Friday, May 31, 2013

Fun in Devon

Deciding to take the grandchildren swimming in the half term holiday wasn't one of our better ideas.

After the hour necessary to find and pack all the stuff necessary to take a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old to the pool, getting them all in the car and driving there we were told the pool was full and we couldn't go in.

Time to go old school. We went river paddling instead. Not swimming because a) the water was moving as fast as Niagara (possibly an exaggeration) and b) it was blooming cold. Fun though, scrambling around the river bank looking for treasure. I found a genuine piece of antique Roman pottery; unfortunately GrandDaughter threw it in the river so I can't prove its authenticity to you ...

On the way back to the car park we went exploring what was claimed to be a trout pool but looked more like an empty murky pool. Big signs around it declared it to be dangerous. GrandDaughter asked why. I explained it was deep water and if someone fell in and couldn't get out it would be dangerous. 'Why?'
'Well, because, um, water would go up the person's nose and get into his chest and that wouldn't be very nice.'

Back in the car on the way home GrandDaughter asked, 'What about the fish?'
'What about the fish?'
'Why isn't it dangerous for them?'

For once I was glad to be driving so it was down to Husband to explain about the fish respiratory system. 

My explanation about drowning seemed to worry GrandDaughter though as she mentioned it to mummy when she got home. 'Why do there have to be dangerous places?'

Yesterday, as the weather was reasonably bright and there was no school, we took GrandDaughter and GrandSon2 to the beach at Exmouth, where between them they conspired to stop me building a sandcastle. Why are children so destructive?! That was just before GrandDaughter sent me down to the sea to get water - in a pill bottle lid that we'd happened to find in amongst the seaweed. After my second trip down the beach I decided £2 would be a small price to pay for a new bucket.

When we got home and Daughter told Granddaughter that she'd missed her during the day and she'd been sad GrandDaughter said, 'You don't have to be sad, mummy. I enjoyed myself with granny and grandad.'

Monday, May 27, 2013

Blooming lovely

Clyne in bloom on a grey Bank Holiday Monday.

Love wins

In 2011 a preacher called Rob Bell created a stir in the Christian world with his book Love Wins. He was accused of all kinds of heresy. For various reasons I avoided reading the book but I was given a copy a few months ago and finally, yesterday, I speed read it.

Now maybe in my speed reading I missed something vital but it doesn't seem particularly heretic to me. In fact what he says is what I've believed for years, namely that at some point in their dying people who've spent a lifetime denying God's existence or follow another religion are given another chance by God. (I think that's the crux of what he says and what the fuss is about.) It seems to me to be borne out by Christ's words to the thief on the cross and the parable he told about the workers who didn't start working until late afternoon yet got the same pay as those who began early morning. It still involves having free will and making a choice. From my understanding Rob Bell wasn't saying you go to heaven because you lived a good life nor was he saying that everyone goes to heaven.

I think I held out against reading it because it was 'the' book to read, and he is the 'in' preacher in some circles. And I'd assumed that he must be making light of the role Jesus played and that I wouldn't agree with him. But then it was recommended by someone I know doesn't follow fashion but is prepared to get his hands dirty for Jesus for people. 

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the book keeps the focus very much on Jesus and working towards bringing God's kingdom to earth now, that faith in God isn't only - or even particularly - about what happens to you when you die, but about the here and now, and about the difference knowing you have someone who loves you unconditionally, who would give everything for you, can make to damaged lives. I'd rather people, especially those I love, discover that earlier than later but better late than never.

Rob Bell's style of writing irritated me on occasion but if you get past that, as I say, I didn't find it shocking. I can't see what the fuss is about. So either I'm a heretic too or I missed something. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dolphins enjoy sex

The sun shone for a jolly jaunt on Gower, for me and three beautiful Zac's women to talk about baptism. We borrowed my uncle's chalet for the day so we could get away and get to know each other better as two of the women prepared for baptism.

I'd carefully prepared notes to lead the discussion and photocopied them so I could give them as hand-outs at the end - just like a proper Christian teacher - and it wasn't until we got there and were halfway through that I realised I'd brought (and photocopied) the wrong sheets. Thus further honing my reputation as inefficient plonker.

As it happened the women already had a really good understanding and I was humbled by their attitude as they shared stories and encouraged and supported each other.

After lunch we drove out to Rhossili for some fresh air (and ice cream). I'd like to say that our conversation was spiritual and pure ...

