A Graveyard Crash


(The scene of the crime..)

Don’t worry, despite the headline this is not about Donald Trump’s disastrous campaign or the UK leadership contest, or the Labour Party’s collapse in Scotland. This is a politics free zone!

October seems to me the time of year that I specialise in personal disasters. Yesterday, true to form, I was cycling through the beautiful Balgay Hill Cemetery, when I swerved to avoid a council van heading towards me. I was listening to Melvyn Bragg’s ‘In Our Time’ podcast, and was generally very happy with life. And why not? It was a beautiful autumn morning and Balgay is stunning at this time of year. I had a full day ahead, preparing Sunday morning’s service and speaking at the launch of the launch of the Don’t Stop a Beating Heart campaign in Linlithgow’s. But as they say the best laid plans of mice and men…

After avoiding the Council van, I hit the kerb and found myself flying in slow motion towards a grave. I landed on my shoulder, and although it was quite painful, I quickly got up, cleared off the mud and decided that because my bike was undamaged and I thought, only my pride was hurt, to continue my journey. I stopped at Clarke’s bakery and ordered a bacon roll. The next thing I remember was lying on the floor in the middle of the bakery surrounded by a crowd of people, with an ambulance on the way. I foolishly told the ambulance that I was fine, although I was dripping with a cold sweat, but when I stood up blacked out again.


I was greatly taken with the kindness of the staff at Clarks, and especially the two young joiners who took my bike, chained it and even offered to take it home for me. Dundee’s finest!

I don’t think I was fully compos mentis, because when the ambulance staff asked me if I had any medical history, I said not much. And then when they heard about my escapades in 2011, and my subsequent history including pneumonia last week, they burst out laughing. “Not much history!… There’s no way we’re letting you go, we’re going to take you up to Ninewells.”

Once there the doctors checked me out, I was x-rayed, and diagnosed with having a cracked or bruised clavicle. They wanted to keep me in until my blood pressure had risen to normal and the nausea had stopped. Basically, the only reason I collapsed was because my blood pressure dropped because of the shock and the pain after the accident. And I guess my history with low blood pressure and collapses insured the rest. I just wish that I wouldn’t collapse in such public places – the church, outside a doctor’s surgery, the middle of Heathrow airport, the DCA and now Clarks the bakers to be added to the list!

As usual the staff at Ninewells were superb. I loved especially the redheaded catholic doctor who couldn’t stop laughing when I told her how the accident happened. Anyway we had a nice wee theological chat!

Even in these small incidents there is so much to learn and to be thankful for.

For the first time I had set up an automatic tweet, which went out at 11 am saying that I was looking forward to speaking at the SPUC event in Linlithgow. When it actually went out, I was lying on a hospital bed. It’s just a reminder of the wisdom of James “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (Ch.4)

It also brought back memories for Annabel as we drove back from the hospital to our home – a journey that she was all too familiar with, having made it every day for a few weeks when things were not quite as rosy as they were yesterday.

I am very grateful for the preserving grace of God.

I was travelling at quite a speed and the situation could have been a lot worse!

I suppose it has convinced me that I probably should be wearing a helmet. The grace of God does not mean that we should not use common sense, or tempt providence.

I realise that given the somewhat humorous circumstances of my accident (minthere are a variety of puns awaiting me. Already the world’s worst joker, Andy Bannister, has come up with “a grave situation”, and “tomb with a view”! I much prefer “up from the grave he arose, with a mighty triumph o’r his foes”….

All in all, I have much to be thankful for, although sitting looking out the window at what is an absolutely gorgeous and perfect day for cycling is a wee bit frustrating. As is not being able to type, and having to rely on Dragon to understand my voice. Anyway I suppose I’d better get off the computer and return to the delights of Inspector Lewis and a few books that I have to catch up with.

For those of you who pray, many thanks. For those of you who don’t, it’s about time you started!

PS.  Believe it or not my reading this morning from John Flavel was entitled “Of Rest in the Grave” and included such headings as “Why must believers come to rest in the grave?” ,and “How long shall their bodies rest in the grave?”







  1. Good to know someone else has low blood pressure. In my case it generally means wooziness when I stand up and a quick dip of the head till it clears. On one occasion years ago I ran upstairs to the loo, felt woozy, felt legs collapsing and came too seconds later with a cistern broken under my dead weight and gushing water. I have otherwise escaped public collapses. I suspect you are simply an exhibitionist 😊.

  2. Crikey,please wear your helmet next time,I am surprised Annabel lets you out alone,well lesson learnt better not add to all the awful jokes that you will have to endure!Hope you make it safely to Inverness.

