Saturday, December 31, 2005

Random Things

As it is New Year`s Eve, it is time to sort out some unfinished business !

Ages ago (well, Dec 18th !) Dave Holford tagged me to declare five random things about myself. When faced with something like that, my mind goes blank. I was unable to think of anything at all.

Now I have decided you will get however many random things I can mention before Abby wakes up :-0

I am a fanatical collector of the children`s author Elinor M. Brent-Dyer, especially her Chalet school books. I also write short stories for the Chalet Bulletin Board based on characters mentioned in the Chalet School books.

I have every Brother Cadfael book written by Ellis Peters, and I am busy collecting all her detective fiction too. I never ever guess whodunnit till the author tells us. I would never be any good in the CID !

I would rather get rid of the TV and spend the licence money on books, but I am consistently outvoted on this , LOL.
I do like radio, though. I am rather boring and listen to Radio 4.
As a tangent, I also collect books written by Libby Purves, one of the Radio 4 presenters.............

I love playing "guess the illness" and "who`s going to die in this episode" when watching medical dramas. Sad, I know.

I cannot do Sudoku. Not even the easy ones targeted at children.
I simply do not have the right sort of brain for it.
Word games, though - now you`re talking !
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Friday, December 30, 2005

Monastic Diurnal Coming Soon !!

I am so thrilled !!
The Lancelot Andrewes Press is re-publishing the Canon Douglas version of the Monastic Diurnal ........... which is the version used at Christminster WR monastery and by their Oblates.

I will be putting aside my birthday money for this :-)

Bounces with excitement.
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Sand and Snow and Cabin Fever

On Thursday we took the children for a LONG walk in the wholesome fresh air to shake off the cabin fever that was starting to affect us all.

It had been -8 degrees overnight, and it was equally bitterly cold out. We were all warmly wrapped up, and as there was a stiff breeze, we took the children`s kites with us.
It was so cold there was frost on the sand on the beach, and on the sand dunes !! I have lived in this town for forty years, and I have never seen frost on sand before.......

The kite flying was a brilliant success, and I have decided that we will purchase more kites so that DH and I are not reduced to begging the children to let us have a turn ! :-)
On the way back we stopped at mother-in-law`s house to say Hi, and we stayed for about an hour before walking back home.

After lunch, it started to snow heavily, turning the ground white very quickly so we now have film of the girls playing snowball fights in the back garden for DoomH to watch when she comes home...........we have burnt the footage onto a DVD so we can take it for the grandparents to see !!
Sadly, in the evening, it strated to rain and it rained all night and is still raining now, much to my disgust .

I wanted to go kite-flying again.
Pout :-(
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Family Ties

On Wednesday, after taking the children to a local fast-food outlet as their post-Christmas treat, DH and I were inspired to visit the local branch of Tesco, buy some flowers and go grave visiting, as he wasn`t well enough to do so before Christmas.

Suiting action to the idea, off we went, along the scenic route through the very large hills all the way to Porth, where my father-in-law is buried with many members of his family. We laid flowers there and sang Memory Eternal, and then I was inspired to boldly knock on the Sexton`s office door and ask him if he could help me to find a grave which I knew for a fact was there, that of my mother-in-law`s grandparents.

He looked rather surpised, but very kindly looked it up on his database and then got out an enormous grave register, the earliest entry dating back 150 years double-check. He even let me look, and lo and behold, in the very next-door grave to the one I was looking for were my mother-in-law`s great grandparents !

So I copied all the details down, and clutching the map which the Sexton kindly printed out for me, we set off to the very old section of the graveyard to lay flowers on these two unmarked family graves. The family was too poor to afford headstones.

So at long last we know the resting place of Mary Ann Beaverstock, died aged 25 years and buried on the 18 October 1904, two of her children, Evelyn ages 2 years and Thomas aged just 9 weeks, who died within two days of each other from Pneumonia and were buried together on 14 December 1899, and her husband Thomas who died aged 74 and was buried in 1949. All together in one grave. We have taken photographs and made careful notes.

On the way back, we visited my father`s grave and laid flowers for him too, and sang Memory Eternal.

None of them will be forgotten.
Memory eternal !!
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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Seasonal Bugs

DH has now been ill for a whole week, with a vile cold that ended up being a rip-roaring chest infection. He has been barking, coughing, snorting etc day and night , and he is consequently suffering acute sleep deprivation !!

He caught this from Abby, who was given it at school. I am profoundly thankful that at least Abby managed to escape the Scarlet fever which a child at her class contracted, and who was still attending school because their clueless family doctor didn`t know what the rash was !!

Abby has been coughing and spluttering for about 10 days now, but she was thoroughly checked over during a routine hospital appointment on the Friday before Christmas, when the paediatrician assured us with a smile that this particular cold/cough bug seems to be taking up to three weeks to clear up.................

So only another two weeks of an ill husband to go , LOL.

I would rather be ill myself, frankly :-)
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Christmas Past

Despite the "Twelve Days of Christmas", it still seems a little anti-climactic now that The Day has been and gone.

The children loved all of their presents, and Helen solemnly informed me that this was the best Christmas ever :-)
We have taken camcorder footage of the mayhem - um - "present-opening" for DoomHamster`s delectation, and of Christmas lunch.

There were nine of us at lunch, and there was a lot of cooking - beef, turkey, roast pork, stuffing, roast potatoes, new potatoes, brussel sprouts, roast parsnips, peas, carrots, bread sauce, gravy, bacon and sausage rolls etc.

It was wonderful to sit at the table and see everyone enjoying the food I had made, with the glow from the lit lampada shining over us all.
What a blessing.
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Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christ Is Born !

Christ is Born !
Glorify Him !

May you all have a Happy, Blessed and Joyous Feast of the Nativity, and a happy and prosperous New Year :-)
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Friday, December 23, 2005

Blast Update

My aunt and my cousins have been allowed to return to their house in Hemel Hempstead.
The company which owns the refinery is being held resposible for the blast and has had to pay for the damage caused to the houses.
My aunt`s house had all its windows and doors blown out by the force of the explosion.
The air pollution is still so bad that one of my cousins, who is a severe asthmatic, cannot leave the house even to go towork.................

But of course, we don`t hear about this on the news or in the papers. They have to live with the aftermath of the problem.

Please, of your charity, remember my uncle Tony in your prayers.
Christmas Eve will mark the 7th anniversary of his death, and my aunt will probably not be able to go to the cemetery to lay flowers on his grave, as the area was still "out-of-bounds" when my mother spoke to her on Wednesday.
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Missing Teaspoons

For a pre-Christmas giggle, read about the bizare case of the missing teaspoons................;jsessionid=F3TURBIWX0DDVQFIQMGCFGGAVCBQUIV0?xml=/news/2005/12/23/nspoons23.xml
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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Icon Corner News

This is so exciting, to me at least, that it deserves a newsflash of its very own !!

Several months ago, I bought a hanging lampada for my icon corner.
It was lovingly hung up today for me by my dear husband, and it is perfect.

It was a joy and delight to say evening prayers with the lampada lit tonight, and I can thank God every day for the kindness of my husband in hanging it for me.

I will only be using tea-light candles in it, as DH has requested that it only be lit during prayer times, and that it never be left unattended when lit, due to the antics of the young ones.

All perfectly fair requests, knowing what our girls are capable of......................
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Family News

I slept much better last night, thank you :-)

Helen thoroughly enjoyed the Narnia film, which was their class`s end of term treat, and Abby loved the puppet theatre show which was her class treat.

One of the nursery nurses in Abby`s class is leaving, and we had a collection to get money for a really nice bouquet of flowers for her. I was nominated to present it, and make a short speech, which I did and everyone was tearful. We will all miss her greatly, she is truly wonderful at her job, but she really does need time away at the moment because of personal issues.
She is constantly in my prayers at present.
Abby`s teacher knitted each child an exquisite red and white miniature Christmas stocking, so Abby`s is on our Christmas tree :-)
Abby also came home with the most gorgeous Christmas crafts she had made in school, so they are all in strategic important places round the house. I foresee tears when they have to be packed away on Twelfth Night.........

DoomHamster continues her love affair not only with Matt, but also with America ! She is having a glorious time, and has emailed me again, which I really appreciate. Especially as it was to find out details about the nearest Orthodox church. ......... Matt is going to be in for a bit of a culture shock, bless him.
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Tuesday, December 20, 2005


I woke up at 3.30 am , cold and unable to go back to sleep. DH is snoring gently, and rather than lying grumpily in bed, I decided to get up and brave the cold living room to do some peaceful blogging........

Today will be the young ones` last day of term in school.

Helen took in her presents to give to her teacher and the classroom assistant on Monday, as her class is going on a cinema trip today to see the new Narnia film, as that has been their classroom reading book this term.

Abby`s presents are all packed up ready for her to take in today; her class are having a visit from a puppet theatre. I have seen this puppeteer`s performance before, and it was really good.

We are all still eagerly awaiting news of the imminent arrival of a new School baby ( a member of staff is now overdue with her third baby).

I will be going to town to do last minute shopping on behalf of grandparents, who find it hard to know what to choose when confronted with the ridiculous and bewildering array of toys on display in the shops.

Oh Joy, Oh bliss !
Fighting my way through the Christmas crowds - but at least it will be quieter than it will on the weekend, I suppose.

That`s all, Folks !
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Nativity Revisited.