How we came to discuss whales' willies, what would happen if you had an operation to become a man and then your doo-dah fell off mid-act, and the sexual proclivities of dolphins is quite beyond me.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Depressing myself

I had another rejection today. It was for novel 2 and my hopes for it had increased the longer they kept it. I should know better.

But what I realised, a little later after opening the email, was that I hadn't expected it to be good news. There was nothing about the email - before opening - that yelled REJECTION but I was ready for it. It occurs to me that I have lost faith in my writing. Maybe not lost faith in my writing but definitely lost any expectation of it being published.

And then I started to really depress myself ... what if, what if I'm not a writer? I've never won any prizes or acclamation, so maybe I'm just fooling myself. I'm not really any good at writing stories. There are some things I know - I think - I can write but maybe fiction just isn't among those things. 

My self-published novel was received very well but maybe that's because it was a) mostly people who know me reading it, and b) too close to the truth to be true fiction.

On the other hand Friday seems to be a popular day for sending out rejections. Maybe agents reach the end of a week, see the pile of manuscripts they haven't read getting bigger and reject them all out of hand, to clear their desks before the weekend. Yes, that's much better reasoning. I can cope with that.

How do you sneeze?

I sat up in bed and sneezed 7 times rapidly. Husband said, 'Give your nose a good blow.' 
'It would clear out whatever is making you sneeze.'

I stared at him. I was confused. 'Why would clearing my nose stop me sneezing?'
'Because your body makes you sneeze to clear your nose.'
'But I sneeze through my mouth.'

Husband shook his head. 'Well, keep your mouth closed.'
'I might implode.'

I've sneezed since and I did try to keep my mouth closed but it was impossible. My sneeze forced its way out. Am I unusual?

And how do you sneeze?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Our annual pilgrimage to the 'secret' bluebell woods. It is impossible to capture their true colour or the scent of course. Just believe me when I say it was heavenly.

Oh George!

Husband planted out some of the summer bedding yesterday. To try and deter George from running through the front garden corner arrangements he devised the least unattractive method he could think of: placing sticks around the bed. 

This morning as we went out I said, 'Why have you left a gap along the longest front bit? Surely you need another stick there?'
He replied, 'George has eaten it.'

My Blind Date

They've come up with a wonderful idea at Swansea Central Library: Book Blind Dating.

They have one display stand given over to books wrapped in brown paper. At first glance I thought they must be X-rated but as Fifty Shades of Grey and others of those ilk had previously been displayed openly I decided further investigation was needed.
Of course I had to give it a go! The first book I chose had these clues: man/boy, Joni Mitchell and shoes. Any ideas what that could be? Unfortunately, when I got to the machine to check it out I discovered I'd already read it so had to go and choose again. I can tell you I haven't read this one but what do you think it might be?

Still on the subject of books I've just finished The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. An excellent and disturbing book. I've realised that two of the books I've read recently, including this one, are intended for children/young adult readers. The other was Daughter of Venice, by Donna Jo Napoli, which I'd had on my shelf for years but only  read on my way to Italy this year. It's another book I can thoroughly recommend. It's about a young girl from a wealthy family growing up in 16th century Venice and the rules and traditions to which she is expected to conform and against which she rebels. Full of historical detail and atmosphere it was easy to read - as you'd expect for a y.a. novel - and fascinating. 

Now, any ideas on the titles of my blind dates?

Guess who's coming to dinner?

We had an unexpected - and unwelcome after knocking things over and pooping everywhere - guest in the dining room yesterday. But this magpie seemed less disturbed by its surroundings and us than we were in finding it.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A warning for internet shoppers

The trouble with seeking out the cheapest source on the internet is that there's probably a reason why it's so cheap.

In this case I ordered in February a present for Daughter from a company called Their price was by far the cheapest especially as it included p&p. What it turned out not to include was the product.

My first email of complaint was replied to: yes, they'd investigate.
My second email: they'd send a replacement.
My third email: once the replacement was returned they'd refund me.

I didn't receive a replacement or a refund. Today Husband, instructed by me to phone and be stroppy, reports that the number isn't accepting calls and that he's now found a number of articles on the internet suggesting the company is a scam. (And he's contacted our credit card provider who will make good our loss.)

So be warned! Avoid at all costs!

What a smell

On her blog, Welshcakes writes about favourite smells of Sicilian women and she has a small poll in her sidebar. I opted for flowers but really there are all sorts of smells at different times that I love.

