Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A silly sentimental post

I hope you read this post before you read the previous one.

Daughter asked me if I didn't even cry during Elder Son's speech; I didn't. I wish I could have. The previous post explains, I hope, why I don't cry any more. Except over silly sentimental songs.

It might sound sad; it probably is sad. But I've accepted it. It doesn't mean I love any the less.

What did it?

My mum died when I was nineteen but that wasn't what did it.

My childless great-aunt who adored me and had wanted to adopt me (as my mum wasn't married) was killed in the car crash we were in on the way back from visiting my mum in hospital just before she died, but that wasn't what did it either.

My friend, the mother of four young children and aged just 39, died one Christmas Eve; that might have been the start of it.

My closest cousin, in her forties, died believing God was going to heal her; I think that did it.

The resonance of sound, reverberating as it rebounds,
to return again and again and again.
Each word reflected, mirrored, echoing, echoing, echo.

Calling out to the heights,
your cry thrown back at you,
a hollow shadow, bereft of life.

And when your ears are ringing and
the mimicry becomes too much to bear,
what do you do?

When your questions meet a resounding wall of silence
and a jagged peace tears at your soul,
what do you do?

Turn off the tears, shut down the heart,
build a wall to keep out pain
that buffets and shakes and threatens to undermine.

Let your heartstrings be pulled by sentimental songs,
reminding you of who you once were and how you used to feel
Before you became an empty echo of yourself.

Why so sad?

Daughter asked why I was a little bit sad.

I get excited in advance of things - like weddings or Christmas - and then get a bit down in the immediate aftermath. I suppose it's the anti-climax, the fact that it's all over - as far as we're concerned; for the young couple a whole new adventure is beginning.

But we're off on holiday tomorrow to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands for a week. A bit of relaxing, lots of reading and an opportunity for this cold, which has come back with a vengeance since the weekend, to finally clear up, and I'll be returning full of life and vitality, and plans for my future writing. I think having two years or more of almost invariable rejections has knocked me back more than I would like to admit. I've gone from having confidence in my writing to expecting rejection.

So along with my frothy novels, I'm going to pack some writing magazines (which have sat unread on my desk for months) and a notebook.

Watch this space!

Indulge me!

As this is my blog, please indulge me and allow me some personal special moments to cherish from the wedding.

A fact.
My brother-in-law said, 'You've had a smile on your face ALL day!' And why not? I was happy!

An ego-boost.
A 24-year-old friend of the bride said, 'I hope I look like you when I'm a mum.'

An emotion.
In his speech Elder Son said, 'When I was younger I was a DJ and all I wanted was to be rich and famous; a few years ago I realised that if I am half as successful as you guys (us, his parents) then I'll be happy.' And he wasn't talking about fame or wealth or possessions or any of the things the media is concerned with - we don't have any of those.

You hope you're giving your children the best and happiest start in life but they don't always think to acknowledge that or to say thanks - any more than we did - so this was very special.

So, the wedding

It truly was a wonderful day in every respect.

Everything went perfectly. Okay, the wedding car bringing the bride broke down but it was only round the corner from the church so she was able to walk the rest of the way in the sunshine, and from there on, it was smooth.

Even though it was a traditional Anglican service, the faith of the young couple gave it meaning. Daughter wrote and read a prayer for the newly-weds. She was disappointed that she had to stop briefly in the middle of reading to compose herself but her obvious emotion only added to the power of her words.

You may remember that a rapper friend of Elder Son's was going to sing while the register was signed: he was absolutely amazing. (I'll see if Son-in-law, who was videoing the whole thing, can put a clip on Youtube so I can show you.)

Then, afterwards, in a break from tradition, the cake was cut and served with champagne in the church ante-room, meaning that everyone, even people who'd just stopped by for the service, were able to join in the celebrations.

The reception was great; the food was delicious; the speeches were amusing. Elder Son had two best men, and both had put a lot of thought into what they said, and Elder Son's speech had everyone (except me) in tears.

I could go on but I've run out of superlatives. I hope you get the picture!


Happy St. George's Day

... and a belated happy birthday to Tim O.

