Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Not a cheerful post

I knew my weight had been creeping up but when I got on the scales this morning I leapt off again squealing. So it's time to take this seriously.

I'm setting myself the challenge of losing a pound a week for the next 8 weeks. That's doable, isn't it? If I give up bread and cheese, chocolate and cake. Oh let's just give up living.

No, I am going to look on this as a challenge, like people who climb Mount Everest for fun. I'm going to be positive and excited and happy about the change I will see in myself. Yes, yes, I will.

Of course I've also committed to writing 50,000 words during November. So I will be hungry, miserable and stressed. 

No, no, this is going to be fun. I can do this. Think how happy I'll be at the end. Positive thoughts. I can talk myself into this. I can. I can. Like the little train going up the hill, I think I can, I think I can.

But first allow me some time to curl up into a small ball and whinge pathetically about how I didn't think I'd eaten that much AND I thought I was getting more exercise AND how come it's so much easier to put on weight than to lose it?

Oh plifille plhopple.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Hidden depths

George and I went to Pwll Du this afternoon while everyone else was working on the house (belonging to YS and Nuora). It was a little bit wild but not yet as bad as has been forecast and it stayed dry, which was a bonus.

The worst part was negotiating my way through the flooded lane. Going, I clung to the edges but afterwards it occurred to me that allowing for the road's camber it should be shallower in the middle. But there's something innately scary about walking right through the middle of a puddle. There's always that fear that it may be concealing a big hole or a troll trap. Fortunately George volunteered to go first. 
Hence George is the only dog who can come back from the beach absolutely filthy. 

who needs the road to Damascus?

Did I tell you I had a revelation in Sainsburys this week?

It suddenly struck me that ... (I feel there should be a fanfare) ... you don't have to put glacé cherries and mixed peel in a Christmas cake.

It's irrelevant really as even without peel and cherries I wouldn't eat rich fruit cake but it was still an eye-opening moment. May the sainted Delia forgive me.

So I currently have soaking in brandy a mix of sultanas, dried cherries, cranberries, apricots and a few dates. I have a thing about currants too. Too reminiscent of rabbit poo possibly. Delia said to use 3 tablespoons of brandy but that wasn't enough so I finished the bottle.

* * * * * * * * *
For two years, since buying our new super king size bed, I have grumbled because the fitted sheet doesn't fit properly.

It was only when Husband, who happened to be in the room at the time and was helping me, pointed out that I was putting it on the wrong way that I discovered that actually it fits perfectly.

What is really depressing about this story is that no-one will be surprised.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A sad realisation

Having just been ignored myself I could understand why a visitor to Parents and Toddlers described the locals as 'fur coat and no knickers'. 

I've heard similar things said often over the years and it seems that there has been no improvement. Groups within the church that are supposed to be open and welcoming tend to be cliquey. 

In the case of P&T I'm sure they're all very lovely yummy mummies individually but exclusivity isn't a nice trait.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

And the coal face just got dirtier

After my debacle with the laundry I was looking forward to meeting a friend for lunch. 

I drove to hers and was surprised to see, as I was approaching, that she appeared to be mopping her front step and looking more prepared for an afternoon's hard labour than a pleasant lunch.

Turned out I'd got the wrong day. Tomorrow we're meeting for lunch.

There are some days I shouldn't bother getting out of bed. It would help if I knew in advance though.

Another good day at the coal face

The sun is shining, the freshly washed laundry is blowing on the line in the wind, I stand back and sigh happily.

I return to the washing machine to put in another load and discover ... the pot of washing liquid that I didn't put in with my first wash.

Much yelling and head-hitting ensues.

Just a little snip

You would not believe how much fun circumcision can be!

Steve was leading the bible study last night - thankfully - on the bit where God makes this wonderful agreement with Abraham. God says, 'You'll have lots of children, the land of Canaan and I'll be with you and your descendants for ever.' That sort of thing. At which point Abraham is no doubt thinking, 'Cool.'
Then God says, 'All I want you to do in return is ... cut off the end of your willy (as Steve explained it).'

Still it was only a little thing to ask really. (And you would not believe the number of plays on words that can be thought up by an irreverent crowd. Snippets. Tip of the iceberg. Etc.)

At one point Ric said, 'This topic was made for Liz to cover.'
Steve agreed, 'I feel I am depriving her.'

No, really, you carry on. I'm happy to be in the crowd for this one.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Wonderful morning

What a brilliant morning!

Before Husband retired I made time to walk George everyday; now Husband tends to walk him and I do other things. And I'm missing it. Both the exercise and the fresh air. So this morning I resolved to take George around the cliffs. On my own. I wanted to think too.

