Friday, 1 November 2019
George Eliot (yes, it's a mans name) begins her great book Middlemarch by writing about Teresa of Avila....a famous Spanish mystic, saint and Doctor of the Church, who lived in the 16th century. Teresa , she writes, was a passionate idealist in search of an epic life. And one of the main points of Eliot's novel is that most people do not have epic lives.
We have very ordinairy ones, usually an untidy jumble of mistakes, hinderances and missed oppurtunities which ends in obscurity.
That is how it is for the heroine of Middlemarch, Dorothea Brooke. She has the passionate idealism of Saint Teresa; but this ordinary world we live in frustrates her epic dreams. The energy of her life must, instead, be used up in ways that "have no great name on the earth", and mainly go unnoticed.
Never mind, says Eliot.
The growth of goodness in the world depends hugely on the work of those whose deeds are quiet and completely 'unhistoric'. Her book closes with these words:-
"That things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and the rest in unvisited tombs"
Today , 1st November is All Saints' Day. Maybe we should have a tomb in Westminster Abbey for "an unknown saint", as we have for the "unknown soldier"
Friday, 11 October 2019
Finally, after several weeks of nervous waiting, am very happy to report that the 'opacities' on my right lung are not at all sinister. Though rather a problem.
They are areas of ossification,...irregular bone healing, around three rib fractures that are misaligned and have gone undetected. Obviously due to that awful fall I had in June.
As it is now October, the fractures have healed themselves, but not cleanly..this is what showed up on the x-rays and CAT scan.
But no matter, they are liveable with, are not interfering with lung tissue and it could be something a lot worse.
So we all breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Oh, the photo above is of "Big Baz", this morning, wondering what was going on in the washing machine!
The photo below is of last nights tea.
Taken from Jamie Oliver's new book "Veg"
It sounded so strange that I just had to make it.
...yes, you read that right..
It was actually very tasty and will be made again
Thursday, 26 September 2019
My chest x-ray had come back 'positive'....as opposed to 'clear'. There are, I was told, three "opacities in the right lung"...these used to be called "spots on the lungs" in olden days, but now they are "opacities", but the same thing.
These opacities it seems are attached to the fifth and sixth ribs..at the front of right chest...aha I said to myself. In the summer I had a bad fall, or rather I slipped badly on a patch of oil on the pavement in rainy weather. It was a huge wrench to my right side and resulted in two cracked ribs and torn chest muscles. Not the fifth and sixth ribs, true, but higher up. Could these opacities be a result of that? Maybe.
So am awaiting an appointment from the 'Oncology Department'...two more words that no one particularly wants to hear either. Another set of different x-rays and a CAT Scan are to be had
At the end of my conversation with the Doctor, he said "don't worry"...even more words that on the whole are pretty meaningless in any situation.
We have been talking things over as a family in case it is ...another unwelcome word that is so often reduced to the euphemism..."the C word"....
So what if it is cancer? I am seventy, I have that "blessed assurance that Jesus is mine" and death holds no fear, only perhaps the method of dying. I don't want to go on numerous prayer lists for "healing" as that is not ours to ask for, healing is in God's hands alone.
This doesn't stop me having sleepless nights, but it has also made me cherish every morning that I have woken up and able to breathe.
Saturday, 21 September 2019
After a couple of weeks of ill health was finally fit and able enough to take a walk along the promenade, and what a glorious day today turned out to be.
Bright blue sky, a warm breeze and the tide was in for a change. It is usually half way out every time we decided to talk a walk
The kayakers and wind surfers were out and making the most of high tide and the breeze, there were a lot of families out and about too and children in and out of the sea.
You can always tell when all the tourists have gone home for the season.
We stopped to say hello to our famous "Boy With the Leaking Boot"
Then wandered on through the boating lake and over the light railway tracks to get on to the sand dunes
Before walking back along the beach now the tide was on the way out
Then home for beans on toast and a welcome cup of tea.
The local weather forecast for tomorrow is thunder storm and torrential rain
Friday, 20 September 2019
I often get referred to in conversation with people who do not know me very well, as being"religious". My answer to them is that NO, I have a Faith, but I do not have a Religion.
There is a great difference between the two.
Faith and religion are similar, yet very different, concepts. Religions are historic and cultural systems that evolve with time, while faith is an individualistic, personal feeling of one person, a born again experience leading to a deep 'one to one' relationship with Christ ... Religion is a means through which people can express their faith, without that deep personal relationship
I happen to live in a godless town, with only about 1% of the population frequenting any place of worship. By accident, rather than by design, and as a result of various unforeseen circumstances I now find myself worshipping in an Anglican Church. Very big on religion, very little faith. Not an ideal situation especially as our newly appointed Rector is very proud of the fact that he has a "husband"... He stands in the pulpit each week extolling us to follow God's word yet unable to see what a hypocrite he is. Such is the modern day Religion of the Church of England.
