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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Rat Sighting

As many of you already probably know, we live near a small lake, where there are lots of ducks and Canada geese. It is good bird-watching territory , especially in Autumn and Winter.

We`ve just had a fairly severe buffeting from the equinoctial storms, so I have been keeping my eyes wide open for any interesting birds around the pond each day when I have been taking the youngest two to school.
I did see something interesting, but it wasn`t bird-related..........

On two successive days, I have seen rats wandering around the railings, bold as brass, and quite obviously unafraid of me. They did move away, but they certainly weren`t running for thier lives !

Lots of people feed the ducks, and there must be rich pickings for the local rat population, but it was always a very rare occurrence to see a rat, period, let alone *several* rats at a time in broad daylight.

Uuuugh. They do give me the creeps.
I can`t help thinking about rat fleas being the vector for Black Death transmission.......not to mention Leptospirosis and other nasty diseases they can carry. Not to mention the unpleasant statistic that wherever you live, you are unlikely to be more than 6 feet away from a rat.
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Wednesday, October 05, 2005


I am still amazed at the number of people who visit my site :-)
Today the web counter hit 6,081 visits in the last 14 months.
Thanks for putting up with my meanderings :-)
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Food Poisoning Update

So far, since Sept 18th,there have been 161 confirmed cases of E Coli -0157 food poisoning in our area, affecting 38 schools.
Sadly, the first death has occurred, a five year old boy, from kidney failure due to the highly dangerous toxins produced by this strain of E Coli bacteria.
Words fail me.
All foodstuffs supplied by the suspected source of infection have been ordered to be destroyed by all schools or institutions which received them, but still new cases appear, in part due to the appalling infectivity of this bacterium.

Death by school dinners sounds like a bad detective novel :-(

Lord, have mercy.
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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Prayer Update

Dear All,
Many thanks for your prayers for Rudi.

He has confounded the doctors and has now come out of his coma. He has been able to say a few words. One side of his body is badly affected, and his speech is very slurred, but nevertheless he is awake, aware and trying to communicate.
Any extra time he has with his family is a blessing, as his grandaughter is pregnant.

The power of prayer should never be underestimated :-)
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Monday, October 03, 2005

Full-Time School

Today is Abby`s first full-time day in school.
She went like a lamb this morning, bless her :-)
DD3 managed to leave her bag at home, which conatained her packed lunch and her homework which had to be handed in this morning, so no sooner had I dropped the girls at school than I had to gallop back home , pick up the wretched bag and go straight back down to school to hand it in.
It was *not* how I planned to celebrate my first day of relative freedom, but that`s life with kids for you, LOL.
Today is the first time I have been at home without a little one for nineteen and a half years. (The gap between DD2 and 3 was filled with me working full-time, in case you are wondering !)

Next stop was town, to pick up the new Terry Pratchett books and also to get my reserved book from the library (The Traveller, by John Twelve Hawks).
I treated myself to a capuccino and a fabulous slice of lemon torte at the cafe and then headed back home.

The real treat of the day`s freedom, however, has to have been the ability to watch- without interruptions !- the episode of ER in season 8 where Mark Greene spends his dying weeks with his family. Sounds morbid but it is one of the finest-written pieces of TV I have ever, ever, seen.
It is guaranteed to make me cry, and I did.

I have been trying to watch this episode for 10 days, but I can guarantee that as soon as it starts, something will happen to interrupt.
Today was no exception; the phone rang part way through.
Luckily it was a brief call ;-)

I am saving the new books for tonight......
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Saturday, October 01, 2005

Valley of Disappointment

Idly flicking through the newspaper this afternoon, I saw an advert for a major bookchain, promoting the new Terry Pratchett Discworld novel, "Thud!".
Cries of anguish rent the air as I realised it was too late to get to town to our local bookshop.
Now I will have to wait till Monday.
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Bedroom Matters

Yesterday was a bedlam.
We were expecting a delivery of furniture for our bedroom - two chests of drawers and two double wardrobes.
It came at lunchtime, and DH and I spent the rest of the afternoon moving furniture around and then filling the wardrobes.
You might think this is unbelievably boring, but for us it was bliss. For the first time since we moved in this house , nineteen months ago, we have wardrobes !! No more clothes in bin bags, and no more bedroom mess :-)

Yippee ! We are *so* pleased.

We also emptied out six bags of clothes from the garage and sorted them ruthlessly
DH has gone to the refuse dump this morning to off-load the stuff we no longer want to the Salvation Army collection point.
It was nearly all his stuff, I hasten to add - he is a terrible hoarder.
I prune my clothes regularly.
This is the first time I have been able to coax him to do it in five years, LOL.
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Please continue prayers

Please continue prayers.
Rudi is now in a coma, and the stroke has caused severe damage.
The doctors have said that he will not recover from this and that approximately three-quarters of his brain is no longer functioning.
Please remember his immediate family, Joyce, Kerrie and Marsha, in your prayers.
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