Scottish vindaloo

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30 November, just gone, was the feast day of Andrew the Apostle, a day for me to remember and honour my Scottish heritage. Andrew is, of course, the patron of Scotland, his feast is the Scots national day, and his symbol is the Scottish flag, the Saltire, with its diagonal cross.

Just as Andrew was the first of the Apostles, so his feast signals the beginning of the church year, the first Sunday of Advent being the Sunday on or nearest Andrew’s feast. St. Andrew’s is also the day for ordinations in our diocese, Canberra and Goulburn, and the Saltire is flown above the cathedral.

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James and I will celebrate with some very un-Scottish food, at our favourite Indian restaurant. We’ll talk of plans for 2014. Each year, Advent, the new year season, is a time to prune, chop off no-longer-useful tasks and commitments, and make room for more important things—more time for prayer, exercise and writing.

Christmas derailed

As Christmas looms, it’s hard to believe that I have experienced rather more than sixty of them. Many were at home with my parents, brother and sister—and good fun too. More recently there have been younger relatives, and James too. But the Christmases are blurred together in my memory so that I can’t distinguish one from another.

One I do remember was spent here, on the platform of the Yass Junction Railway station.

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I was travelling by special train as part of large group of YFC teenagers from Melbourne to Brisbane; we planned to be on the Gold Coast for Christmas. A train ahead of us was derailed and we spent many hours on this platform, with a Christmas service in the hot sun and meals of sandwiches sent from Canberra—60 km or so distant. We slept on the floor of the train.

Christmas wasn’t really derailed; there was worship, there was fellowship, there was even Christmas food (cold, in Sydney the next day).

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