Whithorn Parish Church

This church is situated very near the ruins of Whithorn Priory. It’s very Presbyterian in appearance.

Whithorn Parish Church Exterior

The interior has some stained glass windows:-

Stained Glass in Whithorn Parish Church

Whithorn Priory

Whithorn Priory was a mediæval Priory in Whithorn, Dumfries and Galloway. The area was once the cradle of Christianity in Scotland but the building is now a ruin.

The bringer of Christianity, St Ninian, died in Whithorn and is thought to have been buried here, the Priory growing up around his shrine.

Remains of Priory from access lane:-

Whithorn Priory

Whithorn Priory

Information board:-

Information Board, Whithorn Priory

Interior:-

Whithorn Priory, Interior

Interior, Whithorn Priory

Carved stone in grounds:-

Carved Stone at Whithorn Priory

Doorway:-

Doorway, Whithorn Priory

Detail:-

Whithorn Priory, Detail on Doorway

Exterior ruins:-

Whithorn Priory, Exterior Ruins

Whithorn War Memorial

Whithorn’s War Memorial is a hexagonal column surmounted by a globe, rising from a hexagonal plinth on succesively larger hexagonal bases. It stands in the middle of the main street.

The dedication reads, “The men from the Royal Burgh and Parish of Whithorn whose names are written here gave their lives for their country in the Great Wars 1914 – 1919, 1939 – 1945.” The upper tier of names, just above the plinth is for the war of 1939-1945:-

Whithorn War Memorial

War Memorial, Whithorn

Names, Whithorn War Memorial

Whithorn

And so on our journey through Dumfries and Galloway it was on to Whithorn.

Whithorn has an important place in Scottish history as it was the location of the first Christian Church in Scotland after St Ninian crossed over from Ireland in the year 397 or thereabouts and the ruins of the mediæval Whithorn Priory stand in the town.

Architecturally Whithorn is a typical small Scottish town with stone built houses. I wasn’t really expecting any Art Deco but it does pop up in unlikely places.

Charles Coid, Butcher:-
There is a hint of eastern influence to this but the date in the cartouche is 1934 – slap bang in deco times – the geometric surround to the proprietor’s name with its mosaic construction and the towered roof line give it the look.

Art Deco Style in Whithorn

What looks like an old Woolworths; now houses “The Whithorn Story”:-

Old Woolworths, Whithorn

Georgian house:-

Georgian House, Whithorn

Memorial plaque to George Dickie, “Jack Brent,” member of the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War:-

Spanish Civil War Veteran Memorial, Whithorn

Pend leading to Whithorn Priory:-

Pend Leading to Whithorn Priory

The coat of arms above it is the Royal Arms of Scotland:-

Coat of Arms, Whithorn Pend

Priory side of pend:-

Pend in Whithorn, Priory Side

Shutters on pend windows:-

Shutters on Pend Windows, Whithorn

A Rabbit Hole

Words fail me.

We stagger on from one absurdity to another.

Can someone tell me how sending an unsigned letter corresponds to complying with a law that says a letter must be sent? After all, if you sent an unsigned cheque through the post it has no legal standing.

Not only is he a blustering buffoon (posts passim) Alexander de Pfeffel Johnson is utterly childish. This behaviour is just one big, “Yah boo sucks,” to Parliament, to which he is now in contempt of. (Not to mention contempt of the law itself and the Queen who signed it.)

Any claim that the UK once had to being a serious country is now lying shattered on the ground. It’s not even a banana monarchy now.

What year was it the world fell down a rabbit hole.

Scottish Cup Draw

Sons have been drawn at home in the third round of this season’s Scottish Cup – facing Forfar Athletic on the 23rd Noveember.

At least it’s not someone in a higher division and not a potential embarrassment against a lower league side. It might only have been the once but we’ve had enough of those this decade.

Upper Sorbie War Memorial

Sorbie is in the former Wigtownshire part of Dumfries and Galloway. I foun dafterr getting home from our visit tio the southeast that here is also a memorial for Sorbie Parish in the town of Garlieston a few miles east of this.

Upper Sorbie’s War Memorial is in the form of a Celtic Cross surmounting a plinth.

Upper Sorbie War Memorial

The inscription reads, “Pro Patria 1914 1918. To the glory of God and in memory of the men from the upper district of Sorbie Parish who made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War.”
Below, “1939 – 1945. Pte James Kevan.”

