Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day! Or whatever. The photo – which is a snapshot from a montage wall that we have – is of the offspring when they were still willing to go out and about with us. It’s Tate Modern in St Ives. We were trying to introduce them to “Culture” You can see how well it went down with FOW1

I don’t believe in Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday which is its real name and better I think. Not really. I mean I’ll take the extra ten minutes of attention that I get and I will scoff all the chocolates – I’m not an idiot, but what is it for though?

Nicer people than me say that it is a chance to say “Thank You” to your Mum. Why? Where has she been for the rest of the year? Locked away in the attic? Why can’t we say “Thanks for being a Very Nice Mum” on a wet Tuesday in February. She’ll probably have more need of a bit of encouragement then and the daffs would be cheaper.

Why do we have to wait until a set date that a card company gives us? Shouldn’t we be thinking of being a bit more thankful to lots of people – all through the year? (I’m ranting a bit now – I can feel it) I have no problem with people saying thanks. That is a good thing. Jesus liked thank-yous. I remember the story where he had healed people and only one came back to say thank you and, as a little girl, thinking that he was being suprisingly snippy about it.

They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan.

17-19 Jesus said, “Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?” Then he said to him, “Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you.”

I don’t think it was about good manners (although that costs nothing does it?) I think it is more about seeing where good things come from and acknowleding other people’s kindness and also us not being the centre of the world. Anyway, as I said, thank you is good. It is just putting these tags on it – Mothers, Fathers, Grandmas etc.

And it’s the people that get left out. I remember preaching once on Mother’s Day and being exhausted at the end because I had tied myself in knots all the way through, talking about it being great to be a Mum or to have a Mum but we mustn’t forget those who weren’t Mums, either because they didn’t want to be (it’s not for everybody) or maybe because they couldn’t be Mums and also those whose own Mums were no longer with us or those whose experience with their own Mums meant they were glad that they were no longer with them – even if that only meant that they lived a long way away in Kidderminster or something. That’s before we get onto those who are Mums but are dealing with their children being basic nightmares but still loving them etc etc

It’s not that I am against a celebration. I love a celebration. I love Christmas and Easter and, at a pinch, New Year. I like Harvest Festivals and I like the idea of Bonfire Night (Although celebrating people failing to blow up Parliament is probably best not talked about in the UK at the moment – not in the current political climate – don’t want anyone getting any ideas). I like these things because everyone is invited. You might not want to be part of them but you don’t get excluded because you haven’t given birth or because the whole Mum thing is just too painful.

One thing I do like is that, often in churches, they give out little posies or something to the ladies. But why should we have to wait for Mother’s Day? It would be equally as nice to come in one morning and find flowers or chocolates to be given out just because the leaders had felt like blessing people and making them cheery. And vice-versa. Someone once said to me that their pastor’s wife had looked really worn out and she wanted to take her some flowers but didn’t do it in case she thought she was creeping round her. That’s a shame. If you really do want to bless someone, rather than try and get into their good books and receive an invitation to the Leader’s Christmas Meal at the Beefeater, I suspect that good motives will always out and, if people take it the wrong way, that’s their problem. Do the nice thing and don’t worry what people think. (Re the Leadership Christmas Meal – I wouldn’t angle for it. Most of them aren’t all that. Christmas Meals I mean – not leaders -although….)

I think I may have over-ranted there. Sorry. I’m not trying to be a bad sport. Today – FOW1 and I will be visiting Aged Parent who takes Mother’s Day seriously and judges how seriously you take it by the size of the card that she gets. Woe betide you if you give her a beautiful but small card. (There speaks the voice of experience) Although, to give her her due, she’s easy to buy for on Mother’s Day. A big bunch of flowers (BIG), M&S Pineapple Cakes and four cans of Guinness. (Medicinal apparently – although my uncle used to say that it was like giving a donkey strawberries – I hope she never reads this blog)

Anyway, have a great day. Or don’t. You can ignore it if you want. It isn’t a big deal in the great scheme of things. Put three Hob Nobs in your mouth at once and watch High Society. Then think of someone you can buy some flowers for next week. They should be nice and cheap at Marks by Monday

Adventures in being green

You see before you my latest sincere, if not exactly earth shattering attempt at being a bit more green. This is a Lush shampoo bar. (Apologies for the state of this photo. I struggled to get it in a light that didn’t make it look like a macaroon, so ended up with it on the end of FOW2’s dressing table where the light was supposed to be better. Am still not convinced really)

I thought it might be a good idea to reduce some packaging and had heard that these were good so I ventured into Lush. Have you been to Lush? It smells nice. A bit too nice. It makes HOH cough. Also the marketing is a bit aggressive. I had only been in 15 seconds when a girl who must have been half my age came over and asked – “Are you ok Lovely?” Now, call me old fashioned but I think that this is uncalled for. “Lovely?” Seriously? Still, I ploughed on.

