Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I'm used to there being no such thing as a usual night at Zac's but to walk through the door and be greeted by 'Fornication!' still managed to surprise me.

Then it was 'Jill, come here.'
I looked around; it was me she was talking to. I obediently did as told.
'What's fornication? Is it the same as adultery?'
'Um, not really.'
'What is it then?'
'Well, having sex.'
'So that American preacher on Friday night was wrong then.'
'I think so.'
'Is it like when you play with yourself?'
'Um, no, that's um ... (big gulp) (chicken out) something else.'

After that beginning demon possession was no big thing.

P.S. I thought I'd better check that I was right and the American evangelist wrong in his use of the word. According to Chambers fornication is sex between two unmarried people but can sometimes be expanded in its use to involve one married person. So we were both sort of right but I was righter.

I've never seen Titanic

On Sunday posts began appearing on Facebook saying 'RIP Gary Speed'. Who's Gary Speed I hear you ask; I asked the same thing. It turns out he was the Wales football manager and ex-Wales player. Only 42 he was found hanged at home with no suggestion of foul play. The inquest begins today but suicide as a result of depression is being suggested.

He was a happily married family man doing well in his job, liked and admired by many many people. He appeared on a football show on the Saturday afternoon before he died and seemed as normal. He must have masked his depression well but how deep must it have been for him to take his own life?

I obviously had no idea who he was until yesterday and can't pretend to mourn him in anything other than a 'that is sad for his family and a waste of life' way, and my level of depression bears no comparison with his but maybe I should talk about the experience. I was thinking this yesterday and then last night I went to an event and one of the speakers there mentioned his depression and the reaction it had got. And I decided I would write this post.

I didn't think of it as depression initially; I was just anxious. It was just me being stupid and I needed to pull myself together.

It began when I was a teenager, the first worries assailed me. What would start as a little niggle grew into an obsessive anxiety. And the anxiety itself became greater and greater until it overwhelmed me.

What was worse was that, by this time, I was happily married with young children. My husband had a good job and we had a comfortable home. In short I had it all. What was there to be anxious about? I remember Husband saying that if I didn't have something to worry about I'd invent something.

And that was true. The slightest thing would set me off. I'd get the cold shiver running through me, my stomach would drop and 'what if' would pop into my mind; from there it was downhill. I could tell myself as much as I liked that it was nothing, I was being silly and try and think about something else but my brain was on one track by then and there were no turnings off.

By this time also I was a Christian. That should have helped right? Doesn't the bible tell us not to worry as God has everything in his control? 'Well, yes, but what if ...?' Guilt number 1 (or maybe 2 if you include the fact that I had no reason or right to be miserable).

But I asked for prayer and dear and very lovely people prayed for me. And I felt nothing when they prayed and no different afterwards. Guilt number 3. I must get better - or say I am - otherwise I'm letting everyone and God down. And it must be my fault anyway.

Most of my concerns were about health, either mine or the children's. I'd go to the doctor who'd reassure me and for a time I'd be okay. But the time between panics got shorter and shorter. I tried the doctor again, this time explaining that I can't stop worrying. At first they say, 'Get more exercise. Take up a hobby. You've nothing to worry about.' Eventually one sends me to a counsellor who listens and gives me a relaxation tape.

I do my relaxation exercises religiously every night but never get to the end of the tape as I've fallen asleep. Oh yes, I had no problem relaxing while lying on my bed; it was putting it into practice when walking around Sainsburys when I failed. Going to Sainsburys became something I dreaded; I had to pluck up my courage to go and try to get around before the panic overtook me.

The counsellor gave up on me saying there was nothing more she could suggest.

The film Titanic was in the cinemas around now. Everyone was going and everyone said, 'You've got to see it in the cinema to get the full special effects.' I smiled and made the excuse that Husband wouldn't enjoy it but really I was too scared to go and sit in a cinema in case I had a panic attack.

