Saturday, 30 April 2011

Missed a day! But I just didn't have a moment to spare...

Neil gets married today! Yesterday started off with a call from my Mum saying she wasn't going to be able to come and help do the flowers in the church... at 6.40am!! And she had all the greenery and the ribbons and the oasis and - well all the stuff we were going to use with the exception of the flowers, which were to be booked up locally. Aaarrgghh PANIC!

However, I managed to regain composure and sorted a plan in my ind in the time it took to shower. I drove to hers picked up the stuff ands still arrived at the church on time! The only hiccup was that my phone didn't have a signal and Neil was trying to reach me! But we all got together in the end and extra folk pitched in!

In fact - as so often - out of adversity comes a real blessing. Naomi (daughter) and Colin (her fiance) arrived with my Mum-in-law. They ALL did arrangements, Colin becoming quite creative with ivy! Neil swept up and arranged chairs. Ray (his future father-in-law) got up a step ladder and helped me deliver the hanging arrangements on the columns! Nicola and her brother-in-law Andy turned up with food.

A fabulous, wonderful family effort. In some ways its what weddings are all about - a celebration of all that is family!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

This weekend is all about family...

The obvious family celebration tomorrow. Though it some times seems like they are packaged as a reality TV programme - by the media, not necessarily by their own volition

But we're embroiled in our own family celebration - our son, my son gets married on Saturday and the work to prepare for it truly started today!! I crammed the normal weekend chores into a single day and added a whole load of others, including welcoming to close family friends from Taiwan to stay and also I'd agreed to give a talk at a local church about my reflections on General Synod!!

If nothing else proves that I'm mad that does - it must've seemed like a good idea at the time... but as I gulped down my supper and looked at the still enormous 'to do' list I questioned my sanity.

As it was the talk must've gone well because there were lots of questions afterwards and they want me to return! What a gift - being able to make the government of the Church of England look and sound interesting!

I've finished packing. I just have to pack up the laptop and prepare for the fun of tomorrow... LOTS of flowers to arrange and a church to make even more beautiful...

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

I woke up at 5.30 this morning and just couldn't switch my mind off and go back to sleep! I hate it when that happens - its bad enough in the middle of the night but at least its worth going back to sleep but when its within an hour or so of the alarm going off its hardly worth the effort!

However, I made at least one major decision that I'm still grappling with it - trying to work out if it was merely a result of some state of over anxiety brought on by the early hour or if it is a wise move. Then I ran over all sorts of things I have to do in advance of the wedding - ours not the 'other one'! I then remembered a really random email that I needed to answer and, when that happened, realised the battle was lost!

I was awake!

Its interesting how the time of day influences our reactions and thought processes. Maybe its the solitude and peace that comes with night-time that exacerbates things. Even if you have someone else in the bed or room its still, often, a lonely time and place. Problems seem more dramatic and scary. Resolutions feel more frantic and urgent. I invariably end up having very vivid conversations with God. Real and gritty discussions that challenge (me - of course!)

In the end there was only one thing for it...

I got up!!

Its already been a long day and I don't get into Norwich until 11pm tonight!

At least I can cross roads there and not trip over campers or have a camera follow me! We're now barricaded in, post boxes are sealed, roads well and truly blocked. It makes the preparations for our wedding this weekend look pathetic!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Has someone closed London?

The office is so empty and quiet. The tube had a range of seats to choose from. Even the train into London this morning was approaching 'deserted'. However, tourists seem to be making up the difference! Wandering along streets noses in printed out maps or following their personal GPS system... Stopping abruptly on streets and platforms. trying to stuff the wrong card/ticket into a gate...

You can sense my rising frustration can't you...

I guess working where I do doesn't help, there's no way to avoid sightseers even in a 'normal' week.

It makes me realise how easy it is to slip into being selfish and inflexible. How simple it is to get into a defined routine that has to happen like clock-work, smoothly, seamlessly without hassle.

Its not the first time I've realised I'm becoming selfish ad self-centred. I realised that a decade ago when I went to Taize for a week and really resented the lack of personal space and being told where to be and what to and what to eat and what (not) to drink! I was quite angry by the end of the week and surprised by the depth and vehemence of that anger.

Becoming aware of ones own failings is a good thing - provided you do something about it!!

