Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What did Marilyn Monroe do with her bra straps?

I am feeling incredibly virtuous.

Okay, first of all I'll admit I didn't go to slimming class because I'd put on 2lbs (I weighed at home) but I did 2,000 calories worth of Wii dancing followed by 30 lengths of the pool. (Yes, it's a titchy pool so I probably only swam 200 metres all together.) I feel slimmer already.

My halo is shining so brightly the Aviation Authority has asked me to stay indoors as the glare is blinding pilots.

Now I've showered and dressed and ready for the world - except I don't know what Marilyn Monroe did with her bra straps.

I'm wearing a new t-shirt and it's called a Monroe style because it has off-the-shoulder ... um ... shoulders. But if I wear it off the shoulders then you can see my bra straps - and Trinny and Suzannah (may their names be praised) say that is a definite no-no. So did Marilyn wear a strapless bra? She was a shapely lady and couldn't have gone without. But I don't understand how strapless bras work. They must have the metal underpinnings of a suspension bridge and can't be very comfortable.

So the question is: do I want comfort or glamour? No choice; I just won't let Trinny and Suzannah see me.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday's Odd Shots

Spotted this in the Fisherman's Cot pub in Devon last week.

For Katney's Odd Shots.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Younger Son and Girlfriend took their first dip in the pool today. The temperature of the water was 21 degrees. When Girlfriend spoke to her dad in Italy earlier today the temperature of the water in their pool was 29. You've got to be hardy to swim in this country.

The Egyptian and the one-armed man

So, prison went well this morning. Everything fitted together so well you'd have thought we'd spent days planning it instead of 10 minutes. Jez, our musician, played one of his own songs, which went down extremely well. So well that they asked for a replay at the end of the morning and several of the men asked for copies of the words. It was a very thoughtful and honest song.

The only what-could-have-been-a-hiccup came to my attention at the end so I didn't stress about it at the time. We began by looking at the story of the Israelites leaving Egypt, being chased by the Egyptians, the parting of the Red Sea, and the drowning of the Egyptians. Carolyn who read out the story told me afterwards that when she'd sat down the man sitting next to her and leaned in and whispered, 'I'm Egyptian.'

Could have been tricky but wasn't quite as bad as the time when we told the story of the Ragman. It involved a one-armed man and who should be sitting in the congregation but a one-armed man. The story wasn't derogatory about disability or anything like that but Debbie who was telling it did feel a little uncomfortable.

In those days we had to take the service twice for different groups of men so, after the first service, Debbie asked the chaplain if there'd be a one-armed man in the next service too.
'No, no,' he'd assured her. 'How likely would that be to happen?'
And he was right; there wasn't a one-armed man in the next congregation. There was however a completely armless man.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


What a weekend. And not just the miserable weather. Poor Husband has driven 1,100 miles in the last 4 days and he was exhausted when he got home this afternoon.

Meanwhile I've been having fun making a birthday cake - a special request! - for an 18-year-old. I was told she liked purple, the theatre and stars so this is what I came up.
It doesn't look as good as it did in my head. I think maybe I should have left the background, behind the 'curtains', white but it was a good opportunity to sprinkle glitter everywhere. Younger Son came in at one point and said, 'I think you should stop now, mother!'I wasn't sure if they'd get enough pieces from one cake so made a half-size one as well. I think I prefer that one too.
Having safely delivered the cake I took George out to the river. Husband wanted to come but I said, 'You can't: I have to practise my words.' I'm doing a talky bit in the prison presentation tomorrow and it's based on the old Negro spiritual - but made familiar to me by Bruce Springsteen - Oh, Mary, don't you weep no more.

Having practised - and perfected - it while walking I've written it out so all I have to do now is not wake up in the middle of the night and keep rehearsing the words in my head. Somebody tell my brain to sleep.

After prison I'm off shopping but that's another story ...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Happy anniversary ... to me

Today Husband and I celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary and what do you know? I'm on my own.

'Twas ever thus.