My talent for cake decorating continues to amaze me.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Saturday Photohunt - Steps

Elder Son took a big step this weekend: he and his very beautiful girl were married.

A perfect day

From left: Son-in-law, Daughter, my uncle, me, Elder Son, new Daughter-in-law, Husband, Husband's parents and Younger Son.

Fortunately it was Husband - and no-one else - who found a bit of stick in his cake!
A wonderful very happy day but feeling very tired now - and just a little bit sad. More tomorrow.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Checking out

Okay, so how do some women manage to spend day after day on high heels?

I've been in them for a couple of hours and I'm ready to throw them out of the window. Perhaps the answer lies in the 'day after day' bit. To wear them, you have to wear them. Or return to flip-flops.

Anyway this will be my final post until we get back from London and the wedding. Daughter and I could be described as being just a little bit over-excited. We've squeaked in emails to each other all day.

I thought of writing something emotional but I'll just say I'm so delighted that my darling boy has found his 'one', the one who loves him in return, just for who he is. Be happy both.

Now like that over-excited child, I'm feeling slightly brain-dead so I'm just checking-out. Watch this space for photos ...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Naughty Harvey

No, it's not blood on his paw and ear: it's the evidence that convicts him of rubbish-bag frisking.

Forever Wales

I am tottering around the house on my shoes. I seem to have forgotten how to walk. I need to remove my shoes, remind myself how to walk and try again. As it is, if there should be a fire in the hotel and it's a case of run or be burned, I'll have to settle for the hot flames. But I'll look damn good. Just so long as long as I don't have to move. I'll have to settle for a dramatic wave of the arms and some memorable final words. "If I should die, think only this of me: that there's some corner of a foreign field that is for ever Wales." (What do you mean, 'that sounds familiar'?)

My cold seems slightly worse than it did yesterday when it was showing signs of disappearing. I wonder if the red onion soup is meant to draw it out; perhaps I have to get worse before I get better.

But all that is sounding very gloomy when I am not at all. Excited and happy would be a better description.

Oh, yes, and Husband has won a hamper in the guide dogs Spring raffle! Twice a year they send me books of tickets to sell and I end up buying them myself because I am too pathetic to send them back unsold. I have probably paid for the equivalent of several hampers but that's not the point. This is 'free' and a pleasant surprise - especially as I never win anything. (Although I did win a custom-made surfboard in the first raffle held by the Gower Surf Club in 19blurby blurby blurb.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Too many toes

So I've got some shoes.
I'm not convinced but they're the best I'm going to get. I shall wear them round the house for the next two days to wear them in - should I plaster my toes first to pre-empt any rubbing? - and to get used to them - I never wear high heels so am likely to break an ankle.
Unlike the majority of women - judging by the responses I got to my cold/shoes post - I don't like shopping for shoes. I love the idea of glamorous sexy high heels but I have ugly feet.
With an extra toe on my left foot, it's always been difficult to get shoes to fit. As a child I had to have the extra-wide fitting of what were, inevitably, dull shoes, and as an adult, the world of pointy-toed or even slimfit elegant shoes is a closed one to me.
'Sensible' shoes. I don't want sensible shoes; I want the sort of shoes from which men drink champagne not Brains Bitter.

Hair today, soup tomorrow

I'm blogging while waiting for my red onion soup to cook: Welshcakes suggested the soup as the Italian remedy for colds. What it really needs with it, of course, is some chunky crusty bread. I don't have any and anyway 'I'm on a diet.' I am so fed up of that phrase, particularly as I'm not losing any weight.

Wandering out of Tesco's this evening with two treacle tarts (for the price of one: how could I refuse?) I said to myself, 'I'm not losing weight by not eating so I might as well eat and not lose weight.' But then I also just opened the front door and said to Harvey, 'Allez! Allez vite!' He looked at me and said, 'Why are you talking to me in French?'
'I don't know; it just came out that way. It must be the influence of the onion soup.'
'Ah oui.' (He is multi-lingual, you know.)

So it was to the hairdresser this afternoon.

Is there any place on earth more likely to make you feel your age than a hairdressers'?

