Friday, November 30, 2007

Acropolis at Night



An unusual view of the Acropolis this evening !
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Too Much Time

I definitely have too much time on my hands.
There is a site which translates from one language to another, and back again, then into another language etc.
You end up with gobbledegook.

I was intrigued what would happen with a prayer........so I tried it out.

Original English Text:
Oh heavenly King, O Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, who art in all places and fillest all things, the Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life, come dwell within us; cleanse us from all impurities and of your goodness, save our souls.

Translated to French:
Roi merveilleux d'Oh, édredon de O, l'esprit de la vérité, que
l'art dans tous les endroits et fillest toutes les choses, le trésor
des bénédictions et donateur de la vie, viennent angle de saturation
chez nous ; nettoyez-nous de toutes les impuretés et de votre
qualité, économiser nos âmes.


Translated back to English:
Marvellous king of Oh, eiderdown of O, the spirit of the truth, that
art in all the places and fillest all the things, the treasure of the
blessings and giver of the life, come angle from saturation on our
premises; clean us of all the impurities and your quality, to save our
hearts.


Translated to German:
Erstaunlicher König von OH-, Eiderdaunen von O, der Geist der
Wahrheit, die kunst in allen Plätzen und fillest alle Sachen, der
Schatz des Segens und Geber der Lebensdauer, Winkel von der Sättigung
auf unseren Voraussetzungen kommen; säubern Sie uns aller
Verunreinigungen und Ihrer Qualität, um unsere Inneren zu sichern.


Translated back to English:
Amazing king of OH -, eiderdaunen of O, which spirit of the truth,
which fillest art in all workstations and all things, which treasure
of the benediction and givers of the life span, angle of the
saturation on our prerequisites come; clean for us all pollution and
your quality, in order to protect our inside.


Translated to Italian:
Il re stupefacente dell'OH -, eiderdaunen della O, che spirito di
verità, che arte più fillest in tutte le stazioni di lavoro ed in
tutte le cose, che il tesoro del benediction ed i givers della durata,
angolo della saturazione sui nostri requisiti preliminari vengono;
pulisca per noi tutto l'inquinamento e la vostra qualità, per
proteggere la nostra parte interna.


Translated back to English:
The king narcotic of the OH -, eiderdaunen of Or, than truth spirit,
than art more fillest in all the job stations and all the things, than
the treasure of benediction and the givers of the duration, angle of
the saturation on our preliminary requirement come; it cleans up for
we all the pollution and your quality, in order protect our inner
part.


Translated to Portuguese:
O rei narcotic do OH -, eiderdaunen de ou, do que o espírito da
verdade, do que a arte mais fillest em todas as estações do trabalho
e em todas as coisas, do que o tesouro do benediction e os givers da
duração, ângulo do saturation em nossa exigência preliminar vem;
limpa acima para nós toda a poluição e sua qualidade, em ordem
protege nossa parte interna.


Translated back to English:
The king narcotic of the OH -, eiderdaunen of or, of that the spirit
of the truth, of that the art more fillest in all the stations of the
work and in all the things, of that the treasure of benediction and
givers of the duration, angle of saturation in our preliminary
requirement comes; clean above for us all the pollution and its
quality, orderly protect our internal part.


Translated to Spanish:
El rey narcótico del OH -, eiderdaunen de o, de ése el alcohol de la
verdad, de ése el arte ma's fillest de todas las estaciones del
trabajo y en todas las cosas, de eso el tesoro del benediction y los
donantes de la duración, ángulo de la saturación en nuestro
requisito preliminar viene; limpie arriba para nosotros toda la
contaminación y su calidad, ordenanza protege nuestra parte interna.


Translated back to English:
The narcotic king of the OH -, they eiderdaunen of or, from that one
the alcohol of the truth, from that one the art more fillest of all
the stations of the work and in all the things, from that the treasure
of benediction and the donors of the duration, angle of the saturation
in our preliminary requirement comes; above clean for us all the
contamination and its quality, decree protects our internal part.


