Friday, June 25, 2010

Update On Mum

Dear all, thank you for your prayers and good wishes.

Mum has been told she will have to stay in hospital for several weeks at least, as she has an atypical pneumonia which is pretty dug-resistant and requires a whole cocktail of oral and IV antibiotics. And she has systemic MRSA for good measure, so she is in a single isolation room and we have to gown and glove before we can go in.

She is much brighter in herself, but is obviously still very frail and poorly at present. We are restricting visits with the young ones to 40 minutes per day, as she tires very easily although the children cheer her up immensely :-)
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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What The........ !!!!!

A few moments ago, a military jet rocketed over our house (we live about 15 miles from a military base) at low altitude and immense speed.

It frightened the living daylights out of me !

It has been ages since we have had planes flying so low and fast overhead. Usually they are slower and much higher; so  you can hear them approach for a while before you get a good look at them. Not this time !
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Mum Is In The Wars Again

My mother was admitted to hospital yesterday. 

She had an accident and fell a few days ago, and refused to call the doctor. Yesterday morning she was so unwell she finally agreed she needed to go to hospital. The long and short is that she has fractured a few ribs (she has osteoporosis as well) and has now developed a chest infection .

I spent most of yesterday waiting for her to be assessed at the hospital, but she is now relatively comfortable, on huge amounts of IV and oral medication, as well oxygen and heparin due to her enforced bed rest.

Hopefully they will now get round to expediting her cataract surgery, as if that had been done and she was able to see where she was going, she wouldn't have had the accident which fractured her ribs.................
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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Watching

...................three planes leaving contrails high up in the bright blue sky, the trees and shrubs waving gently in the breeze of another stunning summer's morning, and thinking it is the longest day tomorrow - then the days will be getting inexorably shorter in the countdown to autumn and onto the depths of winter.

I love the cycles of the year :-)
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Recently Read

I thought you might enjoy a quick glimpse into my reading world at the moment :-)


AJ Jacobs'  "The Know-It-All."
I loved this. To be able to have my own set of the encyclopaedia Britannica and read it all from cover to cover is my idea of bliss, so I enjoyed AJ's experience vicariously :-)

"Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel. This novelisation of the life of Thomas Cromwell was hyped to the max by the media, so I put myself on the waiting list at our public library to read it. I was so bored with reading it that I gave up in disgust. I am glad I didn't waste money buying it.


Another book for which I had to wait ages was Tim Moore's "I Believe In Yesterday". This book explores the rather zany world of historical re-enactment fans.  I must nail my colours to the mast and admit that this is something I would love to do; I thoroughly enjoy visiting the living history museums.... it was a fun read, if you like history and people who are obsessed with history. Like me !

I discovered with delight the crime/thriller novels of Faye Kellerman a few weeks ago, and have been anxiously scouring charity shops and book sales to get copies, as well as ransacking the local library.   The books have a very significant Jewish interest/theme whilst dealing with some of the extreme nastiness of life in the modern world, and make a very refreshing change to most crime fiction I have read.  Do try the first one,  "The Ritual Bath".

I dusted off my copy of Bill Bryson's "A Short History Of Nearly Everything" and have had a very enjoyable re-read. I must admit to having vitually everything BB has ever written, and have never been disappointed by any of his books except for his rather boring autobiography, The Life And Times Of The Thunderbolt Kid.
I borrowed that from the library, read it, yawned, took it back and have steadfastly refused to buy a copy to accompany all my other books on "his" shelf -even when I saw a hradback copy in the charity shop for 80p.

All three volumes of Sir Jeffrey Archer's "The Prison Diaries". JA is a wealthy novelist, ex Conservative MP, successful novelist, playwright........  and these books deal with his imprisonment in Britain on less than cast-iron solid charges of perjury. Excellent books, but with some very distressing details about prison life and the inmates he met. The inadequacies  of the so called Justice system are clearly outlined, and make for a very thought-provoking read.
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Recycling Revisited

If it wasn't for the fact that I now have to train DH and the two young ones **not** to throw things in the rubbish bin and thereby force me to go dumpster diving to retrieve all the recyclables, I would say that our first week under the new system has been pretty successful.