So off we set. And before we'd gone very far I saw a seal! At first I thought it was a log - I'm notorious for 'seeing' things in the water. 'Oh look a ... penguin?' But then it raised its nose and dived under emerging again a distance away. I was watching for it again and beaming when another walker passed. 'You've seen the seal?' she asked.
'Yes!' I squeaked.

A little further on a cormorant flew by. Normally we only see them close to the water but this one flew just above my head. Then a rather elegant gull with black wing tips flew past too. I don't usually find gulls elegant but this was less scary than some.

I was positively floating for most of the walk.

And the fresh air cleared my head and helped inspire me too. So, all in all, a brilliant morning.

The only negative was the discovery that while I knew one of my boots had a hole, when hopping through a stream, I realised the other one did too. Still I've had them since we went to Canada in whenever it was so they've lasted well.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Visitors = cleaning

We had Husband's sisters and their partners down at the weekend hence my absence from blogland last week: visitors = major cleaning attack. By the time they arrived the house was clean and the sun was shining so we could enjoy a walk along the sea front.

Why do you go to church?

In prison yesterday. We were taking the service but I wasn't speaking just - what's the word? Facilitating? Fronting? Anyway, I did the intro, links and round-up. 

In between I sat next to a familiar face. Spends more time inside than he does out, a result of his drunk and disorderliness. Yet he loves God and knows God loves him. 

He chatters on but unfortunately I only understand about one word in ten so I do a lot of smiling and nodding. And laughing. He's a very jolly chap - when he's sober.

There was a good crowd of men in for the service. They come for all sorts of reasons: to get out of their cells, for companionship, to pass drugs to each other, and some even for the service. The amazing thing is that, whatever their reason for being there, they all listen attentively and are, in the main, well-behaved. And the chaplains tell us that they're often asked questions about what was said or the men discuss it amongst themselves, so they do really listen. And for some it does make a difference.

Some, like my neighbour, have an assurance of God's love. We may wish it would make a more apparent difference and help them to change but until they're ready to take that step we can wish as much as we like and it won't have the slightest effect.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

An abuse of privilege

One of the wonderful things about Zac's is that it is an open forum. Everyone is encouraged to take part, share their sometimes opposing views on what we're reading, and is listened to. That, as I say, is an unwritten rule - and a privilege - and usually it's respected as such. Not so last night.

Last night some occasional visitors abused that privilege and hijacked the study for their own purposes, which was largely to use it as a platform for their own agenda. I think it's safe to say they had no interest in the subject of the study (Abram, Sarai and Ishmael) but that didn't stop them finding ways ostensibly to ask questions while not being interested in the answers and, indeed, usually providing the answers themselves. To talk at length about whatever issue they could vaguely relate to the topic while staying far away from the story.

It's a powerful story and we lost it in the mayhem. There were so many things that could have come up and been questioned and discussed but even our normally vociferous were silenced in the face of such rudeness for that's what it was even if it were masquerading as a search for knowledge.

And finally it turned into obvious rudeness and then I had to speak up. Until then I'd mostly tuned out and was praying for a family who've just lost their wife and mother. 

It was a good job I wasn't leading or I might have been unable to resist the urge to give the rude man a good slap. Sean, who was leading, is much more patient and gentle. When he finally managed to get a word in he made some excellent points about boundaries and relying on feelings but, unfortunately, they fell on deaf ears.

It's a very fine line between freedom of expression and abuse of privilege. At Zac's we err on the freedom side - which is a good thing - but sometimes it can be very frustrating.

Monday, October 14, 2013

the Monkey's Forehead

'The Monkey's Forehead is a silly name for a pub,' I remarked to Husband as we drove past.
There was a moment's pause then he said, 'You do know it's slang for a lady's bits?'
'Really? ... Then it's an even sillier name for a pub.'

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A swirly kind of dinner

When I got up this morning at 7.45 Younger Son was making bread. We had it for dinner tonight.
Pesto swirl bread
 with pesto swirl soup made by Nuora.
Both delicious. I do enjoy being fed by my children.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

When God doesn't speak

The meeting in Linden last Sunday was different. An opportunity to reflect on phrases aided by music and images. I went into it with an open mind but it didn't really work for me I'm afraid. Especially at the end when one of the leaders stood up and said, 'God is speaking to lots of people this morning.' And I thought, 'But not to me.' (I should do a sad face smiley thing here but I don't like them.)

But when I arrived home I found an email from Glenn in Cambodia. An encouraging and supportive email so I guess God did speak to me, but in his time.