The mind boggles :-)
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Christmas Past

How on earth does one begin to encompass Christmas memories?
Mine are like a huge tapestry; threads of different colours crossing and criss-crossing each other in a jumble which turns into a glorious picture when you stand far enough away......but because these are my memories, I can't show you the big picture, just some of the gossamer threads of my past.

As a small child, aged about seven, I suppose, I remember drowsing peacefully in my dark bedroom, half awake and wondering what the time was. Would I get Christmas presents ?
Had I been good enough ? Like in most families of my generation, the parents kept the worst of the over-excited children's excesses in check by stern warnings that Father Christmas would not come to badly behaved children who were disobedient or cheeky.......

I heard a step on the staircase, and huddled under the blankets, pretending to be deeply asleep for fear that Father Christmas would find me awake and not leave anything at all ! I felt the thwump of something heavy landing on the blankets perilously close to my feet, and managed to stay still. As I heard the footsteps retreating, I opened my eyes a tiny fraction and saw that the gift bringer had been my mother, and not the elusive Father Christmas.

Was I disappointed ? Not in the slightest. For the "thwump" had been a Christmas stocking, filled with goodies, which by tradition I was allowed to explore as soon as I was awake on Christmas morning as long as I did not disturb the rest of the family.....

Right at the top of the stocking was a big, beautiful rag doll, with embroidered blue eyes and multicoloured yarn hair. She was wonderful, wearing a long delicate flower-print dress and bloomers, and it was love at first sight.I gathered her into my arms with a hugely contented sigh, pulled the blankets around my shoulders and went straight back to sleep without bothering to touch a single thing more until the light was dawning and my mother came into my room to wake me up, smiling when she saw the doll already in my arms.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Pregnant with my first child, on Christmas Day 1985, my then husband and I went to early morning service at our Church at 8am. It was a cold and crisp morning, which made a change from the normal heavy rain we get at this time of year here in South Wales. There were a handful of families with children at the service amidst the larger number of older couples and elderly folk, and the little ones were clutching tightly to presents which they couldn't bear to leave at home even for the half hour long service.
Early pregnancy sickness had worn off and I was starting to feel really well again, and thoroughly enjoying the pregnancy. I sang the hymns and carols with gusto, only to fall silent with wonder as I felt an unmistakable flutter, like that of a butterfly held within a cupped hand, several times in quick succession, which was the first movements of my unborn oldest child. And that was undoubtedly the most wonderful Christmas present I ever had.
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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Return Of The Monsters

In our case, namely the Tonsillitis Monster and the Sock Monster.


Poor Helen has been stricken down with strep throat again, so is right back on antibiotics. She has been quite poorly today, bless her.
Abby is down with a streaming cold and chesty cough, so she is also home from school.

The Sock Monster has been at my socks; in four consecutive days, I have developed holes in one of each of the four pairs of socks I have worn, for no apparent reason and all of the pairs of socks were fine when I first put them on. Four days in a row !
That is bizarre...........
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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Home as A Monastery

For a wonderful description of what an Orthodox Christian marriage should be like, check out Fr John Moses' superb article "My Monastery" .

You will not regret reading it.
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Quidditch For Muggles

Update:

Anastasia,
My apologies !
Quidditch is a game, played in the air using broomsticks, in the Harry Potter series of books and films. Muggles is the name used in the series to describe folk who are not magical.

It was interesting to see how they adapted a totally fictional game to be playable on the ground in real life.

The link is working for me at present, but you do need to scroll **right down** to the bottom of the link page and the article and further link to the video can be seen there. Hope this clarifies things a little :-)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------






I have to say, this sounds brilliant fun :-)


Landbound Quidditch for muggles-read all about it- including watching a video clip- here.
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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Moscow Webcam

http://www.mdmbank.com/webcam
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Mother Teresa on Loving One's Family

"It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start."

