So, head of house and my good self are back at work. Offspring are not back at school yet but all the telltale signs are there signalling the end of this year’s summer break.
You know summer is ending when…
1. The kids are back from summer camp and the back room has that funny “damp clothes, damp sleeping bags and sopping wet trainers” smell, as you try to work your way through the suitcases that they have kindly returned to you. Still, can’t all be bad news as questions such as “Was the weather awful?” are met with a puzzled look as if the weather was totally inconsequential.
2. Its getting warmer. Most people are back from their holidays. People who spent the last fortnight holidaying in Devon and Cornwall in what might optimistically be called “changeable” weather have now returned home, vowing to save up to go abroad next year. What they will never know is that as soon as they leave, the sun comes out. What’s that about?
3. The uniform rush is on. All good intentions to buy uniform at the beginning of the holidays evaporated in the glow of summer. Now we must join the hoards of people buying shirts in two packs of three (six shirts – why not five? Rip off perchance?) At least mine are too old for the seventh circle of hell that is queuing to have their feet measured in the shoe shop.
4. The house if full of resolutions about making lunch instead of buying it, walking instead of using the car everywhere, keeping up to date with homework, not agreeing to play bass at every single church meeting. Usual rubbish.
5. My mum is finalising arrangements for coming to stay at Christmas.
Like I said. All certain signs that summer is drawing to a close. We were out walking this week and other half took a photo of this cloud. Made me think about the cloud that God sent to tell Elijah that the drought was about to end. Not much of a sign when you are looking for a flood I suppose but it was a sign nonetheless. And a flood was indeed on the way. Perhaps its like life. Not all signs are impressive but they are still signs. And if God has sent you a sign that help is on the way then it just might well be.
Just back at work after two weeks leave. Is there something that happens in the space time continuum that makes this fortnight go ten times quicker than the other 50? There may be something about it in Revelation. I might look it up and get back to you. Possibly.
Anyway, packed hound off to kennels, teenagers into back of car with Ipods (not a peep from them until they spot a motorway service station with MacDonalds) and off we trundled to visit the north – the land of our birth.
Having once again imposed ourselves on some old friends for the week, we then set about “doing the visiting”. This is a delicate operation, only to be undertaken with extreme care. The balance has to be completely right, splitting time between those you want to see and those you are expected to see. There is then a sub division in each of these categories of who we want to see and who the children want to see. (People can often be moved from one category to another as far as the children are concerned if there is any chance that they will be given money) Even with the best will in the world and detailed planning on a napkin in afore mentioned fast food restaurant we still end up not getting round to everyone.
However, we managed a visit to our old church this time. Didn’t think we would know many people but were really touched by the warmth of the welcome. So many people remembered us, which was lovely. And we remembered – well nearly everyone who remembered us so that was nice. Our presence was announced from the front stage which, to be honest is always an awkward moment as you don’t know whether to smile shyly, or wave a bit or stand up and blow kisses. In the end you sort of do a bit of all three which makes it look as if you are standing up to shake off a bad attack of cramp so not a good look.
The best part is seeing people and then see their faces light up as the remember and recognise you. Made me wonder if it was like Heaven. Will we be wandering around looking at faces and suddenly recognising someone we love. And will our faces light up with the joy of spending time together again? How cool would that be?
Anyway back in Devon now (to warmer, dryer weather) and glad to be home. However, couple of things to deal with.
Have managed to pick fight with man who installed phones at work. They aren’t working properly and haven’t done so since installed and when I complained he said I was attacking his staff with venom! Me? Superwimp? Even the people in the office with me said they thought I was too soft. Have to work out how to deal with this now. No good going off in sulk like I usually do. That will never get the phones fixed. (Please do not send in advice about other cheeks, etc. Unfortunately I am too mad and immature to take it at the moment)
Also, am part of communications team at church producing material for website supporting series on Seven Deadly Sins. In weak moment agreed to do “lust”! What was I thinking of? Where will I get info for this? Can you imagine what would come up if I Googled it?
