The New Year of 2018 initially promised much to celebrate. My continued improvement towards normal brain function, towards normality, towards being able to build a new productive future but, once again, after a wonderful 6.74 miles walked ascending 1207 feet in the Blackford and Braid Hills on New Year’s Day, whilst being treated to a musical feast of Handel’s Messiah by the Edinburgh Royal Choral Union and the Edinburgh Pro Musica Orchestra in the Usher Hall on the 2nd of January, I was reminded of the frailty of my tentative recovery.

Handel's Messiah by the Edinburgh Royal Choral Union and the Edinburgh Pro Musica Orchestra at Usher Hall
Handel’s Messiah by the Edinburgh Royal Choral Union and the Edinburgh Pro Musica Orchestra at Usher Hall

Earlier in the day I had found that I had my lefts and rights and tops and bottoms confused as I packed and prepared for the day and had to remind myself how to swallow safely as I choked on a small piece of breakfast but otherwise felt good. We found our seats in the Usher hall and the orchestra came in to applause, followed by the chorus and then of course the soloists, and then the conductor and still I felt good with just the slightest pressure wave washing through my head like a ripple from a drop of water. But then, for only a couple of minutes it all went wrong. The conductor brought the orchestra to the ready position then with a flourish started waving his hands around, the bows on the string instruments were flowing backwards and forwards and the tenor was standing at the front, his mouth moving, but there was not a sound. Not a slightest note from the orchestra or the tenor or the magnificent organ to his rear, not a cough from the audience or the creaking of a chair. I was suddenly profoundly deaf with just the tinnitus, a constant noise in my deaf right ear being the only noise that could be heard. This surreal experience was reinforced by the discipline of the chorus who sat, motion and expressionless to the rear of the orchestra in their black and white. Then the bows of the strings stopped, the chorus stood, the tenor sat, the baritone stood and my hearing returned, the first sound a muffled cough from an elderly gentleman to my left. The conductor started the beautiful harmony of sound with another flourish, the bows were flowing, the cheeks of the wind instrumentalists were puffing and the chorus were singing and the music was heavenly until so very quickly, after the start of this next piece, like an old television set, my vision started to fuzz and the image roll down out of sight and back down into sight while going fuzzy then clear, then fuzzy then clear and being completely unstable as it drifted up and down and left and right, much like the retuning of an old TV, with the only thing missing being the hissing white noise of the interference, but still there was this beautiful music and slowly the image settled, came into focus but only a part of it. I had lost some vision from the very centre of my eye but kept my peripheral vision. It was like a complete reversal of my seizure during my oncology clinic in which my peripheral vision went entirely. This time however it was the very centre of my vision. If I tried to look at the chorus I could see nothing. I could hear them but not see them. I could see the galleries either side of the stage, I could see most of the orchestra, I could see the body of the baritone and the conductor stood to the front but I could not see their heads or the chorus. I sat and tried to lose myself in the music but instead waited, with some fear, for the rest of the seizure, but it never came. The misfire in the brain settled and all services were returned to normal. As they did so I noticed that Allie had had a firm grip of my hand, she was well aware that something had been wrong so sought to reassure me that she was there. I turned to her, smiled through watery eyes and reassured her that I was okay and indeed I was. Not perfect, but okay, and thoroughly enjoying the audio visual extravaganza now that I had been tuned in correctly.

After the concert we travelled home in the company of Liz and Malcolm who had become like surrogate parents to us as a couple, as they helped, advised and supported us on our marital journey in the face of such difficult and great uncertainties driven by the uncertain nature of my condition. Allie had taken on the additional burden of me while in the grip of her studies and writing towards obtaining her PhD and we were managing together really well. Our marriage was getting stronger day by day, week by week but it was a significant challenge and a real emotional drain on Allie as she supported me through seizure after seizure in the many random and unexpected guises that they came, so it was a real comfort for us both and for our parents to know that we both were under the loving watch of Liz and Malcolm McGregor as we forged a new path together.