Monday, 25 April 2011

New life... an egg has been laid by peregrine falcons at the base of the spire of Norwich Cathedral - as the congregation attended Easter services.

Then my Mum texted me to say that the blackbird's that are nesting in her garden have hatched. Such tiny weeny fragile little creatures. All huge bulging eyes and translucent skin.

The weather has continued to be amazing so I have been doing all sorts of things that will probably immobilise me tomorrow! I cleaned the car inside and out, then waxed and polished it till it gleamed.

Not content with that I then decided to creosote the fence - except it isn't creosote anymore, its something that looks the same but doesn't have the smell and can wash off the brush in water!

Having had to bend down and contort my back in some rather unnatural ways I then decided to go along to the health club I belong to for a sauna.... Now that is my idea of bliss!!

As I drove into the car park there was the youngest fledgling ever. I suspect it had only left the nest that day. No tail - or hardly any - standing still in the middle of the drive. As my car approached he did eventually panic and try to fly away.

Delightfully gauche new life...

As for the sauna... I'd forgotten how fabulous it is and how relaxing I find them... I almost fell asleep... my breathing had just dipped into a sort of semi-snore. I feel chilled just thinking of it!

(What an inappropriate use of words!!)

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Easter Day! For me its a bit like Christmas Day... the time leading up to it is full of preparations and then the day itself dawns! And its over in a flash!

I don't need much excuse to dress the house and make it look beautiful. I've already told you that! Its a feast day, a festival! And for me that means one thing... going to church - because feast days and festivals always involve that!

I saw a headline on the BBC website about a Chinese Christian and it reminded me of the time that we spent Easter Day in Beijing... We were in a hotel that was next door to a Catholic Cathedral. The coaches of people never stopped turning up on Easter Sunday. We managed to squeeze into a service but it was constant movement and people trying to get into the building to celebrate the festival!

Its a bit like that in your average Church of England parish - not... sadly. I sometimes wonder if its too easy for us... We've certainly become dulled to the message of the Easter story. Dulled by its familiarity. Yet the story is so incredulous to be almost beyond belief...

New life. The reason behind the Easter festivities...

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Ooops! The Queen was 85 on Thursday so that means I got he number of Maundy money folk wrong... Hmmm I think that shows where I stand when it comes to the Royal family...

Today had been sooo warm! I feels like August rather than April and I have spent lots of time watering the plants in the garden. Even the established ones are beginning to look decidedly peeky! But how wonderful to have the whole four days of Easter so delightfully sunny... though as I write this we're about to put the curse on the weather in Norwich by lighting up the barbecue! In fact the clouds are gathering at the mere hint of the preparations we've done.

Still it won't be the first time we've barbecued under a large umbrella and its not likely to be the last!!

I've put the cover back on the garden table and chairs in a pathetic effort to stem the inevitable. Playing psychological mind-games with the weather is really rather desperate!!

Spring just seems to be happening at double quick time though... I saw the first Marguerite daisy on the road side this afternoon. The cheery blossom is already falling - it only came out last week...

English weather is rarely dull... actually its often dull as in grey and overcast but its rarely dull as in boring!!

I just wish the clouds that are gathering were as wispy as those in the photo...

Friday, 22 April 2011

I love beech trees in the spring - their leaves are just fantastic!

The 'ordinary' beech, the green leaved variety are such an amazing colour - vivid, bright, yellow-y lime green so paper thin when they emerge from the bud that you could almost believe you could see through them. They keep their colour for quite some time before they grow old and dull.

But their cousin the copper beech are just on another scale in terms of beauty! Their fresh, new leaves are stunningly beautiful. They are almost the colour of flesh when they emerge. Then they unfold and spread out they begin to change to a shade that is hard to describe but is somewhere between burnished copper and a vintage red wine....

Trees are an integral and precious part of our ecosystem... as well as being exquisitely stunning.

A tree featured in my thoughts today... or maybe I should say a structure that was originally from a tree...

Good Friday - a curious name to give such a dark and forlorn day.

I was transported back to Jerusalem - immediately. To the smells and the crowds. To the hustle and bustle of the tiny covered streets. To the noise and the smells. To the jostling... I'm glad I wasn't jeered...

Hands that flung stars into space, to cruel nails surrendered

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Maundy Thursday...

