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

Oddments

I am feeling sorry for myself. I have a miserable streaming cold.
Bah.
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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Aaaaagh..............

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

Quote:

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.

Sigh.

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

and

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.

http://www.archive.org/details/prayerbookofaede00aethuoft

The translation is from Gordon Mursell, English Spirituality: From
Earliest Times to 1700 (Westminster, 2001), 46-7.
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Clouds



Also from this summer !
I love the cotton-wool puff clouds :-)
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Sunset



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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