Sunday, 24 February 2013

Matriarchy Rules

I have had a bit of a nightmare this weekend because I had to go into work unexpectedly which is 
a) Against  my religion to go to work on Saturday
b) Makes me late for everything else.

So I will not bother you for long but just wanted to share this that I found in Nehemiah this week. In the middle of a superficially quite boring passage on the rebuilding of the wall in Nehemiah 3 there are several descriptions of members of families, mayors, sons, brothers etc. etc doing sterling work as they built.

Then suddenly this

11-12 Malkijah son of Harim and Hasshub son of Pahath-Moab rebuilt another section that included the Tower of Furnaces. Working next to him was Shallum son of Hallohesh, mayor of the other half-district of Jerusalem, along with his daughters.

Along with who? Sallum's lovely, strong, big boned daughters that is who. 
This says to me a couple of things. Firstly, men and women can work together side by side to build community for God. 
Secondly, as women we have to step up and be counted when it is time for building. 
Being a wussy girl doesn't mean that we don't have a part to play and if our skills lie more in bricklaying than pie making, (even though pie making is an essential and important skill) then we need to be using what we have been given.We need to be who we are and take our place with our unique skills to do what needs to be done. Even if that doesn't always fit what might be termed as a traditional women's role.
Have courage, get on with whatever it is you are supposed to be doing and have a great week.


Thursday, 21 February 2013

Brit Bats

So, the Brits. I sat and watched it with my daughter last night. As expected, I had no idea who half the people on it were but, bearing that in mind, here are my observations.

Taylor Swift. Comes on in long white dress which she whips off to reveal much shorter dress while shaking down her long hair. Not exactly original love. Marti Caine was doing that centuries ago on the Val Doonican Christmas Special. Nothing new under the sun.

One Direction. I seriously don't get it. I have tried. I was young once. At least the Bay City Rollers were good looking. (Except the drummer, oh and the one with the spots - sorry)

Emile Sandee. You seem very nice. I liked the way you had your coat on for the last song. Always wise to take your ticket to the cloakroom before the rush starts. (PS HOH says yours was absolutely the best album of the year so that's all lovely)

Daughter asked who Bryan Ferry was. Thought he was Terry Wogan and that he had lost some weight. How the mighty are fallen.

Have had a non lusty type crush on Dave Grohl since I saw him stop a performance because a young boy was getting crushed in the crowd. Always good to see him out and about. Unfortunately, have never been able to stand any of his music for for than 15 seconds.

Mumford and Son. Ah the Mumfords. Love them. Their music is like a drunk man singing quietly to himself in a bar then suddenly 50 men with banjos all run in and start playing all at once. It's a very good thing. Then there are their totally non-Christian beautiful lyrics. Reproduced for you here. Enjoy.

And I came home
Like a stone
And I fell heavy into your arms
These days of darkness
Which we've known
Will blow away with this new sun

And I'll kneel down
Wait for now
And I'll kneel down
Know my ground

And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you

So break my step
And relent
You forgave and I won't forget
Know what we've seen
And him with less
Now in some way
Shake the excess

But I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you

Lyrics by Mumford and Sons


Sunday, 17 February 2013

So what didn't he do?

I thought I might write about about something our pastor preached on a couple of weeks ago, mainly because it has been pinging around in my consciousness on and off since then. 
The thoughts come from Genesis 12. Abram and Sarai (as they still are at this point) are at an early stage of their life with God journey. Seventy-five year old Abram has just heard from God that he will be made into a great nation and he has packed up all he has, wife, sheep, tents, Lot etc etc (events later on in this chapter sometimes seem to indicate that this inventory is not listed in order of importance to Abram but that may just be me.) 
Then, it seems out of nowhere, the land is hit by a famine. There is nothing to eat. This is not just a physical disaster. Look where these people are. They are in the promised land. Abram is being led directly by God. They are right in the centre of God's will and they are hit by famine. 
I think sometimes, when things go wrong for us or we see things go wrong for other people, we have a couple of reactions. One is to woe is me (that is my particular talent which I have developed over years of whinging)  The next thing we do is to ask what we have done wrong, or what people we see who come into bad circumstances have done wrong. In fact, it seems that we can be exactly where God wants us to be and things can fall around our ears. It is not always a judgement on our behaviour. 
The most serious problem here emerges as early as the next sentence.

Then a famine came to the land. Abram went down to Egypt to live. 