I am quite a 'smelly' person. I can sometimes sniff the air and pick up scents that Husband often misses - which when we're walking in the countryside is sometimes a good thing - when they've been spreading chicken dung over the fields in Devon I have to walk one section of the lanes with a hankie over my nose. (Husband can smell it but it doesn't affect him so badly.)

So there are flower scents I love: bluebells, lilac, wallflowers, old and wild roses. Walking past I have to have a good sniff of any of these and try to keep it in my head as long as I can, which in truth is no time.

And food scents: fresh bread, coffee (though I don't like it to drink), pizza, roast beef, warm welshcakes.

Then there's sea air. Even though we live only a few hundred yards from the sea there are houses and roads between me and it so I can't go for too long without getting closer, especially on a breezy day so I can open my arms wide and take a deep gulp of lovely salty air.

This morning I couldn't resist burying my nose in the clean sheets that had been blowing in the wind on the washing line. It's a freshness that can't be replicated by any fabric conditioner.

People often list the smell of a baby as one of their favourites and as a doting granny you'd expect me to include it too - but I don't think it's the smell in this case that entrances me as much as the warmth of the soft plump skin that makes me want to kiss and snuggle in.

I'm a perfume wearer too. I rarely go out without it - usually Chanel No 5 or Chanel Allure for evenings - even though I can't smell it on me unless I rub my nose in my wrist. Except when I do dishes. I think the warm water must heat my blood and release the perfume. I have such poor circulation that my skin is usually cold.

Sometimes I'll smell a particularly nice fragrance on a passer-by in Sainsburys for example. I'm often tempted - and have done it - to tell the wearer how lovely she smells. Sometimes it goes down well; other times I'm looked at strangely.

And then there are the smells that bring back memories. Hard to describe these as they're usually momentary but trigger a brief but vivid memory. 

Such a vital and precious sense. Often undervalued but forms such an important part of our make-up, who we are and how we view the world.

What's your favourite?

Monday, May 20, 2013

A bad day at the office

I should have known better than to try to set the oven on automatic cooking so dinner would be ready when we returned from circuits. After the day I've had I should have been prepared.

Arriving in work to be greeted by a non-working phone wasn't too bad. I don't get many phone calls anyway. And it would have been all right if I'd just ignored it instead of trying to fix it. No, me getting down onto my hands and knees to fiddle with wires - and ending up with a socket with nothing to put in when I was convinced there'd been something in it before - was the real problem.

I started off with a broken phone; I ended up by breaking the internet too. And calling the electrician.

And then there were the ants. In the teapot.

I went in search of a fixative cup of tea; I returned deeply traumatised. Extreme measures were called for. I hurried to the shop and bought ant killer. 

On return I spotted an ant on the floor. I decided I'd track it, follow its route so I could find out where they were getting in and position my deadly poison most effectively. It was almost inevitable that I would choose a confused ant who simply ran around in circles. I stamped on it.

So really, thinking I'd be able to have dinner cooked and waiting for us on our return this evening was just plain foolish.

As Scarlett would say, Tomorrow is another day.'

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Doctor Who?

"It’s tantalisingly called The Name of the Doctor, which of course has been the mystery at the heart of the series since it began in 1963. " So writes the reviewer on the BBC website about tonight's episode of Doctor Who.

Me: What are they talking about? His name hasn't been a mystery at the heart of the series.
Husband: Yes, it has.
Me; No, it hasn't.
Husband: That's the whole point of the title - Doctor Who. Who is he? He never says his name.
Me: But that's his name, Doctor Who.
Husband: No, it's not; it's a question.
Me: But there isn't a question mark!

So for the last 50 years it seems I've been misled because of bad punctuation. No wonder I never know what's going on.

Husband and I continued to reminisce. 'In the old days it was a simple story, good against bad, completed in one episode or series.'
'Doctor Who takes on the daleks and wins. End of story.'
Not like today when you have to remember minute details about something that was said in episode 5 of series 19.'

Tonight's episode promises to be the most 'audacious and emotional' to date with even dedicated fans having to rewind and view again to follow bits. So no chance of us understanding then.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Lock out!

I got locked out of work today.

Fortunately it was sunny so I was able to sit on a window-sill and wait for the electrician to let me in. Which isn't quite as bad as having to call the plumber to let me out of the toilet.

You see I only went outside to take the sign to the bottom of the drive. I normally take my keys when I'm on my own, just in case, but, as the electrician was in the building, I left the door ajar this time.  When I got back it was locked. 