Regular long-time readers of this blog may recall our 30th anniversary when Husband was off enjoying himself on a works' jolly. That followed our 25th anniversary, similarly spent by Husband enjoying himself without me. Ah well, we were nearly together all day for this one. And at least he's not off enjoying himself.

Husband collected Father-in-law from Derby yesterday to bring him to stay for a few days as both Sisters-in-law who live close to Pop had gone on holiday. So far so good ... until this afternoon when Pop got very weepy and said he wanted to go home. We thought after a nap he may feel better but he didn't. So Husband is currently driving him back to Derby.

It was probably a bit soon after Mother-in-law's death to bring him away from familiar surroundings and we wouldn't have suggested it if the circumstances had been different.

It's so hard. What can you say to an 85-year-old who feels life isn't worth living?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Getting back into the saddle

After my unfortunate experience with the duck yesterday I was a little wary when a horse in the field came trotting over to the fence when he saw us.
I decided the best way to 'get back into the saddle' would be to stroke him so I gently reached out and patted his nose. He seemed to like it. In fact he liked it so much that when I left he followed me to the end of the field.

Then I felt guilty about leaving so I went back and gave him the only thing I had, which was a doggy treat.

I continued on my way feeling rather pleased with myself when a horrid thought struck me: are horses vegetarian? Had I just fed him a gravy-flavoured bone? Would he become carnivorous and eat me next time he saw me?

It's amazing the way I can turn a walk in the woods into a scene from a horror film.

P.S. It was a milky bone.

The last to know

I didn't get to Zac's on Tuesday until about 25 to 8 and when I arrived Baz said, 'Martin's here.'
I looked at him blankly. Martin is usually there so I wasn't sure of the relevance of his comment. Baz clarified for me, 'You're leading tonight with him.'
'No, I'm not.'
'Yes, you are. Sean's not here'

Then Martin appeared. 'Ah, good, come here,' he said.

I followed him into the next room where he gave me a sheet of notes. 'Sean gave me these,' he said. 'We're to carry on the discussion about baptism.'

So we were well prepared ...

'I told Sean I 'ate doing this,' Martin said, 'but Sean said "it's good for you".'

I don't mind leading the study at all; in fact I love it. I am thrilled that Sean trusts me and gives me the responsibility. They don't do that at Linden; they all know I'm stupid there. Actually Sean has known for me long enough now; he must have an idea what I'm like ...

But it was fine because everyone is very supportive. Lots of people chipped in the discussion and we didn't go off the point too much. One of the most-asked questions seemed to be, 'Can you get baptised more than once?'

I think the answer is: it depends.

If, like a couple of people said, they felt they were pressurised into being baptised and they didn't really understand the first time then I'm sure it's fine to be dunked again. On the other hand if someone wants to be baptised again because he sees it as a washing away of sins then I'd suggest he needs to refocus. It's Christ who takes away our sins not baptism.

But it looks like, in a few weeks' time, we'll be tripping down to the sea front for some baptisms and a barbecue. Sean will be meeting with people who want to be baptised (for first or second time) and making sure they understand its meaning, and then what a great party we'll have.

And I'm going to have to have a serious word with Sean: five minutes' notice is pushing it!

Remember that lump I had in my neck?

It's benign.

I had an ultrasound scan today and I thought I'd have to wait to see my own GP who sent me for it to find out the results but the doctor told me when he was doing it. (I wonder if he'd have told me if it had been bad?) It turns out it's a benign thyroid tumour and I have a matching one on the other side too - although that's smaller.

I have to go and see my own GP but the doctor seemed to think that if it wasn't giving me any problems nothing would have to be done about it - which suits me fine. I'm much too busy to have an operation or anything!

Thanks, God!

Ernie Wise legs

Just added 'walk George' to my to-do list so I could cross something off.

As we were setting off I said to George, 'I bet you're proud to be seen with me with my walking boots, little white hairy legs and Eric Morecambe shorts. Not to mention unwashed.'
'I wasn't going to mention unwashed,' George said as he shrugged in a sort of 'so what's new?' manner.

Huh, he should talk anyway, big fairy, hiding on the bank when two Jack Russells went by. 'That's George, isn't it?' the owner said. 'We know him: he's scared of our dogs.'