Upper Sorbie War Memorial Dedication

Great War names:-

Upper Sorbie War Memorial Names

Names, Upper Sorbie War Memorial

Kirkinner War Memorial

Kirkinner is in the former Wigtownshire area of Dumfries and Galloway a few miles south of Wigtown itself.

Its War Memorial is in the form of a large (mortared) cairn embossed with a circular shield and is inscribed, “To the glory of God and in memory of the men of this parish who fell in the Great War 1914-1919.” Below the names it reads, “1914 Their name liveth for ever 1919.”

Kirkinner War Memorial

Stranraer 0-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Stair Park, 19/10/19.

Well, it’s a welcome clean sheet – our first in the league this season – and I didn’t expect us not to win but yet still go up one place in the league. The only disappointment is we didn’t score. But you can’t have everything.

So we’re now in a promotion play-off place, again. On goals scored ironically.

Early days still, though.

Body of Glass by Marge Piercy

Penguin, 1992, 590 p.

Body of Glass cover

In a post-environmental disaster, post-nuclear war world dominated by commercial multis Shira Shipman has returned to her domed home of Tikva after Y-S, the multi she worked for, awarded custody of her son, Ari, to her husband. In Tikva she finds that Avram has created a(n illegal) cyborg, Yod, named for the tenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. (He – Piercy depicts Yod as male and to all intents and purposes fully human – has had nine less successful predecessors.) Shira’s grandmother Malkah has helped Avram to construct Yod’s persona as the previous efforts had lacked, for want of a better word, humanity. Complicating Shira’s return is the presence of Avram’s son, Gadi, Shira’s first lover and a producer of computer generated entertainment, but who is constitutionally incapable of keeping himself to one woman. There is an ongoing effort to keep Yod’s nature secret within Tikva, always under threat of attack by information pirates, and to prevent Y-S from gaining control of him for itself.

Paralleling this narrative and taking up one out of every three of the book’s chapters we are treated to the story of the golem of Prague (called Joseph,) created by Rabbi Loew to protect the Prague ghetto’s inhabitants from their gentile neighbours. This is presented as if Malkah is telling it to Yod and is interesting enough but is really meant as a counterpoint to Tikva’s situation – though there are perhaps too many similarities between the two strands of the book (the would-be independent woman in Prague, Chava, is what Malkah considers herself to be) – and also to act as an illustration of the struggle against the perennial prejudice Jewish people have suffered throughout history. The inhabitants of Tikva seem all to be Jews but that is more or less incidental to the plot in those sections, whereas in Prague it is the central consideration.

The contest between Shira and Y-S for custody of Ari and of Tikva with Y-S makes up the meat of the plot and provides most of the science-fictional interest – she and Yod themselves undertake what is in effect a cyber attack on Y-S, very William Gibson – but these are in many ways the least satisfying aspects of the novel as Piercy is considering what it might mean to be Jewish (Jewish words and customs are liberally sprinkled through both strands) and, in the characters of Yod and Joseph, interrogating what it means to be human. While Joseph and Chava do not, Yod and Shira become close and eventually lovers. Yod is of course more accomplished than either Gadi or Shira’s husband ever were – or could be. In one of their conversations Shira tells Yod telepathy is a prominent human fantasy – usually of women, who wish they could understand what men want and tell men what they want. Not that their relationship, and that of Shira with Malkah, is without complication. This is a fully fleshed out narrative, more intricate than I have room to set down here. It’s easy to see why it won the Clarke Award in 1993.

I noticed the phrase, “my wee installation.” Is there perhaps a Scottish influence on Piercy there?

Pedant’s corner:- The publication date given is 1992 but the author information tells us this won the Clarke Award in 1993, so it must be a later reprint. Otherwise; Fernandez’ (Fernandez’s,) hung (several times, hanged,) “a epiphenomenon” (an epiphenomenon,) “conveyer belt” (conveyor belt,) “Each people has their own road, their own destiny” (has its own road, its own destiny. People is treated as singular two lines below this!) “If she were Gadi, she would not be careless in turning his back to Yod” (if she were, then she would not be careless in turning her back,) “a group of Jews … follow after” (a group … follows after,) “the doctor yanks it free as she streams, the blood spurting out” (as she screams,) “to staunch the rush of blood” (stanch.) “Malkah shuffled after here” (after her.) “Because the house disapproved of him so strongly she wondered sometimes if an occasional message did not get lost” (she wondered sometimes if an occasional message got lost,) “eighteen hundred point fifteen hours” (eighteen hundred point one five hours – especially as this is an AI [the house] speaking,) plasticene (plasticine.)

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