Time – it takes it out of you

Apologies for the poor photo of the mantelpiece in the back room. Hargreaves Towers’ Official Photographer is busy in the kitchen putting the shopping away while listening to obscure Northern Soul with his earphones. The rest of the family will not interrupt as they are deriving too much pleasure sniggering while he sings, unaware of loud he is.
Anyway, wanted to talk about time a bit as you may have noticed. I recently received the welcome news that I had won a writing competition. Excellent. Really chuffed. But then it came. As I knew it must. The email asking for the photo to accompany the piece. “Head and shoulders. Facing the camera please.”  Everyone in the house tenses up. Your mission – should you chose to accept it is –  To obtain a semi decent photo of Mum. It’s a tough job. Smiling or not smiling? Wry or serious? Then the rejections. Out – I look bald. Out – I look like Yoko Ono. Out – I look mad. Out – I look like a bald, mad , Yoko Ono.
Then I apologise. “I’ve never taken a good photo” I say. Head of House replies kindly. “It’s not true. We are just getting old.”
After wondering uncharitably, “Is he saying I look old?” I have to agree. I think most of us think they will have found the cure for age by the time we get old – but they never do. But there is so much to do still and where will I find the time? Well, I could start with the time snatchers. We all probably have these. Things we do that just slowly, almost un-noticed, snatch the time away. I’ll tell you a few of mine . Please take care to notice how spiritual they all are

1. ENews! If I watch it, it takes an hour and I’ve hardly ever heard of anyone on it. Do I really need to know where the third vampire from the left in Twilight buys her frocks? Yet still I sit in front of it like its packed to the draw strings with A-Listers. I need to stop. (This does not include Fashion Police with Joan Rivers which is essential viewing)
2. Facebook games. Facebook is fine. I go on for a while then go away. It’s the games that suck you me in. How long trying to get a fish to spit bubbles up a tube? I’m a grown woman for goodness sake.
3.Houseporn This is pure nosiness and dead easy with the advent of the Internet. I can spend many an hour grubbing around other people’s cupboards.
4. Moneysavingexpert.com A bit different as this can be quite useful but I can disappear into the forum for days on end. Still, did get a very good recipe for fish pie and I can make my shower gel last a lot longer.
5. Head of House wants me to add “The Mentalist” to this list but I like it. We can’t all be watching moody French police serials with policewomen who look like they need a good wash. (Spiral – I’m talking about you.)
You probably have lots of your own time wasters. For me, I know I need to deal with it. I truly don’t want to be a woman with an untrimmed, un-oily, oil lamp when time runs out just because I spent so much time wasting the precious time God gives us. All advice gratefully received.

Random Week

Have had about ten days off work (using only 3 leave days – yes I was one of those annoying people. Tough – you should have spotted it sooner if you wanted it) So, you would think that I would have lots of extra time for thinking wise thoughts which I could then form into beautiful sentences which I could then share with you. However, here in Martha World, despite my best efforts, I have not really used the week to produce much of value to the kingdom (unless you include a cleared out back room and a bit of light gardening) so its all quite random really but hopefully enjoyable (ish)

The photo above is of our newest thing to join the house. What you can just about see is a label stuck to the chair which says “Yours if you want me”. Head of House found it sitting in one of Plymouth’s rather lovely service lanes and brought it home. Not easy, as he was out walking two Jacks at the time which brings challenges all of its own.  If I had got my act together I could probabably have brought you a lovely thought about Jesus being a free gift from God but I won’t insult you (or Jesus) with a link so embarrassing. At this point mother will usually ring and in some despair tell me that if things are so bad that we are picking things off the street that she will send us some money if we want it but we like it when this happens. How green are we? I have instructed Head of House that I would like it painted in that Cath Kidston putty colour that is everywhere – asap please. I will report back on developments. PS Mum – send money anyway if you want to.

I suppose the main event this week was the Royal Wedding – oh you did so watch it – do stop it, no one is impressed. (This includes eldest Fruit of Womb who is grumbling all over Facebook about it being “just a wedding”) The things I took from it were that it was nice to see Christianity up front and centre for a change and listening to a Bishop openly having a go at in your face secularism made another welcome change. On a less spiritual note I did find myself wondering if, with all the funds at his disposal, William couldn’t have investigated a sort of secret, bit by bit, hair transplant thing. Maybe he’s not that bothered. It just seems a shame to me. he brings the Windsors compassion, humanity, modernity and a gift for reaching the ordinary man and all he gets from them is male pattern baldness.

