Friday, December 29, 2006

A Knock At The Door

We were amazed when a policeman came knocking at our door this evening. This is a very rare event in our sleepy little town.

Apparently a house two doors away from ours was the subject of an attempted burglary earlier this evening, and the police were circulating a description of the man disturbed in the act.

We have carefully checked our security and the dog will be allowed to roam free downstairs each night, but DH goes back to working away for part of each week starting next week, and I am feeling very vulnerable at the thought of being alone with the small fry.

Prayers for the safety of all the residents of our area would be very much appreciated.
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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Orthodox Roundup 4

Welcome to Roundup 4 !
The blessings of the Feast of the Nativity to you all !

Deb has a great post about the significance and meaning of the icon of the Nativity of Christ here

Matt posts a great item, a homily by St John Chrysostom on the Feast of the Nativity. No wonder they call St John "the golden-mouthed" !

Fr Stephen has a lovely post about one of my favourite saints, St John of Kronstadt. With good reason, he is called the "priests` priest". We have an icon of him in our "beautiful corner", and his book "My Life in Christ"is truly a blessing of spiritual refreshment. My personal project for 2007 is to read through the entire book, hopefully to my spiritual benefit, as in the past I have only ever dipped into it and read a few pages at a time.......

Fr Stephen also writes about "How do we see our neighbour?" and the implications that our viewpoint of others has on showing our spirituality - or lack of it. All I can say is "mea culpa" and strive to do better......
He also describes the theory of the Atonement he was brought up with, and how different the Orthodox viewpoint is and also here.
Fr Stephen`s blog is an absolute gem and I cannot do it justice. Please go and read him :-)

What it truly means to live one`s life as a Christian is exemplified in the life of the recently reposed Anastasia Titov , described lovingly by Fr John Whiteford.

Fr Peter writes about the meanings behind the Orthodox funeral services here and here , and about Memorial services .

Laura blogs about Bibles as fashion in a fascinating post; be sure to read the illuminating comments too ! Empresses Irene and Theodora`s importance to the Church also captured Laura`s ready pen........

The undivided Church`s heritages, both Eastern and Western are important and to be cherished, and have especial meaning to those of us who are from Western European backgrounds. Full article here , and it is well worth reading.

Fr Joseph spills the scoop about a new film about St Nicholas of Myra , and MaryPoppinsNot engagingly describes St Nicholas` Day at her Byzantine Catholic home. Can I come next year, please ? LOL.
The Basilica of St Nicholas in Prison in Rome can be seen here courtesy of the RC blogger Orbis Catholicus.

And to end on a a note I found fascinating, those of you who like Star Trek might enjoy reading about the original Jewish source of the Vulcan "live long and prosper" greeting here .

See you all in the New Year !
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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Dune Views

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My Man And Me

DH at the main access point to the one dune where Basil specially likes to play.......
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Frozen Solid

Even the scrubby bushes were frozen, and you can see the frost on the sand of the dune.
It was an amazing experience, walking on frozen snow that audibly crunched as we stepped on it !
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Sun At Last

The sun was just cresting over one of the lower dunes when I took this.
The black dot is artifact, not reality !
The fog was clearing, but still present.
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Foggy Weather

The weather here has been atrocious; three days of seriously bad fog, both day and night. Yesterday as the weather improved, we took the dog for a walk over the dunes/scrubland, and it was a wintery wonderland of heavy frost.
I know it hasn`t shown up brilliantly, but it really was beautiful..........
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And Smiling

And a rather happier "Shepherd" , second from the right !
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My pensive "Shepherd" at her school Nativity Play.
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Frozen In Time

This spider web was frozen solid yesterday in the bitter cold. No sign of the spider.
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Beep beep beep

Having spent ages uploading photos to Blogger, they have all disappeared into cyberspace.
I am not a happy camper.
I know that as soon as I reload them , they originals will all miraculously appear and then I will spend ages deleting them.
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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Flora and Fauna At Margam

Deer and fungi !
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Day Out 2

More photos of the grounds.
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Day Out

We had a day out to Margam Park a little while ago.

The castle is quite spectacular, set in wonderful grounds.
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The Rainbow

This was the view from my beloved Garden Window a few weeks ago.

I kept forgetting to post it ! I have never managed to photograph a rainbow before.....

