Here at Hargreaves Towers we are not blessed with acres of green but we do have the odd pot here and there, including this beauty. Its some kind of acer I think. we bought it a long time ago for Father’s Day. To say it has struggled to reach its potential is a bit of an understatement – mainly because it probably shouldn’t be in this small pot. Anyway, it does go a lovely colour in Autumn and has been known to become almost lush in the summer. What you can’t see in the photo is that, a few years ago, we began to hang things on the tree. Nothing much, just the odd memento from nice places we have been  – things we want to remember. Like I say though, when the tree is all lush – you can’t see anything hanging on it.

This is the tree at the moment. It’s not as pretty – I’ll give you that and the gardener should certainly be giving some thought to tidying up that back wall but – when its like this you can see all the hanging bits and pieces much clearer. All the memories are easier to see and despite the lack of attractive foliage, the tree has a certain charm (maybe only if you actually know what the ornaments relate to but that’s your problem, not mine.)
Anyway, it sort of made me think about something I had read from Spurgeon which I’ll post at the end. When things are bad and all we are struggling with stuff then somehow, when everything is stripped away, that’s the time to focus on memories and the good that God has done for you. The things that you know to be true because you have experienced it and maybe need to be remembered. Sometimes, it can feel like these past experiences are all you have left but if He did it then He can surely do it again. Spurgeon puts it much better than I can

There must surely be some precious milestone along the road of life not quite grown over with moss, on which thou canst read a happy memorial of his mercy towards thee? What, didst thou never have a sickness like that which thou art suffering now, and did he not restore thee? Wert thou never poor before, and did he not supply thy wants? Wast thou never in straits before, and did he not deliver thee? Arise, go to the river of thine experience, and pull up a few bulrushes, and plait them into an ark, wherein thine infant–faith–may float safely on the stream. Forget not what thy God has done for thee; turn over the book of thy remembrance, and consider the days of old. Hast thou never been helped in time of need? Nay, I know thou hast. Go back, then, a little way to the choice mercies of yesterday, and though all may be dark now, light up the lamps of the past, they shall glitter through the darkness, and thou shalt trust in the Lord till the day break and the shadows flee away. “Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses, for they have been ever of old.”

List of items on husband’s bedside table….

  • Alarm clock (set at exactly correct time)
  • Book he is currently reading.
  • Box of tissues
  • Lamp

List of items on my bedside table

  • Box of tissues
  • Book I am reading currently
  • Books I am about to read
  • Books I have read and haven’t got round to putting away
  • Photo of husband and children (In case I forget what they look like?)
  • Pair of £2 glasses for reading
  • Second pair of £2 glasses to use when I can’t find the first pair because I’m using them as a bookmark
  • Watch and rings which I have taken off when I realised I was wearing them in bed
  • Body lotion for scaly limbs
  • Nail varnish
  • Clock (set ten minutes fast to give me an extra ten minutes in bed. Yes it does make sense and I know my clock is slower on the photo but I took my picture at a different time)
  • Lamp
  • Notebook and pen for genius like thoughts that may strike in the middle of the night – or alternatively, shopping lists

So we are not exactly carbon copies of each other – my chap and me. Yet, I know that as in most good relationships, it is the differences  between us that cement us together and keep life interesting. He’s very patient and I was sent to develop that patience by trying it at every opportunity. So, quietly and without any great fanfare, I would like to use a day we never celebrate to say thank-you., bless you and all the other stuff which ain’t no body’s business but ours.

This is Lucy and she is the new addition to the family. There may be a temptation to think that we have lost our collective minds. It’s not as if we’ve exactly got the dog we already have under control. (By the way – mad woman on the park – a Jack Russell bounding towards you on the park does not constitute a devil dog attack and certainly does not merit wild swipes of your handbag at said Jack’s head.)

But Lucy was my brother’s dog and three dogs were too much for his partner to manage alone so now Lucy lives with us. So there.

Lucy is my first lady dog so it was a bit of a shock the first time I saw her do a wee wee but other than that she’s just more of the same as Morecambe but a bit more delicate. Morecambe,of course, is totally annoyed by her very presence. Can’t say we expected any different to be honest…

One of the differences between blogging and say – writing a book is that a blog is a living document with a timeline. So, unlike the printed word, the fact that I haven’t been on here since well before Christmas is as plain as the nose on your face, as they say. I have spent a few months concentrating on other things. I spent a long time dealing with my brother’s death. Read lots, walked a lot and worked a lot. We got though Christmas ok although there was literally a spare place at the table. But now, having accepted that you never recover from something like this, you just carry on, a bit more frayed at the edges but essentially believing all that you believed before. The blog returns with apologies for its absence. More news to follow.

To celebrate the coming of Autumn I present one of my periodical lists of things I am learning at the moment. The more eagle eyed among you may notice that some of these things are slightly contradictory – in other words they are complete opposites but I’m just that way out at the moment. Take it or leave it..

1. Sometimes Christians really get on my nerves. Almost to the point where a punch in the face may be necessary. People who really should know better are judgemental about people they really should be loving and they call it being righteous or separated unto God or something. If Jesus had decided to stay separate unto God what sort of a mess would we be in.
2. Sometimes Christians are really nice and kind.
3. Sometimes I am too judgemental about Christians.
4. Punches in the face aren’t ladylike either being given or received.
5. All teenage boys make a sort of strange exploding noise when Nigella Lawson faces the camera and takes her jacket off to start cooking.
6. I am the only person in the room watching Nigella for the cooking.
7. Eldest son’s first university offer has come through and I am very,very pleased and proud
8. Eldest son’s first university offer has come through and I am devasted that he will be leaving before we know it.
9. Despite my tutting and moaning, Argos, Boots, Tescos and all the rest of them will continue to start Christmas whenever they flaming well like.
10. It doesn’t mean I have to be happy with it.

11. Its a bit of a distant memory but I’m pretty certain that daughter’s French is already better than mine was when I was messing up my A level horribly. That has to be a good sign (for her anyway)
12. Barbara Pym books make me very happy as do books on knitting.
13. That last point makes me seem about a hundred and three and I don’t care.
14. Saturday evening with some chums, a chicken supper and a bottle of wine is one of the best restorative cures I know.
15. Along with lunch with the chap. Long live bacon sarnies with a coffee and a walk round Waterstones.
16. I am a very cheap date.