Liz and Malcolm had some friends with them, and on the journey home on the bus we had the chance to get to know each other better. Douglas and Hazel were a wonderful couple who clearly had a very tight and supportive marriage as Hazel willingly and lovingly supported her husband Douglas as he travelled the world leading his most amazing of expeditions. Douglas helped young people to lead their own humanitarian and adventurous expeditions around the world in order to provide a safe platform from which young people can develop planning, leadership, self-reliance and survival skills. I was hugely inspired by his stories of these young men and women, many of whom were troubled by circumstances completely out of their control, but grew so visibly in confidence and self-belief from their experiences on these expeditions. His stories reminded me of an experience I had as a young man. I was not a troublesome youngster but was a troubled youngster in that I had no idea where I wanted to go. I was not brainy, sporty, musical or artistic, had little money and was far from cool, so just did not seem to fit into any box, and tried many different things to try and find a future direction. One morning, as a 16 year old boy I saw a poster on the school notice board advertising two week voyages on the Sir Winston Churchill, a three masted topsail schooner, and how it would help build self-confidence in young people. I had little to no self-confidence so asked my stepdad David if he might help me go. I was working on a pig farm on Sundays for £50 a month and on a normal farm at the holidays but that was in return for riding lessons as I couldn’t afford to pay for lessons, so I could drop the working on the farm for lessons in order to find another paying job, but would potentially lose the amazingly generous opportunity that was teaching me how to ride forever. So without David’s help I couldn’t go. He agreed to help and made up the significant difference left over from my £50 a month saved. I was able to go and arrived at the ship which was in dock in Newcastle harbour. I arrived at the same time as the remaining 35 trainees who had all been sent by the probationary service. This group of troublesome youngsters was a real eye opener for me. I became acutely aware of the plum surgically implanted in my mouth at birth and kept my mouth firmly closed. I just stood in a corner on the deck next to my bag and watched as knives came from pockets and some of the young men started to try to graffiti their names into the masts and wooden rails on the sides. But the crew were clearly ready for them because up they came from below with armfuls of harnesses. We were formed into three watches of 12 and I took my place as a member of fore watch responsible for the sails at the front of the boat and the sails on and at the top of the foremast. That meant that, after a quick demonstration, we had to put on our harnesses and firstly walk out along the bowsprit on the narrow foot rope called the ‘widow maker’ before returning to climb the rigging up the foremast towards the yard arms, from which the square sails hang. I discovered that I did not have a fear of heights as I had long suspected, I had a fear of falling but with a harness firmly clipped on there was nothing to be feared about and I discovered my role on this ship. A number of these 12 young men, too many for the watch leader to manage had frozen entirely and with jelly legs refused to climb the rigging. They hung on for grim death to the mast. For the first time ever I discovered that having a plum in my mouth wasn’t quite so much of a curse. I told the watch leader my idea and he looked rather surprised as I opened my mouth, but he agreed. So I climbed back down the rigging past those of the watch who had made it up, got to the bottom, unhooked myself and wandered over to the three mutineers. I opened my mouth and started to speak. I cannot remember what I said exactly but I remember vividly the surprise on these boys faces as I started to try and encourage them to come up. Quickly the conversation turned into banter. A friendly mocking of my accent and so I seized my opportunity. I challenged them to beat this ‘plummy southern poofter’ up the rigging to the top of the upper yard arm right at the very top of the mast. Their eyes popped out of their heads, their