We had a lovely surprise on Monday; one of the mums from Abby`s class gave me a video copy of her camcorder footage of the school Nativity play for my husband to see, as he wasn`t able to get time off work to go to the performance.

It was great fun to see it again, and DH was in stitches.......and of course, next year, we will be able to take our footage of the Play !

DH is looking forward to taking plenty of footage over Christmas, for DoomHamster to watch on her return from the States, so she won`t be missing out too much on what happened at home .
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Clothed and Unclothed.

On Sunday, we took the girls to the local country park to see the Reindeer being fed. We hadn`t been before, and we were all really looking forward to it, so warmly dressed for the December weather, we set off.
There was also a craft fair, so we saw that first, and had a snack there, believing that there would be mammoth crowds to see the feeding, and that we would have plenty of time to see the tail end of it all and miss the worst of the crowds :-)

Helen wanted to have her face painted, and once it was done, Abby was so impressed that she asked for hers to be done too, which was a surprise, as she doesn`t normally like that sort of thing...........she sat there happily and looked lovely afterwards, albeit very - pink.
So we made our way up the castle steps, to the area where the deer feed was happening.
We obviously had pitched the timing just right, as we could see people starting to make their way down the steps to go to the Craft fair.

Imagine our surprise, on a cold December day , to see, halfway up the seriously huge flight of steps, an amateur photographer and his model doing what could only be euphemistically and charitably called a "glamour shoot".
She was just about dressed, but wearing very little, and we were hysterical to see them carrying on regardless as if it were the most normal thing in the world to be doing a semi-lewd photo shoot on steps which rapidly became a swarming crowd of parents and children in search of hot drinks at the craft fair.........I came out in goosebumps in sympathy for this poor woman, and I was wearing thermal clothing !!

Surprisingly, our little ones didn`t seem to notice how little the woman was wearing in their eagerness to see the reindeer, and we were thrilled to find that the reindeer were still in front of the castle terrace in good numbers, feeding happily, and we were able to get a grandstand view at the very front of the castle terrace.

DH managed to get some brilliant shots of them with our brand-new camcorder, and he spent the rest of the afternoon editing the footage and burning it all onto a DVD, so we could watch it on the TV.
The girls thought it was wonderful to see themselves on film, and we ahve seen it several times already , LOL.
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Saturday, December 17, 2005

News From Abroad

We have received emails from DoomHamster and she is having a great time with Matt and his family.
It is very quiet without her, though.........
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Fuel Crisis

A friend of ours has an LPG powered Range Rover car, and it has been working fine with no problems until Thursday afternoon, when I had a frantic phone call from her, with her very shaken and in tears, asking me if I would pick her son up from school when I collected my own little darlings, as her car had caught fire.

Luckily she was not hurt although she was obviously very shaken and distressed. The car had caught fire very suddenly, and she had to get out just outside the supermarket car park, blocking the delivery van parking bays.

Fortunately a British Gas repair van was passing and the crew saw the flames, so they sprayed the car and the surrounding area with their foam fire extinguishers to minimise the risk of the whole tank exploding.

An office nearby phoned for the fire brigade, and they took 20 minutes to arrive, although the fire station is less than one minute`s drive away.

Ironically, the supermarket delivery van driver then asked my friend if she could move her burning car so he could park his van......
Hello ?
Does this man have a brain ?
Would *you* get back in a burning car to move it ?
I certainly wouldn`t............

Needless to say, she said "No", in no uncertain terms :-)

The car is a wreck, and will have to be scrapped, but the insurance company will compensate.
Not a pleasant experience.
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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Abby in the middle again :-) Posted by Picasa
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Abby`s Nativity Play; Abby is in the middle of the front row. Posted by Picasa
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Concerts, Concerts !

Yesterday was the Day of Concerts.

Abby`s Nativity play in the afternoon was so sweet. She was an angel (Ha ha!) and looked lovely. Positively angelic. And I knew it was too good to be true...............

She had fallen over in school and hurt her knee, and when she got bored in the play, she lifted up her dress to examine the injured cut knee in great detail, lifting her leg up so high that her foot was obscuring her face at one point, before kissing her "baddie knee" better !

Later on, she decided to see what would happen if she plucked some of the feathers from her costume and blow them up in the air...... it did make a very pretty although unscheduled special effect.
Needless to say, the costume was looking a bit threadbare by the time came to take it off !

I have taken photos, but I need my DH to come home from work tonight to upload them to the computer - I still can`t do it. I know, I should be ashamed, after having had the camera for a year, but I am a technophobe.

Helen`s "Nine lessons and Carols" concert went well, and she sang beautifully.
Three of the carols were "arranged" anew, and worked surprisngly well with honky-tonk piano effects......

The undoubted highlight of the concert was one carol, called simply "Mary`s Song" . It was a paraphrase of the Magnificat, and was absolutely exquisite, sung by a group of five of the older girls. It was sweet, simple, poignant and amzingly effective. I will ask Helen`s teacher if I can have the words.

The Baptist Minister`s Address was really rather good; he showed slides of photos of celebrities and of the teachers of when they were young children, and then of them as they are now, to show what they have grown up to be.
He then tied this in with the birth of Jesus, and how that was just the start of the Story, and that He grew up to lead an adult life . In that same way, as we celebrate Christmas, we need always to bear in mind the rest of the Story, as they form part of a whole.

I know I am being horrible and picky, and this is another one for my Confession list, but hearing the extempore prayers including "Lord, we just want to ....." does rankle and make me edgy.
What on earth is wrong with having a prepared,solemn, beautiful proper liturgical prayer to express the same sentiments succinctly and eloquently, rather than blathering on in appalling English ? That was the only part of the Concert which was ineffective and ugly.
And it was an unnecessary shame.

Other than that, it was a great day.
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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Adventure Begins....

DD1, my baby DoomHamster, has just been taken by her grandfather to catch the coach which will take her to Heathrow airport to catch her flight to the USA.
For her, the adventure begins anew, and I know she will have a wonderful time.

But I miss her already. Just walking past her open bedroom door made me tearful.

Now for several hours of worrying and praying till I know she has got there safely...............
asking the prayers of St Tatiana, St David of Wales, St Nicholas the Wonderworker and St John the Wonderworker for the handmaiden of God Tatiana.

06.25 She is safely on her coach. Barring traffic snarl-ups, she should arrive at Heathrow at 10.30, ready for her flight at 13.30.
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Monday, December 12, 2005

Blast Update

We have heard from my aunt who lives in Hemel Hempstead, where the big explosion took place yesterday. She lives near the refinery depot, and was blown out of bed by the force of the explosion, but was not hurt, and my cousins are all safe too.
They have been evacuated from their homes until the fire is under control completely.
Scary stuff...........
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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Sunday of the Old Testament Righteous

Today is a double celebration, as it is the Name day for both our precious youngest daughter Abigail, and of my precious god-daughter Ruth.
It was my privilege to escort them both for Communion this morning :-))

Many Years to the handmaidens of God, Abigail and Ruth.

Many Years also to Dave Holford`s little Abigail, who celebrates her Name day on the WR date. May she be doubly blessed !
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After Liturgy today, I was talking with Father and he showed me the new red cloth used at Communion.
Having admired it, Father said that the old cloth had met with an unfortunate accident.........Father hand washes the soiled cloth repeatedly in water, in a special container, and then reverently disposes of the rinsing water.
On this last occasion, he had placed the cloth in the tumble dryer, and it had become irrevocably covered in white lint fluff, so much so that a new cloth was needed.

Hence the one I admired toay, which actually was a very lovely large red linen napkin, which had come in pack of six, and as Father said, might well have been specifically designed for the use in church, so perfect was it.
"Of course", he said, with a twinkle in his eye, "I cut off the label before using it. You`ll never guess where it came from, by the way. It said Made in Turkey......."

As we are a Greek parish, I am sure you get the joke :-)

For my non-Orthodox readers, just think of the feelings of Spiro the fiercely patriotic Corfiot taxi-driver in Gerald Durrell`s immortal tale, My Family and Other Animals, LOL.
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Prayers please

Prayers please for those living in Hemel Hempstead; there has been a huge explosion there and we have not yet heard that our family members living nearby are safe yet.
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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Another Lovely Gift Book

Another must-have Christmas-Tide book is "Wenceslas" by Geraldine McCaughrean .

This glorious children`s book is large-format and lavishly illustrated with stunning oil pastel pictures.

Our girls know the carol about good King Wenceslas, and it is nice to see it in an illustrated narrative form at last .

We even see Wenceslas in church, with icons visible :-)
All good stuff !
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A Must-Have Book

The girls and I are currently thoroughly enjoying Louise Carus` book " The Real St Nicholas - Tales of Generosity and Hope from Around the World".

It is a wonderful resource, and has enough stories for a new one every day in December, so that is our bedtime story book this month.
Some of the stories need to be parentally edited for length and occasional gruesomeness, in order to avoid nightmares, but it is a lovely, lovely book about the miracles and stories associated with our beloved saint.
Of course, it has the added advantage of being the December bedtime book for may years to come, so it is a good lifetime purchase :-)
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Packing is a moot point in our house at the moment.
Yesterday , whilst the two young ones were in school, DH and I packed up all the children`s Christmas gifts and squirreled them away in the attic, away from prying eyes and busy little fingers :-)

But there is another sort of packing afoot......................

