Friday, 29 March 2013


The Internet is awash this morning with Good Friday thoughts and meditations. That is how it should be. I am happy to point you to a couple. A reminder of a beautiful hymn from Tracing Rainbows and a wonderful meditation here

I am afraid that I am out of step with right thinking Christianity myself this Easter because we lost our dog this week.  Our lovely Lucy had a stroke and we took the horrible decision to have her put down. HOH had to bear the heaviest burden as he had to take her. She was only eight. We had not seen it coming but there was no choice. So as he stroked her and thanked her for the lovely time we had together and said goodbye as the anesthetic sent her to sleep, HOH said that he was overcome with love for this little, submissive, eager to please little dog and our hearts are breaking at the moment. 

This weekend calls to mind the most pivotal events in the history of humanity but, I am sorry. I am just not there. We have an empty box in the kitchen and some ashes to scatter on the beach, where she loved to potter and roll in seaweed when she thought that we weren't looking. 

I hate it at the moment. I hate that it is so much easier to walk one dog than two. I hate the money we will save on food. I hate not pulling them apart when they disagreed over the ownership of a ball. I hate not hearing her click-click of her paws on the polished wooden floors. I hate that another connection with my brother, whose dog she was, has gone. We know that we gave her a good life and she was very happy with us and eventually, I am sure that this will be a comfort.

Everyone I know who has owned a dog tells me that it is the same for all dog owners. That, as we leave the breeder's house with our puppy, we are setting ourselves up for heartbreak further down the line. Yet we all do it, because of what they give to us, with their unconditional love and companionship, as well as all the laughter. And I know that we will laugh when we remember her. Eventually. Just not yet. 

Good bye Lucy Lou. Our family is richer for knowing you and poorer now you aren't here. Thank you - for everything.


Sunday, 24 March 2013

Men as trees

I love Johnny Cash. Well, when I say I love Johnny Cash, I can't say that I often think Ooh - I'll just put a bit of Johnny Cash on the old compact disc player. In fact, I don't think that I have ever thought that. I just really like who Johnny Cash was. FOW2 genuinely loves his music and has done for years. It can be a little disconcerting to hear your little girl cheerfully singing that she 

"Shot a man in Reno - just to watch him die."

But there are worse role models, I should think. Johnny Cash always seemed to me to be someone who was completely aware of all his faults and failings and was yet was still grateful to God for every last minute that he lived. Many years ago, when I was in our church youth group, we were all taken to a church hall  to watch Cash's film, The Gospel Road. If I am entirely honest, the film was a bit of a blur. Mixing with other youth groups was a rare opportunity to do a bit of "opposite sex sizing up" so I probably wasn't giving it my full attention.

As I remember, there were a lot of shots of Johnny Cash, in black, on beaches and on the top of cliffs looking mean and windswept but there are two images from the film that have stayed with me to this day.
The first was of Jesus laughing with some children as they played on the beach. This was a revelatory moment for me. Jesus having a sense of humour was not a facet of his character that I had been brought up with. As one of our elders once famously said "It says in the Bible that Jesus Wept. Not that he laughed. " Think on. Years later, when someone remarked, "So do you think that children, flocked to him because they loved his knowledge of Jewish Law?" it was a welcome revelation that people who lived at the time of Jesus would have heard him laugh. Jesus shows his back teeth. Love it.
The other bit I remember was  song called "I see Men as Trees walking" about Jesus'  gradual healing of a blind man. 
It's here - have a look.

I have often wondered about this.Why didn't Jesus just heal him the first time? Don't look at me -  I have no idea. Who do you think I am? However, I did find this, in Exodus, this week and wondered if it was a pointer. God is exhorting (good word - exhorting no?) the Children of Israel to press on and not be afraid of their enemies.

 I won’t get rid of them all at once lest the land grow up in weeds and the wild animals take over. Little by little I’ll get them out of there while you have a chance to get your crops going and make the land your own. I will make your borders stretch from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea and from the Wilderness to the Euphrates River

There was to be no lottery moment, no having it all at once. It wouldn't have worked. They had to get going - push forward, little by little, doing the right thing, making plans and seeing them come to pass. God would be working for them, giving them a chance to learn and to grow and giving them space as they pushed forward.

We are on a journey, a mission (like Star Trek) we are working together with a God who works miracles but our life is our story and I think that God wants it to be so. Blessings are delayed, sometimes for a very long time, life rarely seems to fall into our laps, (well mine doesn't anyway) and we need to learn to faithfully wait and push on. Dream and get going. God is still at work. 

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Oh Happy Day

So the first Christian Music Chart has apparently come and gone. Would someone care to give me a full explanation as to why this isn't there? Surely some mistake?

Happy. Happy Happy. (Bet you can't get it out of your head)

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Red Nose Ranting

Bit of a rant this week. (What, again, I hear you cry?) Don't say you weren't warned. I am just letting you know, in case you care, that I think I am done with the whole Red Nose thing. Not because it isn't a good cause - it quite obviously is.  It is because of a surfeit of smugness. I'm not sure how much of it you watched. Mostly it seemed to consist of presenters of various sexes snogging each other while we were supposed to be weak at the knees with hysterical laughter. This was all interspersed with heartbreaking stories of children in Africa, in various states of distress, while celebrities looked on in horror. I can go with most of Comic Relief, it is a good thing. However, the point when I slammed my money through and turned off  was Rowan Atkinson's Archbishop of Canterbury sketch. What a donk. Lazy, flabby and a bit nasty to be honest. 
Why does he always have to be played as an idiot? I have read a piece in the Sunday Times about Justin Welby today. (Can't link you through to it - you would have to pay) He is a fiercely  intelligent, thoughtful, forward looking man. He has overcome huge personal tragedy, with the death of his infant daughter and seems totally committed to social justice. I get really bored with always having to be a good sport when Christianity once again is picked to play the idiot cousin.
How offensive do you think the remark in the sketch about "prayer not working" was - not just to us but to those in Africa for whom prayer is all they have sometimes? Christians may have made a lot of mistakes in Africa but there are also countless Christians who have worked and are still working tirelessly for causes and people that they believe in. These people will continue working in difficult conditions, long after the Red Nose presenters have high tailed it back to Primrose Hill. Sometimes you would think that Richard Curtis had invented Africa. You can call me a miserable crow if you like. I will try not to lose sleep about it. 
Christian humility is one thing but this is ridiculous. 

