The companionship of long-distance runners: kindness in unexpected places

Recently I was walking along the beach near where I live in Edinburgh when several unexpected things happened. It was a unique summer day for Scotland: the sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky! It also happened to be the day of the Edinburgh marathon, and the promenade was packed with people waiting to cheer the runners on. I arrived just as the first runners appeared, and immediately spectators began applauding the athletes and shouting out words of encouragement. Some people in the watching crowd were obviously waiting for...

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From tigers to contented cats

At the beginning of this month there was a brief and moderate amount of publicity in the UK for two books about a subject many of us, myself included, find difficult to contemplate – death. One was by an Australian palliative care nurse called Bonnie Ware, who wrote ‘The Top Five Regrets About Dying’. Ware observed many people nearing death who saw with complete clarity that, for example, they wished they had the courage to live a life that was true to themselves and not the one that others’ expected of them. The next bigge st regret...

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