I went to work this morning and found Westminster buzzing with people. They were snaking their way around the streets as they queued to get into the Abbey. It was a special Maundy Thursday though, because it was also the Queen's birthday. 84 men and 84 women received the specially minted coins... and the mother of a friend of mine was one of them!

I think there are some amazing traditions in the UK and this is one of them. I love the little posies that they receive - even Prince Philip gets one! I was told that's a throw back to when the ordinary folk didn't smell that sweet... who knows!

I love preparing for Easter as much as I love preparing for Christmas. Dressing the house and making it look festive and distinctive. Ever since we went to Switzerland at Easter in 1987 I've been making dyed eggs, using leaves from the garden to decorate them.

This year I've added a new feature - little eggs hanging from the bay tree at the front door...

Maundy Thursday is poignant... a gift that we still recreate... the last supper

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Some things just strike me as odd!

I was on an early-ish train to Liverpool this morning and as I walked along the platform at Euston station I was quite taken aback to see a set of footprints on the tarmac beneath me! Not fresh or damp. Not shiny or slippery. But distinct and clear, left and right prints.

Is it just me or do you also feel compelled to follow, implant your own footprints onto those?

There is something that draws me to measure my footfall against those. When I'm at the beach for example I often see what it feels like to trace the walk and gait of others. Its almost like you get a better sense of that person. It might be a complete stranger but you can immediately tell if they like to step out, for example, by the length of their stride.

If you have time and care to examine footprints more closely - especially in sand - then you can also work out where folk put the pressure on their feet. If they have an uneven walk then you can tell. If they're running then heels 'disappear'...

So much from something so 'insignificant'.

To follow in someone's footprints bring many thoughts to mind. Its an honour to follow them. Its often a challenge as well. On occasions it can be quite tough. At other times it offers comfort.

It invariably a privilege though because you are continuing their work... where they left off...

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

This morning as I emerged from the tube and went through the gates a gorgeous black and white spaniel greeted me the other side of the exit gate. How sweet you might think... when the reality was how sinister. It was a sniffer dog and came complete with two burly police handlers.

Apparently there's a wedding happening soon, somewhere near here... roads are being shut. drains peered into. Every inch is being combed in the hope that any malicious act might be foiled. I wonder if the dog or one of its 'doggy colleagues' will be there every day from now until the end of April?

Every possible vantage point is now adorned with scaffolding to maximise capacity - and (I suspect) earning potential. The media frenzy that we're starting to see in our papers and on our screens is clearly nothing in comparison with what's to come...

I'm rather relieved that I shall be preparing for my own family wedding celebration. One that will attract just a tad less attention but actually still means exactly the same for the two folk involved. Brides and grooms share the same intentions and hopes, dreams and desires. They long for happiness, for the fairytale happy ending.

I'm just glad we don't have to worry about getting in sniffer dogs... there's enough else to plan for without that!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Manmade things can be sooo ugly!

For the last twelve plus years I have looked out on a flood meadow more or less each Monday morning from my train carriage. I love to see the seasons pass by and the marvel at how the 'landscape' changes. The little river that flows alongside it meanders beautifully sometimes with grace and calm dignity and at other times it churns and swells.

In the autumn and winter it regularly bursts its banks, spilling its contents in such an elegant way and thereby doing what it says on the tin and flooding the meadow... Flocks of birds land in/on it and paddle and possibly even find some tasty morsels to eat.

However... someone has decided to carve some extra channels/ditches into the meadow and they look horrid. They are square sided and straight. Nature has yet to colonise their banks so they look like great big gashes. Wounds on the perfection of nature.

They really are quite ugly! Offensive even....

I'm not sure who decided to do it or why because the meadow is still under water - despite the lack of rain recently. I shall watch over the coming months to see if it does improve and becomes blended into the beauty of the original... but I doubt those harsh straight lines will ever be softened..

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Its Palm Sunday today. I begin the journey to Easter... the last time I did that I was in Jerusalem - we experienced Holy Week in a day.

This morning we walked from the village green to the church - it was beautiful but not quite the same as being in Jerusalem and walking in the steps that legend has it the Christ walked. I have to admit that I suspended reality in many places and at many times. Who can prove that this is actually the very spot that this or that happened? And does exactness matter any way?

I got so much from just being in the vicinity. I got to understand what it might have been like to be in a city like Jerusalem. Not exactly the same but the tiny lanes, the noises, the temperature, the smells, the crowds, the jostling - all will have been similar.

