Michæl McFarland Campbell

Always telling the story

Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

Haemoglobin is finally above 10! Hurrah!

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Wednesday saw the routine of ‘monthly bloods’ taken and sent off from the dialysis unit. In recent months, the most worrisome result has been the Hb or Haemoglobin level that has been recorded. Back in May and June, it hit a bottom point of 6.2. This week, however, it came back as over 10. This level means that I am back much more towards the normal level, and I am definitely feeling a lot better. 

I also received both an appointment letter and a reminder letter (printed the same day) from the Haematology clinic at the Midlands Regional Hospital at Tullamore for the last day of October. Whilst part of me wants to say, ‘Look, I’m well again — do I need to come?’ I will attend because it will be interesting to see what they have to say. For my part, I have a feeling that the Hb was low because of the failing fistula, and now that it has been settled down, it isn’t taking Hb away any more. We shall see. 

Originally published on HIVBlogger.com

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

October 7th, 2023 at 10:27 pm

Registering to vote is now much easier in Ireland

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Historically, registering to vote in Ireland involved a trip to the local Garda station to get a paper form stamped. Fortunately, those days are gone, and it is much simpler now. You can register to vote, online, at any time.

Simply go to www.checktheregister.ie and complete your details to be added to the electoral register. You can check the registration and update your details if you are already registered. If you are a first-time registrant, then you complete that form instead.

The details you’ll need to provide are:

  • your PPS number
  • your date of birth
  • your Eircode

These details are needed for your local authority to confirm your details. And that is it! You’ll be ready to vote, should an election or a referendum be called!

Three reasons why your vote is important

  1. It gives you a say on important issues that affect you — from roads and recycling, to education and climate change, to housing and employment.
  2. It gives you the choice to vote for your local and national representatives, if you don’t vote, other people get to choose who represents you.
  3. Elections can be called at short notice — if you don’t register 15 days or more before an election or referendum, you may not be able to vote. It is as simple past that.

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

December 15th, 2022 at 5:33 pm


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Are you a multipotentialite? It certainly seems to me that I am. What is a multipotentialite? Well, it is someone with many interests and creative pursuits, rather than focusing only on a particular subject or hobby. I learned this new word while completing the The Open University‘s 5-hour short course on the value and benefits of Multidisciplinary Learning. As a student on the Open Degree pathway, I found this really helpful as a way to describe the degree course that I am following.

Multidisciplinary students bring many transferable skills to the workplace because of their study, including critical thinking, self-management, adaptability, analysis and problem solving, application of information technology, flexibility, and synthesis of ideas.

Anyone interested in studying this course, can find out more at https://www.open.edu/openlearn/education-development/multidisciplinary-study-the-value-and-benefits/content-section-0?active-tab=description-tab

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

November 19th, 2022 at 8:16 pm

Gardening is good for my mental health… and helps some charity too as I #PlantPink

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I have never really been one for gardening. Even when I was growing up, I think the most successful planting I ever did was of some cress in school. And I think that only worked because everyone else’s did as well. So you can imagine my surprise that in the last month I have been planting some plants in pots in the front garden of our house. 

Now, this may have something to do with living close to a branch of Glanbia’s Countrylife here in County Kildare. Not having a car makes buying plants, pots, and bags of compost quite difficult. Ok, so the buying of them is the easy part, it is the getting them home from the garden centre that has historically been the difficult part. But, as I said, Countrylife is about 500 metres from the house, so there really is now no excuse. Even when there is an item or three that is too heavy, the local store will arrange delivery by a helpful assistant as they did with the three bags of compost. 

The garden is becoming more colourful. Photo: Michæl McFarland Campbell © 2022.

The first day that Andrew and I went there, we bought one pot and put three heather plants in it. The next week, I went back and bought another larger pot and put a plant in it. Today, I went bought two smaller pots but in green and put some lavender in one and some “Tickled Pink” dianthus in the other.

