Today, I spent a productive morning counting my blessings….. I’ve got 43….. 44, if I count the fact I’ve not got leprosy…… 45, if I take into account I’ve never had to build an ark before rounding up two of every species to save them from extinction during a global flood.

If the latter did come to pass, yours truly can comfort myself with the knowledge I possess enough spare wood in my garage to build the vast ship-like construction. Timber I’ve been accumulating for decades under a misguided premise of “It’ll come in handy one day!”

That being said, It won’t surprise you to learn I wouldn’t know where to begin when it came to building an ark that’d be seaworthy, along with fit for purpose for accommodating thousands of members of the animal kingdom.

A year ago I did build a rustic table to house my garden herbs, which still sits proudly in the garden of my marital home. However, I’d be the first to admit it’s barely carpentry of the level I’d need to protect myself and a pair of all animal species.

Unless God set me the objective of saving marjoram, sage and thyme from extinction consequential from a significant rise in global sea levels, I’d suggest it’d be a job too far for GJ Strachan.


As I sit in the front room of my Haworth holiday apartment, there’s no sign of meteorological conditions that’d necessitate the building of an ark. On the contrary, solar rays kiss the dry stone walls outside – These imposing gravity defying structures which are so prevalent in this area of West Yorkshire.

These boundary markers, laden with sunshine warmed moss, stare back at me as if to say “There’ll be no need to construct that ark today, Gaz lad!….. Incidentally, have you watched ‘Designated Survivor’ on Netflix yet, pal?…… It’s worth a look if you get the chance!”

As I perch on a sofa penning this essay, I look out on views which almost two centuries ago were the daily visual companions of Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte. My mind wandering it manifests notions about whether the writing trio’s Anglican clergyman Patrick, like me, also collected wood.

The timber hoarding a precaution for the day God tapped him on the shoulder and whispered in his ear “Ark time, Patrick old lad!….. Oh and can you tell your Charlotte to stop using split infinitives in her prose!….. She’ll impress nobody with questionable grammar!”

Looking out of the apartment window my eye’s drawn to an old tree that was probably a sapling in the days when the Bronte girls walked these fields, soaking up the sights of the unforgiving terrain of the moors. Inspirational views that touched much of their literature.

The youthful trinity chatting candidly. Concerned eldest daughter Emily positing to her younger siblings that “I wish dad’d stop collecting all that timber!….. I’m sick and tired of tripping over tree trunks every time I wander in the kitchen!”

Charlotte responding tersely “Never mind that, our Emily!…. I’m more worried that he’s taking grammatical advice from God!….. I mean, what does the almighty know about the creation of thigh slappingly good yarns?!”

Anyhow, I’m going to bring this narrative to a conclusion now as I’m not feeling 100%….. B***dy hell, I hope I’m not starting with leprosy!