My life by now was entirely controlled by fear. There was hardly a moment when I wasn't anxious about something irrational. I was gloomy and distant with my family. I asked Husband yesterday what I had been like. He said, 'You were always stressed and miserable.'

I remember standing behind the bathroom door hardly breathing, hiding from something but from what I don't know. I desperately wanted to curl up in bed and stay there.

I couldn't enjoy anything; I couldn't anticipate events with pleasure because 'I might not be here by then.' Honestly I was a right misery!

At last a doctor realised that I was serious when I said my life was controlled by anxiety and fear and prescribed seroxat for me. She said that depression could be caused by a lack of a chemical serotonin in the brain, and suggested I try these tablets to correct that imbalance. (I also had this sort of belief that anxiety wasn't a proper 'illness' whereas depression was, and surely I was just being silly and anxious?)

And, dear readers, if you've managed to stay with me this long, I have to tell you that a tiny little pill changed my life.

Since taking my happy pill I am a different person. No, not different, well, yes, different but actually the person that was inside the shell of fear, the one I was meant to be rather than someone less than that.

Over the years the doctor has suggested on occasion that I try to come off them and I have given it a go but the symptoms have returned and there is no way I am going back there. It seems to me if there was an imbalance in my brain then it's likely to continue. I suppose my brain could right itself but I'm happy with my little pill. And I believe that depression, a chemical imbalance, whatever it is, is just as valid an illness as a more obviously physical one. (There has been in the past - maybe not so much now - an embarrassment in churches about sufferers of a mental illness.) Husband, like thousands of others, has to take a daily thyroxin dose; what difference is there between that and my seroxat?

I realise that my case is far less serious than Gary Speed's or that of many others who suffer silently and invisibly, but I'm so glad I sought help and found it at the right time.

And I try to mention my happy pill sometimes - especially in church situations - because I want to see an end to the shame and the stigma. Christians get depressed too!

By the way, I still need God and call out to him and trust and rely on him; my happy pill hasn't made him redundant. He is the rock that underpins my life. He's also my creator and inventor of serotonin ...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Afternoon tea

My friend got married yesterday. Second time for both of them, they wanted a very casual event and decided to have afternoon tea instead of a 'proper' reception and, as they were working to a tight budget, I offered to organise it for them.

I had lots of people making cakes and helping me do sandwiches - which take a surprisingly long time to assemble - and it all turned out fine in the end.
Except my resolution to be good and refrain failed miserably. Well, there were so many things that I just needed to taste to make sure ...

As a result I woke in the middle of the night of the night feeling sick. The thought occurred to me that being sick would get rid of all those bad fatty calories - but then I remembered I hate being sick. Next thing I knew I was waking up three hours later feeling much better. But I'm having a not-eating-much day today to let my tummy relax.

Now these two photos are mainly for Furtheron's benefit. The groom is a musician and has about 20 guitars. After the service he and the bride, who's a saxophonist, and the rest of their band played some jazz and blues, and these are the guitars he used.
He did explain to me what this one was but I've forgotten.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Husband's brilliant ideas

A few weeks ago Husband had a brilliant idea. He said, 'We won't put tacky Christmas lights up outside the front of the house; I'll make a grotto around the pond with lights and reindeer drinking and maybe a polar bear and ...'

He was getting carried away; can you tell?

Today he came back from B&Q and said, 'Do you know how much a polar bear costs?! So I've had a brilliant idea. (Another one?) Long threads of outdoor lights are very cheap so you can make some reindeer out of sticks and I'll decoratively wrap them in lights. How about that? Of course they'll have to 3 dimensional.'

Husband thinks I have as much time on my hands as he does. (And that I am capable of making a reindeer out of sticks that looks less like very bad modern art and more like a reindeer.)

Mutter, mutter

I've hurt my back. I don't know how that happened. I'm sure it can't be anything to do with helping Husband to carry a great big heavy old television downstairs and out to the car.