DD1, the much-loved and infamous DoomHamster, is preparing to fly from London-Heathrow to Denver, Colorado, to spend a whole month with her fiance Matt and his parents. Matt`s family are having an extended- family, open -house gathering for DoomH to meet them and them to meet DoomH.

I know she will have a wonderful time, but we are going to miss her soooo much..... Blub.
She is flying on Tuesday, so all prayers for safe travel for her will be very much appreciated !
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Rat Count

Despite numerous trips past our little lake this week, I have seen only one rat.
Thankfully !
A few weeks ago, I was almost half-expecting to see the Pied Piper of Hamelin appear......
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Christmas Shopping

DH and I went to our local town yesterday to do some Christmas shopping for edibles to put into the girls` Christmas stockings.
In one shop we had great success (ie cheap!), but in the course of our shopping I was saddened to see a "flashing Santa" figure.
No, this was not "flashing" as in "lighting up intermittently", but "flashing" as in the battery-operated figure opening its red Santa coat widely to expose its underwear.
I suppose I should have been glad it was wearing underwear, being in a "family" type shop, but it made me very sad.

Why on earth would someone think that an indecently dressed Santa is an ideal Christmas decoration for their home ?
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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Happy St Nicholas` Day !!

The Joy of the Feast be yours !!

My young ones dutifully put their slippers outside their bedroom doors last night, and this morning they found a bag of gold chocolate coins, a striped candy cane, a colouring book printed by me from illustrations at the St Nicholas website and a Nativity set each, to end the squabbles over whose layout of the main downstairs Nativity scene figures is best :-)

Great was their delight and loud the exclamations,
and very close was the shave by which we made it to school before the bell rang,
so long did they tarry playing with their nativity sets !

Seriously, a Happy, Blessed and Joyous feast of St Nicholas to you all !
Holy father Nicholas, pray for us !
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Monday, December 05, 2005

Gratuitous Theft

The saga of my recycling boxes continues.
I know it is pathetic to get so het up about something so trivial, but anyway... :-)

On Thursday morning I was about to put the recycling boxes (DH gave me a spare one from the garage to make up for our previously stolen one) out for collection when DH had a brainwave.
We would spray-paint our house number on them in bright red paint, so even our apparently illiterate binmen and neighbours could work out that our boxes belong to our house.

DH suited action to the word, and our boxes were soon sporting a very fetching red double digit.
We then went out shopping.

When we came home, the recycling collection had taken place.
Loads of other people`s recycling boxes were sitting emptily outside their houses.

Not outside our house.

We had only one of our marked boxes; the other has apparently either been abducted by aliens, eaten by the refuse lorry, or - and my money is on this one, folks ! - stolen by the sad person who removed our last box under the cover of darkness.

So now, someone has **two** of our boxes, one marked with our house number in bright red paint and one unmarked.
I give up.

What annoyed me most was that someone just took them.
If that person had asked if I needed both of mine, or would it be possible for him/her to borrow one, I would have happily and instantly given the box(es) away with my blessing.
I just don`t like theft.

I know I shouldn`t get angry about it, but I am, and I do wish that I wasn`t angry.
Perhaps that is this Nativity Fast`s lesson for me - control your anger. Do not hoard things. Love Thy Neighbour as thyself.

Or perhaps the fact that recycling is bad for your temper and mental/spiritual health :-)
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Books For Sale

I am trying to sell the following books in order to raise money to help the appeal to purchase the land on which St Seraphim`s Church in Walsingham , Norfolk is situated.

I will be happy to ship the books worldwide, but bear in mind that airmail shipping is very expensive, and surface mail takes up to 10 weeks.

All books are used, but in pretty good condition.

Journey to the Holy Mountain - Meditations on Mount Athos
by Christopher Merrill. HB book, written by non-Orthodox. £1.99

St Silouan the Athonite by Archimandrite Sophrony
HB £1.99

An Englishman in the Court of the Tsar by Christine Benagh
HB £1.99

The Fathers Speak (St Basil the Great, St Gregory Nazianzus and st Gregory of Nyssa)
By Georges Barrois PB £1.00

Touching Heaven - Discovering Orthodoxy on the island of Valaam
by John Oliver, PB £1.00

Orthodox Prayer Life - The Interior way
by Fr Matthew the Poor
PB £1.50

The Sacred Gift of Life - Orthodox Christianity and Bioethics
by Fr John Breck
PB £1.50

Letters to Spiritual Children
by Abbot Nikon, pb £1.00

Letters to a Beginner, on giving one`s life to God.
by Abbess Thaisia, PB, £1.00

The Theology of Illness
by Jean-Claude Larchet
pb £1.00

Beloved Sufferer - The Life and mystical revelations of a Russian Eldress, Schemamnun Macaria
by Gennady Durasov, PB £1.00

Walking in Wonder - Nurturing Orthodox Christian Values in your Children
by Elizabeth White, PB £1.00

The Philokalia, vols 1 and 2
PB £2.50 pair.

The Blessed Surgeon - the Life of St Luke Archbishop of Simferopol
by Archdeacon Vasily Marushchak, pb £1.00

The mountains of Serbia - Travels through Inland Yugoslavia
by Anne Kindersley. Published in 1977, this HB provides photos and much detail about monasteries and churches subsequently damaged in the Troubles in Serbia.

Anglo-Saxon England by Lloyd and Jennifer Laing
PB illustrated, £1.00

Treasury of Jewish Quotations by Leo Rosten
Lots of quotes from the Midrash etc.
Old pb, £1.00

If interested, please email me
orthodox(dot)mum(at)ntlworld(dot)com !
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Xmas Lights

If you remember, this time last year we had to have our Christmas Tree set up in order to have any lights in our living room, due to the house re-wiring in progress.

This year, we have the Christmas Tree and wall lights !
We are feeling rich :-)

DH was desperate to put our tree up this weekend, (though I like to leave it till much later in December - preferably the Saturday before Christmas Eve) mainly so he could then enjoy putting all the Xmas decoration storage boxes up in the attic in the newly boarded space, LOL.

We also went to my parents` house and the girls decorated their tree, which has been the tradition for the last 19 years.
Doing it this weekend meant that DoomHamster was able to help, before she jets off to the USA on the 13th to spend Christmas and the New Year with Matt and his family.
She is under orders to produce twice weekly blog updates, preferably with photos, so we can keep in touch.
I am likewise under orders, so she can see photos of her sisters` Nativity Play and Carol Concert.

Thank God (most seriously) for Blogger and the Internet !
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Mission Accomplished.

It has been a busy weekend, but WE HAVE OUR HOUSE BACK !!

DH spent Saturday laying boarding in the attic for all our miscellaneous bits and pieces, and they have all been put in their allotted spaces in the attic.
The house is clear of junk; my kitchen has no storage/packing boxes at all.

We have, more or less, finished unpacking from the house move, and that was only 22 months ago :-)
Yippee !
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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Bolting The Stable Door.....

Some time ago, I blogged about a particularly nasty strain of E Coli food poisoning that was occurring in schools in our area, though thankfully not in our town or our immediately neighbouring towns.
There have been no further new cases for a few weeks now, so imagine our surprise when we went to pick up the girls from school on Wednesday, to be given a letter from the Headmaster outlining the contents of a directive he- and all the other schools in the County Borough- had received and been ordered to implement.

Basically it means that the much anticipated treat for the little ones of having class chocolate Advent calendars, with each child getting the chance to open a window and eat the chocolate inside has been cancelled.

The staff`s normal practice of giving each child a small chocolate treat as a Christmas End of term gift has been cancelled - even if it is fully wrapped and sealed, and was bought in a shop !

The School`s Christmas Fayre has been cancelled, as no food is allowed to be brought into school .
All the baked goods which the parents donated to this event, and for refreshments at the school`s Nativity play can no longer be brought into school.

The Nursery class can no longer have fruit in a fruit bowl for the children to eat. The Nursery Teacher can no longer prepare fruit at home for the children to eat in school. Try explaining to a class of three and four year olds why they can no longer have their morning fruit each day.

The list is endless, draconian and utterly pointless.

If the local Council were truly concerned about being sued by parents if their children could provably have contracted E Coli via food provided or prepared in school, why are they still providing school dinners, which is how the E Coli was spread in the first place...................... ?
And why on earth were these draconian measures not implemented right at the beginning of the outbreak, when they could then conceivably have helped limit the spread of the infection ? Not now, several MONTHS later.

Talk about bolting the stable door when the horse has not only bolted, but died of old age and been sent to the knacker`s yard..................
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Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Abby ( now just turned 4) is going to be an angel in the school Nativity Play.
Helen`s old costume is sadly shabby, so I think I will have to go hunting for a new one for Abby`s acting debut !

I am profoundly thankful that they are in a school where there is still a strong Christian ethos.
Although they learn about other religious faiths and their traditions, as required by law, most of what they learn in RE is Christian.
The little ones perform a Nativity Play, and the older ones put on an unashamedly Christmas Concert/Play.

None of this PC, all-inclusive, non-specific, wishy-washy, namby-pamby claptrap of having a "Winter Festival" which sems to be infecting Britain like some sort of noxious plague.

Even in Abby`s class (ages 3 to 4), they all say grace before lunch in school :-
"Thank you for the food we eat
Thank you for the birds that sing
Thank you God
For everything.

End of Rant, I promise :-)
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Communion Wine - Bad for Business

This week`s Church Times (Anglican) newspaper has a report that as of this week, the SPCK Christian bookshop chain will no longer be able to sell communion wine .

