Monday, January 31, 2005

The Waiting Game

Last Monday, DD4 had a developmental review by the Community paediatrician, on the advice of the health visitor who reviewed D4 in late November.

D4 does have quite severe delayed speech, but we weren`t unduly worried about that, as DH himself had delayed speech and never spoke a word till he was 3. She also had a hearing test last year, which showed no apparent problems.
We felt she was making quite good progress, but were anxious to get her speech therapy started ASAP, as we were concerned she would have problems when she starts school in September, otherwise.

Upshot is D4 has to have another audiology appointment to check her hearing, and the Community paediatrician is pressing the speech therapy service to get her an even more urgent appointment. She has been on the waiting list for a speech therapy appointment for a year already........sigh.

She also has to have a full review by one of the hospital paediatricians to exclude physical/neurological causes for the delay in speech and toilet training etc, "just to be on the safe side".
An offshoot of the inability to communicate clearly and effectively is her frustration and anger, which can result in fairly frequent monumental tantrums, screaming and episodes of throwing things and becoming extremely distressed. These behavioural issues also "need to be investigated".

Why do I feel like a snowball perched precariously at the top of Mount Everest, about to reach supersonic speeds and gain mass as I hurtle uncontrollably downhill ?
They can`t just give you one appointment for one test, they have to give you numerous ones. Each one means a trip to the local hospital, which is ony 7 miles away, but as I don`t drive, and DH works away three days a week, it means D4 and I catching two different buses for a journey lasting approx 1 hour EACH WAY.
If I don`t want to do that, it is a £25 taxi fare for the round trip.

On the other hand, knowing the glacial speed of the National Health Service, she is far more likely to be 21 before she gets all her appointments :-0
Plenty of time for me to save up.
Or maybe DH will have retired by then :-)
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TV Exposure

DD3 came home from school last Thursday with a note to say that the regional TV company would be filming in her school for a segment on a news programme.
Parents were given an opportunity to opt their children out of being filmed, of course.
That was never an issue in our house, I can assure you... the thought of appearing ON THE NEWS acted powerfully upon the imagination of D3, and she was begging to be allowed to be filmed.

Of course, this meant I had to buy her a new school sweater with the school logo on it, as her old one was shabby and faded. Luckily her dress and shirt are new :-)
So last night, her shoes were polished to a high gloss, her hair was trimmed , clothes were ironed with meticulous care and the usual bath and hairwash was extra thorough, much to her disgust.

This morning, she was up with the lark, dressed and ready for school, and ready for action...
We were told that the segment may appear on the news this very evening, or later on in the week, and it may even make national ITV news.
None of us have any idea why they are filming, so it`s all a bit of a mystery.
Fun, though :-)
And I have a tape in the VCR ready to record as soon as her school gets mentioned !

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Another Bed Post

We spent a large part of Saturday excavating the new bed from the dining room, where it was in storage, surrounded by the contents of three bedrooms, all bagged up .
Then we had to dismantle the old bed, carry it downstairs, bring the new bed upstairs and assemble it.
Then of course, we had to go shopping for new sheets and bedlinen, as the super-duper new bed is kingsize (bliss!) and our old one was a double bed, so none of the sheets fit at all.
At last it was ready.

Only one is sooooooo high up ! If I lean over the side to pick something up off the floor, I have to hang on to the mattress for grim death with one hand, and close my eyes, because the height makes me feel giddy :-)

Other than that, it is so comfortable ! For the last two nights I have woken up in the morning completely free of back pain, and from someone with chronic arthritis and problems with every disc in her spine, that is really quite something :-)
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Saturday, January 29, 2005

Bed Time Stories

Our bed has finally given up the ghost and reposed :-0

This was my dear husband`s bed long before he met me, it is now 13 years old.
After 4 years of being used daily as a trampoline by the two youngest children, various springs have been in a bad state of repair, and we did actually order a new bed in is currently in the dining room, awaiting the completion of the new bedroom renovations :-)

Last night, however, was the last straw.
Both DH and I woke up at the crack of dawn to find that well over half the bed is down to the base, with a huge hollow in which we were sleeping. We could barely move because of back pain, and we have decided that today is the day we move the new bed into our current bedroom and stuff waiting for the intended bedroom to be completed.
To spend another night in that bed would be an act of reckless asceticism ;-)
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This Is The Week That was......

