Sunday, 31 January 2016

January. Pah!

Psalm 31 v 15
"You are my God. My times are in your hands"

In the words of the old Pilot song. "January - sick and've been..." Sorry can't remember the rest. ( I think it was released in about 1975 - no wonder I can't remember it. I'm sure it's on YouTube if you want to hear it) Is it just me or has January been particularly bleaugh? Firstly all these celebrities keeling over. David Bowie for one. I'm not front of the queue when it comes to loving Bowie. I never find myself at a loose end on a Friday night and think - let's put a bit of Bowie on. But I do know that he meant an awful lot to a lot of (admittedly sometimes quite strange) people. Then Alan Rickman. This made me sad because no one seemed to have any kind of bad word for him. Everyone said how lovely he was, which somehow makes it sadder. Then there was Glen Frey from the Eagles, who I don't hold a particular candle for but was part of America's musical royalty. And then today, Terry Wogan. Again, a man who everyone has said was exactly like he appeared on the telly. Funny, generous, open. I have very fond memories of his morning radio programme. At a time in my early twenties, when my life was in a bit of low level turmoil, when I had to decide if I wanted to move house with my family and church life was a bit of a struggle, I would switch the radio on and Terry Wogan used to make me smile and put things into perspective. It's a rare skill. 
And, on top of all this desperate people are still getting into tiny boats and placing their precious babies on their knees while being pushed out to sea, only to find, sometimes within  half an hour that the boats are useless and a terrible fate is rising up to meet them.
I have nothing to say of any worth here, except perhaps to the lady who sat next to me in the hairdressers and announced to the room that if we took any more in, this country would sink. I think you will find that we have hardly actually taken anyone as yet so I don't think our buoyancy is in any doubt at the moment. Also to those who considered boycotting peace talks about Syria for quite understandable reasons. I am so glad to see them change their minds. However unpalatable it may be, talking to monsters, may be the only hope at the moment. 
January has been a very sobering month for one reason or another. The verse at the top of the blog is one that I have loved since I was a young slip of a thing - to the point of making a little notice with it on with a printing set. I then covered it with sellotape to protect it and stuck it on my dressing table mirror - simpler times. It helped me then and it helps me now. It's there to help you if you want. No pressure if not.


Monday, 25 January 2016

Leaving Kindness

Sunday morning, getting ready and I usually listen to Garry Richardson on Sportsweek. (I considered saying that Sunday mornings are spent in prayer and prep but I listen to Garry Richardson on Sportsweek - do you want the truth or not? ) This week he was paying tribute to his friend - Gerald Williams the tennis commentator who had died that week. Richardson told the story of how, when he was starting out as a commentator, Williams gave up his own trip to America to give Richardson his first chance. Billie Jean King shared about how when she was a seventeen year old visiting Wimbledon for the first time, Williams sneaked her on to Centre Court for a clandestine first look. Henry Winter, the sports journalist spoke of his legendary generosity of spirit. All of them spoke of the same thing - his kindness. In fact Garry Richardson was so overcome when speaking about his friend, he lost it for a few brief moments and struggled to carry on. This is highly unusual for this battle-hardened sports reporter and I was quite startled for a second.  
Gerald Williams was also a Christian - Billie Jean called it being "very religious" and his Christianity informed everything he did. He wasn't soft - just generous and thoughtful. I just think that that would be such a terrific legacy - to be remembered for your amazing kindness. It's a challenge that left me quite emotional to be honest.

Anyway just to finish with a photo of Aged Parent celebrating her birthday on Sunday. We booked a meal in a nice place but she wanted to go to the local Wetherspoons because she got to go into the charity shops on the Barbican, thus ensuring the perfect day - shopping followed by a fish and chip dinner. Do not bother me with your namby pamby meals - it is my birthday and I am going to boogie.
Happy Birthday AP!


Thursday, 21 January 2016

Turning The Tide

Do you ever feel that it is too late? That you are too old and that you have neither the strength or just the general wherewithal to change things. 
A friend (with a medical qualification I'll have you know), once told me that after a certain age it becomes harder to lose any extra weight that you have been carrying. Doctors aren't sure why - possibly a slowing down of metabolism. Possibly, we just go past a tipping point. 

I think we can think that about our lives and our circumstances.That there is just too much happening, that we don't have enough in us to change anything. Things are just too big, they are just happening to you and you don't have enough strength to change anything.

Well good news my faithful companion!! We may not be able to turn things around but......

“The hand of God has turned the tide!
        The hand of God is raised in victory!
        The hand of God has turned the tide!”