The 15% proof Vino Sacro can no longer be bought because of new Government legislation (yawn) which means each single SPCK shop would need to have a £600 licence for selling alcohol and a mandatory two staff members in attendance at all times.
The SPCK shop in our nearest big City is a small shop with one staff member. The costs of employing another member of staff simply to meet the new legislation would be prohibitive and definitely not cost-effective.

I never thought the day would come when Communion was bad for a business......
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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Getting Ready for St Nicholas

If you are looking for ideas on how to celebrate St Nicholas` day, I urge you to visit

where you can literally spend hours browsing. From recipes for traditional foods, to craft ideas, play scripts, and even a list of countries with details of their traditional customs relating to the beloved Saint.

Each year our children leave their slippers outside their bedroom door at bedtime on 5th Dec, and miraculously, each 6th December morning, there are candy canes and a bag of chocolate coins for each child.
There may be other gifts; one year each child had an icon of St Nicholas, Help of Mariners :-)

I haven`t decided what this year`s treat will be, but we will be making St Nicholas cookies.
I need to buy marzipan..............
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Monday, November 28, 2005

Cold Thoughts

I thought it was strange when I got up at 6am that the house seemed really, really cold. The central heating was on, and up to 28 degrees C, but I was seated at my computer wearing a woolen shawl over my clothes nonetheless...............

When dawn broke about 8am, the reason was apparent - thick frost.
As we walked past the lake, over half of it was frozen over, with seagulls perched miserably on the ice.

I have just checked the temperature in our kitchen (which is not centrally heated) and it is a miserly 3 degrees C according to my trusty thermometer. The rest of the house has now warmed up to a comfortable 15 degrees C , LOL.

I am trying to pluck up courage to go back out in the cold and leave the thermometer out for a while. And this is mild weather compared to that enndured by Fr Arseny and his companions in the Russian gulag camps.
Dear God alone knows how they survived that bitter cold.
Sure puts my own grumbles into perspective.

UPDATE: I have just checked the temperature outside and it has warmed up to a spectatcular 0 degrees C !
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Friday, November 25, 2005

Icicles on our roof, just starting to melt :-) Posted by Picasa
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One of the oldest houses in the village......late mediaeval period. Posted by Picasa
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One of the thatched houses near us, with snow on its roof ! Posted by Picasa
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More snow. Posted by Picasa
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Snow on them there hills ! Posted by Picasa
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Let It Snow !

On Thursday night the weather forecast was for cold weather and snow, much to the children`s delight.
Secretly, it was to mine as well.
Snow is a rarity here, living on the coast as we do, and if we get any at all, it is generally in Feb - March.
Certainly not in November !

Lying in bed, with my pyjamas on, I was hot. So hot that I got up and looked out of the window. No snow.
Later on that night, I could hear torrential rain. Gloomily, I thought to myself that the snow was a total non-starter, as surely the rain would make it impossible for any snow to stick.
I fell asleep again mentally grumbling.

I was awoken by a jubilant 7 year old screaming that it was snowing, and lo and behold, it was !
About two inches had fallen by 8am, so I had to take more photos....
It didn`t last, and the snow had mostly melted by teatime, but it was still a magical day.
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The lake in the clearing mist. Posted by Picasa
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The island in the middle of the lake.... Posted by Picasa
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Our Week

We awoke on Wednesday morning to really thick mist - we could not even see the houses across the street !
By the time we got ready to go to school, the mist was thick but clearing very slightly.

The most uncanny thing immediately obvious to us was the silence. .....
With the exception of the occasional car or lorry passing slowly, and the raucous cry of a seagull, we could neither see anyone else walking to school nor hear them. Even our footsteps were muffled by the fog.
It was beautiful, but creepy at the same time.

I had taken my camera with me, so for your delectation I will be posting some shots in the mist :-0

By lunchtime the mist had cleared and it became a lovely sunny day and even better, was quite warm after the cold Monday and Tuesday we had endured.

The weather forecast for the weekend promised cold winds and snow, so I went to town and bought the young ones new hats, scarves and gloves just in case..........we live on the coast, so snow is a real rarity, but best to be prepared !
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Monday, November 21, 2005

Nature Notes

It is absolutely bitterly cold today .
I am sitting here wearing T shirt, thick jumper, woollen jacket, tights, trousers, socks and slippers and I *still* have a wool rug over my lap and legs .
I`m not hot, just comfortably warm !!

There was a really heavy frost this morning, and the pond in the field we pass each day is frozen solid. The main lake isn`t frozen yet, but it soon will be.
Despite the cold, it is a lovely sunny day.
Long may it continue :-)

In the garden recently there have been :-
a wren,
a song thrush,
female and male blackbirds,
a blue tit,
a magpie,
and a curlew flying overhead.
I don`t think the five planes overhead count as nature, despite their wings........

I will be watching the ducks to see if we have any visiting birds when I go to pick the girls up this afternoon. Good birdwatching weather :-)
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Saturday, November 19, 2005


I don`t know what it is about fasting periods, but they always, without fail, show up my worst faults in sharp focus quite incredibly quickly !
This week was no exception.

On Weds night, about 7pm I put out our rubbish bags for the weekly refuse collection, and also the two black recycling boxes (one for paper and one for glass) for their fortnightly collection.

At 8pm I emptied the kitchen bin and put that bag outside , only to find that some (deep breath) *person* had stolen one of our black boxes. They had kindly emptied all the glass out of it first and shoved that on top of the papers box.

To say I was incandescent with rage was an understatement. I ranted and raved and called the thief all manner of things, before my DH gently pointed out that we hadn`t had to buy the boxes anyway as the council supplied them as part of their recycling initiative, so they weren`t truly ours anyway unless you consider them part payment for our exorbitant council tax !

That stopped me dead in my tracks.

Why get so upset over a plastic stacking box, worth about £2, for heaven`s sake ?

Because it was MINE !!! Anger, affronted pride, possessiveness, slander, back-biting, selfishness and greed all displayed in one incident lasting about a minute.


In the cold light of day, I don`t like myself very much sometimes.

The food fast is not going particularly well for various reasons, but I am so much more aware of my transgressions and making a conscious effort to be less judgemental, more patient, more kind, more understanding.

Still got a butt-load of nasties to confess though.

I do love the Fasts; reality check personified !
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St Illtyd

Today is the feast of the great Celtic saint, Illtyd !

His troparia is:-
Troparion of St Illtyd Tone 6
O wise Illtyd, thou wast noble by birth and noble in mind/
and didst train many saints in the way of holiness./
Pray to Christ our God to raise up saints in our days/
to His glory and for our salvation.

The life of St Illtyd Feast 6/19 November, is here .

A really nice web site depicting a visit to Llantwit Major is here and is well worth a browse.
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Friday, November 18, 2005

Garden Notes

We decided yesterday that enough was enough, and we could no longer put off the necessary garden work.

Our poor uncomplaining postman was getting drenched, having to walk down our overgrown garden path and getting soaked by our numerous shrubs, so DH fired up the hedge cutter and we blitzed the shrubs back to a reasonable size.
Two hours later, we took the 9 rubbish sacks of prunings to the municipal dump (our council calls it a "civic amenity site", as though it is a theme park !!)

We can now walk freely down the path, even carrying shopping, with having to turn sideways to avoid the bushes :-)
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Water Front

The water levels in the recently flooded lake are at last starting to subside and are now well within their banks again.
Needless to say, we have been warned that there hasn`t been enough of the right sort of rain and we can probably expect hosepipe bans by Easter ......
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NHS Dentists

Nationally, NHS dentists are a rare breed.
Up until July this year, our town of 18 000 souls was served by 5 dentists in three practices, all working under the NHS , meaning that people of average income would receive at least partly subsidised treatment. A check-up, for example, would cost £12.
In July, our dental practice went private, meaning that a check-up now costs about £25.
About eight weeks ago, a second dental practice went private, with a mad scramble of their NHS patients fighting for a place on their private lists, which are considerably smaller than their old NHS lists.
This left only one of the original 5 dentists still seeing NHS patients, until last Saturday, when he too decided to leave the sinking NHS ship and go private. There was again a huge queue of ex-NHS patients hoping to sign up for a place in their private practice, and again many folk were unsuccessful, and will have to travel considerable distances to find an NHS dentist or even a private dentist who has space for them in their patient lists.

It is getting to the point when people are seriously considering having all their remaining teeth extracted and having dentures fitted on the grounds that it will be infinitely cheaper in the long run.......
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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

House News

I forgot to mention it, but on the weekend, DH decided that as the house we did both quite like has just been sold to someone else, it was best if we stay where we are, for the time being , at least. So our house has been taken off the estate agent`s site.

We have a reprieve, and will be able to enjoy Christmas here :-)
Thanks to Philippa, whose cries of outrage , I am sure, were what subliminally affected DH`s decision !!
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Rat Count

Yesterday, in less than a minute`s walk along the lakeisde, I saw three large and three smaller rats.
The rain has stopped, the lake level is dropping again, and it has got much colder. Most of the trees have lost their leaves here now.
Definitely late autumn.
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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Time Warp

Blogger is in the middle of a time warp.
Either that, or it is down the wrong leg of the bifurcated trousers of time (a la Terry Pratchett).

I checked my email about five minutes ago, and my dear friend Mimi has left three comments on my recent blogposts, according to blogger`s notification system. Lo and behold, when I check my blog, the comments AREN`T THERE yet !
How strange is that ?