All of the pots are from Lemonfield Pottery’s Botanical Gardens range. Unfortunately, Lemonfield Pottery is trade only, but they do produce some lovely pots. I’m sure your local garden centre will be able to source them should you want them. 

But why did I start on this gardening? Well, I had read that gardening can be good for your mental health. It is also good to get out into nature, and living in the countryside I had been noticing more and more of the flowers around us. Wouldn’t it be pleasant to have some close by? So, that is basically why I am doing it. The lavender may also be useful later on in the summer as Andrew really loves the smell of it: it is useful for helping him to go to sleep. Hopefully we can use some of our own to assist. 

Originally posted on HIVBLogger.com.

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

April 23rd, 2022 at 5:48 pm

Keeping my knowledge and skills up to date

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Every year, I work hard to keep my knowledge and skills up to date with CPD. At the end of March 2022, I had completed a year of CPD with CIPR — the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. This means that I maintain my Accredited PR Practitioner status, but more importantly it illustrates that I take the profession seriously. I urge everyone in their various professions to work to complete continuing professional development each year. It really is the best way to stay at the top of your game.

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

April 2nd, 2022 at 7:32 am

Getting back to tracking fitness…

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We’re all surrounded by advertisements about this app, or some other device that can help make our lives better. Sometimes we get absorbed by the app or the device to the point that it seems that it is the most important thing in our lives. That is what started to happen with my Fitbit last summer. I decided to take a break from using it, and to come back to it when I was ready.

In the last few weeks, I have been wanting to use it, but having moved house since I last used it, I know not where the charger is. So today, I relented and ordered a second charger. Note, I do not say a replacement. It is a second one, so that when the first one turns up, I have a spare.

Having grown up in Scouting, I enjoy collecting badges, you never know how many I might get. Fitbit, helpfully, keeps track of them for you. If you want to connect with me on Fitbit, have a look at my profile, you too can see how many badges I have (if you become a friend).

This time, the tool will be just a part of the wider spectrum of life, rather than becoming the centre. Watch out for further updates.

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

March 22nd, 2022 at 3:12 pm

Posted in Blogging

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When to the temple Mary went: the music from my youth

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That first piece, When to the temple Mary went by Johannes Eccard was a favourite of mine when I sang in the parish choir of my home parish church of St Patrick, Kilconriola (Ballymena). This evening, I did not expect to be listening to it, let alone writing a blog piece about the music at all. How did this come about?

Well, earlier today I was contacted by a contact with whom I have had no contact for at least eleven years. However, as a result of the contact made on Facebook earlier, this evening I have been exploring some music on Youtube. 

The first piece was Roger Quilter’s Where the Rainbow Ends, played on the piano by John Kersey. 


From there, I moved on to Roger Quilter’s Non nobis Domine, which I know I sang but once, but it brought back so many memories. 

And then Greater love hath no man by John Ireland. This was a great favourite when I sang in my home parish choir from the age of seven until my early twenties. In my time, I had sung the Treble, Bass, and Tenor parts. Each of them came back to me as I heard the music. 

Sumsion’s They that go down to the sea in ships came to mind as well, having sung it on a Royal School of Church Music Choristers’ Course, and then whilst at school, having attempted to learn the organ part. 

Church music has been part of my life since the age of seven. In recent years, I have not had the opportunity to sing any of it as there is no choir in the parish here, and even before that, I was not singing in any choir at all. I must admit that I do miss singing these great pieces, and I wonder if they are still sung in my home parish church, however, I fear that with the current incumbent, this is most unlikely. 

