Or at least things I have remembered. I had forgotten that there were two five o clocks on Sundays. I didn’t think that I would be bothering with 5am starts again once both children had got to that stage where early morning get-ups held no interest for them. However – old dog (Morecambe not Head of House) has decided that he does not want to be alone when he wakes and howls until someone joins him. We have tried ignoring him but he is a determined little beggar and he can keep it up until  – well longer than you can stand it actually and believe me we have tried.

So I could have spent the morning studying and generally improving myself but I didn’t. The lure of the Internet proved too strong. I was catching up on blogs and came across the Action for Happiness Website. There is a Museum of Happiness in Camden and they have recently had a Happier World Conference. I am, despite all appearances to the contrary, quite an optimistic type and I am very happy about happiness projects. There do seem to be a lot of Buddhists who have given their jobs up to be nuns but, if can do that sort of stuff, then off you go. I feel our mortgage company might have something to say if I had a pop at it. The happiness website has ten keys to happier living.  They are all very good – of course they are. Because without being all na-na-na and babyish about it, Christians already know about it.

Well, we do. Everything here – wise and lovely – though it is, is already in the Bible and is life advice for us. We choose sometimes to prefer “Mindfulness for Dummies” or “Peaceful ways to put your tights on” and all that sort of thing. (I would absolutely buy the second one if it was a real book) I personally am far too impressed by what all the groovy people are doing when in fact I am secretly groovy myself, or at least have already been given to tools to be so.

This morning I picked out a couple of these and looked up Bible verses and they are there and they are all important. For example

ResilienceRomans 8 – Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture…None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. 

Direction – Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,rivers in the badlands.

While I am casting round for answers and wisdom, I know I need to remember that I am cut from a rich vein that has been there for me all the time and, if I don’t choose to take what is offered to me, then it is only my own fault. I was very impressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury who was talking about how nervous he was about doing the Royal Wedding. He quoted Stormzy which is quite lovely in itself and said ‘I stay prayed up and get the job done’. More wisdom for a happy life.

On the wedding, we were surprised to get a call from Aged Parent this Saturday.

Aged Parent “Hello, It’s only me. What time is this wedding.?”

Me “Er – it’s next Saturday.”

AP “Are you sure? Next Saturday?”

Me “Yup.”

AP “Oh. Right. I thought it was all very low key. I am watching that cooking programme and there was no mention of it.”

Me “No sorry – definitely next week. You ok?”

AP “I’m fine but I will have to go and phone your Aunty Audrey and tell her, or she’ll be opening the gin.”



What does everyone think about “The Woman in White”? Obviously Marion is too pretty and equally obviously Count Fosco is too thin (and a bit too scrummy, and too obviously evil etc etc) and all this extra sexual tension is doing my head in a bit but I understand that this is compulsory now. HOWEVER, I do like it. (SPOILER AHEAD KLAXON) I think they did it very well and, despite knowing how it would end, my heart was beating like the clappers when they were leading Lady Glyde out of the asylum. (The asylum, I thought was done horrifically well).

So we have left the house a couple of times this week. (Well not including church because, well you don’t so you?) Church was very good. Top Vicar finished Ecclesiastes and HOH and my good self said we had really enjoyed it. At one point TV had said that the translation of the word “Meaningless” was unhelpful and “Breath” was better – which it is. Are C of E vicars allowed to say things like that? It’s a whole new world I can tell you.

Anyway –  back to carriages out. We went to see a film called “Bombshell” which was a documentary about Hedy Lamar which is the best name ever in show business. As well as having one of the best faces ever – ever! She was apparently a genius who invented radar or GPS tracking or something similar. Unfortunately, something strange happened with the patent (possibly something dastardly) and she died penniless.

We also went out to see “This House” which was about politics just before Margaret Thatcher was elected. (It’s better than it sounds). We got cheap tickets and it was an excellent night out but – well, I was a bit tired. At my time of life, I can’t be gallivanting out every five minutes. It takes its toll.

Aged Parent is trying out Age Uk this week for a bit of socialising.  I took her to sign up last week. I was very affected by the standard questions she was asked. “Are you lonely sometimes?” Do you suffer from depression?” Are you ever anxious?” What are we doing to our elderly population? At one time, the elderly found their society and their comfort in the church. I sometimes wonder with our obsession with putting young people and families front row centre of everything in church (and I am not saying that they aren’t important) that we haven’t elbowed everyone else out of the way in our rush to be seen as “relevant” to modern society. Anyway, Aged Parent has been very impressed with Age Uk  so far because they were totally un-phased by her instruction that “she couldn’t do onions”. I think we have all been there.

