Life gets in the way

It’s one of these times again when the rest of life is holding me back from writing the next blog. I apologise for that. The delay before new content won’t be long.

Meanwhile, I looked at the list of blogs that have been written in the last 16 months, and picked out a few from the archives you may have missed.

The Tay Bridge disaster

Many liked this story when first written, but it’s also a blog piece that keeps being found now and read by new people. Perhaps it gets shared more than most. Some readers are engineers, but most will simply be interested in knowing how a major bridge over an estuary could suddenly collapse taking dozens to their death.

The Forth Bridge … beginnings

The three-part story of building the Forth Bridge – that is, the railway bridge over the Firth of Forth – has been one of the most widely read. My research took a lot of time, but that was pleasurable time because it was fascinating. The story is as much about personalities, ambition, genius, and determination as it is about engineering. But the engineering of the Forth Bridge is remarkable too, especially learning how work on the foundations was done literally under water. No diving suits. Just a seriously risky space with compressed air.

The second and third parts of the story can be found at:


Being true to your word (and suspicious of your car nav system)

The story this blog tells about going astray by following your car nav system is amusing, and likely strikes a chord with most of us. But the point of the story isn’t about navigation systems, it’s about relationships. I’ve re-read it, and I believe its message is important.

When your car number plate really matters

Another blog with an amusing story, but this posting generated two more. One of the points I made in writing the first blog was about being properly prepared, which I illustrated by describing how spectacularly unprepared I’d been when setting out to climb Lochnagar, a 1155 metres (3789 ft) mountain within driving distance of our home in Aberdeen. I had told no-one where I was going, and then climbed Lochnagar through thick mist. Only when I reached the summit did I realise I could not find the way down. With steep cliffs one side, wilderness to the other, and the temperature dropping, I was in deep trouble. And no-one was coming to save me. At that point – having illustrated the folly of poor preparation – I left the story. That generated protests from my family! It was obvious I’d survived, but how?

So I told the rest of the story, and then the story beyond the story, in two more parts:

Escape from Lochnagar


When Alistair met Eve

Lastly, here’s an early blog that hasn’t been read often.

When the right thing to do is nothing at all

I suspect this blog’s title put some people off.  Perhaps some thought reading about doing ‘nothing at all’ wasn’t the best use of their time. Of course, the blog wasn’t really about doing nothing – it was about knowing when to stand firm, not heeding every opinion, not taking every risk. There’s a lot to be said for staying steady when times are tough.

I hope you enjoy reading one or more of these, or any others from the archives. And my rudimentary website skills extended recently to adding a ‘Search’ box to the site. (Not all phones show the search feature, I’m afraid, but many do as well as larger devices.) Enter a key word or phrase, and the blogs with those words appear on your screen. Marvellous.

I’ll be back with new content soon. Best wishes.