Anyway, Mimi, the Bible was not one of my many Ebay acquisitions, but my Presbytera kindly ordered it for me :-)

I am also a keen Brother Cadfael fan, and have all the books, though by a slim margin I think I do actually prefer Ellis Peters` Inspector Felse mysteries.
I have had the pleasure of visiting Shrewsbury, and I really would love to go there again sometime !
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The Eyes Have It !

I am now the happy proud possessor of a new KJV Bible.
Not a large print, but a GIANT print format. It is crisp, clear type, incredibly comfortable and easy to read, and I don`t need a wheelbarrow to carry it around :-)

It was published by World Publishing, Iowa.
It doesn`t have Apocrypha, but I can buy it separately.

And yes, I do desperately need to get my eyes re-tested :-(

On Sunday, when I was reading the post-Communion prayers in Church, I didn`t have my glasses on and I found it difficult to read even though the prayer book was large print.
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For a truly scary explanation as to exactly WHY water and electricity are a dangerous combination, have a wander here.

The moral may be "Learn to Shout".

Lord, have mercy on the poor pastor, Kyle Lake.
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We did indeed have a whole day without precipitation yesterday, and it was lovely.
The rain has returned today though :-)
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St Winefride of Wales

The 3/16 of October marks the Feast of St Winefride of Holywell.

A whole service for the Saint can be found here

An icon of the Saint can be found here

Information about her life and the Shrine at Holywell can be found here

Troparion of St Winefred tone 8

Caradog's anger struck off thy head, O pious Winefred,/
but by the prayers of the Wonderworker Beuno thy mutilated form was miraculously made whole and restored to life./
As thou didst dedicate thy life to God's service in thanksgiving for His abundant mercy,/
pray that we, never forgetting His mercy towards us, may live only for Him that our souls may be saved.

Holy Mother Winefride, pray for us !
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Monday, November 14, 2005

Weather News

As I expected, it rained heavily Saturday until lunchtime, then it brightened up and we had glorious sunshine.
Sunday was mostly sunny with a small amount of rain later on.
Today is gloriously sunny with a heavy frost this morning.

It remains to be seen whether today will be the first day in 3+ weeks with no rain ............
The suspense is nearly killing me ;-0
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Mixed News

Yesterday morning we had a phone call. A friend of his has died very suddenly aged 52.
Lord, have mercy.
DH and his mother will be going to the funeral on Thursday afternoon. I can`t go, as one of us needs to pick the children up from school.

On a happy note, after Liturgy today, Father announced that my beloved eldest daughter, Tatiana Louise, is to be Chrismated on the nearest Sunday to Candlemas.
So then three of my four girls will be Orthodox !
Glory to God for all things !
Now to keep praying about DD2 :-)
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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Armistice Day

We were at McDonald`s yesterday at the time the two minute silence was due , and I was really pleased to find that the manager sent a staff member round to every customer to inform them that the silence *was* going to be observed. Everybody respected it, and it was really quite sobering how long two minutes of complete silence seems in our crazy, noisy world.

My great-grandfather fought in the First World War as a young lad; he ran away from home at 14 and lied about his age in order to enlist. He survived fighting in the trenches in Northern France, and had a special commendation for heroism.
We still have his soldier`s bible and his family rosary, which he carried with him every day.

I keep them in my icon corner, as a personal memorial to all those who fought bravely and those who gave their lives so that we could have freedom.
I will never let my children forget what a debt we owe to them.
God grant that we may live our lives in a way worthy of the sacrifices they made for us and for all future generations !!
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Friday, November 11, 2005

Rat Count

The heavy prolonged rain is obviously flooding all the rat burrows around the lake. One afternoon this week I saw *4* rats in a two-foot square area when I walked past.
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Here Comes The Rain Again

I knew it was too good to be true.
One day of sun on Wednesday, and it rained all day Thursday and is raining again today.
And Bother.
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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Sunshine at Last !

Although it rained overnight, this morning dawned bright and clear, and we have had a gloriously sunny - although rather cold - day today.

It`s amazing how much sunshine does to brighten one`s spirits.
Over a fortnight of daily rain was making me feel rather gloomy, I have to admit :-)

Of course, the change in temperature emant that my feet were freezing in my ancient trainers, so I am now the proud possessor of a pair of German Thermal boots, guaranteed waterproof and frostproof, for the princely sum of £14.99. I wore them down to school this afternoon to pick the girls up, and I really was warm as toast.
They will probably be worn daily for the next six months now, with the possible exception of Christmas Day..........
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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Tagged Again

Dave Holford has tagged me with this Meme:

Ow. Most of my inflences probably have been family, but here goes !

Now, shall I include good influences or bad influences :-))))
I think I will include both , LOL.

1/ Fr John, a High-Church Anglican priest who gave me free rein in his extensive theological library and first introduced me to the Orthodox Church, for which I can never be thankful enough. He also organised a parish pilgrimage to the glorious shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham , which is where I attended my First Divine Liturgy in the tiny Orthodx Chapel there.

2/Dorothy Walters, a wonderful midwife who cared for me when I was pregnant with DD1, and subsequently became a dear friend, who encouraged my aspirations to become a midwife.

3/My godfather and beloved parish priest, Fr Luke Holden , who keeps me on the straight and narrow path. When I fall off that path, it is solely due to my own wilfulness and sin :-(

4/My Presbytera Celia, who lives a life of great piety, devotion, humility, charity and unconditional love for others. I could not wish for better examples of how to live my life than her`s and Father Luke`s lives.

5/An ancestor from my ex-husband`s side of the family. She was an indomitable and redoubtable staunch Methodist in the 1800s and nothing, absolutely nothing, deflected her from devoting her whole life to following Christ and encouraging others to do the same.
May Sarah Smith`s Memory be Eternal !

6/Another senior midwife, Jenny, who had unparalleled skill in her work, was completely unflappable and calm despite any emergencies which might crop up in work, and who trusted in my abilities as a student midwife and gave me confidence to do what was right even when others would have taken the easy (but not necessarily right) options.

7/I have to mention another midwife, C, who was in a position of authority over me for a period and almost completely destroyed my confidence and put me under a horrifying amount of stress.
Put it this way, when I was pregnant with DD4, I warned my midwife friends that if she was on duty when I was admitted to the labour ward, I would prefer to walk out and risk giving birth and bleeding to death in the car park rather than having her touch a child of mine.
And I meant it.
I am still struggling to properly forgive her.
I do pray for her regularly though.

8/The wonderful Dr Catherine Hamlin, who has devoted her life to helping poor Ethiopian women who have suffered crippling childbirth injuries. When no-one else cared, or could or would help them, she and her husband *did*. You can read about her work here. She has helped cure over 20,000 women.

9/My beloved lifelong friend Carole, whose unfailing love and support have been such an anchor despite some pretty traumatic times. I have nothing but respect and admiration for the way she lives her life and her kindness to others.
No one ever has a bad word to say about her.

10/My blog buddies. You are all in my prayers.

I am tagging DoomHamster , Richard
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The Holy Hedgehog

A few nights ago, Abby said "Mummy, say the hedgehog song" as we were getting ready for bed.
To say I was a little bemused was an understatement.

Hedgehog Song ?
What Hedgehog song ?
I have *never* knowingly sung a hedgehog based song to my children.

When I asked her to tell me how it went, it transpires that although she knows and can sing all the words for "Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us", which we say at prayers, she calls it the Hedgehog Song.
Ah. Revelation.
So our nightly prayers now always include the formal request for the Hedgehog Song :-)
I`m just waiting for her to say delightedly in the middle of Liturgy, "oooh, it`s the Hedgehog Song !" . Perhaps I should teach her it in Greek instead , LOL.

She is now incorporating the names of her special friends at school as well as family,godparents and our Priest and Presbytera in her prayers, which is lovely.
Last night we had special mentions for Ethan, Ieuan, Sophie, Emily and Megan, as well as her teacher.

BTW, Another Orthodox Abigail is learning ritual and prayer, in the Holford household, as described beautifully by Dave here .
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Monday, November 07, 2005

Having Lunch

I had to go to town today to buy the youngest two children some new slippers, and afterwards, having had a successful book trawl round various charity shops, I decided on the spur of the moment to have lunch out.

I ended up at a restaurant which does a two course lunch for £6.00, and jolly nice it was too.
I had pate and toast with salad for the starter, and for main course I had jacket potato, smoked haddock with cheese crust on a bed of salad leaves.
I had a large Coca-cola, which costa further £1.65.

I was in two minds about going there, as the last time I was there was whilst in the process of divorcing my first husband, and it was also somewhere where he and I used to go quite regularly, so there were a lot of bitter-sweet memories attached to the place.
However, I decided to lay the ghosts to rest , and I walked in.

It is the first time I have ever sat in a restaurant and eaten a meal *by myself*, and I did feel rather self-conscious at first. At one point I contemplated extracting one of my new books from my bag and burying myself in it , but I resisted temptation :-)

It was lovely to sit down at a table, and really concentrate on enjoying the tastes and textures of a super meal, rather than being distracted by books, TV, radio, computer etc - but eating out will be a very occasional treat !
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Saturday, November 05, 2005

Domestic News

We have finally had the radiators put back in the bedrooms and DH has finished the painting, and on Thursday, thanks to the hard work of two carpet-fitters, we now have carpets again :-))))

New furniture has arrived for DD1`s bedroom and DD3`s room, so we have been frantically assembling it all and then clearing stuff from where it has been in storage downstairs back up to the bedrooms.
DD3`s books and videos filled 13 black rubbish sacks in the dining room, and they are all back in her room on a 6 foot tall wide bookcase at last , Thank God.
We can actually **see** some of the floor in the dining room, LOL ...............

