I sit here with sleeves speckled in flour, sweat drying on the brow.  The bread is rising in the kitchen, well it better be otherwise it will be biscuit for toast for the next fortnight.  It’s all that kneading and stretching; the pounding of the dough.  There’s many a frustration can be exorcised under the guise of that basic process that is bread making.

And I’ll get another opportunity later in the week, for I promised to supply the loaves for the Hallowe’en Party which the Parent Council hosts for the school, down at the old rural hall this coming Friday.  The girlies will turn veggies into broth and soup will appear by the turreen load, begging to be dipped into by crusts of ciabatta and focaccia, and woe-betide me if it doesn’t come up to the mark.  So I’ll be exorcising more demons and you never know, by the time the party comes round, I may just have turned into a human again.

Children though will be turned into every monster they can think of, for there are prizes for the best costumes; and it is always the home-made ones that are best.  Never mind the party shop on the high street where those of us with neither talent nor imagination go to be transformed into an arab sheikh, no, think of the two bits of wood that form the basis for the scarecrow, the old ghostly sheets and the like.  That’s the stuff that counts, then it gets covered in black treacle from the scones, or sugar from the doughnuts, after being soaked dookin’ for apples.

It will be a night of inspiration, one that can pass without the need for the demon drink.  In times past we have even indulged in a game of bingo, or a beetle drive.  Oh, these country folk know how to live.

There were children a-plenty yesterday round these parts, for Urchin the Younger celebrated his 6th birthday and the loss of his first tooth, with some chums, and various aunties and the like.  I managed to get back from the football just as the guests were departing, having left plenty of goodies on the table for me to get a chocolate fix before sanity returned and they calmed down enough to be packed off to bed.  Today, I think, will involve lots of wii time, and heaps of lego all over the kitchen table.

What today will not involve is any exercise of a pedal-bike nature.  The shivers crawl over the back and the congestion builds from deep within.  Wimmenfolk will not understand for they are genetically immune from the scourge that is the man-flu, or from sympathy.  It’s one of those things that might mean some medicine.  Perhaps an Islay, or an Irish, but definitely a well-aged malt.  If that doesn’t work, and it rarely does for a splendidly sound sleep invariably ends with the realisation that the malady lingers on; the remedy needs more practice.  In times of real difficulty I have been know to turn to an old Russian remedy.  Heavily peppered vodka, downed Russian-style, has the same effect – a great sleep and more practice needed the next day.

But for real inspiration I turn today not to thoughts of urchins, not even to the football field where the mighty Pollok made it two in a row yesterday for the first time since I can remember, but to Inverness, where I should have been.  Today I listened to the First Minister’s speech to his party conference, in full and uniterrupted, without recourse to any commentary or asides, cycnical or otherwise.  I heard a vision of a Scotland of which I want to be a part; a Scotland for my children and grandchildren.  Forget the soundbites on the news bulletins and the headlines in the press, have a listen to the real thing, all of it.  Be Inspired.

You’ll find the speech through links to the side.  The best way is through the blog that is Moridura, where the speech is posted.  I’d ignore the BBC, more so with each passing day.  As always there is comment at Newsnet Scotland.  Join in, with whatever your views may be.


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