Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy Birthday Basil, the dog of doom, who is three today :-0
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Goodbye 2008

I don't think I will be sorry to see the back of this year.

Please God, 2009 will see a year of much better health and tranquillity for my dear brother, my mother and so many of my loved ones and friends.

Remembering the passing, three years ago on this night, of my beloved stepfather, Gordon.
May he rest in peace and his Memory Eternal........................
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Just Finished Reading...

I giggled, I laughed out loud, I cringed and I cried at this book. It covers almost every experience it is possible to imagine, and is a thoroughly entertaining and informative read. I bought it "remaindered" from EBay :-)
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A Cold End To 2008

Frost patterns on the car this morning !

No snow, just frost !

Even frost on the sand on the beach......... Brrrr !
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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Precious.............

Updated to add:
it is very neat and portable. The screen size is 8.9 inches from one diagonal corner to another. Literally small enough to slip into a moderate sized handbag (purse in USA, I think !).

Laura asked about the web book :-)
I wasn't going to blog about it any more, honest, LOL.

It is a scaled down laptop, basically. Or a glorified upmarket PDA.

It has an 8Gb hard drive, but will accept SD expansion cards to bulk out the capacity by up to 64Gb. Or you can use flash drives in the USB ports too. It has WiFi and Bluetooth.

Mine has an Atom processor and is running Linux Ubuntu as its operating system as opposed to Windows.

It has everything a laptop has **except** a CD/DVD drive. It can play streaming DVD/movies/anything from YouTube, streaming audio and internet Radio Stations, so it is tuned in to The Ark already :-)

It has a web browser, email, a complete Open Office suite so it can be used to do spreadsheets, databases, word processing etc.
It can play games, edit photos/videos, has a built in webcam etc.

It does everything I could want it to do, to be honest, at a fraction of the price of a full laptop. I am glad we opted for this rather than a laptop :-)

And Philippa, I will take a webcam photo from it sometime tomorrow, barring disasters. Though if it gets any colder, you will see me blogging in bed, fully dressed, *and* wearing my sheepfleece dressing gown :-)
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This Post Is Brought To You the new web book.
From my nice warm bed.
I got up several hours ago and turned the central heating on full blast, but the house is still cold. Bed is the warmest place to be at the moment even when already fully dressed :-)
I did toy with the idea of posting a photo of me from the inbuilt webcam, but decided that would probably be inhumane to you, my dear readers, LOL.

I will try not to go on any more today about the whizzy new toy. I promise.
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Monday, December 29, 2008

Photos, As Promised !

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It's Here !

and it works !!!

It arrived at 2.48 pm and now at 4.15pm and a moderate amount of good-natured banter later, DH managed to get the wireless connection to accept our router info.
Apparently when you set it up in Linux it needs to be set up using ascii hexadecimal code not ascii personal.
Don't ask me what that means,I am only the gopher :-)

DH is a superstar and that is official ! My hero !
Photos to follow soon :-)
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Becoming Jane

A few days ago, DH went onto the Sky movies website to which we subscribe and downloaded the film "Becoming Jane" for my entertainment whilst I was confined to my bed of sickness.
It was very sweet of him, and I thoroughly enjoyed the film. I love all things Jane Austen and Regency House Party orientated, so this was a treat.

Today I found a whole gallery of stills from the film , so guess what is on my desktop at the moment ?

When the web book **eventually** arrives, said photos will be duly uploaded to it forthwith :-)
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Still Waiting

Only another 6 hours and 6 minutes in which they can deliver my web book before they are officially late :-)

Picture from this fab site.
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Too Much Information....

I emptied the dust cylinder just before I cleaned the living room. This is the horrifying amount of birdseed and dog hair that was sucked in by my lovely Dyson * just now *.

I do love the pets, but the mess they generate is far greater than the children make. Or my husband. Or myself :-)
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Even The Dog ....

was sick yesterday morning. Here he is, looking very sorry for himself, shortly afterwards........
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A Day In The Life Of....

Woke up whilst it was still dark. My first thought ?
My webbook arrives today !

Got up at 08.00, just as it was getting light. No delivery van in sight.
Took dog into garden to perform his ablutions. Panicked briefly in case delivery man tried to deliver my webbook whilst I was in the garden and took it away again, having had no answer when he knocked at the front door! Needless to say, this did not happen. DH was in the house with the children so he would have heard the delivery man. Wouldn't he ?

Obsessively check front door for sign of any dreaded card stating "You were out when we tried to deliver your long-awaited and beloved parcel. Ha ha ha, Sucker ! We have taken it back to the Depot of Doom for liberation into the commercial Black Hole from whence it can never be retrieved or redelivered!" I can even hear the maniacal laughter..... but there is no such card. DH assures me there has been no fateful knock at the door and that the parcel has not arrived.

08.30. Made cup of tea. Checked email. Read posts on Bloglines. Wrote to my friend Mary.

09.29. Debating whether or not to have another cup of tea. Put bread out in the garden for our resident Robin Redbreast, who was hopping about looking disgruntled that his snack is LATE !

09.53. Emptied the washing machine of the wetload. Re-distributed it all to various radiators to dry, as there is no wind to dry the clothes outside today and it is bitterly cold for us. Temperatures barely hovering around freezing.

09.55. Look at the young ones still slobbing around in PJ's and playing games. Haven't the heart to stop them and make them get changed. Hope no-one decides to visit with the house in chaos. Can't vacuum at the moment as DH is on the phone sorting some business out, and the Dyson cleaner sounds like Armageddon when it is running :-) The budgies have thrown seed all over the floor to add to the fur the dog has shed overnight. It looks like no-one has cleaned the house for a month, which I know isn't true. I cleaned everywhere throughly on Christmas Eve , LOL.
And have cleaned since. Honest. I promise. Though I can't remember exactly what day. Being ill again has messed up my mind..........

10.06. Made a sensible executive decision to feed the budgies now, before I vacuum. Or I will only have to do it all over again in about an hour.

10.07. Where is my webbook ? As DD2 was wont to say when she was a toddler, "I NEEEED it!" LOL. Patience is not my strongest point.

10.08. I think I am getting twitchy.

10.14. I am definitely getting twitchy. Just finished a cup of coffee. Do I need another cup of coffee or do I need............ CHOCOLATE ? Toast would be more sensible. But I don't want toast. I don't even want Chocolate. I want my webbook !

10.15. Still another 8 hours and 45 minutes in which my webbook could be delivered. What if it doesn't arrive till 6.59pm ? Will I end up marching to the door, frothing at the mouth, grey with the strain, twitching and grimacing so much so that the delivery man will just throw the parcel up the path to me and run off screaming ?

DH is about to tell me to get a grip.
He is quite right.
It is only a parcel.
It is only my Christmas and Birthday present from virtually everyone in my entire extended family. Nothing important after all, is it ?
It is only a webbook.
My webbook.
My precious !!!!!!!!!!!!
Check mirror. Despite several new wrinkles, I have not yet turned into Gollum. I feel like Gollum but do not yet look like him.

10.23. I am going to stop Blogging obsessively.
I am.
I am going to do some housework. And some cooking.
Unless of course my webbook arrives.

DH reminds me that the battery will have to be fully charged before I can play with my new toy, and that might take several hours. So there will still be plenty of time to do the housework and cooking even if it arrives now.

I think he is beginning to have second thoughts about the advisability of getting this whizzy new toy for me.
The slide into domestic chaos might be abrupt............
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Sunday, December 28, 2008


I felt recovered enough this afternoon to go shopping with DH and the small ones to Blogtown. Still a bit wobbly and feeling weak, but upright and with a smile on my face :-)

The small ones had some Christmas gift money burning holes in their pockets and wanted to get a new Nintendo DS game each. After checking the prices in five different stores, we settled on the Mario Brothers at the Olympics or some such similar title for DD3 and DD4 chose a Hello Kitty game, both at reasonable prices.
We had a quick browse in Asda and I found a two set of duvets pack which DD3 absolutely loved for only £12. Both designs are very pretty and appropriate to a pre-teenager.
DD3 has a fab pair of thick , fleecy lined bright-red cargo pants for £5.

DH and I have a new toasted sandwich maker and a small slow-cooker (crockpot) for a combined total of £12. That is a serious bargain, LOL.