Knee jerk reaction. Arrrrggh. Everyone out of here! Egypt! (Not exactly happy valley for Abram you would have thought) That's the place to go! 
Then he ends up prostituting his wife to Pharaoh  bringing down a curse on the Egyptian royal household and getting out by the skin of his teeth. You know how it is.
(Just an aside It's God who ends up rescuing Sarai from Pharaoh's household. One of many times when God rescues women from men. Who says God leads the Patriarchy?)
So what didn't Abram do? He didn't pray.He didn't ask. Disaster struck and he reacted. Don't say you have never done this. For once, I know it's not just me. Sometimes, we are supposed, I think to put our foot on the ball, stop and ask. Pray. Commit. Wait. Then possibly act. That was what was missing from this sentence.

This week.
Digital Spy
HOH and FOW2 went on a Dad Date to watch the zombie comedy"Warm Bodies". They loved it but both said that I wouldn't have liked it. I have a low tolerance level for watching zombies eating people's brains with a spoon. I'm funny like that. 


Watched The Baftas. Approved of nearly everything  Except anything Tarantino wins. How can I judge when I haven't seen it? BECAUSE I CAN. Argo won which is good because it was very good and also because it gets the Cloonster up on stage as he produced it. Win-Win as the young people say.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Film Night,uk

Re watching Mama Mia for umpteenth time with FOW2. So rubbish but so brilliant.  FOW2 has informed me that she is insisting that she has a donkey at her wedding. I have said that that would be OK so long as I get to stop off on the way to the church and belt out "The Winner Takes It All". Not sure how well that would go down in the middle of Plymouth but if it's good enough for Meryl, it's good enough for me.

Top moments also include

Julie Walters in full on Mrs Overall mode (and a bit of my Aunty Audrey)  doing "Take a Chance On Me."

Colin Firth playing the world's most unconvincing gay man (but at least he is a bit more cheerful than he was in "A Single Man.")

Pierce Brosnan cheerfully murdering any song he comes near. But he does it with so much gusto it's irrelevant to be frank.

"Slipping Through My Fingers" making me cry.

Meryl looking suspiciously lairy as she bellows "Do You Want Another One?" at the screen after the last song.

I feel we may have peaked televisually this evening.


Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Backwards Lent

As a non Catholic type of person, I don't really do Lent. I did give up Twitter last year and the only effect that had was making HOH laugh at me - no one on Twitter noticed. However, I am undaunted and I have decided that rather than giving something up I will take something up for 40 days. This is very non conformist and contrary of me and I am to be congratulated. SO I intend to do my prayer/Bible/thinking journal every day for 40 days instead of when inspiration strikes or when I have spare minutes. This should result in heavy duty thinking and very, very deep insights into spirituality. STOP LAUGHING HOH!
Family news - FOW1 has been elected secretary of his Band Society at York University (Think Biffy Clyro rather than Brighouse and Rastrick) When do these people fit work in?

Saturday, 9 February 2013

So what did we think would happen?

Daily Telegraph

I am going to get a bit Tony Benn and a bit political in this blog, so if you don't fancy it, feel free to leave. I have been reading about the Stafford hospital scandal this week. You have probably been as shocked as anyone else by the horrific stories about desperately thirsty people drinking from vases and people lying for days on sheets stained with their own poop. Awful, just awful. My own experience of care within the NHS has, like most people's I suspect, been very different. When I have been in hospital, I have been cared for well by lovely people and so this is an alien land to me.
I have to declare an interest here and tell you that Head of House is a Health Care Assistant working in a local hospital. He would tell you that, as in any profession, there are excellent people and also bad apples. No one is saying that ever nurse or carer is a saint but, I am certain that the huge majority of people that work in these professions are (very) hardworking, patient, souls who come home from work and sink into chairs, exhausted. (Puts hand up in air to confirm that you can indeed, as they say, get a witness) Before I continue my rant, I should confirm that the opinions that follow are my own and not HOH's. He is the kind of nice person that old ladies stop in the street and then lecture me on what a good nurse he is. (Blah Blah. He may be a good nurse, but he is rubbish patient. We are currently dealing with a bout of man flu and not,as he suspects, the first new case of Black Death in England since the 1660s) I digress.
People are bemoaning the lack of a caring culture in the nursing profession. Nurses only want to play on computers now and not hold hands and hold sick bowls. And carers are either scoundrels or people who don't give a monkey's about the people they are supposed to be looking after. Well, that may or may not be true. If there is any truth in it, then surely we had it coming. We have, as a country, debased caring as a profession. We pay the absolute minimum we can get away with to carers (and if we can get their kids to do it for nothing, then that's even better) If you do the jobs that no one else wants to do, if you clean up sick, wipe bottoms, hold an old lady's hand while she tells you about the war, put an old man back into bed for the umpteenth time that night because he has dementia and thinks the Russians are coming up the stairs, these are, to my mind, skilled jobs that take special kinds of people to do them. Do we treat these people like they are skilled? What do you think? Do we train them properly and make sure that ratios in hospitals and care homes and on home visits are set so that people are looked after properly? Well, do you think 15 minutes is long enough for a care visit to someone in their own home? 15 minutes to get them out of bed, wash them and set them ready for the day. Some days, I can't even unfasten my coat in 15 minutes. It's all about cutting costs and saving money. Meeting targets so that you see enough people in a day and if carers are run ragged, well there are plenty more where they came from. And if we undervalue these people long enough, both by the demands we place on them and the wages we pay them, then should we be surprised if some of them lose their way and behave badly? It may not be an excuse but it may be an explanation.
So now we have a situation where care givers are beginning to be demonised. Not just those who have behaved badly but the whole profession. Some people come into wards looking for mistakes or with a "you are just the person who cleans up the sick" attitude. And, in my more paranoid moments, I can't help but wonder if there is some method in this madness. Am I wrong to wonder if privatising choice bits of a demoralised, badly functioning National Health Service nice and cheaply is easier to sell to the British public than it would if all were going well? Maybe, I watch too many movies.