I rang the bell but
a) it might not be working and 
b) the electrician would expect me to open the door if someone rang.

Then I thought maybe he was in the boiler room. It has a wire mesh over the window so first I had to find a stick to push through the mesh to 'bang' or rather, rustle a bit, against the glass. But he wasn't in there.

Next I walked around to the other side of the building where there are windows that look into the hall, hoping I'd be able to see him - or more importantly, he'd be able to see me. Again, no sign.

So it was at this point I sat on the warm window-sill and held a conversation with my stick-man.
'Hello, stick-man.'
'It's a nice day to be locked out.'
'Pretty stupid to get locked out though.'
'Excuse me? This from a stick-man without a head or legs and with one arm longer than the other?'
'And this from a woman talking to a stick?'
'Point taken. Anyway, with a bit of luck someone will have phoned the police about a woman behaving strangely and they'll turn up soon. They're good at getting into places; I've seen it on telly.'
'Yes, but it usually involves breaking down doors.'
'Hm, true. Oh look!'

Frantic leaping about and waving from me - and the stick-man - followed as the electrician walked through the hall. And he didn't notice me! Until I banged on the glass.
'Oh, did I lock you out?'

And they're off!

So at midnight on Tuesday they were ready for the first stage of their adventure: a coach trip to Heathrow. With less luggage than I need for 2 days in Devon! Oh to be young and not worry about running out of knickers again!

We've heard - through the wonder of Facebook - that they arrived safely in Bangkok where it was 37 degrees at 5.00 pm and the fan in their hostel wasn't a lot of use. They've met up with James (who used to be our lodger) and Heather, who're spending 10 months and two years respectively travelling. And they've been cooking with Poo, in the slums of Bangkok - and Younger Son said it was amazing.

So, so far so good - oh, except Nuora took a malaria pill before eating from a street vendor and promptly threw up - whether because of the pill, the food, the heat or the exhaustion - a 36 hour trip door to door. But she's been okay since.

Exciting times for them.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Are you a suitable person to have fish?

I was in the garden yesterday - you can't call what I was doing gardening - but I leaned forward a little and my back went ping. Ever since then I've been walking with a slight tilt. It's a little disconcerting, imagining a day when I am old and haggard and bent over. 

Also in garden news, we have new fish in our pond. Of the eight originals only three remain and while they've taken advantage of the space and food available to grow into baby sharks Husband had a yen to get some more so we trotted along to Pets-r-us.

You wouldn't think it would be so hard to buy goldfish. For goodness sake, you can win them at the fair. But  the assistant almost refused to sell us any. I blame Husband.

He happened to mention that we'd had a heron in the garden at one stage and we suspected him of eating some of our previous fish. It was then that the cross examination began. What had we done to protect the fish? (Nothing.) Did we have a net over the pond? (No.) Did we intend to put a net over the pond? (Probably not.) Much head-shaking followed. She couldn't sell us fish unless we told her we'd put a net over them. 'Otherwise it's irresponsible of us. We'd just be selling them as food.'

Didn't like to point out the frozen mice they sell as snake food as we did really want some fish. Husband already hadn't helped by going on about the heron, and then, when he'd assured her he would provide adequate protection, he started talking about algae and silt and muddied ponds and blocked filters. I could see our dreams of a fish-filled pond flying out of the window or, more likely, going down the drain. 

When we'd signed all the paperwork - yes, seriously - she let us bring home 6 little fish, and true to his word Husband has put a net over the pond. Now when she said a net I had visions of a discreet fine barely-visible affair; Husband has used - well, see for yourself:
It just won't do.

Addicted to being a mam

Husband came home from walking George in the rain and found me in the kitchen. 'You're addicted to baking,' he said.
'Well, we were talking about brownies yesterday and Younger Son and Nuora said they've never tasted better brownies than the ones I make and they're going to Thailand on Wednesday and they're going to be gone for 3 months and I will worry so I made some brownies.'

Actually I went into the kitchen originally to do some ironing ...

P.S. He's just brought me one with my cup of tea. Mmmmmmmm.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

George isn't a killer

When George had his adventure with the squirrel I was still in bed but Husband was making my early morning cup of tea so he witnessed it.

He'd let George out the front before returning to the kitchen to boil the kettle. No sooner had he closed the door than he heard George's frantic barking and, looking out of the kitchen window, he could see the reason for it: a squirrel on the bird feeder.

