The C Word, Simon & Garfunkel and “Bridge Over Troubled Water”

The first time I mentioned the “C Word” around here was on the 14th of March as that was the week when it suddenly became real for us here in the UK and it wasn’t just something happening elsewhere. Since then I’ve vacillated between trying to remain upbeat (sharing old photos & recipes) and getting down and dirty, having a bit of a rant about certain behaviours.

It’s Saturday morning, which is my usual time for a weekly blogging session, but I’m not really in the mood for upbeat today. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’ve had to back-pedal a fair few times of late, apologising to some friends and neighbours for having been a bit too honest regarding my predictions for the near future. I was apparently spoiling things, as it seems my neck of the woods is loving lockdown life. The weather is fine, the garden beckons and come Thursday evening there is a carnival atmosphere in my street as we Clap for Carers, complete with the dreaded vuvuzela, the scourge of the 2010 South Africa World Cup.


Having watched footage on telly, it seems the NHS frontline staff do appreciate the support of the nation and in the absence of us being able to come in and help intubate critically ill patients, not much more many of us can do. We are all patting ourselves on the back for staying at home, protecting the NHS and saving lives but it just doesn’t sit well with me at all. At some point the narrative will have to change, and we will have to leave home, but by then everyone will have become so acclimatised to the risks that could bring, they won’t want to.

nhs (2)
The Castle in the centre of town

It has always horrified me how much as a nation we spend on defence and nuclear weaponry, and all because we apparently need a place at some Top Table or other. Not in my name. I really don’t want a place anywhere near that table, and as it’s turned out, we’ve been spending money on the wrong kind of defence. The enemy in this war is an invisible virus and no amount of nuclear missiles could defeat it. Our frontline warriors are doctors, nurses, care workers, cleaners and porters who never signed up for this and whose places of work have been criminally underfunded for years. How much PPE could that new aircraft carrier have bought. Here is a quote from the Defence pages of the Government’s website.

The future flagships for the UK are the 2 new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers and are the largest British warships ever built.

They, along with the F35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and Merlin Mk2 helicopters will help keep the UK armed forces modern, flexible and powerful.

The combination of the carrier, its aircraft and personnel will enable the UK to protect the nation.

As I said, we’ve been spending the money from our coffers on the wrong kind of defence. I sincerely hope all the frontline workers dealing with this pandemic get the support they are going to need when we move onto the second phase of the “new normal”. It’s an obvious quote to choose I know, but Churchill’s, “Never was so much owed by so many to so few” springs to mind.


One of the upsides of the lockdown is that many of us are making full use of our one hour of daily exercise. Mr WIAA and I have covered most of the routes radiating from base camp over the last five weeks and taken a fair amount of pictures. Another upside of course is that we are heading into summer and not winter which would have been awful (but of course only for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere). Here are a few of those pictures:

At the start of this year I had decided to revisit the UK Singles Chart of 1970. It contained music from 50 years ago and reflected simpler and happier times I thought (how prescient). I only got as far as Lee Marvin’s Wandrin’ Star (link here) when things started to go horribly wrong and my blog posts changed tack. Picking up where I left off, the record that made it to the No. 1 spot after Lee’s song from the film Paint Your Wagon, was this one by Simon & Garfunkel.

Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel:

Somehow this is the 5th time I’ll have featured a song by Simon & Garfunkel around here and they even have their very own category on my sidebar. I don’t think I would have envisioned that happening when I started the blog. They’ve made their way into my adult hippocampus by stealth and are now firmly going to remain there.

I remember Bridge Over Troubled Water well from 1970 as it stayed at the top spot in the charts for many weeks. I also remember that it was one of those situations when the artists never appeared on telly and a very basic little film was shown on TOTP to accompany the song instead. I would be lying if I said it was a favourite of mine from their vast back catalogue having now become a bit over-familiar, but as well as tying in with my revisitation of the Singles Chart of 1970, it is also apt for the times and fits in with one of my pictures above. We are lucky to live within walking distance of the Caledonian Canal, the River Ness and the Beauly Firth, so there are many bridges around here. Hopefully the waters won’t be troubled for too much longer.

I will end with a funny story I remember from one of the many film star biographies I read when I was young. I mentioned the “C Word” in my opening line, but of course that is usually a euphemism for another upsetting ailment, and one used by John Wayne when he called his sons together to break the bad news. They were quite young at the time, but still old enough to misinterpret what he meant. Eldest son quickly replied with the words, “Jeez Dad, you’ve got the clap”.

I seem to have gone full circle in this one from one kind of clap to another, and also from one kind of bridge to another, but often just the way it turns out.

Until next time….

