Tuesday, 26 April 2011


Dear Readers I have something of a quandary which I hope that one of you can help me with!

As I may have mentioned before I have a portfolio of part-time jobs to keep body and soul together (such is the lot of the free lance writer). One of these involves escorting a seven year old disabled Asian boy to school in a taxi.

My contract ends in June because the littl
e boy is going to a specialist school on the other side of town.

Here's my quandary: I have known this little boy for two years and grown rather fond of him. He faces all his difficulties bravely and cheerfully and I'd like to get him some small gift as a token of my affection and a memento of our time together.

But what!!!

It wouldn't be appropriate to spend too much. I was thinking about five or six quid -six or seven U.S. bucks. The child is Muslim so I will have to be careful not to offend any sensibilities. Also in these Politically Correct times I have to be very careful not to give anyone the wrong idea.

So what do you think? Is there wise counsel out there? Should I get my little friend an innocent treat or let the whole thing pass, be extra cautious, bend my knee to political correctness and see a little boy robbed of a small but happy moment?

Friday, 15 April 2011


From time to time I hope to bring you another addition to what I'm going to call my Gallery of Small "Saints".

Some of these "Saints" are known to me personally, others may be writers, artists or musicians etc. The one thing that they will all have in common is that they all add, in their own way, to the sum of human happiness. In however great or modest a fashion, they make the world a better place to live in. They appear in no particular order of merit.

I have known Gladys, vaguely, for many years but only recently gotten to know her better.

The thing that always impressed me whenever I saw her in the street was how well dressed she always was, but there is nothing ostentatious about her. She dresses simply and elegantly and has great poise and dignity.She told me recently that she was in her 70's and it came as a genuine surprise to me.

Gladys is a modest woman in the best sense of that word, but "modest" should never be confused with "insignificant". People like my friend form the very spine of society. They are the ones that work, look after aged relatives, support friends and continue to foster a sense of community in a society that seems hell bent on tearing that very thing apart.

Gladys IS significant for she and her like (and, happily for us, there are more of them than you may think) are the perfect antidote to the ME FIRST society.

They don't talk psychobabble. They are not slaves to every passing fashion or the latest sociological theories. Like Gladys, they have a clear eye and a good heart and their value to us all is immeasurable. We may not always notice people like Gladys but if they all disappeared tomorrow the whole world would feel the draught.

I usually put some sort of illustration on my postings. Illustrations are there to illuminate but Glady's qualities are illumination enough and now I am glad that you have met her.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011


I would be delighted to receive poems or short pieces on any subject for inclusion in "guest posts" which I hope to feature regularly. No payment I'm afraid but full credits and you can include a potted biography of yourself, mentioning any charitable organisations that you are involved with.

If interested, email me on johnnicollendeavour@yahoo.co.uk.


Friday, 1 April 2011


All right, now I know that all YOUR Mums are the best in the world, but the modest verse below goes some towards explaining why I think that mine is.

She is 91 now and has served her country as a Wren Officer during World War 2. If you are reading this in the U.S. that means she was a Woman Royal Navy Officer. At one point she was operating only 22 miles from Rommel's approaching army.

She was one of the generation who brought our National Health Service into being and, of course, funded it through her taxes and, as well as helping to bring up three children in a secure, happy and stable environment (of a sort that a lot of kids these days can only dream of) she held down a series of important and worthwhile jobs.

When we got home from school we used to have our evening meal together, during which she'd always talk to us like the intelligent human beings she knew us to be and tell us in great detail about the book she was currently reading. I KNOW that this was where I got my love of Language and Literature.

I hope to produce a fuller biography of this fine lady (and one of my father) soon.

John Robertson Nicoll

The pebble on the beach
and the wave
are good metaphors,
I think.
For the wave alone
gives the pebble its form,
returning time and again
to spend everything on the stone
which, owing to its nature,
can never adequately give thanks
for each gift -
each act of forgivenness.