Hope your week has been lovely. We have painted  a bedroom which was thrilling and we went to the pictures. There was nothing on that we wanted to see really but we wanted to go and see SOMETHING so we went to see Mission Impossible. Unfortunately, the cinema had decided to change the times of the showings on their website (not for the first time) so we missed it. We were there, and we had made an effort and had a wash and things so Mama Mia 2 it was! Hurrah! Well, I have to say that the charms of the first one, apart from a few Meryl Streep bits, more or less escaped me, so it wasn’t the top choice but I had left the house and was determined to do something wild and entertaining so in we went.

JUST A BIT SPOILERY HERE – NOT A LOT BUT YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. FOW2 who has seen it several times, texted me a warning. “It’s quite lovely, but you have to suspend your disbelief for the first twenty minutes and DON’T BE SO SNOBBY!” Well – suspend your disbelief – indeed. I had to staple my disbelief to the ceiling with an industrial staple gun. Lily James, who acts with her hair a lot, drifts through life and half the men in Greece while people give her hotels and let her band sing in their cafes and even deliver her baby. Then her daughter spends the second half of the film being told how proud everyone is of her – her mum, her dads, her friends, various Greek people – she makes them all proud every day. Which is nice. To me, it does seem a little bit of a low bar because all she seems to have done is renovated a hotel. However, it is a very nice hotel and she too has lovely hair. Having said all that Julie Walters is worth the ticket price alone and there is an undeniable feel-good factor. I’m moaning but I have spent a lot worse hours in the cinema.

Aged Parent has had her plaster from her wrist removed and all is well. She has been given exercises to do which she promised to undertake faithfully just as soon as the wrist had stopped aching. She was quite put out when the physio explained that the exercises needed to be begun immediately to stop the aching. She is distinctly unimpressed with the medical profession who have joined the police on her list of overrated public services. HOH then took her to the bank to sort out her finances as she didn’t want to go with plaster on. (As usual I have no idea) For whatever reason she managed to pit her PIN number in incorrectly three times, promptly blocking her card. HOH then took her to the counter to sort it. The cashier, probably unwisely, informed Aged Parent, that, in these days of scams and frauds, sometimes older people came into banks with younger people who tried to get them to take money out under duress. During this rather startling statement, the cashier was staring very intently at 6 foot HOH. Aged Parent would have to speak to a lady in Coventry to convince that all was well. The Coventry based banker offered to phone AP’s mobile phone for ID. This did not go down well as it had been crushed under the wheel of the car that attacked her. In the end she lost patience.

“I will have you know that I have had a terrible ordeal. I have been run over in a horrific car accident, I have been ill for weeks, my daughter has paid all my bills and bought all my food because I was forbidden to leave my flat and she needs it back now!” (Almost 90% of this is not the whole truth. She is undaunted) She left twenty minutes later with exactly what she wanted. HOH says he can never go back there.

 

 

Yes, thank you for asking. Fighting fit now. Well, as fighting fit as I ever get. I can now walk up the hill to work without getting slightly panicky because I can’t breathe. We have a GP’s surgery at the top of said hill. I kept thinking that, if all else failed I could fall dramatically through their front door and they would revive me with exciting potions and new technologies. I have since been informed that, judging by their recent performance, it was more likely that they would look down at my prostrate form and say “Could you come back three weeks on Tuesday?”

Nice weekend had by all. On Saturday we had one of those nice things with chums where you sit down for breakfast coffee and before you know it, you are saying – “Does anyone fancy lunch”? We went to church on Sunday. Can I say something that is probably wrong? Sometimes I find church in the holidays a bit er….low key? Not that the staff etc shouldn’t take holidays. Indeed they should. I just sometimes wonder if any of us should be there. Half the congregation are missing. A lot of work had gone into a preach but I really couldn’t tell you what it was about, and I am a GOOD listener. I just wonder if we couldn’t do something a bit more creative with these summer gatherings. Like stay at home?

