Monday, April 25, 2005

Going on Holiday

I will be incommunicado for a few days as we are going on a much-needed family holiday to Tenby, in Pembrokeshire.
We will be staying in a caravan , so we will be hoping for reasonable weather :-)
We hope to make the trip over to Caldey Island, and if we do, I will be lighting candles for you all......
I am taking my camera, so I hope to have some nice photos to upload later on in the week.
Have a Blessed Holy Week, and take care, all of you !!
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Friday, April 22, 2005

Dreams and suchlike.

I had a really weird dream on Monday night.

I dreamt I was near the closed coffin of Pope John Paul II, but for some reason he had not yet been buried, just as the Cardinals were about to process into the Sistine Chapel to elect a successor.

I could hear knocking, and when I placed my ear on the coffin, it was obvious the noise came from *inside* the coffin !
I ran from the room, and looking for someone to open the coffin, found one of the Swiss Guard.
He said I needed to speak to Cardinal Ratzinger, " as he is in charge now", and pointed to a rapidly departing car.

Weird, or what ? Especially as Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pope subsequently

And to cap it all, on Wednesday night , I dreamt that Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh died and I was amongst a group of 6 ladies-in-waiting delegated to inform Her Majesty.....
I tell you, I woke up in a cold sweat and ran downstairs to check the news.
Mercifully Prince Philip remains in his usual robust good health :-)

Me ? I`m still shaking !
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Monday, April 18, 2005


It is definitely Spring in our little corner of the UK.
My plum tree still has its blossom, despite the recent gales, and has sprouted a wonderful green misty veil of leaves.
My apple tree has also produced a myriad leaves, and is just unfurling pretty pink buds.
All my herbs are growing madly, and most of our recent plants seem to have settled and are producing new growth.
The girls chose a pack of children`s flower seeds, and we hope to get those planted on the weekend.
On the whole, our weather is getting warmer, though we have had torrential rain since Saturday, and it is only now clearing up.
Good for the garden , though :-)
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Potty Tales

I have had a very interesting few days potty-training Abby.
Before you all collapse in horror at the thought of a child aged 3 and a half not yet potty-trained, let me explain :-)

My elder three daughters all potty-trained very quickly at 2 1/2 years. No problem.
So last year, I got the potty.
Poor Abby just looked in horror at the endless puddles she was creating, as if to say "where on earth did **that** come from ?".
She simply was not ready, and considering that she was in constant pain with her teeth problems, it is hardly surprising.
She was also struggling with constipation , for which she has medication.
So we abandoned it for a few months.

Well, the problems with the teeth continued, and she has now had 3 general anaesthetics in 16 months for major urgent dental work due to the intense pain she has been enduring.
So the potty-training was put on the back burner.

Our consultant paediatrician amended her constipation medication when we saw her in Feb, and warned us that a prolonged period of constipation is virtually guaranteed to significantly delay potty-training, and not to worry about it.

To our surprise, on Thursday afternoon, Abby made it quite plain that she had now grasped the meaning of the signals from her bladder, and started to use her neglected potty.
She is progressing really well, and has only had two minor accidents since Thursday, because the potty wasn`t in the room where she was.
We have rectified that with a potty in every room, LOL.
She is so proud of herself, and it is lovely to see her happy and cheerful about the process....
She has been dry at night each night, for 13 hours...though we have not tempted fate by abandoning the night nappy just yet.......
We have even managed to do hour-long trips outside home, with success.
We are hoping that we have hit the jackpot :-)
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Family News

My much-loved stepfather continues to recover well from his open-heart surgery. He had a checkup at the hospital last week, and they are truly delighted with his progress, which is good news.
He is looking much better than he has looked for several years, and he is getting back both his appetite and his cheeky sense of humour, which are good signs :-)
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Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Matt commented on how much he loved the old UK currency.
It sounds wonderful, but it was jolly awkward having to do Maths in it :-)
I have vivid memories of struggling to do currency sums using pounds, shillings and pence, and I never did get to grips with it.

I was probably the happiest person in Britain when decimalisation was introduced, and I was duly appalled when we still had to carry on using maths textbooks with old currency questions in them.
I was devastated, and complained bitterly to my teacher, to no avail.

