Sunday, 30 March 2014


Visiting hospital with my mother. We go to the first consultation room and I wait outside. They call me in and say "All is well but she has to make an appointment in another department for the follow up. It's on the other end of the hospital but easy enough. You ok with that?"

"Yup, I reply. We'll take our time."

We set off at a slow stroll.

Mother asks....

"Do you know where we are going."
"Have you been there before?"
"How do you know where we are going then?"
"I am following the signs. It's easy."
"We're going very slowly. Are you lost?"
"No. I didn't want to rush you. Would you like to walk a bit faster?"
"Not really."
"Well then."
"It's taking a long time."
"She said it would."
"I think we are lost."
"We're not"
"How do you know?"
"Because we are still following the signs."
"I'm going to ask someone."
"You don't need to."
"Your trouble is you will never open your mouth."
"We are still following the signs."
Loudly to man pushing stretcher trolley. 
"Excuse me love! We are lost. Can you tell me where this is?"

Puts letter under man's nose. Over face of patient he is pushing. Slightly startled man confirms we are still going in right direction.

"This can't be right."
"It is."
"I don't think that man knew - not really."
"Not far now."
"I haven't seen a sign for ages."
"We just passed one."
We turn right into reception of department. My mum greets receptionist.

"Sorry we are late. Think my daughter got us lost."

I am quite tired.

Happy Mothers' Day Mum


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel

  • Beautifully shot
  • The living definition of the word "whimsy"
  • Some frames are just lovely
  • Really funny
  • A bit weird.
  • Can't recommend it highly enough

Friday, 21 March 2014

Psalm 34

Psalm 34. King James Version.

Take your time. It's worth it.

Poetry, prophecy, comfort, promises, truth. BOOM!

I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.
The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.
Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good?
Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.
Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.
He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.
Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.
The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Is it just me do you think?

Sometimes I just like to point things out to you with very little comment. Just give you the facts and you can make of then what you will.

Last week Chanel showed it's Autumn Winter Collection. Models walked around a catwalk in astronomically priced clothes strutted their stuff very prettily around a pretend supermarket. Then the journalists and various slebs who had been invited to see the clothes got to go around the shops and pick things off the shelves. There was a bit of a feeding frenzy apparently because the shelves were full of Chanel branded goods such as
Chanel Spaghetti and Chanel Water. The fruit was stamped with the Chanel logo and the baskets were covered with Chanel's signature chain mail. All very well and good and certainly very pretty as the famous people and the extra thin ladies, and the extra thin, extra rich ladies queued up to say how wonderful it all was.

Trussell Trust, the biggest provider of foodbanks in the country, tell us this.

Numbers given emergency food 100,000 higher than anticipated
UK Foodbank charity The Trussell Trust says this must be a wakeup call to the nation

I am aware that you can get a bit oversentive about things. Chances are that the people at Chanel never meant to suggest that they were having a good laugh at people who, at the the moment, are horrified by a trip to the supermarket because they, quite simply, do not have enough money to buy the food that they need. However, we are in the middle of a food crisis here. Too many people do not have enough to eat and, in Paris, a lot of very rich people seem to lack a bit of sensitivity I think. Do you know what it made me think of? Marie Antoinette, playing at being a peasant on her toy farm - Hameau de la Reine while in Paris, the cost of a loaf of bread was soaring above most people's means. It is a mess I think. Just a mess.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

To York... and don't spare the horses.

You may or may not know (or care) that I live in the South West of England. We were, as you again may or may not know, hit by some extreme storms this winter. Consequently, the train line through to the South West (and yes, that is singular as in the ONLY train route through to two entire counties) was practically washed away. There are, as we speak. top people working on repairing said line but it isn't done yet. There was some talk of building a second line because of the vulnerability of the (I'll say it again) ONLY railway line but once people in parliament realised that they could still fly to their holiday homes in Cornwall via Newquay airport, all the urgency seemed to go out of everything. Call me cynical if you want to. I prefer to think of it as realistic.

Consequently, FOW1s route back home from York for Easter was fraught with danger and expense. Well expense anyway because for some reason, all the advance cheap train tickets have disappeared so that a £60 journey suddenly became a £140 journey (the extra excitement of getting off the train and transferring to a coach where the line is hanging over the sea by a thread is apparently thrown in for free). So, in an idle moment HOH and I, realising that we were both off work that weekend, offered to go and get FOW1 in the car. It should be easily done in one day. How hard could it be? These things I have learned...

