Friday, 31 July 2015


Me     How are you?

Her    Well, really well. Much better.

Me     You look well.

Her     Thanks, I feel so much better since I made things right with *****

Me     How did that go then?

Her    Good. I told her how I felt, about things. How hurt I was by her actions and that I had been quite vengeful in my thinking towards her but that I had accepted that she didn't mean to upset me so much and I had  forgiven her and I was happy to move on.

Me     Well that's lovely. How did she feel about that?

Her     She was a bit surprised. She had no idea that there was a problem until I told her.

Sometimes I think forgiveness is very much a clear the air/talk it through thing. Sometimes, maybe, it's just a you and God thing. A thinking good things about people thing. A private decision to move on thing. Maybe some things are better left unsaid.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Cecil Ranting

I wouldn't claim to be the most intelligent person in the world but can someone please explain big game hunting to me? I am not a vegetarian or anything and I do know where meat comes from thank you but I just don't get this at all. When I see posts from people who live in the woods who have killed a giant boar to keep their family in meat for a month, I do understand that - they are going to eat it. It may not be for me, I prefer to go in a straight line to the supermarket, trying, if I can find it or afford it, to buy as ethically as possible. But, at least if you are feeding people with it - it does make sense.

It's just the whole concept of this, I don't get. What on earth makes anyone want to put photos of themselves up with an animal they have killed? What is the achievement? What is the point? You have a gun (or a bow and arrow for some, even more, bizarre reason) a tracker, a Land Rover, and twenty five fawning people around you just in case things go pear shaped. It's not exactly an even Man v Nature match is it? (As a side issue - what is all the stripping to the waist about? This is ultra weird.) A few weeks ago some woman posted photos of herself having shot a giraffe. A GIRAFFE! That must have been some thrill ride. We have giraffes in Paignton Zoo and they can die if they get their legs tangled up and they fall over. I wouldn't call it big game hunting really. Would you? Is it the thrill of the hunt? Really? Are you a grown up? Is that what life is about for you? Seriously? Do they allow you to vote?

And now Cecil the Lion has been lured from a Reserve to be killed by an American dentist of all people. It it weren't so sad, it would be funny. Apparently, root canal work isn't hitting the mark for him so he shoots wild animals with a bow and arrow. Cecil took 40 hours to die. His cubs may well now have to be killed as they will be vulnerable to attack from other males. I go back to the beginning of this rant. Just what on earth is this about? 

People argue that hunting is legal and it puts money back into conservation. Well lots of things have been legal - sending children up chimneys, stopping women voting, taking people from Africa and depriving them of their freedom and the right to say 'no' when the master fancies a pop at your wife or your daughter. These things are no longer legal and as we move on, we realise that they were never right AND WE STOP IT.  As for the money, the amounts that these people pay to hunt - huge amounts - they don't smack of legal fees to me, they sound like corrupt blood money. Have a collection. Set up a charity. That's what normal people do. 

There has been some very sensible talk on social media about how people are getting more worked up about this than they did about the death of a black woman in police custody and of course that it true. There is a connection though. When something is wrong - it is wrong. When the strong and those with the protection of money or privilege take advantage of those who cannot defend themselves there is a sense that the world is off kilter. You can feel that here I think and it is this innate "not rightness" that rears its head all the time. It makes me despair. Sometimes I just want to hang my head down and apologise for being a human.

Sunday, 26 July 2015


Hallelujah! Thank God! Pray to him by name! Tell everyone you meet what he has done! Sing him songs, belt out hymns, translate his wonders into music! Honor his holy name with Hallelujahs, you who seek GodLive a happy life! Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works; be alert for signs of his presence. Remember the world of wonders he has made, his miracles, and the verdicts he’s rendered— O seed of Abraham, his servant, O child of Jacob, his chosen.
Psalm 105 The Message

Are you ever surprised by just how much the Bible manages to pack into so few words? Being a bit of a bletherer myself and never using one word when twelve will do, this kind of thing always impresses me. I would never be able to do it. I am very glad that I didn't have to write the Bible (And the cry went up from all the nations - "Aren't we all!") 

