Ian McDonald

Ian McDonald

Lines for a hard journey

Writing a column on the celebration of Christmas is a little like trying to illustrate the scope and scale of Shakespeare with one or two quotations; you can succeed about as well as the man who tried describing the marvellous cathedral at Chartres by showing a carved stone and single piece of stained glass as specimens of the building’s majesty.

Not fun any more

It is strange how the words sport, game, play, which in the dictionaries are associated with fun and frolic, have more and more lost their original meanings.

Never lose heart

Intermittently through the year, and especially during memorable times up the immense and soul-redeeming Essequibo, I like to read Shelley – as we all should do from time to time since he is pre-eminently the poet of hope.

Changing the nation’s frame of mind

By what values should we strive to live in order to achieve a community in which differences are accommodated, a community where there is diversity of discourse but a recognition of the common good regardless of politics, religion, race and personal beliefs?

`We know not whence they come but they die not’

If you think about it carefully it seems impossible to reconcile two things which most people would very much like to believe – one, that they enjoy free will and in some ultimate sense are masters of their fate, and, two, that the God of all creation is omnipotent and has a master plan for us all.

The Mandela lesson

Bitter party political animosity divides the nation and holds back united efforts to solve the multitude of problems which need our combined human resources. 


My tutor at Cambridge, Professor Nick Hammond, authority on the history of ancient Macedonia and on the life of Alexander the Great, used to coach me on what he called “exercises of the mind.” He knew I played tennis for the university and he put it to me that just as I trained hard for the tennis so should I stretch to exhaustion the muscles of the mind.

Meditation on sadness

One might have thought that as time passes the heart might harden as arteries harden and the sense of loss grow less acute as the five familiar senses most certainly tend to do.

Colin Campbell

Last week Colin Campbell, an old Etonian and quintessentially English, died at his home in Blackhorse Lane, South Mimms, in Hertfordshire at the age of 86.

Thief of time

In teaching me about life when I was a boy my father always took pains to impress upon me the value of time – more precious than the rarest metal and not something hoardable.

They also ran

Sport is an inexhaustible source of good conversation and friendly disputation. The other day I was conversing with a group of friends who, like myself, find nothing more companionable and enjoyable than holding forth on the latest events and controversies in the world of sport.

The unsung and the unseen

A J Seymour is Guyana’s greatest man of letters. Martin Carter is the nation’s most renowned  poet; Edgar Mittelholzer, Wilson Harris and Roy Heath are our outstanding novelists; and Denis Williams combined in one man a Renaissance range of talents as artist, novelist and anthropologist.

Catchphrase administration

One way or the other, if any nation is to do well, beneath and beyond the rhetoric and the fruitless slogans, the real work has to be done by ordinary people who do not indulge in the rhetoric and who do not shout the slogans.