Rather than our normal three black rubbish bags going to the landfill site, we only put out *one* partly filled bin bag. Our cardboard/food cartons box was full, our plastics box was full and our tins container was pretty full.

It is nice to know that if we are a typical family, just our street will have reduced its landfill use by at least two-thirds.
On a town scale, that is a significant amount of rubbish being recycled rather than being dumped :-)
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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Apologies

........but I have had to enable comment moderation due to foreign language spam containing links to some dubious sites.  I am sorry for any inconvenience.
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Friday, June 18, 2010

Frankly Disturbing

I read this today.
I know it is in the UK Daily Mail, but it has major implications for the rest of the world with regard to enforcing that the overwhelming majority of the populace of the USA will only be allowed to know what the Government wants them to know when the Government "deems it necessary"....rather like in other places whose regime is rather totalitarian  repressive.

Quote :

"President Obama will be given the power to shut down the Internet with a 'kill switch' in a new law being proposed in the US.


He would be able to order popular search engines such a Google and Yahoo to suspend access their websites in times of national emergency.

Other US based Internet service providers as well as broadband providers would also come under his control in times of a 'cybersecurity emergency.' Any company that failed to comply would be subject to huge fines.

Critics of the new law, which has been proposed by former presidential candidate Joe Liebermann, said it would be an abuse of power to let the White House control the internet.

TechAmerica, one of the largest U.S. technology lobby groups, said the new law had the 'potential for absolute power.'.

The proposed legislation, introduced into the US Senate by Lieberman who is chairman of the US Homeland Security committee, seeks to grant the President broad emergency powers over the internet in times of national emergency.

A sustained terror attack on multiple cities would be considered a national emergency as would a cyber attack by 'hackers' on the US financial system.

The director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair warned earlier this year that the US is 'severely threatened' by malicious cyber attacks.

The number of attacks on Government departments has increased by 400 per cent in the last three years.

Under the proposed bill, which has been dubbed an Internet kill switch', the US Government would effectively seize control of access to the internet.

Lieberman argued the bill was necessary to 'preserve those networks and assets and our country and protect our people'.

He said: 'For all of its 'user-friendly' allure, the Internet can also be a dangerous place with electronic pipelines that run directly into everything from our personal bank accounts to key infrastructure to government and industrial secrets.

Traders work on the New York Stock Exchange floor. US senators fear a cyber-attack on the US could paralyse the nation

'Our economic security, national security and public safety are now all at risk from new kinds of enemies--cyber-warriors, cyber-spies, cyber-terrorists and cyber-criminals.'



His bill is formally titled the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, or PCNAA.

While the US Government would not be able to control the internet in other countries access to the most popular sites would be cut off.

Google,Yahoo and YouTube, the top three most visited sites, are all based in the US.

Google logs an estimated two billion hits a day from 300 million users.

Under the cyber law any company on a list created by Homeland Security that also 'relies on' the Internet, the telephone system, or any other component of the U.S. 'information infrastructure' would be subject to command by a new National Centre for Cybersecurity and Communications (NCCC) that would be created inside Homeland Security.

Google, the world's most popular search engine, refused to comment. A spokesman said the law was not yet Government policy."

End Quote.
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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Words Fail Me.

I was so desperately sad when I read this article on the Telegraph website today...............


Quote :


"Julia Lovemore, 41, a Christian fundamentalist with bi-polar disorder, was even visited by mental health workers on the day she killed six week-old Faith, Cambridge Crown Court was told.




But after finding her husband, Faith’s father in a “psychotic” state, they left for help without checking if the baby or her mother were in danger. The court heard that Faith was probably already dead at that stage.