I am convinced that my hatred of maths stems from that period in my young life, LOL !!
Luckily my husband has a degree in Maths and Computing, so he gets to do all the awkward stuff, and I write the business letters instead.
We make a good team :-)
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Monday, April 11, 2005

Religious Neglect and Misinformation

I saw this on the Daily Telegraph newspaper website just now, and thought at first it must be April Fools Day...

Quote :-
Holy Ghost too spooky for children, teachers told.
Teachers are being told not to mention that Communion bread and wine represent the body and blood of Christ in case children get it in their heads that Christians are cannibals.

New guidelines for religious education teachers also want them to refer to the Holy Spirit rather than the Holy Ghost because the latter implies "a trivial and spooky concept of the third person in the Trinity".
The guidelines, drawn up by education chiefs in Norfolk and condemned by the National Union of Teachers yesterday as "modernism gone mad", also consign the term Old Testament to the dustbin because pupils may believe it means its contents are no longer relevant.
Christians are not alone in having the terms of their faith redefined. In teaching Judaism, teachers are told to refer to the "Western Wall" rather than "Wailing Wall", just in case the children believe that Jews are moaners.
Muslims should not be shown in photographs "holding swords, Kalashnikovs, etc" to avoid Islam being equated to terrorism.
Also out are pictures of Hindu holy men caked in mud because they give the impression that it is a religion for "weirdos or masochists".
As for Sikhs, the guidance says: "Do be careful when showing pupils the kachs. Without preparing pupils, they seem to some like merely voluminous underpants and can give rise to a poor response."
End Quote.

The world has gone barking mad. This is just pandering to- and actually increasing -children`s ignorance of religion, rather than teaching them facts and Truth.
It is a legal requirement for children to be taught Religious Education in school in Britain. Britain remains, nominally at least, a Christian country.
If a child is never allowed to be taught properly about religion in school, why bother teaching about religion at all ?

What chance do they have of acquiring any real religious knowledge and faith if they don`t already come from a church-going family ?

I feel strongly about this, as we were taught about Christianity in school, and that is how I personally came to faith, although I was raised in an agnostic family and learned nothing about Christian doctrine at home.

Teach RE properly, without half-truths or misinformation, or don`t bother !
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Garden Notes

After Lunch, DH volunteered to do the heavy digging and plant our new bargains.
At our local Woolworths store, we managed to get dirt-cheap (pardon the pun) a load of shrubs and trees, at prices ranging from 50p to £1.00.
We are now the proud owners of ;-
2 Japanese Maple Trees (ok, they are only about 8 inches high, but what the heck...they will grow !);
A forsythia bush,
a Buddleia bush,
a baby Lilac tree,
4 Raspberry canes,
a thornless Blackberry bush,
a Gooseberry bush,
and 3 Grape vines
Even better, we got the lot for much less than £10.00 :-)
DH is now upstairs in bed, prostrate with exhaustion and psyching himself up ready for work in the morning.

I will be adding fervent prayers for protection from frost for my new baby plants to my evening prayers !
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Getting There

We made it to Liturgy today :-)
It was a blessed relief to be able to receive the Holy Mysteries myself, and to take the two younger ones to approach the Chalice too.
We got to see Abby`s godmother, and I acquired more new books from Presvytera:-

Mary, Worthy of All Praise, newly published by Conciliar Press and consisting of a series of meditations on the Paraclesis to the Theotokos.

Lantern of Grace , a truly wonderful collection of sermons by Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov commemorating our holy Father amongst the Saints, John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco. It is copiously illustrated with photographs, including those of the exhumation of the Holy Relics and St John`s Glorification service.

Archimandrite Seraphim Aleksiev`s The Meaning of Suffering and Strife and Reconciliation, which I look forward to reading in depth.
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Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Grand National

Oh well, one of my horses came in third in the Grand National, so I won the princely sum of £17.50.
Pretty good, I thought, as DD1 `s chosen horse fell at the very first fence.
She was most upset !
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The Royal Wedding

Prince Charles has at last made an honest woman of his long-term companion, Camilla Parker-Bowles, and they are now safely united in the bonds of Holy Matrimony.