mouths clamped shut, and one of them looked like he was going to thump me but the other two turned towards the rigging, hooked on and started to climb, so the third followed suit. I went right behind them and talked them, rung by rung, step by step, up to the watch leader and the rest of the team at the top. I smiled and knew that I had learned a valuable lesson that day but it was days later, after saving my first life, that I learned another. One night, half way through the voyage, I had come off watch and handed over to the other watch so it was time for bed. We were tired after 5 days or so at sea but something about the guy in the top bunk across the berth was disturbing me. He had always been reserved and hadn’t socialised much with the rest of the crew. He was horribly sea sick from the start of the voyage but was due on deck for his duty yet appeared to be fidgeting, distracted, stalling for time. I wasn’t sure what to do but he was not my responsibility and if his watch needed him they would come and get him, so as the snores from the other crew members started to vibrate through the deck I settled back, and through drooping eye lids kept an eye on this young man. Tiredness was grabbing a hold of me but something told me to keep an eye on him and each time I managed to glance in his direction, through the very dim grey light of the berth deck at night, I could just about make out this young man sitting up in bed, then as I managed to prize my eyelids up again I saw him swing his legs over the side of the bunk, then in a rather clumsy motion twist as if to lower himself down to the floor with his back to me. He stopped with his feet on the empty bottom bunk. Good I thought, he was getting up to join his watch, but something still wasn’t quite right so I kept my eyes open sure that he couldn’t see me trying to spy on him through the gloom and sure enough he stuck a foot out behind him to step down on to the floor and dropped, only he didn’t hit the floor. Suddenly he was hanging with his feet a good foot from the floor, kicking and jerking and grasping at his neck while making the most horrific sounds and peeing. My tired mind immediately realised what was happening. He had stolen some rope and tied it to the metal beam above his bunk and tried to hang himself. I jumped out of my bunk and rushed across to his jerking body, bundled his urine stained legs in my arms and lifted him off the rope. It wasn’t easy as he flopped forwards onto the rope and tried to kick me away. I gripped tightly as the side of my face was buried into his piss stained jeans to help keep him steady and bear his weight off the rope. I screamed for help and screamed and screamed and screamed until eventually somebody woke up. ‘Go to the galley and get a knife’ I screamed and somebody did, clambered up onto the top bunk and cut the rope. Stuart flopped forward over my shoulder and somehow I found the strength to keep hold of him, and stumble forward to drop him onto the bottom bunk in front of me under his own. He banged his head quite hard on the bunk frame on the way in but it didn’t seem to matter for he lay there choking as he pulled and pulled with all his might on the cut end of the noose to try and strangle himself. Try as I might I could not release his hands from the rope. I knew not what to do so just stuck my fingers down either side of his windpipe to try and make his breathing easier. He stopped choking but breathed in painful rasping breaths as he continued to try and strangle himself staring directly at me with wild and sad eyes. As the bottoms of my fingers went purple I screamed to my assistant, ‘Get the Captain.’ My assistant ran off and came back quickly to tell me that the Captain would be down after the weather report!’ I was furious at the time as I continued my struggle with Stuart but now understood that the Captain had the safety of the entire crew to consider first, and in an ancient sailing vessel crewed by 36 novice teenagers he had to be hugely careful of the weather. Eventually, he came below, just at the time that I managed to convince Stuart to let go of the rope. The Captain had a quick chat with Stuart, tapped me on the shoulder to thank me then quietly informed Stuart’s watch officer to appoint an overnight watch on him so that I could clean myself up and get some rest.

