New Monkland and Greengairs Parish Church

"Following the Science"

Another familiar phrase from our current predicament. Sometimes I wonder though as our politicians struggle to balance the damage to our economy and the health of our people. It must be said tho’ that the damage to the economy affects the health of our people too.

Anyway here’s a bit of science for you dredged from my career as a biology teacher…

From the woods or garden select three leaves a yellow/red one, a green one and from the ground a brown dead one (best done in the autumn). Cut a 5 mm disk from each leaf and place each disk into a separate test tube. To each tube add an equal quantity (about 10 ml) of hydrogen peroxide, and a drop of Fairy liquid (other detergents are available). In the disks of leaf there is a peroxidase enzyme which breaks down the hydrogen peroxide into bubbles of oxygen gas. Measure the height of the column of bubbles after a few minutes… and would you like to predict the result?

Most lay people would predict the green leaf would froth most, followed by the yellow leaf and least from the brown dead leaf?

The actual result ?

The green leaf froths mostly round the cut edge, the yellow leaf froths slightly more across its whole surface and the brown “dead” leaf causes an eruption of froth usually right out of the test-tube and all over the bench, bleaching the weans blazers and destroying note books etc. Yes I did like the experiments to be “dramatic”.

Now if you are still with me … why does the “dead” leaf produce the most froth?

God in his wisdom has filled the dead leaf with micro-organisms mostly fungi and although to us that leaf looks lifeless it is bursting with activity, releasing nutrients back into the soil for growth next spring. Another wee look under the curtain of nature.

I always loved that experiment. There are all sorts of parallels that I probably don’t need to tease out for you… but, just to say that when things seem to be at their worst God is working in us and through us to prepare us for the next stage in our lives.


... Scroll down for a wee bonus story...

Alistair has been working as a community pharmacist...

Lockdown started on 23rd March 2020.
I was on 2 weeks annual leave. I returned to work early as there was a need for pharmacists in the community to support with the extra workload. From the start of April I was based in a shop in airdrie for 10 weeks. In this time we had to deal with shielding customers who required our support with delivering medication to ensure they didn’t run out. I myself did a lot of delivering of medication to patients homes after work to ensure they did not go without. We received a great amount of positive feedback from our customers in that 10 weeks with many good comments and compliments not to mention cards, sweets and biscuits for all our help. The staff did an amazing job throughout my time there and gave me their full support. In my own life I was supporting my parents with their shopping needs and my neighbour whom was shielding along with his wife. This kept me busy throughout a period of lockdown and help them with the isolation.

We have now turned a corner with the vaccine rollout. I myself have received the first dose of the vaccine as have several of my colleagues. This marks a turning point in the pandemic. I have also put myself forward to be considered as a vaccinator for the Covid vaccine as I am trained to provide influenza vaccines and so this marks a positive end to my story.

Alistair S

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