Thursday, 27 February 2014

Think, Stop, Talk - especially Stop.

I used to speak a lot at various Christian do-dahs but for lots of reasons I haven't done it for ages. In a weak moment,  I agreed to help out the last minute for Alpha and spoke on the Bible. 
The good thing about writing is that you have a stop and read mode and you can weed out anything outrageous or silly. Punctuation is not a strong point as regular readers will know but I do try. When I am speaking though, I don't have that advantage and when I am trying to make a point and I am not sure that people are getting it, I can get carried away sometimes - a bit.
So I would like to apologise to the Alpha group at Mutley for telling then that the Old Testament moved towards the coming of Jesus in a rolling Dr Who-ish Timey-Wimey way. Also for refererring to the Gospel of John as the most theological and thoughtful of the gospels, like er.....Jazz?

Sorry. Again. Don't let it put you off. God is far less puzzling than I am.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Learning...always learning.

This is lovely. Cookie Monster and Tom Hiddleston. Just thinking though. Seasame Street has moved on a bit since I was little. Delayed Gratification??? What happened to "Sharing" or "One of these things is not like the other one." Kids must be a lot brighter these days. Still lovely.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

I Hope We Are Worth It


I'm warning you now. This is a bit of an old farts rant. There are things that happen, more and more often these days, that tell me that I am old. A lot of these things involve gravity and various bits of my body which I will not horrify you with by going into any more detail. There is also the amount of time I send making tutting noises at the telly (which annoys everyone in the room but me apparently) and an inceasing fondness for the company of a Jack Russell, a blanket and a Barbara Pym novel. I was never what Eric Morecambe used to call "a raver" but I know that I am slowly but surely getting older and rattier.

This week, I have seen some journalism that I have filed in my "Really? Are you sure?" cabinet. British journalism is taking a bit of a beating at the moment what with the News of The World hacking trial and the pros and cons of partners of journalists being searched at airports - these are difficult times. Yet, worry not, all is saved - courtesy of the Daily Mail who proudly ran this headline in their Sidebar of Shame

Watch your step! Lauren Goodger narrowly avoids walking into a puddle during day out in Essex

Now I have to confess that I do have a fondness for a bit of sleb news ('cept I don't know who this is) I like to see a lady on a red carpet in a posh frock as much as the next person. Also who is stepping out with whom is still as facinating to me as it was at school. I like to imagine that this week in the Daily Mail newsroom there were a gang of hardened hacks placing bets on whether they could get away with this or not.

It's just that, in a week where Ukranian people have died on the street to get a chance to choose their own destiny and that we hear that the destiny that they would prefer is to grow closer to the West, it all seems a bit depressing. I guess that having freedom also means having the freedom to be slight and trivial and silly. I get that. It's just that it's a woman - stepping sideways - in the rain. (Makes old lady sighing noise and retreats to kitchen to make a brew)

Thursday, 20 February 2014


To flicks to see Inside Llewyn Davis this week. The thing about the Cohen Brothers' films is that they are an acquired taste. Sometimes I think I have acquired it - O Brother Where Art Thou, A Serious Man, The Hudsucker Proxy. Sometimes definitely not - No Country for Old Men (Very Nasty) Millers Crossing (Quite Nasty) Fargo (Nasty pretending it wasn't nasty) Sometimes I can sit through the films and not have the faintest idea what is going on. Barton Fink was a complete mystery from beginning to and was also quite nasty.

Inside Llewyn Davis is a movie about the folk scene in New York in 1961. Llewyn Davis is a folk singer for whom very little goes right and  then it goes wrong again. Please see following bullet points for my considered opinion. May contain spoilers but as this is a Cohen movie - you may not understand them anyway. 
  • This is beautifully shot. The colours, the muted tones, the attention to detail seem perfect to me. I can't claim to be an expert on early sixties New York but it looked spot on to me.
  • Carey Mulligan has a real presence. She isn't in this that much to be honest but when she is around - you don't look at anyone else. 
  • I love the courage the Cohens have just to take a fraction of a time - almost a story without a beginning middle or end and just show it - without any closure or redemption - and still hold you. It's very clever.
  • I hate folk music. I try not to but I do. All that "leaving of Liverpool" droning on. No wonder people were so depressed. Do not try to convert me.
So was the film good? It was really good. A bit strange but good. 