Sitting in front of a mirror in the glare of the harsh bright light, with hair scraped back from sagging pockmarked cheeks, while a slim blonde flawless-skinned nineteen-year-old dabs at grey roots, is akin to having a fortieth birthday every day.

(I'm about to eat my soup. Last time I made soup I found glass in it.)

I say fortieth because that was the birthday I found most difficult (so far). Thirty wasn't much fun but fifty was okay. I'm hoping they'll just get better and better.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sympathy, please!

Elder Son's wedding is next Saturday. That's five days away. I am currently sneezing for Wales and could confuse a hedgehog with my snuffling. I'm also hot and cold and coughing ... but it will be fine! I will be better by then; I am confident.

Of course I might not have any shoes to wear ...


The stag at bay

Before ... and after the Muddiest Assault Course in the World.
And that was just part of the weekend! The Hen Do was much more civilised!

"We honour these brave men"

On the evening of Wednesday, 23rd April, 1947, a 7,000 ton cargo ship, the S.S. Samtampa, sent out a distress signal as it drifted towards rocks on the South Wales coast. The Mumbles lifeboat was launched into rough seas and force 8-10 winds.

Before the lifeboat could reach it, the Samtampa had been driven onto rocks and was broken into three. Attempts by coastguards to rescue the men failed and all 39 of the crew died.

All the through the night coastguards and police kept a look-out for survivors and for sight of the lifeboat they knew had been summoned. It was not until the dawning light that the lifeboat was found, upturned on the rocks. The bodies of her crew of 8 were washed up over the next days.
(The front page of the local paper from the day after the disaster showing both the upturned lifeboat and the wrecked S.S.Samtampa)

In the parish magazine, the Vicar of Oystermouth wrote, 'These heroic men of ours were plain-spun; they would not have marked their own amazing courage. The cry of men in distress found an answer in the hearts of those who knew the joys and terrors of the sea ...'

In a memorial service the chairman of Mumbles Lifeboat committee said, '... as long as there is a Mumbles, there will be a Mumbles lifeboat and Mumbles men will man her.'

Two weeks after the horrific disaster, 30 men volunteered to serve as lifeboatmen when Mumbles got its replacement lifeboat.

One man who joined the crew a few years later, and went on to become coxswain for 32 years and receive numerous awards for bravery, was Derek Scott. When asked if he was ever afraid when going out on a rescue, he replied, “If I wasn't afraid I wouldn't be human, but those people waiting for me were a damn sight more frightened and, as we were their last hope, I had to do it.”

It wasn't the first time Mumbles had lost some of its lifeboatmen. Four were lost in a rescue in 1883, and six of the crew of fourteen died in 1903. But it has saved over 800 lives in its 170 year history.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution, a charity, is funded by voluntary contributions, and most of the crew are volunteers. At Mumbles only the coxswain and, I think, now an engineer, are paid. That such a vital service is not government-funded and relies on volunteers to do everything from man the ships to sell flags and host coffee mornings is remarkable. It provides an incredible insight into what man will do for his fellow.

As the sixtieth anniversary of the lifeboat disaster is commemorated later this month, while it will undoubtedly be a sad memory for the village that lost so many of its young men, it's good to recall how amazingly unselfish and heroic ordinary men can be.
Two stained glass windows in All Saints' Church in Mumbles commemorate the 1883 (shown right) and 1947 disasters.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

The fruit of the camellia

I am biting my tongue! But if you can come up with a caption ...

Replying to Welshcakes!

Welshcakes says that it's usual in Sicily to have a shelf over the sink as compared with Britain where our sinks tend to be under a window.

Here's the view I get when I'm washing up.