As we were struggling down the front steps the rubbish men happened to be passing. One said, 'Do you want a hand with that?'
'No,' says Husband, 'we're fine.'

Mutter, mutter. It's only a little ache; I'm sure I'll be better in time for circuit training tonight.

A bit flat today

How pathetic is that chocolate cake? It looks more like a giant cookie.Ah, well, filled with black cherry jam and cream it might just look good enough to fool people.

You know the way Google tries to match adverts with what you've written about? It decided an advert for concrete slabs would be most suitable for this post!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The dangers of dog walking, part 3

It's amazing how much thinking one brain can do while walking.

'Who is God?'
'If God is God then who is Jesus?'
'How can I tell God is really living in me?'

All fantastic questions but can't really be answered in 5 minutes during a bible study (on another topic) especially when the questioner is buzzing and not listening to any answers.

I was so very glad it was Sean in charge of Zac's last night. We had even more than our fair share of 'different' individuals and there was a constant hum about the place. That was during the study; afterwards it was just sheer noise! I was behind the counter as all the regular tea-makers were away and I had one conversation of which I heard nothing. I did that smile and nod bit quickly adapting it into a shake and tut if the talker looked puzzled at my response. I hope I haven't agreed to anything stupid.

Here's my two-pennoth-worth in answer to the questions.
'Who is God?'
Don't know. God is. That's all that can be said. There are plenty of words that could be used to describe God - father, creator, friend, saviour, comforter etc - but they don't tell you who God is. It's one of those questions we won't have answered until we meet him.

'If God is God who is Jesus?'
Far greater minds than mine have tried to explain the Trinity of God the father, God the son, and God the Holy Spirit. Sean used the analogy of water, steam and ice. all the same but all different. Someone once described it to me as like a woman who is daughter, wife and mother: all the same person but different roles. They're both useful ways of simplifying the Trinity but I don't think either really answers it. Another one of those 'wait and see' questions.

'How can I tell God is really living in me?'
Several people answered this last night by saying, 'You'll feel it. You'll be different. You'll just know.' That isn't my experience. For me it was a decision to have faith and believe; I didn't feel anything different.

There are amazing stories in the bible and from people alive today of the signs of meeting God. That must be fantastic - as long as it's accompanied by faith and a choice. Memories dim and if all a person has when he goes through a difficult time is the faded memory of an experience then he'll find it hard.

I don't deny I'd like to feel it a bit more but my faith remains although sometimes it means clinging on by my fingertips.

But for J who seemed so earnest in her desire last night I pray God that you will give her what she needs and the faith to maintain faith. Save her, Lord.

The dangers of dog walking, part 2

Coming back past the lake I spotted a man leaning forward slightly and fiddling with something. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and hoped he was trying to do up his anorak zip but just in case, I began singing loudly, to make him aware of my presence and encourage him to be discreet about whatever it was he was doing.

You see some strange sights in the wood.

Husband was telling me about something that happened when he was walking George and Holly in the woods over the weekend.
'Both dogs stopped suddenly and stared into the bushes. Then Holly came belting back to me, whimpering, and with her tail between her legs. George meanwhile rushed into the bushes, snarling and growling.'
'George did?!'
'That rules out plastic carrier bags and cardboard boxes then.'

Husband never did find out the secret of what was in the bushes.

The dangers of dog walking, part 1

Husband has gone to Derby to visit his dad so I walked George on my own this morning and that means I had plenty of time to compose blog posts, so wait for it.

Where to begin?

In prison yesterday afternoon for carol service preparation. Late again I rushed to get a car park ticket. Now bags have to be in lockers so i try to manage without one but that means stuffing papers, pens, notebook, glasses case, purse, passport and keys all in a manila folder, which just about works except when you're rushing.

The parking ticket was one of those that comes in 2 bits and as I was struggling to get it stuck on the window a bit - the important bit - blew away. Picture me chasing a little piece of paper around the car park scattering glasses, keys, papers on the floor in the process.