Monday, 17 February 2014


Hello. Just a short post to let you know that I won't be posting any anonymous comments. It's a policy and I am unanimous in this. I have had a couple of "interesting" opinions and you never know who you are giving a voice to. Actually I haven't been doing this for ages but forgot to tell you. If you struggle to sign on to Bloglovin or similar and are just having problems with the technology (I may be talking to you Pat - I may not) then you can let me know in the body of the comment who you are and that will be fine and dandy. I don't like to be a bossy sort so I have tried to get on your good side by including a photo of a cute koala bear.


Sunday, 16 February 2014


So this is the first time I have ever been involved with Alpha. And well - who would have thought it? It's a minefield. I have been given a sort of floating debris role, like in Gravity, because I'm not actually trained as a table leader and would therefore probably be clueless. (Actually no probably about it) We have quite an interesting group of people on the tables and I have to say it is really good to see how many people are actually really interested and engaged. Not everyone obviously. There are certainly people who seem to have been dragged there or bribed to come by concerned family and friends. 
One such person announced to the table that people worshipped Star Wars now and this didn't seem to be very different to him. Well, thank goodness I was there, eh? Using my superior Christiany knowledge and all round spiritual giantness, I manged to parry these attacks and he converted almost immediately. (Well not really, but we all had quite a deep discussion about how good Harrison Ford looked in those boots in Star Wars and I like to think that I helped in some small way)
On a slightly more serious note, I had to poke my big nose in at the last Alpha. My understanding of the course is that it is a safe place for people to ask questions. Any questions. Unfortunately, we seem to have gained someone on our table who has, probably very well meaningly, taken it on himself to put people right according to his version of the Gospel. So an enquiry about the reality of the flood story is met by a lecture on how old the world really is and how dinosaurs couldn't get on the ark - all accompanied by a list of relevant books. 
Then, a statement about struggling to make the leap of faith from God to actually praying to Jesus meant that the poor person who had said it found herself pressed up against the wall on the way out and "invited" to pray out this thing that was holding her back - as "God had used him before in this area". I did very well and resisted the temptation to show him how much God had used me in the "smacking you in the mouth" area and satisfied myself by telling "sir" about him.
When I was young, it used to annoy me when I was told to invite people to social evenings at church and then have to watch them sit through forty five minutes on Revelation - which hadn't shown anywhere in the programme. I thought it was dishonest. I still do. I think Alpha is a great idea. It has been amazing to see just how interested people are in the idea of a God that loves them. But the idea is that we do what Jesus did. We meet people where THEY are - not where WE are. Otherwise we come over like bossy donks and that would never do.
Right, off to shake my fist at the Baftas now. Until we meet again cheri.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

You should be stronger than me

Plymouth Herald

We have some weather here at the moment - yes we do and I am annoyed. Not by the weather. The weather is inevitable. It is February. Global warming may be an issue. Stormy weather - even extreme stormy weather is a possibility. What is making me angry is the reaction of our leaders - our government - the people we voted for to look after us.
For me democratic government is a contract. People decide that pubic service is their career, we vote them in and in exchange for a fair day's pay, they look after us. Yet in the midst of a crisis all I hear is politics, politics, sometimes a bit of economics and then some more politics. Not me mate, not my party. It was the other side - whoever they are.

Take the failure to dredge rivers in the Somerset levels. If I cast my old mind back to my Economic History A level, we learnt about the Industrial Revolution. The mills were supplied by canals and rivers, which had to be regularly maintained and dredged to keep them usable. It was simple geography. For years this has been ignored in Somerset because there was no bottom line in it  - no dollar value. No sensible person would deny that the lack of dredging has been one of the reasons for the awful flooding there. When David Cameron visited this week, one of his remarks was that the last government hadn't dredged either. Well that may be right but it's not a good enough response. It's not as if as soon as you got in you came running into Somerset with your hands flapping like a camp Batman shouting "It's OK I'm here now - dredging will be done!" In fact the Conservative party turned down money for dredging about six months ago. All this perpetual blame shifting is soooo tiring.There are schemes and thinkings out there that someone with a committed, think outside the box kind of leader should at least be looking at. Nah. Too busy playing politics.

The suspicion is that because it's the South West of England that it doesn't matter too much in our increasingly London - centric country. You may have read that the only train line through to the West Country has practically been swept into the sea. Plymouth now has no plane or train link to the rest of Britain. If a big tree falls across the A38 we could all starve to death!

This week, leaders visited Somerset and promised money for flood defences and dredging - money will be found apparently. Hurrah! It's all politics, short term headline grabbing politics. I don't want that from my leadership. Leaders are supposed to be better men (or heaven help us - women) than me. They are supposed to think differently, take advice from more creative minds than mine. They are supposed to be working for the good of the public they serve. All it feels like is the same old same old - bleating and finger pointing. No positivity, no vision no one who really seems to give a monkeys.