It was a lovely day here. The sun shone and I took the cover off the table and chairs in the garden. We even risked a barbecue and that didn't invoke rain - highly unusual.

Some times its really hard to make that leap. To transfer how it felt to suddenly realise what Holy Week was really like to the reality of daily life. Its not easy. Life seems so distant or maybe its the grim truth of the crucifixion that is difficult to translate - or easy to hide from.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

I've been weeding my garden today.

I love my garden, its still very new - only just a year old and watching how it has grown in that time has become a real delight. I only see it each week so I really notice the difference.

But back to the weeding. I think I know a reasonable amount about plants but when they're tiny its quite tricky to tell the difference. Aquilegia - is a favourite of mine and it always produces lots and lots of weeny black seeds that I like to shake over the garden. But, the seedlings are quite similar to those of wild clover - which is a weed and once it takes hold its a nightmare to get rid of! I know...

Some times people are like that...

They look similar to something familiar. You think you know them. In fact that pretend to be what you know - maybe not deliberately but they do so none the less. Then when they start to grow you suddenly realise that they're different and threatening. They stifle the all around them by taking over.

It takes time. wisdom and experience to spot a weed... I'm still learning!

Friday, 15 April 2011

I find the diversity of folk I encounter on the tube each day fascinating.

The human form is pretty standard really, or at least you think so until you start to look around. The obvious difference are height - or lack of it - shape - often too much of it and sometimes (far too often) to little of it... Then you notice skin tone and hair colour - or lack of it - the latter made all the more exciting by the multiplicity of dyes available combined with the skills of hair technicians (I learnt that was a profession yesterday!) and a greater acceptance of individuality.

I notice fashion - in London in particular, that same recognition of individuality adds much more style and colour to clothes. I notice languages - possibly most of all, because you can be aware of the spoken word without seeming to be rude - looking is easily mistaken for staring, which might be offensive...

I love to listen to the intonations of various languages. I really love listening to the sing-song tones of far eastern languages, so utterly beyond understanding they almost become a sort of music. You can pick-up moods and tensions.

I also notice people's state of well-being. The often proud but clearly homeless folk who sit up a corner trying to be invisible. Those who are burdened by exhaustion. Those who resemble hamsters on a wheel, just going through the motions to keep up. Those who are vibrant and full of vigour. Those who are trying to hide their sadness.

The human form is pretty standard really...

Thursday, 14 April 2011

A new lease of life!

That's a phrase we often hear isn't it. "have you noticed, so-and-so has got a new lease of life" and the next word is often "since". Since they changed jobs. Since they retired. Since they fell in love. Since they recovered from... that illness, that relationship breakdown, that accident.

The list is almost infinite. But the difference is real.

I've been thinking a lot about change today. Change pervades my life quite a bit at the moment. My work life is a constant sea of change and my family life is pretty similar at present!

But what I was chewing on was mainly focused at the way change goes down at work, with my colleagues, with the people in my team. Some handle it, others don't. Some thrive, others shrink.

I know I thrive on change at work, though I don't do it for the sake of it - I am a fully paid-up member of the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" club! But change seems to be an essential part of business life today. Some folk handle changes on process but feel unsettled by physical changes in the office, a move to a new floor or different building can be a real challenge.

I've learnt to enjoy change at home. Having kids almost forces that! Kids are change. They grow each day. They learn something new. They discover a fresh skill or gift. They constantly push the boundaries. And then they peak... or at least you think they do.

But the reality is that their pace of change just alters, slows down. They still change. They move away from home - and then boomerang back when funds are low. They form relationships... that some times end in a serious, life-long commitment.

I'm going through most of the above at the moment - and its exhausting! I feel ten years older! But we grow through experiencing and dealing with change. We deepen our spirituality...

So it was delightful to see a colleague who retired recently back in the office for a chat. She does look well and truly like she has had a large new lease of life... It gave me a bit of a boost!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

There are some things that just don't seem 'quite right'!

I came out of my office building last night and the first thing that hit me was the smell of a barbecue. Its bad enough that its still mid-April so that makes it highly unlikely but even more so when you think that I work in the middle of Westminster!