And today had to be the day when I meet the sexy French girl walking her dog ... how on earth can anyone look good in an anorak?

A day of firsts

Yesterday was a day of firsts. Not only did I get bitten by a toothless duck but Husband got his first speeding ticket in 43 years of driving.

He was caught last Wednesday but the letter arrived yesterday. He has an option: he can pay the £80 and get points on his licence or take a Speed Awareness course. He hasn't had time yet to think about what to do as he's off again today to Derby to pick up Father-in-law to bring him to stay for a few days.

When I saw the letter I was just so relieved it wasn't me who got it. Husband laughed when he opened the letter - after swearing mildly - but I imagine I would have got the full 'driving carefully and sensibly' lecture.

* * * * * * * * *
The phone rang this morning before Husband set off. He answered him and I heard him say, 'Today,' and my heart flipped out of my ear. 'Is Daughter-in-law in labour?' I yelled.

She wasn't. It was Pop checking if it was today Husband was collecting him. But Due Date is next Wednesday so every time the phone rings now I'm on it like an expectant father.

Vicious ducks

A flying visit to Devon yesterday. Daughter and Son-law are off work for a couple of weeks so we went down to spend the day with them. Younger Son and Girlfriend are in Plymouth for the week so they came up and joined us and we all went out to the pub for lunch.

After some very nice food I took GrandDaughter outside to feed the ducks with my leftover bread.
Which was all well and good but a few minutes later, when I was walking past, one of them bit me on my ankle! How ungrateful is that?

When we were going to bed tonight I said to Husband, 'Have you noticed how these things only seem to happen to me?'
He nodded and sighed deeply.

Do you like GrandDaughter's new Charlie and Lola welly boots?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Such clever children

My children are not only beautiful and wonderful, they are clever too. Younger Son found out today that he got a 2:1 adding to the 1st and 2:1 his sister and brother have.

Well done, Younger Son: you've worked hard and deserve this. Who'd have thought it when you dropped out of uni the first time round?!!

(When my camera battery has recharged I'll post a bigger photo!)

Monday, June 20, 2011

The unique Liz School of Charm

Back to circuit training tonight after missing the last two weeks. Ffion took great pleasure in telling me that Pat, my usual partner for boxing, has broken her wrist so 'you'll have to box me.'

Pat is a lady of my age and very genteel. (And she always smells lovely.) Ffion is a teenager who punches like Henry Cooper. I feel all weak and feeble already.

Pat wears bracelets and necklaces even to training; if I wore my bracelet I would either:
break it;
scratch somebody;
or get tangled up in the equipment.

I sometimes wonder how I came to be so inept. But I've come to the conclusion that my stupidity is part of what I like to think of as 'my charm'.

As long as I can keep believing that, I won't be overcome by inadequacy. Maybe.

Lanzarote or Tenby?

We nearly booked a holiday yesterday. It's the story of our lives.

After reading about Lanzarote's undiscovered gems - well, not totally undiscovered obviously - we thought we'd have a look at hotels there. After a great deal of research Husband got it down to three and I was called in to pick one. You know what it's like: each one has its good and bad points. My selection's top top point was the fact that it was practically next to this huge and untouristy beach. (I can't imagine that it will stay unspoiled for long.)

We settled for a week in September. And then the problems started.

First of all our flight dates clashed with two of wales' fixtures in the World Cup. 'Can't we go later?'
'There's rugby on for several weeks after that.'
'Yes, but Wales won't be in it for long ...'

At last I submitted and Husband went to book. Next problem: the site went down. Okay, try again later. He tried again later and found that paying by credit card involved a £31 surcharge. He gave up.

Then he woke up in the night with a sunburned head and thought, 'I don't like the sun so much any more; I don't want to go anywhere too hot. And it's all inclusive so we'll eat too much.'

So he's now looking at holidays for January. And I'm saying, 'I'd quite like a nice quiet week walking, eating and reading in west Wales, round about my birthday time in November.'

Watch this space for the next gripping instalment of 'Holidays 2011'!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

In the wars

My shoe slipped on a wet leaf as I was coming down the garden steps and I crashed down. The fall itself wasn't too bad but I happened to be carrying a plate, which shattered and cut three of my fingers.