I'll tell you, if I have anything that I still NEED to get hold of it's that God is God and he can do stuff - God type stuff. Things that God can do and wants to do. All of which I cannot do. Anyway this is a happy thing and it does your faith good. It's all in Psalm 118 and there's lots there. Go and have a look. Fill your boots.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Sort of Ranty Thinking

I am going to slam a lot of incoherent thoughts at you and you can ignore them if you want but I am going to do it anyway. I am still a bit preoccupied with the floods. I know that as far as the "Powers That Be" are concerned we have all moved on because it has stopped raining and a Head Has Rolled (mainly, as far as I can see, because he was on holiday when the floods came and so therefore unable to complete the compulsory "march around flooded areas in wellies looking very concerned" thing that is required at times like this)

I saw on the news that the Jorvik Centre in York was badly flooded and they have no idea when it will open again. For those who haven't been, the Jorvik Museum celebrates York's rich Viking history with interactive displays and rides though a reconstructed village. All the models (see photo)  and electrics and the like have been destroyed. I have probably mentioned that FOW1 is an archaeologist and although he is a bit sniffy about museums where you get to smell what a Viking toilet was like, he is very keen on other areas of the Jorvik. There are artefacts in there that are well over 1000 years old and if it wasn't for the quick thinking of the York Archaeological Trust they would have been lost forever. This would have been at least as distressing an event as the horrible damage to people's homes.The thing is the Jorvick, despite being situated in a basement in often damp York, has never flooded before - ever - which should tell us something about how things are going.

FOW1 saw Jeremy Corbyn doing the concerned welly walk round York and, although he has a deep fondness for the Corbster, he was struck by how much he just seemed like everyone else. Trying not to check his watch to see how soon he could scoot off back to London. And speaking of London, the Thames is tidal isn't it? But when was the last time London flooded? Well it doesn't does it because they have a state of the art, all singing, all dancing barrier. Hoorah!

I think we all know that the times, in a Global Warming sense, they are changing and it isn't enough anymore to throw a bit of dosh at something in the hope that you can build your sandbag wall a bit higher next time. We can always drag a few squaddies from their Christmas break to help you. 

No, it's surely time of a more visionary, more ecological approach. There are interesting thoughts here about a way to work with the nature that is battering the living daylights of of us - to naturally disperse the water before it hits our homes. It's visionary and thinks differently which has to be a good thing because the same old, same old just isn't working is it? Schemes like this do take investment but the very successful and innovative Thames Barrier cost £1.2 billion to build and frankly we could all do with making sure that it's not just Londoners' tootsies that don't get wet when the rains come down.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Christmas Culture


As usual, we got out and about a bit and also watched quite a lot of telly over the hols. Here is my totally non-expert view on the stuff we saw.

Dr Who
FOW 2 has been a bit off Dr Who this season. Not because of Peter Capaldi, who is obviously very good, but because she feels that the writer Stephen Moffat has been playing fast and loose with the rules. For example, she was apoplectic, when Dr Who went back to Gallifrey because he can NEVER go back to Gallifrey. I, however, am unburdened by such detailed knowledge and laughed like a drain all through the River Song Christmas episode. Sometimes I think it is an advantage to be a bit simple.

Downton Abbey
Sorry. Never seen it. Felt it was a bit cheeky joining here so I didn't and also saw that Maggie Smith has never seen it which must mean something.

And Then There Were None (Bit of a spoiler - move on if you don't want it)
This should have been amazing. I had read the book - best Agatha Christie I think but I felt the adaptation was so keen to get that Poldark chappy stripped to the waist that it upset the balance of the thing. To have the person that did the deed explain it while someone dangled on the edge of death was distracting. Much better to have a last letter explain it all. Also HOH who hasn't read the book guessed the killer within the first hour. He said it was obvious. Something wrong there then.

Ooooh. This one divided everyone I think. I found it a bit up itself, I'll be honest - a bit too knowing. However, I still think it is twenty times better than everything else on the telly to be honest so lets not complain too much. 

Star Wars
I know my reaction is not normal but this makes me so happy. I so loved the first films and it was so great to see someone had gone back and done it so well. It is very important to uber fans like me. (Can I just say here that despite being slightly obsessed, I have never actually thought that Jedi was a religion and for those that think so, I think you should consider the possibility that George Lucas came up with the whole idea after one too many shandys. Just a thought)

Very funny film. Not for your Maiden Aunt if she is easily offended. Well actually if she is quite difficult to offend.

When Harry Met Sally

Family pre Christmas outing to the Arts Centre. Of course very funny and beautiful and romantic and witty and heart stoppingly brilliant. (HOH has suggested that if your Maiden Aunt will be troubled by the sight of Meg Ryan faking full on jiggy in a cafe - she may prefer to give this a miss. Good Point, Well Made)

Not bothering you with High Society, On The Town and the Frank Sinatra story. They were from my personal Sinatra afternoon and aren't anything to trouble anyone else with. You understand.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Christmas As a Learning Project

Or things I never learn over the Christmas period.

  1. It goes so fast. Christmas is over in almost the time it takes to say "Is a mini ironing board an acceptable present for Aged Parent?"
  2. I will always achieve less than ten percent of everything on my to do list.
  3. I will always underestimate (a) The amount of time it takes to be hospitable (b) How shattering being hospitable is.
  4. This does not mean that I don't enjoy being hospitable.
  5. All talk of Christmas Lunch really just being a large Sunday Roast is nonsense. Despite trying manfully to pare the whole thing back I still end the day feeling something like I imagine the cook felt at the conclusion of one of Henry VIII's most jolly weddings.
  6. New Year's Eve could make Pollyanna depressed. Even the dog got upset (Fireworks give him bad nerves)
  7. If chocolate is in the house, I will find it and eat it - almost unconsciously. (Almost)
So bloodied but unbowed, we tick another Christmas off, having discovered, controversially, that a mini ironing board may not have gone down that well with the Kardashians but it makes an old lady with a bad back a very happy. 

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