Friday, 31 May 2013

Oh the news

April Jones
Georgia Williams
Lee Rigby
Baby 59

and on it goes

Just thought about this


Tuesday, 28 May 2013


I am updating you on my media forays this week - whether you like it or not.

Watched... Star Trek  Into Darkness

Late to this party, I know. Well - it was better than ok - just.

Benedict Cumberbatch steals every scene he is in by choosing to act rather than just be a movie star like everyone else does.
Simon Pegg's Scottish accent aside - he is the next best thing in it.
There is a frankly annoying scene where Alice Eve who is playing a frankly annoying character appears in her bra and grundys for no particular reason as far as I could see.
There is also a preposterous bit where the baddie has been set up to be superhuman and faster, higher stronger etc etc, yet is then pursued by what seemed to me to be a borderline podgy Spock. Spock not only catches him but then proceeds to knock seven bells out of him!
I know what I sound like but I did like it - honest I did. I especially liked the bit where the baddie said "My Name is........." and someone behind me gasped. Must have been a Trekkie. 
Have certainly spent worse times in the cinema so happy to recommend. PS Don't do what we did and waste your money on 3D.

Re Read - A Place of Greater Safety

Everyone quite rightly makes a big fuss about Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies. This though is my favourite Hilary Mantel. It's about the French Revolution. I don't know if you need to know a bit of history to enjoy it - I did this period at A level and then did some further study. I love it though. A warning - it is massive and might look a bit off-putting. For me, it rattles along like a train.

Nearly finally

I don't know if you have seen this furore (is that a word?) but Disney is in a bit of trouble. Merida, who is the heroine of their children's movie Brave has now joined the happy band of Disney princesses. To do this she had to have a makeover - apparently. This is the transformation.
Spot the difference? Of course you do. Disney has decided to bring sexy back. To a children's heroine! Stop it Disney! I haven't seen the film but I am told by young girls of my acquaintance that it was about being yourself and not being forced to be something that you are not. AS LONG AS BEING YOURSELF IS BEING A FOXY MINX. If you are interested, there is a campaign here to get Disney to change it's mind.

Certainly finally

Sorry to be so photo heavy but this is doing the rounds of Twitter and making all the girlies in my daughter's class laugh a lot. It's a photo of Benedict Cumberbatch as a baby and he looks EXACTLY THE SAME. Bye Bye


Saturday, 25 May 2013

Hard Reality

I wanted to share a strange thing with you. It is that I have been very impressed by the honesty of someone's grief. When I say impressed, I obviously mean that I understand that, given a choice, this person would rather not go through it at all  but still, his behaviour has done him credit. Rick Warren is the author of The Purpose Driven Life, the best selling Christian book. He is a pastor, a teacher, a giver and an all round good egg. At the beginning of April, his son Matthew took his own life. Matthew, a Christian, had suffered with bi-polar disorder for most of his life. Pastor Warren is a prolific tweeter. Like most Christian leaders, his tweets are usually positive and upbeat. They changed significantly after Matthew's death. You my think that this would be obvious. However, there is sometimes a school of Christian thought that faith translates into "positivity in all circumstances." When I was ill, I remember someone literally yelling "All things work together for good for those that love God" under the toilet door at me, when I had fled there to escape. She was only trying to help. She didn't. I sometimes think I sense Christians being encouraged to sort of ignore the grief by repeating how great God is - if only through gritted teeth. Warren has not done this. His Tweets are shot through with grief, yet he finds comfort in Jesus.

Every time my heart shatters I take the pieces to Jesus for repair.

We can't grow without change. We can't change without letting go. We can't let go without some loss, and that brings grief.

Grief comes in waves.When a big wave hits, you cant ignore it.You surf it and ride it out. My surfboard is talking to Jesus.

Kay and I are overwhelmed by your love, prayers, and kind words. You are all encouraging our #brokenhearts.

Many people have been really helped by The Warrens' honesty. God has depth. He has the deepest depth. When we try and pretend that bad things don't happen or that when they happen we don't really get hurt, then I think that we make God seem shallow. When people grieve  God enters into that grief with them. He doesn't leave them alone and he asks that we do the same.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

My Curious God

Please find pictured above a VERY small snippet of HOH's music collection. All vinyl and Northern Soul Collections are kept where I can't reach them after a rather nasty accusation of using a record as a Frisbee.  Please note that there are NO witnesses to this and no jury in the land would convict me.
Anyway, I am idly rooting through his CDs to put stuff on my MP3 without going through the bother of downloading which, I am sure,  is only slightly less complicated that splitting an atom. I came across the lovely Charlie Peacock.
In the 90s he was my Christian performer of choice with intelligent lyrics and lovely thoughts. One of my favourite songs is "What's it like in your world?"
I tried really hard to find it on You Tube - but it has perhaps every song he has written apart from this one so I have reprinted the lyrics. If you are interested, you can download it. You could do a lot worse - it's very 90s but vair good. Anyway, in the absence of the music, here are the lyrics

What's it like in your world?
What makes you laugh?
What makes you cry?
Let me look into your soul, so I can see what the world looks like through your eyes.