I do find it ironic that the C of E will refuse them a marriage ceremony in Church, yet will give them a Service of Blessing after their marriage in a Register Office. Seems rather pointless to argue the issue in this way.
If they are not worthy of being married in church, surely they are not worthy of a blessing by the Church`s priests, either.......

Anyway, they have eventually got their act together, and done the decent thing at long last.
We watched the Blessing ceremony, and were pleased to see that a Russian singer (from an organisation of whom Prince Chrales is a Patron) was invited to sing a setting of the Nicene Creed in Russian.
Getting some Orthodoxy into the service via the back door, I suspect :-)
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News Flash

Abby seems much better today; thank you for all your prayers !
I have added Holy Water to her drinks, in the hope it will also help :-)
Her antibiotics are due to finish on Monday evening, so the acid test will be whether the infection flares up again once the antibiotics end.........

If she continues to progress well , we will be able to go to Liturgy tomorrow, God willing .
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Saturday, April 09, 2005

Disaster Strikes Again


DD4 started to complain of pain in her upper jaw on Weds, on the opposite side to which she had all her problems in Feb this year.
I took her to the dentist, who said he thought she was starting another abscess, and he prescribed immediate high dose antibiotics.

I also emailed her wonderful consultant at the dental hospital, who kindly replied straightaway and said to bring little one in as soon as possible.
So Thursday saw a family outing to the Dental Hospital.

The consultant examined her, and said it was certainly possible an abscess was forming, but because of the metal caps on her molars, it was impossible to be sure without an X-ray of the jaw, which they thought was going to be very difficult to achieve because she is only 3.
We did try, but Abby became so distressed that the radiographer said she wasn`t happy to go ahead.

So the long and short is that Abby stays on antibiotics till Monday, along with antiseptic spray for her gums, and she will be reviewed in 2 weeks time.
If a problem develops in the meantime, she is to go straight to the dental hospital in working hours; out of hours she needs to go to the major hospital A&E dept where they have 24 hour a day access to oral surgeons for immediate treatment.

She is obviously in pain and we are worried sick in case her face starts to swell up again.
The consultant is worried as if she has surgery, this will be her 4th General Anaesthetic in 16 months, and each carries a single *and* cumulative risk, not to mention the fact that if this molar has to be removed, it will leave her with only one tooth in the whole of her upper jaw.

Even bigger sigh.
Folks, please keep praying......
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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Thoughts about the late Pope.

I am immensely saddened by the passing of Pope John Paul II.

He appeared to be a kind, gentle and loving man, a devout minister, and a man of immense personal piety and devotion to the tenets of his RC faith.
He was a staunch defender of the sanctity of Life, no matter how unpopular that stand made him in our so-called "enlightened" society.

Nevertheless, as Fr John Whiteford points out in his blog, Pope John Paul did do some things which the early Christian martyrs would never have done, namely kissing the Koran, and allowing an image of Buddha to be placed upon a Catholic Altar during a service...the Holy Martyrs of the Faith would rather have died first than ever have paid reverence to any faith which denied the Divinity of Christ.

Possibly these actions stemmed from a desire not to hurt the feelings of others, but they did strike a discordant note to me as an Orthodox Christian.
Most likely these actions stemmed from love of others and personal innocence as to potential repercussions rather than any possible denial of Our Lord.

May the Lord have mercy upon the soul of John Paul, and grant him a good defense before the dread Judgement Seat.
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Bird of the Year

Gibbering newsflash.....
I have just had a large female Sparrowhawk in my garden, in clear view of my computer desk.
I am in shock; they are normally very secretive birds, hunting in woods and hedgerows.
I saw one last year, too :-)
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Monday, April 04, 2005

Best photo I could find of a female Sparrowhawk at the moment . Posted by Hello
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Terry Schiavo Revisited.

I read on News today that Michael Schiavo , not content with refusing her parents to be in the room with their daughter as she died, is now refusing to allow them even to have a lock of her hair or a portion of her ashes when her body is cremated.

The fact that her parents wanted her to be buried in Florida, so they can tend her grave and lay flowers there is being utterly ignored by Michael Schiavo in favour of her being cremated and buried in Pennsylvania, where Terry grew up and where his family have a burial plot.