Both Faith and her older sister Angel were deemed “at risk” by social services in 2006, due to their mother’s mental illness and extreme religious views, which were shared by her 39 year-old husband David, a computer designer, the court heard.



Officials admitted they had failed to properly supervise Lovemore, of Milton, near Cambridge, Cambs..



A Serious Case Review, published after Wednesday's court hearing, criticised Cambridgeshire County Council, local police and NHS trusts for a series of failings.



It found they failed to properly understand the gravity of the situation or how the couple’s extreme religious beliefs fuelled their mental health problems.



The report called for monitoring programmes and record keeping be overhauled after it found a relative had contacted authorities in 2008 with concerns about the couple’s religious views and increasing isolation.



Earlier, John Farmer, prosecuting, told the court that Lovemore, who had mental health problems since her mid 20s, killed Faith on June 17 last year while in a "florid state of psychoses".



He said she ripped out pages from the Bible out of “frustration”, stuffed them into her child’s mouth, sat on her, bounced up and down and smothered her to death.



“Profound mental ill health and engagement with religious beliefs turned out to be an explosive cocktail,” Mr Farmer said.



The court heard that Rebecca Hughes, a community psychiatric nurse and Joetta Fox, a health visitor visited the couple’s home during a pre-arranged visit shortly after the child died.



They found Mr Lovemore in a “psychotic” state, praying loudly and shouting "Take the Devil out of Julia". He refused to answer questions. The pair were left disturbed and left to get help without checking on Lovemore or her baby.



“Unfortunately, neither of them sought to see (Lovemore) and the best interpretation of events is that by then Faith was dead or dying because there would be no other reason why the husband of the defendant was so intensely engaged in prayer,” Mr Farmer said.



Mr Lovemore then carried the child’s lifeless body to a local GP surgery. He was accompanied by his eldest daughter who had been doused in white spirits but was otherwise unharmed.



At a meeting in early June 2009, when it was deemed both children, should remain on the "at risk" register, Mr Lovemore was described as "quiet and bland".



Mr Farmer added: "During the meeting when he was asked what he would do if Faith or her sister got into difficulty he said he would pray first. He never said yes or no to calling a doctor."



Frances Oldham, QC, defending Lovemore, told the court it was a “tragedy that could have been avoided”.



"In our submission that was a tragedy but given the history here of not only Julia Lovemore but also her husband, the father of the baby, it was a tragedy that could have been avoided," she said.



Lovemore's aunt, who was in court, had reported her to authorities after becoming concerned over her "religious fervour", she said. She had distanced herself from her family, branding them "heathens".



Mrs Oldham said other indicators included a phone call from Lovemore to her health visitor saying she no longer wanted the authorities involved with the family.



The barrister said that after the visit on June 17 when Mr Lovemore was behaving strangely:



"There was no procedure in place for these to call immediately for assistance and the children were effectively left in the home."



In a statement to police at least a month after her arrest, Lovemore could not explain how it occured.



"I sat in my bedroom and I was ripping pages out of my Bible. I put some small bits of paper in Faith's mouth and she spat them out," she told officers.



"For some reason I sat on her, I was crying. I was bouncing on the bed. I don't know why I was sitting on her. I got bi-polar."



Lovemore was detained under the Mental Health Act after earlier admitting manslaughter due to diminished responsibility.



In sentencing her Mr Justice Jeremy Cooke said her bi-polar disorder meant she suffered from grandiose delusions of special powers, religious delusions of identity and auditory hallucinations.



"You were profoundly mentally disordered which subsequently impaired the responsibility for what you did,” he said.



Her husband was originally charged with allowing Faith's death but prosecutors in April offered no evidence and he was subsequently found not guilty at trial.



Outside court, Cambridgeshire Local Safeguarding Children Board Vice Chairman, Gordon Jeyes, said: "The death of any child is a tragedy and we are deeply upset and saddened by what has happened.