The sandwich maker has been duly christened with DH's baked bean, bacon and cheese toastie and my bacon, Brie and cranberry sauce toastie. Yum !!

DD3 has already chosen which duvet cover she wants to use first on her bed, so that is what I am heading to do right now.
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Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Saga Continues more ways than one :-)

Last night, DH ordered me not a replacement laptop to compensate for the last disappointment, but even better, an eminently neat, portable and very much less expensive mini webbook, which will be arriving at my home sometime between 7am and 7pm on Monday.
According to the retail company.

I have to say, I will believe it when it actually appears, LOL. I think I am destined **not** to be able to do wireless mobile blogging, LOL even more.
This may perhaps be a good thing, in view of the return of the evil vile tummy bug with which I have been stricken again overnight.

This makes twice in one week, which I think is a tad unfair :-(
Having spent most of today asleep, I am feeling much better and have braved drinking a cup of weak tea which has had only a passing glimpse of a carton of skimmed milk. Hopefully this will not cause an exacerbation of the rather distressing symptoms.
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Friday, December 26, 2008

Did I Tell You ?

.......about my non-Christmas present ?


my birthday isn't till we get to "Russian Christmas", Jan 7th :-)

I was less than impressed with this Company, given that we have actually bought no fewer than *four* computers with them in the last five years or so. And DH's company buys enormous amounts of stuff from them. I am rapidly going off the idea of getting a laptop from them.

I'm still trying to persuade DH that a spiffy new all-singing, all-dancing wireless PDA would be jolly nice instead, buyt he isn't convinced, LOL.

original post continues here !

DH, my mum and MIL and the young ones' combined Christmas/Birthday present to me was to be a laptop of my very own. It was duly ordered early in December, from a reputable major company, and we even had an email giving us a scheduled delivery date for early January.

Doing the happy dance..........until DH had an email two days before Christmas to say that due to a technical hitch they had had to cancel our order and could we please re-order. Needless to say, the model we want has been discontinued, the specs changed and the price altered to reflect it too.

They could not confirm whether DH's credit card had been charged for the order till after Christmas break and we certainly weren't about to throw more money at them without knowing that piece of information. And it was too late to get another one from elsewhere before Christmas.

So by the time it all gets sorted out, there is no hope at all that the new laptop will be in my grubby little hands anywhere near my birthday.

Definitely a message to me not to be so attached to material things :-)

I did have the DVD of The Spiderwick Chronicles film from my eldest two to open, though :-)
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The Day After

Updated to explain: the vegetable we call Swede I believe is called Rutabaga in the USA :-)

All went well yesterday.

Everyone loved their presents, we had visits from grandparents bearing even more gifts, and lunch was on the table promptly at 1pm with no culinary disasters or even moderately hair-raising moments, LOL.

Turkey, sausages wrapped in bacon, roast potatoes, boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, carrots, mashed carrots and swede, Brussel sprouts, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower and peas, apple and herb stuffing balls, lashings of bread sauce, cranberry sauce and gravy.
For our vegetarian visitor, nut roast, all the rest of the above vegetables and his own jug of vegetarian-friendly gravy.

A very lengthy hiatus ensued before anyone could face Christmas pudding and custard, though we did snack on chocolate profiteroles and Baileys cheesecake :-)

Needless to say, I did not want any tea, LOL.

Best of all, I had a long talk to my brother on the phone and am really looking forward to seeing him on the weekend :-)
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Nativity !

My young ones are asleep; their stockings have been filled, presents heaped ready for them in the morning. The bedtime story tonight was a lovely re-telling of Tolstoy's "Papa Panov", though I edited out some of the questionable lines left in by the translator/re-teller. I must read an old version to see how much of the heretical tendencies were present in the original.......

I have duly guzzled the mince pies and drunk the alcohol the children so kindly left out for Santa.
DoomHamster has returned to the family home to celebrate Christmas with us, and DD2 has travelled back so she will be with us tomorrow morning with her lovely boyfriend :-)

DH is feeling much better, though he complained bitterly because I kept him on clear fluids only for a full 24 hours. I assured him that he could not possibly starve to death in 24 hours, despite the tyranny and protests of his empty stomach trying to convince him otherwise :-).

Presents have been delivered, and the house is silent, watchful and expectant of celebration of the radiant Nativity in the Flesh of Our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Christ is Born !
Glorify Him !

I wish you all the joy of the Feast, and pray that God will so richly bless you all on this Holy Day !
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

And More Sighs

DH has now gone down with the vomiting and diarrhoea bug that the girls and I have recently had, poor lamb :-(

We can't go and see my mum and brother for at least three to four days now because of the risk of him catching this bug. His immune system is in negative equity at present !
It seems to take ~48 hours after exposure to it for symptoms to develop. He would end up straight in hospital again.

Please can I just go to a cave and hibernate till Spring ?
Pretty please ?
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A while ago I wrote this.

The situation in my brother's family has indeed now gone to Hell in a handbasket. He phoned my mother first thing this morning to say that he is coming home to stay with her for a few weeks as things have now become utterly unbearable at his home.

He is in a very precarious state of health still, even though he is indeed recovering from his very serious recent illness.

Please remember him and his family in your prayers,and also my mother, who is in great anxiety about them all.

Worry worry worry worry worry worry worry
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Christmas Songs

Update :
Thank you, JTKlopcic ! I thought it was a bit strange that I hadn't heard of it before if, it was supposed to be common knowledge and established fact :-0

A sweet idea, but there are no concepts in the song that would not have been acceptable even to the Reformers........


Am I the only person on the planet who did not know that the song "The twelve days of Christmas" was written as a catechetical song at the time that it was illegal to be Catholic in the UK ?

Shamelessly lifted from the blog of St Mary and St Giles church.........

The song goes, "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…" The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn’t refer to an earthly suitor, but it refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. i.e. the Church.

1st Day:
The partridge in a pear tree is Christ Jesus upon the Cross. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge because she would feign injury to decoy a predator away from her nestlings. She was even willing to die for them. The tree is the symbol of the fall of the human race through the sin of Adam and Eve. It is also the symbol of its redemption by Jesus Christ on the tree of the Cross.

2nd Day:
The "two turtle doves" refers to the Old and New Testaments.

3rd Day:
The "three French hens" stand for faith, hope and love—the three gifts of the Spirit that abide (1 Corinthians 13).

4th Day:
The "four calling birds" refers to the four evangelists who wrote the Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—which sing the song of salvation through Jesus Christ.

5th Day:
The "five golden rings" represents the first five books of the Bible, also called the Jewish Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

6th Day:
The "six geese a-laying" is the six days of creation.

7th Day:
The "seven swans a-swimming" refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.

8th Day:
The "eight maids a milking " reminded children of the eight beatitudes listed in the Sermon on the Mount.

9th Day:
The "nine ladies dancing" were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

10th Day:
The "ten lords a-leaping" represents the Ten Commandments

11th Day:
The "eleven pipers piping" refers to the eleven faithful apostles.

12th Day:
The ‘twelve drummers drumming" were the twelve points of belief expressed in the Apostles’ Creed: belief in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, made man, crucified, died and arose on the third day, that he sits at the right hand of the father and will come again, the resurrection of the dead and life everlasting.
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Sunday, December 21, 2008


My small ones have generously spread their germs to me.

I have been a regular visitor to the bathroom facilities all day, and have spent almost all day in bed.

The gastrointestinal upset has been accompanied by whole body aching, even to the joints below my fingernails. Ouch.
Painkillers are finally starting to work.

Hopefully normal service will be resumed tomorrow........ I need to get my presents wrapped and DD2's shawl finished !!!!
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Feeling Better

I am pleased to report that I actually had more than half an hour's unbroken sleep last night :-)

DD4 is still sleeping, but DD3 is up and looking so very much better than she did yesterday !

There was a heart-warming story on the BBC web today about a Good Samaritan who lent £5 to a stranded tourist nearly forty years ago, and that tourist has now repaid the money with interest, honouring his promise to repay, albeit slightly late :-)
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Friday, December 19, 2008

The World's Tiniest Christmas Tree

............can be seen here.

It literally fits into the eye of a needle !
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Last night, Abby said she didn't feel well.