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Favourite Picture

For your delectation I would like to show you one of my all-time favourite pictures, a huge copy of which I have framed and hanging in my bedroom :-)
It is called "The First-born" by Frederick Elwell, and the original is at the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull.
This is the best image I can find on the Web, but it doesn`t even begin to do it justice. The father in the picture has a posy of cowslips to give to his wife .........ahhhh.
One day, I will get to see it "close-up and personal", LOL.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006


Whilst DH and I were waiting to enter the school to see DD4 in her Nativity Play yesterday, it was highly entertaining to overhear the conversation going on behind us about political correctness.

Apparently there are moves afoot in rural Norfolk, of all places, to ban Christian -based Nativity Plays in council run schools there. The rumblings of discontent from the parents at our school were both vociferous and vehement; pity help our dear Headmaster should he ever decide to abolish our "Early Years Department"`s play.
More than one person said how it makes Christmas come alive and have meaning for them.

Nativity Plays as an evangelistic tool ? Why ever not?
After all, the medieval Easter Cycle and Morality plays were immensely popular as educative tools for the illiterate.

Now we have instead so many people who are theologically illiterate and know virtually nothing of the message and basics of Christianity..........
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Strange But True

The world`s tallest man has helped to save some Chinese dolphins by reaching into their stomachs.
Full story here
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Conspiracy Theories Debunked

For those of you who like to follow English news, the official report into events surrounding the death of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, can be downloaded/read here

Personally, I reserve judgement on the whole matter :-)
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Monday, December 11, 2006

Busy Busy Busy

I imagine that I`m not the only one up to the eyes in busyness at the moment !

On Friday last week was the Christmas Fayre, and I was shanghaied into helping.
Being a shy retiring type, I would possibly never have volunteered, but I had great time and would certainly do it next year. I had the toy stall and bric- a - brac, and took £47 , which was good considering most stuff was priced at 5p - 20p , LOL.

The cake stall was a great success, and this year was done in tribute to a little Muslim boy, only a year older than DD4, who died this summer. His mother and I always used to smile and say hello each morning, as we took the children to school.

The parents and the school are going to erect a big circular seat around one of the lovely trees in the playground, with a plaque in his memory, and they needed to get £350 to do so, and they did, through large numbers of people baking and donating cakes etc to the cake stall, plus those who kindly made donations .

We are all so pleased at the success, and that his extended family were there with us.

On Tuesday morning and Wednesday afternoon is DD4`s Nativity Play - proper non -PC one, complete with Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus ,shepherds, wise men and the innkeeper. On Tuesday evening is DD3`s Christmas Concert, filled with Christmas carols, poems and drama.

I still have to buy Christmas cards :-)
Most presents have been ordered and the rest will be done today, I hope, barring disasters.
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Friday, December 08, 2006

Orthodox Roundup 3

Welcome to issue 3 of the Roundup :-)

Fr Stephen gives us a seasonal start with a review of the new Nativity Film and also a commentary on the pre-Communion prayer:

Behold: I draw near to the Divine Communion.

Burn me not as I partake, O Creator,
For Thou art a Fire which burns the unworthy,
Rather, cleanse me of all defilement.

Julio has a fantastic post about having a crisis not of faith, but of praxis, here and it is a situation I can certainly resonate with, looking back at some points in my own life.........

Some of us sure have some seriously interesting hobbies ! Check out Papa Herman`s amazing bicycle inner tube creations !

The Christian history of London may need to be re-written follwing some interesting archaeological discoveries at the site of St Martin in the Fields, which shows evidence of Christian graves (possibly royalty) dating back to the time of Queen Bertha, 1400 years ago, pre-dating St Paul`s Cathedral`s original foundation by almost 200 years.

The tomb of St Paul the Apostle has been re-discovered in Rome, buried in the Church of St Paul Without The Walls, and a late 4th century Christian church has been discovered in Israel, believed to have been built on the site where the Ark of the Covenant was originally housed.

Philippa`s own round-up is well worth a visit here , as is the North Texas Orthodox Missions site here, which links to great music, podcasts, sermons and much more. I`ve bookmarked it and I am working my way steadily through its resources.

Matushka Jenny has completed two glorious new icons of St Barnabas and St John the Forerunner , thereby giving me a reason to own up to covetousness.......
Another iconographer has set up a webcam so you can see him work on his latest icons , which is a great idea.