“I am looking for a shampoo bar – have you got any that would suit older hair”?

Looks at me uncertainly “Well – it won’t dye it”

Me (More snappish than was strictly necessary) “I don’t want to dye it! I like it! I want to wash it!” Bah.

So we found one I liked and it cost ….£7.50. £7.50!! How many do you get for that?

“Well I have had mine since last September and it’s still going strong”

I did cast a small side-eye at her lime green hair and wondered if a little more frequent shampooing might not have gone amiss but I generously put this to one side and decided to give it a go.

“Come, over to the tills then Lovely”! Arrrgh. I’ll let you know how I get on.

I was also disappointed this week to find out that I have been unable to pass on my frugal and environmentally friendly habits to my offspring. At a reunion meal this week both told me that neither of them had a washing-up bowl in their respective showers – nor did they intend to. Well, it’s your loss. HOH and I reduced our water bill by around £70 a month by converting to a meter and my trusty washing-up bowl water saving habit has been a very important part of that. (That and the “If it’s yellow – let it mellow” philosophy) You try to bring your kids up properly and then this happens.

Aged Parent had a visit from a nurse this week and she has said that she thinks AP needs more support (actually she said that this was important to do because she felt that I needed support as well, which kind of made my bottom lip wobble – as I always think that medical professionals are going to say – she’s your mum – get on with it). We await the verdict from the next health professional in the line.

Meanwhile, her friend had a romantic setback this week.

AP…………J has been on the dating website again.

Me……….Oh, did she meet anyone?

AP……….Well yes but, as I told her – they talk on the phone and then when they see you in the flesh….. well (Shrugs shoulders in “what can I tell you” fashion)

Me……….Mum. That’s quite rude.

AP……….Well, this one arranged to meet up with her. He talked to her for two minutes – then walked off. So she said “I thought you were taking me to lunch”? and he said “I just remembered – I have to mow my lawn” Make of that what you will.

Have a good week

The Western Wind

The Westen Wind by Samantha Harvey

First things first. Thank you to FOW2 for taking the posh photo. I was too annoyed by the fact that they had brought my coffee in a water glass to make any meaningful contribution. HOH was also at this table but he was too busy regretting our decision to bring a stroppy Jack Russell into a posh coffee shop to do any posing.

Anyway back to the book. I thought this was excellent. It’s set in 1491 in a tiny village in Somerset. Poverty, disease and religion/ superstition rule people’s lives. The village is cut off by a river that has no bridge and the local monastery is looking greedily towards its grazing lands. Then the wealthiest man in the village dies in mysterious circumstances. A reason must be found – is it suicide, murder or an accident? These are issues, not just of justice and punishment but of the eternal resting place of an human soul. Suicide would mean damnation. The village’s priest is John Reve who feels a responsibility to the villagers to protect them from the outside world and those who might threaten them.

It’s a kind of whodunnit. The timeline is deliberately all over the place – well it’s written backwards actually which would usually make me run for the hills. Not here though. I read the last chapter and then read the first chapter again to see if I had understood it properly. It’s quite densely written. I think it’s what people call literary fiction. This doesn’t fall in your lap but I thought that this added to the sense of time and place. I felt that I could really sense the way people lived and looked – always a plus yes? I have read that people think that there are historical problems with it but, for me, ignorance was bliss so not bothered. Loved it

Assumptions

The sun is peeking through the trees, people. Spring may be in the air. Hurrah!

There is a game going round on YouTube at the moment. In this game, YouTube Influencers (As they like to be called) ask people to send them messages. In these messages, they would like us to write our assumptions about said influencers. Now, you need only know the tiniest bit about The Internet to know that this is a risky request. People who can hide behind a name along the lines of Nastypieceofwork878 will be more than willing to tell you what they think of you. This is not a game for the faint of heart. Some of the kindest comments I have seen are

“Full of Yourself”

“Stinking Rich”

“You couldn’t care less about anyone but yourself”

Charmed – I’m sure. And these were nowhere near the most horrible. They weren’t all nasty. Some people had lovely things to say about YouTubers, but I’m not sure if I would like to know what a bunch of semi-strangers thought about me. I wonder why anyone would put themselves through that but I suppose that if you earn your living on there, then you have to keep up with the Jonses. To fall off the front page is to lose views and to lose views is a terrible, terrible thing. Apparently.

Good or bad though – it’s unlikely to be a very accurate appraisal. It is only ever going to be a snapshot and we only get a few clues. People are complex – moulded by life and circumstance. We are one thing one day and someone completely different the next.