Hi folks,
It`s been a looong week. There has been a lot going on, and I needed time to mull things over before committing them to blogdom.

The saga of DD2.
DD2 lives with her father, by her choice. she is 15, and don`t we know it :-)
I love her dearly, and have been disappointed that she has chosen to not visit us for nearly a month, but there we are.

On Monday morning, I had a call from her dad ( my ex-husband) saying her school had contacted him to say DD2 hadn`t gone to school. Well, he had dropped her off near the school, but she hadn`t gone in !
She hasn`t pulled this stunt before, so he called her mobile, bawled her out and told her to get herself back home sharpish. He asked me if he could bring her over to my house sowe could try and sort out what was going on.

Enter one ex, and a very sullen DD2 who initially only spoke to DD4, her baby sister.

He talked, I talked and she talked, but we didn`t get very far. He was so cross he kept raising his voice and laying down the law, and I could see her hackles rising along with her temper :-)
I felt like we were doing the "good cop, bad cop" routine.

She said she didn`t want to go back home with him at the moment and wanted to stay with us for a few days "to get her head round things".
Fair enough; so she did.
I have to say, it was lovely having her here from Monday till yesterday morning, and she is great fun to be with.

She has to toe the line when she is here, and I don`t give her anywhere near the amount of freedom her father does, but she has now asked if she can come over every week during midweek and spend two or three nights with us.

He father does let her rule the roost and do what she wants pretty much all the time, and although it may be what you want when you are 15, it sure as heck isn`t what you actually need.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Feeling Human

I am feeling human again...I think .

Yesterday we made it to church, and I was able to go to Confession and get a blessing to take Communion.
As we had not been able to get to the Blessing of the Waters for Epiphany, our priest blessed us all and gave us Holy water to drink. We were also given a lot of antidoron to take home and a large bottle of Holy Water.
As we also got our latest batch of icons blessed, we came home laden down with spiritual goodies !
It was a lovely day :-)
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Friday, January 21, 2005

Weather Fronts

We have 60 mph gale force winds here at the moment, with a cold snap forecast for tonight too. Brrrrr.

I am only going outside if I am wearing my wollen hat as well as coat and gloves, as I have a riproaring ear infection of unknown origin and site, according to my GP. I have a spray with antibiotics and steroids in it, which appears to be doing absolutamente nada, and I am currently upright only by virtue of the wonders of modern painkillers, notably high dose Ibuprofen 400 mg three times an day and co-proxamol, max of 8 tablets per day.
I`m not quite rattling when I walk, but I don`t think it will be long.... !
I am hoping my GP will refer me to a ENT specialist, as we have private medical insurance courtesy of DH`s job.
I don`t know whether my head is going to explode with pain or if I shall beat it against the wall first :-)

On a happier note, I am waiting on news of two imminent arrivals. My dear friend Elly is expecting daughter number 2 any day now, and an Orthodox Blogger whom I read is anxiously awaiting her first bundle of joy - Anna.
As a midwife, I love hearing of new arrivals.
May God bless and protect these two families, and grant them rejoicings in the very near future !!
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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Going Postal

For the uninitiated, "Going Postal" is the title of Terry Pratchett`s 33rd novel set in the incredible Discworld.
Many of the books are best read in sequence, but this one is a masterpiece and can certainly stand alone.
I am reading it yet again, forhe sixth time since it was published in late 2004.
It is quite possibly his best book yet and reduces me to hysterical laughter .
Read it.
I don`t think you will be disappointed.
Back to the book...............
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We are being battered by high winds at present.
I haven`t logged in to the BBC news site yet to see just how strong the winds are, but put it this way, this morning, DD4 age 3 was literally blown over in town, flat onto her backside.
She was not impressed.............
The sun is , however, shining, and though it is cold, it is not raining - yet.