More music that I remember singing in that choir includes:

Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in G, by C.V. Stanford

Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in Bb, by C.V. Stanford

Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in C, by C.V. Stanford

Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis Collegium Regale, by Herbert Howells

Communion Service in F by Herbert Sumsion

Communion Service plainsong by John Merbecke

A Celtic Eucharist by Martin White

Communion Service by William Matthias

Anthems included:

A Gaelic Blessing, John Rutter

Above all praise, Felix Mendelssohn

Ave verum corpus, William Byrd

Ave verum corpus, Edward Elgar

Ave verum corpus, W.A. Mozart

Awake, thou wintry earth, J.S. Bach

Blessed be the God and Father, S.S. Wesley

Call tor remembrance, Richard Farrant

Cantate Domino, Giuseppe Ottavio Pitoni, ed. R.R. Terry

Come, Holy Ghost, Thomas Attwood, ed. Lionel Dakers

Come, ye faithful raise the strain, R.S. Thatcher

Evening Hymn, H. Balfour Gardiner

God be in my head, H. Walford Davies

God be in my head, John Rutter

God so loved the world, John Goss

If we believe, John Goss

If ye love me, Thomas Tallis

Jesu, joy of man’s desiring, J.S. Bach

King of glory, King of peace, J.S. Bach

Lead me, Lord, S.S. Wesley

Let thy merciful ears, O Lord, [? Thomas] Mudd

Let us now praise famous men, R. Vaughan Williams

Locus iste, Anton Bruckner

Lord, for thy tender mercy’s sake, Farrant

My eyes for beauty pine, Herbert Howells

My shepherd is Lord, Harrison Oxley

My soul, there is a country, C. Hubert H. Parry

Never weather-beaten sail, Charles Wood

O gladsome light, O grace, Louis Bourgeois, set by Claude Goudimel, ed. Henry G. Ley

O how amiable, R. Vaughan Williams

O Lord, increase our faith, Henry Loosemore

O Lord, the maker of all things, William Mundy

O Lorde, the maker of al thing, John Joubert

O Saviour of the world, John Goss

O thou, the central orb, Charles Wood

Praise, O praise, Martin How

Pray that Jerusalem, C.V. Stanford

Rejoice in the Lord alway, Henry Purcell

So they gave their bodies, Peter Aston

The strife is o’er, Henry G. Ley

This is the record of John, Orlando Gibbons

Thou visitest the earth, Maurice Greene

Turn back O Man, arranged by Gustav Holst

Turn thy face from my sins, Thomas Attwood

Wash me throughly, S.S. Wesley

When to the temple Mary went, Johannes Eccard

Zadok the Priest, G.F. Handel

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

January 9th, 2022 at 12:35 am

Do gay people celebrate Christmas?

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Having not yet sourced a new emporium from which to acquire the food necessary to feed the three felines with whom I share the house with Andrew, I returned to our old town to buy the requisite bag of cat food from the veterinary surgeon there as we have for the last three-and-a-half years. As I walked from the station to the vet’s, I ran into a former neighbour, who greeted me with:

Happy Christmas, if you celebrate it as I don’t know if gay people do.

I must admit that I was somewhat taken aback at this strange greeting, but managed to respond with:

We celebrate everything as normal. Had you taken the time to get to speak to us properly in the three-and-a-half years we had lived next door, you would know.

Two things can be learned from this exchange. First of all, at least the exchange began with “Happy Christmas”. That is a positive greeting. The latter part may have been that she wanted to learn. Secondly, I can manage to keep a straight face when giving an answer to such a question!

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

January 4th, 2022 at 1:27 pm

Posted in Blogging,Christianity

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Christmas wishes 2021

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What a year it has been for all of us! The ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic has ensured that we have not strayed much further than Dublin or Port Laoise in the last twelve months. We did have a one-day excursion to Cork city in the summer and we are sure that we will be returning to visit that city more when we are able.

We didn’t manage to get our Christmas cards written again this year. We have joked in the last few years that we do not have a month of November but one of Second October as so often something bad happens during that month. This year, we suddenly had to move from Portarlington and we now live in Monasterevin across the county boundary in Co. Kildare. Unfortunately, we had to move at the point in the year when the cards were to have been written — and we have not had a chance since we moved to do so.