Squirrels usually leap from the feeder when they see George approaching and escape through the bushes but this one, having been taken unaware, panicked and tried to run back up the vertical wire. Husband described his attempts as being like what you see in cartoons where a character's feet are moving desperately but he's not getting anywhere. Meanwhile George was below leaping up at him and barking ferociously.

Next thing the squirrel falls to the floor and lands, flat on his back right in front of George. They're both dumbfounded. Then George goes into his front-down bottom-up 'let's go play' position. Eventually the squirrel pulls himself together and goes running off - hotly pursued by George. 'Yay, come on, I love a good game of chase.'

Husband brought me my cup of tea in bed and said, 'You'll be pleased to hear George isn't a killer.' 

As if I ever thought he would be.

Always carry a guitar - if you're male

According to recent research women find musicians more attractive than non-musicians. And much more attractive than sporting types.

The research was based on sending a 20-year-old out in the streets to approach young women and ask for their phone numbers. He had the most success when carrying a guitar case - see, you don't even have to know how to play it - and least with a sports bag.

But this was French research. I imagine a sultry French guitarist with a Gauloise hanging from his lip would look fairly attractive. And I hate cigarette smoke.

It didn't work the other way around though i.e. men weren't  more attracted to women carrying musical instruments than those without. No great surprise there: men have much simpler needs.

Anatomy of a cake

I am possibly the messiest cook in the history of messy cooks.

Appears to be nicely baked - but, as it turns out,could have done with longer in the oven, as it's slightly soggy.
 White marzipaned.
Tthe finished product.

Happy day!

We were thrilled to be amongst the select few friends invited to Gareth (Blossum) and Lara's wedding yesterday. It was a very happy day - not your average traditional wedding: I'd expect nothing less from Blossum. 

On a related theme. I wore my best matching bra and pants to the wedding. Considering they probably cost more than my dress I wondered about wearing them on the outside. But I didn't.

The reception was in a restaurant and we could chose what we wanted. Hearing a number of guests saying they'd be having dessert I opted for the chicken Caesar salad, in a sort of 'then I won't feel so bad about having pud,' manner. Which would have been good if the croutons hadn't been deep-fried - and absolutely delicious.

Followed by rhubarb and raspberry crumble with custard. Now sometimes in restaurants they like to give you a trendy portion of custard i.e. about a teaspoonful. Not so here. Pudding came in a soup bowl half full of crumble and half full of custard. Now that's what I call a proper helping.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

I (still haven't) found what I'm looking for

In Linden the other week Chris was introducing our new teaching series on David beginning with how David came to be anointed. It's a familiar story: Samuel, the prophet, is told by God to go to a certain house and to anoint the future king. On arriving there he is greeted by the man of the house, Jesse,  who brings out each of his seven sons in turn. But Samuel rejects them all. At last he asks Jesse if he has any more sons and the man replies, 'There is the youngest but he is tending the sheep.' Samuel asks for him to be sent for and, of course, it's David, he's the one and the story continues.

Chris focused on why David wasn't included in the original line-up. He was the youngest, yes, but he was also from a different mother and it's believed that she had previously been a concubine to an enemy king. He was different. Not one of the chosen ones. Less favoured even by his father, who didn't think to summon him until told to. Chris' point was that God chooses the unexpected, the unlikely candidates.

A few years ago nobody, least of all me, would have expected to see me up the front in Zac's leading sometimes raucous bible studies and throwing out offenders, being praised for my confidence and trusted enough to do it. 

How to explain it? Trust, respect, encouragement, having someone believe in me. It makes such a difference, imbuing with a sense of belonging, of wanting to serve.

I'd spent the first two thirds of that particular Linden meeting feeling edgy, irritated, angry with myself for my emotions, thinking, what am I doing here? This isn't where I belong. Feeling I suppose, like U2, that I still hadn't found what I was looking for. Cross with myself because it's not supposed to be about me. 

Then Chris spoke and I remembered, as a young girl, watching television in the front room, my mum, my nan, my great-gran, auntie Connie and her daughter, all engrossed in the Sunday afternoon musical. Then auntie Connie sent me to the kitchen to fetch something. She didn't send her own daughter but me. And there and then I was reminded of my place. I was the one who didn't quite belong, the illegitimate child, the one who was absorbed by the family for my mum's sake but I wasn't the same as the rest.

Okay, it's not child abuse. Don't get me wrong: I had an excellent upbringing as part of a loving family. But I always felt like an outsider. Part of it but not exactly. A bit like I feel at Linden, which is why it's so wonderful to have found a place at Zac's.