Sometimes I think I'm a walking ... disaster is to strong a word ... calamity.

Which reminded me that Nitwit has written about Calamity Jane. Did you know she was a real person? Who had a thing for Wild Bill Hickock?

Which led me to fairtrade. Yes, I know that's a big leap and, no, I have no idea how I got there. I put it down to having a creative brain. What others call 'different'.

My brother-in-law-in-law dismisses fairtrade and organic produce as 'a con' and 'a marketing ploy'.

I buy fairtrade tea, coffee and chocolate because they're easy to get in Sainsburys. I buy some organic produce but I'm not consistent. It usually depends on whether I've been lectured recently by Husband about the need to live thriftily.

But it occurred to me that fairtrade and organic isn't expensive; it's the other produce that is cheap. And the reason it's cheap is because it's covered in chemicals and made by slave labour. Yes, I know that's a gross exaggeration (Yay! I remembered how to spell exaggeration!) but no worse than generalising by saying fairtrade is a marketing ploy. You get what you pay for usually.

Now what was next on my mind?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Escaping? Moi?"

"I mean, really, do I look as if I'm trying to escape?""Um, yes. You're outside the fence,"
"Nonsense, I'm just sniffing the air."
He wouldn't move while I was waiting so I had to go back inside and let him complete his break for freedom and then I was able to lure him back in with a treat. Easily bought, George.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Oh bottom!

I ordered a number of presents from Early Learning Centre last week, some for grandchildren for Christmas and one big one for GrandDaughter's birthday to be given to her on Saturday at the party. On Thursday we arrived home from Devon to find we'd missed a parcel delivery and when Husband phoned they said they couldn't bring it again until Tuesday.

The next day, Friday, another parcel arrived. Written on the side in large letters it said WOODEN GARAGE; I didn't bother opening it as I could see it wasn't GrandDaughter's birthday present. Nothing came on Saturday so I assumed GrandDaughter's main birthday present wouldn't get to us in time and gave her some of her smaller intended Christmas presents in its place.

Younger Son was in a similar position as the present he'd ordered hadn't arrived either.

Today, Monday, more parcels arrived for me. After opening them I was a little confused and thought I'd better check the parcel that arrived last week claiming to be a WOODEN GARAGE.

You know what I'm going to say, don't you?

Inside the box so clearly marked WOODEN GARAGE was GrandDaughter's main birthday present - not a WOODEN GARAGE at all. And now, finally, it occurs to me that I didn't actually order a garage, wooden or otherwise.

I would like to put the blame on Early Learning Centre for misleading information but can't help thinking that, maybe, just maybe, it's partly my fault ...

Was it the Straw Man who sang, 'If I only had a brain'?

A late November daisy

Remembering Mutley's howling monkeys

Out of the blue this morning I thought about Mutley's radioactive howling monkeys ... and I smiled.

I hope I leave a legacy of smiles.

I mean, it would be good to leave a million pound legacy but that's not going to happen so smiles and laughter would be the next best thing.

The lady who's my partner in circuit training (we're the two old dears slowing everyone down) was telling me that she gives each of her grandchildren a new decoration for their Christmas tree each year - have I told you this already? It sounds familiar - and that they can remember each occasion. I thought this was a lovely idea so bought decorations this year for GrandDaughter and GrandSon and gave them to them this last weekend.

I explained to my children the thinking behind it and said, 'So when I'm dead they can remember their old granny each time they look at the decoration.'
Elder Son exclaimed, 'You don't think we'll be putting these up when you're dead, do you?'

I've just thought: I'd assumed he meant because it would be too upsetting but maybe he meant they're so hideous we'll be throwing them away as soon as possible. (But they're not hideous so it can't be that.) (I hope.)

I'm doing my best to make sure my grandchildren will remember me: my dancing along to 'Everybody wants to be a cat' while playing an imaginary trombone/guitar/piano was fairly memorable. And raised comments along the lines of 'Please tell me I'm not really related to you.'