Even better, as I was unable to find where my gloves had gone before leaving the house, I had to buy a new pair or face my hands going purple and painful for several hours.
In Woolworths, ladies` gloves were reduced to £1.00 per pair. Needless to say, I bought two pairs, just to be on the safe side.

You never know, the glove monster may strike again and steal one pair in the middle of the my house, anything is possible :-)
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Monday, January 17, 2005

This is the view facing west from our burial plots. DD4 is standing in the foreground.
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These are our two burial plots, marked with stones.
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Saturday, January 15, 2005

Catchprase of the Week

Catchphrase of the week :-

"I refuse to enter into a battle of wits against an unarmed person"

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Logic is something that D3 appears to lack.
She wasn`t just at the back of the queue, she was in a different room entirely. Possibly even on a different planet.......................

Take this morning, for instance.
Due to the house redecorations, DH and I are currently sharing our bedroom with DD 3 and 4.
This morning, at 6.30 am, D3 woke up to use the bathroom, and then got back in her bed, and woke everyone else up shouting "Mum ! Will you get up and shut the door please ?"
I woke up, from a very deep sleep, frothing at the mouth with strange oaths.

Said daughter will not sleep with the door open, and had simply perfunctorily pushed the door as she came back to bed. Now the aforesaid door has a mind of its own, and will swing back open unless you actually shut it with your hand on the doorknob.

Not unreasonably, I thought, I refused to get up out of my nice warm bed just to shut the door when she is NEAREST the door. Aaaaagh.

I might as well have got up there and then, as she whinged, whined, complained, made a scene, insisted on talking about unrelated events at last night`s party until I gave up, got out of bed and told her tI would take her downstairs so she could watch children`s TV instead of disturbing everyone in the house, and possible the neighbours too.
Did she want to get up ? No. She was comfy in her nice warm bed.

I could feel my blood pressure rising.
Needless to say, she **is** downstairs, watching Lilo and Stitch on TV at present, and I am typing this, adding several new items to my mental list for Confession tomorrow :-(
Why do I get the feeling today is going to be one of those days ?

I am turning into that dreaded creature, Grumpy Mummy ...............
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Thursday, January 13, 2005

Thoughts about Thoughts

In that incredible synchronicity which occurs from time to time, I came across this today, a propos of my blog post yesterday about my daughter :-

"It is impossible for the mind to remain undisturbed by thoughts, but anyone serious about the matter can certainly permit them entry or drive them away, and although their origin does not lie entirely under our control we can choose to approve of them and to adopt them."

From St. John Cassian (Conferences, Conf. 1 sect. 17; Paulist Press pg. 51)

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DD4 has been afflicted with constipation recently, and I have been visiting our doctor accordingly.
He prescribed paediatric Movicol for her, which she has been taking for 6 days, with no result. At all.
Worry worry worry worry

Then, kebam........Monday night, we had a result. And Tuesday morning...eight times.. I leave the rest to your imagination!

Luckily we had an appointment with the doctor anyway, and he agreed that this was an equally unacceptable level of bowel activity :-)
And yes, he has kids himself......

So now we are on one sachet of Movicol every other day instead, to see how that works, with a review in 2 weeks.
Ho hum. It makes a change from the children having 4 episodes of the winter vomiting bug between them in December, I suppose.
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Absent Thoughts

I deliberately didn`t blog yesterday.
I spent a large part of the day thinking and praying about something that shook me to the very depths of my heart...........

I love my eldest daughter dearly, and I like to think we get on extremely well and have a close mother-daughter relationship.
She is a catechumen in our parish, and has read widely in my extensive collection of Orthodox books. I know I am biased, but she has a wonderful, quirky style of writing which cracks me up, and I always enjoy reading what she has to say.