Bridge Over Troubled Water Lyrics
(Song by Paul Simon) 

When you’re weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all
I’m on your side
Oh when times get rough
And friends just can’t be found

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you’re down and out
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you
I’ll take your part
Oh when darkness comes
And pain is all around

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Sail on, silver girl
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
See how they shine
Oh if you need a friend
I’m sailing right behind

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days. I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 57 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team, Bacharach and David. The opening line to that song was, "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

15 thoughts on “The C Word, Simon & Garfunkel and “Bridge Over Troubled Water””

  1. Alyson – I wholeheartedly agree with what you’ve said about our spending billions on useless weapons which will never be used.
    Even now, fighter jets are flying out of RAF Lossiemouth – another pointless exercise and complete waste of money. The RAF say these flights are “essential routine training”.
    I worry about what will happen once some of the lockdown restrictions are lifted. Too many people seem to think everything will return to “normal” and that’s not going to happen. I feel sorry for young people who will have to clear up the mess that we’ve made of this planet.
    Sorry if this doesn’t make much sense – today is not one of my good days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry to hear you’re not having a good day Lynchie but your comment of course makes total sense so no worries there. Hope you’re still managing to get shopping delivered and keeping occupied. Guessing you’re not one of the ones who is “loving the lockdown” – I am acutely empathetic to those who are struggling both with the isolation and the economic impact of the crisis but so many seem to be living in their own little bubble. You are right of course, once we get past the immediate lockdown nothing will return to “normal” for a very long time, if ever, so we will all be affected down the line and sadly the youngsters more so than anyone. Hopefully some good will come of this too however in that our focus going forward will have to be on what is most important (and not on copious amounts of nuclear weapons I hope).

      Keep well – Hope there are blue skies today in the Granite City.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A couple of years ago Paul Simon released an album called In The Blue Light. He chose 10 of his lesser-known songs and re-recorded them with varying groups of musicians. Have you heard it? I’ve heard a few of the tracks and liked them a lot.

    Hi Alyson. See you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Neil – Yes I have heard of it but not heard it (unless something from it has popped up on the radio). Will have to right that wrong. Must have been from around the time he announced he would stop touring. Now no-one is touring.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you took a very similar picture of the Beauly Firth so will know exactly where I was when I took that one. We are so lucky to have such great locations around here for our daily walk but of course not the case for many others. I am suffering garden guilt AND scenery guilt at the moment! My daughter is based in a big city but she does have a wee balcony which is something.

      Hope all well with the family.


    1. I have a good friend who spent her whole working life as a virologist – They have always known that something like this was likely to happen in the not too distant future but it’s never been taken too seriously. We’ve been concentrating on austerity measures, Brexit and new aircraft carriers.

      I’ll have to get my head sorted out as I think I’ve just had an angry few days. It really does play havoc with your emotions. Fortunately we have been quite lucky up here in that there aren’t many cases at all and the virus hasn’t made it into my mum’s care home. We do however know an awful lot of people whose businesses have had to close, or who are self-employed, and are very anxious and worried about their future. Definitely a mood of “I’m alright Jack” around my neck of the woods which is really getting to me although I shouldn’t let it, as most people just think about the here and now and don’t project forward which is probably a good thing. Everyone will be affected in some way down the line but of course in the short term we just want all our loved ones to keep well and we want our healthcare workers to be properly provided for.

      Stay safe John and family.


  3. Well said, Alyson, very much agree with you. I love the John Wayne anecdote by the way. Funny how so many bad things begin with C…. hmmmmm… time to change my name?!
    Sorry to be so brief today, I am struggling to keep up with all our lovely blogs a bit at the moment. I have taken on every bit of work that’s come my way as I’m now the sole earner for the foreseeable, so have rather a heavy load at the moment (but also know I’m very lucky to have any). However, just want to say I totally understand about the spectrum of emotions and I think we just have to go with them and a little rant is definitely therapy…
    Stay safe and all the best to you and the family Alyson.


    1. Ha ha, yes so many C words that are a bit unsavoury but fortunately not your moniker.

      I’ve said this before I’m sure but never feel that you have to leave comments as we all know that other things sometimes take priority, and anyway, this was was more for my own benefit, to let off a bit of steam. I kind of want a bit of a record of these times for the future, and I never keep a written diary nowadays, so here we are.

      Great you are getting plenty of work as it’s going to be a bit rocky for a while. I picked the wrong time to get into the tourism business didn’t I but hey ho, who knew. As it turns out my virologist friend did know but she just couldn’t be year specific! Hoping for a better balance going forward but it’s going to take a fair bit of time for us to get there.

      Take care and happy illustrating.


  4. BOTW was never a favourite of mine from S&G either, but you’re right that those lyrics mean more right now. Lovely pictures again, Alyson. We have to keep focussing on the good things. The other way lies despair.


    1. No, compared to the other S&G songs I’ve featured, not a favourite at all but now that I’ve started on this journey of revisiting the 1970 singles chart, it made sense for the times.

      Loving my walks and the way things are going I’m going to be fitter than I’ve been for ages. If pictures can be taken all the better. Got to focus on the good things I know but as I said to C, every now and then I need to vent a little in order to get back on track. My next offering will be more upbeat, promise.


  5. Thank you for what you wrote and including the lyrics to Bridge Over Troubled Waters. I recently wrote a memorial post on my quote blog for my cousin who passed from her long battle with cancer and she had quoted part of the song so I decided that it was the perfect song but I have yet been able to listen to the song but was happy reading over the lyrics.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So sorry to hear of your loss but glad you were able to find comfort in the lyrics from the song. It was apparently written as a kind of hymn so very apt. Hopefully you will be able to listen to it down the line but tough I know.

      Liked by 1 person

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