View of Edinburgh from Blackford Hill
View of Edinburgh from Blackford Hill

The next day Stuart’s suicide attempt was the talk of the crew and Stuart remained a recluse outcast by his own actions. I went across to him and asked if he wanted to get some air. He said yes so he came to join me in the bow of the ship where there was a quiet spot in the shadow of a cabin roof in which we could talk and enjoy the view, and the splendid creaking atmosphere of a tall ship under sail. Stuart pulled out two enormous cigars thrusting one into my hand while informing me that it was a very fine cigar. I knew nothing of cigars so took his word for it. Certainly it looked very fine and I guessed that it had fallen off the back of a lorry but also guessed that all that Stuart needed in return was a listening ear. So I gave him one, and for the next hour or so I became greener and greener as I tried to smoke this enormous great cigar but I developed greater and greater sympathy for Stuart even though he had given me quite a rude awakening and the need to hand wash my night time kit. The conversation had started slowly and rather shyly as his neck showed all the red raw signs of the stresses of the night before but slowly and surely he told me his story. He had one of the most horrific of starts to life that I had ever come across and was ever to come across so I could do nothing but listen. I had no advice to offer or pearls of wisdom as I had never come across such deprivation and desperation so just listened until Stuart grabbed my hand in his and lifted it to his head to let me feel an enormous great bump on his head. ‘You did that’ he said. I apologised profusely but he let go of my hand and held up his hand in a request for me to stop. ‘It’s okay’ he said. ‘I needed it, it knocked some sense into me.’ He continued before smiling at me and saying quietly and shyly, while staring at his nearly dead end of his cigar, ‘thank you.’ I knew that Stuart needed a friend on this voyage so became that friend. He became a fisherman shortly after that voyage but sadly we lost contact with each other quite quickly as Stuart wrote back only the once, so I have no idea what he is up to now. But my hope is that his new career as a fisherman went well and continues, because on the rest of our voyage on the Winston Churchill he never stopped smiling and slowly but surely grew in confidence. He appeared to rise out of the ashes like a phoenix. But I never forgot that experience and how powerful and life changing a thing it was to just listen. I saved his life by lifting his legs, but gave him new life just by listening. A lesson I carry with me for life.

Archie And Allie On Blackford Hill
Archie And Allie On Blackford Hill

On the 3rd of January I was off on a bike train bike adventure to the Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert for my ENT check up with my most amazing ENT consultant who had saved my life over 4 years ago by listening, reading my notes and then bypassing the queue and getting me scanned. He found the cholesteatoma and the brain tumour. He handed the brain tumour onto the Neurology team in the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh but dealt with the cholesteatoma and after surgery, like the brain tumour, I heard that it was the largest cholesteatoma that he had ever had to operate on. Apparently it kept coming out of the ear like handkerchiefs out of a clown’s pocket, but he had successfully removed it and it hadn’t become cancerous so this appointment was just a check-up. Sadly, he found evidence of a resurgence of the cholesteatoma which is apparently quite normal but was most disappointing after managing to stay on top of it for quite so long. He has found it so it was nothing to worry about as the next MRI on the brain in February will confirm or deny the presence of a new growth in the ear and allow early treatment to protect my hearing and inner ear in my left ear. I had every confidence in my ENT consultant so was not feared by the resurgence of the cholesteatoma but as I walked out of the hospital, my thoughts turned to my brain tumour that was triggered by the same blunt force trauma to the right temporal lobe that triggered my cholesteatoma. If the cholesteatoma had resurfaced after all this time, what if the brain tumour had? The two appeared to have very similar growth rates and so I was now concerned about the next MRI and now understood what my brain surgeon had said after surgery in which he was only able to remove 40% of the tumour. That I should be thankful for the 40 years I had had without the nagging doubt about the tumour. So I was in low mood as I approached my bicycle to start the journey home but as I climbed on to my bike two swans flew so noisily, gracefully and low over my head, so close that I could look them right in the eye in wonder, thus reminding myself of the beauty that can be found in life, that life was worth fighting for, for me and for everybody else and that small changes in how we live our lives can bring immense benefits. My move to the city of Edinburgh from the countryside of Doune was a difficult one, but that move brought the delight of living married life with Allie, and as I spread my wings across the city I have been treated to the delights of a pair of kingfishers on the Union Canal who flew from their perch just ahead of me as I ploughed up the canal towpath on my bike preceded by the audible plops of water voles into the canal. On that same canal on another day I had some fledged cygnets, being taught to fly up the canal by their parents, sweep so low over my head on the towpath that I had to duck slightly on the bike and could feel the downdraft from their wings as they passed overhead. I have also witnessed the delight of seven swans a flying over the Firth of Forth, eider ducks bobbing about on the Firth while a seal rested on the shore on an early morning. With goosanders on the Water of Leith, the list of wildlife that I have been discovering in the city could go on. I have found a whole new community and more wonderful people. I found much beauty in the city as I embraced this new way of living and embraced whatever life could throw at me.