You don't have to ever pretend when you're in my company,
You've got to know I will not turn and run from you if you practice honesty.

What's it like in your...(what's it like in your world?)
What's it like in your world?
What's it like in your...(what's it like in your world?)
I want to know what's going on,
I want to know what's going on.

Do you have any expectations of yourself and the world in which you live?
If you had a chance to make some kind of difference, tell me now, what would you, what could you give?
Is there any hope you've set aside?
Any dreams yet to come true?
Well, tell me, tell me, tell me true,
Are there any longings, any passions that you've kept hidden from my view?

It is a mystery that the God who knows my thoughts and hopes and dreams is still genuinely curious about me. Remember in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve had done the deed with the apple. They then went on to show a spectacular lack of understanding about just how big God is by thinking that the most effective response would be to hide behind the nearest bush. (All the best with that one guys) God, being God and therefore knowing exactly where Adam is, still says

"Where are you?"

To me, I think that this is not about a physical absence, it's about a relational one. When Adam takes himself out of the relationship by behaving like a numpty - God misses him.

I have said before that it is beyond my understanding that God is interested in a one to one relationship, where I am a proper person with him, not a lab experiment. Knowing myself as I know myself, that is both terrifying and a comfort.   As best I can, I am choosing to be comforted by it and be grateful about God's curiosity about me.


Thursday, 16 May 2013

Don't say that dear - it's not nice

James Gordon
It appears to be turning into American Pastors' Week here at Martha Towers, which is nice. I like Americans (not all of them obviously)  and I like pastors (not all of them obviously)
Today I am turning my attention to the shy, retiring and not at all publicity seeking Mark Driscoll. Now I have to admit that I have a sneaking regard for a Christian who likes to speak his mind. Sometimes we are too quiet when we need to speak. Sometimes though, Pastor Driscoll's outpourings seems to cross over the line of loveliness. He is in charge of a mahoosive church in America and I am sure he is very popular among this huge population. He is not, however, as popular with some women (see his mind-blowing remarks on women in leadership here) or with British church leaders (see his encouraging and Christian solidarity promoting remarks here. Although he did try and wriggle out of this a bit later by saying that the interviewer had upset him)
There is probably not enough space in the cyber world for me to share my feelings on this and you are all too young anyway. So I will move on in a Christian and forgiving way to his latest controversial remarks which have added the Greens to the list of groups who have crossed him off their Christmas list. 

"I know who made the environment. He's coming back and he's going to burn it all up. So yes, I drive an SUV"

I have to confess that I had to look up "SUV". I think what he is talking about here is the equivalent of a zillionaire in London who drives a huge four-wheel drive - just because they can and are therefore - officially - donks. 
However, that aside, it's the sheer carelessness of the remark that does my head in. I don't know where you are on the Creation/Evolution debate. I know Christians who believe that the world evolved and God loves it and I know Christians who believe that God fashioned every single petal of every flower individually and loves it. And I know Christians of every hue in between. 
Just because something isn't going to last forever, does that give us the right to trash it? The earth has a job to do. In Psalm 19 it says. 

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands

I would think that you would trash that at you peril. When our daughter was little we bought her a doll's house. It was from Ikea, about a foot taller than her and made from cardboard. How she loved that house. She decorated it and furnished it, then she re-decorated it. It was used as a house and a space station and, because she is who she is, a place to train lady pilots and doctors - often in the same classroom. It gave us so much joy to have given her something that she loved so much. There really is nothing like the feeling of seeing someone you love really appreciate something you have given to them. Of course, because it was only made of cardboard, eventually it went through one makeover too many and we had to kiss it goodbye. 
However you believe the world got here, it is, I think anyway, part of God's love letter to us. I have neither the desire nor the will to throw something so beautiful back in his face. It is my role, I think  to tread as lightly as possible and enjoy it while it lasts. 


Monday, 13 May 2013

Dum, Dum, Dum, Dum De Dum

That, you will have recognised immediately is the theme to Film Night because I have been to the pictures twice this week - oh the life I lead - and wanted to tell you about both of the movies because they are a bit off the beaten track.

The Spirit of 45

This is a Ken Loach documentary about the creation of the Welfare State after the war. No, come back, it's really interesting. When people came back from the war in 1945, they were unwilling to return to the crippling poverty and systems that they had lived under before. So they ousted Churchill (fascinating footage of him being heckled at a rally) and voted in a Labour Government and began to change things. It isn't the most balanced thing I have ever seen. It completely ignores the way that the country was when Margaret Thatcher took over. Even I remember that you couldn't bury your dead or get your rubbish collected. Also how genuinely afraid people were of the power of the unions. This sometimes seems to suggest that she broke up a happy Socialist utopia just for the benefit of eight rich people in Mayfair and I don't think it was quite like that was it? However, there is a warning about the National Health Service and the the benefits we all enjoy. Should, I think be required viewing in all classrooms.