Sunday evening we watched something called Fake or Fortune which I have never seen before. I don’t think that I shall be bothering it again. It’s about art and paintings and the like. TV’s Fiona Bruce and a posh bloke are shown a painting, the provenance of which is uncertain. (Please note that TV’s Fiona Bruce says “Provenance” in a special way. To re-create the effect try saying it without moving your lips and with a slight French accent) We then watch as the evidence is collected to try and establish that the painting is genuine. (To my untutored eye, it seemed that they found enough evidence to convict Tiny Tim to be honest – what with the signature and handwriting being genuine, and the paints being the same as the paints found in the artist’s box and that was all before a Canadian expert – and we all trust Canadians – said that he felt that it was an original) So you could have knocked me down with a feather, when the expert who had first crossed this painting off her “genuine paintings list” wrote to them and said that she didn’t think that it was any good. Apparently, she just didn’t like the look of it. Art is brutal.

Aged Parent continues to make good progress and her cast is due off next week. She is concerned that her arm may have “gone rotten” underneath and is unimpressed by my assurance that this has never happened to any plastered limb – anywhere – anytime – ever. She was expecting the police to have contacted her by now to sort out the trial that she expected as she had decided that  (a) insurance fraud and (b) drink and drugs  were instrumental in her accident. I have gently reminded her that the paramedic felt that she had had a tiny nudge by a car from a standing start and also that there is absolutely no evidence of fraud and illicit substances. Also – perhaps a little less True Movies might make her less likely to see this stuff everywhere. I felt she was disappointed but content. I was wrong.

Aged Parent.       I have been watching. “Stop Police!” And it has done me good.

Me                          Oh yes?

Aged Parent        I have watched them arresting drug dealers and murderers.

Me (warily)         And how has it done you good?

Aged Parent        Well, at least there are some good police left after the way they let me down. I was talking to Iris – you know – her with the Crohn’s and the front teeth missing – and she told me that the police should have been running my case for me. 

Me                          What case!!? There is no “case”!

Aged Parent         Exactly. No case at all and whose fault is that?

Sometimes I am very tired. Have a great week.

 

First of all, if you have come expecting a cosy chat about Love Island, you have come to the wrong place, sorry. You must be new here. Later on, I am going to paste it. But first – anyone else hot or is it just me? I’ll be honest, I have very little of value to share because I have spent the week battling a chest infection. I am feeling quite smug because I have fought it off without resorting to antibiotics and have therefore saved the world from certain catastrophe caused by overuse of antibiotics. You are more than welcome. However, it does mean that life has been even more uneventful than usual. Well, I say uneventful – FOW2 moved out so it is just us and the dog now. HOH and FOW1 did most of the heavy lifting with that (literally). They helped her to move and get the flat sorted along with her flat-mate. FOW1’s main piece of life advice for you this week is to avoid building IKEA drawers at all costs.

He is working tonight so I am spending the evening watching both Marple and Revenge of the Sith at the same time (via the medium of an over-used remote control) which is apparently quite annoying for anyone else in the room. There is also a recap programme on about Love Island but I’m giving that a miss. I know this makes me sound like a deranged Queen Victoria but I found it shocking. Everyone just hanging around in their bikinis, calling each  other names, picking each other up and then dropping people like hot stones. This is before we get to what goes on in the bedroom department. I think it shows a lack of respect for people, it increases the pressure on those who are already body conscious and is basically very depressing. There I have said it. I mean not everyone needs to be leading food missions to far flung shores or solving all philosophical problems caused by cloning but I think you really need to raise your bar just a little bit?

I have done quite a bit of reading while I have been under the weather. Firstly this. It’s about England and how the geography of the country has affected the way we developed. Coal, rivers, a rainy climate, hills rather than mountain ranges etc. All these things made the country develop the way it did – through the Industrial Revolution, the farming enclosures – along with the emergence of inventors and innovators. I found it really interesting. My history A level was partly about the Industrial Revolution so I knew quite a bit about the background but I don’t think you would need too much background knowledge. (I have just read that back and it sounds a bit dry – it isn’t – sorry everyone)

I have also read this. Sometimes, I think that I may not be that bright. Apparently, this was supposed to be very controversial but I seemed to miss it. The bit that I picked up on was that God wants us to live in his Kingdom now and, though heaven is important, things are meant to start straight away. I think that when I was young, it would have been a radical thought. I have heard Christians explain that all things can be borne without complaint because our rewards are waiting for us. This is good to know sometimes because Christians are unlikely to ever be the most popular kids in school and by their very nature they will be swimming against the tide. (See the popularity of Love Island) However, it has also been used to make people put up with terrible things from husbands, wives or others because, at least the future was rosy. It has been used to excuse poverty and bigotry because – at least there is always heaven. A good life is possible now – although it may not be a good life as defined by the donks who invented Love Island. I don’t think we can necessarily expect God to support us if our quest is to develop a washboard stomach, blow dry our eyelashes and earn squillions by selling the minutiae of your soul to the highest bidder. I think it is probably more about love, relationship, peace, kindness – you know the drill.