My supper carried on the theme - I was at a church listening to a Lent lecture so it was a sort of pack-up meal. My friend had filled hot cross buns with apricot jam - not too bad, peanut butter - hmmm not something I'd experienced before and cheese definitely outside my taste experience - ever! All were rather delicious but two were on my not 'quite right' scale!

We have so many expectations don't we... Of people and places, of tastes and textures, of right and wrong, good and bad. But our scale may not be the same as the next persons... In fact its highly likely it won't be unless you're a parent and the people involved are your children - though even then that's not a given.

Squaring our joint but different expectations in life is quite a task. It is often the glue that binds a relationship - when it works well - or the final nail in the proverbial coffin - when it doesn't.

I rather like it when I get challenged by something that is not what or as I expected. It shakes me out of my sloth! It makes me think about why... and it challenges me to evaluate just how important that difference is...

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

I work in an open plan office... In some ways I always have - throughout my career. Though initially for office read lab! Actually all the labs I've worked in have been for many more than one person, working with chemicals on your own is not the best plan!

But since I've moved into a role that is desk based I've always worked open plan and never felt the need or even the desire to have a little room on my own. Though in my 'business' - like so many others I imagine - space often equates to status and 'personal' space is definitely a significantly higher rung on the ladder! Or maybe - you know those extendable ladders - its a whole new 'piece' of ladder!!

I like the chance to hear what's going on... that says a lot about how inquisitive I am - some call it nosey! But I work in a busy environment where things happen at a pace. Often I can pick up little wriggles that have the potential to turn into a major problem by over-hearing a telephone conversation for example.

I love the buzz of conversation. I find it highly amusing to hear the ring tones people use. The different little bleeps for texts. You can tell a lot about people by their ring tones, maybe that's a whole subject for a thesis!

Today there were only a few folk in so it was really quiet! It was strange almost like being in a place where you have to be quiet! A library or a church maybe. It just didn't feel the same let alone right. Almost like there was a frisson of tension in the air. Who was going to speak loudly first or laugh even.

Does everyone pick up those signals? Do all people sense the same emotional environment I do?

I suspect the answer is no. I suspect we all pick up different 'vibes' and I am sure some people pick up none whatsoever! Its all part of knowing how to live in a harmonious way... or in a community...

Monday, 11 April 2011

Tranquil... A word that lingers on the tongue and invades your very being...

If you let it!

I often have a sense of tranquility touching my life on a Monday morning. Cocooned in the train as it makes its way inexorably towards London and busy-ness. Watching the world go by, reading newspapers, indulging in consuming whole articles as opposed to skim reading the first paragraph!

Seeing regal swans glide with seeming effortlessness across expanses of still water just adds to the sense of peace and "all being well with the world"...

Delightful... Time to be... Time for me... How deliciously selfish!

How fortunate am I to have this space?? To be able to wallow in being surrounded by people and chatter, creation and passing time yet utterly isolated and alone...

And then the train arrived at its destination and its been busy, busy ever since... How precious are those short two hours...

Sunday, 10 April 2011

I saw a magpie today. It flew across my path with a twig in its beak that was longer than it was!

It must really mess up the aerodynamics of flight - to have such a huge in balance. But it seemed to manage OK. Nest building is wonderful. It is so diverse. There are birds that just put together a mass of twigs and others that truly weave their 'home'. Some line them with moss or feathers or even the lints/fluff that comes out of the drier.

When I was doing my final exams at school many, many years ago one of my friends did a project looking at the fleas and insects that could be found in different nests - to see if there was a difference. Fascinating things - nests!

I've been doing some nesting myself! Neil (son) and Nicola (his fiancee) moved into their new home yesterday and will marry in 3 weeks! Neil will be here during the week to collect some bits and pieces of furniture - including a small wardrobe that I've promised him.

At the same time Naomi (daughter) and Colin (her fiance) will move in here for a month or so until they emigrate so I had to empty their drawers and wardrobe so they have room for their clothes. Well the ones that won't go into the container taking everything else.

At no time did I carry anything in my 'beak' but I can tell you now my back knows I've been 'nesting'!!

I am thankful that I have to and can do it...

By the way - I didn't find any bugs or other little nasties....

Saturday, 9 April 2011

I've just had THE most wonderful day.

It started well because we had friends staying overnight so breakfast was long, leisurely and satisfying. (We didn't eat again for another 7 hours... and then only a toasted hot cross bun! In fact the taste still lingers...)