On our walk on New Year’s Day in which we took in Blackford and Braid hills I had been in buoyant mood and had wished a very happy new year to each and every person or friends or family group that we passed in the pouring rain, and without fail it brought a smile and cheery happy responses from each group. By doing nothing more than wishing the best to complete strangers, Allie and I were bringing joy into their life, and this reminded me once again of the incredible impact that making small changes to the way we lead and live our lives can have on so many more people.

But while I rejoiced and was truly thankful for all the wonderful medical treatment that I am receiving and the gifts of life that I have been blessed with, the news on Radio 4 carried stories of further discontent on the very idea of Brexit and the progress of the negotiations, and the burgeoning pressure on the NHS which challenged my positive view on life and after hearing a damming summary on the state of the world at the end of 2017, I did some quick research and discovered that last year alone, around the world:

  • There were 9,105,014 refugees
  • There were 27,042,542 internally displaced people
  • There were 335,011 deaths in conflict zones and at the hands of terrorist incidents
  • There were 172,390 peacekeepers on duty away from home day in, day out, every single day
  • There were 795,000,000 starving worldwide
  • There were 100,000,000 homeless worldwide
  • There were 45,800,000 slaves worldwide
  • There are currently 1,300,000,000 people at risk from climate change related natural disasters.
  • There was £1,916,475,195.96 lost to corruption worldwide that could have fed the starving and housed the homeless
  • There will likely be over 500,000 deaths from preventable diseases in the UK next year.

These figures literally took my breath away and my heart sank as I just couldn’t fathom how the world in its entirety was ever going to be able to stop this worsening catalogue of human tragedy. The complexity of problems is mind boggling and the scale of the tragedy beyond comprehension. This is not a world I wanted to gift to my children. This is not a world that I want to re-enter after such a long and continuing fight for life. But like life, it is a world worth fighting for. Somehow we needed to find a way to:

  • Negotiate peace between Israel and Palestine
  • Negotiate a peaceful resolution of nuclear negotiations and posturing between North Korea and the rest of the world
  • Negotiate an end to hostilities in Libya
  • Negotiate a calming of relations between Russia and Ukraine
  • Negotiate a movement towards tolerance and an embracing of religious and non-religious diversity by the Islamic fundamentalist organisations who are creating many flash points across the globe
  • Negotiate a cessation of tensions between China and Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Taiwan, Indonesia, and the Philippines over territory and control of oil and natural gas deposits
  • Negotiate a cessation of violence between the Buddhist and Muslim communities in Myanmar
  • Negotiate a simmering of tensions between China and the Muslim Uighur separatist movement
  • Negotiate a simmering of tensions between India and Pakistan
  • Negotiate a cessation of violence between Turkey and Kurdish groups
  • Negotiate a simmering of tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan
  • Negotiate an end to hostilities in Yemen
  • Negotiate an end to hostilities in South Sudan
  • Negotiate an end to hostilities in Burundi
  • Negotiate a cessation of hostilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Negotiate a cessation to hostilities in the Central African Republic
  • Feed the starving of the world
  • House the homeless of the world
  • Free the slaves of the world
  • Prevent further climate change
  • Reduce the pressure on the NHS by reducing the prevalence of preventable diseases.