I have not had the easiest week ever - Aged Parent at hospital (all well - thanks for asking). The dreaded mammogram. (You know me - I am the health professional's friend - but when a nurse who hasn't bothered to turn round as I enter the room stripped to the waist  says "We'll start with your right side" when I haven't got a right side - I think I have a right to be a bit annoyed) Anyway - to raise the tone. This is like an instruction manual. Just here in these few lines.

Be thankful. Talk to God. Tell people about him. Sing. Sing loudly. Honour him. Choose happiness with him. Look for him. Expect miracles from him. Remember his goodness. Remember his wisdom. Remember you are his. It's a life instruction book. Mad positive and generally all over empowering. You know - if I ever had a tattoo.... (No need to look so panicky Head of House, am just musing)

Wednesday, 22 July 2015



Just calling in to mention a couple of films we got to see. We went to see Minions - myself and FOW2 and we didn't care. I loved Despicable Me and so there we were. To be honest, it does exactly what it says on the tin. There are Minions, they fall over a lot and shout at each other and that's about it really. There are some laugh out loud bits and Jennifer Saunders does a brilliant turn as an arm-wrestling Queen of England but, to be honest, it's not really for me is it? There was a little person in the seat in front who almost dies of happiness a couple of times and that was almost worth the entrance fee to be honest.

About as far away from that as it is possible to get is Amy - a documentary about Amy Winehouse. Ah - this is so sad. Most of the news about this has been about how Amy's father is threatening to sue the film-makers for the way he has been portrayed. I'm not surprised - he doesn't come out of it at all well. The problem with his indignation is that you can see him, behaving badly, in front of your own eyes. It's all camera footage, not people giving opinions on his fathering skills. I know it can be manipulated but it is shocking to see him dragging a vulnerable Amy here there and everywhere for his business deals. The kindest thing you can say is that maybe he didn't really understand what was happening to her and how dangerous it was. I think he probably had her best interests at heart - he certainly adored her - as did everyone. 
I have to put my hand up here and say that musically, I am not her biggest fan - too much derivative stuff for me - although she could certainly sing. This is a terrific film. It moving and sad and funny. She comes across as a vulnerable little soul under all the gobbyness, a tiny person physically who just couldn't take all the chemical abuse she put her body through. The most moving moment for me is right at the end when Tony Bennett - one of her all time heroes and a man who was no stranger to a bit of substance abuse in his younger days - said something like - "It's so sad - I wish I could have told her that you learn how to live your life eventually, as you get older." Whenever I see stuff like this where people lose hope and can't find their way back, it does make me think about Jesus and his promise of redemption - in the sense that there is a way back from everything - whatever it is, no pit is too deep. Sometimes it doesn't seem so, I know. 

If you get the chance to see this, please do. I don't suppose it will be on in many places, unlike Minions which will be so ubiquitous it seems like it is showing on the back of your eye. 

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Here I Am

Well I am almost too ashamed to turn up again after all this time. It's not an acceptable excuse to say that I have been a bit overwhelmed but tis true so there you are. I have lurked around other people's blogs but that's been about it. The thing is as well, when it comes to blogging, when I don't do it - there's the guilt you see. The laptop stares at me with an air of reproach so that I start avoiding it. This is especially unfortunate because this is where I keep track of the family finances and my tendency not to believe the state of our finances unless I see them with my own eyes, can lead to dangerous levels of spending, based on my mind-fantasy bank balance.

So the main event of the week and it was quite a big main thing, was the graduation of FOW 1 from York University with First Class Honours no less. (Sorry - you had to be told) Of course, those of you with superior geography skills will have noticed that Devon is a long way from York so it is quite a trek to get everyone there. 

