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.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023


I don't expect to feel any pleasure penning these words. In fact I'm not entirely sure why I feel the need to commit them to the ether. I guess it's just basic human emotion. Which of course always completely beyond explanation. Always illogical. Always human.

It's how we roll.

On Monday evening our grandson stayed over. Noah. He's just turned six months. It was a huge night for Noah. It was his very first night away from his home. Away from his Mum and Dad.  For the record, he took the whole thing in his stride just like he seems to take pretty much everything in his stride. A pretty cool cat is our Noah.

When I got home from work, he was sitting on the floor surrounded by a collection of toys, all of which were being ignored. Instead all of his attention was focused on a huge teddy bear who goes by the name of Jeremiah.

Baby and teddy bear were face to face and a matter of inches apart. The bear towered over the baby, but not in any kind of threatening way. Noah was doing all the talking. His own version of talking which is a collection of sounds which as yet have no translation book to guide the listener. Jeremiah gave the impression of a bear who was taking on board every word.

The two of them were clearly putting the world to rights. The baby and the teddy bear were locked into one of the great philosophical conversations. Or so it seemed

All of which is utter nonsense of course. Sentimental tosh. Maybe some a similar sight once upon a time prompted A A Milne to pick up his pen and start out on penning the Winnie the Pooh books.

Maybe. Was this moment to be the moment to send me off on a similar quest? Would my 28th novel be a children's book charting the adventures of a bear called Jeremiah and a boy called Noah?

I wish it had. Instead a few hours later I opened up Chatgpt and provided a few basic facts. A six month old Scottish baby called Noah with Tin Tin hair. A giant brown teddy bear called Jeremiah. A long and deep conversation. 

Please write me a poem Chatgpt. About the moment. About the baby and the teddy bear. About the utterly illogical sentiment. A fairy tale seen through the eyes of a grandfather.

And Chatgpt did indeed write me a poem. In less than a second. It isn't exactly WB Yeats. But somehow it managed tapped into the emotion I felt when I stepped into the house to find the baby and the teddy bear locked in their moment.

In less than a second. Not from a brain and the experiences of a life lived. Instead, though numbers and code and Christ knows what else. Awesome, right? And yet so utterly, utterly sad. After all these hundreds of thousands of years of humanity we have suddenly lost a certainty. We have always looked to art to mirror our own emotions and dreams and passions and beliefs and dreams. In books and poems and paintings and songs and films. From the Bible and the Koran to 'War and Peace' and 'Winnie the Pooh' and 'Macbeth'.

Not any more. From here on in we will never know. Is this a human or a non human? Is this genuine emotion or an an approximation? 

It seems after all these years our manic greed has finally persuaded us to find a way to sub-contract our souls.

'Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon can no longer hear the falconer'  

That is indeed WB Yeats by the way. Not Chatgpt.

Man not machine.

So here is the poem. It took a second to write. Less probably.

Maybe I will take the liberty of changing Yeats's next lines.

'Things fall apart

The centre cannot hold

A terrible sadness is loosed upon the world'


In the land of Scotland, where the heather blooms, Lived a baby named Noah, amidst joyful rooms. With hair like Tin Tin's, a golden cascade, A cherub so pure, in innocence he played.

By his side, a teddy bear named Jeremiah, With fur of deep brown, a companion extraordinary. Twice the size of Noah, this faithful friend, Their hearts intertwined, a bond that would transcend.

On this wondrous day, they embarked on a quest, To share secrets profound, a conversation at its best. No words were spoken, but their hearts understood, A language of love, between baby and bear, it stood.

Noah giggled and cooed, his eyes full of delight, Jeremiah listened, his presence shining bright. In their playful exchange, wisdom did unfurl, A tale of wonder and friendship, to enrapture the world.

They spoke of dreams, and of faraway lands, Of castles and dragons, where adventure expands. Noah babbled tales, with his innocence untamed, While Jeremiah nodded, his love never restrained.

Together they laughed, their spirits entwined, A symphony of joy, a melody so kind. Noah's tiny hands reached out, to touch Jeremiah's fur, Feeling warmth and comfort, an embrace to endure.

As the day drew to a close, the sun bidding adieu, Noah and Jeremiah knew their bond was true. For in their encounter, something precious was found, A friendship eternal, forever tightly bound.

So, let the story of Noah and Jeremiah be told, A tale of love and connection, more precious than gold. In the depths of their hearts, their voices did resound, A six-month-old baby and a teddy bear profound.