Nathan Hoppe reviews the practice of the 40 days commemoration of the departed in relation to his beloved wife Lynette, and their first family Thanksgiving without her.

An interview with Russian Old-Rite Believers can be found here, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
A particular delight was to find some of the sayings of Mother Gavrilia avalable online here .

Fr John gives a sobering insight into apparently rapidly deteriorating conditions for Christians in Bulo Burto, Somalia, where it has been decreed that anyone not observing the islamic prayer rule will be beheaded.....

Alana writes eloquently of her experiences on St Nicholas` Day whilst living in Switzerland. In our family we observe the tradition of putting our slippers outside our bedroom doors, which get filled with chocolate coins and the small ones receive appropriately-themed small gifts. December 6th is always eagerly anticipated in our house !
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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Happy St Nicholas` Day !

A very happy St Nicholas` Day to all my readers !

The young ones laid their slippers by their bedroom doors this evening, in the hope that they would wake tomorrow and find them filled with chocolate coins.

As St Nicholas` official helper in our home, I have ensured they will be, and under the slippers are Christmas themed coluring/activity books and some lovely things I printed out from the St Nicholas resource website .
We will also be making some special cookies.

Have a blessed Feast day !
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Singing Loudly

It appears that even the birds in cities have to shout above the roar of the traffic and the general urban noise...........

Today`s Daily Telegraph reports that research in London and Paris shows birds singing at much louder levels and in a different way than their rural counterparts in Thetford Forest and Fontainebleu.

People are louder too, in my own limited piece of research conducted yesterday whilst shopping in The Big City. As I grow older, I am finding that I enjoy the bustle, hubbub and crowds far less than I used to even five years ago.
It was fun to shop there, but I wouldn`t want to live in Big City.
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Monday, December 04, 2006

My Day

DD1 and I went by bus to The Big City (about one and half hours away by bus) to do some shopping today.

We stopped off at Starbucks, as it is the nearest one to the bus station, and I was very restrained - I had a Tall Soy Gingerbread Latte and it was scrumptious. Mmmmmmmm !
I passed on the offer of whipped cream, and was a little surprised to be greeted by the barista saying "Merry Christmas", LOL. If it was already Christmas I wouldn`t be fasting :-)

Some jolly good bargains were obtained, and the rain held off until we got back on the bus to come home, which was jolly good timing. The presents have been safely secreted on top of cupboards, well away from the gaze of the small ones, and we are all winding down ready for bed.
Not terribly exciting, but a good day nevertheless.....
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Thursday, November 30, 2006


There is a wonderful post in the online Chicago Tribune about the dire political situation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the increasing restrictions placed on it by the Government here .

It makes scary and sobering reading.

It also makes me count my blessings that I am free to worship however I choose in this country, for the time being, at least...........
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Drunk and Orderly

The UK licensing of non-stop drinking has, according to Government figures, not caused any increase in drunken loutish behaviour.

If you believe that, you will believe anything.

One police blog gives the truth - that police officers in places are being told by their superiors not to arrest louts for drunken behaviour which breaks the Public Order Act because it is counted as violent crime and this then puts the police force in that area up over its target for violent crime figures, thereby giving the lie to to the official figures about drunken behaviour and crime.

Heaven forbid that accurate statistics could ever be welcomed by the Government.....

For the full article, I recommend you go here
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A Funny Smell In The Fridge

This is just a random item I found whilst blog-surfing, and it really made me smile.

All - and probably more- than you ever wanted to know about dirt..... and why it smells the way it does. It even has pretty pictures !
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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Historic Meeting

Echoing the views of Occidentalis here with this prayer for Pope Benedict and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew at their historic meeting this week:-

O Holy Father, from Whom all blessings flow, we come before Thee in meekness and bow down: humbly we beseech Thee to look kindly upon the meeting of Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople, and Pope Benedict, Pontiff of Rome.

For too long, there hath been division and alienation in the Church, when there should have been the unity of the Body of Christ. We beg Thy mercy and wisdom, O Lord, to provide for the welfare of the holy churches of God and for their union. Let this occasion of fellowship be for the healing of old disputes.

In Thy infinite power, protect these Shepherds of the Great and Holy Pasture of Christ. Shield them, and all who attend, from the peril of harm. And in Thy matchless grace, establish a bright new work in these latter days, so that the world might see the Face of Christ; so that men and women might repent, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and be saved in the Apostolic Church of God.