About an hour later she gave us copious visible evidence of exactly how unwell she was feeling. Having cleared that up, and tucked her up in bed, she managed to miss the bucket and decorate the bedroom carpet. Sigh.
She was sick throughout the night, and when she wasn't being sick she was asking for drinks of water.
She is much brighter now, and tolerating clear fluids and dry biscuits well.

Then this morning Helen woke me up having been sick and unreliable at t'other end. So neither of them could go to school for the last day of term and they have missed out on the Christmas festivities, poor lambs.

I walked to school to deliver presents to the staff from the girls whilst DH did sterling duty nursing the suffering ones at home :-)

Helen is starting to feel a little brighter now, so hopefully they will both be on the mend tomorrow.

I just want to go to sleep :-)
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Thursday, December 18, 2008

The End Of Term looming ! My little ones finish school at 3.15pm tomorrow.

I have been at school virtually all day every day this week, and today was a blissful reprieve, being able to go home at 10.15am :-)
Having said that, DH and I zoomed to town to do some last minute Christmas shopping in peace, LOL. Christmas cards have been posted and I think I am pretty much prepared for Christmas now.

I have been involved in a major project at school, which is rapidly nearing completion. It has been hard work but great fun. I must own to being glad that the holidays are upon us, as I am really tired this term. How the teaching staff cope, I shudder to think, for they are at school for longer working days than I am !
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I Despair

Words fail me.

Official sanction for Skateboarding **inside** an 800 year old Abbey.

These are the depths to which the Church of England has sunk.
Full story here:

Read it and weep.
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Monday, December 15, 2008

Specially for Meg :-)

I have just been reading a delightful book by David Kennard, "A Shepherd's Watch".
It chronicles a year in the life of a Shepherd who farms on the bleak but glorious North Devon coast, with his sheepdogs.
I am keeping an eye out for his second book.

More at his website.
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Missed Opportunities

It was bitterly cold last night; temperatures here reached -4 degrees. The frost was so thick and white that DD4 thought it had been snowing !

We were warmly bundled up for the walk to school, the ground was pretty slippery with ice and frost so we three held tightly onto each other. The lake was almost completely frozen over and it was just magical to walk past it and see the ducks and geese skittering around on the ice.

I hadn't taken my camera with me, and I so wished that I had. It was so lovely walking to school that it made my heart ache at the sight of such beauty.
On the way back to school this afternoon, the sun was so low in the sky that it would have been impossible to take any decent photos and the light was all wrong anyway.

Tomorrow it is forecast to be much warmer, so undoubtedly the ice will melt and the walk will still be lovely, but not quite so spectacular :-)
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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Low Batteries

I feel as though I am running on low batteries at the moment.

It has been a frantically busy week, added to which there has been the school Nativity Play, plus Christmas Concert and Christmas Fair.
I got home last night and just wanted to collapse in a crumpled heap.

I woke up at 2.00am, so DH and I were chatting about last-minute Christmas shopping plans when I heard a tiny "ker-chink" noise. It was the mad dog, savaging the Christmas tree, yet again, despite the barricades. DH was utterly heroic and went zooming to sort things out whilst I stayed lovely and snug in my nice warm bed :-)
Needless to say, I struggled to get back to sleep and only dozed fitfully the rest of the night. When the alarm went off at 7 am I gave it a less than enthusiastic welcome..........

I felt so exhausted and achey that I couldn't even work up any enthusiasm for the last fencing session of the year this morning. And I really love going fencing.

Luckily DoomHamster stayed over with us last night, so she very kindly took DD3 fencing this morning so DH, DD4 and I could have a quiet morning.

We have sorted out the problem with the tree now; we remove it from the living room when we are going out. Considering it is 6 ft tall, it is a tad eccentric but certainly the simplest solution :-)

I did have a nap this afternoon and am feeling a little better now.

A nice hot bath and an early night should see me feeling much better tomorrow, I hope !
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Not A Happy Camper

Partly, I think, due to the fact I have been out for quite a lot over the last two days, my dearly beloved dog today decided to storm the barricades and destroyed no fewer than six separate ornaments from the Christmas tree.


The only answer may be to shut him in the cold and drafty kitchen and hope he doesn't decide to trash that in retaliation. I am glad DH is home tonight so he can keep the dog company and hopefully guard the tree over the next few days........

Crazy dog !!!
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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Free Book Download !!!

The OCA have made available a wonderful new web-book for download, entitled "Saints In Times Of Trouble" here, to complement the amazing Saints of North America.

The new book covers St Aidan, St Alexander Nevsky,St John Chrysostom, St Maria Skobtsova, St Mitrophan of China and St Gorazd the New Martyr of Prague, amongst others.
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Guarding The Christmas Tree

We put our tree up on Sunday. Lights, baubles, everything. It looked lovely, and a tribute to the hard work of DD3 and 4.
The dog left it all alone on Sunday. He kept shooting suspicious glances at it, though.
On Monday morning he destroyed one bauble. Monday afternoon he shamelessly attacked three more, even though DD3 &4 and I were in the room.

This morning I came downstairs and even though it was pitch-dark in the room, he had still managed to finagle another bauble off the tree and chew it to smithereens.
So now when I go out, I haul over one of the huge leather chairs from the study and barricade the tree from Basil's depredations.

I'm just wondering how long it will be before he finds a way to circumvent the barricade :-)
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Oliver Postgate

I was sorry to read today of the death of one of this country's great eccentrics.

Oliver Postgate, the creator of immortal children's classic TV shows Bagpuss, The Clangers, Ivor the Engine and Noggin the Nog has died at the grand age of 83.
He gave my children and I immense pleasure by his creations.
A very nice tribute to him has appeared on the Telegraph website.

May he rest in peace and his memory be eternal.........
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Monday, December 08, 2008

New To Me !

Thanks to Meg's Muttonings, I have found a new blogger !

Go see Shelley over at My Mountain Home blog :-)
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De-Christianising A Language

Words relating to Christianity have been dropped from a version of the Oxford English dictionary for children in favour of more "modern" words.

So you will look in vain for any of these:-

Abbey, aisle, altar, bishop, chapel, christen, disciple, minister, monastery, monk, nun, nunnery, parish, pew, psalm, pulpit, saint, sin, devil, vicar .

Even words relating to Chriustmas have gone, such as carol, cracker, holly, ivy and mistletoe .

Instead you will find
words like these:-
Blog, broadband, MP3 player, voicemail, attachment, database, export, chatroom, bullet point, cut and paste, analogue .

I don't see any of these "new" words enriching my children's life significantly...........

Even words relating to wildlife and plantlife have gone, because most children live in towns and cities so they don't see flowers etc. Perhaps that is all the more reason these words should be in the wretched dictionary, so children can find out about them !

Full depressing story here, if you can bear to read it.

I am shaking my head in disbelief that even "psalm" has been dumped.
Lord have mercy.
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Cold, Dark And Wet

It is raining today, after several days of glorious but bitterly cold weather. Yesterday, the frost was so very heavy that despite glorious and quite warm sunshine, the frost persisted in the shade till sundown.

The rain has changed the bracing cold to a penetrating, seeping cold dampness, with lowering skies and consequent lowering of my mood. It is only 1.41pm, yet it looks like dusk is imminent.....
I think I prefer it when it is cold, LOL.
I am already casting covetous eyes on some of my husband's socks, Anastasia, so that I can make the rice foot warmers you mentioned :-)

Last night I slept with cotton sheets, two wool blankets and *two* 15 tog duvets on my bed. I was actually too hot at one point in the night.......

At the moment, I am looking at all the birds in the back garden. There is a feeder with bird seed, a fat ball, and a load of bread pieces for them to feed on. Even the jackdaws are coming looking for food, as well as our more usual robins, finches, tits, sparrows, thrushes, starlings and blackbirds.
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Fearfully And Wonderfully Made......

Some facts to ponder, from one of the medical blogs I read :-

All of the blood vessels in your body, including arteries, veins and capillaries, are more than 60,000 miles long.

An adult heart pumps approximately 2,000 gallons of blood each day

The heart beats about 100,000 times each day

An average human heart beats more than 2.5 billion times in 70 years

Blood takes about 20 seconds to circulate throughout the entire vascular system

And we take it all for granted...... Blessed art thou, O Lord !
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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Happy Feast !

