TOM LEONARD: CHRISTMAS NEWS 2018
I suffered a debilitating leg injury resulting from a couple falls at the end of November 2017. Despite variable treatment from the NHS over the subsequent few months and two terrifying returns to hospital with acute cellulitis, I have now been able to rebuild my life, but only with the help of my flatmate Scott, his girlfriend Julie, the Quakers, my literary friend Lindsay, several other friends, and my private carers.
My complicated leg condition now seems to be under control, following excellent treatment by the physiotherapist Alan Thompson in the Lymphodema Clinic in Leith, and I can stumble moderately long distances with the assistance of my walker Freddie. However, at age 70 I feel like a physical wreck.
I regularly attend the meetings of the very friendly South Edinburgh Quakers in Morningside (preceded by coffee and a delicious hot croissant in Katrine's), and sometimes the smaller though more intense monthly meetings of the North Edinburgh Quakers in Broughton, I still participate in the Open Door Reading Group in the Botanic Cottage in the Royal Botanic Gardens every Thursday morning, and indulge sporadically in academic Statistics. To cap that, I currently play for the Lime Lite Dominoes team in a pub league in Leith with my much more talented friend Billy , where I enjoy the totally different environments. However my expertise at dominoes is still remarkably scant!
Following my production of several previous self-published or unpublished novels of variable quality, I have now got to Chapter 6 of my murder mystery 'Kisses in Saturn's' which satirises the LGBT Scene on the top of nearby Leith Walk (e.g. Winnie the Mince is thrown down the backstairs in 'Chumps' by an assassin disguised as an orange puma). My recent historical novel 'Reborn on Soutra' is accessible on
I'm also helping my well-published friend Lindsay to revise her outstandingly creative novel about fairies turning into children, and vice versa, and into birds and animals.
I have now moderated the group Facebook page Mental Health Discussions Edinburgh for almost four years. For example I'm still continuing my campaign concerning the dreadful side effects of psychiatric medications and ECT. While others have now taken up the cudgel in political terms with a highly successful petition to the Scottish Parliament to which I've contributed a couple of items, some momentum now seems to be building, and we are as ever hopeful of some drastic changes to mental health treatment in Scotland. I applaud Anne Kelly and Fiona French, both members of my Facebook group and fellow psychiatric survivors, for their political acumen, and Ron Lindsay for also attracting numerous contributions to the petition by his ingenious advertising on social media. Please see
As a result of my and my walking encyclopedia Scott's knowledge of the History of Statistics and Eugenics, we have been invited by a provost at my alma mater University College London to help the college to consider what to do concerning Sir Francis Galton, who coined the term 'Eugenics' in 1883, and was responsible in part for the many hugely harmful consequences of Eugenics e.g in its ongoing influence on psychiatry. His name may well be removed from their commemorative plaques, and it is quite possible that the Galton Laboratory will be renamed.
During July 2018, Scott and Julie went on holiday to Rome.
Scott and Julie on the steps of the Monument of Victor Emmanuel which my father Lieutenant Cecil Leonard of the British Eighth Army and attached to the American Fifth, climbed after the Battle of Anzio in 1944 and upon the Liberation of Rome. My father was wearing a captain's hat bought for him by my mother Rhona Leonard and was said to look like General Alexander. The US headquarters were at the top. My father , who always told a good story, claimed that the Yanks sent out an honour guard to greet him! At Anzio, my father survived a British diversionary attack along the beach. While the majority of his battalion were killed or wounded, the Yanks were able to take the glory by making a direct attack inland.
During November, our friend Eystein visited us from London, where he is working for the University of the Highlands on Celtic manuscripts, Scott and I enjoyed an excellent dinner with him in Khushi's, where we discussed all sorts of things of vital national importance.
During November, Lindsay was the lead performer at a poetry reading in the Woodland Creatures bar on Leith Walk, where the general theme was the remembrance of friends. Lindsay read several very poignant poems in memory of her father and brothers, and these were extremely well received,
During the open mike session, I read my adaptation of the Irish blessing 'May the road rise up to meet you', which I'd previously read during my Aunt Nancy Leonard's funeral in Exeter, Devon in December 2012. This time I dedicated the poem to Joyce Fienberg, who I'd first met in Newcastle in 1974, She was the widow of my friend the statistician Professor Stephen Fienberg of Carnegie-Mellon University who passed away in 2016, and she died most tragically during the recent shootings at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Here is my adaption:
TO THE ORCHARDS IN THE HEAVENS
by Thomas Hoskyns Leonard
MAY THE ROAD RISE UP TO MEET YOU
MAY THE WIND BE ALWAYS AT YOUR BACK
MAY THE SUN SHINE WARM UPON YOUR FACE
THE RAINS FALL SOFT UPON YOUR FIELDS
AND UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN, MAY GOD
HOLD YOU IN THE PALM OF HIS HAND
AND RAISE YOU FROM THE COASTS YOU LOVE
TO THE ORCHARDS IN THE HEAVENS
During December 2018, I attended the funeral in Christ Morningside Church of Professor David Finney, C.B.E, F.R.S. , my predecessor to the Chair of Statistics at Edinburgh University who'd recently passed away at the age of 100. He was a friend of the Quakers, and a member of the Anglican Peace Movement for fully 80 years. After the ceremony I met up with several former colleagues. I am now hoping to write a joint paper on randomised clinical trials with one of David's former students.
Maybe the biggest event of the year was my celebration dinner for my 70th birthday on March 24th, I am, however, left with bittersweet memories because of the traumatic family drama which preceded it, and the sad fates later of two of my close friends who attended it.
My birthday was celebrated in the Vittoria on the Walk restaurant with 37 friends and relatives from various parts of my life. My co-author and former student Professor John Hsu of UCSB travelled all the way from California with his wife Serene, the statistician Diego Ruiz (who'd interviewed me in 2016 for for an article in the ISBA bulletin) came from Manchester University with his wife Diane, and my dear cousin Penny travelled from London. Others present included several academic statisticians, 10 members of the Open Door reading group, two Quakers, five erstwhile members of my former church Old St. Paul's and several members of Edinburgh's LGBT Community
During MY WELCOMING SPEECH I referred to my memories of the late Professor Stephen Fienberg.
During this speech, I dedicated my birthday to my father Captain Cecil Leonard, and and to my step mother, who.has recently left her cottage in Plympton St. Mary to live with her son in Surrey.
Madison, Wisconsin in 1986