But then we went to the north Norfolk coast to a place called Brancaster - to walk round a golf course called Royal West Norfolk... The thing that Pete (Hubby) said that struck a chord as we marched towards was "this course is hand-crafted by the Maker". Its a fabulous links course, its contours moulded and etched over time by wind, tides and nature in its broadest sense.

The golf was a distraction! The tide was on the way out and folk were making the most of a clear blue sky. Spring was tumbling out all over the place, bursting forth from its winter straitjacket. I saw the most incredible 'silk nests' from which tens of tiny caterpillars were emerging! I must check out what they were - apart from an abundant and readily available food supply for hungry hatchlings.

I've added a couple of photos but what I can't capture is the smell of the sea or the sound of the larks... I hope you can add that with your imagination - or better still find a similar location and wallow in it yourself...

Friday, 8 April 2011


I love bridges. My favourite bridge in London is the Hungerford Bridge, its beautiful and just for pedestrians (and trains!) Its lit up at night in such a way that attracts you.

I adore the bridge across the Victoria Dock outside the Excel centre - not because it pretty but because the scenes from it are stunning.

There is that magnificent bridge in the south of France that almost looks like it is suspended - full stop!

There are aqueducts and viaducts and the amazing Ironbridge that gives a place a name...

I'm currently watching the golf from August and the bridges across the water are superb, mostly for the perfect patterns that they form with the water.

Bridges are important. They join places and people. They create a new path.

Bridges are key in relationships...

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Don't you see some strange things in our streets?

Earlier this week I had to smile, even stifle a laugh, when a young man rode by me on a Boris bike (I'm assuming everyone has heard of out bike hire scheme in London and the nick name they've been given courtesy of our rather flamboyant major...). That in itself is not enough to make you laugh but when he holding the handle bars with one hand and an enormous black umbrella with the other it is rather amusing!

Though potentially dangerous!

Then a utility company are digging up the road outside our office. The hole is deep and yesterday I watched - with more amusement - as three of them stood around peering into it scratching their heads. Immediately I could hear Bernard Cribbins singing...

There I was, a-digging this hole A hole in the ground, so big and sort of round it was

There was I, digging it deep It was flat at at the bottom and the sides were steep

When along, comes this bloke in a bowler which he lifted and scratched his head

Well we looked down the hole, poor demented soul and he said

Do you mind if I make a suggestion?

Don't dig there, dig it elsewhere Your digging it round and it ought to be square

The shape of it's wrong, it's much much too long And you can't put hole where a hole don't belong

If that wasn't enough this morning as I came into work some (possibly) other workmen were playing loud pop music and one of them was video-ing the other on his phone - I expect it'll be on youtube before long!

Don't you just love the things that go on all around us every day???! Wonderful, wacky things. Equally serious solemn things. But life plays out before our eyes in all its brilliant rich variety.

I'm really glad that I can enjoy it!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Do you remember your dreams?

I don't all the time and I know people who never do but every so often I have a dream that is so vivid that I can recall it like I've watched a show on TV or a film at the cinema! I even have what I call serial dreams, ones that happen in a series that I pick up on a different night some times weeks apart but that continue a story that I started in a previous dream... I have no idea whether or not that is unusual.

Last night I had a dream that would be worthy of engaging Tim Burton to Direct! The whole dream was just wacky! I mean surreal, with people completely out of context and 'sets' that were only just short of being classified as utterly bizarre.

It ended with me swimming in a deep slow moving river where wide circles of ever moving/changing shape pretty red "insects" floated around us. I was swimming with my friend from infant school days (who now lives in Australia!). As we swam into these circles I suddenly became aware that the feather-y "insects" were in fact jelly fish tentacles! For some reason I was in a swimsuit (I think...) but I had bare arms - my friend was in a wet suit!!

At that point I woke up with a jelly fish wrapped round my left upper arm... quite exhausted - though not panicking!

I find dreams fascinating. What on earth did that mean? Did it mean anything at all?

A couple of years ago I did a course in Spiritual Direction and one of the modules was interpreting dreams. I was transfixed the whole day - not least because of the concept that God speaks to us through dreams.

I'm not sure what his message to me was last night - maybe it was to tell me to slow down and let my poor brain have a rest!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

I had a "flashback to my childhood" moment earlier today.