Today we will be assembling DD1`s bookcases and moving all her numerous boxes of books out of the kitchen and back into her room. It will be a mammoth job, as she is having *two* six foot tall extra-wide bookcases :-)

By tonight, we may actually be able to see the doors leading into the garden from the kitchen for the first time in a year !

It actually looks like a house again, not a run-down furniture storage warehouse. DH has worked so very hard to renovate this house, and it is lovely to see it looking the way he had planned it to look.

Of course, the fact that the house is now up for sale as he has got "itchy feet " again is a whole other story , LOL.
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Friday, November 04, 2005

Ir Rained And It Rained And ......

Well, the rains continue !
On Wednesday as I walked the girls round the lake to school , the water level was very high and I counted eight smallish breaches of the banks on two sides.
Yesterday I counted no less than thirteen breaches of the banks on the two sides bounded by the footpath.
It rained heavily last night and the courtyard outside my window is still soaking wet - but at least the very high winds have died down a little :-)
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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Ghost Story

A thoroughly enjoyable ghost story written by a blogger I read regularly can be found here .
It had me going for a while, till I realised it was a ghost story :-0
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At My Signal, Unleash Hell.....

For those of you with a classical interest, the whole script of the movie Gladiator has been translated into Latin :-)
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All Saints Day

Happy Feast Day of All Saints, gentle readers :-)

Fr John Parker makes some extremely interesting points about Halloween here in his blog.
Well worth a read !

Our party was FUN !
We said the Trisagion prayers at the icon corner, illuminated only by candles and with incense burning, and a beautiful prayer courtesy of Richard`s Ramblings slightly adapted to include our family`s Patron Saints :-)

DD3 dressed up, DD4 didn`t want to. That was fine.

We carved a pumkin Jack o` Lantern, with a zigzag face on one side and a cross on the other, to show that the Light Of Christ shines always , and overcomes the darkness.

We made cakes, ate doughnuts, had treat bags, played ducking apples and The Magic Feely Box. If you haven`t come across this before, you need a box and some packing material ie shredded paper, crumpled kitchen paper towels , knitting yarn etc. Cut a hand sized hole in the top of the box and insert various household objects. The competitors should be blindfolded to avoid accusations of cheating, BTW !
The competitor then has to guess correctly the identity of the object found in the box.
Last night, DD1 took a while to identify a pair of scissors, as for safety`s sake, I had used an old pair of rounded edge baby nail scissors, which had opened up in the box and were a very peculiar shape indeed :-)

A mobile phone, a birthday cake candle, a book, a tea candle and a toothbrush were amongst our items.......

As the weather was disgusting last night, we never had a single trick or treater at our house - first time ever. So all those little treat bags are sitting reproachfully on the sideboard , tempting the children......
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Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween !

After last year`s experience with a non-Halloween party hosted by the local Baptist church
(see here and here )
I have unilaterally decided that DD3 will not be going there this year.

Now she is 7, we have been able to have a long talk about how privileged she is to be Orthodox, and part of the unbroken CHURCH which Christ Himself founded. She now knows that there are lots of other Christian denominations, who all love Jesus but do not have the fullness of Truth which we do, and that their beliefs may sadly be very different from ours.

We have talked about the importance of respecting the rights of others to have varying or even frankly mistaken (I thought heretical was a bit strong for a 7 year old to accidentally let slip at school , LOL ) religious beliefs and the importance of our loving and praying for other Christians too.

The meaning of the word Halloween, and its significance as the start of the celebration of All Saints` Day is now quite clear to her.
So tonight we are going to have a gentle, old-fashioned games-orientated Halloween party at home, after prayers *with incense* at the icon corner to mark the start of the Feast.
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Friday, October 28, 2005

Reality Check

The way complacency and a certain degree of pride can sneak up on you without you realising it never fails to amaze and scare me.
I should be used to it by now, these two being my besetting sins, but I was caught unawares bigtime this week.

Things have been ticking along quite well, with nothing major on the sin front , but the number of nasty little sins was starting to rocket quietly, but still under the Red Alert- Warning !! sign of my internal confession-needed meter (TM)

Then...whump! The rug was pulled under my feet and I landed flat on my backside. My reasonably respectable efforts to maintain twice daily prayers each day just ran out of steam. Didn`t want to pray, couldn`t pray (or so it seemed) an for a few days, I just didn`t bother, except for when I learned of specific needs for my blog buddies. I could pray for others, but not for myself.......

Of course, none of this was my fault, you understand, (or at least according to the Screwtape type little demon prodding at me with his infernal pitchfork). Of course it was everybody else`s fault, and so started a brief but unpleasant cycle of niggling at everyone, and where others started to get narked in turn, till it got to the point where every time I opened my mouth, I could never say anything right and people were jumping down my throat, at even innocent comments, thereby increasing my sense of unfairness and "it`s not my fault !"

Oh dear.
Methinks the internal confession-meter is perilously close to reaching "DANGER ! - IMMINENT EXPLOSION- CONFESSION URGENTLY NEEDED !!! " level.

Reality Check...... doh, it is your fault ! No-one can make you be surly, arrogant, prideful, unpleasant, unkind, nagging or self-righteously priggish.
Oh no, dear Elizabeth, you choose to act that way, to sin and then retreat with hurt feelings just because other people then mirror back your appalling behaviour .

Time to examine, repent, apologise and confess .................
BTW, does acknowledging that I am the chief of sinners count as accurate representation or twisted pride ?

Elizabeth, the lazy, selfish, grumpy, angry, prideful sinner. (That`s just the short version, BTW!)

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Animation Antics

To celebrate half-term, DH and I decided to take the small people to the cinema to see the new Wallace and Gromit film.

Having shelled out £17 for two adult and two child tickets, and £3.80 for a bucket of popcorn, we settled in our seats to enjoy. It opened with a short film starring the wonderful Madagascar penguins, who will be getting a full-length film of their own in 2007, so that is one cinema trip mentally booked already !

Wallace and Gromit were getting well and truly embroiled in their hair-raising encounter with the dreaded Were-Rabbit when the screen went blank and a loud speaker blared out :
"Due to circumstances beyond our control, we regret to inform you that you must all immediately leave the auditorium by the nearest fire-escape and proceed directly to the carpark !"

So we hustled up DD3 and 4 and followed the crowds to the carpark, well guided and marshalled by the cinema staff. We all milled around, wondering what the problem really was and whether we would get to see the end of our film. No smoke was visible.
One young girl said ruefully that their film had just started, with the notes of the intro dying away when they were all evicted....

DH sagely remarked that if it was a fire, the fire brigade were taking a long time to get to it, as we had now been outside for about ten minutes, when bang on cue, we heard the sirens. Only one tender was arriving, so we guessed it wasn`t serious.
DH was all for going home, but I pouted majorly, backed up by DD3 and 4, and he relented to wait another ten minutes, when we were allowed back in and our film resumed where it had left off.

It was all quite ironic, as the Aardman Animation warehouse building recently was completely destroyed by fire, along with the majority of all their painstakingly created sets and models.

I couldn`t get back into it in quite the same spirit after the interruption, but the little ones absolutely loved it.

Quite possibly the funniest part of the whole film was the scene where Wallace is sporting a box which is stamped "Warning : May contain Nuts", which reduced DH and I to giggling hysteria.

I would give it 8.5 out of 10.
Go and see. It was well worth the money !
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Cabin Fever

Sorry about that , folks, just doing some necessary venting :-)

DD3 is now fully recovered, Thank God.
She was ill from Wednesday evening last week to Monday this week, so she was in the house all the time. Monday and Tuesday we had torrential rain for 48 hours, prompting several flood warnings in our area. So we were all cooped up at home for the duration, and of course, this week is half-term holiday week.
Oh joy, oh bliss.

Mercifully Wednesday came, with only fine drizzle instead of torrential rain, so off we trotted to have lunch with my parents.
It was fresh air at last, but now the saga begins !

DD4 will happily and patiently stand at a bustop for half an hour without complaining, but DD3 is a busy bee and seems congenitally incapable of standing or sitting still for longer than a nanosecond. If we have ten minutes to wait, we will usually walk up to the next bus-stop.
We were walking between two bustops and our bus sailed gaily past.
Now the buses here won`t stop unless you are at the bustop, and this happened not just once, but twice, in five minutes , to my fury.
Heck, the wretched buses are supposed to be TWENTY MINUTES APART !

Time was a -creeping on, and we needed to get up to town to catch the connecting bus to my parents` home or we would be late for lunch.
Consequently I had to nag and cajole the two children to stop dawdling, walk faster etc pretty much all the way to town, which made them miserable and me feel even worse, knowing there wasnt any alternative.

We had a great time at my parents` and the they were delighted to have the company of the two boisterous young ones for a few hours.
It was good to have a break out of the house and to have some adult company :-)
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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Da Vinci Revisited

For those of you who are, like me, sick to death of all the publicity surrounding Dan Brown`s ridiculous and erroneous Da Vinci Code, I have found the perfect antidote.
I bring you ..................


I kid you not :-)
This link provides a review.