A Late Quartet

You know, sometimes a film comes along and there are no lasers or time travel. No one gets their head sawn off or buries anyone alive. People just act. Really well. And they use that acting to tell you a story about people that is moving and makes you think and is uplifting. This is one of those films. One member of a quartet who have played together for twenty five years is diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. The film revolves around the way these people react to that. New York never looked more beautiful. Everyone is as cool as a cool thing on a very cool day and that's it really. It's enough. Highly recommended. 

Go away. Eat cake. Be reassured that the film industry is not ready to jump into the handcart to hell quite yet. 


Saturday, 11 May 2013


Was sad to hear this week of the death of Dallas Willard. Aside from being blessed with a super-dude  name. "My name is Dallas. How Do You Do? Yes indeed it is a cool name isn't it? "  He also has the rare distinction of being one of the few people who, when I have listened to them on my MP3, I actually leave on to listen to again.
One piece is a sermon about Grace which he defined as "God acting in my life" I found this very challenging because it is not passive and means that God is part of my ongoing life and it demands a response from me. The second piece is just an opening prayer before he preached in which he used the line from God "You are perfectly safe with me." Sometimes when I walk to work felling a bit low or afraid, I play the prayer and remind myself of this. It does a girl good I can tell you. The bloke left a legacy.

We had a visit from a couple from church this week as part of the membership process. They seemed very nice, if a little delicate for our house, and my first question, as usual was "Are you ok with dogs?" "Oh yes, of course we are." Cue Morecambe greeting visitors with bountiful love and joy.  

Nice people ."Is he a puppy?" 
"Er no - he is seven"
"He has a lot  energy - quite bouncy." (Said with slightly panicky smile)
"We'll put him in the kitchen"
Return to find nice man looking quite relieved and nice lady drawing heavily on her inhaler. It all went quite well after that. 

Watched this week
Murder on the Home Front
Set in the Second World War. Based on real diaries of a real pathologist's real assistant. Lots of attention to detail. What could possibly go wrong? Well, for me, everything really. Firstly, why do all the lady bodies in the morgue have to be stripped to the waist with their ning-nangs on show? Secondly, the pathologist is so far ahead of his time, he is practically from another dimension. Thirdly, more cliches in it than Shredded Wheat has roughage. Fully expect to see our plucky heroine (who, last week, got herself a job as a pathologist's typist and now finds herself at the centre of every crime scene in London) running through London in the middle of the night pursued by the bad guy.

Reading this week
Miss Read - Village School
Am not entirely sure if this is one of the loveliest books I have ever read or the most boring. Nothing has happened yet - at all - nothing. But the sense of time and place is captivating. Bits even remind me of my own ancient primary school in Salford but I would just like a little thing to happen I think. Just once. Doesn't have to be much.


Saturday, 4 May 2013

This weekend I shall be mostly..

..pottering. Head of House will be working all through the Bank Holiday weekend - doing his bit to keep the NHS on the straight and narrow. FOW2 is revising and recovering from a heavy cold so she is quite useless when it comes to entertaining me so I will be sorting myself out.
I did resolve to use the time wisely and I have ironed all my Spring and Summer stuff so I am ready for the heatwave when it comes. I did get a little sidetracked by Doctor Who and my DVD of the Mentalist but that's to be expected at my time of life. Has anyone else been a bit disappointed by Doctor Who this season? I don't know if it's because there is yet another impossibly beautiful, swishy-haired assistant or the relentless "right-on-ness" (not a real word but you know what I mean) but I am finding the whole thing a bit annoying this series. 
It is probably my age but I am watching less and less telly. Saturday night is a wasteland. Britain's Got Talent is particularly disturbing. As I think I have probably droned on before about this before, just a couple of questions.

  1. When did we decide that letting people with mental illnesses (which some of these people clearly have) and children, come onto a stage to be gawped at by an audience, while a "panel" make fun of them was an acceptable way to behave?
  2. Exactly who decided that Alicia Dixon (whose name I only know because she blighted Strictly for  couple of seasons) and a blond with artificial lips, would be the arbiters of TALENT ?
  3. Do I feel like this because I am now very old?
  4. Why am I asking you this? Why would you know?
I was reminded of my creeping old age this week when I had a lovely pot of tea out with a friend who left our church because they moved away. I was trying desperately to remember the name of the man from church who saw us about us becoming members. Try as I might, I just couldn't think of it.

Me   He's been there a long time.
Pal   Doesn't narrow it down.
Me   Grey Hair?
Pal   Still not narrowing it down really
Me   Seemed very nice
Pal   Nope
Me   Wife wears glasses
Pal   Oh right - now I know.
Me   No-one likes a smart alec.

Anyway, his name came to me about 10pm that night and I texted it to her in Poole. Am only hoping that she remembered the conversation as otherwise she may be  a bit frightened by the way she received a text  just saying

"Don Nuttall!"

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