E-mails from the rich and/or famous

Screenshot of Outlook 2003 Inbox

Check me out with my Outlook Inbox literally brimming full with e-mails from the rich and/or famous, and that’s only from the last two days!

Yesterday, as you can see above, I got an e-mail from none other than Sylvester Stallone himself! I have to admit that I’ve never really been a tremendous fan of Sly’s movie offerings. I think I saw Cliffhanger once. On telly. But that’s not going to deter me from doing the courteous thing and replying to him. After all he did take time out of his busy schedule to write to me and offer me a selection of

“MS 2003 top Windows Software at best s8vings”.

He says that I can download them instantly too! And what a lot he has on offer: Microsoft Windows XP Pro, Office XP Pro, Server 2003 Pro, Adobe Acrobat 7.0 Pro, and a whole lot more.

Next up I got a kind e-mail from Danny Wallace, replying to the text that I’d sent him from the Soulfly gig the other night. I’d spotted that from a distance the Skindred guitarist bore an uncanny resemblance to Mr Wallace. Okay, well, it was just a specky bloke with a similar hair cut, but I thought that Danny would appreciate it. That arrived at 10:47 am this morning.

A couple of hours later, just after lunch, I heard from Michael Moore. He wants me to send him my health care horror stories. Mike, I’ll have to think about that one and get back to you, hope that’s okay.

One hour and six minutes later, at 2:26 pm, Jennifer Aniston e-mailed me offering:

Symantec Software titles available for Download instantly.

Even with 10 Mbps cable broadband I’ve not yet been able to download anything instantly. But I have to say Jennifer — if you’re reading this — thanks for the invitation but you were just too late. Sly got in there first, and he seems to be selling the same titles as you. For the same price, I’ll admit, but courtesy dictates that I give him first refusal. Sorry. I hope we can still be friends.

Ian W. Mitchell, 1939 – 2006

Sketch of Ian W. Mitchell
Sketch of Ian W. Mitchell as Selkirk Merchant Company Standard Bearer, 1986. Scanned from the back page of his Service of Thanksgiving order of service booklet.

Today I drove down to Selkirk for a Service of Thanksgiving for Ian W. Mitchell (known to Jenni, Eddie and me as Uncle Ian), a weel kent face aroond Selkirk, and a life-long and very dear friend of my Mum, and my sister Jenni’s godfather. Ian died a few days ago of cancer.

The service was a joyful celebration of Ian’s life: “cheeky so-and-so”, engineer, lecturer, photographer, community servant and family man. The appreciation was given by the Rev Jim Campbell, the parish minister in Selkirk, who was at St Mary’s College, University of St Andrews at the same time as me, and it was great. In fact the whole service was, as I said a joyful celebration. There are some funerals that I’ve been to where I’ve left the church building feeling worse than when I arrived, but today’s was one that lifted your spirits, gave hope and a boosted determination to make a difference, because Ian certainly made a difference to those around him.

Following the service we return to the Mitchell’s house — a house I’ve not been in since I was a wee boy. It was funny because I remembered it pretty much exactly as it was, only smaller — but then everything seemed bigger in those days!

Walking into the kitchen I caught up with an old school friend, Janice. I was quite delighted that she recognised me — because oddly some old friends of mine don’t seem to! It was a real delight to catch up with her news, share some of mine, and have a laugh. She was one of the few people there that I really knew — a lot of faces I recognised and names I knew, but few old friends.

When Janice had to go, I went in search of my Mum and found Janice’s brother Robert in the living room, with whom I used to sing in the Borders Youth Choir. We exchanged a few reminiscences and then I had to go.

Driving back to Edinburgh in the late afternoon I was struck by the simple beauty of the Scottish Borders countryside: the greens, and reds, and oranges, and yellows, in the hills and trees, washed over with a light mist; the blue sky transitioning into the evening. As the miles ticked by I realised just how much I love the Borders, how much I still regard it as home.

And I relished that moment — living in the now — realising just how fortunate I am to have a community that I can return to and be known (even if by only one or two) and be understood. I’m fortunate to have that heritage, and extended family.

In that moment I realised that I was content. Even though the day was infused with the sadness of Uncle Ian’s death, there was a blessing in those who had gathered with their stories of Ian, and the stories of their own lives. There was a blessing in our simply being together and remembering, and also making new connections, and re-establishing old connections too. Today, in the midst of the realities of death, there was very much an affirmation of the goodness and wonder and mystery of life.

As the miles clocked by, and the scenery’s colours darkened, I let Soulfly‘s Dark Ages album wash over me, and let the tears trickle down my face, and I worshipped God.

It’s a small world!

The earth from space.
“Our landlord Earth” from the 3D True Gallery.

A few minutes ago I checked my email. Not a very remarkable thing to do on a Wednesday evening, I check my email quite often. However, this evening I got this email in my Outlook Inbox:

On Sunday I googled “Psion 3c” for tips on how to fix my recently half-unhinged 9 year-old 3c and I discovered your splendid site. Edinburgh, I thought; I’m going to be there tomorrow for a 2 day flying family visit … I’d drop in to say hello, but it is not as if you perform miracles on old Psions in your spare time.

Then today as my sister was about to drop me off in Murrayfield Avenue to catch the Airport bus for the journey back South … “that’s the blogging episcopalian! Gareth whatsisname, coming out of the church!” By the time we had stopped, you or your double (do episcopalian priests all look the same?) had vanished.

easyJet waits for no man, so we continued to the bus stop. But I decided I’d write a note (a) to thank you for your most entertaining site and (b) to be nosy and ask you where you were at a quarter to twelve today!

all the best
Q.H.

Well, I can safely say that was me. I presided at the 11:00 am Eucharist at the Church of the Good Shepherd on Murrayfield Avenue, stayed around to chat with someone after the service — well, I say “someone” it was actually the only person who turned up for the service! — and then returned to my car which was parked up the hill on Murrayfield Avenue, outside number 34 if you’re interested, at about 11:45 am.

That’s a shame we didn’t meet up, but really cool that Q.H. emailed and told me. And here was me thinking that I wasn’t famous!