Yesterday morning, I logged on with my early-morning cup of tea, and settled to read her blog.
So, read this

and just put yourself in my shoes.

First of all, I cried, that my beloved daughter has struggled and worried about this for a period of time, and has not been able to share it with me, for fear of what I might say or think.
Then I worried about how much it cost her to put that down on a public forum, in the only way she felt able to broach the subject with me.

I know my daughter well; I could not imagine she had done anything really horrendous. She is loving, funny, law-abiding, highly ethical and a devoted follower of the Lord. Although she does have a totally anarchic sense of humour, and loves films that would give me nightmares for weeks. .........

As soon as I heard sounds of her getting out of bed, I ambled upstairs and cleaned my teeth. When she saw me, she asked if I had read her blog yet, as I do read it every morning.
We had an intensive and loving chat about the true meaning of the unpardonable sin against the Holy Spirit, which reassured her. She had not really understood what it meant, and was panicking.

Many thanks also to Dave Holford, who wrote her a very reassuring comment ! at the bottom of her post

She was understandably concerned about the noxious thoughts she was experiencing - things she would never willingly want or entertain in her mind, heart or soul, and which caused her intense grief.

Luckily I had Elder Ephraim`s "Counsels from the Holy Mountain", and I was able to show her Chapter 14, On Thoughts, Fantasies, and Distraction, where the Elder says:

"Pay no attention to passionate thoughts; disregard them completely, since the ugliness of evil is written all over their face. Disregarding the thoughts suggested by the devil brings salvation. Humility is the best stratagem, for not engaging in a battle of rebuttal with them and fleeing for refuge in Christ through prayer is humility.........

3. Pay no attention to whatever the enemy says to you. As soon as he is about to whisper something in your ear, immediately say "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon me" or "Save me", rapidly and without stopping, and soon you will see that the thought - or rather the pressure to accept the thought - has weakened, and you will not be able to remember what exactly he was trying to say.
This method is simpler and more effective than rebuttal - that is, to contradict the thoughts suggested - because after the demon has left and finished everything he had to say, there is nothing left as a remanant or shadow. Whereas with rebuttal, when he is defeated and departs, he leaves behind remnants and shadows of whatever he suggested to the soul, that is , faint memories of what one fought against. The first method ie to take refuge immediately in the prayer - is relaxing, and the soul is quickly calmed. On the other hand, the second method - rebuttal - is laborious, and if the soul does not succeed with rebuttal, one is likely to be wounded in proportion to the demon`s skill of persuasion. "

End quote.

Last year I was plagued with unwelcome noxious thoughts, and I was given the same advice from my priest in Confession.
I have advised her to talk to our priest when we attend Liturgy on Sunday, so he can give her advice tailored to her specific spiritual development and situation, but at least I was able to provide her with comfort and reassurance.

What I find truly terrifying is what might have happened if she hadn`t had a blog in which to divulge these worries....would she have been able to pluck up courage to discuss this with me face to face ? After all, it took *me* long enough to pluck up courage to mention it in my own Confession !

So, yes, I do think blogs have a purpose, and can be a blessing.
Yesterday morning, I prayed the Akathist to the Mother of God, Nurturer of Children, for all my children, putting them in loving and sure hands.

Last night, I spent several hours with her, just chatting about life in general, and enjoying her company. It was a relief this morning to read her blog and find that she is indeed infintely happier now she has got this worry "off her chest"
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Monday, January 10, 2005

A Strange Article....

I unearthed an old copy of a magazine called "The Big Issue" on the weekend.
This is an interesting magazine, produced to help the homeless, and sold to homeless people at a discount, so that they can re-sell it for its full cover price to passers-by in towns and cities. The vendors are able to earn some money that way.
I almost always buy a copy when I see a vendor, in thanksgiving for having a roof over my head when so many do not have that luxury.
Anyway, I digress.