Walking back to podginess

I've put on half a stone since I lost weight so need to get my eating back under control. So today I'm starting my two-week kick-start programme again.

It's been hard with lots of celebrations and eating and chocolate and ... tonight I've resolved to allow myself only 1 chocolate after dinner. Can I do it? It will take tremendous will power. By lunchtime when I was driving home I was already thinking, 'Surely two wouldn't hurt?' I had to slap my own wrist.

'That's the kind of thinking that has made you put on half a pound, my girl!'

I'm still well within the healthy weight for my age, sex, height, hair colour but with Christmas pounding down towards us it could be dodgy. I don't want to slip slid away into podginess.

Poops, I've depressed myself now. And I have a hard circuit to look forward to this evening as well. Big sighs.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

For my little almost-English boy

I wrote a prayer for my darling GrandSon ages ago but it's taken me until now to write it out neatly (-ish) on teddy-shaped card.

It begins like this:

For my little almost-English boy
May you grow strong in body and mind.
May you abound in energy and enthusiasm.
May you sleep at peace with the world and may your dreams be limited only by your imagination.
May you stretch out your hand and reach for the trees and the sky, for rainbows and shooting stars.
May you walk the path God has laid before you, your eyes fixed on him.

(Continued here.)

Fabulous fungi

I spotted all these fungi in the woods of Killerton estate in Devon last week. Unfortunately I know nothing about mushrooms except that some are deadly. I tried googling for images but that wasn't a lot of use. I got as far as ascertaining that the first one might be the common funnel mushroom or the brown beech or ... something else.

Any fungiperts out there who can identify any of these? The last two are probably the same; I just included the first example because it was huge!

Wonderful weekend

We gathered this weekend to celebrate GrandDaughter's 2nd birthday (which isn't for a few days yet).With the camera set to take a photo automatically this was the best we could manage with the dogs who were co-operating even less than GrandDaughter! (Notice Daughter's and GrandDaughter's matching Christmas jumpers, knitted by Nanna - definitely not me who can't knit for toffee!)It was wonderful to have everyone here together although I fear Younger Son and Fiancée could have got fed up of baby eating, sleeping and poo-ing discussions.

Now the only problem is that someone has to eat all the leftover party food ...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Panto in 3D!

Little Jimmy Osmond is the star of Swansea's panto this year. (Yes, we get all the big names down here.) I was still not too bothered about going until I found out that Sean's daughter will be dancing in the show. And, and this was the clincher: there will be special 3D effects!

I rush to tell Husband, 'The panto's got 3D; we'll have to go!'
He looks at me in that way he does. 'It's live theatre,' he says.
'Yes, I know,' I say. Does he think I'm an idiot or something? 'But they've got 3D!'
'It's live theatre,' he repeats slowly. 'Think about what you're saying.'

I'm still going ... (which means he has to too.)

My early morning adventure courtesy of George

All the children are home this weekend for GrandDaughter's 2nd birthday party so I decide to get up early this morning so I can go to work early and leave work early. I feed George and then potter about while he's eating.

Then it occurs to me that George has been outside a long time. Regular readers won't need telling what's happened: some things are as inevitable as finishing a box of Cadbury's Fingers in one go. Yes, he'd done a runner.

I leap into Minni and drive around to the adventure playground where I meet an early-rising friend. She hasn't seen George so I carry on patrolling his favourite routes. I see no sign of him - but I do scrape the side of Minni while looking for him rather than where I was going.

I get home and Husband tells me we've had a phone call: George is in a house in the road behind. I grab his lead and hurry off there.

When I arrive I see George looking out of the window quite unconcerned by his abduction. The couple tell me they spotted him walking towards the main road but they were able to catch him when he stopped to eat the contents of a rubbish bin. Since being in their house he has eaten 3 bowlfuls of their dogs' food.