I’m not sure I understand British politics. Although it’s not as scary as American politics. Without looking at any particular affiliation these are the things that have puzzled me about the Windrush scandal

  1. Calls for an amnesty . How can you call for an amnesty for a lot of people who haven’t done anything wrong. You are only supposed to have an amnesty to cover over past sins. It’s like when the local police ask the youth of today to hand in all their drugs and guns or when the church youth of yesteryear had to put all their Hall and Oates LPs in a box at the front of church. To say “I was wrong. I won’t do it again” (I wasn’t wrong about the Hall and Oates LPs and I refused to hand mine in.) But, when you haven’t done anything wrong except be born in a country you have been invited to live in – which is obviously not wrong anyway – you don’t need anyone’s amnesty thank you.
  2. Amber Rudd’s resignation. I have no problem with her resignation – either she had no idea what was going on in the Home Office or she was lying. Neither are particularly edifying. But, when no-one is denying that the policies Ms Rudd was defending were all put in place by Theresa May – how does she get off scott free? I can almost hear the conversation. Amber Rudd. “Look – I am covering for you and your stupid policy. Why should I go? You should jolly well go!” (I always imagine Amber Rudd being the type of person who says “Jolly Well”. Not necessarily a bad thing) Then her dear leader would say ” Yes. Well sort of yes. But I am The Prime Minister and therefore more important and therefore you must go – even though it was all my idea. That is all.” Talk about Teflon Theresa.
  3. And this is not nice so you might like to skip. The idea that Diane Abbott is calling for someone else’s resignation because they are incompetent and not drilling into the details of their brief is a little rich don’t cha think?

It’s a limited understanding on my part I know but I don’t think anyone is seen in a particularly good light here. Aged Parent (Male Version) always used to tell me that there is no case for democracy in the Bible. God is a dictator. I know what he means but God always has my best interests at heart, is pure good and love and was prepared to die a terrible death to redeem me. Although some people speak terribly well of Jeremy Corbyn, until we can safely put him in that category, which will nor be anytime soon I think, we really need to stick to democracy. Therefore please make sure you vote if you have local elections next week. Even if 90% seems to be about who did or didn’t want the ginormous incinerator up your road – usually depending on who they are talking to at the time – it is your chance to stick your oar in and it is a vital oar.

This week at Martha Towers.

It was a quiet week. FOW2 is working very hard on her dissertation and I am working very hard on my patience. Apparently summoning all her powers of concentration about Jack Lemon means that she has to leave the bathroom like Cleopatra has been slumming in there.

HOH continues to dismantle FOW1’s bedroom. He has said that he wants to take his bed with him for the spare room. At the moment he appears to be relying on the power of love to move it. We await developments.

I have discovered organic wine. Look I am not a big drinker but I do like a glass of wine. Post menopause though, one glass of wine can leave me unable to open one eye next morning. I tried gin and it is ok but I still feel it has a faint whiff of the paint-stripper about it. I love whisky but not with a meal. But organic wine. Hurrah! No headache. I suppose if you drink eight glasses you will be pushing it but at my time of life that is not going to happen. I am content.

Aged Parent’s exciting life continues with her friend with the bosom and the socks. Names have been changed to protect the gentle of spirit.

AP   “Socks and her new boyfriend were thrown out of Aldi on Friday.”

Me   “What for?”

AP   “Not sure really. Apparently he was shouting at the cashier about something and then there was an altercation in the car park.”

Me   “Blimey.”

AP   “I know I think there is something wrong with him. Socks told me he has to go home once a week to sign something and have a meeting. Does that sound like mental health?”

Me   “No. It sounds like probation.”

AP   “Oh dear. It’s because she got him out of Chat magazine. I said she should have paid the extra money and got him from Woman Alive.”

Have a good week.