I can already hear all the cynics, 'yeah, well, you could make anything fit that,' and it's true but if you know me you'll know it's not something I'm inclined to do. I'm far more likely to shrug and accept my hard-done-by lot. In fact I'm more the other way inclined: I am wary of people who regularly say that God spoke to them or revealed something to them.

The meeting in Zac's in the afternoon, on the other hand, was great. Andy told us about something that had happened to him recently when he'd made himself available to be used by God and it was an inspiring tale. And we heard about some of the persecution that Christians are undergoing today across the world, tying in with our consideration of 'Blessed are the persecuted'. Makes me jolly glad I'm not in that position. I honestly don't know whether my faith would be enough to let me resist back-peddling and denying Christ.

Impersonating a Ninja

We surprised a woman in the woods. She jumped and said, 'I didn't hear you coming.'
To which I replied, (wait for it) 'I thought you were Father Christmas.'

On reflection it might have made more sense if I'd said the other thing that was in my brain: You never hear a Ninja approaching.

Then again maybe not.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Don't ask the question

Keith is a serial womaniser.
I said to Alan, 'Should I be offended that he hasn't tried it on with me?'
'He might have done and you didn't notice.'

Quite true and a much better option than the one I was leaving myself open to in asking this question of a notoriously blunt speaker i.e. 'You're too old for him.'

Thursday, October 03, 2013

No to violence against women

So after 8 years I've changed the template of my blog!

It wasn't entirely deliberate but having messed the original up so much that it looked ungainly I thought I might as well go for a complete makeover. 

And it seems to have worked okay, unlike my efforts with Not another wannabe writer where, try as I might, I cannot make the Comments option appear. It has been a very frustrating afternoon/evening.

Not helped by the smells coming from the kitchen where Husband has been making chilli jam and tomato and chilli chutney. A bumper crop of chillies again this year.

And I'll mention here that I'm saying No for November.
November is NaNoWriMo - national novel writing month - and I'm taking part again. It happens to coincide with an initiative to support Beyond the Streets: say no to exploitation of and sexual violence against women. NOvember is fund-raising to help find routes out of prostitution for women.

So I'm saying no to solitaire (and freecell) for November to free up time to write my novel! 

Could you say no to something to raise money for this cause?

P.S. Having been unable to correct the settings I've changed the template of my other blog and now comments can be made.


Meet our temporary house guest, Pecorino.

We think he's a young parakeet and he's very friendly but does love to bite on metal, such as necklaces or earrings. He also likes nestling under hair and when his little claws pitter and patter across my skin it makes me shiver.

Curse you, Blogger!

Oh dear. In attempting to update my blog - mainly to shorten the huge archive list - I seem to have lost all my links.

If you're missing from my 'Blogs I like' list it's not - necessarily - because I've deleted you. In fact it's highly unlikely that I've deleted you. I will try and work through old comments and trace the missing links but it may take some time. I will need lots of cups of tea to get through this.

You see, this is why I didn't update my blog before. For years Blogger has been suggesting I do it but it adds that you 'may lose some of your previous changes'. That's what's put me off. The reassurance that 'you can always revert to the original' didn't convince me - and I was right to be distrustful as it's proved to be.

Me and technical don't really go together.

This is all part of my new social media marketing scheme. And already it shows signs of being a huge success, don't you think?


I've been booked to speak to a ladies' group about my novel, This Time Next Year. And it wasn't by one of the groups I've approached: they're all ignoring me. It was, apparently, word of mouth; I was recommended by someone who'd heard me speak before. How cool is that?

So I receive this phone call and the lady asks if I'm willing to speak and I say yes and she says, 'Oh good. Well, let me see, can you do June 24th?'
'Don't you need to check your diary?'
'Oh, um, yes, of course. Let me see ...' (pause while I flick through an imaginary book) 'yes, that's fine.'
'Excellent, now I only need to know how much you charge?'
'Oh I don't charge.' (Laughing.)
'Really? You're one of the few who don't then.'

I expect the ones who do have real diaries with things written in them.

As it happens June 24th 2014 will be our 36th wedding anniversary. But anniversaries happen every year. 

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Does the term old crock spring to mind?

I currently bear a painfully striking resemblance to an old crock. (Crockery must have affected my brain too as I am looking at 'bear' and wondering, 'should it be bare'? No, surely not.)

I was fine yesterday - until I began tossing around 12 kg kettle bells. I was bending my legs properly too. Just like this. (I wish.)

Ah well, at least it's taken my mind off my bad foot. (Much much better now incidentally, than you for asking.)