• Arts and Literature,  General,  World View

    Scottish Catholic Magazine

    For many years, the Catholics of Scotland had access to a national Catholic newspaper and from time to time across the years, I wrote the odd article which they printed. The pandemic and all that came with it proved to be the death of that newspaper, which was sold primarily through parishes across Scotland – and of course, the lockdown meant these all closed for a very long period. Consequently, I was delighted some time go to learn that we were to have a new national publication, to be called ‘The Scottish Catholic’. Perhaps best of all, in my view, was that this would be a monthly publication in magazine…

  • Arts and Literature

    The Painting Lady

    I met Moe Rocksmoore a number of years ago at her studio in The Briggait, Glasgow, during an ‘open day’ weekend. An annual event, the studio occupants – painters, sculptors, mixed media artists and others – throw open their doors and welcome visitors, taking the time to engage and to explain their work. We’ve remained friends since then and I follow Moe’s work and career with great interest. I also have the great pleasure of owning an original oil painting she created – in fact it is on the wall above my desk as I write this; I look at it every day and derive pleasure from it now, as…

  • Arts and Literature

    Dracula at 125

    One hundred and twenty five years ago today, on 26th May 1897, Bram Stoker’s seminal novel ‘DRACULA’ was published by Archibald Constable and Company. Since that date, the book has never been out of print – and now that it is out of copyright, new editions are regularly produced. Those familiar with the subsequent incarnations of the vampire Count – most notably, through the excellent Hammer films which brought Dracula to the attention of the masses – might be surprised at just how good the novel, which provides the original source material, really is. Written in an ‘epistolatory’ form, there is not the usual flowing narrative found in most books,…

  • Arts and Literature,  Church Life,  Faith and Life

    An Unholy Place

      More than forty years ago, I spent a few years studying and living here in this building. Now a prestigious care home, in those days it was called Saint Andrew’s College, Drygrange, and it was the major seminary for the Archdiocese of St Andrew’s and Edinburgh. Drygrange had been founded as a seminary by Archbishop – later Cardinal – Gordon Gray, not long after he became archbishop of St Andrew’s and Edinburgh, in 1953. Prior to this, it had been a baronial mansion and a family home. The River Leader, a tributary of the Tweed, ran through the grounds, down past the tennis courts. For a large part of…