Mother Theresa

How true this is.
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Monday, November 26, 2007

Sounds and Lights !

This is slightly bizarre but really rather clever :-)
I wouldn't bother reading the YouTube comments though...the language is choice. Ahem.





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Blessings

My husband driving us to Church and waiting patiently for us.

Church running slightly late, so I was able to show DD3 just what Father does at the Proskemidia.

Having the chance to show DD3 properly some of the many icons in Church, and tell her about them. I didn't realise she didn't know about the Raising of Lazarus... she does now :-)

Finding out that my six year old DD4 actually knows at least 75% of the congregational part of the Liturgy off by heart. Gulp. And that she stayed in Liturgy for 95% of the time without a murmur.

And most of all, for the joy of being able to receive the Holy Mysteries with my youngsters and my church family. If only my husband was by my side, my joy would be complete.......
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Liturgical Resources

I am now the happy possessor of the complete Compline Canons to the Theotokos :-)
One for every day of the week, in all 8 tones !

I just need to get them spiral-bound with laminated covers to protect them.

Many thanks to Fr Deacon Mark for ordering them for me !
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Feast Day

A happy and blessed Feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos to you all :-)

Most Holy Theotokos, pray for us !
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Heads Will Roll

UPDATE:-
As Dave said in his posted comment.

Not forgetting to mention that it will be this generation of children, when adult, whose taxes will be helping to pay the state pensions of the currently working generation.

It further transpires that it was not a junior official who made a unilateral decision to send this data complete and unencrypted, as we were earlier led to believe; it was actually a decision made at a board meeting at the highest level.
The possibility of stripping out the sensitive information was actually raised, and rejected on cost grounds.
The mind boggles.
I bet this fiasco would not have happened if it had been MP or civil servants whose own confidential data was about to be sent from one department to another :-)

.............................................................................





Someone at Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs government department saw fit to send two discs with the names and adresses and bank details of the 9.5 million parents in the UK who receive Child Benefit to another Government department and they were not encrypted nor were they sent by recorded or registered delivery so the shipment could be tracked.


Needless to say, the wretched discs have gone missing, putting every family in the UK at major risk of identity fraud. Every parent in the UK receives this Child Benefit as of right, including the Prime Minister, and will be affected by this fiasco.


What is worse, the names, dates of birth and National Insurance numbers of all 15.5 million children in Britain were also on those missing data discs. So even the children could be at risk of identity theft and fraud over the next few years if that information gets into the wrong hands.

Of course, all this happened a month ago, but the police were only notified on the 15th November and the news only broke last night.

And this lunatic Government thinks it is safe to be given biometric data etc to introduce Identity Cards. If it wasn't so terrifying it would be laughable.
I am not a happy camper at the thought of my family's details and bank information getting in the wrong hands.
Full story here.
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Monday, November 19, 2007

Visiting Vatopedi

Obviously it will be impossible for me to ever visit Vatopedi monastery on the Holy Mount of Athos, but this cybertrip is a nice substitute :-)
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Coughs and Sneezles Spread Diseasels

.......as Thomas the Tank Engine would say.

Poor Helen has been stricken by a vile bug, causing her to spend two weeks on Nurofen *and* Paracetamol to cope with the pain of a nasty sore throat, and seven days of Penicillin for the one-sided Tonsillitis.

She has been desperate to get better, as her class re-start their swimming lessons in school tomorrow. She wants to get her 10 metre swimming award :-)

Luckily she seems very much better today, so maybe she can get swimming tomorrow !
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Printing ......

My poor little printer is working overtime at the moment, printing a 78 page downloaded book all about the North American Saints, which will be part of Helen's St Nicholas day gifts !
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Friday, November 16, 2007

Byzantium

For those of you who love history and Orthodoxy :-)

Have you ever wondered what Constantinople must have looked like in 1200 ? I know I certainly have, on many occasions.
This site has computer generated graphics and many other goodies to show what the archaeological remains of many important buildings would once have looked like.