Recently , the Team Vicar was absent from the Sunday service due to the fact that a secular "Wedding Fayre" was in town and it was very important for the Church to have a presence there.
This is what was posted on the church website:-
"The wedding fayre was a great day of good encounters with couples getting married. We spoke to twelve couples who had already booked a church wedding but really appreciated the literature and additional information we could give them. We gave information to fourteen couples who were considering a church wedding and promoted the positives of having a religious service. Good links were made with wedding businesses in our area. It was good to be represented as a firm of non religious celebrants also had a stand."
More Religion at work, with the Church prostituting itself in the corporate secular world. The Church is NOT a business...but seemingly it is now just another "wedding venue" touting for business alongside all the civil wedding venues.
Couples get married in church who have no faith, or even religion, make vows and promises before a God they don't believe in or care about, just so it looks good in the photographs and the church can top up the funds. (In non-conformist churches weddings are only available for believers)
This makes me cross, and sad, I sit in Church each Sunday and listen to conversations and the lack of respect shown and can know that my soul is not being fed here. Thank goodness for sermons posted on line by the Minister of my previous church even though he has moved miles away. Sanity and faith can be restored.
I will get off my 'soap box' and pack it away until needed again
Tuesday, 27 August 2019
It is the end of August and time to be making the Christmas cake, as my Grandmother and Mother did before me. They also made several Christmas puddings that needed to be steamed for hours. I did use to make them when all the children were at home, along with the mincemeat, but now just the cake.
Can highly recommend the Delia Smith recipes for both cake and mincemeat, it is the one I have used since her Christmas book came out in 1992.
So have been to ASDA this morning to stock up with the above ingredients. There are eggs in the fridge and flour in the cupboard. The only thing left to buy is the Brandy, the only time we have or use alcohol in this house, also something I really don't like buying but essential for a Christmas cake which needs to have fruit soaked in brandy overnight and then "fed" every few weeks until ready to be marzipanned and iced. I will go to the 'corner shop' this afternoon as they sell miniature bottles of Brandy which is enough for me to soak the fruit in tonight, ready to make tomorrow....forgot to mention....we are in the middle of a heat wave!
Husband and I went Blackberry picking in local woods yesterday. Because of the heat we were there at 8am and picked just short of five pounds ( no idea what that is in metric)
They have all gone in the freezer until I buy enough sugar for the jam.
As you can see the jam recipe has been much used.
Usually I just make the plain Blackberry, but sometimes add the apple.
I do love cooking!
Saturday, 27 July 2019
My tiny garden is at its best just now, and is just as I imagined it to be when I set about planting the tree saplings in the large tubs ten years ago.
This is the best view, taken from my craft room window.
It is like a mini forest, full of bird life, insects and even a hedgehog, though where he comes from each night I have no idea.
Because this is such a small concrete back yard and the bird table is in the centre, there is a ring side view of all the bird antics.
When I am washing up am entertained by a family of noisy Sparrows, this year the pair had six fledglings, all of which have survived. The Starlings appeared to have several broods and at one time we saw eighteen youngest on the back fence all clamouring to be fed by the very busy parents.
With the recent hot spell I put out several more bowls of water, and a shallow dish with stones in the water to make it accessible to insects...to great effect. We watched the Blackbirds taking a bath, the Sparrows don't jump in the water, but duck their heads then vigorously shake it. But the Pigeons, like a long very active bath in the large water bowl ...afterwards the water is so very dirty. Needless to say the bowls were refreshed every few hours.
In the spring I was given a "Pineapple Lily" bulb which grew into a most peculiar plant...and it does look like a pineapple..
However, this plant has one major draw back, it stinks, of dead meat...(it didn't mention that on the label)
......and the smell attracts Carrion flies, lots of them!
It was in its pot by the back door but has since been banished to the farthest back corner of the garden because it is constantly covered in these flies...
On a more pleasanter note, this Sunflower appeared in one of the tubs, a seed obviously part of the daily bird seed...and it grew, and grew, and grew before bursting into this multi headed flower.
Can only assume that it is a variety specially bred to produce as much seed as possible to be sold as bird seed. I had to stand on a chair to take these photos. Am going to leave the seed heads on to see if they attract seed eating birds, though will save a few to grow next year.
The last week has been very hot (for England) and the cat and I are not 'hot weather' beings. At least I could wear as few clothes as possible and cool off under the shower, but the poor cat couldn't get rid of his fur coat. He tried various positions to sleep in, but in the end decided to just lay out flat on the cooler kitchen tiles.
Thankfully, today, the heat wave has broken and it is raining....yippee.
So the cat can go out and about again, as he loves being out in the rain, and I can take up my knitting again..had so much yarn for my birthday and a long list of things to knit with it.
Husband and I went walking in the woods this morning, in the rain..