He will not even divulge where and when the cremation is to take place, so that her family cannot be there...all under his claim that he wants Terry`s funeral to be private and not a media spectacle.

I`m sorry, but I was brought up to believe that people should be treated with kindness in their hour of grief, not with this level of cruel and inhuman disregard of common decency.
I feel so desperately sorry for the Schindler family . To be denied any tangible reminder of their daughter is cruel; to be refused permission to even say goodbye at a respectful funeral goes beyond the pale.

I know we are not supposed to judge others, but equally we are not supposed to remain silent in the face of outright cruelty and injustice. Michael Schiavo`s behaviour and actions have been and continue to be legal, but they are also immoral, cruel and plain wrong.

May God grant him - and all of us - grace and time to repent of all sins.
Lord, have mercy.
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Saturday, April 02, 2005

Trip to Margam

Today we visited Margam Park, home of Margam Abbey Church, the ruins of the monastery, Margam Castle (built in 1830) and various modern attractions.
It was warm, sunny and with a delightfully cool breeze at the top of the hill where the Castle is situated.

We didn`t think to take photos of the Abbey Church....doh ! We did light candles for our loved ones, though.

On the way back, we took the miniature train. DH took some lovely video footage, but no still pictures, so until I work out how to link video clips to my Blog, you will just have to take my word for it :-)

Hope you all have a good weekend :-)
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DD4 having a well-earned rest..... Posted by Hello
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DD4 as Queen of the Castle ! Posted by Hello
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DD3 as Queen of the castle ! Posted by Hello
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The view on the other side of the Park shows the steelworks at Port Talbot...not quite as scenic........ Posted by Hello
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Part of the children`s Adventure Playground. Posted by Hello
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The ruins on the hill in the centre of the picture show the Old Church, used by the locals in the Middle Ages. Posted by Hello
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An approaching front view of Margam Castle taken on a previous visit when the weather wasn`t so good..... Posted by Hello
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Fairytale Land - we are standing in front of Jack and the Beanstalk`s house, complete with Giant perched in the tree ! Posted by Hello
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The delightful children`s castle at Margam. It has secret passages, stairs, and ramparts to explore. Posted by Hello
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A closer view of the side of the Castle. Posted by Hello
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The ruins of the exquisite Chapter House of Margam Monastery on the left; the magnificent Margam Castle in the centre. Posted by Hello
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DD3 at Margam Park Posted by Hello
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The Pope of Rome

I was saddened to hear the news of the approaching death of Pope John Paul II.

Before I became Orthodox, I was a very High-Church Anglican, and when the Pope visited Britain in the early 1980`s, lots of folk from our Church joined up with the local RC parish to hire coaches to go see him.
I was one of them .

May God grant him a peaceful ending to his life, and mercy to his soul.
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Perverse Technology

Well, my tirade against Blogger to my family yesterday obviously worked :-)
So did investigating the possibility of moving my humble little blog to Typepad - I only Googled for Typepad, then resubmitted my post to Blogger, and hey presto, it worked !

I even wondered if the refusal of Blogger to accept my posts was some sort of malign April Fools Day joke at one point.
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Blogger Probs

Blogger has been refusing to publish any of my posts, which is a bit depressing.
I am suffering Blog-writing withdrawal :-)
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Blogger keeps eating my posts and refuses to let me post anything at all.
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Friday, April 01, 2005

Sombre Thoughts

Terry Schiavo is dead.
May her memory be eternal.
May God comfort and bless her grieving parents and family.......
I just wish I could take her husband, Judge Greer and all the others who colluded in this travesty of justice, and put them all in a cell, and deprive them of all water and food for, say, five days.
Just long enough to make them *begin* to appreciate the full horror of what they made Terry Schiavo endure for nearly two weeks.
But at least they would know that their ordeal would only be for a short time, and would not kill them.
Just read Matthew chapter 25, verses 40 to 46:
And the King will answer and say to them, "Assuredly , I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my bretheren, you did it to Me"
Then He will also say to those on the left hand"Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and all his angels:
for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;
I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me"
Then they will also answer Him, saying " Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?"
Then He will answer them, saying, "Assuredly, I say unto you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these , you did not do it to Me"
And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life"
Memory Eternal, Terry.
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