Oh and by the way I expect you will be wondering – what is it like to be a trendsetter? Indeed to be twenty years ahead of your time, so that even princesses are copying your wedding dress design? Well I have learned to cope with being so cutting edge although its not always easy. All I will say is that my personal dress designer – Miss J Watson – used to live in Bolton and now lives in Angelsey which is, I believe, where a certain royal couple live. A coincidence? I think not.

As I have little of worth to bring you, I thought I would pass on something from our pastor this week. He spoke on Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus and called the sermon – “The King’s got one more move”. So imagine being the early Christian church being ravaged by percecution and you pray for help and what does God do? He saves your worst enemy. Who saw that coming? No one I bet. Maybe God always has a plan to help us in whatever situation we are in and maybe its more radical than anything we could think of. Makes me more hopeful about God making things come right in the end.

Just wanted to link to cartoon someone sent about rat incident couple of weeks ago. Mike’s a talented artist but I did wonder about the size of the rat. Seemed a bit big to me. However Sprog Two insists that it was actually larger than that – about eighteen feet long judging by her description. Oh well. (cue deep sigh) Back to work then.

Easter Thoughts

Better late than never for Easter things, you are probably thinking but I’ve had a lot on. I’ve also been a bit put off from leaving Christian women thoughts of any kind because I’ve been reading proper Christian lady thoughts by proper Christian women and have been left feeling inadequate as usual. If you don’t know what I mean, have a look here
I’m not having a dig at this honest. It makes me feel like I’m playing at it.  But, this would never work in my house. I can’t make soap, chickens terrify me and neither of my kids will wear the bonnet.
Anyway, this is a photo of our first beach barbeque of the year. It was actually warmer than it looks and very pleasant indeed. In my usual housewifely way, I forgot to take cutlery so had to add mayo to BBQ chicken salad by using BBQ tongs (bit messy) Also, we forgot the salad. Always takes us a while to get into the swing of things come beach time. Only three of us there because Eldest Fruit of Womb was at Spring Harvest doing usual spiritual stuff – stealing mattresses, kicking down toilet doors when people are on the loo, caravan jumping and complaining about the worship band. I suppose we will have to get used to more of it just being three of us but it did feel a bit weird.
We went to the beach on Good Friday. We don’t make a big thing of it, but I like to be a bit quiet on Good Friday. Try to avoid shopping and all the usual melee in here is toned down a bit. In my life I have seen the day go from preachers in velvet jackets waving fifteen inch rusty nails at you shouting “Bleeding! Dying!” to services where the preacher smiles and says “Why the long faces? The story has a happy ending!” then having to watch a congregation who came in ready for some thoughtful contemplation finding themselves pogo-ing to “O Happy Day” For me, the best way is somewhere in the middle. It is a happy time because it is the day that God’s great plan began to move into its final stage but it is also a day to stop and “think about what had to happen for us to benefit” (Head of House’s words not mine) I am the queen of the whingers I know, but I am forever grateful.

On completely different note, have received strange email from Next asking me what I will be wearing for “the wedding”. So either, I have had an invitation that Next are aware of and I am not, or they are assuming that I will be buying an outfit from them and sitting in front of the telly in full wedding guest regalia. Odd no? Is it me?
On second completely different note. this weekend saw Darling Daughter’s fifteenth birthday. Fifteen! She is pleased because she can now get in to see 15 movies. (We’ll be the judge of that, lady) and she is awash with money. I am pleased because surprise lunch with her friends at all you can eat Chinese went off without a hitch and me giving game away so my shredded nerves can now recover.
On yet another completely different note, you can now leave comments at the end of all this waffle. Please do – its very comforting. Not sure what was wrong before. Apparently someone had ticked the no comments button. No idea who. You can either put your name, your url details (your details you used if you are a follower) or even anonymous then just comment. Feel free to go back to previous posts. Just don’t be too mean. I am a delicate flower as you know.