The article was in a Sept 2004 issue, and opened with a paragraph that stopped me dead in my tracks :-)

"Outraged dwarf athletes are demanding the world records set by two Tunisian competitors in this summer`s Paralympic Games should be struck off because they were too `tall` "
End quote.

When I picked my jaw up off the floor, I was astounded to discover that there is a Dwarf Athletic Association UK, who claim that the unfortunate Tunisians did not have the most common form of dwarfism, achondroplasia, (where the arms and legs are *much* shorter than they should be in proportion to the body which is short anyway), and they should therefore be excluded.

Apparently the Paralympic F40 dwarf classification says the maximum height for females should be 136 cm, or 4ft 5 in.

I wouldn`t have described 4ft 5in as dreadfully short ; at school I was taught by a teacher shorter than that, and she could strike terror into the hearts of recalcitrant youngsters, believe me !
She was married, had kids, and led an entirely normal life, "competing" on a daily basis with taller people without ever complaining that she should have special treatment because of her height......

I have bizarre visions of there being acrimonious arguments amongst dwarfs, because some are at the upper level of dwarfism and others are at the lower level. Should there be even more stringent criteria to differentiate and segregate amongst different dwarf heights ? Should there be two inch height increment classes ?

They do not have separate categories in the main Olympics for people who are of average height, and those who have Marfan Syndrome, who are excessively tall, and who therefore might have an "unfair" advantage in events such as high jump, or long jump, for instance.

I just wonder where it will all end.....or am I just missing the point ?

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Sunday, January 09, 2005

Shop till you drop...

I did try, honestly !
I was given money for my birthday, an especially large sum came from my much-loved ex-in-laws, with whom I maintain an extremely good relationship, with a stern injunction that it was to be spent on myself, not on the house or the children :-0
They know me very well !

So today, DH drove the children and myself to the local large shopping mall ( we do have a few in the UK, one on our doorstep so to speak) and dropped us off.
As we had time to kill before the cinema opened, I made an abortive attempt to visit the discount bookshop, only to be thwarted by the incessant whining from my 6 year old.

Her : " I`m hungry"
Me: "I know, but we will be here for ten minutes then I promise we will have lunch"
Her : "But I want lunch now "
Me : "You will have to be patient"
Ten seconds later,
Her : "But Mum, I`m staaaaaarving. You can hear my stomach rumbling. I feel ill because I am sooo hungry !"

It was ooh, 11.20 am, by the way :-)
Pity help her when she has to start really fasting !

After less than 5 minutes in the bookshop, I gave up and stalked out in high dudgeon, having managed to purchase two discounted computer programs to teach French and Italian for children.
As they have games, I thought it would be quite fun, and D1 and I have also wanted to start learning Italian for a while.
They did stock learning Mandarin Chinese and Hebrew, but I cannot justufy buying them and never using them , despite my good intentions about learning new languages :-)

Anyway, we made our way to the food court, where we had a more than adequate lunch - in other words, I ate too much- before heading for the cinema. The Big M was giving away free children`s cinema tickets to see "The Incredibles", providing each child was accompanied by a paying adult, so D1 and I paid our £5.80 each admission fee and we immersed ourselves in Pixar generated delight again for two hours. D4 had not seen it before , and she really enjoyed it.
Heck, I really enjoyed it :-)

Afterwards,we ambled back through the Mall and I found something I really wanted...a fantastic decorated ceramic mug with lid, with a special integral-yet removable-coffee brewer, so I can have ground coffee with minimal fuss. I was so pleased, as this is something I will use a lot, and it was very reasonable, hardly making a dent in the birthday money.
On the whole, a good day !

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Last night we were battered by storms....gales of up to 90 mph were hitting our stretch of coastline, and it was quite scary lying in bed listening to it !
This morning, the storm`s visible damage was to my beloved garden; the left-hand wooden fence has been trashed, as has the decorative fence between my courtyard and the herb garden.
One of the front garden fences is also a mess.
Of course, trying to get hold of the insurers by phone was a fruitless task, as about 30,000 other people all seemed to be in the queue too :-)
I will try again tomorrow.
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Friday, January 07, 2005

It`s my Birthday !