Both Andrew and I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We hope that we will be able to travel more easily in 2022 and see more of our friends than in 2021.

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

December 21st, 2021 at 6:50 pm

Posted in Blogging

We will remember them: the Dublin Scouts who died in the First and Second World War

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Each year at Remembrancetide, I try to find some connection with those who served in the First and Second World Wars to make it mean something more to me. This year, I thought that it would be good to see if there were connections with Dublin where I currently am a Scouter with Scouting Ireland.

With thanks to the Scouts Roll of Honour hosted by The Scout Association in the UK, we are able to find out that there were at least eight Scouts/Scouters from Dublin troops who died in the First World War, and at least 16 in the Second World War.

Their names and troop information are listed below, together with information about their service and when they died where it is known.

First World War

NameDate of deathServiceScout connection
Captain G.G. Duggan17 August 19155th Battalion Royal Irish FusiliersHonorary Secretary Financial Committee Dublin Boy Scouts
Able Seaman Robert ValentineHMS VanguardLate Scout, 7th Co. Dublin (Donnybrook) Troop
Private Fred Burrows13 November 1916Royal Dublin FusiliersLate boatman, 1st Port of Dublin Sea Scouts
Trooper Philip de Ruyter13 December 1917South Irish HorseLate Patrol Leader, 1st Port of Dublin Sea Scouts
Bernard FerriesCarpenters’ Crew, HMS VanguardLate Assistant Scoutmaster, 1st Port of Dublin Sea Scouts
Seaman Henry MillsHMS IndefatigableLate Boatman, 1st Port of Dublin Sea Scouts
Private A.W. Fowler4 September 1918Hampshire RegimentLate Scout, 6th County of Dublin (Leeson Park) Troop
Corporal Albert E. Narramore8 October 1918Royal Dublin FusiliersLate Scout, 6th South Dublin (Leeson Park), Troop

Second World War

NameDate of deathServiceScouting connection
Engineer Francis James Burke16 April 1942Royal Navy28th Dublin Group
R. HallRoyal Air Force8th Dublin (Clontarf) Group
Sergeant Observer T.C. HammondSeptember 1939Royal Air Force6th South Dublin (Leeson Park) Group
E. HowleyArmy8th Dublin (Clontarf) Group
Sergeant W.E.B. Jesse DFCRoyal Air Force32nd Dublin Group
Ordinary Seaman Edward Kearney19 September 1941Merchant Navy2nd Port of Dublin (Clontarf) Group
Chief Officer John Knight17 February 1941Merchant Navy3rd Port of Dublin Sea Scout Group
W. LloydRoyal Artillery6th South Dublin (Leeson Park) Group
Flight Sergeant Edward Walter McGrath29 November 1944Royal Air Force1st Dublin (Lord Holmpatrick’s Own) Group
Leading Aircraftman Thomas J. Murray16 July 1940Royal Air Force28th Dublin Group
Gunner Bernard O’Rafferty9 June 1941Royal Navy3rd Port of Dublin Sea Scouts
Sergeant D. OrrRoyal Air Force33rd Dublin (Sandford Church) Group
Sergeant D. RoweRoyal Air Force33rd Dublin (Sandford Church) Group
Horace Savage24 July 1943Army8th Dublin (Clontarf) Group
Lieutenant C. SmallArmy33rd Dublin (Sandford Church) Group
Rear Gunner A. ThompsonRoyal Air Force13th Dublin (1st Blackrock Avoca School) Group

Tomorrow morning, when there is a two minutes’ silence whilst I am at church, I will be thinking of these Scouts and Scouters who died in the service of their King and Country during both the First and Second World Wars. I will also give thanks for the peace that we enjoy in our day and age. I hope that Dublin Scouts will remember their fallen still.

At the going down of the sun,
and in the morning,
we will remember them.

Laurence Binyon, For the Fallen.