Wednesday, 28 January 2015


I took part in this on Monday. I don't know if you have heard of it. I haven't found many people that have; although I am not helping with that because I keep calling it "Beyond Belief".  It is a series of discussions after watching a DVD which is supposed to break down barriers to faith. The DVD is full of talking heads, most of whom are what I suppose you would term Christian Intellectuals (whatever one of those is) Then you all have a chat with the people in your group - some of whom are not Christians about what you have just seen. It's sort of like Alpha but without the pasta bake at the beginning. I'm not sure yet if I prefer it to Alpha. It certainly covers meaty topics - suffering, religious violence, is the Bible true? Also the coffee is better than Alpha but I liked Alpha as well so we shall see. 
It always surprises me how open people are who come to these things. I suppose you would have to be fairly interested in faith to turn out on a freezing cold Monday night in January but people seem to ask interested and interesting questions, and seemed to be quite untroubled by the fact that I didn't really feel that I could answer any of them satisfactorily. I did enjoy it though, which surprises me because, as you have probably worked out, I am scared of most people so I wouldn't expect me to enjoy this. Anyway. Wolf Hall awaits.


Thursday, 22 January 2015


There are lots of times when being culturally a Brit makes me go a bit humm - The Sun's Page 3 scam (showing a breathtaking contempt for women), Mrs Brown's Boys (He seems really nice, I have tried really hard - it doesn't make me laugh. Don't hate me ) and most of the content on Channel 5. Then something comes along and it makes me want to stand up and sing God Save The Queen. (Which I don't mind - I think it's a tune and I am very keen on our Queenie. Prefer Jerusalem if I am pushed though) This is a long drawn out way of saying that Wolf Hall is mercifully very good. 
I LOVED the books. I was a little bit "really - are you sure?" about a screen adaptation and the TV programme is certainly different from the book - it jumps around the timelines like crazy. I am not sure you get the depths of Cromwell quite the same way here but maybe a book is better for that. I read a post by an author saying more or less how sick she was of the Tudors - Tudor This, Henry VIII that and of course she is completely right. Trouble is, this is just a super-duper watch. It rattles along. 
All the women are too pretty. Anne Boleyn, who I understood got by on her French sophistication is just lovely and the so-called mousy Jane Seymour can stop traffic with her looks but there you are. Henry VIII is  - well you can see how he is but I read this week that he was quite hot as a young man so all well there then. Just loved the clever little two minutes with the Mark Smeaton character who is nothing now but will be so significant later. It is also my first time seeing Mark Rylance. I only know him as an actor who plays long weird roles that seem to make other actors sob that they are not worthy but you see him here and you get an idea what all the fuss is about. Course, later on there will be a lot of shouting and sawing of necks etc but I will deal with that as it comes.


Tuesday, 20 January 2015


It is a time for reading and quieting. When I can. Here's what I'm reading
  • Finished two out of three of my Christmas books India Knight's "Prime" is for ladies of a certain age i.e. me to tell us that we are not dead yet. I disagree with lots of it, written as it is with London sophistication about affairs and dating and breakups but I like the bits about teeth and clothes. I think it is true that when I was young 50 was old. Lots of ladies had cauliflower hair which had been shampooed and set  and you accepted you were going towards the last lap. I don't think it is like that now. It's a good read though.
  • Sali Hughes "Pretty Honest" is a guilty pleasure about make-up and skin care and it is really good. (Well I like it) Although it has changed almost nothing about the way I do my stuff (I would faint having to pay that for a moisturiser) it is physically beautiful and a joy to read and if I am rich one day, I would still not spend that much on a moisturiser and I would still think foundation is an unnecessary faff for most of us but I would probably build a really nice lipstick collection.
  • I am still dipping in and out of my Nora Ephron Collection and alternating between joy and despair. What a writer she was. I am out of my depth.
  • I went a bit off piste with a Christian book and read "We make the road by walking" by Brian McClaren. I shouldn't really have just read it through. It is supposed to be read throughout the year and you are all supposed to link hands and light a candle at the end of each chapter or something. I hardly ever do that, I just keep reading - no self control. BC is a bit controversial in Christian circles for being, as I understand it, a bit wishy washy about things like Heaven and Atonement and Hell and things. Not that you were able to get much of that from his book. It's not what you would call strident and full of opinion. I read with interest about the Virgin Birth, but the whole chapter was about three degrees above useless if you wanted to know what he really thought. Maybe I'm reading the wrong book by him. I at least liked his willingness to look at the Old Testament and the character of God there, which can be a little alarming sometimes. If I am not sure about his explanation of the Bible unfolding as a more complete view of God culminating in Jesus so that the Old Testament is a splintered fraction of him - then at least he is having a go. Lots of Christian leaders seem to ignore it. 
  • I am now reading the most up to date Shardlake. They are really good I think - although they have got really gory now. You still have to find out who did it though. I find myself asking Catherine Parr - being married to Henry VIII - what was in it for her? Not getting your head chopped off I suppose.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Feel free to disagree - but I am right