I hope you all are having a blessed and happy Feast of St Nicholas the Wonderworker, if you are on the NC!

We went to Liturgy today, and I had a much-needed de-tox at Confession and made my Communion. Then up to my mother's to decorate her Christmas tree for her, as requested.

Holy Father Nicholas, pray for us !!!
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Friday, December 05, 2008

Teds In Space

It could only happen in Britain !
Full story and lots more pics here......
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Thursday, December 04, 2008

I'm An Ingrid !!!

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are an Ingrid!


You are an Ingrid -- "I am unique"

Ingrids have sensitive feelings and are warm and perceptive.

How to Get Along with Me

  • * Give me plenty of compliments. They mean a lot to me.

  • * Be a supportive friend or partner. Help me to learn to love and value myself.

  • * Respect me for my special gifts of intuition and vision.

  • * Though I don't always want to be cheered up when I'm feeling melancholy, I sometimes like to have someone lighten me up a little.

  • * Don't tell me I'm too sensitive or that I'm overreacting!

What I Like About Being an Ingrid

  • * my ability to find meaning in life and to experience feeling at a deep level

  • * my ability to establish warm connections with people

  • * admiring what is noble, truthful, and beautiful in life

  • * my creativity, intuition, and sense of humor

  • * being unique and being seen as unique by others

  • * having aesthetic sensibilities

  • * being able to easily pick up the feelings of people around me

What's Hard About Being an Ingrid

  • * experiencing dark moods of emptiness and despair

  • * feelings of self-hatred and shame; believing I don't deserve to be loved

  • * feeling guilty when I disappoint people

  • * feeling hurt or attacked when someone misundertands me

  • * expecting too much from myself and life

  • * fearing being abandoned

  • * obsessing over resentments

  • * longing for what I don't have

Ingrids as Children Often

  • * have active imaginations: play creatively alone or organize playmates in original games

  • * are very sensitive

  • * feel that they don't fit in

  • * believe they are missing something that other people have

  • * attach themselves to idealized teachers, heroes, artists, etc.

  • * become antiauthoritarian or rebellious when criticized or not understood

  • * feel lonely or abandoned (perhaps as a result of a death or their parents' divorce)

Ingrids as Parents

  • * help their children become who they really are

  • * support their children's creativity and originality

  • * are good at helping their children get in touch with their feelings

  • * are sometimes overly critical or overly protective

  • * are usually very good with children if not too self-absorbed

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz
at HelloQuizzy

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How To Strikethrough

it is a bit fiddly but not difficult.

There is a nice tutorial here ,

but they use codes to indicate the start of a new paragraph as well, which confused me a bit.
Just remove the code which says < p > at the start and end.....
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Philippa, the Women of the Bible widget can be found here.

There are two options; one will display a single profile for a week, another will randomise each time the page is visited/refreshed.
I went for the second option :-)

Just copy the code, go to the layout page and insert the code. It is very easy on Blogger, but I'm not sure how difficult it will be with other formats......
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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Cccccc-old !

It is absolutely freezing here :-)

We have had our third night of very heavy frost and the small lake is about one third frozen over, even at lunchtime, despite the sun shining brightly.

I must go and replenish the wild bird seed in the back garden feeder so the wee ones can refuel for the cold night ahead.

I just wish I could make my feet feel warm again ...... Brrrrr.
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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Women Of The Bible

I have found a randomised Women of the Bible widget !
Have a look at my sidebar - now that's not something you get to say every day , LOL. :-)
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Monday, December 01, 2008

Latin Carols

I absolutely have to show you this site !
A different Christmas carol or song in Latin for each day of December :-)
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Amazing !

Australians have had a rare opportunity to see an amazing "smile in the Sky", formed by the alignment of Jupter and Venus with the crescent moon.
Go here to see the pictures !
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Blogroll Again !

**of course** baby pictures count as updates !!!!!!!!!
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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Our Lady Of Advent

Rather a nice RC icon, shamelessly poached from another site.............
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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Raising Them Up

Monica asked:
"How did you grow in her love for the saints?
My son is 5, and I pray that God will build the faith in his heart despite all of my bad influence! My son can recite Johnny Cash or Bob Dylan more readily than sing about a saint."

Monica, in our culture, this is a perennial problem. I don't have answers, but this is what we do.......

DD4 is the only one of my four who was actually baptised Orthodox, LOL.

We have loads of icons. A full scale icon corner in the dining room, with lampada, though it is only lit occasionally. Each child has icons of Christ and the Theotokos and Guardian angel in their rooms. The only room without an icon is the bathroom.

I have quite a few picture books about the Saints,and we read them occasionally. When DD4 was tiny (18months+), she was used to a routine of dropping her sister off at school and we would go home and I would pray Morning prayers at the icon corner, virtually every day, and venerate the icons. She just naturally followed the veneration, so I made sure there were icons on shelves at her level; she would pick up various icons and kiss them repeatedly, at all sorts of times as she was passing. Her particular favourite was the Great Martyr Barbara :-)

Once she was old enough, I read the bible story of her Saint, righteous Abigail. She kisses her bedroom icons every night on her own, and will not sleep without praying. I hang my head in shame and freely admit she is far closer to Christ at age 7 than I will **ever** be.

I also pray the Akathist to the Theotokos, Nurturer of Children.
My "background noise" at home is usually The Ark radio station, so she is used to contemporary Orthodox Christian music as well as chant, when she is not watching TV .

At the end of the day, it is each individual child's individual response, and it cannot be predicted.
Elder Porphyrios once said that if you are anxious about your child, don't take it to your child, take it to God and the Theotokos and pray. God will lay it on your child's heart what it needs to know and hear....... I pray this is true.
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I have finally installed the Blogroll widget on the blog, but am only slowly adding folk, so don't panic if you aren't on there yet :-)

I do have 143 Ortho-bloggers on my Bloglines list, but will be ruthless and eliminate anyone who has not updated their blog in the last six months.....
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.....And Ups

The cause of DD3's daily headaches has been identified after a quick trip to our local friendly optician on Tuesday. She has astigmatism and needs glasses for all close work. Considering the amount she reads, no wonder she was having headaches.......!
Said glasses duly arrived on Thursday and she looks so cool. Not to mention the fact that she can now see clearly, and the headaches have gone :-)

Photos will appear in due course....and of course, those of DD4 who has now been duly formally invested as a fully-fledged Beaver Scout, along with three of her classmates and ten other local children.

It has been a busy week :-)
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Dear friends,
My brother is back in hospital and is really poorly. He and his family have fairly major issues going on, and I would really appreciate your prayers for them all.

My mother and I are worried sick, and an initially distressing situation seems to be rapidly going to hell in a handbasket........
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Thursday, November 27, 2008


A Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to my readers across the Pond and those expats currently domiciled here :-)
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Just Wondering.....

Please vote :-)
My tree tends to go up mid second week of December.....

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Answering Queries

Questions have been asked about my recent post regarding Church :-)

Monica, DD4 has just turned 7 and seems to be understanding what we are doing and why. Still has a long way to go, but at last there is some real understanding about the structure of the Liturgy to add to her love of icons and the Saints.

Meg, it was a Saturday Liturgy. Once a month there is a Liturgy in town A, generally on a Saturday.The Sunday liturgies are always held in Town B.
It was my Godmother's Name Day,St Cecilia, according to the New Calendar, hence my determination to get there to celebrate with her :-)
We will have another Saturday Liturgy for St Nicholas Day on 6th December, NC.
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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Getting To Church

Yesterday we went to Liturgy, and what joy to see my godmother safely home from hospital and celebrate her nameday with her ! She is much improved, though still not completely recovered from her hospitalisation, and I thank you all for your prayers.

It was a quiet service, with only Father, Presbytera, DD 3&4 and myself in Church, but that meant there was plenty of room for the Angels and saints to join with us in worship :-) The girls sang their hearts out for the Cherubic Hymn, and sang along everything they knew with Presbytera and I. I do need to teach them the Troparia to St Nicholas and St David, ready for the next service......

DD4 had her prayerbook with her - for a change, I remembered to take it (!) and set her a challenge of identifying the key points of the service, which she did successfully, much to her delight. It is starting to make sense to her now, rather than just being a long service. Her comment earlier on in the day was "But Mum, the prayers are soooo looong ! I like saying prayers but they are too long in Church!"

