Sunday, 29 September 2013

Eventful! Well no not really

A few things going on this week, nothing for you to lose sleep over but why would you? You hardly know me! The flowers in the photo were my brother's favourite - yellow roses. (I know, I know he certainly was not afraid of a gay stereotype, bless him) It was three years since he died this week. Because my Mum lives here now and can't go to the crem, I was trying to think of something memory thingy to do. I thought of taking some yellow roses to the beach and throwing them into the sea. Then I almost heard Dave's voice saying "Have you gone mad? You look ridiculous!" So we shoved the roses into a vase, I made a chicken pie and we sat round and told funny Dave stories. Better way to remember for us I think. Thinking of you this week Liam. (Sorry if you are a fan of the old lobbing things into the sea method. I expect you have more natural dignity than I do)

Head of House has returned safely from dropping Fruit of Womb 1 back at York Uni. There was a small problem in that the hire car provided for the trip was not the roomy economy that he had ordered but a last minute replacement Mercedes. You may think this would be a "good thing" However, call me ungrateful but..

  1. HOH spent the whole weekend with his bottom tight with fear in case anything happened to the stupid thing.
  2. The usual £60 fuel cost jumped to £90. (Apparently, Mercedes owners don't have to worry about trivial things like fuel consumption).
  3. When FOW1 goes back to uni he takes nearly every possession he owns. Try fitting a base guitar, large amp, clothes, tv, music system, sports equipment etc etc into the back of a poncy car whose seats don't even go down!
  4. Apparently it flipped unbidden into cruise control. It can be quite scary to find yourself suddenly travelling at 80 mph with your foot OFF the accelerator.
This weekend was the 40th Anniversary of the first night Northern Soul Allnighter at Wigan Casino. I am writing this with HOH sat next to me threatening to "help" me with this bit so it may be cut short if I stop and hit him with the laptop. I have never been to Wigan Casino. Too young for one thing and probably not cool enough either. But, every Saturday night for three years from 1973 HOH would go and spread talcum powder on the floor of the casino (to aid slippage) and dance from midnight to 8am. It was a phenomenon among the young working class who liked their soul music with an edge. This week - The Culture Show had a terrific documentary about it. It is on the BBC I-player here but
only until Wednesday. 
Even though I am only the other half of a Casino veteran, I do love a lot of the music (not all of it - trust me) and can certainly see how it attracted such loyalty. The program is certainly worth a watch, especially for my kids who were struggling to believe that their aged parent was once a member of one of the coolest groups of people in the universe.!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Thoughtful Home Thoughts

I'm watching and loving The Story Of The Jews at the moment on the old BBC. I love this for lots of reasons. Firstly, Simon Schama. I think that he is the daddy of all this sort of thing. I loved his History of Britain and his book on The French Revolution - Citizens is one of the best things I have ever read on it. ( A not at all snobby or superior warning here. If you are not interested in The French Revolution or you don't already know a bit about it, I wouldn't start with Citizens. You may lose the will to live)

I love the Jewish depiction of God - passionate, loud, argumentative - ultimately always believing in his fatherhood.

Anyway - as he has got older he has got a bit more er... theatrical in his delivery but I love it. The word my kids use is fey but either way - I could watch him for hours. He is Jewish, un-apologetically Jewish and a Zionist. Not wholly uncritical but certainly partisan. And he is living this series. Lips a tremble, hand waving, head shaking sometimes quivering with indignation. 

I have learnt loads too. I would not claim that this was a specialist subject and I am a bit embarrassed because I sort of thought that all Jewish men in the Old Testament dressed like Hassidic Jews. Whatever you think about the Jewish nation though and there is probably a good argument that says that modern Israel brings a lot of its trials down on itself; no-one could say that they have had an easy life. 

For many hundreds of years they had no area to call home. They lodged in other countries - locked in at night, forced to wear clothes that made them easily identifiable (this is all pre-second world war - we haven't got that far yet) and when the home nation got fed up, then they were expelled (if no one felt like massacring a few thousand of them)

I have struggled to get my head around not having a home country. I have my problems living here - I worry - Did we choose the right Millidee to lead Labour? What sort of government thinks it's ok to tax disabled families more for having an extra bedroom where carers can get some sleep? Will X Factor eventually lead to lions running in and eating the unsuccessful candidates? Will Sherlock EVER come back? However, it is my country. The place that I was born in and, at least at this point in time, it is the place that I can call my own and anyone who says otherwise is actually an invading force and we would feel well within our rights to deal VERY severely with them. 
I can't imagine not having that. It gives me pause.


Saturday, 21 September 2013


So, if you are feeling robust. Have a look at this. Keep going if you can - it's worth it in the end. 

Just made me think a bit. Ever felt like Bethany? Too far gone? Too hurt? Too exhausted? In too much of a mess?

Corrie Ten Boon once famously said "There is no pit so deep, that God's love is not deeper still." She knew what a pit was.