Today is my 41st birthday :-)
I am so glad; I really hated being 40, I found it to be so depressing.
I have no idea why, and my DH is completely baffled , but there again, he is only 38, so his turn will come ...... Tee Hee.

What I did on my birthday.........

My DH took myself and D4 to our nearest town, to the home of the Golden Arches for breakfast as a birthday treat.
(D3 was in school so we will all be going to the cinema tomorrow as a family treat, to see Shark Tale)
Yes, I know it`s not terribly romantic, but our definition of what constitutes a treat has downsized dramatically in the last few years ;-)
Besides, I really love the Pancakes with maple syrup and a capuccino; given half a chance, I would end up looking like Captain Blimpy.
I could end up starring in my very own version of Supersize Me !

I really do think my resolution this year has to be to lose some weight. I am still just in the acceptable level for my height, but another few pounds would tip me over to the overweight category.
I am aware that I feel unhealthy at this weight, and the extra pounds mean more for my arthritic joints to have to creak and carry around, which causes pain and more damage, which makes me more immobile and less inclined to exercise, which means I gain more weight...and so it goes on.

I`m getting old, folks .........As my D3 tells me on a weekly basis - or so it seems !

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Thursday, January 06, 2005

Back to School

Term started today for D3.
The house was so quiet without her, but I occupied myself with taking down the Christmas decorations and sorting a glitch with my ISP , at a cost of 50p per minute on the telephone. Gulp.

When I went to pick D3 up from school, several of the mums were commenting that their children had received so many presents that they still hadn`t played with half of them.
One boy had a new bike costing around £100 amongst his many presents, and didn`t even go to the garage to unwrap it until New Year`s Day........
Lots of the parents spend well in excess of £150 on each child, which I find staggering, especially as one family are on welfare benefits, with five children and they spend at least £250 on each child.........

Ours have a ceiling of £50 per child, period.
The younger ones are told that we set aside that sum of money, and that their gifts brought by St Nicholas will not exceed that amount, so they do not get the idea that they can ask for anything and everything, and expect to receive it.

It works well for us; the children look at catalogues etc to get an idea of what is available and the cost, and they then write a letter to St Nicholas with their Christmas wish list. They have an idea of what they will realistically get, and we get an idea of what they would really like to have.
I do shop around to get bargains; we have a discount mail-order book firm which sells 10 large format full colour paperback story books by top writers, for pre-schoolers, for £9.99 for instance. That gives a child 10 parcels to unwrap for a start :-)

Invariably we will get a few small extras for each child, but this past Christmas, D3 could not make up her mind what she would like, so she wrote a very sweet letter to St Nicholas, just asking for a nice surprise.......and yes, she was very happy with her books, puzzles, Barbie DVD and doll etc.
The Christmas letter also gives us ideas of what presents other family members can buy for the children too.

D4, aged 3, was "presented-out" after about 6 parcels this year ! When handed the 7th parcel, she looked at me, shook her head and said "No more, Mummy!" She had had enough, and just wanted to enjoy what she had already got. The rest of the presents were postponed till the next day, and that way, each present was played with and enjoyed properly.

Two of the best-loved and most-used presents were the vile rubber chicken which lays an egg when its tummy is squeezed, and a colour-coded chime-bar set with integral music notation and colour-coding (according to ability) song book. Total cost of these two presents ? Less than £10.

Large presents like a new bike , for instance, will be given at birthdays.

I want my kids to grow up to remember Christ`s birth, and joy and laughter and family fun at Christmas time. It seems to have worked with D1 now 18 and 1/2, so perhaps I am on the right track - I hope !
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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Vasilopitta Recipe

Dear Fr Deacon Raphael
Thank you for your message :-)

Here is my recipe for Vasilopitta, taken from "The Taste Of Cyprus" by Gilli Davies, Interworld publications,1990
This recipe produces a densely textured but very tasty cake-type bread.