And I assume it's for this reason that one of their dogs, who is standing behind me barking, decides to bite my bottom.

It seems churlish to complain when they've been so kind as to rescue George so I continue smiling, thanking and apologising in equal measures, before dragging George home.

And it's still only 8.15.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Get stirring

It wasn't Stir Up Sunday* but I made my Christmas puddings nevertheless.

Of course when I started I discovered that I didn't have everything I needed so I improvised. I used ground almonds instead of chopped and then added extra chopped mixed nuts as well. No mixed peel so in went apricots. Not enough brandy so it had to be Cointreau. ('You used Cointreau?!!' Husband was not amused. 'I like to drink that!') And I added dates just for fun.

The fish kettle was put to use.
The finished products.

*The last Sunday before Advent is Stir-Up Sunday, the day when Christmas puddings are traditionally made. The name comes from the words of the prayer for the day, 'Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people.' (From the Book of Common Prayer, 1549) This year it's on 20th November.

It's traditional for all members of the family to have a stir and make a wish so I made Husband do his bit.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The first day of the last year

It began with breakfast (warm croissant and maple and pecan plait) in bed. Then my oldest - although she's younger than me - friend called in for a long catch-up natter.

After that it was off for a facial then a walk around the cliffs before eating out at PA's restaurant. The evening ended with a bit of Johnny Depp (On stranger shores) and Maltesers.

If this is what it's like being 59 bring it on!

Got all excited this morning

Called Husband, 'Come and look at this!'
Husband peered outside, 'What am I looking at?'
'Clothes blowing on the line on a sunny day!'

He didn't share my enthusiasm.

But our garden is quite sheltered so sunny blowy days are rare and clothes are so much nicer if they've had a good blow.

So that was my excitement for today ...

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

On the road again

Pregnant Daughter is poorly so we're off to Devon early this week to look after her and GrandDaughter.

One day I'll catch up with myself ...

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Who says there's no God?

How can anyone be certain there is no God? Certainty demands proof surely? No-one can prove there isn't a God any more than I can prove there is.

What I see as evidence for God's existence would be denied by a non-believer but that's why it's called faith. I have faith that there is a God. Sometimes I have doubts; often I question. But I believe. But I'm not sure I'm certain. At least I don't have the sort of assurance that the writer of this lamppost sticker seems to have.
And I can't quite put my finger on it but there's something wrong with the logic too. Is it suggesting you stop worrying about whether there's a God or about what you do? In either case my experience is that my belief in God means I can enjoy life.

Or am I just taking a lamppost sticker too seriously?

Monday's Odd shots

And I thought I had a spare tyre!

A horseman came riding by

A trip to Windsor Great Park during a visit to Elder Son, Daughter-in-law and GrandSon.Imagine having this as your front drive ... (that's Windsor Castle in the far distance).
Oh, not any old horseman but George III, whose statue stands at the end of the Long Walk (nearly 3 miles). The statue, commonly known as The Copper Horse, is actually made of bronze-clad iron.

Friday, November 04, 2011

An unexpected surprise

I got home from work and Husband, 'Let's go out for a meal.' I never take much persuading so we went to Maes-yr-haf restaurant in Parkmill on Gower. It was the first time we'd been there but won't be the last.

First came the Chef's appetiser: parmesan custard caesar salad. Totally yummy. I could have eaten a long row of them.

My starter: smoked salmon terrine.
My main: lemon sole with cockles and capers. Plus a side dish of triple fried chips.
And for dessert: sticky toffee pudding with praline ice cream
Finally, for your amusement, Husband's dessert, apple and cinnamon doughnuts.
All totally scrumptious.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

A serious dilemma

I've been having a clear-out and look what I found in the back of my desk cupboard:
Trouble is the Best Before date is:
So my dilemma is: do I eat it anyway?

Can I really throw chocolate in the bin?

