Tuesday, 29 September 2015

It all comes back to haunt me...

A few years ago I stopped opening the majority of the post I received, on the grounds that most of it was rubbish. I could detect the interesting ones - the rest I ignored. I still remember a member of my family discovering an item of post I had not bothered to open.
"Aren't you going to open this, it says you have won!"
"But you have won £1,000!"
"No I haven't. It is the Readers Digest so it will be an invitation to go in a draw that I won't win.  Open it if you like..."  And so she did...and upon reading she discovered why I hadn't bothered opening that particular item of post.

In the past I would find interesting items in my email account - messages from friends, important information. I usually read my emails as they arrived.  These days I find it hard to spot emails I actually want to read, as my inbox is so clogged with rubbish.   Having moved house I seem to have gained a whole crowd of followers eager to communicate with me, but I have all the flooring and furniture I require so their messages are wasted on me.  I just delete them unread.   I should have  created a new account instead of using my main account when purchasing items, or researching possibilities, but I didn't. More email addresses require additional passwords. More information for me to forget!  And so all my enquiries come back to haunt me, and clog up my inbox in the process!   Sometime I may just get round to disconnecting from these companies.  Meanwhile just when did emails get to be so boring :(

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

There is nothing new

Today's Open the Book story featured God's people grumbling and moaning their way through the desert.

Fast forward a few thousand years and God's people are still grumbling.

"The music is too loud"
"Too quiet"
"Too modern!"
"Too (yawn) old fashioned.."

"Uses modern technology"
"Still uses mouldy books"

"Has a leaking roof, and no loo"
"Has a loo, but can't pay their Parish Share"

"Wonders why there are no young people in church...but doesn't want to change a thing.."
"Complains that there are no families regularly attending church, but grumbles LOUDLY about the lack of respect shown by Baptism families"

"Serves fair trade coffee, because they think they should - even though everyone hates it..."

"Disagrees with the preacher sharing his political views, but thinks that he ought to address current issues."

"Thinks that the previous incumbant was far superior to the present one"

"Thinks that 10 minutes is the perfect length of a sermon."
"Is of the opinion that 20 minutes is not long enough for a preacher to engage with a topic"
"Wonders why anyone bothers with sermons - they are boring!"
"Likes a 5 minute nap in the middle of the service.."

"Complains about the lack of heating, but is outraged at the thought of tithing..."

"Prefers the church as it is, so does not see the point of mission?"

"Thinks that Good Friday is too depressing and should be quietly forgotten."

"Approves totally of the 10 Commandments, and pops into Tesco on their way home from church..."
"Thinks the 10 Commandments are good rules to live by, and then proceeds to destroy the reputation of half of the church members over Sunday lunch"

Can anything change?

Sunday, 20 September 2015

The Way

The way - a film staring Martin Sheen or a choice we make?
This was the question I asked myself, as I sat in the Conference Room at Holland House on Saturday evening, while watching a film...

As the story of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage unfolded, I was struck by the parallels between the Readers' Weekend I was attending and the story the film told.

Just as the pilgrims travelled from diverse locations before commencing the trail, so we had to leave our homes before our weekend could begin.

Like the film, the group was diverse, and we gathered solely for the purpose of journeying.  Some had gathered many times before.  Some only travelled part of the way with us.

Food played an important part as we shared together, meeting familiar faces, as well as getting to know those we had not met before.

The scenery was not as stunning as the landscape that provided the backdrop to the film, but it had its own charm, with the River Avon providing the western boundary to the beautiful gardens.

There are numerous chapels and holy places on the trail, and so we gathered at regular points during our weekend, to draw close to God, through corporate prayer and personal reflection

All journeys must come to an end and so we departed, like the pilgrims returning to our separate homes, delighted to reflect on all we had learnt and experienced, remembering the laughter, feasting and comradeship we had shared.

Just one problem, I have no idea where I left my jacket. I hope it didn't fall in the river...

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Grate Expectations

"Look, I am sorry! I didn't mean to..."
"Mean, yes that is a good word to use!
It certainly was mean of you to prematurely end my life!
Years of faithful service I had ahead of me.
Now all that lies ahead of me is the scrap heap!
There is no place for sentimentality.
Forget the memories, the meals, the years of faithful service...
Forget the road ahead,
it has turned abruptly into a dead end,
and all because of your carelessness...!"