It is well worth a visit !
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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Snow in Austria



It is snowing again in little Fuschl am See in Austria :-)
The lake and surrounding mountains have disappeared, LOL.

I log on to see what the weather is doing here most days; it brings back lovely memories of a childhood holiday with my much loved reposed Grandmother ......
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Free Rice Game Continued

More information on the success of the addictive and philanthropic Free Rice game can be found here :-)
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Saints Resource

A truly wonderful resource is the Handbook for Church servers by Bulgakov, which is heroically being translated into English by Fr Eugene Tarris of Holy Transfiguration of Christ Cathedral, Denver, Colorado.

Much of it is now available online, and for information about the lives of Saints, it is invaluable.
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Icon New Media Network

Icon New Media Network has some really interesting stuff on its site, though I haven't yet explored it thoroughly and can't vouch for it all.
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Fr Arseny on Podcast

I am completely out of synch with the Roundup, for which I apologise.
I blame Real Life :-)

Many of you are probably aware of these, but for those who aren't, the book of Fr Arseny is available on podcast !!
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Monday, November 12, 2007

The Asteroid of Death

Prepare to meet thy Doom !
A deadly asteroid is approaching the Earth !
We might all die !

Oh, wait.....we just had a message from a Russian astronomer to tell us it isn't an asteroid at all, just one of our own research satellites which we sent into space in 2004 and promptly forgot about.

Far-fetched ?

If only..... full story here.
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Star Wars

The Star Wars movies are being screened on UK tv week by week, so it was particularly apt to see this brilliant Darth Vader mask hot air balloon photo !
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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Help others (and yourself !)

If you go here and play the word game, you can help feed the hungry and also improve your knowledge of arcane and bizarre English words :-)

I'm up to 1710 grains of rice...... be warned, you can spend far too much time playing this !
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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Food For Thought

Ever wondered how much people around the world spend on food per week, and how much food they buy ?
Wonder no more !

And for the record, our family of 4 living at home spends £70 ($140) per week on food. And that includes food for the dog and the birds :-)
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The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

...went completely down the pan on Monday :-)

DD1 plus fiance and DD2 plus boyfriend were supposed to be coming to my house for evening meal before all going to the firework display en famille.

I cooked my infamous Beef and Beer casserole. Delicious smells fill the house and leave me drooling for hours.

At 5pm, Rob arrives.

At 5.30 (when she should have been at my house) DD2 phones to say the bus is running late and she would be with me soon.
Fair enough; I assume that this means DD1 was with her at that time, given that they work in the same building :-)
Uh-uh.

When DD2 arrives, unencumbered with her sister and the fiance, I was somewhat surprised. it then transpires that DD1 had gone back to her flat to change and to lock up, as fiance does not have the keys.

DD! finally arrives at 6.40pm.

I had fed everyone else except DD1 and her fiance by this point; by this time, I was a gibbering wreck, as we were supposed to be leaving my house at 6.50pm to walk to the display and meet up with some others there.

Not to mention the fact that I had had to cook a vegetarian meal for Rob, something else for DD1, and something else for DD3 who doesn't like food with sauces.
Poor Matt was sat down in front of an enormous plate full of food and a ten minute deadline, but he managed admirably and we were only about 5 minutes late. LOL.

And the fireworks were fabulous :-)
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Raising Kids

Many teach their children about worldly politics, others teach them to speak foreign languages: French, German, Italian, and in this spend no trifling sums. Others endeavor to teach them commerce and other arts. But hardly anyone teaches them to live in a Christian manner.

However, without this, all learning is nothing and all wisdom is madness. For what does it profit a Christian to speak Italian, French and German, if he lives in an ungodly manner? What use is it to be skilled in commerce and the arts if one lacks the fear of God?

God will not ask you whether you taught your children French, German or Italian or the politics of social life--but you will not escape divine reprobation for not having instilled goodness into them.