I suppose a shelf, particularly a draining shelf, is useful, especially if you don't have a view worth looking at, but I do like to watch the birds on the feeder, and the flowering of the camellia in Spring. I should be able to see the lilac blossoming too but after a particularly strenuous pruning exercise by Husband, it only flowers on the higher branches. Similar pruning also did for the lavender. I think he's learned; I hope he has.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Welshcakes also asks about the Archers. In case you're not familiar, the Archers is an everyday story of country folk. It's probably the longest running soap on the radio. One of the current storylines concerns Brian, the wealthy local landowner, his wife, Jennifer, his ex-mistress, Siobhan, and their young son, Ruarie. Siobhan is ill and is about to start treatment but is likely to die. She has asked Brian and Jennifer to take on Ruarie should the worst happen. Jennifer's position at the moment is that hell will have to freeze over before she will take on the bastard son of her husband. Welshcakes asks what I think she will do.
Siobhan wasn't Brian's first affair. In both cases Jennifer found out and took him back. She is quite desperate to keep him/her position/money. If Siobhan dies and Jennifer still refuses, she will lose Brian: he will go with the child. I think she will give in for that reason.
Ruarie is innocent in this. He is Brian's son. He is about 4. How can she refuse? He's only a child!
And considering Jennifer's own children have a number of different fathers, and Brian took them on as his, she should be careful before she comes over all righteous.

Bunny, bunny, yum, yum

Do you remember these giant bunnies being exported to North Korea for breeding in an attempt to create a new food supply to ease the country's famine?
Well, Karl Szmolinsky, the breeder, suspects they have already been eaten!
He was supposed to be travelling to Korea to inspect the animals and advise on their breeding but his trip, after being postponed several times, has been cancelled.
A spokesman for Korea denied that the bunnies have been eaten. 'They are still alive,' he said, licking his lips.

Saturday Photohunt - Hobby

To take part in Photohunt, go here.

Spinster aunt in the ball park

Today I was compared to a spinster aunt, sitting knitting in a corner, casting disapproving glances at her nephews and nieces. With a crocheted blanket over my shoulders.

Just because I believe in standing up for - well, see for yourself.

Chris had come to the office to talk to Alun. I was typing away merrily when I overheard Chris use the phrase 'a ball park figure.' I spun round in my chair, looked at him over my glasses and raised my eyebrows.
'What?' he said.
'A ball park figure?'
'What's wrong with that?'
I raised my eyebrows even more.

And that's when the comparison came about. It's true what they say about prophets in their own lands; I am not appreciated. I should have pointed out that just because Chris is a devotee of Desperate Housewives, it doesn't mean we all have to suffer the Americanese.

I shall persevere. After all, where would women be today if Mrs Pankhurst hadn't chained herself to the railings?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Tonight's television

The man on Radio 4 PM's programme just asked when did you last see a bee? This afternoon, in the garden. Before that on Monday afternoon. There doesn't appear to be a bee shortage in Swansea.

Rather more worrying is the news that a bidding war is about to break out over the future of Neighbours. Its contract with the BBC runs out next year and ITV and Channel 5 are both bidding for it. (Whoops, just spilled water on my keyboard - does that matter, do you think?) If either of BBC's rivals get it you know what that will mean: adverts.

I'm currently watching Pie in the Sky repeats on ITV3 or 4. Originally shown on BBC, the fifty minute programme now has at least 3, and possibly 4, commercial breaks. It's enough to drive you around the bend. I am becoming very curmudgeonly and refuse to watch ITV unless it's something I really really want to see. (Pie in the Sky is pleasantly entertaining and something to cwch up in front of.)

If they do that to Neighbours, it'll be the end for this viewer. Ridiculous plots, bad acting, and chronic storylines are one thing; adverts something entirely unbearable.

Which sums up most of the characters in The Apprentice. If you haven't seen this, it's described as a 'job interview with a difference'. Sir Alan Sugar, businessman worth approximately £800,000,000, sets tasks for a group of hopeful entrepreneurs who all want the chance to become his apprentice, with a six-figure salary.

The applicants live in a house together and are divided into two teams. At the end of each week the losing team - the one that makes the least money - has to face Sir Alan and one of them is fired.

This is the third or fourth series of the show and is strangely addictive.

Thinking about it after last night's show, I decided there are a number of things that disturb me.

1) The applicants have all given up good jobs and are supposed to be la creme de la creme. Heaven help British business if that is the case.

2) The ease with which every one of them is willing to stab their so-called partners is scary. There seems to be no limit to what they will do to get the job. Which leads me to ...

3) Last night the girls decided to sell kisses to raise money. A few in the team weren't happy about it; one of the others said it was a struggle between her morals and the money. The money won.