I have not, and do not intend, to buy the original and waste my hard saved cash feeding Dan Brown`s heretical meanderings, but I may well buy this :-) are selling it at £6.01.
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Monday, October 24, 2005

Rudi Update

Thank you for your prayers for Rudi !
He is still ill, and has an inoperable large blood clot pressing on the brain, but he is being allowed to go home with extensive nursing support to help him and his wife.
An operation was originally considered to remove the blood clot, but the surgeons decided in view of his age that it was inadvisable and the risks were too great.
So he is being allowed home, but he as been told that he may well die in the next six months anyway.
God willing, he will live to see his first great-grandchild due in early March.........
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Thoughts For a Friend

Hi folks.
My friend Magda could do with some cyber-hugs and prayers at present.
Please pop by her blog and say Hi .
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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Sunday Lunch

Means as I was confined to house looking after the poorly child, we invited my dearly-loved mother-in-law over for lunch with us, to celebrate her successful house moveback to our town.

It was nice to have an excuse to cook......
So we had Roast pork, roast potatoes, boiled potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, sage and onion stuffing balls, yorkshire puddings (because DD3 loves them !)and home-made gravy.
Dessert was Lemon Pudding.

It generated a mountain of washing-up, but DoomHamster, mother-in-law and I tackled it head on, and it was soon done.
It is now 18.26 and I still feel full from lunch, which is good, as I can now have a small snack instead of an evening meal. Everyone else is hungry though :-)
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House Work

DH has done sterling work on the house and has finished painting the last two bedrooms.
So now we wait for the plumber to fix the radiator pipes, re-connect the radiators and then we can get the carpet people to lay the new carpets in hall, stairs and landing as well as the two bedrooms.
It will look great when it is finally done, and then we can sort out the veritable mountain of cardboard boxes littering the ground floor and the garage !
You can tell we are virtually on the last lap of renovating this house, as DH is trawling the web looking for another house to buy. This time he wants a detached house though......
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Family News

Well, DD3 has now been ill for four nights and four days.

Last night, she was so unwell that I slept in her room with her, and I lay awake virtually all night , clutching my prayer rope and listening to her breathing, taking her to the bathroom to cough up copious amounts of disgusting gunge and reassuring her each time she woke up distressed.

At one point I was sufficiently concerned to get my stethoscope and check her lungs, which were mercifully clear. If they hadn`t been, she would have been on her way into hospital.
She is **much** better today, and her fever has finally gone, praise God !
She has been able to eat a good lunch and is looking very much better too.

I feel like a limp dishrag, but what`s new ? :-)
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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Bugs Galore

Just when I thought it was safe to raise my head above the parapet............
Now DD3 is home ill, with a raging temperature, headache, sore throat etc.
She has spent virtually all day in bed, which is *most*unlike her :-)

She is a bit brighter this evening, and has managed to eat and drink reasonable amounts, so I sincerely hope she is over the worst of it.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Taking Turns part 2

At school today, two little girls and Abby were already lined up before the buzzer sounded, waiting for the door to be opened, when Max zoomed to the front of the queue again. There was a palpable feeling of "oh no, here we go again" from the other mums.

This time, however, his mother marched up, told him off in no uncertain terms about pushing in, and moved him away from the door.
So he threw himself down on the playground tarmac.

Unfortunately we had had a real cloudburst about half an hour previously, so he managed to get himself lain down in a large puddle.......... not a good way to start the day for poor Max .
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Tuesday, October 18, 2005


When I was writing the Tag meme today, I set to thinking about why I had named Patrick Stewart and Sean Connery in my Celebrity Crushes.
I don`t necessarily find them physically appealing, (not even Sean Connery as a relatively young man in the James Bond films ; I think he was much more attractive in Entrapment, for instance !) but their voices.......oooh, each one is like the very best of the essences of melted chocolate and honey and ice-cold water rolled into a delectable package.

Alan Rickman`s portrayal of Professor Snape in the first Harry Potter film is another case in point. His physical portrayal of Snape I find utterly true to the book , but physically quite repellant.
His voice is glorious though, and the line:
"I can tell you how to bottle fame, brew glory and even put a stopper into Death "
as delivered by him sends shivers down my spine.

A truly inspired piece of casting, in my humble opinion :-)

PS DoomHamster says Alan Rickman`s voice is the essence of rum truffles :-)
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Thoughts About Avian Flu

The news this morning that birds infected with Avian flu have been found in Greece as well as in Turkey means that with the autumnal migration, there is at least a possibility that infected birds may well end up in Britain in due course.
While the situation stays like this, there will be problems in terms of keeping poultry safe from infection, but apart from poultry workers there may not be much of a threat to other people.

If and when the virus mutates enough, however, and comes into contact with a human already suffering from flu, then we have real problems.
We may be lucky and the mutated virus may not be significantly worse than normal flu - or it could be deadly.
The humans infected with avian flu so far seem to have had a ~50% mortality rate.

There is not enough Tamiflu to go round even a small fraction of the British population, and more is unlikely to be forthcoming quickly as the raw ingredient for Tamiflu is Chinese Star Anise, which is in very short supply, and the manufacturing process is complex and delicate, taking a year from start to finish.
Most online stockists are running out, and are charging exorbitant prices of up to £100 for one course of treatment.
Tamiflu is not a cure, but it does ameliorate symptoms in some people.

More worrying is that the Government is busy stocking up on Tamiflu whereas there have already been cases in Vietnam of the avian flu mutating to a form against which Tamiflu is ineffective. The other drug which can help is a prescription-only drug called Relenza, and the availability and price of this is also very variable. It has not been stockpiled to any significant extent by the Government.

Ho hum.
Houston, we have a problem.......

An extremely useful and informative medical guide to preparing for, and caring for affected people in an epidemic can be found here .

Those of a inquiring mind may wish to check out this, this and this .

If neither Relenza nor Tamiflu are available or work against a human strain of avian flu, Sambucol may just possibly be of some help. It has shown an effect against a turkey strain of influenza in laboratory studies, although that does not mean it will necessarily work in practice in an avian flu affecting humans.
Please note I am not in any way advocating the use of Sambucol nor am I recommending it.
I am simply providing information which I have found on the web.
Another source raises some questions/concerns about the use of Sambucol for avian flu, however.

Another interesting (but slanted towards a rural/gun-owning readership) resource about surviving a worst-case scenario outbreak of human/avian flu can be found at filed under Sunday October 16th 2005.
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I`ve Been Tagged !

Please excuse my disproportionate joy, but I have, courtesy of Dave Holford, been tagged for the very first time :-)

My answers are :-

Five things I plan to do before I die:
1. Visit as many major Orthodox pilgrimage sites as possible.
2. See my grandchildren .
3. Go on a cruise.
4. Get a book published.
5. See my husband be Chrismated.
(Probably a very distant prospect, but I can hope !)

Five things I can do:
1. Look after pregnant women and help babies to be born safely.
2. Knit Fair Isle patterns and do cross-Stitch.
3. Produce a good line of invective.
4. Manange a three-ring circus (Well, just keep peace and order for four children but it FEELS like being a ring-master !)
5. Bear grudges :-(
(well no-one said it was things you had to be proud of....)

Five things I cannot do:
1. Sing in tune
2. Maths. Really.
Basic maths and mental arithmetic fine. Even basic algebra fine. But Geometry or anything complex ? Nooooooooooooo.
3. Play any sports.
4. Discipline myself to do things I don`t really want to do.
5. Be patient for very long.

Five things that attract me to the opposite sex:
1. Intelligence
2. Kindness
3. Smile
4. Bottom. Sorry.
5. Quirky sense of humour.

Five things I say most often:
1. I love you
2. If you don`t stop doing that, I`ll.......
3. Oh for goodness` sake !
4. What would you like to eat ?
5. If you don`t hurry up we`ll be late for school/church/whatever.

Five Celebrity Crushes:
1. Anthony Edwards (ER).
2. Alan Rickman.
3. Colin Firth.
4. Sean Connery.
5. Patrick Stewart.

But I still prefer my husband :-)

I nominate:-
Xenia Kathryn
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Birthday Mayhem. Abby is in white, on the floor, back left. Posted by Picasa
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Many Years !

October 17th saw our youngest child, Abby, turn four.
I cannot believe where the time has gone.

She has the current cough/cold, so we kept her home yesterday as she was running a temperature.
We had a family party at teatime for her, so she had three grandparents, three aunts, two uncles and two cousins present plus her three siblings and DH and I.
Needless to say, the house was jam-packed full and despite paper plates for the food, still generated copious amounts of washing-up.
Everyone enjoyed it, especially the birthday girl, but DH and I are exhausted :-)
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Saturday, October 15, 2005

Close-up of my bas-relief (I think!) of Our Lady of Walsingham. Posted by Picasa
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This original Russian icon dating back to 1880s was defaced at some point by having the eyes of the Christ Child gouged out; possibly during the Soviet persecutions. I saw this on EBay and bought it for 20 dollars about 2 years ago. At least it has a good home with us, and it has been blessed in church and is reverenced frequently. I find it all the more poignant because of its sufferings...... Posted by Picasa
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My little shrine to Our Lady of Walsingham this afternoon. Posted by Picasa
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The Biter Bit.......

In a metaphorical sense :-0

Abby`s class is learning all about Taking Turns this term. It is a necessary part of their socialisation into the school environment, and most of them are grasping it well, including Abby.