I was very brave though and didn't faint. Actually I don't usually faint at the sight of my own cuts bleeding. It's only blood tests or blood donoring or thinking about cutting flesh or listening to someone talking about it that make me faint.

One of my most embarrassing times was when I visited a friend in a high dependency ward in hospital. There wasn't even any blood on show; I blame it on the heat in the ward. And you wouldn't believe the fuss the nurse made: you'd have thought they weren't used to people fainting.

The other really embarrassing and quite shameful incident was when Younger Son was a toddler. He must have been about two and was carrying a full milk bottle in from the front door when he tripped. When I think of it now I wonder what on earth possessed me letting him carry it at all.

As soon as I saw the blood spouting from his hand I picked him up and rushed him in to the neighbour who was a doctor; she took one look and told me to go to hospital A&E. I got him in the car and drove him there, gave all the details in and was waiting to be seen when I could feel myself going woozy. I don't remember if it was to a nurse or a complete stranger that I said, 'Please hold my baby; I think I'm about to faint.'

Another friend who also happened to be a doctor and who was in the hospital that afternoon walked past to see me stretched out on a bed. 'What's happened to you?' she said, and I had to admit the terrible truth. 'Nothing.'

The only thing to my credit in this shameful story is that I did get him to a safe place before my affliction got the better of me.

The first friend later admitted that she'd worried that YS had done some serious damage cutting ... something - ligament, tendon? - but he was fine except for some impressive stitches and a scar. In fact, I was probably more damaged by the incident!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Husband is such a romantic

'I've got something for you' he said, rummaging in his jumper pocket.
'If you leave it in a drawer it will go red,' he said.

A mish mash of a post this because I haven't written on here for a couple of days but really I don't have anything to say. I've come home from work feeling very dopey - even more so than usual.

So this is a Persian Ironwood tree so named because its timber is allegedly as hard as iron. Growing in Clyne Gardens.
And this is an unusual photo of George, sleeping on rather than humping his pillow.
I did warn you this wouldn't be the most gripping of posts.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Post funeral

Three generations of Hinds men - plus George - on Pop's 85th birthday.It was Father-in-law's birthday on Monday, the day before Mother-in-law's funeral. He coped admirably with everything, shedding tears every now and again as to be expected, but overall much better than may have been anticipated.

The funeral went as well as funerals can with some lovely memories from two of the grandchildren. I was complimented on my prayer by the vicar who handled the service well being neither too fulsome nor evangelistic. When I'd spoken to him on the phone prior to the service I hadn't been impressed so I learned once again not to judge people. (Or rather I still haven't learned not to judge people!)

And the party, as everyone kept calling it, afterwards was a jolly affair. I left before 3, because I was driving home, when it was still in full swing and showed no signs of stopping.

Husband comes home today and it will be good to have him here after his long stay away from us. He'll have to continue to spend occasional days and nights with his father until Pop's state and situation are assessed and it's determined if he can manage on his own or if he'll come to harm. But that's a problem for another day.

P.S. If you're interested my prayer is here.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Off on my travels again

This time it's to Derby ready for the funeral on Tuesday.

We're going via the library so I can pick up an audiobook. The theory is that it will keep me awake; the reality may be that I get so engrossed it'll be, 'Edinburgh Castle? When did they move that to Derby?'

I'm taking lemon cake and maple and pecan cookies with me plus sausage rolls Younger Son made so if we do get lost at least we can have a party.

I say 'we' meaning George and me again. Younger Son is coming up on the train on Monday.

Right-ho. Switch off now ...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Melting moment

Have I mentioned how wonderful my children are?

When Younger Son offered to cook for the two of us tonight I accepted with alacrity. And hunger. He said, 'It won't be very healthy but it will taste nice.'

And it did. Using his own invented recipe he made sausage, bean and cheese melts. Very yummy it was too.
And it's not just his cooking skills that drive me to praise him: he's turning out to be just as encouraging and supportive as his big brother and sister.