"I said I was sorry. What more do you want me to say?
Would it help if I was to do the same to myself?"
Look matey I am beyond help!
I am broken.
Broken beyond repairability.
I have no future, it has been stolen from me.
Stolen needlessly at that!
Oh I could weep!
"I wish there was something I could do to put things right"
It is a bit late to think of that!
You should have done a bit more thinking before..."
"But you can still be used..."
"And that makes it OK does it?
I can still be used...
Oh, I may be for a while,
especially while folks still feel sorry for me,
and try to make it work.
I can milk that one for a while.
But, sooner or later I will be quietly sidelined,
and replaced with something that isn't ugly and broken,
with something that is safe and efficient,
not ancient and has to be handled with care!"
"I never meant all this to happen. I wish you would believe me!"

"Actually I do believe you."
"The problem is not you, but me!
I have never accepted my own mortality.
I never made plans for the future,
or considered what would happen in the long term.
All I was interested in was the present,
and the role I had.
I looked inwards,
not outwards,
and what I found was pretty hollow.
Imagine a life where all you do is take chunks off others.
It's hardly kind is it?
In truth we are all just here for a season,
we just have no idea how long the season will last.
I wanted to last forever...
Grate expectations, or what?"

Monday, 14 September 2015

Lessons I learnt today

1.  Storms pass.  The insurmountable problems, sometimes disappear.  They haven't gone, they are just lulling me into a false sense of security.
2. New lights don't always work.  Neither do the electrics after the fuse has blown, until action is taken.
3. When the fuse is tripped, that means the internet doesn't work either...until it all resets...
4. I cannot please everyone.  People have to work out their own happiness.  I am not really responsible for global warming, the ice age, third world debt and odd numbers of tomatoes. Though, if it satisfies some folk to think I am, then I can play along with it for a while....
5. Even when I am right I am wrong.  Not quite sure how that works.  It just proves that life really is illogical.  Accept it.
6. Even the most boring garden, looks more exciting when festooned with weed suppressing membrane - kind of like Christmas come early, but without the glitter and sparkle!
7.  If the oven is turned down, and no one remembers to turn it back up again, then dinner will be late! Even later than anticipated...
8.  Real friends give constructive criticism and make me laugh. Not everyone is on my wavelength.  For the sanity of the world this is probably a good thing!
9.  There is no such thing as a quick trip to Solihull, especially if I come back via a supermarket...
10.  Always root for the underdog, especially in politics!
11. No one actually knows where Bill's mother lives.
12. As well as investing in other people you should also investing in yourself. 
13.  The missing section of the duvet will always be where you have put it, even if you are not very good at looking.
14. Buying a card is not the same as writing and posting it.  The path to the postbox is paved with good intentions - most of them mine. (Happy Christmas everyone, in case I forget...!)
15. Not every situation justifies bursting into song, but an 80% success rate is both commendable and irritating...
16. Birds and squirrels are not toilet trained. Remember their droppings are really just fertiliser.
17 is an odd number.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Bridge or Abyss?

Reality - college begins tomorrow
The KHT anticipates that her translation to 'virtual reality' 
will mean that this no longer has any relevance for her.
And all I can do is watch on, 
and pray.
Pray for her safety and protection.
Pray that she won't get hurt.
Pray that she will arrive safely.
Pray that I have the strength not to intervene, 
but to trust,
and for that trust not to be misplaced,
or naive.
I know that if I do intervene, 
this day will still come,
for there will still be a day when I have to let go.
Parenting does not get any easier, 
especially when your child has no sense of their own vulnerability.

So I stand on the edge of an abyss of unknowing,
There are no words I can say that will broker a solution,
for the language I speak is not one she wants to hear.
I am irrelevent.
Only a divine solution will satisfy,
and I am a mere mortal,
and what do I know...

Wednesday, 9 September 2015


Since we recommenced ringing last spring our activities have been triggered by events within the church - practising to improve our skills, ringing for services, or ringing for weddings.  The bells have also been rung by visiting ringers, and although not part of our immediate church family, we feel that there is a connection, as they are part of the wider ringing community.