For these supplications, we humbly beseech Thee, Holy Father, hear us and have mercy.

To which I heartily say Amen, Amen , Amen.
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Google in Latin !!

I kid you not, you can now conduct your Google searches in LATIN ! :-)
Give it a go here
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Monday, November 27, 2006

All Hailed Out

It was a glorious morning when I took mad bad Basil for his long walk.
It was still glorious when DoomHamster and I went to town to meet up with my mother.

Then it rained. So after seeing my mother safely onto her bus stop, we decided to catch a bus home ourselves, but still had about ten minutes to wait, so we browsed in our local bookshop (of course !) only to see our bus sailing past us and the prospect of another half hour`s wait till the next one.
Botheration. The rain had eased off somewhat, so we decided to brave the elements and walk home; which we managed to do without actually getting wet.
It really was much too good to last though.......

When it was time to pick the small people up from school, it still looked a little overcast, so I grabbed the children`s umbrellas on my way out through the door. The thought did cross my mind that perhaps I should put on my waterproof jacket rather than my fleece, but I rather rashly did not listen to the inner voice of sanity and reason. I should have known better, I suppose.

It started to rain as DD4 exited her classroom door, so up went her umbrella. She had fallen over on the tarmac playground surface during outdoor play and grazed her cheek, knee and forehead, so she looked rather worse for wear. We walked round the school to retrieve DD3, and up went her umbrella too. I hadn`t bothered to pick up my own umbrella, of course :-)

We were about half way home when the heavens opened and a horrific hailstorm began. The hailstones were bouncing up off the pavement and into our shoes, which was NOT pleasant, and within a very few seconds we were soaked through and stung by the hailstones of doom.

Luckily at the end of the long road is an enclosed public telephone box, so the two children and I, plus one of their schoolfriends and her mother, all managed to cram into this shelter till the storm passed. There was one problem; there was not room for the umbrellas, and I didn`t want to leave them outside as they would have been blown away by the high winds, so I rashly poked my arm out through the slightly ajar door and held the umbrellas outside.

We squelched home, quite literally, as we all had soaking shoes, tights and socks. The shoes are al stuffed with newspaper and near a radiator to dry out before the morning - I hope !

I know exactly why all this happened. It had nothing to do with the Weather Butterfly, global warming or any scientific reason.

It was all because the local council had chosen today to erect the municpal Christmas tree on our main roundabout in town. We will be cursed with high winds and storms for at least a fortnight, till the poor pine tree is but a travesty of its former self and leans forlornly at a bizarre and improbable angle .

It happens EVERY YEAR, but with eternal optimism, every year the Christmas Tree goes up !
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Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Killing Of A King


Doh ! I cannot believe I was stupid enough to say it was the queen`s father when it was, of course, her grandfather. I blame it on insufficient caffeine.....
Many thanks for all those who kindly pointed it out and it has been duly amended.

Sometimes it seems as though euthanasia is a modern concept, to judge by the items which appear in the news.

A rather more shocking fact has recently come to light relating to the death of our Queen`s grandfather, whose existence was coldly, calmly and calculatedly terminated by lethal injection by his attending doctor so that the king`s death could be announced at a convenient and "fitting" time.

Full story here from the British Medical Journal, with commentary from a British GP here .

I was appalled and shocked at the reasons given, and can only imagine the Queen`s grief at finding out the truth of what happened to her beloved Grandfather............
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Big Grin

Ta-da !
We have Broadband :-)
It has been a saga and a half; but there again, nothing is ever straightforward in our house......

When the modem etc came, the cable was only 3m long. We need a minimum 10m from the phone point to the room where the computer is. So we went and bought a wireless router, thinking to bypass the problem. Guess what, there is no power supply anywhere near the main telephone point.


So we had to order a special RJ11 10m long cable and wait for it to be delivered and then we had to plumb the cable in through drilled holes in internal walls before we could set the whole shebang up. So what in theory should have taken much less than an hour has actually taken 3 whole days.