Appearances can be deceptive

Have spent a happy half hour when I could have been doing something constructive looking at this Photoshop disasters site.   I mean, can we believe our eyes anymore? And these are the ones that poke you in the eye with a sharp stick because they are such fails. What about the ones we don’t notice? I’m not bothered so much about the photos where a man’s hand pokes through a solid table. Boring. It’s the photos of women. The ones where the ladies’ waists are tiny and their ning-nangs are enormous. If these aren’t real people, aren’t we slowly but surely teaching our children to idolise something that is impossible to achieve in real life? If “achieve” is the right word. I know I am old and shrivelled up and all that but I like to think that even when I was young and scrummy, that my life ambitions stretched a bit further than learning to arch my back in just the right way for an alluring photo.
Call me old fashioned (and many do believe me) but I find it all deeply depressing. I understand anyone wanting to look their best and, to use the old saying “If the gate needs a lick of paint – then lets give the gate a lick of paint” but where is the perspective?
I was conversing as you do with someone recently, who said that the Bible verse below from 1 Peter was a bit old fashioned and a bossy.
 3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

How so? I asked politely, because polite is what I almost unfailingly am. I was concerned to learn that this passage says that women shouldn’t dress nicely or do their hair or wear jewellery or, indeed, have a wash. (OK. I added the last bit for effect) Have a look. Its not what it says. You can do all that with knobs on if you want. It’s just that your beauty – the thing that is lovely and attractive and pwoar about you – doesn’t come from that. For me, this passage is so lovely, its almost poetry. If it wasn’t in the Bible, it would probably be carved in stone somewhere. People act as if you are going to start playing a sitar and singing George Harrison songs when we talk about inner self but deep inside, we do know that this is the most important part of us. It says here that I can cultivate something there, a gentle and quiet spirit, which God thinks is of great worth. Some days I struggle to offer God, even a polite “Good Morning” so the possibility that I could offer God something of great worth is very cheering indeed.
You may think that I have to think this because I am past my prime so to speak and I wouldn’t argue with that, but one day, you will be old too (if you are lucky) and when you look at your life, I’m betting that your biggest sense of achievement will not come from that photo where the light caught you just right and your nose didn’t even look a bit red.

On the subject of deceptive appearances – a disturbing development. The two lovely cute doggies pictured above have revealed another side. Last week while out walking on the Hoe with Head of House and Fruit of Womb Two they came across a rat. Both lovely dogs immediately turned into wild killing machines, shaking the rat to within an inch of its life, forcing it to seek sanctuary running in and out of daughters legs. This, in turn, provoked equally unfortunate squealing daughter incident, which upset both rat and dogs further and escalated the whole situation. Head of House then had to wade into melee and restore order by adding to general yelling. Rat left scene bloodied but unbowed. Dogs unable to make out what fuss was about. Daughter finishes therapy three weeks on Tuesday. Actually, quite glad I was at work.

Unexpected.

I was hoping to start this post with an impressive photo of my lemon drizzle cake. Unfortunately, it was made on Saturday and this was all that was left by Sunday. It’s quite flattering the way it vanished I suppose but it isn’t quite what I was aiming for.
Also unexpected this week, we went to see Lenny Henry at the Theatre Royal. (Well we had tickets and everything so that bit wasn’t unexpected) I think we thought we would just see straight stand up with a bit about the music he likes. It was a bit of a surprise then, when he began talking, in a really wistful way about how much he would have liked to have a second career in music. Unfortunately, that fell apart when he went to see Trevor Horn who told him that he wasn’t committed enough and he would never make it. Made me think a bit about doing the things you really want to and how much you need to commit to putting the effort in. Challenged me on a few things. Not rocket science I know but still sometimes you need to be reminded that if something is important enough it needs work and continual commitment. Can’t say I feel sorry for Mr Henry though. At the end of the evening he got over his regret by bringing on a three piece band and belted his way through James Brown covers for three quarters of an hour. So a good time had by all.

Conversation between Head of House and Yours Truly at beginning of Lenny Henry gig.
HOH: John Bishop is here
YT: John Bishop the comedian?
HOH: Yep he’s there at the back.
YT: Oh yeh. I can see him.
HOH: Wonder if Dawn French is here tonight?
YT: Can’t see her. Suppose she would be sat with John Bishop.
HOH: Sooo. You’re saying all famous people know each other.
YT: Er. Possibly.

And on that note that leaves me looking particularly stupid. I leave you with some things the young people are looking at on t’internet.

Firstly – a house that looks like Hitler

On a slightly more edifying note. This http://humblebeast.com/g-o-s-p-e-l/ links to a “sermon” –  . I know I’m probably a good 35 years older than the target audience but quality will out. Its very good.