Election night 1997

Probably like many, I went to sleep the other night with the radio on so that I could follow the progress of the American presidential election through the night. Only, what actually happened was what happens every time I fall asleep with the radio on: I had a restless night’s sleep.

Each time I woke I also reached for my mobile phone which was lying face down on my bedside table, I turned it over, brushed my finger across the fingerprint reader to unlock it and tapped at the BBC News app as my face lit up from its feint glow. One question: who is winning? Please let it be Biden.

Of course, two days later and we’re still waiting.

Every election night I am reminded of that general election night in 1997, the one where Labour overturned the Conservative government and put Tony Blair into Number 10.

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Helping my sleep pattern with F.lux

It’s now late October, the clocks have gone back an hour to GMT. In Scotland the nights are fair drawin’ in—it is getting dark earlier. All the more important then to make sure I look after my sleep hygiene.

For the last 14 years I have been working mostly sitting in front of a PC. I’m also a bit of a geek so I find myself sitting in front of a PC even when I’m not being paid to do so.

For years I found it hard to get to sleep at night. It turns out that staring at computer monitor for hours is not great for your sleep. The blue light emitted by a screen affects our attention, reaction times and mood (Source) and, crucially, our sleep.

In 2009, I discovered an application called F.lux that detects where you are in the world and automatically adjusts the screen colour temperature to gradually remove the blue as the sun is setting.

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Run the line

Sometimes the YouTube algorithm gets it right. This video popped up on my suggested list. Runner Beau Miles retraces 43 km of an old Australian railway line in his back yard, searching for the old line, searching for meaning.

These last couple of weeks, I’ve been discovering hidden writings, hidden stories, hidden meanings among Mum’s belongings. My dad loved railways. His mother lived in Australia. I love exploring new places and digging into the history of where I am living (only today I rediscovered a couple of maps from where I lived in Bermondsey, London in 1894 and 1914). Somehow, this video brought these strands together.

Rosalie Jean Saunders (4 August 1939–6 August 2020)

Mum on her 81st birthday

On Thursday 6 August, two days after her 81st birthday my beautiful Mum, Rosalie Jean Saunders was found dead at home.

She had had an amazing birthday, she felt so blessed by people’s love and kindness. She had her hair dyed pink in celebration. Two days later, it appears that her heart gave out, but oh! what a heart she had.

The last two weeks have been a roller coaster of emotion. Most days when folks have asked me how I am, I’ve said that I’ve been like a typical day of Scottish weather: I’ve had a bit of everything.

Today, restricted by Covid-19 guidelines, a few family and friends gathered in the church grounds at St John the Evangelist, Selkirk (Mum’s spiritual home since 1974) and then in the Auld Kirk Yard to give thanks for the life of Mum and commit her to God’s keeping.

Mum was buried in a family grave, alongside my father.

My sister, brother and I worked collaboratively on her eulogy (below) using notes that she had left herself (thanks Mum, they were really helpful!). Mum left a lot of papers and writings and photographs which we will go through over the next few weeks, months, years and I’d like to compile them into a book to remember Mum by. But that is for another day.

Today we rejoiced for her life, her love, her faith in the God she adored.

Continue reading Rosalie Jean Saunders (4 August 1939–6 August 2020)