I do love my children.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

A significant cough

Last night, when he phoned, Husband asked if I'd be willing to read something at Mother-in-law's funeral; I said I would. (I'm the token Christian in the family.)

Not a problem, I've read in front of people loads of times - and I'm a good reader! A few bible verses will be no trouble.

Then I spoke to Sean this morning. He's done plenty of funerals so I asked him for suggestions about what to read expecting him to reel off a few scripture references. But he didn't.

Instead he suggested using a familiar reading, such as part of the 23rd psalm, and making it relevant to the family. And I'm a writer so I should be able to do that. Except ...

My relationship to my mother-in-law hasn't always been the best and if I am to read at her funeral with any integrity then there are things I need to put down. I've thought I've put them down in the past but in their squeaky little voices they've demanded to be picked up again at the least provocation.

I can read some bible verses well, and I can believe what I'm reading and say it with conviction, but if I am truly to reflect the God I say I follow I have to be able to say words honestly and know that the sentiments I hold in my heart are the same as the words I speak.

I do hate it when God gives that significant cough over my shoulder: 'Huh hum, you know what you have to do.'
'Yes! But that doesn't mean I have to want to do it ... help me to want to.'

First or maybe second rejection

And so it begins.

I've had the standard rejection from the agent I approached with Novel 2. I've also had feedback from Dr Stu who offered to read a few chapters for constructive criticism.

Criticism however constructive, which this was, is always painful at first, as are rejections, so it's time to look again, think about the comments, take on board those I agree are relevant, and get back on my bike - or my keyboard at least.

But I need a cup of tea first ...

Ouh Ouh Ouh Ouh Staying Awake

On journeys to Devon, Derby, London or anywhere beyond the end of our road I'm asleep within ten minutes. Which made my drive to Devon yesterday slightly hairy.

Strategies I employed to keep myself awake:
singing loudly;
talking to myself;
opening the window;
flexing all my muscles in turn;
explaining to George the history behind the antipathy between Wales and England.

Younger Son was on the return journey with us and he was rather better than George at keeping me awake although I didn't take him up on his offer of I spy as I felt he would have been at an advantage.

GrandDaughter story of the day:
YS and I walked GrandDaughter to the village shop. She is a very independent young lady and wouldn't hold my hand and when she tripped over, I scooped her up and dusted her down. She then bent over and told the road off for tripping her up. Naughty road!

Makes staying awake worthwhile.

P.S. I think there may be a mouse living in the speaker as it keeps rustling.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Amazing people

I continue to be amazed by the people at Zac's.

I was collecting birthday dates from all the regulars last night and April, whom I mentioned a few weeks ago when her son was missing in action in Afghanistan, told me that her birthday was April 23rd. 'St George's Day,' I commented.
'I don't know what day I was born on,' she said, 'but that was the date they found me on the doorstep of the children's home. And that's why they called me April.'

She's currently waiting for the final blood test to check that she is clear of hepatitis C. She caught it not from sharing needles but from the bowl the heroin was heated in. 'I was just unlucky,' she said.

The thing about April is that she always has a smile for everyone. If the things that have happened to her had happened to me I'd be a miserable so'n'so, blaming everyone and God, feeling hard-done-by and making sure everyone knew that. But not April. She's just a little dwt of a women but she shines like a 1000 watt bulb.

Sean started the study last night by asking if what had happened to Ruth, Naomi and Boaz was pure luck or whether it had been the result of the people they were and the choices they made. He suggested that Naomi, in spite of the tragedies that happened to her, loved God and he quoted the words of Jesus who, when asked what were the most important commandments, said, 'Love God and love your neighbour as yourself.'

Right at the very end of the study a man came in. I'd not seen him before but I believe he goes along to the Thursday night coffee bar. He listened a little to what was being said and then chimed up, 'See, I think if you love God and treat others well, you'll be all right,' unknowingly echoing the words of Christ from the start.

I say unknowingly but he told me later he'd attended a Catholic school. He also said he was a recovering alcoholic - although I suspect recovering alcoholics aren't supposed to drink and he was off to buy four cans to have at bedtime. (Although he might have meant cans of coke ...)

