Thursday, 27 November 2014


I've said it before and it hasn't changed; one day I want to experience a traditional Thanksgiving in America.

It is in its most basic sense a thanks-giving for a good harvest and for the preceding year. For America it all started in 1621 in Plymouth Massachusetts after the had a successful and much needed good harvest. Having been to Plymouth Mass I have at least taken part of the step to a Thanksgiving feast.

In the UK we have a sort of Thanksgiving day as well, which is of course the Harvest Festival around late September, again closely linked to a good harvest.

But all that celebration of successful agricultural yields aside, we have much else to be thankful for. Currently the people of West Africa are fighting what seems like a losing battle with the deadly Ebola virus. Living in the West we can be thankful for first class medical care that these poorer countries can only dream of at present.  I run a local farmers market once a month in my home city of Edinburgh, and in December we are holding a raffle for a hamper to raise much needed money for the Ebola crisis.

Back in January 2007 I was lucky enough to visit the astonishingly beautiful country of Cambodia. I mention this here as yesterday evening I watched the Roland Joffe film The Killing Fields. It follows the story of a young Cambodian who is an assistant to  New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg. In 1975 the Khmer Rouge entered Phnom Penh, the capital, and slaughtered, or set to hard labour, everyone therein. Pran tried to escape to the US but was unable to do so because of his passport not being valid for travel out of Cambodia. For four years he survived regular torture and starvation at the hands of the Khmer, until eventually escaping into Thailand in October 1979. He became a citizen of the US and died in 2008 aged 65.  During the period that he was struggling to survive in Cambodia I was going through High School. When I think how easy my life was compared to his back then I have much to be thankful for.

I, as do many of you reading this blog, live in a truly free country in the UK, and my health and welfare is taken care of. When I reach old age the government will ensure I will not go without. Despite all our trivial moans and groans, it's impossible really not to be thankful.

It's a short blog this week as I have still to send off my good wishes to all my American friends. Maybe one day I'll get my wish in some idyllic snowy town of North America.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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