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.

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.

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.

I attempted to discipline the Head Gardener this week for the state of the window boxes. Only a couple of weeks ago, this box was full of beautiful crocuses (croci?) but now you can hopefully see that the flowers are all dead and limp and floppy and the box has been over run  by all this untidy messy stuff. I informed the gardener that I would like it sorting asap but believe it or not, he refused. Apparently, you have to wait until all the green stuff dies back so all the nutrients go back into the bulb. Despite my initial suspicions about work avoidance strategies it appears that this is true. At the risk of making this blog like the “Deck Of Cards” by Max Bygraves (When I think of the King of Hearts I think of the King of my Heart – that sort of thing) It did get me thinking though. You know, I would really like my life to be a lot prettier and much less messy sometimes. Looking at this though, I do wonder if when all the rubbish is going on, then maybe that’s when the important stuff is going on. as well. Maybe these times are preparing me for growth and better things later. The fact is, that its not all lovely all the time. Maybe we need those harder times to come back stronger later. Just a thought – take it or leave it.

Quote of the week (sorry can’t give you a link – it’ll be on the Times website and that costs money)
“The Welfare State…..After 50,000 years of civilisation still the only invention that gives normal people a chance of semi parity with the wealthy when it comes to education, medical provision, housing, justice, and access to the entire works of Catherine Cookson in a local library.” Caitlin Moran

Well not destruction exactly,just a squirty water bottle. A bottle which can be directed at an unruly dog and squirted – making him unhappy and  hopefully obedient.We have decided it’s time for a bit of Jack discipline in this house and, following on from reading the spiritual discipline book, it seems that some of the principles you could apply to overcome a human habit also apply to dealing with a barky dog.

  1. Identify the habit/problem that needs your attention. How long have you got? You can choose from a long list. With Morecambe we’re going for  barking hysterically and flinging himself at the kitchen door whenever anyone arrives at or leaves the house.
  2. Pin down exactly why you want to deal with this. Believe it or not, Morc’s reasons for needing this dealt with ain’t that different from a human habit. Firstly, this is something that can do him harm. Our kitchen door has a big glass window in it and we all have nightmares about him just jumping through it. This will be very dangerous but possibly not as dangerous as what might happen to him if he smashed the expensive kitchen door (this time at the hands of Head of House)
  3. Enlist the help of those in your community that you trust. All human beings in the family are on board and supporting this. Mainly because people would like to have friends round without needing to run through the kitchen like Usain Bolt. Lucy, however, doesn’t give a monkeys about Morcs and his habits and isn’t above  taking advantage of his hysteria to nip his bottom or steal his food. (There is a moral here – not everyone will be on board when you are trying to change a habit – they will not always show this by trying to bite your bottom) 
  4. Eyes on the prize. Sometimes, when we are recreating the classic scene from Singing in the Rain by wildly squirting water at a hysterical dog while we try to leave the house, we do wonder if it is worth it. As this point, it helps to visualize how good it would be to walk in and out unhindered and for the gas man to visit without having to apologise because the dog has lost control of his wee wee tube – up aforementioned  man’s trousers.
  5. Reward any progress with something good. For you this will probably not be a bit of frozen liver but that’s what floats Morecambe’s boat so there you are.

Of course, there’s not very much spiritual here. He’s only a Jack Russell and there’s a limit to how far you can stretch the analogy. Still quite interesting to compare and contrast. I only wish Morecambe was as keen on the process as we are.