To my delight, when we came out of Church, she grinned at me and said "Mum, this was the best day ever !"
Of course, the two of them then managed to sustain low-level niggling at each other for the rest of the afternoon, but what's new :-)
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Christmas Is Coming

...because the young ones have come home from school clutching their scripts for their parts in the Christmas Concert :-)

DD3's costume is easily sorted, but DD4's necessitated a speedy purchase from EBay to make sure we had the garment in plenty of time, LOL.
You will have to wait till the night of the concert to see it, though, as it would spoil the fun..........but I will be at school having fun helping to make the necessary accessories for all 28 children in the class !

School life continues to be busy, but most enjoyable. Morning prayers are tending to be said about 10.45am whilst walking home by the little lake, followed by a much needed cup of coffee when I get home. I have had some interesting conversations with a member of staff who is teaching Judaism to her class next term, and I have offered to share some of my own resources with her, especially my Hebrew/English Artscroll Siddur so the children can see a real Jewish prayerbook, written from right to left and therefore opened at the back in order to start reading.
Still gets me confused :-0

We have had requests from some staff members relating to obtaining books on specific topics which they will be covering during this academic year, and we will do our best to accomodate them in as far as our library budget allows. Most of our Christian interest books are fairly old; it would be nice to have some new ones for the children to browse through !
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Time Managemnt

This post comes from one of my fave bloggers, and really could have been written about me :-)

I spend far too much time at my computer :-(
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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Five Things.....

5 Things I was Doing 10 years Ago:
(1) Breastfeeding a six month old baby, my DD3
(2) Breaking my heart as my first husband was having an affair and my marriage was falling apart.
(3) Grieving over having too many health problems to be able to go back to work as a midwife.
(4) Blaming God for everything
(5) Having no idea where my life was going

5 Things On My To-Do List Today:
(1) Morning prayers & Typica ( kids home ill, so no Liturgy today for us)
(2) Meals
(3) Iron school uniform and DH's work clothes for the upcoming week
(4) Pack DD3 & 4 's school bags
(5) Knit ! Currently knitting a purple shawl for DD3......

5 Snacks I Love:
(1) Chocolate
(2) Baked Brie and Cranberry sauce baguette
(3) Chocolate
(4) Jelly Beans
(5) Chocolate

5 Things I Would Do If I Were A Millionaire:
(1) Give 10 % to charity
(2) Put some aside for my children
(3) Build a chapel in the back garden
(4) Buy lots of books :-)
(5) Travel

5 Places I've Lived:
(1) In a three bedroom house with my parents
(2) Next door to a man who was a complete fruitcake.
(3) In a three bedroom house on a council housing estate, also next door to a family who were all complete fruitcakes.....
(4) In a detached four bedroom house, which was beautiful, but I hated because that was where my life fell apart 10 years ago.
(5) In a semi-detached four bedroom house with DH and my two youngest, now the eldest two have all growed up !

5 Jobs I've Had:
(1) Wife
(2) Mother
(3) Midwife
(4) Shop assistant
(5) Blogger :-)
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ho hum

DD3 has been frogmarched to the doctor's today, after waking up crying in pain with her ankles.
Turns out she has Osgood - Schlatter syndrome, which is a temporary intermittent tendonitis in the lower legs due to very rapid bone growth temporarily outstripping the tendon length.
Treatment is rest and ibuprofen when the pain strikes, and normal exercise whilst she is pain-free.

She has grown at least an inch in the last month, mind, so it is not really that surprising.......
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Scott Moses Murray

For those of you who listen to The Ark Orthodox radio and like Scott Murray's song "Dry Bones" if you go here, you can listen to even more of his songs :-)
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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Odds And Ends

Lots been going on chez moi, but for issues of privacy for some members of the extended family, I have not been able to blog about them in any detail.
Here are some snippets:-

My brother has been pretty ill but is on the mend, glory to God.

Presb. Cacilia is slowly improving, though she will be in hospital for another week, according to the latest news.

DD2's lovely boyfriend Rob has been able to get a job, so we are all delighted for him.

DoomHamster now has functioning central heating in her flat, though can't afford to use it much due to the hike in gas prices !

DH has yet another Meibomian cyst in his eyelid plus a riproaring infection across the whole eyelid, so is on his second installment of antibiotic cream , and sees the Consultant next week.

DD3 is recovering well from an ankle injury.

I have finally started Christmas shopping :-)

Finally, I was forcibly restrained by my DH from buying any more cookbooks when we went to a discount bookshop yesterday. When we got home, I went to the public library and borrowed a copy of "The Hairy Bikers Ride Again" cookbook in order to assuage my disappointment :-)

Info about this hilarious cooking duo - and recipes !- here !
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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Asking Prayers Again

My beloved Godmother is ill in hospital.

Please pray for the Presbytera Cacilia !!
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sol's Question

Sol asked me "You have once again insprired me to add to my library. I'm just not sure whether to read The Stripping of the Altars first. What do you recommend? "

Now that is an interesting one !

Here is my take on it, but your mileage may well vary, given your profession and the considerable amount of knowledge you already have about the subject.....

I read the hefty but utterly absorbing "Stripping Of The Altars" first, and loved every word. It could possibly have benefited from a slightly more judicious editorial pen, but that is a minor quibble. "Stripping Of The Altars" is thorough and comprehensive, and covers the country, in greater or lesser detail according to the sources still extant about each area. It does give a very good exposition of the thoughts and events underpinning the changes of the period even for someone with no real prior knowledge of the era.

Inspired by this, I bought "The Voices of Morebath" at a knock-down price on EBay. I have to own, reading it immediately after the first tome left me feeling slightly disappointed as some of it was already familiar, having been discussed in the first book as befits one of the most interesting and utterly unique resources amongst Tudor historical documents.

I left it for a good few months before re-reading it, and I am very glad that I did.

I am equally glad I did buy it, for it is an extremely in-depth look at how the whirlwind events of the Reformation affected this tiny English parish and its folk. Having duly absorbed the first book, reading the minutiae about this little village was utterly fascinating!

I do think that unless someone already has a fairly good grasp about the various legislation and events relating to the Henrician and Edwardine Reformation, it may be heavy going or rather tedious and need frequent recourse to a good general history book of the period.

I must admit to liking reading fairly heavyweight scholarly tomes, of course.

But hey, we're Orthodox, we invented scholarly heavyweight tomes, didn't we ?

I would love to know which one you eventually choose, and what you think of it/them. I did get "Stripping" from the local public library, because of its cost, but I fully intend purchasing my own copy when funds permit :-)
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Time Is Running Out.....

I'm sure most of my American readers will have already seen this, but if not, the video is worth watching.

If society does not care about the most innocent and vulnerable of its members, what hope do the rest of us have when we become "encumbrances" or "burdens" or "drains" on society's resources ?

Failing to care for the unborn is the first step on a very steep and slippery slope to not caring a toss about anyone else, either.
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Monday, October 27, 2008

Thrift Shop Haul !

On Saturday, on the way home from fencing, I stopped at the Cancer charity shop on Blogtown, as they had a huge table filled with books and the sign "Any 3 for £1 ", which is always music to my ears :-)

I was thrilled to get a lovely copy of Georgette Heyer's "The Reluctant Widow", absolutely ecstatic to get a hardback 1944 edition of H V Morton's travelogue through Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Greece " Middle East". I have nearly all of H V Morton's books, and love the evocative writing of a long passed yesteryear.

I also found one other book, cough, mumble, which I paid for in the shifty manner of someone transacting a particularly unsavoury purchase. I bought Michael Moore's "Stupid White Men" because I wanted to see what it was which had reduced Jeremy Clarkson from TV's Top Gear show to gibbering, incandescent rage.

It did contain one or two salient points, but most of it was ....drivel, IMO.

Jeremy Clarkson was quite right to throw the book out of the window :-)
Still, two gems and one piece of dross was still not bad for £1 !
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Sobering Reading

I have just finished re-reading Professor Eamon Duffy's outstanding book, "the Voices of Morebath".

The tiny Devon village of Morebath had the same parish priest for fifty years, covering the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. Sir Christopher Trychay served his parish faithfully throughout enormous religious upheaval, and documented his parish's life meticulously.

