Tuesday, 29 October 2013


Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there was a pool, in Hebrew called Bethesda, with five alcoves. Hundreds of sick people—blind, crippled, paralyzed—were in these alcoves. One man had been an invalid there for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, “Do you want to get well?”
The sick man said, “Sir, when the water is stirred, I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in.”
Jesus said, “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.” The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bedroll and walked off.

So thinking about this right. Just thinking. Don't feel the need to build a church round it or anything. For thirty-eight years you live paralyzed in this horrible place, surrounded by filth, sickness, moans and groans. You are alone, no-one to support you. You see your whole life ebbing away and there seems to be nothing you can do. You are tantalisingly close to the solution. If someone would just give you a hand into the pool. The pool is where it's at. You can almost touch the pool - only almost. Then you see Jesus. Jesus with his international galactic eye for the lost and the hopeless has zoomed in on you. Jesus knows what you need. He'll give you a leg up into the pool.
As usual, he doesn't do what you want straight away. He has a question. He asks if you want to get well. Well duh! But the question has focused your mind. Do you really want to see the change? How much? Your mind goes back to the pool. To the thing that you think will rescue you. You explain the situation. Tell him about the thirty eight years and how alone you are. But he doesn't give you a leg up. At least not one that you can see. And he doesn't seem that bothered with the pool. Doesn't he know about the pool? You thought everyone knew about the pool. Jesus says, you do it. Do it. You. No pool. So what are you going to do now? Get all upset about the lack of your special pool-shaped solution? Thirty eight years you have been going through this. Haven't you earned the pool?Or you could just do as he asks. Take a chance. So you respond. You DO something. And Jesus responds and you get up. You find you can. You couldn't before but now you can.

How much of it is up to us? To DO something. To respond the way Jesus asks rather than the way we have decided will make things right. Is something new needed? How much do we really want it? Like I said, just thinking.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Out and About

Theatre Royal Plymouth

On Friday, despite the threat of impending wind and rain based doom over the South West of England,  HOH and I ventured out to the ballet. We went to see Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, partly because we wanted to and partly because I didn't want to be the last person in the western world to go.
I have seen a bit of Bourne, I took FOW2 to The Nutcracker (which she could have taken or left to be honest.) HOH and I also went to see his version of Joseph Losey's The Servant - Play Without Words, which was fan yourself hot actually and I'm glad I didn't go with my nana.
Anyway, this Swan Lake was a sort of cross between a Grimm fairy tale, an astonishing feat of beautiful dance and er .. A Bronski Beat video. As you probably know, the "Big Thing" about Bourne's Swan Lake is that the swans are played by blokes rather than girlies. This has obvious repercussions when the Queen's son falls in love with the lead swan. I trust you are following my meaning here. 
My first mistake was not checking out the story before I went. I am too mean to pay £3.50 for a programme advertising lots of shops in Plymouth that I already know about so I went in completely ignorant. By the time I reached the interval - so many questions.
Who is he?
Is that his mother?
Why is he chasing the swans?
Is in love with a swan? Is that allowed?
Does he want a swan as a pet?
Wouldn't the Queen have something to say about that? Doesn't she own all the swans in England or something? 
When does Natalie Portman come on?

We had also managed to find ourselves sat next to a group of understudies on one side of us - all taut limbs, straight backs and spontaneous applause every five minutes - and a very charming old man on the other side who was struggling manfully with a cough and had to keep putting sucky sweets in his mouth. I tell you, the whole event could have been fraught with tension.

I have to report though that it was quite wonderful. Such amazing physicality, and beauty and humour and wonderful music which they managed to keep the spirit of despite moving so far away from what I suppose is the "Classic" version of the story. The scene in a club called "Swanks" where people managed to to do sixties dancing to a Tchaikovsky score was inspired and the startling finale make you leave the theatre feeling that you had been in the presence of something special. 

I came home and read the story and it all made a bit more sense - as much as any story about people being turned into swans ever makes sense - and although I did realise that the was also an agenda at play - I couldn't be bothered with that. I stood up at the end and clapped. All the theatre and me and the annoyingly lovely understudies. They were all very tall. I've seen Billy Elliot. I thought you couldn't dance the ballet if you were too tall. Another mystery that my lack of culture means I will never be able to solve. 


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Bit depressed?

Nah - you're not. Not after watching this.

You're welcome

Saturday, 19 October 2013


It has been a funny couple of weeks. Some sort of disk went on my laptop which has meant that it has been at the menders for a fortnight. Also, I have had a ten day headache/migraine thing going on so kept away from screens as much as possible. All well now - thanks for asking. Well, laptop still waiting for part but there you go. 
Can I just bang on a bit about these. You don't have to take any notice if you don't want to.
Firstly - inappropriate crush number 718. Francis Spufford and I haven't even seen a photo of him!!! this book certainly isn't for everyone and I'm not sure that it is even for Christians to be honest. Some of it I can't make head nor tail of because it is quite clever but there is one chapter on Jesus that is probably the best chapter on Jesus I have ever, EVER read. It captures the essence and the impact of Jesus in a way that makes me want to be as much like him as I possibly can. (Which isn't much I know) I have read it several times now and still find it amazing. (Please don't read if you will be offended by the use of the f word. I think I was offended but I appreciated his honesty and openness more than I was offended and who was asking me anyway?)
Secondly, we rushed off to see the new Woody Allen so that we got a chance to see it before any more revelations came out about his "interesting" private life and people started throwing rocks at us in the queue. Blue Jasmine reminds me why I love Woody Allen. It is funny, sharp and witty. Everyone is brilliant but Ms Blanchett is absolutely amazeballs as the young people say. I think there is a lot of faff talked about actors but she is just fantastic in this. Proper good.
Lastly recommending something I haven't read yet. The next Pen Wilcock monk book is out! Hurrah! Actually the series is called The Hawk and the Dove  and, having read the last six, unless there has been some sort of rip in the time-space continuum and life is not continuing as we understand it, then I can say with some certainty that this will be good. Am slightly worked up that William (inappropriate crush number 642) and Madeleine may not be living happily ever after but am prepared to try and cope. We must be brave.

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