But if I'd judged on first impression, which I am wont to do, I'd have watched him stumbling in and struggling to focus properly, and I'd have shrugged and written him off as just another drunk. Instead of an intelligent man with a story to tell of his belief in God. I don't know his other story, the one about how he came to be an alcoholic, but there'll be reasons; there always are.

Oh, and I've finally posted the monologues from the story of Ruth over on my other blog.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

An early birthday

It's not actually Nigel's birthday until next week but as I'll be at the funeral next Tuesday I didn't want to miss his 'special' day. It was good as it caught him unaware!

The bull who jumped over the gate

Is tramp pc? I was going to say this is the Tip Tramp who lives somewhere in the woods. I think tramp is quite a dignified word: he doesn't beg or bother anyone but just lives life his way. And who's to know why he chooses to avoid human interaction or contact. He does pong a bit though.

But Younger Son and his friend have decided that, judging from the path he takes, really he's an eccentric millionaire who lives in one of the mansions on the side of the valley edging the woods.

* * * * * * * * *

The bulls who are usually in one field were moved to another a while ago and, so the farmer told Husband, for some reason decided they didn't like this particular field and tried to escape by jumping over the gate. The big bull managed it no trouble but the smaller got stuck on the gate. 'Now,' the farmer said, 'I've got to get them back to the farm for TB testing and both of them are too scared to come anywhere near the gate.' Apparently he'd tried all sorts to persuade them.

He must have eventually found something tempting enough as the field was empty when George and I passed it today. But you can see the damage a leaping bull can do to a metal gate.
The fern forest floor - where not so long ago there was nothing but scorched earth. Ferns are amazing plants, a very old species and very resilient obviously.
I carefully saved my last Werther's Original toffee for the final part of my walk but when I unwrapped it, instead of popping into my mouth it popped onto the muddy floor. The moral of this story is: don't put off your pleasures as either it or you may be gone if you leave it till later.

And don't try jumping over gates unless you're sure you can do it.

Fan or follower?

This should make Christians cross - for the right reasons.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Was it only 36 hours?

It's been a long 36 hours.

Has it only been 36? I was wondering that as I made my way, yawning, from the train station to the bus station this evening. It all started at about half past eight on Sunday morning ...

Sister-in-law phoned to say that Mother-in-law had died. We got ready and drove up to Derby where Father-in-law (Pop) had, against doctors' advice, discharged himself from hospital. Husband and Sisters-in-law consoled Pop and each other with hugs, words and tissues while I did what I do best in times of crisis: made lots of cups of tea and fed people.

It's very difficult cooking in someone else's kitchen. The peeler doesn't peel, the knife doesn't cut and surely there must be a measuring jug somewhere? There was but I never did find the oven gloves. And I must remember to tell Pop that the non-stick frying pan he used to have may not be non-stick since I set it on fire.

Husband is staying with Pop until the funeral (next Tuesday) but I came home on the train this afternoon. Younger Son is going to Exeter university tomorrow to talk to someone about possible research options so I've got to be here to look after George. YS will stay with Daughter tomorrow night and on Wednesday George and I will drive down to Devon and join them. And some time after that I'll go back up to Derby.

But it was quite a pleasant train journey this afternoon. At one moment I thought it was going to be a disaster as I discovered I'd left my glasses in Father-in-law's house but, fortunately, I had an old pair in my bag. (I also left my coat there but it didn't rain either.) It was a cross-country train meandering through little stations, green fields, alongside the Trent canal and next to the mighty Severn river. All very pretty and I even spotted a heron.

The next part of the journey from Newport to Swansea was much less pleasant in an overcrowded train and with a telephone idiot opposite me for part of the route. And I was the only person, amongst lots of young men, who offered a pregnant lady my seat! Though, to be fair she wasn't very heavily pregnant and, because of the overcrowding, they might not have noticed her. But they must have noticed me standing to offer her my seat - which she turned down.

The other thing I left in Derby was a piece of sirloin steak that was too much for Pop for dinner last night and which I'd packed up ready to bring home for George. Don't tell him, will you?