Beat 3oz butter in a big bowl until soft and creamy,
then add 4 egg yolks,
4oz caster sugar,
4 tablespoons of vegetable or sunflower oil
and 2 or 3 tablespoons full of finely grated orange rind.

Gradually mix in 2 tablespoons brandy and three-quarters of a glass (150ml) orange juice.

Fold in 12 oz plain flour, 2 teaspoons baking pwder and 4 whisked eggwhites.

Add a coin, securely wrapped in aluminium foil or greaseproof paper.

Pour into a lined and buttered cake tin and cook in amedium oven, Gas 4, 350F , 180C for approx 1 hour.
If the cake turns brown before being cooked properly, cover the top with brown paper.
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Angels at Work

The house renovations continue apace, but today we had a miracle.
DH said this morning he was concerned about the landing ceiling, as there were several hairline cracks and he didn`t feel it was safe.

We had to go shopping this morning, firstly to the DIY store to buy more filler for sealing gaps/cracks in walls and then to buy more trousers for DD3 and 4 who are busy growing like bamboo plants :-0, so we stopped at the Big M to have a big late breakfast as a treat for all of us before DH goes back to work tomorrow after three whole weeks .
Over food, DH and I discussed what to do about the dreaded ceiling. Reluctantly we decided we would have to pull the whole ceiling down and get a plasterer in to re-fit it, which will be a dreadful and messy job.

When we got home, DD1 was in the shower upstairs,and DH was pottering around. D4 just set foot in the hallway when there was a thunderous crash, and I raced out to find the poor mite standing stock still, surrounded by clouds of dust and lumps of solid cement and plaster board still raining around her...... I saw one large lump literally miss her by an inch. If she had moved a fraction, she would have been brained.

Glory to God, she was shaken but unharmed. Her patron saint and guardian angel were working overtime............
DH popped his head out and asked what the noise was, and when he saw the gaping hole in the ceiling, he shook his head and simply said " See, I knew it wasn`t safe."

So guess what we will be doing next ? Hiring a skip and ripping down the rest of the ceiling and preparing for a new one.
Much as we love this house, it is turning into a bottomless pit as far as money and jobs which need doing.
Did I mention the rising damp and the defective damp-proof course which needs replacing as well?
The joys of living in an old house, I suppose.
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Sunday, January 02, 2005

Happy St Basil`s Day !

For those of us on the new calendar, a very happy and blessed St Basil`s day to you all ! And a Happy New Year :-)

For the first time ever, I baked a Vasilopitta in honour of the saint. Because I knew where the coin was (as I had taken the cake out of the tin and cut it), I asked each member of the family to choose a number from 1 - 8 inclusive, and they had the piece assigned to that number, which seemed a fair way of doing it ....

and DH had the lucky piece....long life, health and prosperity to my beloved DH !!

2005 is going to be a year in which we attempt to follow as many of Holy Church`s traditions and commemorations as possible :-))
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Saturday, January 01, 2005


Have you ever been totally dependent on moonlight and starlight to move around at night ?

Our enforced period without lighting has been interesting, to say the least :-)
It is amazing how hard it is to negotiate a narrow hallway and a dining room which has only an 18 inch wide pathway to get to the kitchen in total darkness.
I could have used a torch, but I didn`t, on principle. One day I may be in a situation where there are no torches, so I figured the practice would be useful.........and my goodness, did it make me appreciate the light from the full moon streaming in through the windows to guide me over the last week !

Physically blundering around in the darkness was an experience which made me wonder what it must be like to be blundering around in a spiritual darkness, never having known the Light of Christ, not having a clear path or an understanding of where to go - being lost, for lack of a better phrase.
I know I have episodes of spiritual darkness, but at least I have known Christ, even if I sometimes feel I have temporarily mislaid Him.
I cannot imagine the sheer horror of never having known Him and His love for me.
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