Little photo of my good self and daughter type person trying and failing to get the flash right with the new phone. I did not want a new phone. My old one died. This new one is slowing me down having to keep double checking everything all the time. Pah!

Anyway - side tracked. Bit controversial. Feel free to look away if you are a maiden aunt type.We went to church business meeting this week. In heaven there will be NO business meetings - of this I am certain. Nice mild mannered, Christian people turn into people trying to recreate the Nuremberg Rally. Anyway digression again. 

As per, there was a discussion that I should probably not talk about and to prove that I DO understand the meaning of the word "confidential" actually, I won't. So we are talking and lady says "She is a home maker - as lots of us are" Hmm. What she means by home maker is a female who doesn't go out to work and stays at home to look after the children and the home. It's probably just me but the use of this word in this way does my head in.

I understand why the term was purloined. Women who stayed at home working pretty damn hard sweetie, felt that their labours were not appreciated and they coined a word to describe what they do. The problem is that my smug detector can sometimes rise a bit - especially when the word is used in Christian circles. It's like home making - if it is to be done properly - has to be done by a particular sex in a particular way. I'm afraid I think not, baby. I was a stay at home mum once - both full time and part time and I am very aware that it is an important job often with very little fanfare but homemakers come in all shapes and sizes.

These days I work full time. I have grown up children but I consider myself and my husband to be partnering in home making - both for ourselves and our kids and other people who happen to be passing.

Surely a single person who works to make a nice hospitable home is as valid a homemaker as someone with a fully paid up membership to Mumsnet? Do all good homes have to be defined by having children in them? 

A young couple who work hard outside the home all week and then open their house to the local youth hoards - another kind of home maker.

A single mum who has to take on childcare so she can go out to work to earn money to keep a roof over her baby's head - homemaker.

A mum and her husband who have swapped the traditional roles while she goes out to work and he looks after babies - for whatever reason - may she's just flippin fantastic at her job - still home makers.

A old man who makes his house a place of safety for a couple of kids for whom the word family means only sadness and violence. Home maker.

And, in the words of the Whispers - "The Beat Goes On" There are infinite examples. Let's not allow ourselves to claim any kind of high ground because we have been blessed with a decent chap, some sprogs and a Dyson that clips to the wall. God's ways are not our ways. He places his Grace in the weirdest of places including you and me. 


Thursday, 15 January 2015

Things as they are - not as they seem

Frames and feelings fluctuate
These can ne'er thy saviour be
Learn thyself in Christ to see
Then be feelings what they will
Jesus is thy saviour still

John Wesley

We live in turbulent times. Life is overwhelming  - on an international level, people with guns and such a disregard for any human life (including their own) seem to threaten to overtake life. On a national level political debates often feel as if they are done for their own sake rather than to achieve anything of worth. People lie in hospital corridors awaiting attention from beleaguered staff while politicians spend what seems like hours debating how many people should stand behind a podium. On a personal level, so many times we seem to miss it or fail. This week we went to see Into The Woods (It's fine - about 45 minutes too long) and in the film, the princess runs away from the handsome prince saying "It's not quite what I expected" I can sometimes say that about my own Christian life.