Saturday, June 04, 2011

What a show-off!

Thanks all for the lovely comments on my bathing belle pose.

I asked Husband if it was a bit showy-offy; he said, 'Yes ... but you should show off; you've worked hard.'

The thing is that I know who I am doesn't depend on what I weigh or how I look but the fact is that when I am carrying extra weight I feel uncomfortable in my clothes and unhappy with myself and lack of self-control.

Losing weight makes me feel happier and given me more confidence in everything I do - and I need confidence. So that's my excuse for showing off!

And, bear in mind, that it is from a distance and I am holding everything in ...

Friday, June 03, 2011

Thank you, Cherie Hunter!

Hey, not bad for a 58-year-old granny!A bit white but the Rosemary Conley diet and the crazy exercise routines Cherie comes up with have done the trick. Shame I ate so much at our barbecue dinner tonight ...

I've won!!

A huge jar of sweeties!

I came home from Devon on Thursday to be greeted by Younger Son saying, 'Did you enter a competition in the co-op to guess the number of sweets in the jar?'
'Um, dunno. Might have done. Yes, I think I did.'
'You've won.'

And the prize? The self-same jar of tooth-rotters.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

What I should have said 72 hours ago

We've had a problem with the rear-view mirror in Alfie Porsche. It fell off and it was a major job to get it stuck back on again.

So on Monday we're in Alfie and Husband says, 'Stop moving the mirror!'
'I can't see if I don't move it.'
'Use your wing mirrors.'
'I don't like the wing mirrors.'

What I should have said is: 'Actually you could just as easily be blamed for moving it back again! We could adjust the rear-view mirror to suit me and you could use the wing mirrors instead!'

Just wait until he gets back from Derby this evening ... I'll be ready with my argument.

P.S. A lot of blog posts in one day normally means I've been generally productive and efficient. But not today.

Good intentions 2 failures 2

I had a head full of plans for today - and then summer turned up. I thought I might miss it if I didn't take advantage so I stretched out in the garden.

For the past umpteen years I've been in the process of ghost-writing an autobiography of an Irish man from a criminal family who went on to become a pastor, so, now the novel is finished and resting for a while, I decided I'd get back to Christy. I took my huge folder of notes out into the garden with me so I wouldn't feel entirely guilty. And I did go through them - but I can't make head nor tail of them.

But I tried.

Last time we were in Sainsburys I bought a Weightwatchers pizza to keep in the freezer so that the next time we had pizza I could have that low-calorie one. I got as far as weighing out the flour for two pizzas (for Husband and Younger Son) when I remembered how nice my home-made pizzas are and my resolve melted.

The dough has nicely risen now and I've bashed it and put it on trays for a second rising. With mine I tried to do it the way you see on television: bashing it against the work surface and stretching it this way and that. But I just end up with a hole in the middle and a twisted edge.

So I suppose that would make it good intentions 3 failures 3.

Have you been?

I went to the doctor and said, 'Doctor, Doctor, I've got a lump in my neck.'
He said, 'Are you constipated?'

Obviously from the Welsh Mams' School of Medicine: 'Have you been today?'

It reminded me of another time I went to the doctor. I said, 'Doctor, Doctor, I keep getting headaches.'
He said, 'Jump up on the couch; I need to do an internal examination.'

Nan of the messiah

As I said in the previous post, Ruth went on to be an important player in the story of Christ. I mentioned in Zac's that I had resigned myself to the fact that I would never be the mother of the messiah to which Martin chimed in, 'You could be the Nan though,' which set him giggling again.

And that set me thinking. I assume Martin was agreeing that it was impossible for me to be mother of the messiah because I'm old and not a virgin, but who's to say the Messiah might not come again through the miracle of a post-menopausal old woman? God's thinking may be along the lines of, the young virgin's been done, let's try something different this time.

Except I think next time he comes will be with chariots and angels and stuff. But don't quote on me that; I'm not too hot on end of the world theology. Or any theology come to that.

I know about Jesus and that what matters.

