Sunday, 24 June 2012


Last week Head of House made our tea. This is not an unusual event. He often shares in cookery duties because he is a man - not an idiot. On this occasion he served up spaghetti bolognese, again not unusual. This is a meal well within outstanding capabilities. However, this week there was a problem. No one wanted to say anything at first because you don't want to appear ungrateful but it was sooo salty. In the end, the coughing and the buckets of water we were consuming sort of gave the game away. HOH was the first to say - "Is this salty? Or is it me?" Relief! "Well yes actually - it is - a bit. Not a lot. Just, well, a bit" All very British.
It turns out that Nigella - for it is she - always salts her pasta liberally because she feels that it should taste as "salty as the Mediterranean" or some such blah. This confirms my thesis that Nigella should never be allowed to teach cookery to chaps because they either do not concentrate on anything she is saying as they are so busy staring glassily or they follow her advice, slavishly without question - even if it means everyone in the family develops type 2 diabetes in the space of an afternoon.
I am aware that Biblically, salt is often seen as a good thing and I am certainly NOT contradicting the Bible. None of your heresy here indeed no! But salt isn't always a good thing and those of us who spent an evening this week putting our fingers down our throats and making retching noises will attest to this. (HOH I am not going on and on about this. I am making a very deep spiritual point here. I am aware that anyone can make a mistake. Let's ask ourselves whether you were that gracious when I forgot to move the dog pooh from under the back step. You know it is a rule in here to look before you walk.)
I was reading in Ezekiel this week about a vision about a river that flowed into the sea. Unusually, when this river flows, it turns salt water into freshwater. Wherever it touches (and only where it actually touches) the land becomes habitable, plantable (if you know what I mean) lush and green.

Wherever the river flows, life will flourish...because the river is turning the salt sea into fresh water. Where the river flows, life abounds. The swamps and the marshes won't become fresh - they'll stay salty. But the river itself on both banks will grow fruit trees of all kinds. Their leaves won't wither and the fruit won't fail."

I have left a bit of scripture out here which I think means certain death but you can read it in Ezekiel 47. Its very good.
This week, I spoke to a lady at length on the phone. I don't speak to her that often and can't claim to know her that well but I have to be honest - it was a bit of a trial. She doesn't seem to like anything or anyone. Everyone has it in for her, everyone has an agenda, no one cares. It was the kind of conversation that makes you metaphorically put your duvet over your head and wait until it goes away. It made me think of the salt thing because I sort of felt that was how a slug must feel when my Mum is out and about in the garden with the salt cellar. My challenge, which - spoiler - I failed miserably, was, I think, to try and take the salt out of the way she felt and leave her happier and more balanced about life and her friends. It was much easier and in a way more natural to let her way of thinking infect me and end up believing that most people are indeed ratbags and go and shout at the football, which is more or less what happened
So, how to overcome when you are in the middle of general horribleness? When nastiness is intimidating the living daylights out of you and it's difficult to fight back. When you are behaving like a piece of work yourself and seem powerless to stop it. Don't ask me - it's well outside my skill set. The difference, of course is God. The God who can turn us around and make us what we are not. Who makes the impossible possible. The promise is there but delivery only comes with asking. I think we are meant to ask and often. Only with God and through God, I think the moral is.


Monday, 18 June 2012

Quick Call

This is a little itsy bitsy blog. Just to check in really. Spent the weekend feeling a bit ill with a full on headachy thing. My old mother says that sometimes when you feel ill, its a warning that you are overdoing it/stressed/pooped or all of the above and that feeling a bit off is your body's way of prioritising you taking a rest. So that's what I am doing.
This means this weekend I had to give up on

  • Big cook in and freezing stuff (have actually thrown some food away aaaagh!)
  • Trying new chocolate cake recipe   (Lin, if you are reading this, the reason I am trying new recipe for chocolate cake is because you keep forgetting to bring me yours!)
  • Church and the return of our beloved pastor
  • A trip to the cinema to watch the Danny Boyle's stage production of Frankenstein as above (Much looked forward to)
  • My blog
Still, thems the breaks I'm afraid. I am putting this sorry carcass first for a couple of days. Normal service resumed next week. DV *Lies down and puts another Mentalist DVD in the machine*

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Beautiful or useful....