The back-stabbing and bitching I can understand: if it looked as if I were being made the scapegoat when I didn't think it was my fault, I would undoubtedly do the same thing. (The only difference is that I wouldn't go on the show and do it in view of millions of people: I don't want people to know how horrid I really am!)

I suppose I was more disappointed that the girls resorted to the oldest profession to try to raise more money than the other team. Am I taking it too seriously? I don't know.

It's obvious that Sir Alan, in his decision about whom to sack, will be aware of audience figures, and that the 'characters', the ones the viewers will feel strongly about, will be kept in as long as possible. Last series he ended up with the best person in my opinion. Although she went on to resign within the year. Though, really, why anyone would want to work for him is a mystery to me.
Oh, and now it's time for Neighbours.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Harvey in the Spring

Haven't had a photo of Harvey for a while so took this one of him enjoying the spring sunshine.

Spring in the garden

Shirl and Pete are having a rough time with Pete in hospital at the moment; please spare a prayer or a thought for them.

* * * * * * * * * * *

This used to be a bed of bluebells with one or two whitebells. Nature has genetically mutated? Or the strongest gene pool won?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Jolly hockey sticks

When I'm getting dressed in the morning I think about what I'm going to be doing during the day. In the winter it's not so important but in the summer, if I'm going to be out in skirt, I need to feel assured that my knickers aren't going to fall down. Still, in winter, if I'm going to circuit class, I need the same assurance.

I thought I was safe on Monday as I chose a newish pair of the stretchy elastic sort; I was so wrong. Skipping away merrily, I suddenly became aware of my pants edging their way down my bottom. Luckily I was wearing shorts so they weren't going to get very far but, nevertheless, it was uncomfortable. And trying to pull them up surreptitiously while still skipping is not on: I have enough trouble skipping at the best of times. (I blame my junior school teacher for that. When she discovered I'd managed to not put my name down for any of the other events in the Summer School Olympics, she made me enter the skipping race: I came last.)

I suppose it's not as bad as the 'old days' when knickers had a piece of elastic in the waistband and then when the elastic went you really knew about it. I remember my great-aunt telling me how she'd been walking down the street when her elastic pinged. She could feel her knickers falling down. She stopped, shimmied them to the floor, stepped out of them, picked them up and put them in her bag before continuing on her way. She had style did Auntie Vi.

Most hated of my memories are the navy knickers, compulsory for grammar school.

The school I attended was halfway up a hill. (In the photo, taken from across the bay in the haze of today, the lower cross marks where the school used to be; the top cross is the park.) We didn't have our own playing-fields, so come the games lesson, we had to walk up the rest of the hill to one of the, let's say, less attractive areas of Swansea. If ever a place was misnamed it was Paradise Park.

There we had to strip down to our navy knickers and dark green vests and venture into the wind that inevitably whistled over the top of the hill to play hockey. I hated hockey. Nasty, dangerous game. My main aim on the hockey pitch was to stay as far away as possible from the ball. I can only recall one incident that showers me with a drip of glory.

Owing to a lapse in concentration I found myself tackling Judith. Judith was built like a brick wall with the face of a Millwall supporter. And she was in the school hockey team. With the cheers of the crowd ringing in my ears (poetic licence) and shouts of, 'Stay with her, Liz!' I pursued her across the field, our sticks inter-weaving thrillingly as we vied for the ball. But she was only toying with me.

When she got to where she wanted to be, she whacked the ball out of my reach, and I was left to walk, lonely and desolate back across to my habitual place on the edge. There is no glory for the one who comes second.

But at least my knickers didn't fall down.


Groovy, baby

It was Delicolor's birthday yesterday. His card, which is on his site, is from the same range that we sent Younger Son recently.
As I'm writing this, Groovy Kind of Love is playing on the radio: was it Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders? No, Terry says it's Phil Collins. That must be a cover; he wasn't the first to do it I'm sure. I'm going to have to google it to check. How did we manage with all these niggly little questions before Google?