One of my colleagues was talking about a food supplement product described as 'tasteless cod liver oil'. Immediately I was about 4 years old standing in front of my mother, mouth wide open, who was wielding a teaspoon with a daily dose of cod liver oil that I had to swallow. Fortunately I wasn't that bothered by it though I know its not to everyone's liking.

It also made me remember the thick, syrupy orange liquid that swiftly followed the oil. I guess they were both providing me with essential nutrients in an era where food rationing had not long ceased to be a part of daily post war life.

How times have changed... at least here in the UK for the most part young people have a balanced diet, though even here there are still areas of poverty and malnourishment.

The whole image got me thinking, not just about the memory of being fed 'medicines' - we also used to get given tablets (for all sorts, from toothache to travel sickness pills) crushed in a spoonful of jam - unlike the sugar Mary Poppins dispensed! We survived and grew up strong.

I contrast our choice and relative food wealth with those whose bellies are distended from hunger. I look shame-faced at the waste we produce and am challenged about the injustice of it all. I think about the use of precious water supplies to irrigate luxury crops for our voracious appetites. I think about fair trade...

I actually and firmly believe that there is enough provision in this world to go round, to feed everyone... so why isn't it working??

Monday, 4 April 2011




These are things that we can all do, its not the exclusive domain of women who have borne children, nor even of parents. There are times in our lives when we all have to mother, nurture and cherish.

At home with our whole extended family - we even have to "upward-mother" to tweak a management phrase!

At work with our colleagues of all ages and grades, those senior as well as those junior - we are all human, vulnerable and in need of occasionally being mothered.

At leisure, for those who are our friends, those who we socialise with and relax with.

Mothering is part of valuing others. Not necessarily of loving them so much as caring for them.

God is a mothering God... nurturing and cherishing us, helping us grow and learn, encouraging us to strike out alone but always being there when we need support...

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Aaaaggghhh! Missed another day... but I just ran out of minutes! Life is too busy!

However, I will download the joy of spring in this little bit of the world. The garden is a sea of colours, yellows, purples, even the odd hint of red here and there. All the hardy perennials are bursting into life - they grow so quickly you could almost sit and watch them! And to greet my return on Friday night were two delicate fritillary's, their heads nodding ever so gently in the breeze. Stunning!

Yesterday we finished staining the fences round the garden. We started last summer but then winter came and it just wasn't the right time to continue. Pete did the vast majority of it by I managed a small panel. As I was carefully applying the stain I could hear the goldfinches chattering away with what I am sure was definite indignation - how dare she be in the garden! We're hungry and need to eat! Wonderful...

Then this morning walking to and from our little parish church I was just plain spoilt by the abundance of natures rich beauty! Buds of every shape and colour exploding on the bare branches. I particulary love larch, hence the photo today. Its buds are tiny expolsions of bright green with the most gorgeous red flowers. I also saw great clumps of daffodils and shy primroses clinging to steep, shady banks.

But what joy to see and hear the birds. A jay flew in front of me, alighted in a bush and squawked noisily. However, the most exciting bird I sighted was a heron as it spiralled in to land by the balancing pond near my home. I stood absolutely still almost hidden in the dry reeds. They are so perfectly, elegant. So sleek... yet so deadly!

Friday, 1 April 2011

When you walk along a street what do you??

I always look up - my eyes are drawn to the top of buildings... are yours? I suspect I'm a liability though! I rarely see what's in front of me or if I'm going to bump into folk!

Yesterday evening I walked from work in Westminster up to Soho where I was going to see a film at the Curzon cinema with my new flatmate. I decided on my route before setting out - there was no doubt which way I'd go... along Horse Guards towards The Mall.

That road is edged on one side by the beauty of St James Park and on the other by the most magnificent buildings. Just before you get to the back of Downing Street in the building where the Cabinet War Rooms reside there is the most splendid building. I ought to know what it is but it doesn't matter... it might be the Treasury... but it really doesn't matter!

I was transfixed. Its really crazy because I must've been by that so many time but last night I looked up!

The detail took my breath away! There were different stones used so that natural colours were used to heighten the beauty and relieve the monotone of the main stone. There were carvings and stunning statues. There was a balustrade edging the roof that looked so ornate you began to wonder why...

I think it helped that the sky was blue and the sun was out but never the less it was just wonderful!

So why not try living dangerously in the coming days and look up... not down!