But it has been worth it :-)
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Tuesday, November 21, 2006


My visit to the dentist was unpleasant but brief.
It went well on a technical level, though I felt sick and shaky afterwards, which is very unusual indeed for me.
It`s a bit sore now that all the lignocaine has worn off, so I will most likely be heading for painkillers soon :-)

And it is only one more day till DH comes home and we get Broadband !!!!!
Yabba Dabba Doo !
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Access to broadband is looming ever closer, but so is my dread appointment of doom with the dentist at 11.30am.
I know it is going to be unpleasant; I have chipped a bit off one of my molars and there is an abscess there.

Oh joy, oh bliss !
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Happy Feast Day

The joy of the Feast be yours !

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone

Today, the most pure temple of the Savior, the precious bridal chamber and Virgin, the sacred treasure of God, enters the house of the Lord, bringing the grace of the Divine Spirit. The Angels of God praise her. She is the heavenly tabernacle.

Amen, amen, amen !
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Monday, November 20, 2006

Dragons and Sausages

Dave Holford has some pertinent observations about Dragon sausages which are worth perusing.
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So Near And Yet So Far !

Our new Broadband gizmo has arrived today, and DH the computer Whiz won`t be home till Weds evening.
I know if I start fiddling with the computer, it is likely to be the kiss of death for the poor machine, so I am trying to wait patiently and failing miserably.

Broadband is within my grasp and yet so far away.

Patience is not my greatest virtue.............
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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Orthodox Roundup 2

*****UPDATE to include amendments:-

The irrepressible but irregularly posting catechumen DoomHamster has put finger to keyboard to record her thoughts on attending her first Orthodox funeral

Dave Holford`s site has been changed due to unforeseen circumstances to
here ****

Hi folks, and welcome to the Orthodox Roundup 2.

Apologies for it being late; this is due to our ISP managing to accidentally terminate our account one month before they were supposed to :-)

A Happy and Blessed Advent to you all !

In light of the Fast, I have to mention that Grace over at This Side Of Glory has a gorgeous post You Know You`re Orthodox If.......

Huw Raphael at Doxos has a great post about various hypothetical "brands" of Orthodoxy.
Well worth a read and a chuckle, but tinged with sadness at the fact that so many of these divisions do in fact exist. Sigh.

Father Stephen makes some wise observations about Preserving Peace Of Soul, from St Seraphim of Sarov. The Fast isn`t just about food; it is about turning our thoughts and hearts more fully to God. He also writes about where we pray
and about the immense wisdom of St Isaac of Syria as well as one of his first icon encounters.

Micahel at Sarisburium makes some pertinent comments about the feasability and indeed the advisability of creating a national British pan-Orthodox Church here , followed closely with his essay on Western-Rite Orthodoxy which debunks many popular misconceptions about the Western Rite. The common heritage of the Undivided Church is obvious when comparing some of the liturgical texts according to Ben Johnson.

Fr John Parker writes eloquently about Salvation and whether we know if we are saved.

Alana at Morning Coffee tells of planning Sunday school lessons, and how the Old Testament figures were able to have such a vibrant, living trusting relationship with God.

Fr John Whiteford has a great article about the life and work of Protopriest Seraphim Slobodskoy, author of the classic catechetical text, The Law Of God.

The Indiana list occasionally throws up some gems, one of which was a reference to a news article about the Staff and Vestments of Metropolitan Philaret of blessed memory being taken to Russia. There is also a video link here .

A solemn Requiem service was held in Moscow on the 11th November, commemorating the 185th anniversary of the birth of the great novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky; details can be read here . There are many other items of interest on the site !

Fr Peter gives news of a website devoted to the meeting of Patriarch Bartholomew and Pope Benedict.

From Luz comes sad news indeed of the horrific death of a 14 year-old Christian Assyrian boy here. The Scrivener also details the horrors of being a Christian in Iraq at present.

Lord, have mercy.

The trials and tribulations of a neophyte Reader are vividly and hilariously detailed by James of Paradosis fame.

Subdeacon Seraphim writes a Cautionary Tale about the necessity for making your family and friends aware of your wishes relating to your funeral arrangements .
On a more mundane but also important level for those lef behind after a loved one dies, is a practical post about letting family know how to access your online data to sort out any necessary business after death here .

Dave Holford writes about almost-official British medical policy relating to killing disabled babies , closely followed by considered Anglican opinions about the same issue and also writes about the great Welsh saint, Dyfrig .

MaryPoppinsNOT, a Byzantine - Rite Catholic blogger describes what happened when she took a fast from blogging here ......... !