It makes for absorbing reading, but also for so much sadness, seeing what remanants of Orthodoxy remaining within late mediaeval Roman Catholicism being systematically stripped out of the newly formed Ecclesia Anglicana. It must have caused immense sadness and distress to so very many people in the village.

Not even the church Bells were allowed to be tolled at deaths and funerals. Newborn infants, normally baptised on the day of birth or the next day, in an era when infant mortality was in excess of 30%, were now to be left unbaptised till the next public Sunday service, if they survived that long. Imagine the anxiety of not knowing whether your premature or feeble infant would survive to see Holy Baptism, even now........let alone in those days when the belief was that the unbaptised were excluded from Heaven.

I can only guess at what it must have been like to see the churches altered, frescoes defaced or whitewashed, the statues burnt, the vestments discarded, and the services altered beyond all recognition within such a short space of time.
Imagine if our Churches were defaced and despoiled in this way nowadays, on the whim of a monarch or civil authority, and we were powerless to stop it.
Imagine being forced to attend services which bore no resemblance to those we know and love so much, to no longer be able to ask the Communion of Saints for their loving intercession......... it makes my stomach churn, just thinking about it, let alone having to live through it, to be honest.
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World Domination Looms !

First the Fencing Club........tomorrow the world !

Cue: maniacal cackles !
No, I have not completely lost my marbles- or at least, not yet :-)

DD1 - the inimitable DoomHamster- has now joined DD3 and I at our fencing club.Before we started there were only two regular female sabreuses. We have now taken the number up to five :-)
The males still heavily outnumber us, but as our coach said, next year DD4 will be old enough to join us too, if she wants to !

DoomHamster is thoroughly enjoying herself and doing well; on Saturday, I was fencing with her and she managed to get past my defences and land a hit on me. I was well impressed, considering it was only her third lesson.

In a couple of weeks I am likely to get thrashed, as her reactions are far better than mine. She can type at 60 words a minute after, all..........
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hot Tubs And Prayers

When we arrived at Center Parc on Monday, the weather was appalling. It was cold, wet and windy.
So what did we do ?
Check in, then haul the rucksack with the swimming gear in out of the car, and head for the tropical pool. Not to swim - at least not initially, but to go in the outdoor hot tub.

Surprisingly, there were very few there and we had the tub to ourselves. Possibly the rain put them off, but it was absolutely brilliant fun !
Sitting immersed in hot bubbles, with the rain lashing down and clouds of steam rising from the tub into the air around us. The clouds were low over the trees, and it was magical.
It was a wonderful start to our holiday and a great way to leave the stress of everyday life behind.

On subsequent sunny days, it was amazing to sit there and see an open vista of soaring trees, blue sky and fluffy white clouds occasionally masking the sun whilst mentally saying the morning Trisagion prayers :-)
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The Photo Meme

This was the scene on Christmas morning 2007 **before** the girls got up :-)
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Saturday, October 25, 2008


The trees are so tall that if you look up to their tops, they are almost meeting........

This shy little Nuthatch was a welcome sight at our patio table !

And the squirrels came to visit us several times a day :-)
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Scenes From Around Our Accomodation.

The flora and fauna at Center Parc are amazing......

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One of the sealions at Longleat.

Nico, the Silverback gorilla who lives on an island in the river. His home is centrally-heated and he has a Hi-Definition wide-screen TV and Satellite. (Sky Plus, for those who of a technical turn !). He loves watching the tourists on the river boat.
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Holiday Snaps

We managed to navigate the enormous maze at Longleat ! These were taken from the central tower . And we managed to get out again :-)
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Sunday, October 19, 2008

See You Soon

We are off on a short break to Center Parc Longleat , Monday - Friday.

Hopefully, I will have nice pictures to blog about on my return :-)
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Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy Birthday !

... to my precious last-born, the now seven year old DD4.

We had a swimming party at the local leisure centre after school yesterday, for a small number of her classmates and friends, and a family party today at home after school, though DD2 was not able to be with us due to being in Bristol :-(
This will be the first time I have not had all my girls home together for little ones's birthday.

DD1 is travelling over from The Big City as I type, and will be here shortly :-)

Many years to the handmaiden of God Abigail !
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Tidings of comfort and joy..............hardly.

I have a rather nasty apical dental abscess in my already root-canal filled and porcelain crowned tooth, so am on the dreaded metronidazole for 5 days. And we go away on holiday on Monday. Oh joy. At least I am not in pain, unlike DD2, who also has a rip-roaring dental abscess and is now also on antibiotics whilst she is working away in Bristol.............
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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Keeping Busy

Being bored is no longer an option any more !

I have been recruited to a small team (okay, let's be honest, a *very* small team !) to help restructure and re-organise our school's library.
It is a fairly big undertaking, as we can only work in it for a limited time each day due to other committments within the school.
Today we dusted two bookcases of books, and boy, were they dirty !

I am looking forward to our four night break at Center Parc next week, and hope to have some time in which to enjoy being bored - though as I am taking my knitting, that may not happen :-)
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Monday, October 13, 2008

Did I Blink And Miss Something ?

I'm beginning to think I live in a parallel universe, beause I have not seen this reported elsewhere............

A RC clergy blogger whom I read has posted the text of an address given by an Orthodox priest from Greece at a World Synod of RC Bishops


VATICAN CITY, OCT. 12, 2008 ( A representative of the Orthodox Church who addressed the world Synod of Bishops spoke of the Bishop of Rome as a sign of unity among Christians.
Archimandrite Ignatios Sotiriadis, fraternal delegate from the Orthodox Church of Greece, spoke Saturday to the synod, which is focusing on the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church.

His address brought more applause than any other intervention in the first week of the synod.

"Your Holiness," he said, "our society is tired and sick. It seeks but does not find! It drinks but its thirst is not quenched. Our society demands of us Christians -- Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Anglicans -- a common witness, a unified voice. Here lies our responsibility as pastors of the Churches in the 21st Century."

"Here," the Orthodox pastor continued, "is the primary mission of the First Bishop of Christianity, of him who presides in charity, and, above all, of a Pope who is Magister Theologiae: to be the visible and paternal sign of unity and to lead under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and according to Sacred Tradition, with wisdom, humility and dynamism, together with all the bishops of the world, fellow successors of the apostles, all humanity to Christ the redeemer."

"This is the profound desire of those who have the painful longing in their heart for the undivided Church, 'Una, Sancta, Catholica et Apostolica,'" he concluded. "But it is also the desire of those who, again today, in a world without Christ, fervently, but also with filial trust and faith, repeat the words of the apostles: 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!'"


Comments welcome.
It may just be that the translation for Greek to Italian and thence to English is bit dodgy, but as it stands, there are some theological assumptions contained therein over which our Archbishop might raise an eyebrow .......
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Monastic Funeral

Rather a nice video of a Monastic funeral on Athos over on YouTube......
worth a look.
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Daily Services Online

The dynamic Psalter site now has the texts of the daily services available, complete with the tonal information and the appropriate prayers for the days of the week.

I have just prayed First Hour from the site. This is a great resource if you are working at a computer for long periods, as so many office jobs entail nowadays.

Well worth a visit !!
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Wednesday, October 08, 2008


The dog woke me up at 5am today, desperate to go into the garden.
I was not best pleased at being woken two hours before the alarm was due to sound, especially as I had stayed up late last night reading, but I dutifully put on my warm dressing gown and slippers ready to venture into the garden.
It had rained torrentially yesterday, and I was spellbound when I opened the door and saw a dazzling canopy of stars overhead.

So much so that I nearly fell flat on my face as I missed the step up out of the courtyard to the lawn, because I was so busy stargazing !

I was quite reluctant to go back indoors once the dog had "done the necessary", but I did.

It was wondrous to just watch the stars in peace and quiet and contemplate the glory of the heavens :-)

Oh, and the book that kept me up so late last night ?
"The Eliots of Damrosehay" trilogy by Elizabeth Goudge.
Well worth getting, if you can, though it is easier to find the individual books as a rule: A Bird In The Hand, The Herb of Grace and The Heart of The Family.
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Monday, October 06, 2008


I have been worrying about the fact that I have not been writing much about religion; to be honest, I am finding that after four years of blogging, it becomes quite difficult to pen anything new or insightful about the liturgical cycle that I haven't already said, and I am reluctant to start recycling my posts.