Also, I have just started a new book. Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders. It’s by Giles Brandereth who is an aquired tatse but I think he’s really funny. I am one chapter in. Oscar Wilde has come accross a ritualistic murder of a young boy, he asks for the opinion of his new friend – Arthur Conan Doyle (yes, that one) who believes him – even when the body disappears. So Wilde and his other frind who also happens to be Wordsworth’s grandson (yes that Wordsworth) are now about to delve into this terrible murder. I am thinking that, if all goes well, this might be completely preposterous. Bring it on!

 

The week has been mainly taken up with sorting out FOW2’s move out, HOH’s Birthday (he doesn’t want to talk about it. He feels the numbers in his age are the wrong way round) and trying to qualify for the Olympic Coughing Team. The sore throat spoken of last week (do try and remember) has turned into a hacking cough. Entertainingly for HOH it is worse when I lie down to try and sleep. I would move to the back room but FOW1 took his bed when he left so am showing willing by propping myself up on pillows. Not helping much – I keep waking up bent double with my face on my knees and panicking that I may have gone blind.

The Top Vicar came round as promised. As usual with new visitors, he made very bold statements about liking dogs but, after a short while, he was very relieved by our offer to lock our bouncy Jack Russell in the kitchen. Morecambe is only trying to be friendly but he does overdo it I know. It doesn’t help that HOH keeps telling people about how Morecambe once became so happy when the gas man came, that he widdled up his leg – just from pure joy. TV was wearing shorts and therefore also a guarded look whenever Morecambe ran up to him. The meeting went fine. I am not sure Vicar knows what to do with us. Not that he has to do anything of course, it’s not his responsibility to make us happy. I would just like to find my niche, you know? I am a woman but I work full time and my kids have left home so I don’t get to go to Toddler Club or Ladies’ Bible Study etc. We shall see.

Brexit continues to vex my troubled mind. I have stated that, on balance, I was a remainer. (Although it was a fine balance and, even if we had stayed, I would have liked to see plenty of reform) However, I held my hands up to the will of the people, as I have said. However, in the course of my work, I come across a lot of old people and…well, I’m finding it troubling that they had a vote. One chap kept going on about Churchill and how he wouldn’t have stood for it – Europe that is. Well…This is Churchill in 1957

We genuinely wish to join a European free trade area – and if our continental friends wish to reach agreement, I am quite sure a way can be found and that reasonable adjustments can be made to meet the essential interests of all.

Another bloke spoke about Margaret Thatcher and that her dearest wish was for us to leave, except, this is her speechwriter

“She fought hard for specific British advantages, where necessary to opt out of some of the EU arrangements, but she never in her time as prime minister contemplated or spoke about leaving the European Union.”

By all means vote for something you believe in but don’t base it on some fantasy idea about what a past leader would vote for. While you are at it, let’s see if we can canvas the support of Captain Mainwaring, Elsie Tanner, Richard The Lionheart and Gracie Fields as well.

I have spent more time than usual in front of the Telly Telly Bunkum Box (Thank you Roald Dahl for the genius description) and have come across “Keeping Faith” For those who don’t know, this is a Welsh Drama about a lawyer whose lawyer husband disappears – without trace – poof! Faith – for she is the lawyer wife in question, now has to find her husband, while keeping the law firm going and looking after her small children, All this she does admirably. Indeed, she seemed to spend most of the episode that I watched slinking in and out of police cells on her beautifully long legs and kicking off her lovely high heels to speak to clients. She has also developed a disconcerting habit of wafting into rooms in her underwear and lying down on a convenient table or worktop and staring up at the ceiling while being filmed from above. Now, I’m not saying I blame her and if I was as beautiful as she is, I would do my fair share of slinking as well (see above). All I’m saying is that when my friend’s cat went missing for about five hours, the only lying down she did was face down on the carpet while she cried and snotted for England so I would have expected Faith to be a bit more upset. Also, there is a baddie policewoman who is trying to pin the whole thing on Faith by the looks of things. We know she is a baddie because she has a terrible kind of Human League haircut, the most unflattering dark brown hair dye and a permanently disappointed air. Having said all this, HOH has annoyingly pointed out that I happily watched the whole thing from beginning to end and will certainly go back for the next episode. Bah!

