interacting with Leo at the moment.   She is an excited big Sister.

So, back to nappies and all the exciting nights of limited sleep.

Here is the one below of Amélie (nearly 4 years ago)

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Best We Forget (or 11.11.11)

Something in my heart makes me refuse to wear a red poppy at this time of year.  It could be a number of things and I hope to bring them to the surface through this blogpost.   I should make it clear firstly that I am eternally grateful, as many others are for the sacrifices made by those in the armed forces who were brave enough and were prepared to give their lives to protect their country. This post is not a opportunity for me to “have a go at people who serve their country” it is a possibility to look at the options we have to honour and remember them in a different way.

From the BBC website, we can see the history of the wearing of the poppy and why it has become the way we honour the the sacrifices made in past wars.   These scarlet corn poppies (popaver rhoeas) grow naturally in conditions of disturbed earth throughout Western Europe.  The destruction brought by the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th Century transformed bare land into fields of blood red poppies, growing around the bodies of the fallen soldiers.   Canadian surgeon John McCrae first mentioned the poppy in his poem In Flanders Fields in 1915 to and it since became a lasting memorial symbol to the fallen.

Its understood from the British Legion website that the money raised from the poppy appeal provides ways for commemorating those who are no longer with us and can provide for the families left behind when those who serve in the front line do not return.  Very sad.

The main issues I have fall into the following:

  • I do not believe war is a solution to a problem.   What do we wear in memory of the innocent victims of war who have not chosen to join the armed forces?
  • I do not think dressing war veterans up in their old clothes / badges / medals is the way to move forward to a peaceful world.  In my opinion this glorifies war and if you keep looking into the past, your future will simply begin to look the same.   We should learn and move on to a future that does not require ‘celebrating war’.
  • I do not think we should label people in the armed forces as “Heroes”, they are no more heroic than doctors, nurses or fire fighters that risk their lives and the lives of others every single day.
  • I do not think people in the media should be ‘forced’ to show respect by wearing a poppy, that simply devalues it to the level as a fashion accessory.   Also another interesting article. 
I hope and pray for a day of peace where we wear white poppies (including this gentleman) until we no longer need to wear one at all.   Its a disgrace that these white poppies have been banned in churches, schools and in the news.  Surely we would rather have a peaceful world than a world where we are pressured into wearing a symbol of unnecessary loss of innocent life?   Its time we think about what we wear and why we wear it, and what statement are we making?