Still, what a lovely day. I have never been to anything like that before and found the whole thing quite emotional. Greg Dyke is the chancellor of York Uni so he gave the certificates out. I have decided that I like Greg Dyke. (This will come as a huge relief to him, I am sure) He gave a brilliant no-nonsense speech and encouraged people not to stay in jobs they hated because life is too short. He just managed to qualify this statement in time to stop 50% of the parents in the room handing in their notice. Apparently, this advice was just for the students - pity. Then the whole room fell silent as the sister of a student collected the degree on her behalf. We all knew that it had all got too much for this student and she had taken her own life at the beginning of the final academic year. Maybe, it is the Christian in me that always thinks when I hear of such things, that all things can be sorted or come back from, given time. It is so sad when people lose sight of  this. You feel so much for what she must have been going through and what her family are going through now. It kind of puts everything into perspective.

Later on, FOW1 took us on a route march to King's Manor which is where Archaeology is studied. ("It's not a long walk. I do it all the time." I AM IN NEW SHOES! ) So we stood around and had champagne and wraps with unidentifiable green sort of doughy stuff in them, while I tried to stem the blood coursing out of my heels. Then there were special awards given out. The Most Jolly Person Award (or something like that) went to a pipe smoking, lesbian, C of E girl which was all very nice - academia eh? I shook a few sort of professory people's hands and tried to look clever - not always that easy when you have half a loo roll stuffed down the back of your shoes. But, the sun shone and everyone was very pleasant. He goes back there in September to do a Masters in Digital Heritage (No, me neither) 

Back to work tomorrow. Has to be done but lovely memories of a great day. Hargreaves Towers on Tour for one of the last times maybe. Thankful as always.


Sunday, 5 July 2015

Family Matters

Much trauma at Martha Towers. Morecambe is back from the vets having had NINE teeth out. Yes nine. Can't but think it may be our fault somehow. Not sure why - he is bursting with health otherwise. Our bank balance is, however, not doing any kind of bouncing at all. Three hundred and eighty pounds it was. I would have had a bit of a go myself if I had known that. Anyway, all is back to normal now, his poo has returned to a normal colour after having changed to chocolate brown. (Too much information? You only have to say)

FOW1 is back in the bosom of the family again so, for a short time at least, this family is a family of four under the same roof. I have no idea how we made this work four years ago. Perhaps it helps because some people were a lot smaller then. I am sure that once we get the towels on the bathroom floor situation sorted - all will be well, as long as I get myself into the habit of buying all bread, from everywhere, all the time.

Aged Parent came for tea. She came straight from the chiropodist, having used a voucher that we bought her for Mothers' Day. I was earwigging on a conversation she had with FOW 2.

FOW 2 So was it nice having your feet done Nana?

Aged Parent Lovely thank you. She did all my heels and everything. She even offered to put nail polish on but I said no - because I chew my nails and it's not worth it.

Short but significant silence as daughter processes this information

FOW2 I think she meant your toe-nails Nana

Aged Parent (Puzzled) Really? She never said.


Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Not Our Peace

I was listening to some politician who was talking about the horrible events all over the world last week and he said something like "Don't forget that peace is not a natural state of affairs. Peace has to be worked at and in some cases fought for." It seemed a striking piece of insight from a politician but having looked around a bit (yep, that would be Google then) I found this. 

"The state of peace among men living side by side is not the natural state; the natural state is one of war. This does not always mean open hostilities, but at least an unceasing threat of war. A state of peace, therefore, must be established, for in order to be secured against hostility it is not sufficient that hostilities simply be not committed; and, unless this security is pledged to each by his neighbour (a thing that can occur only in a civil state), each may treat his neighbour, from whom he demands this security, as an enemy." Kant

So, Kant then  - not Liam Fox, either way, there is something here I think. We talk so much about peace and wanting peace yet, at the first opportunity everything seems to collapse into rubble and fighting. This can be on a world stage or in our personal lives. So I was struck by something that Jesus said.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.John 14 v 27

It's probably significant then that when Jesus talks about the peace he gives he says it is nothing like the peace that this world talks about - which seems to be fragile and dependant on circumstances, mood, and whoever is around to take advantage of the vulnerable for money. Jesus is talking about something that only he can leave us because he is different to us, he can do more than us. It is HIS peace, based in him and who he is, thinking more, loving more and we are safe there. He left it with us to give us comfort and we should take comfort from it.

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