​‘No man is an Island, entire of it self …’
I have always hated the look of tattoos, let alone the fact that they are permanent..  David Beckham, Robbie Williams and now Ed Sheeran … what a mess!  However, as the years progress, it has become increasingly clear to me that my life’s mantra is that famous John Donne quote – not attributable to Jon Bon Jovi as my friend, Hugh, would have one believe in ‘About a Boy’!  Everything one does impinges on someone else; simple as that.  Consideration for others, therefore, should be a given as should be the desire to treat others as one would wish to be treated oneself.  Sadly, too many in this world prefer to be islands regardless … or, perhaps, the reality is that there are just too many who really do believe that ‘No man is an Island’ is nothing more than a Jon Bon Jovi lyric!  For my part, John Donne can rest easy as I consider his words important enough to adorn the inside of my wrist … septicemia would follow of course, knowing my luck, and then it would all be very messy.  Manyana!
The events of the past week or so have lead me to think a lot about the importance of loyalty.  What does loyalty mean to me?  Well, everything but the dictionary definition is  ‘faithful, true; firm in allegiance’.  I think it manifests itself in the unwavering support of those one loves, family or friends.  One of the iconic films of the 70s was ‘Love Story’ starring Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw in which the famous line is ‘Love means never having to say you’re sorry’ (actually, Ryan does owe me an apology but more of that later!)  In the same vein, I think loyalty means being able to pick up the phone at 3 o’clock in the morning knowing there will be help or reassurance at the other end.  That is a true friend and a rare breed.  If only dogs could talk!
Loyalty has its roots in honesty and trust and, as such, must not be confused with blind loyalty.  Blind loyalty has no regard for right and wrong and, whilst coming from a good place, should not be encouraged.  Lies, deceit and ego are not worthy of respect and should never be allowed to triumph over a loyalty which has been earned and is unfailing … with age comes wisdom.  I feel like some Indian chief sitting in my teepee offering pearls of said wisdom!  Fast forward, put the teepee in George Street and my Kate Middleton green felt hat on the pavement and Bob’s your uncle.  Oh help!
I watched some of Glastonbury at the weekend – Katy Perry and Barry Gibb – and there they were, these awful women up on the shoulders with a great big ‘ME’ blocking the view of anyone behind!  Definitely part of the Jon Bon Jovi brigade – no offence intended to the man himself.  Perhaps, though, life is just easier if one assumes one is an island because I have certainly seen little evidence to the contrary of late.  One has to question whether good guys ever win?! 
Let me see, after the blistering weather of last week, Becca is now on the 100 mile East Coast charity walk with Glenalmond having stayed in a tent last night.  The rain is torrential and unrelentant.  One word … why?
I can think of many scenarios, throughout my life, when justice has not prevailed; the good guys are taken down.  My family, itself, is a modern-day version of King Lear about whom, one day, I will write.  For those unfamiliar, King Lear learns, too late, that he has misjudged his youngest daughter and, unable to live with his guilt – and her death – he gouges out his eyes!  Well, perhaps I exaggerate but I have two siblings and a father racked with guilt … wait for the book!
This is rather doom and gloom and I have to get going as I have a friend’s cat to feed and water – Geoffrey, no less, who thinks he is a dog!  Talking of which, I had a phonecall from another friend, this morning, requesting my dog sitting services once more.   I am doing so well in my quest for financial remuneration … not!  Hey, that’s what I’m talking about – I’m that friend who will answer the phone at 3am; that rare breed!
I heard Van Morrison, ‘Have I told you lately ‘, on the radio the other day and he always makes me think of John McCarthy and Jill Morrell.  Remember them?  For those of you who were not fortunate enough to enjoy the 70s, John McCarthy is a journalist who was taken hostage in Beirut in April 1986.  Islamic fundamentalists were responsible in the aftermath of  the American bombing of Libya.  Newly engaged to his girlfriend, Jill Morrell, he was captured on his way to the airport to catch his flight home following an assignment.  Held for five years, chained and blindfolded, the treatment he and his fellow hostages received was barbaric.  Their plight may have been largely forgotten had it not been for Jill Morrell who found the strength and confidence to step up and front a campaign for his release.  She kept his name alive and never gave up hope and that hope was rewarded in 1991 when he was released.  A love story which captured the nation, I can still remember the news footage of him stepping off the plane to freedom.  A fairytale ending?  Do such things exist? Badly traumatised after his five year ordeal, he had changed and the media were unrelenting.  He and Jill retreated in an endeavour to make it work but, four years on, it was not to be.  They wrote a book together detailing the ordeal endured by each, respectively, and its title is ‘Some Other Rainbow’, a line taken from a Van Morrison song which meant so much to them, ‘Wonderful Remark’.  John McCarthy went on to marry someone else, with whom he now has a daughter, and continues to work as a journalist.  Jill Morrell?  Well, she, too, has gone back into TV journalism but, sadly, has never married or had children. 
I avidly read their book.  Worthy of a magnificent film, the fact that there was no fairytale ending only serves to make it even more poignant.  A true story of courage, love, devotion and unswerving loyalty, if wishes were dreams (or is it vice versa?) then, this time, the good guys would definitely have won.  As it is, I can only assume they denied any approach for film rights.
We were lucky enough to get tickets to go and listen to John McCarthy at the Edinburgh Book Festival in 2013, I think.  He was there to promote his latest book but, of course, he did make reference to his time as a hostage.  I was dying to know whether he was still in touch with Jill but there was scarcely a mention.  Thankfully, I did meet him, very briefly, afterwards and asked him myself …  I just needed to know.  He answered in the affirmative and somehow that made me feel better; that made it alright.
As for my apology from Ryan O’Neal! Some weeks ago, I was thrilled to be on the Festival Theatre website at just the right time to secure two of the best seats for ‘Love Letters’, a Broadway play starring Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw – yes, really!.  Not only were they still alive but they were coming to a little theatre in Edinburgh … or were they?  I was so looking forward to October 7th and I dined out on the jealousy of my friends for a while knowing that I could use my extra ticket to my advantage.  Who would have believed, then, that Ryan would dare to have a back operation and cancel the tour?!  I’m sorry, Ryan, but good guys do deserve to win sometimes and that line from that old film is just not going to cut it!
From that same era comes one of my favourite films, ‘Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid’.  It has everything – cowboys, action, humour and pathos.  An absolute classic which just gets better as the years, nay decades go by.  One day I will succeed in getting Becca and Manny to watch it.  In the meantime, I still have a card on the front of which is a black and white still from the film.  It depicts the final scene and, just before they run out to a tirade of bullets, I think it is Butch who says to the Kid: ‘You didn’t see Lefors out there, did ya, ‘cos for a moment I thought we were in trouble.’  I love that!  Humorous to the end.
This is Trish, signing off.