Deb volunteers a favourite article about Orthodoxy, Postmodernity and the emerging Church by Steve Hayes . Thanks Deb !

Next Issue of the Roundup should be in 2 weeks time. Any submissions will be thankfully received :-)
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Monday, November 13, 2006


This weekend we took the small fry to see Cars at the local cinema, as it was showing at the Kids Club, where one adult can go in free with each child ticket paid for.

Why have I not realised how GOOD this film is before ?
Why aren`t folk jumping up and down about this film ?
The graphics are utterly amazing, it was exciting, the story was good and it had a moral.
And I LOVED it !
I`ve enjoyed all the Pixar films, but this really was something special.

I will be getting this on DVD for sure when it is released. I can`t wait to see it again, LOL.
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Taking The Plunge

Well, folks, I have taken the plunge and upgraded my dear little blog to the Beta version.

It is certainly a lot easier to make changes to the layout of the site, without having to delve deeply into the dark and fearsome mysteries of HTML and CSS, words which are guaranteed to leave any residual brain cells attempting to hide in a corner and cry !.........
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Heavenly Images

Reported today, the finding of a magnificent series of late 11th century wall-paintings hidden under layers of plaster at a disused and neglected church in Norfolk.

no pictures as yet, but the full story is here

How exciting ! Frescoes 900 years old. Going to so many old churches, it is difficult to imagine now how they must have looked when they were first built, and were riots of colour and paintings.......
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The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

DD3 aged 8 was proud and privileged to take part in the community`s 11th November commemorations here in Blogsville on Saturday.

A group of children from her school, most from her class, led the singing of classic war-time songs for twenty minutes prior to the two minute silence and prayers, and the mayoral speech.

Despite unpleasant weather, there was considerable support from the community and a jolly good time was had by all.

A poignant moment was afterwards, when an elderly Army veteran, whose great-coat was emblazoned with a large number of medals, made a point of personally speaking and shaking the hand of each of the twenty-eight children who participated, and thanked them for remembering those who gave their lives, and those who sacrificed their long-term health for our freedom.

It is a hard-won freedom which many people seem to have little respect for, and in the case of New Labour, seem to be actively undermining, but we are determined that our kids at least will understand and will remember and will be thankful for what these brave folk did for us.

For The Fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness

Laurence Binyon, published 1931

To The Fallen : Memory Eternal !
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Happy Happy Joy Joy

I am doing the very happy dance at the moment, for a very mundane reason, but.....

DH has finally agreed that we can get Broadband :-) on condition that I sacrifice my mobile phone contract to help pay for it, which seems a small price to pay.

So we hope to be ready for action by about 26th November.........

Oh joy, oh bliss !
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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Last Night`s TV

Last night I watched BBC Horizon`s special on pandemic avian flu.
It was sobering viewing.

There are going to be major ethical dilemmas as to whom will receive anti-viral and intensive care and who won`t. It seems likely that the over 60s are at lesser risk of dying anyway,due to the way their immune systems are likely to handle cytokine storms, and some of the medical experts interviewed expressed opinions that the group which should be targeted for medical support in the event of infection should be basically "socially productive adults" aged 20 to 50, in whom society has invested education and training. Young children and the elderly are likely to be out of the loop.

Isolation for up to 6 months till appropriate vaccines are developed may be necessary, and how many folk have food, water, medication and fuel stockpiled for that long ? The government won`t be providing it, that`s for sure. People need to prepare, even on a basic level, even if only for a few weeks` supplies.

The programme interviewed one USA couple who showed the seriously impressive preparations they had made, including generators, batteries etc . I couldn`t help thinking that once the Pandemic hits, their neighbours will now know about their stockpile and they are likely to get looted in the panic as food , water and toiletries become in short supply.

Shops will run out, and distribution networks could be very severely disrupted due to quarantines, staff illnesses and people staying at home for fear of infection .

It made me stop and think. I think I will be seriously reviewing my preparedness plans.

Information about the program, and some of the dilemmas can be found here
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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Eyeball Popping

I kid you not. I would not have thought this was physically possible, but there you are.......

I found this today on a medical blog. It features graphic photos and video of people who can literally make their eyeballs pop out.

Be warned, it is truly bizarre and VERY GRAPHIC.

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Name Sharing

I was amused to find that apparently there is no-one in the US with my combination of legal first name and surname.