Cheesecake plant

It was nearly the end of the summer holidays, our sons were on a football course and we had the day to ourselves, so Anne and I decided to go out for lunch. In a dark little brasserie we laughed our way through a delicious two course meal. No-one seeing us could have guessed that Anne had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and that her mouth and throat were covered with ulcers — a side-effect of her treatment.

Afterwards, with time to spare before collecting the boys, we visited a garden centre where we decided that, as we’d missed out on pudding, the best way to round off the afternoon would be to have a cup of coffee and a piece of blackcurrant cheesecake. There was a piece on display that looked large enough for 2 or 3 people — it turned out to be an individual portion. We felt embarrassed to have the slices on our plates but not too embarrassed to eat every last mouthful. In between more giggles.

Before leaving the store, just to prove there had been a legitimate reason to visit the garden centre, we each purchased a souvenir, an unusual little red and white plant that looked a bit like the cheesecake.

Four months later, on Christmas Eve, Anne died.

I was searching through some old photos the other day when I came across this picture of my plant. I don’t know its proper name but to me it will always be the ‘cheesecake’ plant.

My Precious

I have a useful tin. Except I can't think of a use for it. It's the sort of tin little boys used to keep things in. Secret and special things like woodlice and nails and glass bottle stoppers and spare tyres for toy cars. I don't know if today's little boys still use tins. Or whether they're too busy on the Playstation to know what pleasure special things can bring.

I should throw it away; it's no use to me. But I'd feel bad about that.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Not eating, not losing

We went to a party on Saturday night. I'd been asked to take some chocolate raisin slice. A guest commented on how nice they were and I offered her another. 'Oh, no,' she said. 'They're very moreish but I've had one already.'

You see that is why I have a tummy and she doesn't. When I say something is moreish, I eat another three. At least.

But I haven't been for the last two weeks. I have been religiously not eating all the goodies I normally munch on; I've even cut back on the meals. And do you know what?

I haven't lost so much as an ounce.

In fact the scales tried to tell me that I had put on 6 lbs. It's lying of course; it is evil. If it had said 1 lb or even 2, I might have believed it but 6? Really, it must think I'm totally stupid.

It's only 11 days to the wedding now. How exciting is that? I'm all ready. Except for my shoes. And icing the cake. And having my hair done. But that's fine; I am in control.

Questions to ask God when I get to heaven: number 1

Why slugs?

What possible reason did you have for creating them? I mean, what do they do? What are they here for?

But then I think: a slug could ask the same about me.

His justification for being in the slug world is equally as valid as mine is in the human world.

That's rather a depressing thought.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

A little light relief

I was getting ready to go out at lunchtime when I picked up my handbag and it began talking to me. 'The time is 12:39. The time is 12:39. The time is 12:39.'

I put the bag to my ear. Yes, the voice was definitely coming from it. 'The time is 12:39.'

I went downstairs ... 'The time is 12:39' ... into the garden where Husband was digging. 'The time is 12:39.' "Listen to this!" I held it out so he could hear it clearly. 'The time is 12:39.'
"My bag is talking to me!"
"It's probably your phone."
'The time is 12:39.'
"Why would my phone start telling me what the time is?"
"You probably set a reminder."
"Last week I had to ask someone how to make a phone call. Set a reminder? I don't think so."

It stopped before I had to work out how to turn it off.

Life is too intimidating without phones that talk to you.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Over on Serena's blog her posts include a section of twisted linguistics/words gone wild, where she defines misspelt or mistyped words she comes across.

In the supermarket today I spotted this sign. Although it isn't misspelled, it sets the brain a'wandering. (Okay, it set my brain a'wandering. Weekly shopping gets boring; you need some sort of distraction.)

Kitten Claws and James Bondage are vying with each other to succeed Madeline Prufrock when she finally retires as CEO of her worldwide sex empire.
Kitten, weaving her cat-like spells, has won over all the board-members save one. He happens to be James's father - although that fact is known only to him and Madeline. Perhaps more importantly James has the backing - he believes - of Madeline herself.
However, their worlds are about to be turned upside down by the arrival of a mysterious stranger who threatens the very heart of the empire itself ... to be continued

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Saturday Photohunt - Clean

One of my favourite things: a clean sheet. Full of promise and hope.
To take part in Saturday Photohunt, go here.