Hullo. Hope all is well and you have had at least some sunshine during what is probably a sunburst caused by some kind of nuclear fallout, but never mind eh. In England, we have had a few days of unexpectedly high temperatures along with sunshine. I am sorry if it is not like that where you are. Mind you, we live very near to the coast and did wake up one morning to swirling mists and foggy conditions that would not have disgraced the opening scenes of the Hound of the Baskervilles. Never fear though – the “unsettled” conditions are due to return next week. *sighs and rescues cagoule from under pile of coats*

Last weekend was exciting – we left the house and got on a train. We went to Bath, specifically to see a play. What flibberty-gibbets we are. The play was Mary Stuart, a modern-ish rewriting of the story arc of Elizabeth 1 and Mary Queen of Scots which doesn’t end well for at least one of them. (Spoiler) It was really quite something. I have been a bit underwhelmed by modern translations but this was fantastic. The cast wear modern dress and there are no breeches or ruffs – although Elizabethan dress is used once in the play to devastating effect. One of this play’s “things” is that, before the play starts, a coin is tossed to decide which actress plays which of the two lead roles. So Juliet Stephenson and Lia Williams must learn both parts as if they were their own – which is impressive. I checked and Juliet Stevenson is 61. I am still a bit younger than that and I have lost count of the amount of times that I have got to Aldi and been unable to remember all three things on my shopping list.

We also visited Bath Abbey which was beautiful. We got to see the Bath Diptychs – an amazing work by Sue Symons. It is the story of Jesus told through illustrations and embroidered panels. It’s not there all the time but we got to see the Easter section and it was a flippin privilege. Jesus is represented by a white dot in the embroidery panels – sometimes diminishing through Holy Week  – even disappearing after the crucifixion – it’s very striking.

I also helped Aged Parent go though her copious collection of DVDs. I think the word is eclectic. Jesus of Nazareth and Daniel O’ Donnell jostle for position with zombie movies and westerns which she is very fond of. She is also very keen on Kevin Costner so we are thinking of buying her a copy of Dances with Wolves which would make her explode with happiness.

I am off now to watch the BBC adaptation of Woman in White. I’m not sure how bothered they are but there is a lot of pressure on the BBC here. This is one of my favourite books. Ever. This better be good. Have a good week.

I was reading about Bethesda and the man beside the pool. Please have a look here if you are not familiar with it. As a basically bitter and twisted person, I have often looked on the man as a kindred spirit.

The story says that the man had been ill for 38 years. That’s a long time – a lifetime and I wondered what was wrong with him.
I am only slightly ashamed to say that I have identified with the man, who, unable to rouse himself from whatever ailed him, lay there and watched others get into the water. These people were probably not as sick as he was; they were able to move forward and get into the water under their own steam. The blessing was there and they would skip past him and take it. How tempted was he to try and leg them up as they went past? (You are right, probably not at all but you are much nicer than I am)

A few things I have noticed about him.

  1. He complained that it was everyone else’s fault. “No-one will stop and help me get into the water” My default thinking has always been that he needed to help himself or, at least, go to Jesus and not expect everyone else, who, after all, had problems of their own, to carry him. In the end, he didn’t need anyone else. He asked Jesus for help and help arrived. There were conditions and he had to be obedient and do what Jesus had told him but it was his own faith that made him get up. (However, just thinking. If someone else had helped him. If someone had stopped what they were doing and carried him, then he wouldn’t have been there as long as he was).
  2. When Jesus asked him what was wrong – he told him. Jesus doesn’t request false cheer or pretending all is well. There was no “I’m not so bad thank you – how’s yourself?” There was an honest answer to an honest question. It may not have been a cheery answer – coloured as it was by the man’s general fed-upness and despair – but  he didn’t pretend anything else was going on.
  3. Jesus wasn’t scared off by how messed up the man was. “I have been ill for 38 years. I have lived among the invalids for all that time. My only possible hope is this pool and that isn’t working. No-one will help me. This life is nailed down for me now.” There isn’t a hint that Jesus thought “Blimey, what a miserable crow. He’s right, there is no way back for this man.” No pit is too deep and Corrie Ten Boon nearly said.
  4. Then, what came first. The faith or the healing? As the man began to move, despite there being nothing to say that he should, did he feel the healing course through his veins, giving him the strength to get up? Or, as he lay in despair, did he feel the change as he heard Jesus speak and knew that he could move. I am hoping that you don’t expect any definitive answer from me – we don’t often do that kind of thing round here. Maybe both approaches are right.

I have been challenged by this: our responsibilities to others, our responsibilities to ourselves, the necessity of responding – either to what God asks us to do or the support that others provide us. Or just to flamin cheer up sometimes. Mainly though, it is the compassion of Jesus, the understanding and the depth of knowledge he had, the lack of judgement (even though there is a hint that there might be stuff to be judgemental about) and the fact that Jesus is able.  I am, more often than I would like to admit in mixed company, the man on the bed. This is a strong reminder that there is plenty to be hopeful about even in that position.