At various times since the band reformed we have received communications urging us to ring for various landmarks, but either we have felt no real connection, or they have fallen on days when we haven't been able to raise a band.  This evening we gathered and rang call changes, especially Queens, to mark Queen Elizabeth II becoming the longest reigning monarch in the realm, wrestling the crown from Queen Vic.  Our ringing wasn't perfect, but we made the effort and took part.  Then we marked the event with a photograph...with some special 'rope' decoration to mark the event....

The old bellropes had been stored in the room above in a large sack - you never know when they will come in useful...

Philip attempted to carry them down, and failed...
He lost his grip and the sack tumbled down the staircase before him - falling through the open doorway and depositing themselves on the floor of the Ringing Chamber.

The tail of the "Q" is the miniature bellrope that hung in the kitchen at the old house and was accidentally left behind when we moved.  It was passed on to my husband when he went to collect a package delivered there in error.

We do not normally ring on a Wednesday evening. I wonder if anyone who heard the bells realised why we were ringing.

Which leaves the question "What will be the next important national event that we ring for?"

Saturday, 5 September 2015

In The Gap

Where does summer end and autumn begin?

The heating has been off, but the evenings have been cooler recently, triggering a discussion about when the heating should be put on.  My husband decides to alter the settings on the boiler, and accidentally resets the washing machine back to zero, delaying the wash by a good 20 minutes. Finally, the machine whines to the end of the cycle. I hang the washing and we wander off to the local library, where I was a member for many years until we moved to the other side of town. I haven't really used a local library for about 5 years, and now we are much closer to the branch library it seems right to rejoin.

We register, and the KHT spots a 2p on the desk.
Her eyes light up
"...erm is that anyone's 2p?" she enquires.
"It is the key to our toilet" the Librarian explains helpfully
The KHT looks at it suspiciously, "So it isn't really a 2p, it is a key?"
"It is a 2p and we use it like a key"
At 1pm the library is closing for the day. We successfully negotiated the self-service check out, as there is no other option. No rubber stamping, or glares from a disproving library at your unsophisticated choice of fiction. A machine reads the card and registers your book titles, and at the push of a button prints out a receipt telling you when your fines will begin to accrue.
"When we get home you can make a note on the calendar, so we know when we have to bring our books back before, or renew online."
Over the years I probably have paid for a new library in fines, so I know the importance of getting this right!

The day warms up so I open the door into the garden.
Immediately a frantic wasp is investigating the window blind...
I leave him to his explorations and go and weed the front border.
There are several pots each containing a white hebe, accompanied by geraniums, lobelia and other brash annuals.
The two in crock terracotta pots are not flourishing.
So I replant them into less aesthetic, but more pragmatic plastic planters complete with reservoirs....  They are completely pot bound.
I hope they forgive the disturbance, and appreciate their fresh new soil, more regular water supply, and space to grow!

The sun breaks through the cloud,
I pause from my labours to appreciate the beauty of this September afternoon.
Over on the allotments, smoke billows up.

Oak leaves have fallen from the trees above,  contrasting with the fresh green of the still growing grass.

On the patio, a potted shrub is undergoing a sudden resurgence,
with a second flowering of small delicate pink blooms.

The sweet peas, however, have been disappointing,
showing much potential,
but failing to produce a single bloom!
One bud that showed potential,
has been dined on by some predator,
and hangs its head dismally in shame!

The lawn is looking ragged and unkept.
One man went to mow,
and soon the beautiful stripes are restored,
hiding the numerous undulations,
at least until you walk across it,
and find yourself lurching alarmingly! Interestingly children seem unaffected by the contorted contours!

The Japanese Anemones,
purchased from a church fun day,
hold their own - mocking the paltry attempts of the sweet peas...

Against the fence on the eastern side
four sunflowers turn slowly to seed,
while they wait they peer over the fence by the garage and keep an eye on the neighbours...
Amusingly these beauties were given to me by my next door neighbour before we moved...

Autumn officially begins on the 23rd September,
but in my garden today it felt like it had already arrived,
overtaking summer,
which gives no real impression of wanting to linger.
So we live in this gap between seasons - enjoying the sunshine,
and anticipating the colours of autumn.