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Winter Returns

Is it cold where you are? It's flamin' cold here and we don't really do cold in Plymouth. I am bored of winter now. A new Pope was chosen today. I don't pretend to know much about the Catholic faith. As far as I am concerned God's representative on this earth now is the Holy Spirit so my mop doesn't really flop in this direction. However, hopefully all will go well for him. The news makes The Vatican sound a bit like Yes Minister, where the Vatican machine is like a kind of all powerful civil service. He will have to knock back a lot of be-robed Sir Humphrey-like people so he has his work cut out. Anyway, he is Argentinian. Does this mean that we have to give the Falklands to the Vatican City? Will they be ok with the penguins?

Am just calling in quickly to show you FOW1's attempt at Lasagne. This has told me

  1. Where my two-person lasagne dish is. I apologise to all those I have accused of lasagna dish thievery.
  2. When he comes home, we need to have a whip round for a grater. 
Also, just to let those who are interested know that I heard on Radio 5 Live today that the read-throughs have started for Series 3 of Sherlock. It's quite a while to wait but not as long as people in Devon have waited for an Ikea! But - it's coming - possibly in 2015 to Exeter. Oh the tea lights and the cushion covers we will buy! 

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Mothers Day

My Mothering Sunday 

Got up to Orchid and Walnut Whips on the kitchen table. Well chosen by Head of House after panicked phone call from Fruit of Womb 1.

Church. Genesis. Abram and Sarai - Abram settling for second best God says No - the original promise still holds. Don't give up.

Stupid sniggering with Church Secretary who has almost had stand up row with Pastor after she said that Head of House's name was Michael. She realised after quite long protracted discussion with Pastor that I had actually been saying "My Col" #northern

Return home to Sanctuary stuff and chocolate on kitchen table. Thanks to FOW 2. 

Had Walnut Whip and pork pie and onion chutney for lunch. (Not all on same plate)

Took snivelling apologetic phone call from FOW 1. Tries to pretend that he forgot because of heavy archaeological workload rather than playing in Battle of the Bands. Insist that he phones Nana before she goes out for lunch with her sister. 

Watch FA Cup football. Man U let comfortable two goal lead slip. Wish I had gone with original instinct to watch High Society.

FOW 1 phones. Has spoken to Nana. She is back from sister's and is over cheerful. Tells FOW1 she has had a couple of brandies. Expect she will sleep tonight. 

FOW2 comes back from coffee with friends. We watch Crufts together. Are reduced to hysterical sobs over story of little boy with muscle wasting disease and his dog with three legs. 

Watch Shetland. Have no idea what anyone is saying. It looks very cold.

So there you are. It's nothing like the telly Mother's Day. I expect most people's are a bit like this. It's family stuff. Real family stuff and I am grateful for every second of it.


Sunday, 3 March 2013

Oscar drops the ball - mostly

Just thought I would give you my vair vair wise and considered opinions on the Oscars. As a bit of a film buff, I have long since given up taking much notice of the Oscars. (I still have been unable to find anyone who can explain to me why Nora Ephron didn't win the Oscar for best screenplay for "When Harry Met Sally" Well - can you? I thought not.)
So, to sum up.

Best Actor------Daniel Day Lewis (A Good Thing)
Best Actress----Jennifer Lawrence (Dunno. Didn't see it. However am glad she won because of this ace thing. Ah Jack Nicholson. What are you like? Still.)

Best Supporting Actress---Anne Hathaway (Best award for heavy duty ACTING for three minutes while someone shaves your head and pulls your teeth out. He only stole a loaf of bread don't forget)
Best Supporting Actor---Christophe Waltz (have already shared my feelings about Quentin Tarantino films. Enough said I think)
Best Film---Argo (Indeed. Some controversy here about Affleck playing fast and loose with the facts but probably right decision.)
Best Director---Ang Lee (Does anyone know what Steven Spielberg has done to upset the academy? Someone, somewhere seems to have it in for him.)

On a slightly different subject, I know I am old and I know the young people enjoy edgy comedy but Seth McFarlane - you are a donk.  The Oscar host served up casual sexism, "jokes" about sleeping with children, "jokes" about Jews. Neither the time nor the place. 

While I am on a media riff. I did like Ripper Street. I know it is a bit formulaic and, like most people, I could do without any more women getting beaten to death for our entertainment but, on the whole, I think it was really well written. Phrases like "I know not this public house of which you speak your honour" were uttered with straight faces and I loved it. And, despite, Matthew Macfadyen looking like he was about to stick both his thumbs into his watch pockets and launch into "Consider Yourself One of Us", I thought the whole thing was terrific. 

Right, off to watch Danny Leigh's documentary on boxing in the movies. Supposed to be really good. "I coulda been a contender. I could have been somebody. Instead of a bum." Outstanding.

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