  3. Whew, sorry to hear that David and I am glad it was not too serious! Best forget about the earphones when on your bike, and buy a helmet instead! Your a big guy to go flying without a helmet and parachute! Praying for your speedy recovery

  4. Isn’t it strange that men of a certain age do not consider that the modern expectation of wearing a cycling helmet should apply to us ? One has lain in the back of our cupboard and unworn since I acquired my bike some four years past. I had tried it on and decided that I looked like a bit of a prat ( can I say that ?)
    On becoming involved with a charity bike ride my wife spent time dredging the cupboard and insisted that I wore it. It felt uncomfortable but I complied, and made my way to the start and we were ushered off. Arriving at my destination I was greeted by three young ladies who cheered , and their hilarious chuckles continued as they passed me pieces of orange. Initially putting this down to a generation thing , it was not long before I began to feel slightly uncomfortable and quietly asked the lass nearest ,” Why are you giggling ? ” to which she replied , ” I think that your helmet is meant to be worn the other way around ” . Not only did I look like a prat , now I know what it is like to feel like one !

    David , my polis man son says , ” What is the point of me praying for you Dad , if you don’t wear your seat belt .” I guess that should apply to cycling helmets too eh ?

  5. Dear David, It’s a shame you don’t take Crefflo dollar, the late Joyce Meyer and soon to be late ! Kenneth Copeland a bit more seriously.
    Did you not know that no physical harm or negative will ever come over you because you are the Lord’s annointed.
    Cone on man, your the King’s Kid.
    See this is what you get for taking on King Crefflo, it’s some sort of mystical, new age Christian karma (I think ???).
    Your a kings kid, how dare anything happen to you physically whilst your congregation signs cheques that flood your bank account. Or at least they should be if we follow Creflo’s example.
    Perhaps this time in Hospital will help you much, so you can read and study heretical word faith and prophetic theology, so you to can have a wall of fire around you next time your cycling around the streets. Although the huge craze in the spasmodic prophetic word faith movement is the prayer fire tunnel. Maybe you could teach your church how to fire tunnel so you can avoid anything negative happening to you again.
    No footnotes or authority required for my statements cos as crefflo says I’m a God to !

    (sincere apologies I just couldn’t help myself)

  6. Glad you’re ok David. I’ve cycled to work to work for many years and after a lot of nagging, my wife persuaded me to wear a helmet. She made me realise it was selfish because if I did get badly injured (head-wise), she would be the one left to pick up the pieces. I have to try not to be too critical of those who don’t wear helmets still, remembering I was once like that.
    Coming home from work each day I come down a steep hill at speed. I’m often reminded that one false move and I could be in eternity or in hospital. Sobering thought.
    Hope you make a swift recovery.
    Every blessing.

  7. I am glad you are relatively unscathed David. I’m an Ordained Local Minister in the C of S and also fell off my bike a few weeks ago – regrettably I was less fortunate and sustained a broken pelvis! But God made good use of the few weeks I was in hospital and the whole experience has presented several opportunities to enhance ministry. And yes, you should always wear a helmet! 😀

  8. Cycling. No, to headphones at any time. Yes, to helmets at all times, though it wouldn’t have prevented a broken/bruised clavicle. To prevent a repeat of Gylen’s embarrassment I think some are now marked “front” and “rear”. How much is your head worth, or vanity? And yes to cycling mits/gloves-they prevent skinned hands. From experience, shock can be worse than coming off, Been skinned a few times, with torn clothes. Pride, hurts a lot as well.

    Sanctified common sense, without being sanctimonious. You need a safeguarding for cyclists course.

    God’s good to you: you weren’t called to be a professional cyclist. One rode most of the Tour de France with a cracked clavicle.

    Hope you’re not cyclogically scarred.

    I’ve had much fun with dictation software. It seems to recognise jibberish, as that is what it comes out with a lot of the time. Still, it’s better than my keyboard skills.

    Two people were looking at gravestones in a cemetery. “Here lies XX, politician and honest man” , was engraved on a headstone. One said to the other, “Look, I didn’t know two people could be buried in one grave.”

    Pleased you are on the mend. Sometimes I think illness and accidents are God’s megaphone to slow down, to savour the simple, but important, things in life, Think CS Lewis said he appreciated being ill but not too ill that he couldn’t spend time reading.

  9. By now I pray that you are completely mended and riding your bike again. By the grace of God I recently discovered your blog, and read it several times a week. Some postings are peculiar to your location in Scotland, and others apply even to those of us who live across the pond (specifically in Texas). May our Lord bless you this as you continue to serve him.

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