Monday, 4 February 2013



I have been meaning to change the appearance of the blog for a while now and have only just got round to it what with one thing and another. I changed it for a couple of reasons. One is that I really wanted the writing to be on white background (have had a couple of requests) Also I have lost the sidebar with the Reading/Watched posts. This is mainly because I often want to say more than the couple of lines I have there lets me so, I will pull this feature into the main body of the blog. Anyway, we will see how it goes.
It has all been a bit weird here because HOH is on nights and that seems to mean that everyone is a bit out of sync. It is really odd to wave him off at 8.30 pm when everyone is just settling down for the evening. Still nearly done now. I always think that when HOH is on nights, I will get loads done because it's just me (FOW 2 retires to bedroom to watch obscure films, then Facebook message everybody in the world seemingly and pretend to do homework.) but tonight  have been faffing with this blog half the night.
Had a day's leave today and was a bit disappointed that new Archbishop of Canterbury's thingy service  - where he gets sworn in I think - was not on TV live. You would think that it would be wouldn't you. I'm not C of E myself as you know but he seems a decent sort of bloke and needs a lot of praying for. I mean you wouldn't be him for all the tea in China would you? He hardly made the news tonight as well because of some politician with the moral fibre of a mollusk who seems to have bullied his wife into lying for him about his driving habits. So what was it that made him think that the rules didn't apply to him? Does my head in.
Still, I did a bit more writing which is scientifically a good thing.
Was very taken by something I came across in a re-read of M Scott Peck's The Road Less Traveled  This is one of the few self help books I have read that doesn't leaving me wanting to trap my head in a door. Anyway, he was talking about time management. He said that people with decent levels of self esteem are better at using their time profitably because they feel that they are valuable, therefore their time is valuable and they use it accordingly. Using that yardstick, Christians should be acey-pacey time managers. We believe in a God who proved how valuable he thought we were. These are "interesting" times. Do we act as if our time is a valuable gift? It's just meant to make you think that's all - not feel guilty. Trust me, people in glass houses etc.
We went to see Lincoln this week.I know there is a lot of talk about Daniel Day Lewis' performance and quite right too. (Although, as Sasha Baron Cohen said at the Golden Globes "Big Deal. Anyone can grow a beard.") However, I thought it was one of the best films I had seen in ages. Sort of like West Wing in frock coats. What a man. What a mission. Ex-flippin-trordinary.
Do not think that I will be bothering with Denzel Washington in Flight. I am a nervous flyer at the best of times. If, I were on a plane that Denzel was trying to save by TURNING IT UPSIDE DOWN I would be shouting "Don't bother for me Denzel because I will have died  long before you turned the plane over. You will find me hanging from my seat-belt - dead and  covered in poo. (Sorry - unacceptable) Am trying to be more ladylike of speech really I am. I am failing miserably. On Sunday, found myself saying to Pastor after the meeting the he was quote "Really nailing it at the moment." It was meant to be a compliment about his preaching. (We are doing Genesis. It is like it has got my name on it.) HOH stepped in and explained this to slightly scared looking minister and he seemed to be ok. Still am working on lady-likeness. Feel it's probably best.

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