"The circumstances around this death were exceptional. There were complex issues within the family around mental health, and the practice of their religious beliefs.”



He said while the report highlighted the fact that agencies worked together he admitted the couple’s mental illness “and the way they chose to practice their religious beliefs was not sufficiently understood”.



Cambridgeshire police said prosecuting the case had been a "long and complex" undertaking.



"This was a tragic case which saw a young life ended deliberately,” said Detective Superintendent Dan Vajzovic:



"Every child has the right to be protected and feel safe in their own home and it is a parent's responsibility to ensure this is the case.” "

End Quote.
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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Star Trekking...........

Wishing all my fellow Trekkies a Happy "Captain Jean-Luc Picard Day" !

In honour of the occasion, I embed the following video:

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Thorny Issues

Dear all,

I am pondering how best to handle a tricky situation.

Pryaers for wisdom and discernment about how best to proceed would be much appreciated.........
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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Signs Of Life

I am now left with just a dull nagging ache and some pain on extremes of my range of movement on my afflicted shoulder. it is a bit of a nuisance, but bearable, and certainly nothing to complain about compared to the pain I was in from Thursday last week till Monday night :-)

It certainly makes you appreciate being able to do the simple things in life, like put on a sweater or brush hair !

And on a slightly larger scale, the council have at long last delivered our new recycling supplies today. I am glad, as  the borough-wide recycling scheme is supposed to start next week !

Our current weekly black refuse bag collection of all domestic waste is being phased out. Instead we will have fortnightly collection of black refuse bags, and weekly collection of :
  • kitchen food scraps (these go into a small kitchen caddy, lined with biodegradeable bags, then into a larger outdoors container)
  • plastic containers and bottles - in a separate container
  • aerosols - in a separate container
  • tin cans -- in a separate container
  • paper - in a separate container
  • cardboard- in a separate container
- all of which will apparently go to be recycled, therefore in theory drastically cutting the amount of rubbish which will go into landfill sites.

If it is successful, it could make a huge difference to the amount of waste generated and dumped by each household, as the bulk of things will be either recycled or in the case of domestic food waste, composted by the council.

And no doubt we will be charged if we want to buy any of the compost which we have helped produce from food we have bought, and for which we are already paying an exorbitant amount of council tax to subsidise the recycling scheme anyway.....................
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Monday, June 07, 2010

Frozen Shoulder

I appear to have developed a frozen shoulder. It is exquisitely painful and tender to the touch but mercifully it is my left shoulder and arm which are affected, and I am right-handed :-)

Luckily, I can still type without pain !

I am struggling to get dressed in the morning and brush my hair.

I am currently taking painkillers and applying heat packs to the afflicted area.  It hurts much more than being in labour does.  I am not a happy camper  :-(
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Birthday Girl And Breadmaking



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On Recent Walks













These made me pause and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us every single day, and all too often, I pass it by without a second thought..............
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Catkins And Their Aftermath





This tree looked remarkably "fluffy"..........and there were swathes of "fluff" on the grass too. My interest was piqued, so I walked closer to get a better look........



...........and it was very fluffy indeed !




The catkins from a few weeks ago were morphing into seeds.........




and then falling into the lake, much to the bemusement of this coot and her baby :-)





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And Into The Front Garden !




This enormous bush is right outside the front door, and makes me smile each time I see it !








I love all the different colour greens in the bushes alongside the driveway. There is only one solid coloured green and two different variegated greens.......
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Glimpses Into My Back Garden




Recent shots in my beloved back garden.
As always, click to enlarge :-)
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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Talking About Religion

Or rather, writing about it.

I am finding it harder and harder to write anything meaningful about my religious life these day; I am spending much more effort trying to "live" it ! I am, however, far more aware of my spiritual struggles and the need to be constantly on my guard.