I just do not know where the time is going to at the moment. My days seem to pass by in a blur :-)
I am helping out down at school a lot, but that may have to change.

Financial pressures are making it increasingly likely that I may need to get a part-time job at least, though that may prove to be difficult here in Blogsville, where there are very few jobs, period, as poor DoomHamster and DD2 have proved by their lengthy periods of unemployment this year........
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Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Courtesy of the wondrous Ian from Oz's blog, I found the Demotivators site.
I particularly liked this one :-)
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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Behind The Scenes

Today was a bit of an eye-opener.

I am in my daughters' school for a short period on most days, doing some voluntary work. Discipline and behaviour in our school - compared to others - are generally very good indeed.

I don't know whether the windy weather which has seen off our Indian Summer was to blame, but some of the children were practically bouncing off the walls today....

One child who had perpetrated a particularly heinous act was reprimanded very sternly by the Head, and I have to say, I felt scared listening to that reprimand, and I was in a different room and had done nothing wrong !

I do feel sorry for the staff, who have to deal with many children whose parents take no interest in the children at all, don't read with them, don't make sure they do their homework,or read their school reading book.

In one class, at least half of the parents seem to show no interest in their children at all. And it is not because the parents are too busy working to make ends meet, it is because the parents live a life on unemployment benefits and frankly don't care about anything except their "rights" to unearned money and an easy lifestyle. The more kids you have, the more state benefit you can rake in. Some of the parents certainly don't care about the physical safety of their offspring; some of the five year olds are roaming the streets in mini-gangs at 9pm at night, even when it is dark.
The staff have to pick up the pieces when these children fall further and further and further behind their classmates.

Even more worrying, there are children entering Nursery aged 3 and 4 who are frankly almost feral. Some have absolutely no concept of being nice, taking turns, how to eat with a knife and fork, how to get dressed, toilet themselves and wash their hands adequately. All these things have to be taught to many children. Quite what the parents are doing I don't know, but it is obviously not bringing up their kids.

Dealing with biting, kicking, punching, shoving others out of the way and kids screaming abuse are everyday events for the staff, who make heroic efforts to instill some semblance of civilised behaviour into these children's lives.

You couldn't pay me to do their job, I tell you.

And this is life in a middle-class small town. The situation in Blogtown, a short distance away, is infinitely worse.

Just imagine what some of these kids could be like by the time they are sixteen..........I dread to think.
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Monday, September 29, 2008

Religious Hatred

Atheists hate Christianity and all it stands for.

Sadly, anti-religious views seem to be becoming far more strident and aggressive. With the advent of the internet, things seem to have stepped up a fair few notches.

There are now video clips of RC Eucharistic hosts being defiled openly touted and lauded on YouTube, and this sort of behaviour is being promoted and praised by some of the scientific community as a protest against what they perceive as the irrational delusions of those who are Christian.

If you have a strong enough stomach ,
an anti-Christian rant by a apparently prominent academic scientific figure can be read here.

This is what we are up against, folks, and it is not going to go away anytime soon.

Lord have mercy.......
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Good News and Bad News

The Bad news is that our brand-spanking new computer has gone belly-up as of yesterday. I am sure that the fact we were watching the final LOTR film the night before was a sheer coincidence :-)
Said computer makes bleeps but does nothing else in the start-up routine, so odds are it is pretty serious. We are waiting to hear from the computer company when they will come to fix it.
Thank goodness we still have Old Faithful !

I forgot to mention the good news; when I was fencing on Saturday, we each had to fight every other non-coaching person there. I won 3 out of my 6 matches. If someone had said to me six months ago that I would be fighting in matches against youngsters who have been fighting for several years and actually managing to win three of them, I would have laughed. I was really rather pleased with my result :-0

One match was against a very tall man, who easily trounced me, yet DD3 (age 10) in turn beat him. But I in turn beat her, for a change :-)
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Sunday, September 28, 2008


I am feeling sorry for myself. I have a miserable streaming cold.
I hate colds.

We have now had ten days of utterly glorious weather, which has been most enjoyable after the pitiful excuse for a summer we have endured.

Prayers coveted for the DoomHamster, who is having a lot of worrying and painful ongoing dental problems that her current dentist seems to be unable to redress, despite her having spent quite a lot of money, so I am arranging for her to see our home dentist ASAP to get it sorted.

I finally sat through however many tedious hours of the final Lord of the Rings film. I reduced DH to hysterics by commenting rather sourly at one point that the ending would have been much improved by Sam throwing *Frodo and the Ring* into Mount Doom.....

I really love the LOTR books, and have done since I was a teenager, but I found the casting of the film to be very random and rather disappointing, though the setting and special effects were spectacular.

I have such vivid pictures in my mind of what I think they all looked like,and the film was so much at variance with how I had imagined my favourite characters to look that I really didn't enjoy it as a whole.

Having said that, Christopher Lee was great, I adored Legolas , Smeagol and Gandalf, but Elrond was nowhere near like I had imagined him and I didn't like the dwarves. Aragorn should have been at least a foot taller, too !

Just don't start me off on what I thought of Frodo. The keyboard might self-combust.
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Armed and Dangerous !

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Fighting Talk...........

DD3, armed and dangerous :-)
The swords are 35 inches long, made of steel. Here she is with one of our incredibly patient coaches.

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Life is a bit like that at the moment.

Nothing major, just lots of small anxieties about other members of the extended family and friends, which I can't blog about because of confidentiality.

One thing, though.....

DoomHamster and I were immensely saddened to be told of the very sudden illness and death of someone we know, who has been really very kind to our family over a very long period of time. I am so sad that I was not able to thank her for her kindness and say goodbye to her before her passing.

Of your charity, please pray for the repose of Carol, and for her husband Allan and son Rhys.
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Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Thought To Ponder


The rabbis say that a person can be recognized by his "wallet, anger, and alcoholic beverage." These are the times the individual's true priorities are apparent.

What does he spend his money on?

What makes him angry?

How does he behave when under the influence of alcohol?

Stripped to the core, it's the practical actions that define the person.

End Quote.

It is not what we say but what we do that shows who we are, and whether we follow God or not...........
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Monday, September 15, 2008

Feeling Guilty

UPDATE to add;

Thank you all so much for your insights.
I have stopped feeling guilty and will phone the person concerned later today or tomorrow morning. I know I may have been a little abrupt on the phone and caused distress if I took the call, hence I refrained from answering it !
Solitude, and a good brisk walk with the dog have restored my peace of mind and a rather more positive attitude :-)


I have just deliberately **not** answered the phone on the hunch that I knew the identity of who might be calling me. Dialling 1471 revealed the identity of the last caller, and I was correct in my assumption.

I simply could not face having a long involved conversation with this person today. I just feel stressed, harrassed, slightly under the weather, and a bit fed up. Nothing major, just bleuch.........

I would really like to have some peace and quiet and relative tranquility whilst the small ones are at school today, to brace myself for the baking session the young ones and I have planned for after school.

And of course now I am feeling profoundly guilty because I didn't answer the phone.


It is going to be one of those days.
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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Spoof !

Many of you may have seen the worldwide coverage of the start of the new Hadron collider scientific experiment in Switzerland.

Speculation was rife whether the experiment would generate black holes which would then destroy the earth, etc etc etc.

Then I saw this Spoof site, which reduced me to fits of laughter.

Has the world ended or not ?

You decide ! :-)
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The Pain ! The Pain !

After a two week hiatus from fencing (one week due to the unavailability of our venue, and the second week due to travelling to a Saturday Liturgy), we went back to it today feeling rather out of condition.

Actually, make that **very** out of condition.

By the time our two hour session had ended, I took off my metal mask to be greeted with good-natured banter about the remarkable beetroot-red colour of my face.

Once the fencing jacket and underjacket had been removed, my T-shirt was literally wringing wet due to exertion and lack of AC in the gym together with a day of glorious sunshine.

DD3 was nicely pink, but nowhere near my colour. Perhaps I need to get my blood pressure checked too :-0

It was just brilliant fun, and utterly exhilirating! I can't wait for next Saturday to zoom around.........
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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Harry Potter Sites

The third part of the Harry Potter London Sites photoessay is up.
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9/11 Revisited

It is amazing that seven years have passed since the senseless, dreadful loss of life that occurred on 9/11.