Nothing trivial about Jesus

James accuses me of trivialising Christianity. I'm sorry if that's the way it came over; it wasn't the intention.

There is absolutely nothing trivial about Christ. It wasn't trivial for God to become man and then to take the punishment for man - just because he loved us. "This is love, not that we loved him but that he first loved us. " Could there be anything less trivial?

When it comes to religion and the church though, we're on less certain ground. I said in my earlier post that Catholics had been objecting; following more thorough research, it appears to be one Bill Donohue who is primarily responsible for drawing the attention of the world to the chocolate Jesus. (My apologies to innocent Catholics.)

I read a transcript of a television interview he did - Hey, good luck with him.

In another of his posts, James refers to humanists and I'm not sure if he means me. In case it's not clear, I am a reborn, evangelical, charismatic Christian.

Back to the chocolate Jesus, I've spent some time this afternoon reading up about it, and, no matter how I look at it, I can still find nothing offensive or obscene about it.

What I do find offensive is poverty, child abuse, homelessness, greed, hunger, violence, the parading of a tortured man before a crowd baying for his blood.

That's obscene.


Friday, April 06, 2007

Don't tell me!

Don’t tell me! I don’t want to know. I can’t cope with that. You want me to listen to you? To glimpse a shadow of hope? No, I don’t want hope. I won’t let it in; I can’t take that risk. My hope has gone. It was crushed with my son. As his body was beaten and tortured so hope was cast out of my soul. As the nails were hammered through his flesh, with each thud, my heart shrank a little more. I can’t take any more; don’t tell me these things. I’m covering my ears. Go away from me.

Blessed. He said I was blessed. The angel said I was blessed to have found favour with God. And how did my blessing takes its form? It found me kneeling at the foot of a cross as life drained from my son’s body. With each agonised breath he took, I gasped for air for him. I called upon God to send his angels, to move heaven and earth to rescue his son – my son. I beat upon the ground and screamed out to God, ‘For this? This is why he was born? No! Where are you?’

No, go away, I won’t listen. John, why are you letting them talk to me like this? Haven’t I been through enough?

I remember. Many years ago, an old man said a sword would pierce my soul. Now I know what he meant. On Friday that sword was thrust through me and twisted till I could bear it no longer. My son is dead. Don’t tell me otherwise.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

It's certainly not an easter egg

While blog-browsing, I noticed a comment on someone's blog about the chocolate Jesus sculpture that has caused a storm of protest in New York.

Following complaints from Catholics, primarily the Catholic League, the exhibit has been withdrawn.

It is sad that most times when Christians are in the news it is because they are protesting about something - whether it's a chocolate Jesus or Jerry Springer, the Opera - or arguing amongst themselves about gay clergymen or whose way is best.

If they really want to protest about something why not speak out against the traffiking of children for the sex trade? Or the children made to work on cocoa farms - for the chocolate we enjoy? I can't help thinking that God cares more about that than he does about a chocolate effigy.

I don't even know exactly what the protestors are upset about. Is it that the sculpture is made of chocolate (a material like any other) or that Jesus is portrayed nude and anatomically correctly? Would they have preferred him to be sexless?

Unlike Action Man, Jesus was a real man. That was the point of it: that God became man and as a man went to the cross. He died for me, and, heaven help us, for the Christian protestors - and the artist.

I wonder if there've been any protests about these chocolate treats from www.chocolatefantasies.com

The chocolate crucifix will cost you $4.50, while a chocolate Mary or Jesus (haloed head only) is $5.50.

Postscript: as a bit of a pedant, I've found myself most disturbed by the fact that both CNN and FoxNews, in their online reporting of the story, have called it confectionary.


I hope there's no glass in this

Lest you think I am a complete disaster as a cook, let me show you this.

Yesterday was the birthday of one of what I think of as 'my boys' - lads from church who help me out and who live a long way from home. Because his mummy was far away I made him a birthday cake. Just look at the artistry in this:

Do you think I should consider a new career in cake decorating?