Forgot the photies

It's Lisa's 21st birthday on Saturday so we had a celebratory cake in Zac's. She's an artist - one of those whose work was on display in the exhibition (picture of her bowls in earlier post) - so I made a tribute bowl. This is the cake before it left the house.
And being admired by Mad Dog when the bowl had gone all soggy and was collapsing.
Younger Son has had a new tattoo to celebrate the end of his degree course. It says something like, 'What you do today resonates through eternity,' which is vaguely the message of the book of Ruth: we might all be little and seem insignificant but what we do, how we treat others, is part of our story which in turn is part of the bigger picture.
The simple love story of Ruth and Boaz may seem out of place in the bible in amongst prophets, wars, kings and major events, but they became the great-grandparents of David from whose line Christ came. Little things resonating through eternity.

Gullible? Me? Surely not

If gullible hadn't been removed from the dictionary I would swear it was my middle name.

On Tuesday in Zac's I said to Martin, 'Who shall I ask to open with a prayer for us?'
He looked around and said, 'Ric.'

So we started, I welcomed everyone and then said, 'Would you pray for us, please, Ric?'

The look on his face and the way his jaw dropped suggested that he wasn't used to praying aloud in a group. A quick glance at Martin who was doubled up giggling confirmed this suspicion.

But Ric is a professional: he pulled himself together and prayed wonderfully.

And then things started going wrong ...

At the end Jane said she thoroughly enjoyed the evening. 'It's the most fun I've ever had at Zac's,' she said. Which was possibly because I asked Mad Dog for his opinion - Mad Dog being a fluffy dalmatian toy - which, in hindsight might not have been a wise move. Although on that occasion Mad Dog was quite sensible.

It wasn't until a bit later that Gerry (Mad Dog's owner) started grumbling about all the Poles in Llanelli. As Husband asked, 'Why? Does he keep walking into them?'

As Jane also said, 'It got a bit precarious on times but you got it back together.' And we can't have done that badly as I was asked for my theological opinion later. 'Certainly,' said I feeling, hey, I've cracked it, I'm a professional. 'What would you like to know?'
'Can a Christian be possessed by the devil?'
'Um ... er ... can I get back to you on that?'

Which reminds me: I must ask a man who knows.


Following our day trip to Devon yesterday Husband has gone to Derby today.

Mother-in-law has been transferred to a palliative care ward in hospital from which she won't be coming home. Father-in-law is also in hospital - a different one - following two heart attacks.

When Father-in-law is allowed home Husband will go and stay with him for a few days so we're hoping he isn't let out until after the weekend as we're supposed to be going to London to stay with Elder Son and very-pregnant Daughter-in-law for the weekend.

A bit like, if it's Tuesday this must be Rome.

A La ronde

Yesterday we visited A La Ronde, a sixteen-sided house about 2 miles north of Exmouth in Devon.
The original house was built in the 18th century for two sisters after their grand tour of Europe. There is a central lobby on the ground floor, from which seven rooms lead off. It's very tardis-like in that it seems much larger inside than from outside. Because there was no electric lighting in those days the sisters would move from room to room following the sun through the day.

The sisters were great collectors and at the top of the house is the famous shell gallery. Its fragility means visitors aren't allowed to go up and see it but you can catch glimpses of it from the lobby. They also decorated one of the rooms with a frieze made of bird feathers.

To make the rooms square-ish there are lots of little cubby-holes like the one in the photo containing book shelves.

Any ideas what the brown holey object in the bottom photo could be? I suggested a hat pin holder but I was wrong.

It used to be filled with a sweet-smelling sticky substance then put in the armpit to attract fleas.

Yesterday in Devon

GrandDaughter mixes a magic potion in Granddad's tea-cup. Drop of tea and bit of crisp, soggy bread and crumb of cake, mix it well and mix it long and you'll find a froggy before too long.
The sweetest flower of all.'Oh look, GrandDaughter, a big fat caterpillar.' I'd like to say that the photo is out of focus deliberately so you can see what I saw without my glasses but it was a fortunate accident. Turns out that what Granny was so carefully pointing out to GrandDaughter was two butterflies enjoying a bit of nookie in the warm afternoon sunshine.
I didn't even know butterflies had sex!