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

I've been doing it wrong all these years

How not to wash your hair
1. Apply a large blob of shampoo and scrub well.
2. Rinse.
3. Apply a huge blob of conditioner and rub into hair.
4. Leave on while finishing showering.
5. Rinse.

How to wash your hair
1. Apply a blob of shampoo the size of a 20p piece and massage your scalp. This releases the oil and grime.
2. Rinse.
3. Apply another blob of shampoo but this time only wash the hair. This removes the oil now stuck on the hair.
4. Rinse.
5. Put a 5p-sized blob of conditioner in your palm and rub your hands through it and then apply through hair.
6. Rinse.

Brought to you courtesy of Mark at Boosh.

Hole in my shoe*

'I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in to stop my mind from wandering where it will go-o, where it will go-o.'**

So I was walking George through the woods getting a wet foot when my mind went wandering to prison.

We've started preparing for the annual carol service and worked with 3 of the inmates yesterday. Okay, the really nasty ones aren't the sort to volunteer so we probably see the better ones but, honestly, off the drink and drugs, they're nice men. One is in Christmas for the 10th time; another is having his 1st inside. And all three say, 'This it, no more. We're going to change.'

Two of the men who took part last year said the same thing. They were being released in the spring and were moving away, going to do things differently, find new friends. They're both back inside.

And I honestly can't see what apart from God is going to make the difference to any of these lives.

I know I'd say that; I'm a Christian. But what else can bring about real and lasting change?

We know all the reasons why offenders keep offending and that situation isn't going to change overnight or probably ever. It is just so distressing to see these men wasting their lives.

Last night in Zac's we were looking at the choosing of the first 12 apostles and a right mixed bunch they were. Steve, who led the study, which was excellent, asked people to say what place they'd been in when they'd 'been called'.

One had been in prison, another in a psychiatric hospital, another had been about to run off with another man's wife, still another had been nursing his terminally ill best friend. All very different places, people and needs but all lives changed dramatically.

And that's my prayer for the men in prison.

On a slightly different tack, someone commented last night that the bible was sexist. I remarked that when i have to produce booklets of chunks of scripture for church use i have to use the translation that addresses brothers & sisters, and talks about sons & daughters. I said that I spit when i have to do it as there are far more important things in the bible to care about.

But it occurred to me while my mind was wandering that maybe I was being just a little arrrogant.

I can be unconcerned because I speak from a position of equality. I don't consider myself belonging to the under-sex. I am the equal of any man. I'm different but still equal. But not everyone is so fortunate.

Maybe the reason we take care to address both brothers and sisters is more for the attention of any men who may consider using scripture as justification for sexism. (Shocking but it does happen or so I'm told!)

So convinced was I by my own arguments that I declared that next time I have to use the bi-sexual (I'm sure that not the right word but I can't think what it is***) translation I would refrain from spitting but would do as I am told in a suitably mild manner.

Then my mind wandered to the bar of chocolate in my pocket and I stopped thinking in favour of oral delectation.

* welly actually
** Courtesy Lennon & McCartney
*** non-gender specific

Cars, cardis and can't think of anything else

You know that moment when you return to the car park and the car's not where you left it and the bottom drops out of your stomach and you go all cold? Well, that happened to me this morning when I couldn't find Minni.

Then I spotted the familiar white bonnet of Alfie Porsche and was able to heave my stomach back up. Stupidity has a lot to answer for.

And the people who designed car parking 'put the ticket in the slot as you leave' machines also have much to be embarrassed about. Would it be so hard to make the slot stick out a little bit so the driver didn't have to open her door, undo her seat belt, perch on the edge of the seat and then panic in case she didn't get under the barrier in time?

And what exactly is a boyfriend cardigan?

The answer is irrelevant now as I didn't buy one; I bought a proper sloppy dark blue 'presumably for girls' one. Then got outside and saw everyone wearing cream cardis and wondered if that was what I should have got. Then remembered this is me we're talking about. I can get clothes dirty just putting them on. My wardrobe is mostly dark for just that reason.