* * * * * * * * * * *

Daughter's dog, Holly, is at the vet's today for 'the op'. Daughter is in a state; I am fretting about both.
If you have a thought or a prayer to spare today, please direct it Devonwards.

Would you like ground glass with that?

Daughter is a marvellous cook. Whether she's following a recipe or creating her own, her food tastes wonderful.

She takes after her father in her creativity. I have to have a recipe that I follow to the ounce; he makes it up if he doesn't have what's needed.

So it probably wasn't one of my better decisions, on getting in from circuits tonight, to decide to make some soup. When Husband is away I tend to not cook properly so I had a vegetable rack of dodgy-looking roots facing me accusingly each time I went in the pantry. 'Soup's easy,' I told myself. Harvey sniffed doubtfully. I ignored him.

I gathered about me 2 onions (pay attention - you'll want to make this), 2 potatoes, half a swede, half a cauli, and a few florets of broccoli. After sweating them for a five minutes, I added two pints of vegetable stock and pressure cooked the lot.

The smell, when I spooned it into the liquidiser, was less than appetising but I told myself it was the taste that mattered. Harvey sniffed doubtfully.

It was when I tipped the puree back into the pressure cooker to reheat that I noticed the noise again.

First time I'd thought it was just me mishearing; this second time there was definitely something clanking in the soup. I fished around in it; there seemed to be more than one thing that shouldn't oughta have been in there.

At last my fishing proved fruitful: I had a piece of glass sitting on my spoon. I fished some more. The other clanketing bits were elusive.

I gave up and had a bowl of Frosties for dinner.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Googled again...

or 'Pride comes before a fall'.

Today I see my blog was found by someone googling for 'barking mad'.

From the sublime to the corblimey.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

How great I am

I've noticed that a number of blogs now blow their own trumpets and include testimonials. Not wanting to be left behind I've decided to do the same.

If you look over to the left - provided I've been able to work out how to do it - you'll see mine.

Kris's handwriting challenge

I did post a sample of my hand-writing here - until Dr Stu suggested that, even though it didn't include my signature, it could be used by baddies. So I deleted it.

Although it seems that there is very little that requires a signature these days. I am reminded of an old Peanuts cartoon featuring a character called 536982. With the various PINs I have, I am little more than a number.

No, that's not true: I'm "more than a number in a little black book." I am unique; I have a finger-print that tells me so.

(Details of finger-print currently held by HM Prison.)

Monday, April 02, 2007

More profound thoughts

Okay, other people might get more hits than I but how many can say their blog was found by someone googling for 'profound thoughts'?

I knew recognition would come my way eventually!

The moral is obvious: if you're seeking profundity ignore the A-listers; instead read the thoughts of me and my dog.

We clucked

So the Hen Day.

The chicks and the two mother hens met under the clock at Waterloo at 12 noon.

From there it was boat rides, photo and scavenger hunts, picnics and plasticine men making, before afternoon tea at the National Gallery. And all very civilised it was too.

The bride, who was in our group, had an extra scavenger list of her own that included getting a piggyback ride from a stranger. It was mid-afternoon, near the Tower of London, and there weren't many groups of drunken lads around (and they seemed the most likely candidates - also for the men's pants scavenger task). But having been tooted by a boy on a scooter who then parked near us, it seemed providence had provided.

Now how many people do you think are in London of a sunny Spring afternoon? Yes, lots and lots. And how many of those do you think would have had a back operation that left a nasty scar and the inability to give someone a piggyback?

At least one. He even showed us the scar.

That sort of put us off asking anyone else.

The chicks went on to an evening gig at Camden while the mother hens clucked off.

Elder Son's stag day is the weekend after next - the one before the wedding. We are hoping he won't end up, naked and money-less, tied to a lamp-post in Edinburgh

Are stag and hen dos - the final farewell to singleness - a British institution or do they happen worldwide?

(Mae hen wlad fy'n) Hen Do

The girls (minus Kiera and Kate, and the mums)

The boys

The bride

The brigadier

Okay, it's Nelson really but that was poetic licence.

Saturday Photohunt - Water

From Richmond Hill - roughly outside Mick Jagger's house (although it's Jerry Hall's now) - looking out across the river Thames and London.