I can so vividly remember being very heavily pregnant with DD4 and watching the appalling tragedy unfold on TV coverage. I watched it over and over again, in shock and disbelief.
Even now, I struggle to comprehend it in its horror.

Life for all of us has never - and will never - be the same again.

Memory eternal to *all* who perished on that day.

May God grant peace to those who were involved , to those who were helping in saving others, who have all been so profoundly affected by the events of that dreadful day.
411 Emergency workers lost their lives whilst rescuing others - surely their job is the bravest of the brave.

Lord have mercy on us all.

A truly horrifying starkly factual synopsis of that day is here.
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Orthodox Dead of 9/11

This list of known Orthodox who lost their lives in the 9/11 tragedy has been taken from the Ortho-women group.

Joanna Ahladiotis
Anastasios (Ernest) Alikakos
Katerina Bantis
Lieutenant Peter (Panagiotis) Brennan
Anthony Demas
Kontantinos (Gus) Ekonomos
Peter Hansen
Vassilios (Bill) Haramis
John Katsimatidis
Danielle Kousoulis
George Merkouris
Peter Constantine Moutos
James Nicholas Papageorge
George Paris
Theodore Pigis
Daphne Pouletsos
Anthony (Tony) Savas
Andrew Stergiopoulos
Michael Tarrou
William Tselepis
Prokopios (Paul) Zois
Allen Bandarenko

May they rest in peace.

Memory Eternal.

God grant comfort to those who knew them and mourn them.
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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New To Me Bloggers !

I found two more Ortho-bloggers who are new to me :-)

As Becky's World Turns


Ramblin' Rosko.

Enjoy !
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St Benedict

The Life of St Benedict of Nursia, the founder of Western European monasticism, is available online for reading and downloading here.
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Four Years Of Blogging

Just out of curiosity, I went back to the first years of my blog and read many of the posts.

I laughed and I cried.

I have been blogging for four years now, and my young ones have grown up so much in that time. DD4 is now almost seven, instead of almost three. DD3 is ten and a half, instead of six and a half.

The hassles of every day life with two young ones seem so very remote now, but at the time it seems like the tears, tantrums and screaming will never end. It does end, of course, and I rather miss having them so little and sweet and innocent.

They are just as delightful now, though rather more vocal, argumentative and self-opinionated. They definitely get that from me !

So much has happened in these four years, some good, some bad, some sad.

The constant thread running through it all, which sometimes you can only ever see by going back and re-examining your life, is that God Is Good.
I have so very much to be thankful for. God grant that I keep that knowledge firmly fixed in my mind, when I am tempted to whinge and moan and complain.

I have absolutely **nothing** to complain about !
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Harry Potter Sites in London

There are two rather nice photo-essays about places used in the London filming of the Harry Potter movies.

Part One.

Part Two.

Enjoy !
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The Sun ! The Sun !

There is a strange object in the sky.
Very bright and warm.
Has not been seen here for several weeks.

THe Sun is shining :-)

I have already done two loads of washing which are hanging on the line, and a third load will be starting shortly !
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Monday, September 08, 2008

Happy Feast !

Wishing you all a joyous and blessed Feast of the Nativity of the most Holy Theotokos :-)

Kontakion in the fourth tone :-

By Your Nativity, O Most Pure Virgin,
Joachim and Anna are freed from barrenness;
Adam and Eve, from the corruption of death.
And we, your people, freed from the guilt of sin, celebrate and sing to you:
The barren woman gives birth to the Theotokos, the nourisher of our life!

We will be making Our Lady a birthday cake, when the small fry get home from school :-)

At the prayers of the Mother of God, O Saviour, save us !
Sts Joachim and Anna, pray for us !
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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Schoolday Blues

My young ones went back to school today.

They were up bright and early, all sorted and in school in plenty of time before the bell.

When I got home, I felt so "cheesed off" that it is difficult to articulate. The house was so very, very quiet. Much too quiet, in fact.
I didn't like it at all. I could not settle to do anything productive except a small amount of ironing. I paced, I grumped, I felt thoroughly unsettled. Ridiculous, I know !

I was delighted when it was time to collect them from school and have the usual mayhem :-)
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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Celtic Morning Prayer

This was posted recently on a mailing list, and it is well worth sharing !


A Morning Prayer

May we walk in prosperity in this day of light
In the power of the most high God, greatest of the Gods,
In a manner pleasing to Christ,
In the light of the Holy Spirit,
In the faith of the patriarchs,
In the merits of the prophets,
In the peace of the apostles,
In the joy of the angels,
In the splendour of the saints,
In the works of monks,
In the power of the just,
In the martyrdom of the martyrs,
In the chastity of the virgins,
In the wisdom of God,
In much patience,
In abstinence of flesh,
In continence of tongue,
In abundance of peace,
In praise of the Trinity,
With our senses alert,
With constant good works,
With the spiritual realities,
With divine conversation,
With blessings,
In these things is the journey of all labouring for Christ
who leads his saints after death into eternal joy,
That I may hear the voice of the angels praising God
and saying Holy, Holy, Holy.

Source: The Latin original can be found in The Prayer Book of
Aedeluald the Bishop commonly called The Book of Cerne, edited by Dom
A. Kuypers, (Cambridge, 1902), 91-2.

The translation is from Gordon Mursell, English Spirituality: From
Earliest Times to 1700 (Westminster, 2001), 46-7.
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Also from this summer !
I love the cotton-wool puff clouds :-)
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This was a sunset this summer - on one of the very few days it wasn't raining. It is still raining today ............
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After The Re-Ordering !

My new bookshelves, courtesy of DH :-)

As you can see, the books have spread onto the surface of the sideboard below the shelves too.....and this is **after** the books have been severely culled !
The plates on the rack above are of various historic Russian monasteries.
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Sunday, August 31, 2008

What a Weekend......

We have been running round like mad things buying new uniform, shoes etc for the young ones, who go back to school next Thursday.

They have both grown like weeds over the holidays, so I shall blame it fairly and squarely on the inclement weather !!

DD3 has wide feet and is in between a 4 1/2 and size 5 adult shoe, so it is really hard to get anything that fits. Her new school shoes set me back £32. Gulp.
DD4's feet have grown, so she needed new shoes and new trainers for PE, so that set me back another £64.
Ironically, the cost of their new uniform was only £37 in total - but they have expensive feet :-)

Stationery etc has been purchased, and DH is picking up DD3's new lunchbox on his way home on Weds, so I believe we are pretty sorted now. Only their hair to be cut, and our hairdresser is visiting us on Tuesday to sort that out.

I shall really miss them; I have so enjoyed having them home for the summer.

Yesterday in particular was bedlam.
We have quite poor TV aerial reception here, and our Freeview box was not giving us many channels or consistent picture quality, so when DH saw that Argos were doing a special package, he jumped at it. We have got a brand new Sky viewing box, new satellite dish, free installation for a one-off payment of £60, plus a four month free trial of various Sky packages. Just a simple Freeview box is £40 in Asda, so it was a good deal and we can now watch programmes, so he is very happy.

I am not a big TV watcher, as I much prefer to read, though I will watch documentaries, so I am happy we have got several History channels to choose from :-)

Anyway, I digress ! ..... we didn't know what time the engineer was arriving, only that it would be sometime in the morning on Saturday. So I indulged in a spot of overdue house cleaning, completed my ironing and was generally feeling virtuous.Then the engineer phoned to say he would not arrive till after 1pm.

In order to fill in the time productively, we decided to transfer the contents of my bedroom bookcase - all my religious books- to the dining room and DH has put up three shelves. Of course, I needed to overspill books on to the sideboard too, as three shelves wasn't quite enough and there wasn't room for a fourth shelf. ......

Then we decided to empty out some cupboards in the dining room so I could transfer my cookery books there, so the kitchen bookcase could go into DD4's room, as she has run out of space for her books !

And then I needed to find room for my saucepans, in the kitchen, so we needed to transfer a storage unit from the garage into the kitchen.
Nine hours later - I kid you not ! - we had finished, exhausted. The Sky box is working well, to everybody's delight.

I slept very well last night :-)
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