Go check your own !
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Die Grosse Stille/ Into Great Silence - Coming Soon !

The film about La Grande Chartreuse Carthusian monastery which depicts the life of the monks, is now available on DVD for those of you who are familiar with Italian :-)

The RC Fr Tim Finigan describes how the film moved him here

I can`t wait.
I don`t want to wait.
I want it NOW !!

So I definitely need to wait for it to be released in an English version , LOL.

It will be shown in cinemas across the UK in Nov/Dec 2006.
I have contacted the company to ask if they have a DVD release date, but in the meantime, this link will take you to their company`s press release page .

Just imagine what a film like this about Mount Athos would be like ? I wish someone would do one for Orthodox monasticism......
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Friday, November 03, 2006

Round-Up Plea

For those of you who have enjoyed the Round-Up, *please* mention it on your own blogs and provide a link to the post, so we can get as many people participating in it as possible.

We all have such varied blog-rolls that there must be loads of interesting posts on good sites out there in Cyberia which do not get the readership they deserve.

Let`s change that !
I`ve already started on the next issue....... LOL.
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Generating Things

No, this has absolutely nothing to do with self-sufficiency !

You may remember the Church Sign Generator......

There is a site which now gives you the ability to create your own cyber-seals, concert tickets, cassette and vinyl spoofs, political figures saying things, including Tony Blair, LOL.

I particularly liked Pave the Moon :-)
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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Halloween Special - Orthodox Round-Up Number One

I was a little surprised that last night, we hadn`t had a single trick or treater visit our home by 7.15pm. I even said so to my DH when he phoned up from work.
No sooner had I put the phone down when there was a knock at the door, and there were two beautifully behaved and nicely costumed children.

We had two more visits in the next half-hour, and that was it.

I had said Vespers in the Icon corner, with the lampada lit, in deference to it being Western-Rite All Hallows Even.

For many non-Orthodox or even non-RC Christians, our concept of the Communion of Saints and the great cloud of Witnesses is hard to grasp. It seems entirely natural to me and to my children, who, young as they are, understand that our beloved dead are dead only in body and that they do most truly live and rejoice in Christ.

It is entirely appropriate that in the historic first millenial Orthodox tradition of Britain that All Saints`Day is so immediately followed by All Souls` day, when we can remember those who have gone to their rest before us and for us to pray for their souls.
May their Memories be Eternal, O Lord !

Fr Joseph has an interesting post on Halloween and asks why there aren`t Old Calendar Pagans.....

Remembering Vladika John was posted by Fr John Whiteford recently, and is an edifying read.

Seraphima at A Catechumen`s Walk blogs eloquently about the soul`s need for healing at the Spiritual Hospital.

From the Tundra Medicine Dreams blog comes a wonderful account of an Orthodox Alaskan Yupik village funeral as observed by a non-Orthodox. Sometimes it is very enlightening to see ourselves from the viewpoint of an outsider......

Deb provides a link to the Orthodox resources at YouTube. This could end up being a brilliant resource :-)

Please keep the nominations coming in !
Next Round-Up will most likely be in 2 weeks time.
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The Orthodox Round-Up

The medical sites have a weekly "Grand Rounds" compilation of aricles and blogposts of noteworthy interest.
I got to thinking that this might be a jolly good idea for us Ortho-bloggers too. We all have different sites we visit, and it is almost impossible for one person to keep up with them all.

What I propose is this:-

I do a fortnightly (or weekly, if demand warrants it!) round-up of Orthodox-interest posts we have particularly enjoyed, but this means I need help from you all, gentle readers :-) If you have seen blogposts you want to recommend for inclusion, please drop me a line at orthodox dot mum at ntlworld dot com and we`ll see what happens !
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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Christmas at Walsingham

From Our Lady`s Mirror, 1950.

Some of the Orthodox follow the Julian or old calendar, others the Gregorian in common with the west. The Serbians keep the old style, so that we have had two Christmases in Walsingham. On Saturday, January 7th, the Orthodox feast of the Nativity, Bishop Irenei, of Dalmatia, sang the Liturgy in their chapel at the Shrine, assisted by Dr. Najdanovic, Bro. George and others. After the Liturgy there was a Christmas dinner and party.

The next issue contains a photograph of Bishop Irenei and Fr Najdanovic. The Bishop and Archimandrite Nicholas Gibbes attended the whitsun pilgrimage. (Fr Nicholas was a frequent visitor to the Shrine over a long period of years.)