The seizure during The Messiah involving a loss of hearing and visual blind spots reminded me that there is still much work to be done to get my brain in order, and in all the hotspots of the world, to find peace and a reduction of poverty. But my message for this New Year is that no matter how enormous and complex the hurdle may appear to be, it can be tackled and tackled successfully. We just have to work hard, think differently, and approach the hurdles differently. We might have to live our lives slightly differently and embrace change and all the benefits that it can bring. We have to build and strengthen teams, not destroy them for one’s own self service. We must embrace diversity because to run away from diversity and from the frictions of working within a large and diverse team will only force a greater harmful change with a greater unfulfilled diversity and the greater frictions that come with it. If we continue to bury our head in the sand and refuse to realise the undeniable truth that is staring us square in the face we will fail and only make life harder for us all. We can no longer rely on the state to solve all our problems. We must start to realise our own individual responsibility towards assisting in the delivery of positive changes through our own decisions and actions. But we need to be led, and led well, so for the New Year I give you my plea that I wrote for myself at the start of my battle with my brain tumour and that I adapted from a wonderful poem by Rudyard Kipling, and notes from the integral church website and cobbled together with further work given to me or found by me on my travels, mostly, sadly, by authors unknown. I give it to you now in the naive hope that we might all act upon the advice given and starting from the top down and bottom up start to make those small but critically important changes in the way we live and lead our daily lives in order to try and enable and effect positive change in our own health and happiness, at home and across the world.

If we can keep our heads when all about us are losing theirs and blaming it on us,

If we can trust ourselves when everyone doubts us but make allowance for their doubting too,

If we can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or be lied about but don’t deal in lies,

Or be hated but don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good,

Nor talk too wise,

If we can dream and not make dreams our master,

If we can think and not make thoughts our aim,

If we can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same,

If we can bear to hear the truth we’ve spoken twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things we gave our lives to broken,

Yet stoop and build ‘em up again with worn out tools,

If we can talk with crowds and keep our virtue,

Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt us,

If ALL people count with us, but none too much,

If we can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run,

If we can live and act by the very teachings of our faith,

Then ours is the earth and we can save everything that lives upon it.


If we do not lose our temper or panic when others are,

If we can be patient as a virtue,

If we can concentrate not on how we look and sound, but rather on the substance of our actions,

If we can let harsh words or lies flow off us like water off a duck’s back and not deal in harsh words or lies,

If we can have a dream and desire to achieve it but not at the expense of others,

If we can live by the law of reciprocity and do unto others what we would have them do to us,

If we can speak the truth for ‘Sincerity is the way of heaven, and to think how to be sincere is the way of a man’ – Confucius,

If we can remember that ‘It is More Blessed to Give than to Receive’, for generosity, charity and kindness will open an individual to an unbounded reservoir of riches.

If we can know that Heaven is Within – ‘Even as the scent dwells within the flower, so God within thine own heart forever abides’ – Sikhism

If we can remember to ‘Love Thy Neighbour’, to ‘Conquer With Love’, and that ‘All You Need is Love’ for acts of faith, prayer and deep meditation provide us with the strength that allows love for our fellow people to become an abiding part of our lives. Love is a unifying force.

If we can remember that ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers’ for when people live in the awareness that there is a close kinship between all individuals and nations, peace is the natural result.

If we can remember that we ‘Reap what we sow’ for this is the great mystery of human life. Aware or unaware, all are ruled by this inevitable law of nature.

If we can remember that we should not harm ourselves or others – Islam.

If we can remember that ‘Man does not live by bread alone’ for the blessings of life are deeper than that which can be appreciated by the senses.

If we ‘Do no harm’ for if someone tries to hurt another, it means that person is perceiving that other person as something separate and foreign from herself.

If we can find the courage to ‘Forgive’ for the most beautiful thing a man can do is to forgive wrong – Judaism.

If we can ‘Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged’ as an expression that humankind is one great family, and that we all spring from a common source.

If we can ‘Be slow to anger’ for anger clouds the mind in the very moments that clarity and objectivity are needed most. “The person who holds back rising anger like a rolling chariot, I call a real driver; others only hold the reins.” – Buddha.

If we can truly believe that ‘There is But One God / God is Love – Nature, Being, The Absolute.’ for whatever name people choose for God, there is but one God. All people and all things are of one essence.