I speak plainly but I tell the truth: if your children are bad, your grandchildren will be worse, and the evil will thus increase...and the root of all this is our thoroughly bad education.


St. Tikhon of Zadonsk
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Monday, November 05, 2007

Bonfire Night

In response to Anastasia'e question about Bonfire Night :-)


This is shamelessly "lifted" and only very slightly edited:

"In 1605, thirteen young men planned to blow upthe Houses of Parliament. Among them was Guy Fawkes, Britain's most notorious traitor.

After Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603, English Catholics who had been persecuted under her rule had hoped that her successor, James I, would be more tolerant of their religion. James I had, after all, had a Catholic mother. Unfortunately, James did not turn out to be more tolerant than Elizabeth and a number of young men, 13 to be exact, decided that violent action was the answer.
A small group took shape, under the leadership of Robert Catesby. Catesby felt that violent action was warranted. Indeed, the thing to do was to blow up the Houses of Parliament. In doing so, they would kill the King, maybe even the Prince of Wales, and the Members of Parliament who were making life difficult for the Catholics.

To carry out their plan, the conspirators got hold of 36 barrels of gunpowder - and stored them in a cellar, just under the House of Lords.
But as the group worked on the plot, it became clear that innocent people would be hurt or killed in the attack, including some people who even fought for more rights for Catholics. Some of the plotters started having second thoughts. One of the group members even sent an anonymous letter warning his friend, Lord Monteagle, to stay away from the Parliament on November 5th.


The warning letter reached the King, and the King's forces made plans to stop the conspirators.
Guy Fawkes, who was in the cellar of the parliament with the 36 barrels of gunpowder when the authorities stormed it in the early hours of November 5th, was caught, tortured and executed.
It's unclear if the conspirators would ever have been able to pull off their plan to blow up the Parliament even if they had not been betrayed. Some have suggested that the gunpowder itself was so old as to be useless. Since Guy Fawkes and the other conspirators got caught before trying to ignite the powder, we'll never know for certain.


Even for the period which was notoriously unstable, the Gunpowder Plot struck a very profound chord for the people of England. In fact, even today, the reigning monarch only enters the Parliament once a year, on what is called "the State Opening of Parliament".

Prior to the Opening, and according to custom, the Yeomen of the Guard search the cellars of the Palace of Westminster. Nowadays, the Queen and Parliament still observe this tradition.

On the very night that the Gunpowder Plot was foiled, on November 5th, 1605, bonfires were set alight to celebrate the safety of the King. Since then, November 5th has become known as Bonfire Night. The event is commemorated every year with fireworks and burning effigies of Guy Fawkes on a bonfire."


In many ways, this is actually quite a sad celebration. Here in South Wales, there are loads of Fireworks, but very few Bonfires, and I have not seen an effigy of Guy being burnt for 20 years.

In the English town of Lewes, it is a very different matter. Between 1555 -1557, no fewer than 17 "protestant martyrs" were burnt at the stake there.
Anti-RC feeling still runs high, and along with effigies of Guy Fawkes, effigies of the Pope are still burnt every year, along with those of unpopular locals and politicians.
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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Still Here

I know I have been quiet, but I am still around :-)

It has been half-term holiday here, and having taken last week's spiritual advice onboard, I have endeavoured to devote more time to my children.

We spent one day with my mother, and another day we went swimming.
DD4 had a birthday party to attend on Saturday.
Another day was spent shopping.
Plus cooking, cleaning etc.

For Halloween, the young ones dressed up and we played party games at home and carved our pumpkin, who this year has been called "Pumpkinzie". We only had two small groups of revellers knock on our door for Trick or treat.

The week has gone, and my young ones will be going back to school on Tuesday because of a teacher training day on Monday.
So Monday will be devoted to ironing, ready for the frenzy :-0

Though of course Monday evening is Bonfire Night here, so we will be going to the public firework display, weather permitting.
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