Aged Parent continues to recover. I had arranged Meals on Wheels for a few weeks. (It’s now called Community Meals Service – not as catchy if you ask me) She had the first one which she declared delicious, then promptly cancelled the whole thing after the second meal arrived.

“They sent me a baked potato! One baked potato! Me! I ask you!”

I have no idea. Have a good week.

In my defence, I sat down to post here on Sunday and something horrible was going on with red words that I couldn’t understand and I couldn’t get into the blog at all. I don’t know about you but if something technical goes wrong when I blog, I have no idea where to start. I texted someone I know who is very technical but he is always very busy and didn’t have time to get back to me but then I signed on tonight and it is working. Maybe my technical person has done something remotely, maybe it would have got better anyway or maybe it’s a miracle.  YOU decide.

To update you, because I know you are worried about me. Aged Parent has come home, having made good progress. Well, to be honest, I think the respite care home may have got a bit fed up of her bellowing “EVERYONE IN HERE IS DEMENTED!” at perfectly sane people so they turfed her out. Her friend with the tight socks had put a lovely, rather touching note under the door about how much she missed her. So I left them, discussing all the gossip in the sheltered housing unit that Aged Parent had missed. They were both very taken with the news that someone had sprayed a full bottle of tomato ketchup over the front door of their neighbour. Why would someone do that? Against my better judgement, I decided to spice things up a bit and joked that maybe it was some kind of Mafia warning. Disconcertingly, they both felt this was completely plausible. I left them working through how their neighbour had come to the attention of the Mafia. Aged Parent has to have her arm in plaster for five weeks and she is very keen that I look on the Internet for a way to sue the driver who ran her over. (I am not going to look on the Internet)

So, Head Vicar visited tonight and managed to be very normal and nice. We blathered on like idiots about how strangely settled we had felt in the C of E after so many years in the Pentecostal movement. I, by the way, have to give some credit for this to Pen Wilcock and her amazing Hawk and the Dove series which is about monks and therefore a very structured way of life. All her characters are so lovely and approachable that I kind of felt an affinity with them which made me more settled with the idea of worship with an altar in the room etc. This would go against all my Aged Parent (male version) taught me as he is from a brethren background and feels that, in the main, Ian Paisley’s white mac was just the wrong side of frivolous.

On Tuesday night my head (complete with sore throat) hit the pillow and it was immediately filled with

  1. Aged Parent and multiple visits to check she isn’t living on chocolate oranges and trifle
  2. FOW2 and imminent move to Exeter
  3. FOW2’s imminent need for job to fund move to Exeter and Masters study
  4. Trips to shops for HOH’s birthday present
  5. Dog’s new hobby of waking at 4.30am and demanding to be taken into our bed
  6. Inability to lose half a stone and be able to zip up work dresses
  7. Remembering to clean bathroom just in case Head Vicar needs to go
  8. Returning linen jacket bought in sale because it gives me shoulders like Dave Batista
  9. Need to phone people in North of England to let them know about Aged Parent saga

All these things need to be done (except perhaps number 6) and lying there with eyes wide open on verge of minor panic attack, I was thinking about the quote above and then, rather ungraciously, I thought – “well it’s ok for you with your hours of reading and philosophising and nothing else”. However, when I thought about it, maybe he was saying that, ok these things have to be done and sometimes there is pressure but do things have to be done with worry and hand wringing? What if they were done with peace and calm and trust and then, while in the middle of doing all the things, I made sure that I slowed down before launching myself into the next exciting episode? Maybe it is possible to do many things slowly, eliminating hurry and replace it with deliberation and calm. I’m not saying I have ever found it to be so but if it were possible, I think it would be a very good thing.