Things will not often be as we want them to be - perhaps sometimes for a fleeting moment they are. Sometimes we can feel so low and the way we feel is such a huge part of us it can threaten to engulf us. But the way we feel is not who we are. There is hope.
There are times, I think, when we need to dig deep and remember. Jesus makes a difference. He made a difference to me. He continues to make a difference to me. I am not what I was. I am in Christ. Yes, even me and that makes a difference.Sometimes we need to grab hold of that really hard and hold on very tight

Sunday, 11 January 2015

January Thinking

Even Plymouth is cold. Plymouth is rarely cold but cold it is. We have lit the fire as a Sunday treat - it doesn't take much to keep me happy. I think I am even now struggling to come out the other side of Christmas. I was looking forward to some time off but there is so much to do, it isn't really a holiday and then suddenly you are back at work with all that entails. I am not really moaning. Well, I am, a bit. 
We went to church this morning to hear a new PP (Prospective Pastor) speak. He seemed fine but the other one seemed fine to me, as well as the one that I thought was a PP but tuned out to be just a visiting speaker. I thought he was especially fine. I tend not to have much to do with the pastor anyway these days. I am a bit allergic to church leadership sometimes. Anyway - as I said - he seemed fine to me and more experienced and spiritual people will make the decision. All will be well I expect. We were a bit distracted because HOH (that's Head of House - my other half - I think someone asked last week) has hurt his back so he had to sit like Miss Jean Brodie all the way through the meeting.
On top of everything else going on I also had an unexpected meeting with Aged Parent in Primark. (Sometimes I forget she has moved to Plymouth) I have to admit, she didn't have my full attention so I missed the beginning of the story she was sharing. All I remember is suddenly hearing (in a VERY loud voice) "The thing is, I don't fancy him and he doesn't fancy me - we are just friends" I suddenly became aware of too many people too absorbed in Primark's rather fetching range of lime green sweaters while pretending very hard not to listen to aged parent's pronouncements. Without boring you with too much detail - nothing was quite as it sounded so I didn't have to deal with the reality of parental carryings on and therefore spending the rest of my life putting my fingers in my ears and singing God Save The Queen over and over until it goes away. No wonder I am struggling. 
No doubt, I will have my mojo back very soon. Until then, I am off to watch Foyle's War. Is it just me but it all seems very complicated now. What with MI5 and all that. I miss the war - you knew where you were with a dead body pulled out from under an unexploded bomb.


Thursday, 8 January 2015

Be Careful Out There

First of all - an apology. I have not been here so I haven't. I have been lurking and reading everything - even if I've been a bit late to the party. Just a lot going on - nothing too troubling. Back to work and it's busy and life and things. Am working hard to get back on an even keel.

I just wanted to say a little bit about Channel 5 and its "Too Fat To Work" programme. These thoughts are in no particular order and I will not be troubling the Pulitzer Prize with the writing here but stick with it. 
Listen, I don't like a shirker and and everyone who can should be working. I really have little insight into these people - they could be serial killers for all I know. I am also the wife of someone who works on a hospital ward and has had struggles with people with obesity - both with the physical weight and the attitude they sometimes have to their own lives - I'll leave that there.

I have to be a bit careful here because I know the people in the film slightly as they are service users where I work and I also had some dealings with the film crew they worked with. Having said that, all I would like to point out is

  1. I know a set up when I see it and some things in this programme were not quite as they seemed.
  2. Not everyone in the film was able to understand that there may be an agenda here if you know what I mean. 
  3. The whole thing was sad and upsetting and doesn't reflect well on anyone - including Channel 5.
That's all I can say really. I would like to rant for twenty minutes but I just wanted to warn you not to accept everything on face value. 

Just also wanted to mention a friend who, in the middle of a long line of trolling of the couple on Facebook, typed in "God Bless Them. I hope they have a long and happy marriage" I love it when Grace intervenes.

It seems extra sad to me that on a day when people in Paris have paid for their journalistic integrity with their lives - other people who also call themselves journalists - can produce this. I am almost calm now. Thank you.
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