It's later than you think

I was doing a bit of blog visiting yesterday when I noticed Jams' name on my list. It came as a shock again to realise suddenly that he's not blogging any more. His was one of the blogs I would visit on my regular tour and to remember again his sudden departure made me sad.

I have four names at the base of my blogging list, each of whom I had come to know through blogging and who've died. Three of the deaths were very sudden and unexpected; Dumpling had sort-of disappeared from the scene due to ill health but it was still a shock to find she'd died.

I didn't want to wipe out all trace of them so have maintained the links to their now dormant blogs as a small tribute to them. I enjoyed visiting each one of them and I'm sorry they've gone. 

But how short is life that it can end in a blink of an eye? Grab it now, while you have the chance.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Is there anyone who hasn't attempted suicide?

Man A: I was going to kill myself.
Bigmouth 1: You mustn't do that. God gave us life and it's a sin to take it away.
Bigmouth 2: It's the coward's way out.
Barely-restrained-anger Man: My son killed himself.
Thoughts in my head: crappity-crappity-crappity-crap.
Bigmouth 1: Well, I got as far as throwing a rope over a branch but then I realised I was being selfish.
Thoughts in my head: ooooh crappity-crappity-crappity-crap.

I'm not quite sure how we reached this point in last night's bible study in Zac's. We were looking at the final chapter in Peter's first letter and, though the letter is dominated by thoughts of putting up with suffering and being submissive, the last paragraphs are reasonably upbeat and encouraging. But here we'd reached a point where people were vying with each other over tales of 'how I nearly committed suicide.' I was beginning to think I should just ask, 'Is there anyone who hasn't tried?' But I didn't: I couldn't make myself heard. Fortunately, eventually, Ric said, loudly, 'Out of respect for b-r-a Man maybe we should curtail this discussion.'

But apart from that, Mrs Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

Well, it was a good evening. A reasonable group and a lively discussion. At the end Rowland, our wise elder, said to me, 'Well done, Liz. Your confidence was infectious and encouraged others to contribute. Very well done.'
It's a wonder my head didn't burst it was swelling so much.

Offering cakes around at the end I held out the plate to Steve. He took one and said, 'Thanks, Kay.'
 I'd moved on before it sank in. I turned back, 'What did you call me?'
'Um, Kay.' (You have to know Kay to understand my - um, surprise.)
There'll be payback.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

The closest thing to heaven

We enjoyed another lovely walk with Younger Son and Nuora on Monday. Walking the cliffs between Brandy Cove and Pwll Du it was easy to imagine that this is what heaven is like. The gentle warmth of the spring sun, the restful ebb and flow of the blue sea, the air heavy with the coconut scent of the gorse blossom, and the flowers in their seasonal glory. Delicious.

The sea itself was ... cold. Husband's feet had already gone numb when this photo was taken but mine were still in the agonisingly painful stage. But we smiled through our pain.

Magic, misery and meals

Has it really been that long since I last blogged? Doesn't time fly?

Quick catch-up then.

Sunday began with a Salvation Army major doing magic and ended with a 'communion wine' toast. No, strictly speaking it ended with The Village, the Sunday night BBC drama. It was the final episoe and it was rather a relief to get to the end: it was very black, physically and emotionally. In fact, they could have saved themselves some money by filming it in black and white, and they must have been penny-pinching because, if they were paying by word, they certainly didn't spend much on script. Most of the time viewers had to interpret significant looks to understand what was going on, which was fine if you interpreted correctly; not so good if you got it wrong. I have a feeling it will be back again with another series, which, no doubt, I will feel obliged to watch and Husband will have to put up with my regular, 'I really don't know what's going on in this,' comments. (He didn't watch it.)

But back to the magic. The Sally Army chaplain took the prison service and I have to admit I was so intent on his magic that I wasn't really listening to what he said. Which probably wasn't the idea, but it was amazing. Simple probably but I have no idea how he could flick through what appeared to be a child's colouring book to show blank pages followed by the next flick through where the pages had outline drawings followed by another flick through with full colour pictures. 

Then it was the first Sunday of the month tribal gathering in Zac's and as we were looking at 'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,' we shared a meal together, rounded off with a raising of glasses.

I found out this afternoon that I'm leading the bible study this evening - or rather I volunteered as Sean has had reverse root canal work done today. But it's the final chapter of 1 Peter and is reasonably straight-forward so will be fine. (I am confident.)