Here at Hargreaves Towers, many things too numerous to mention, clamour for attention in the day to day war of attrition we like to call “family”. When our children were young, they thought as we did – because we told them to and what we liked – they liked because we were their heroes. Those times have long passed and now, when being allowed to go out with them in public is a bonus (unless, of course, we are on our way to the cash machine) things are very different. One ongoing bone of contention is church worship. Last Sunday we had what is now termed an “animated discussion” about son’s failure to sing to a certain hymn. His reply – that he couldn’t see the point of repeating “16th century irrelevant phrases ” made me think a bit about Christian music.
I am a hymn fan. My wedding was full of ’em. That was in the days before weddings were full of Disney songs and Witney Houston. (Least favourite wedding opening. Bride entering to “Can you feel the love tonight?” from the Lion King. Bit of an awkward moment.) Yep,Fanny Crosby, HF Lyte and Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Chas Wesley. I love it. But. I’m kind of thinking that they work best in their context. I don’t mean we shouldn’t sing them. Just that they should be sung how they were written. I think Amazing Grace works better without a drum’n’bass track. And maybe “When I Survey” can live without a sixties style melody to “appeal to the young people”.
In the same way songs written by Tim Hughes or Matt Redman with a loud guitar riff needs to retain that. I’m never sure about singing these songs sort of toned down for an older audience. You know the kind of thing “Oh happy day! (cue drum cymbals – chink a chink,chink a chink) Happy Day (chink a chink) You washed my sins away! (ker chink!) Even someone like me who hasn’t jumped up vertically with both feet off the ground since Steve Coppell was scoring from outside the penalty box in 1976 appreciates that these songs work best played so that people can jump, clap, wave and all that jazz. Thinking that maybe we should mix and match a bit. Sing each others stuff generously as it was meant to be sung and put a bit of effort in. Its not all about you you know!
Back at work this week so unable to settle long enough to bless you with deep thoughts and insights so try and get by without the bedrock of my wisdom but think on these things.
1. Richard Dawkins is arranging to arrest the Pope. Leaving aside the deep moral and spiritual issues I feel Mr Dawkins will do better when he gets over his shyness and pushes himself forward more. Come on Mr Dawkins!
2. Hero of the week. The mother of a child with Downs Syndrome who stood up to Frankie Boyle. Find out more here. I understand that a comic who bases his act in being edgier than the edgiest edgy thing will do stuff that makes you go ouch. However, in the debate about where the line is drawn – surely its a long way in front of kicking helpless children with a disability who can’t fight back. This just won’t do. In the olden days when I was a child we had a word for kids like Mr Boyle (no not that word – its a Christian based column and that’s not edifying) the word was bully. And although everyone was nice to the bully’s face – nobody really liked him. Mr Boyle may not care but that doesn’t make a difference. Don’t do it.
3. North/South Divide. There are lots of things the South does at least as well as the North. The weather helps of course etc. etc. but there are areas where they should never cross into each others areas of expertise and at the top of the page resplendent all its glory, is an example of one. The Steak Pudding. This may be called one but it isn’t one, if you know what I mean. Don’t do it. Leave it. Don’t try. Don’t dabble. Don’t pretend. No. No. No……………………………………………………………….No! Er No.
I know its been a long time but – well, I started a new job, significant other also started new job, have had heavy duty revision responsibilities with oldest fruit of womb, I’ve become a great auntie and have had Wayne Rooney’s ankle to worry about. So, no blog. Give me a break. At least I’ve taken the trouble to re-jig it. So will try harder.
Anyway, maybe, possibly, perhaps Spring has sprung (a bit) so time to get a line of washing out! If Cheryl Cole knew about the life I live ……
Saw an article this week about whats wrong with Christianity in the modern world. One of the suggestions to improve our profile was a high value conversion like Cheryl or the Beckhams or (close your eyes and imagine) Katie Price. Thing is, my old dad always says (actually might not be my dad but someone very much like him) that Christianity struggles when it gets popular. We apparently operate best when we are out of step with the majority and are not to be trusted with too much power. (Hmmm. Certain areas of Catholic Church anyone?) I spend half my life feeling out of step with…well virtually everything really. It is a great comfort to me therefore to know that this is because of my extraordinary level of spirituality and not because of early onset dementia. Here endeth today’s lesson.
PS I’ve added another blog to the list on the side. Chez Larsson is basically lots of pages about a Swedish woman cleaning out her cupboards but I love it. Which probably says a lot about my very high boredom threshold or equally high nosiness levels.