About Me

Thursday, 31 December 2009

End of the old...

It's symbolic I guess: a way of marking out the changes of the season and the journey from birth to death. A series of markers through which we can measure history and change.

It's been a funny old year. My son left home, my book club pal died and I teeter on the edge the menopause with bouts of melancholy and an occasional case of the screaming hab dabs. Coming to terms with ageing is no Christmas party. There are some compensations but boo-bloody-hoo!

Later, I will gather with the clan and dance and talk into the wee small hours, putting my melancholy to one side and enter the spirit of the celebrations.

One of the things that's been best about this Christmas, apart from the snow, has been lighting the big fat church candle I've had for ages. I used it in a display and it only burned for a little while. I finally got round to lighting it again this year and with the 'big light' off and the light from the lamps and the Christmas tree; watching the flickering flame has been lovely. My husband has been pretty good too!

Lights in the darkness.

Friday, 19 June 2009


Well, so much for handing out leaflets in the town center. Nick Griffin got a seat. Not good, not good at all. I felt a bit pious and alarmingly PC sending 'not in my name' emails to my friends but to think of that...person...partially representing my interests in the European Parliament makes me shudder.

On a lighter note, I'm absolutely knackered tonight from trying to cope with the end of term and staying up too late to finish off a counselling assignment that I'm doing for my professional updating. In today's brave new world, it's clear I'll never be professional enough. It took more time squashing my answer in 1,500 words than it would to have written 2,500 words, which wasn't allowed. Too much reading for the assessors I guess (I can sympathise). And I'm also tired after last night's excitement. I went to see the Pet Shop Boys at the Manchester Apollo with my lovely friend Karen. Which other group would do their opening number with paper boxes on their heads????? Great visuals, sumptuous tunes, disco beats and lots and lots of boxes. Fab.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Euro Elections

I was very pleased to see that the Anglican Arch Bishops have raised the issue of why it is so important to vote in the Euro Elections and singling out the BNP as dangerous fanatics with a racist and fascist agenda. On Saturday, for the first time in eons, I engaged in a political activity (as opposed to just voting.) I gave out leaflets for the Hope not Hate Campaign in my local town in the hopes of alerting people of the necessity of voting to keep the BNP out.

I really can understand, given the current political climate, why people shake their heads and feel like staying away from the polls but non-participation could give space to fascists and that's too big a price to pay.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

The Spirit is With Us

On Sunday I attended my niece (and God daughter's) confirmation (my sister is RC.) Just before the service began, the elderly priest asked if anyone had a spare hymn book. I was sat with my son and his girlfriend and we had a book each so I offered one. "Ha" says Father ***** "Go to the back of the church and get some hymn books and hand them out to those who have none." I kind of go "Huh?". He goes, "Yes, you, go and get some hymn books and pass them around." I only attend this church for family occasions like confirmations, funerals, weddings, etc and had never clapped eyes on this priest before, nor he me.

Anyways, I went to the back of the church where there were quite a lot of hymn books. I am joined by my brother-in-law's friend. "Go on," said his wife "Go and help Joan." Another gentleman joined us and I started to give out hymn books at the back of the church. "Madam," shouted the priest, "Come down here, madam, and distribute the books." I did and gratefully got back into my pew.

The service was powerful and rather charismatic (as is the aging Father) but the best bit came after a parishioner had read aloud 'the fruits of the spirit' from Paul's letter to the Galatians and the father, after an impromptu prayer, said "The fruits of the spirit are..oh dear..oh dear." He looked down at his notes, "I've lost the fruits. I must go and find them." He ambled back to the altar, found his notes and went on to enthuse about the 'wonderful value' of love, gentleness and self control. My son, his girlfriend and me were all grinning wildly by this point.

Then he asked us to hold out our hand to direct the holy spirit towards the children and almost everyone, except my brother who reckoned the Father has temporarily lost more than his fruit, followed this command. Later at the buffet, people complained about holding up their aching arm (it was a long prayer). One said he felt as if he'd accidentally joined the Nazi party. My sister shook her head and said that they can't get a priest, since the last one was taken off the job and the old guy's looking after two churches. He didn't seem daunted by the task. I'm amazed. The priest is in his seventies and has recovered from an aneurysm.

Though I don't think my brother will enter a church again, my son and his girlfriend are looking forward to an entertaining First Communion in about a months time. On reflection, it was probably for the best that my husband was playing cricket.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Hard stuff

Last week my friend, Sarah Richards, died. She was 46 years old. A creative individual, always busy with this group or that: Bookcrossing, knitting group, vegan group, our book group. Sarah started up our book group and I can't imagine it without her. I don't quite know why she died, possibly from the effects of chemotherapy, possibly her body just gave up. Her best friend emailed me (and others) to let us know she'd stopped breathing and, despite the medics efforts, didn't respond to resuscitation.

Just before Christmas she'd seemed fighting fit and looked resplendent in her glossy red wig as she sat at the table. We'd met to discuss her book choice: "Wise Children" by Angela Carter, a feisty, feminist fairy story. She didn't live to be as old as the Lucky Chances but she embodied their 'in your face, mate" spirit. I'm glad she had her choice of book before she died. I shall miss her loads.