......or loved.
I am trying to deal with a character flaw. Trying and failing. Apparently, one of the things that is preventing me surging forward into being a mighty woman of God is my inability to streamline my life. Specifically, my struggle with clutter. I have had a book on this from the library. There are a lot of these books about. These books promise me that they will show me the great secret to sorting my life out. Having read a good few of these books, my first reaction is to wonder which chumps give these people publishing deals. In every single one of them we discover that the great secret to de cluttering my life is to - wait for it - throw things out! Insight bordering on the supernatural there I think you'll find.
I have to make clear here that I am not one of those people you see on the telly who live in six feet of filth and have to have counselling before throwing out a newspaper with a headline showing the Hindenburg on fire. These are people who are not well. I am not mentally ill - or certainly not in a way that manifests itself this way. Whether it is balanced behaviour to get up early on Saturday morning to watch four back to back episodes of The Mentalist you will need to judge for yourselves. (By the way - box set - great birthday present family of mine)
So, we know it isn't as bad as it could be but could it be better? Could I sail through life unencumbered by stuff. I do admire those who seek to live life more simply. Thinkers and peaceable people who have managed to pare back their lives. I am not one of these people. It's just that so much of my life is tied up in things. Witness the shelf in our bedroom. (s'cuse dust) It's full not just of things but memories.
Candlesticks - bought on a lovely, in and out of shops, kind of day in Modbury when we had just moved South West.
The Angel Statue - given to me by the cast of a play I directed in my old church. Pleasant surprise - thought they hated me.
Jo Malone Candle - Christmas Present from Mum and Brother. Would never spend that sort of dosh on a candle for me. Gets lit on high days and holidays only.
Family Photos - No explanation necessary
Kissing Pigs - Bought on first ever trip to York as married couple. Not high art I know. Ask me if I care.
Perfume Bottle - Gift from HOH. None of your business.
Red Candle Sticks - Usually brought down for Christmas Table.
Teddy Bear - Pinched from present bundle we made up for friends' baby. Look, we bought the baby clothes from GAP - it's enough for anyone.
Teddy Bear is wearing necklace Fruit of Womb 1 brought back from school trip to Germany. Can't say I actually wore it but the thought and everything.

In terms of money, there's nothing too valuable there. The memories are the greatest value possible. Call me a sentimental old bessie but I would rather deal with a bit of a dust trap that makes me happy than a streamlined empty space that leaves me more time to take over the world or whatever it is I am supposed to be doing. You are not supposed to have anything in your house that isn't beautiful or useful. What about stuff you love? I'm building relationship, family, friendship here. I realised long ago that I wasn't able to build an efficient palace that would get me into Minimalist Weekly. Fortunately, that never did float my boat.

Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you'll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God.
1 Peter 2


Sunday, 3 June 2012

Send One Victorious

Ok so, miles behind today. People in Plymouth are grimly determined to get into the Jubilympic Spirit and risking life and limb to put up their bunting even in the teeth of a gale.(see neighbour above.)
Have approximately 20 minutes to write this as have just prepared large Jubilympic Lunch (Chicken pie, potatoes and roasted carrots followed by home made strawberry semi - freddo since you ask)
I have just watched Her Maj watching what must have seemed like a million boats go by as she smiled and waved and refused to sit down. I hope she had at least slipped her shoes off and got her slippers on.
If you don't live in this country, you may well have no idea how big a deal the Diamond Jubilee is here so, as it is a criminal offence in Great Britain to write about anything else at the moment - you can have my thought about what the Jubilee means to me.

  1. Two Days Off Work. Hurrah for the Monarchy! (Except for Head of House, he's been quite tetchy about not having any time off, which I think is quite selfish. Anyway, I would have thought it would be a privilege to spend the day in hospital serving old people who remember the Coronation etc. Apparently not.)
  2. It's a chance to think about how quickly time passes. It really doesn't seem two minutes since the Silver Jubilee. We had a street party and everything then. There has been no interest in having something like that here. There are some very good reasons for that. We are on quite a busy road/It has rained all day/Half of our road is made up of students who probably have no wish to socialise with us after HOH broke up their party at 3am with threats to call the police and other shouty things which probably should not come out of a mature Christian's mouth. I do remember the Silver Jubilee well though. My offspring give me respect because they are impressed that I remember that the Sex Pistols really hit the big time that year. There is probably no need to tell them that I wasn't exactly thrilled at their arrival. *Me, watching Sex Pistols "Did he just spit then? Seriously? Dirty Pig!"* 
  3. Even though, in my heart of hearts, I am not sure that a Monarchy is something a grown up country should be having in this day and age, I bow to no one in my respect for her Maj. She stands for values like constancy, commitment, duty and doing the right thing. Sometimes people say that she has lived through everything. Well she probably hasn't actually. She hasn't lived through poverty or debt. She hasn't been made redundant or worried about how to pay the mortgage. But, with the highly favourable life that she has been blessed with, she has still chosen the harder way and committed herself to her country with an admirable sure footedness. Maybe the only time she faltered was at the death of Diana. (You need to realise that I think that "The Queen" with Helen Mirren was actually a documentary) Even then, time has shown that she was ok and it was everyone else that went mad. 
  4. She may well be that last "Christian" monarch we ever have. I know that is a bit sweeping and it is one of those things that we don't notice until she is gone but (and again - I have no evidence for this whatsoever) I wonder how much influence she has exerted on those around her and how much her faith has helped her to hold the line under all sorts of pressure.
  5. I don't live in a perfect country and who knows where it is heading but The Jubilee makes me think that this country is ok really. It could be worse. Which is a very British thing to think.
Anyway, tomorrow is the concert thingy led by Sir Gary Of Barlowton as he is surely soon to be. Don't know if I will watch it. Am still traumatised by sight of the Princes "getting down" at the last jamboree they organised. There are some things that the Royal family should never allow themselves to do in public. 
Listen, I really have to go now. I have been late for church the last three Sunday nights running which is not acceptable, not big, not clever and certainly not stiff upper lip British behaviour.Rushing Now....
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