I have started to read a book about David – writer of Psalms, basher of giants and taker of women (if she is married – easily remedied if you know people who will follow your every order when it comes to putting people in harm’s way) I’ll be honest. I have sometimes wondered what God saw in David to make him a man after God’s own heart. To me he sometimes seems a royal pain in the backside. Disobedient, scrappy, careless and unable to judge when to keep his mouth shut. Yet, in this book, the writer describes David as having a loveless childhood, alone in the fields with his sheep most of the time. He is the unwanted child of an older father in a house full of dispute and competition. Even when the Prophet Samuel came to town and asked to meet all his sons, it never occured to David’s father Jesse to include him. If David were living today, he would probably have had a social worker assigned to him because of the neglect he suffered. And the author said that this made him a fighter, it made him scrap in all areas of his life and I suppose it explains a lot of the terrible decisions he made in later years.

I think sometimes that I can be guilty of just seeing people in the Bible as cyphers – a blank outline that is there to teach me what I should and should not be doing. Yet these were people. In David’s case, a man abused, a lost soul who suffered rejection from his wife, bullying from his king and enforced separation from his best friend. Yet, he found God to be faithful through it all – steadfast, trustworthy and working on his behalf – it must have been a revelation. There may be a lot that I can learn from him but he was also a man with all that implies – flesh and blood with deep sorrow sometimes. I think sometimes it does me good to know that God is around to deal with real people – he is here to know real people – not what I should be or what I think he needs to see. Just me – as I am.

This week in Aged Parent World

AP Police have been. Six of them

Me Six? You don’t get six for close protection for a World Leader now.

AP Well possibly not six. Possibly two. Definitely more than one

Me OK. Everything alright?

AP Well my friend told the support worker that her boyfriend (one eye – nearly ninety, prone to fits) had thown a remote control at her head. Domestic violence you see.

Me Blimey. Did they arrest him?

AP No he ran off back to Dorchesterford.

Me Not even a place. Is your friend ok.

AP Oh yes she was fine. She was annoyed at the support worker for calling the police. You see she is twice his size and had thrown the remote straight back – nearly knocked him out. Now he’s run away and she’s got no one to do her shopping. Did you want that last custard cream?

The President is Missing

The President is Missing – A Novel by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

Apologies for Morecambe photobombing the photo. Also apologies for tissues. Am as close to death’s door as a cold can take you.

I think it may be helpful to sing the tune to Mission Impossible in your head while you read my review. Actually, feel free to sing it out loud if you want to – so long as you are not in public toilets or a doctor’s waiting room or something. Also – this review is borderline spoilery – you have been warned.

“Dum, dum, dum, dum-dum, dum dum, dum, dum, dum dum dum, dum dum dum dum – digulee, digulee, digulee – DUM DUM!”

The President is acting weird! He’s about to be impeached for acting weird! Nobody knows why he’s acting weird. Obviously, it’s because the whole of America is in DANGER!

“Dum, dum, dum, dum-dum, dum dum, dum, dum, dum dum dum, dum dum dum dum – digulee, digulee, digulee – DUM DUM!”

He knows about a terrible thing that will happen. Only he knows. Well only him and a few trusted aides. These aides are totally loyal and trustworthy – apart from one who is a JUDAS!

“Dum, dum, dum, dum-dum, dum dum, dum, dum, dum dum dum, dum dum dum dum – digulee, digulee, digulee – DUM DUM!”

So the President has to go it alone. He has to disappear. He can trust no-one. What can he do? Fortunately he has his physical beauty to sustain him. He is ex military – a hero and a leader, a sportsman and he is a grieving widower. He dyes his beard. He is in disguise. He retreats to a handy one hundred million acre estate with full Secret Service cover. He is not quite as alone as we were led to believe. Hurrah!

“Dum, dum, dum, dum-dum, dum dum, dum, dum, dum dum dum, dum dum dum dum – digulee, digulee, digulee – DUM DUM!”

He is persued by a beautiful and mysterious assasin. She blows people’s brains out whilst listening to classical music and somewhere across the world a fundamentalist terrorist with cold eyes and warm prostitutes is planning the downfall of Capitalist America.

“Dum, dum, dum, dum-dum, dum dum, dum, dum, dum dum dum, dum dum dum dum – digulee, digulee, digulee – DUM DUM!”

So what terrible thing is planned for America? (It’s a bit complicated and, to be honest, not riveting but it is indeed a terrible thing) Who will turn out to be the traitor? (Actually – it’s exactly who it usually turns out to be if you follow my Midsomer Murders rules of the game). The clock is literally ticking. Will the President and his handily placed gang of computer scientists manage to save America and see that the bad guys get what’s coming to them? What do you think?

“Dum, dum, dum, dum-dum, dum dum, dum, dum, dum dum dum, dum dum dum dum – digulee, digulee, digulee – DUM DUM!”

Look – it does exactly as you expect. I read it in two sittings and had a flippin good time. Knock yourselves out.