All things are recoverable from. Everything has a way back. God is involved in the serious business of recovery every second of every day. Often with the same people and the same recurring fault lines. Even for those who try so hard to be good that it leaves them all churned up inside sometimes. He is constant. He is an inveterate void filler. He is world champion broken people scooper-upper. The lost and the lonely are his people baby!  I suppose you have to be like Bethany and trust the healer enough to let him in and to give it over.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Bit of a catch up

Can't stop long - have promised to make chicken pasties for tea and this will be taking a lot of concentration from me so all the inside bits don't pop out at unexpected moments. This, I think, is a good rule to live by. 
FOW2 is back at school now after summer school in London (apparently the work bit was good, "Wicked" was excellent but one or two people were a bit strange) Also both are back from church camp. More successful I think. FOW1 was a leader and he didn't hit anyone so that's very good. He isn't a natural young people person and concentrates hard on the thought that this is a "good thing" that he is doing. He finds that helps. 
FOW2 was in a tent with lots of girlfriends and enjoyed the whole thing very much. She described this year's camp as "less showy but more spiritual depth" which would make some of my old pente friends do a little shudder but I rather like the idea of a thoughtful, slow God legacy. On a less spiritual note they had fantastic weather and she has come back freckled for the first time since she was a teeny. Made me a leeetle bit sniffly.
HOH and I contented ourselves with a week of minimal cooking and cleaning and watching an episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip every night. I need very little to keep me content.
FOW1 is bracing himself for returning to York, which he can't wait for. (I have my rejection issues very much under control) He is slightly unhappy that Frank Turner (a very sweary singer with an impressive way with lyrics - don't listen to him. It's a bit scary for old people,) is not going to York when he tours. He is however coming to Plymouth. I know this because FOW2 has a ticket. This has caused some friction among the young people.
So everyone keeps announcing that "Summer is over" because we have had some rain. I suppose it is. Summer is the only season that people keep making these pronouncements. You don't hear anyone saying - "Well that's our Autumn done" when it starts snowing do you?  It has seemed a nice, long and languid summer this year. A very encouraging person has informed me that we can really only expect summers like that every 10 years or so. So pack the paddling pool up nice and tight.

We went to see "The Way Way Back" This is just lovely. Really lovely. It's funny and sweet and I cried twice. It is your basic coming of age movie. I suppose like Dirty Dancing but good. (That's not fair I have never seen it. It's not for the want of trying. I kept starting it but just couldn't do it. Even I have limits. Sorry) Anyway, not original but brilliant. Steve Carrell is just horrible. Sam Rockwell is really funny. Well I just loved it. I will be dragging FOW2 to it, with or without her consent as soon as it comes to the Arts Centre.
HOH and FOW1 went to see Elysium.  Someone's head exploded. I rest my case M'lud.


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

It's Just Funny

Why is this so funny? Dunno, Just makes me laugh.......


Sunday, 1 September 2013

People I have a sneaking regard for and probably shouldn't (2)

Job's Comforters.

You have probably heard the phrase - "You're a right Job's Comforter -you are!" (N.B. carries more weight with a Northern Accent.) This is quite obviously a "bad thing to be". However, I sort of feel sorry for them - a bit - sometimes. The reason being that they remind me of me and, in line with my policy of always being fair to me, I am prepared to give them some slack.
Be honest, if you were one of Job's mates, how would you have reacted? This was a man who had always done things the right way. He had it sorted. Yet when disaster upon disaster began to fall, it did so at breakneck speed. In fact, things happened so fast that disasters happened while the survivor of the earlier one was still telling Job about it. Oxen, donkeys, sheep, shepherds, camels and finally children - all snatched away in separate disasters with only a sole survivor left to report back the carnage each time. (I don't think that this was the same person, otherwise he would be getting a bit of a complex about being a bit of a Jonah.) Be honest - how bewildered would you be? And wouldn't you wonder, just a leeeetle bit, what Job had done to have brought this on himself. (I said - be honest!)
So his mates turn up to sit with him and they are genuinely devastated for him. They tear their clothes in grief and share his suffering. Then, they decide to try and "help". They decide to give advice. 
I am not sure what would have prompted this change of approach. They could have become a bit nervous about Job's full frontal attack on God. They could have been trying the old "a word in season..." or they could have been so sick of Job's complaining that they thought that it was time to  - you know - jolly things up a bit. 
Have a look at what they say. There's very little wrong with it. It's really the timing and probably the motivation that's wrong. 

So, what a blessing when God steps in and corrects you!
    Mind you, don’t despise the discipline of Almighty God!

Yep - thanks for that. Try not to trip over the corpses of every animal I have ever owned on your way out.


But you can be sure of this,
    you haven’t gotten half of what you deserve.

Good Grief - really?

You may be much wiser than me but I have tried to talk people out of their pain. Tried to find a God-based reason for the unfathomable. I have just talked twaddle. A Christian counsellor told me once that he saw someone for several months and during their time together - all they would do was sit in silence. She wanted someone to grieve with her. And he did. 

God comes in at the end of Job and proves that he is quite capable of telling Job a few home truths himself actually - without their assistance. They didn't need to try so hard to appear wise under such a barrage of suffering. What Job needed was "I have no idea mate; have a tissue and we will sit and cry together for a bit." There is friendship, forged in suffering, honesty and waiting on God. It's not about the person doing the comforting but those needing comforting. It's about rubbing someone's back and zipping it, as it probably never says in Job
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