  • When you say it quickly six hours there and six hours back doesn't sound much does it? It is.
  • The motorways are always full of coneage and 50 mile speed limits even when THERE IS NO SIGN OF ANYONE DOING ANYTHING.
  • Just "calling in" at Ikea never only adds "about an hour" to the journey. Actually not complaining - love Ikea. If I was eight, I would be having frequent fantasies about living in Ikea. It that just me? Just thinking about secretly living there when everyone goes home? Cooking in the kitchen bit and sleeping in the bed bit - that kind of thing. No one else ever have that dream about department stores? Really? *Feels a bit odd and wishes she'd never mentioned anything*
  • Liza Tarbuck on Radio 2 is a comedy genius and I would like to be her best friend. This is not said in any kind of stalking way.
  • It is not easy to get HOH and FOW1 back into the car on the services car park when drunken football fans are weeing up lamposts on service station car parks right next to where I am standing. Husband and son were being gallant on my behalf but TBH I hadn't noticed that these boys had got their bits out. (HOH has just vetoed my obvous next joke on grounds of good taste and Christian chasteness)
So all in all, an eventful day. Driving to York is something we will never do again  - at least until April when we are going for a short weekend away. Anyway,  I am pooped and am off for a glass of wine, and possibly a bit of Whimsey and Harriet.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Final Word on Oscars and a Cat

Hollywood Reporter

For what it's worth, in my book the best film of the year was Captain Phillips which won nowt but I don't care. I thought it was outstanding and I am right. END OF DISCUSSION. Just to bring to your attention though. Cate Blanchett being excellent in her speech.

Also Benedict Cumberbatch overcoiming his Oscar night shyness in a U2 Photobomb

And this is just something the young people are watching. It's a cat. Apparently, the only thing that was harmed was its pride.


Tuesday, 11 March 2014


Having had a very unsatisfactory foray into some different books, I have returned to the bosom of Lord Peter Wimsey. In a pure, non sexual way.(Although, is it possible to have a crush on a literary character? In a sort of non-adulterous way? Discuss.) Anyway, I love Harriet Vane in these novels as well so that's ok I think.
There are a few semi spoilers in this paragraph for people who haven't read the novels so you can go away if you like. I won't be offended. I think Gaudy Night must be one of my favourite novels ever. Partly the feminist sub-text which is intelligently dealt with but then there is such passion. The passage where Harriet watches Peter sleeping by the river and realises that she has fallen in love with him after she has fought this so hard, is just so beautiful and made me fill up. (no really)
So this one above - Thrones, Dominations follows on and I LOVED it. Not all written by Sayers but I can't see the join.

Watched...37 Days to War


I think the BBC is really good at this. You really cannot believe that within such a small time frame (37 days for those not paying attention) the world seemed to fall into the horror story that was WW 1. The series looks at the different characters and the tiny events this thing turned on and before your very eyes, the unthinkable happens. It is very sobering in view of recent events in Europe. Most of the people involved seem to be doing their best and still, it goes horribly wrong. The cream of British theatre have all got their "acting" chops in top gear. Ian McDiarmid is especially excellent as British Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey and didn't make me think of Emperor Palpatine once. Which I am sure he is grateful for.
Also Great British Sewing Bee is back. Hurrah!!! For me, sewing is quite difficult so these people are your actual marvels. Also Claudia is in it and Patrick (Obviously) and and that nice May from the WI and London looks lovely. Result! What do you want? Jam on it?


Saturday, 8 March 2014

Sings.."Oh the farmyard is itching..." or something

Anyway - is it Spring? Is it? Really? Is England in the lovely words of Pen Wilcock finally turning its face towards the sun? I mean, I know it's not been cold but I feel like we have had a winter and a half and we haven't been flooded or anything so goodness knows how those poor people in Somerset feel. I am tempted to go into garden and yell at flowers "Don't come out - not yet, it's too soon" but don't suppose they will listen.
Got up early today to try and do some work on Alpha talk I have been coerced happy to do. "Does God Heal Today?" is a bit of a hot potato. Doesn't help that have been out of action for three days with possibly one of my top 5 migraines ever. Yes I do get the irony and yes I did pray and I think I did get an answer because my head did not explode like a scene from Scanners which seemed a distinct possibility on Thursday at 2am.
So I have read a bit of Phillip Yancey and he isn't too convinced about healing because he doesn't think he has actually seen one and then I read some Richard Foster and he seems to see about two every twenty minutes. The Alpha talk online seems to consist mostly of Nicky Gumbel describing the miracles that happened when John Wimber visited his church which is all very nice and everything but not much help to me really.
So I am thinking that I am just going to have to go for the truth as I see it (no need to panic pastor)These are very random thoughts but no change there eh?

I have never seen a limb or a tooth grow or anything else that would make the recipient of the healing into some sort of freak show that flew in the face of nature. I would not be stupid enough to say it hasn't happened. I have never seen it.

