I wear two hats when I write this blog of mine. First and foremost, I manage a small charity in a small Scottish town called Dumfries. Ours is a front door that opens onto the darker corners of the crumbling world that is Britain 2015. We hand out 5000 emergency food parcels a year in a town that is home to 50,000 souls. Then, as you can see from all of the book covers above, I am also a thriller writer. If you enjoy the blog, you might just enjoy the books. The link below takes you to the whole library in the Kindle store. They can be had for a couple of quid each.

Monday, August 17, 2020



Over the last few months I have been doing my level best to deal with two food emergency. One has been right here in South West Scotland. The First Base Food Bank foodbank has issued over 11,000 emergency food parcels.

And if we hadn't? If there had been no First Base? Would anyone have actually starved? Almost certainly not. Thankfully. Our Welfare State safety net has been pretty much shredded over the last ten years. But not THAT shredded. Not completely shredded. From time time people actually DO starve to death in Austerity Britain. But it is very, very rare and usually down to chronic mental health problems and isolation rather than a lack of emergency help.

The ten thousand or so citizens of Dumfries and Galloway we have helped out genuinely needed the help. Absolutely they did. And without our help, their lives would have been much more difficult. But would anyone have actually died? No. I don't think anyone would have actually died.

My second food crisis is rather more severe. 200 families in South West Uganda were flooded out of their homes and land and left with no choice but to live under makeshift shelters. One of the young volunteers of our Ugandan charity, the Kupata Project, took on the task of trying to make sure they didn't starve.

We said we would do our best to help him. Of course we did. How could we not? We went online to ask the people of Scotland for help and the people of Scotland came through with flying colours.

Of course they did.

For the last three months our young volunteers have turned up at the two refugee camps once a week to distribute enough food to keep the bodies and souls of the 1000 flood refugees together.

They don't get food parcels like the ones we issue here in Dumfries and Galloway. They don't get pies and bread and eggs and milk and Scotch Broth and biscuits and pasta and baked beans and cereal. Instead they get Cassava meal and Maize meal. 

Do they get enough food to feel full?


Do they get enough food to stay alive?


1000 adults and children have been given food over the last three months thanks to the kindness of the people of Scotland and not one person has died.

Would somebody have died if the people of Scotland has said turned their backs?

Probably. Almost certainly.

A sobering thought, right?

Over the last three months First Base has received two 'thank you' cards for the help we have given. Which is completely and absolutely fine. We don't do what we do for a pat on a the back. And of course lots and lots of people have said thanks when we have delivered the food.

So why mention it?

I'll tell you why. Because these pictures arrived with me last week and basically kicked me in the teeth.

The women in the two camps wanted to do something to say thank you to all the people here in Scotland who made sure their children had something to eat. 

So what does a person who has absolutely nothing do to say to thank you to someone who has riches beyond their wildest dreams?

They make stuff. They use their hands. They deploy skills handed down through the generations.

The teeth kicking photos show the crafts the women in the camps have made as their way of saying thank you. 

One way or another we will get their gifts back to Scotland, though it might take a while. And then we will do our best to give them out to the people who donated the funds.

'Humbled' can be an over used word. But, yeah. I feel humbled. 

Completely humbled.

As I write this blog, we have the cash to feed the families for another four weeks. Hopefully it will be long enough for them to find a solution to their nightmare. If you want to help us to extend this period, you can donate to the Kupata Project be following the link below.


Here are the photos which basically kicked me in the teeth.