I watched a woman weep this week because she thought she had lost her house and her animals. No one expects leaders never to make mistakes. I would just like leadership. The brightest and the best looking after the weak and the old and the people who we put them in charge of. To paraphrase Amy Winehouse - You are supposed to be stronger than me.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Just Perfect

There are moments in time and space when all the stars in the heavens align and all is well with the world. At such perfect moments of loveliness I am confused as to why people can say that there is no God.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, on the same screen, at the same time........

Benedict Cumberbatch and..... The Count!!!

Ha! Ha! Ha!

You're welcome.


Wednesday, 5 February 2014

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Hooray for Hollywood

Do you know, I disappoint myself sometimes. I love the cinema as you know. I love films. Yet, I sort of hope that being a grown up, I would be able to discern when Tinseltown was thinking it was above the rules and act accordingly. Unfortunately not.

I have been a fan of Woody Allen since the late seventies. More than a fan actually. Annie Hall and Stardust Memories would make it into my top ten of all time. However, this week Allen's adopted daughter wrote an open letter to us all about the abuses she says she suffered at Allen's hands. I don't know if this is true or not. I know he denies it and I also know that we have to be careful about not believing the claims of some one who has been abused. What if his daughter was telling the truth? Then Hollywood decided that it wanted the films more than justice and closed ranks? Then idiots like me just took their word for it? It's all a bit depressing as is my lack of a spine. I think that there will always be films that I love and some will be by Woody Allen. Still, a bit know...

Hollywood is full of donks - Part Two.

You may not have heard but  Joni Eareckson Tada was nominated for an Oscar for best original song this week If you didn't hear, it may well be because the nomination has since been withdrawn. this was because 

Songwriter Bruce Broughton "had emailed [some of the other 239] members of the branch to make them aware of his submission during the nominations voting period,"

There is some talk around the fount of all integrity that is The Hollywood Oscar Publicity Machine, that Mr Broughton had used his position to try and influence Academy Members. HEAVEN FORBID. I mean it's not as if studios ever put pressure on the academy or anything. They only spend around $100 million dollars on publicity etc trying to get wins. 

In case you don't know who Mrs Tada is, she is an evangelical Christian with more integrity in her little finger than all these people. As a quadriplegic she struggles to sing and her husband had to put his knees on her chest to help her to reach the notes. I have heard the song and, tbh, it's not really my cup of tea but people who know about these things say it is a good song and certainly no worse than that U2 thingy that will probably win it.

You know, we may not be shot through with tinsel and glamour here in Plymouth but sometimes I am quite glad I'm boring.


Sunday, 2 February 2014

Thank goodness for that

In my quest to conquer all the various craft skills - well to be honest knitting and a bit of sewing. (Crochet is a wicked thing as far as I am concerned and I am very suspicious of anyone who can do it without dislocating a knuckle.) I have finished my blanket - yes I have. I am frankly embarrassed to reveal how long knitting all these little hexagons took. It was, I am pretty sure, started in this millennium. The whole idea was that it should be something that I could pick up and put down. I think I put it down a lot more than I picked it up. Still, I'm glad it's done now. Very glad. The main problem was a lack of urgency on my part. It was a big task even by a proper knitter's standards. (Yes it was - even my mum said so) and I kind of felt that I had forever to do it. Eventually though the flippin thing kept getting on my nerves so much that I was knitting through gritted teeth and then sewing it together with a sort of obsessive speed that did not add to the harmony of the household.

I read this week about a man who wanted to increase his mindfulness of how life was passing. He has calculated how many days he can expect to live if he lives to eighty. (All being well I suppose) He has then taken two jars and filled one with a pebble for each day he has left. At the end of every day he moves one pebble from one jar to the other. This signifies that a day has gone from his timeline - a day he cannot get back. I know this is a bit DOOM laden. What happens on his eightieth birthday when he moves the last pebble over? (Assuming he can still see the jar by that point) Does he just lie down and give in or run down to the beach and frantically try and fill an Asda bag with a few more to tide him over? Still, it a good thing is it not to be mindful that time passes? To think that, if we want to achieve anything, the best time to start is now? 
If you are building anything slowly, whether it's a life or a stupid blanket, the principles are the same. Bit by bit. Keeping at it. Not letting where you want to finish up slip away. And, I suppose being aware that the time provided to get to be where you want to be is not infinite. 

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