The healing "industry" has attracted some unscrupulous characters who prey on the vulnerable. It's unfortunate but true.

It's easy to be detached and cynical about healing and prayer right up until the precise second when you or someone you adore is diagnosed with something. In my experience, people are then far more open to the possibility of a miracle.

For me, healing is not just about the physical and all that stuff about one leg longer than the other. It is about the whole person. Jesus, being the Son of God, knew that, I think. He told people that their sins were forgiven - releasing them from crippling guilt. He showed that positive faith in him would lead to a release from anger and shame and these things had physical impacts.

He also touched people and they were healed. Can't get away from it.

I am convinced through my own experience and those of people I know that God does heal today. Although I had extensive medical treatment for which I am eternally grateful, my prognosis was still poor and I am, in the words of the great Shirley Maclaine, "Still here" many many years on. 

If I have a conclusion - half baked I know - but this is Alpha, not 10 years at Bible College - It's that we don't pray enough , don't ask enough so we don't know what God can and does want to do. We walk into prayer often just when we are desperate with no experience of the faith levels and the relationship with God that will be needed. We expect such huge things from God after just farting about on the edges of a faith filled relationship and then things don't happen. 

So that's what I think. I just have to put it into coherent thoughts, trying not to use the word "fart" in church. You could pray for me if you wanted.

Before I go....Proud parent alert

This is FOW1's band. (He's on the right) They won Battle of the Bands at York Uni last night. This is apparently a big deal so well done. I did watch some of it on Student TV. To be honest I thought it was all a bit of a racket but as FOW2 pointed out - "Mum - it's not really for you is it?"


Thursday, 6 March 2014

I know nothing...

but this is amazing. Watch and learn and marvel at the extraordinary balance of the world we live in.


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

This Will Do Me Good...Or Not.

I'm reading this. Well sort of. I'm finding it a bit hard going and am on the point of packing it in. Yet I feel I shouldn't. This book and my good self are supposed to be a perfect match apparently. According to Amazon, people who like Barbara Pym and Georgette Heyer (me) are supposed to love this. It's very well written. There's a lot going on. People I like, like this. People who are well thought of think a lot of this. I really should like it. There is no reason not to like it. I don't like it.
I am the one that is wrong, I'm certain of it. I apologise if you love it. I have tried to love it. I have failed.

I think it's in the Screwtape Letters that CS Lewis talks about the demons being unable to get a decent hold on people because they love county cricket or something equally unfashionable. This is because people are not pretending, not trying to impress and are not tied up in themselves and the impression they are making. The important point being that people should be who they are rather than what they think people want them to be. The young people sometimes all agree to like something because everyone else likes it or because it should be liked because it is a "good thing". As I get older and therefore more shrivelled and cantankerous, I am more and more seeing this as a mistake. It really is fine to be out of step with popular thinking (unless your definition of "out of step" means it's ok for you to be a serial killer) 

So, I'm leaving it if that's alright with you. I'm off to a nice Kate Atkinson (99p on my Kindle) Don't let me put you off if you fancy it. It's just not me that's all. 

Sunday, 2 March 2014


Just an ordinary morning and I am setting off for work. I turn onto the main road to Plymouth City Centre and wonder what on earth happened. I count seven police cars all with blue lights flashing, one ambulance and a bread van in the middle of it all. Picking my way through as best as I can I can pass a lady sobbing into her mobile saying "Go to Derriford, go straight there as quickly as you can." Derriford is our local hospital.

Later on I discover that a fourteen year old girl has been hit by the bread van and is fighting for her life. Walking to work is a bit weird, I am shaken and full of thoughts of how a day can turn on a sixpence. One second all is as normal, it's another day at work or school. You are bored or tired or whatever. Maybe you have words with the people you love. Maybe you are just a bit fed up. Maybe you are happy as Larry. Whatever. Within a minute, all that can change. 

A day can start as normal as anything. A moment of inattention. A pain in an unexpected place. A telephone call that you were not expecting. Any of these can signal a seismic change to the life you were expecting to live. It's scary but it is the nature of life. 

If anything these things point to the futility of worry. We can spend years - lifetimes even, putting our energies into what might go wrong, what might happen. Worry about health, your children, your children's health, your job, your lack of a job, the list is endless. Yet in practice, few of these worries amount to much. The thing that might change your life is more likely to be a phone call on a wet Wednesday afternoon when you least expect it. This is not to cast a pall of darkness over anyone. It's just to say it may be how it is and not a second of worry can change it. 

Imagine a life without worry. Fully depending on God. Sure of his tenderness towards you, yet not thinking that means that you live a life without hurdles and disappointments. It must be great to be like that. I'm sure you must get a lot more done.

Matthew 6:34

34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.
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