They are now expecting to line up outside their classroom door when the buzzer sounds for start of school, then the teacher opens the door and the leader of the line is asked to take the class into their room. All good basic stuff here.
We tend to get to school early, so Abby is often first in the line. she will queue up patiently for five minutes before the buzzer sounds, in order to have the coveted task of leading her class in.

One morning this week, a little boy named Max just barged in front of everyone and strategically positioned himself in front of Abby a few seconds before the teacher opened the door. Her lip quivered but she let him do it. His mother just tittered and said "oh Max likes to be first doing everything" and SHE LET HIM GET AWAY WITH IT .
So much for them learning to take turns, I thought grimly to myself.

Well, on Thursday, DH and I took Abby to school.
A little girl called Keeley was first in line, Abby was third.
Again, Max waited until just before the door was opened and barged in front of poor Keeley, who started to cry. Her mother was upset, the rest of us mums were getting a tad cross about this and the errant child`s mother just tittered again.

DH was appalled, and when he went to pick up DD3 , he saw the teacher and told her what was happening, and that some of the little ones were getting upset that they were taking turns and Max was not.

On Friday I took Abby to school, and Max was actually lining up properly at the front of the queue. Abby was again third.
Max got bored and wandered off to talk to someone, when the buzzer sounded and the door opened. Max raced back to claim his coveted place at the front, only to be told very firmly by the teacher that he was no longer first in the line so he had to wait for the others to go in first.
He again tried to shove his way in, and was gently reminded to wait.

In sheer annoyance, he lay on the floor in total silence until everyone had gone in and had to be coaxed to go into class..........
I think he may have learned that lesson now :-)

But whether his tittering mother has, goodness only knows.
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An Icon of Our Lady of Walsingham. Posted by Picasa
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Happy Feast Day !

I hope you all have a happy, productive and blessed day.
I ask the Mother of God of Walsingham to ask God`s blessings on you all, my friends !

Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us .
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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Birthday Greetings

I am not ashamed to mail my flag to the mast and say my best wishes go to Margaret Thatcher who is 80 today.
I certainly did not agree with all her policies whilst she was in power, but I still respected her as a leader and as the disintegration of Britain continues apace under Tony Blair, I am beginning to lament the fact she is no longer in power :-)

Many Years to Baroness Thatcher !!
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Heartfelt Prayers

Heartfelt prayers for Antiochian Metropolitan Philip (Saliba) of New York who has been hospitalized as a result of a heart attack., according to the Indiana list.
May he soon have a speedy recovery.
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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Flying Low

Everyday this week there has been a *lot* of helicopter activity in our area.

In the summer there are sometimes Coastguard/RAF rescue helicopters seen in the distance, but these ones have been flying very low down and circling repeatedly over a fairly small area.

There has been nothing about any missing person reported on the local news so I am curious as to just what they are looking for so assiduously.............
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Rain, Rain, Go Away

We have torrential rain - again.
Oh joy, oh bliss, walking two miserable children for 25 minutes each way from home to school and vice versa, on two consecutive days.
Luckily we had a lift part of the way home from the mother of one of Abby`s classmates, but it was still wet and horrible.
Thank goodness DH is home tonight, so we can drive to school tomorrow if the rain continues :-)
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Good News and Bad News

Last week, one of DD4`s classmates had a new baby brother.

Today, another of her classmates had a new baby brother who died shortly after birth.

We don`t know the details yet, but I can only begin to imagine the pain and grief this family are suffering at the moment.
My heart goes out to them.

Lord, have mercy.
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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Get Ready for Our Lady of Walsingham on 15th October

For those of you wishing to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham on October 14th for Vespers and the Feast on 15th, if using the Western Hours, here is some brilliant info from the
Western Rite Vicariate, AOC

By St Gregory the Great Orthodox Church, Washington DC
Our Lady of Walsingham
October 15th
Greater Double

Evening Hymn: Hail, O star that pointest

V. We will go into his holy house.
R. In the place of His presence will we worship.

1+2 V Antiphon on Magnificat:
Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people,* and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

Invitatory: The Son of God who dwelt with Mary and Joseph in the Holy House of Nazareth;* O come, let us worship.

Morning Hymn : The Lord whom earth and sea and sky
Or O glorious maid exalted far.

V. We will go into his holy house.
R. In the place of His presence will we worship.

Antiphon on Benedictus:
And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord,* they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.

O God, who in the Blessed Virgin Mary didst make a fit dwelling place for the Son: grant, we beseech thee, that we who honour her shrine at Walsingham may also become temples of Thy Holy Ghost; through……

Huw Raphael at Sarx has a great link to information for the hymns, prayers, readings for the Liturgy of the Feast !

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Monday, October 10, 2005

Getting Plastered

No, not getting drunk :-0

We have just had bedroom 3 re-plastered, and bedroom 4 will hopefully be done later this week. Before then, though, we have to completely empty that room.
It will of course all have to go downstairs in the living room and study, so the house will be looking like a total bomb-site - again. The combined contents of two small children`s bedrooms stuck in our living space is not a pretty sight.

We have ordered new carpets for the two bedrooms, the landing and the stairs, and that, together with the plasterer`s costs has wiped out all our savings to the tune of £2,200.
The only consolation is that it will look great when it is done.

The carpets will be fitted in about two weeks, so that is the timescale we have for painting the walls and ceilings in the bedrooms.
I am pinning my hopes on having the house relatively normal looking in about three weeks.
I certainly hope so :-)
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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Hurricane Katrina and the Torah

I came across a fascinating article today.

Did you know that a Torah scroll costs $50,000 and a year to make?

Or that if they are damaged, they are given solemn burial ?

Loads more great information here
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Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.


Many thanks to Dr Aubrey Blumsohn for notifying me of the latest developments in this case, and for giving me the link to his site. The latest news can be found here.
The General Medical Council is apparently afraid to allow scientific debate or to allow doctors to hold any opinions not endorsed by them, even if there is adequate impartial scientific data to back up that doctor's individual opinion.

Most of the medical pioneers of the last four hundred years would most definitely have been struck off by the GMC for daring to differ with their entrenched and hallowed views.........what a good thing hindsight has 20-20 vision :-)


Original post:

Britain under Princess Tony has become a Nanny state, and of course, Nanny knows best.
Anyone who disagrees with Nanny is either
A/ Very Naughty
B/ A Deliberate Rabble-rouser
C/ Probably Incredibly Stupid and Needs To Be Taught A Lesson.

There no longer seems to be any room at all for logical analytical thinking or the possibility that people should be allowed to have an alternative point of view to Nanny, even if they may be misguided.
The medical profession is quite possibly one of the worst for this. It demands absolute obedience to the offical party line of the General Medical Council.

Just in case you were in any doubt whatsoever that Britain is turning into an Orwell-esque Thought dictatorship, check this out:-

"A doctor who has spoken of the possible dangers of children receiving the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and other vaccinations has been charged with serious professional misconduct by the General Medical Council.
Dr Jayne Donegan, 47, is being disciplined over her decision to give expert court testimony on the issue. Her situation echoes the plight of Dr Andrew Wakefield, the gastro-enterologist forced to resign after his evidence linking the MMR jab to autism in children angered the government, drug industry and medical establishment.
Dr Donegan's disciplinary action, which could result in her being struck off, stems from legal action in 2002 by two mothers opposed to the MMR jab. Her evidence was later described by a judge as "junk science".
Dr Donegan, a London GP, said she was charged with serious professional misconduct in July 2004. "Since then, I have heard nothing and I am still waiting to hear exactly what it is that I am meant to have done wrong." "

This is a quote from Today`s Telegraph web site;jsessionid=1YPS0M3QNHIZPQFIQMGCM5WAVCBQUJVC?xml=/news/2005/10/09/nmmr09.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/10/09/ixhome.html

I am shaking my head in despair, folks. Just waiting for XYZ (insert any medical procedure/dietary regime etc of your choice here) to be made compulsory in this country.
It will come, believe me, if the Labour Party stay in power.
Their belief that they know what is best for absolutely everyone, no matter what the circumstances, is really frightening.
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Friday, October 07, 2005

Cold Facts

This is getting bizarre, I know, but have you ever wondered **how** many times you blow your nose when you have a streaming cold ?
Not only have I wondered, but I undertook a survey when I had said filthy cold last week.

The things I do in the spirit of scientific enquiry :-)

In the first (and worst) 36 hours of my cold, I used 3 toilet rolls to blow my nose. (Andrex toilet rolls if you are sufficiently curious !)
I always use 2 sheets of toilet paper per blow, and there are 240 sheets of paper on each roll.
So we have a total of 720 sheets on 3 rolls, divided by 2 , giving a grand total of

********* 360********* episodes of nose-blowing in 36 hours.

10 nose-blowings per hour, including at night.

No wonder I was exhausted from lack of sleep, LOL.
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Sombre Thoughts

A neighbour from across the road died suddenly and unexpectedly last weekend.

I say unexpectedly with reservation, as he was almost 80, but nevertheless it has been a hammer-blow for his family.
He was a town "bigwig" and was actually an MP for our town.
Although I didn`t know him personally, (ie to talk to ), I knew his face and would say Hello.
I was at school with one of his children.

It certainly brings mortality very close to the front of your thoughts when you can see the hearse and the funeral cars across the road from you.

As the cortege left, we drew our blinds shut as a mark of respect for the bereaved family, as is custmary in our part of the world.

May Peter`s memory be eternal, and may God grant comfort to his family.
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