Many scoff at the old-fashioned concept of "custody of the eyes", but I am finding it more and more imperative in my daily life. Only yesterday, an inadvertent click on a seemingly innocent link led me from a mainstream site to a site which I most definitely did *not* wish to see.  I am not a prude; I have a loving husband and four children, and am a qualified midwife :-)  But there are many things that I do not wish to see other people doing, particularly antics best kept within the private confines of a bedroom  okay, house.

Aieee ! I felt unclean, and dived into the shower. If only I could have as easily disinfected my eyeballs and removed the unsavoury images from my mind.
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Tragedy in the UK

Please pray.

A gunman killed at least 12 people in a shooting spree in Cumbria today and injured another 25 before taking his own life.

Full details here.
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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

A Desperately Sad Book.

I picked up an old  hardback copy of "Baptism of Fire" by Frank Collins in the local thrift shop. It is the story of a brave and battle-hardened  SAS soldier who converted to Christianity, much to his own surprise and the surprise of his wife, family, friends and colleagues.

The first half of the book was a riveting read, dealing with his childhood and his carreer in the army. His SAS training and experiences were of particular interest, but from the point of his conversion - asking God for a sign that He existed- through to several visons which he was convinced were of Jesus, I felt my alarm bells ring and rather perversely, my hackles rise.

He visited an Anglican church in Hereford and was totally baffled, bemused, flummoxed and completely put off by what seems to have been  moderate Anglo-catholic worship.  His subsequent forays into house churches and almost Zvengali like personality led charismatic fellowships left me feeling increadsingly uneasy. Eventually, he "finds " himself as an evangelical Anglican, blithely dismissing all shades of opinion that did not tie in with his own very narrow and somewhat questionable beliefs, and quickly gets fast-tracked into priesthood, feeling that as he is a leader in the army, he must be called to leadership in the church.  His experience with the discernment process made my mind boggle, to be honest.

His forays into private body-guarding work take him abroad, most noticeably to Athens, where he notes that the Greeks are very religious but in his opinion, all their religion is tied into ritualistic worship and he gives them Gospel tracts in Greek. Sigh.

Does he even mention going to visit an Orthodox church , let alone attend a service, and see what makes his colleagues tick  ? No.. He finds some pentecostal and evangelical house churches in Athens to attend instead. 

When a priest, he comments that one woman to whom he administers Communion may have been a witch and exuded an aura of evil, yet he gave her Communion anyway, with no pastoral follow-up, which I found very disturbing. He believes that all people have the **right ** to have Communion, and that the priest's job is not to withhold it.

The words "hubris" and "prelest" became a repeated subtext for\me as I continued to read, but I kept hoping that he would mature as the book progressed.He becomes a chaplain in the army eventually, and I seriously wondered how he was going to settle in that role.

I became increasingly concerned about his emotional  and spiritual well-being, and after finishing the book, felt very strongly compelled to "Google" him to see what Anglican parish he was currently serving in, to see if his views had become mellower and rather more rounded and grounded.

Imagine my distress when I found that only a very short while after the book was published, he had been made to leave the Army because of his book, and had committed suicide in his car, a copy of Tolstoy's "War & Peace" at his feet, leaving behind a wife and four young children.
How desperately sad and ironic.

I could not help but think, Meg, of the loving "de-briefing" and PTSD treatment you depicted Sergei receiving from the Orthodox Church after his war-time experiences, and desperately wishing this poor young man could have had the benefit of similar treatment in the Church as Spiritual Hospital.

It upset me enough that I could not even write this review until a fortnight after finishing the book....... mainstream Anglicanism failed this young man badly. He should never have been ordained in the way he was, without very many more years of spiritual growth, counselling and guidance. If the mainstream Anglican church had been more loving, more welcoming, more approachable, when he first became a Christian, he may not have turned to the fringe groups of Christianity to nurture him as he found his feet in the Christian faith. How many more people has the Christian church (consisting of all denominations) in this country failed ?

I have a sneaking suspicion that this was just one case of many.
Lord have mercy on us all.............
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