After hairdresser it was to the library I ventured to return cds. One hadn't been in its box when we'd got home so the librarian said I could have my £1 hire fee back.
'Oooh, thank you,' I said, then I remembered. 'Actually it was Husband who took it out and he's over 60 so only paid 60p.' How honest am I?!! The librarian was quite surprised too.

Got home to the sound of the phone ringing. I ran to answer it and it was Ebay. 'If you are expecting this call press 2.'
I waited to see what I was supposed to do if I wasn't expecting the call but they didn't tell me so I used my initiative (!) and hung up. I don't think I was expecting a phone call from ebay ...

Next up was an email from an unpronounceably named woman (or possibly man). 'We want your opinions on the golf course. Please complete this survey.'

Honestly if you're going to scam people at least put some effort in. I suppose if they sent that out to thousands of people there will be some golfers among them and some of those will be stupid enough to reply.

And finally, and totally unrelated to my trip to town and arrival home, Husband has just finished changing some locks and fitting others in order to be eligible for cheaper house insurance. One of the new locks he's put in is unbelievably noisy.

I know you're going to say, 'How can a lock be noisy?' I know; at first I thought it was the draught excluder but by moving up ear up and down the door I've been able to trace the noise quite definitely to the lock. You'll have to take my word for it. I thought we must be in the midst of a storm outside.

Going to walk George in the rain now.

P.S. I've just re-read this post: am I turning into a grumpy old woman?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Beauty and the beast

I bought some cabbages for my artist friend, Tina, for her birthday. She loves purple.Tina did the face moulds a few weeks ago and has now turned them into clay masks. That's Sean on the left and me with the strange orange blotchy face.

I might not be much of a gatherer but I draw a neat daisy

I was feeding Husband Maltesers in the bath - I know! How lucky is he?! - when he was telling me about a documentary he watched last night about a remote nomadic tribe in Africa that still lives the very simple hunter gatherer lifestyle. They have a monogamous culture and when the women were asked what they looked for in a husband they said, 'A good hunter and a good sharer.' No mention of good looks or sense of humour.

Anyway, in spite of the fact that it's the men who do the hunting it's the women gatherers who provide 60% of the family's needs. 'Twas ever thus.

Anyway I was thinking about what it would be like to live like that and the first thought that occurred to me was: what do they use for toilet paper?

Oooh, I've got to have a good toilet, me. I even have nightmares about not being able to find one that's clean or unblocked or dry-floored.

Husband said the documentary was okay but they could have got the one hour's programme into 15 minutes if they hadn't repeated themselves and waffled so. Much like last night's trustee meeting.

I'm not the ideal person to take minutes in normal trustee meetings as I drift off until someone says, 'Have you got that, Liz?'
'Hm, yes! What?!'

But I'm even worse in budget meetings when the talk goes to figures and reserves and deficits and outgoings. I put the time to good use though: I perfected my daisy-drawing skill.


Back to slimming class this morning for the first time since Husband's illness. I'd been using that as an excuse but really could have returned to class several weeks ago but lacked courage. As it turned out I'd only put on half a pound but that means I've gone up 5 pounds since my lowest. I can cope and maintain fairly well at this weight so it's probably a realistic place to be. As long as I don't keep putting on the odd pound here and there and let it creep back up.

Returning to class this morning was a good decision: Cherie, our teacher, was in full halloween mode dressed as a vampire and leading us through the Thriller routine. Remember the music video with Michael Jackson? Now imagine it with a cast of slightly overweight middle-aged women lacking co-ordination.

I blame my faulty dance steps on the pumpkin in front of me. It's hard to concentrate with a 5' pumpkin visibly deflating before your eyes.

Hell for Stu

Sean stopped off at Hell on his trip to America earlier this year. I mention this because Dr Stu commented on my last post about the unfortunates who are told by their sat-navs to go to Hell.