If we can truly ‘Follow the SPIRIT of the Scriptures, Not the Words’ – “Study the words, yes, but look behind them to the thought they indicate; And having found it, throw the words away, as chaff when you have sifted out the grain.” – Hinduism.

If we can remember that it is the duty of all who can to help the poor and needy – Islam.

If we can embrace all who come to us no matter how different they might be,

If we can make every second of this wonderful life that we have been blessed with count,

Then we will achieve peace, feed the starving, house the homeless, free the slaves, save the planet from ourselves, and have health, happiness and success.


  • Take time to think, it is the source of power,
  • Take time to play, it is the source of perpetual youth,
  • Take time to read, it is the fountain of wisdom,
  • Take time to pray, it is the greatest power on earth,
  • Take time to love and be loved, it is a God-given privilege,
  • Take time to be friendly, it is the road to happiness,
  • Take time to laugh, it is the music of the soul,
  • Take time to give, it is too short a day to be selfish,
  • Take time to work, it is the price of success,
  • Take time to do charity, it is the key to heaven,


If like me,

You might not be the sportiest

You might not be the coolest

You might not be the brainiest

You might not be the most musical

You might not be the most artistic

You might not have much money

But you are you

You are unique and have such a powerful voice in the way that you talk and act, but also in the way that we listen as part of the diversifying worldwide team in which we all find ourselves,

We must embrace with open arms those who come to us no matter how different they be,

Think and speak no ill of people,

Work hard,

And Never, ever, ever, ever give up,

We can and will do it!!!


To achieve all that I implore of us we must:

Untie the knots that are in our minds, our hearts and our lives,

Remove the have nots, the can nots and the do nots that are in our minds,

Erase the will nots, the may nots, and the might nots that may find a home in our hearts,

Release ourselves from the could nots, the would nots and should nots that obstruct our lives,

And most of all,

I ask that we remove from our hearts, our minds and our lives all of the ‘am nots’ that we have allowed to hold us back,

Especially the thought that we are not good enough to make things better,

Because now we know that we are good enough, we can and we will.

So I ask us all to stand before our fellow humankind impelled by visions of the harmony of humankind,

We are children of many traditions,

Inheritors of shared wisdom and tragic misunderstandings, of proud hopes and humble successes,

Now it is time for us to meet in memory and truth, in courage and trust, in love and promise,

In that which we share let us see the common prayer of humanity,

In that which we differ let us wonder at the freedom of humankind,

In our unity and our differences, let us know the uniqueness that is God,

May our courage match our convictions and our integrity match our hope,

May our faith in our God bring us closer to each other,

May our meeting with past and present bring blessings for the future,


There are many important and enormous jobs to be done and Everybody is sure that Somebody will do it. Anybody could do it, but Nobody is doing it. Somebody is getting angry about that, because it is Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It is ending up that Everybody is blaming Somebody when Nobody is doing what Anybody could do.

For us ALL to have life, a much, much better life, Everybody must make small changes to the way they live and lead their daily lives and in doing so, Everybody can become a Somebody, a life saver. But if Nobody does it. Nothing will change.

So don’t try to be perfect. Instead strive to be a most excellent example of a human being.

We must:

“Do all the Good we can by all the Means we can, in all the Places we can, at all the times we can, to all the people we can , for as long as ever we can.”

— John Wesley

We can all see things that need to be done so we must stop moaning about it and expecting somebody else to do it and instead do it. Do anything that you can to help enable positive change and help anyone in any way that you can for as long as ever you can. The creed, the colour and the name don’t matter. Are you there?

Yours aye for a happy, healthy peace-filled 2018 in which we manage to stop corruption, feed the starving, house the homeless, free the slaves of the world, prevent further climate change and reduce the pressure on the NHS by reducing the prevalence of preventable diseases.

Let’s make all that follows in 2018 and beyond so much better than all that has gone before.