This issue also has a photograph of Archimandrite Nicholas.

The 1951 issue bears sad news :-
A Requiem was sung in the Pilgrimage Church for our dear friend, Archbishop Savva of Grodno. His death leaves another gap in our lives as he was a devoted client of Our Lady of Walsingham and the consecrator of the Orthodox Chapel. He had planned to come again for the Whitsun pilgrimage, but was prevented by his failing health. Your prayers are asked for the repose of the soul of this brave Prelate.
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Even More !

Our Orthodox Saint, Nicholas Velimirovitch even visited the Shrine at Walsingham !

Our Lady`s Mirror 1946 records that :-

During November and December we have had Bishop Nicholai Velimirovitch staying in the College with us. He has come to rest before leaving England for America, having vowed seven Liturgies in the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham. These Masses he has celebrated with local assistance, but on the two central days, Father Nicholovitch, King Peter of Serbia’s chaplain, came to help. We have had the great pleasure of entertaining several ecclesiastics of the Holy Orthodox Church since the last number of the Mirror was published.
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More From Walsingham

Our Lady`s Mirror in 1945 gives heartfelt thanks that the village and the Shrine escaped war damage, when so many other places in Norfolk were damaged.

The Whitsun pilgrimage was well attended, and the Orthodox presence was warmly welcomed as the Orthodox chapel at the Shrine was formally dedicated :-

Father Fynes-Clinton, that untiring and most devoted of all the friends of Walsingham, led the annual Catholic League Pilgrimage to the Shrine at Whitsun. Among the pilgrims was Bishop Savva, the Orthodox Chaplain General of the Polish forces in this country. The Bishop was at one time Assistant Bishop to the Diocesan of Warsaw, and is now the Diocesan of Grodno. With him came a small Orthodox Choir who sang at the dedication of the Chapel in the Pilgrimage Church, which was placed under the patronage of our Lady of Perpetual Succour – as we know it in the West. After the dedication the Liturgy was sung for the first time in this Chapel, the Eastern Mass having been celebrated in the past at the High Altar of the Shrine Church. The Chapel was packed to overflowing, as too were the stairs approaching it. At the end of the Liturgy all received the blessed Bread from the hands of the Bishop. On Whit-Sunday his Lordship preached at the High Mass in the Parish Church, and in the afternoon they offered the Moleben in the Holy House.
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The Orthodox at Walsingham

It has been great fun reading through the archives at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham website, and finding precious little nuggets of information pertaining to the persistent Orthodox presence at the Shrine.
Most interesting was this, from Our Lady`s Mirror, Summer 1938. I have put the bits of Orthodox interest in bold type.



By Saturday, June 4th, the Hospice of Our Lady was full of guests, and all that day and during Sunday pilgrims were arriving. On Whit-Sunday several Masses were said in the Holy House and the Chapels of the original building, the new parts remaining closed off until the hallowing on Whit-Monday.

In one sense the functions may be said to have commenced on Sunday with the High Mass in the Parish Church, when St. Mary’s was packed with parishioners and visitors. Bishop O’Rorke was present and preached a wonderful sermon which kept the large congregation spellbound.

Then later on the portable Altar Stones were anointed, the relics were enclosed, the cavities sealed and the Stones consecrated by the Bishop, and then placed in the Altars in preparation for the Mass to be said at the High Altar the next day.

After Solemn Evensong and during Father Alban Baverstock’s sermon, the Archbishop Nestor, accompanied by Archimandrite Nicholas Gibbes and Father Polski arrived and at the conclusion of the discourse were met and conducted to places in the Sanctuary for Benediction.
Great anxiety had been expressed whether the weather would be favourable or not, but Monday dawned a perfect day, cool, but brilliantly sunshiny. Masses commenced in the Parish Church at 6 o’clock and also at the Holy House, and motors and char-a-bancs began to arrive quite early in the morning. Parties from Birmingham, Yorkshire, Scotland, Cornwall, S. Leonard’s-on-Sea, Oxford, indeed from all over the country, poured into the village.

By half-past eleven, the streets were thronged by pilgrims making their way to the Parish Church to take their places in the procession.

At 12 o’clock precisely, as announced, the procession started, pausing for the singing of the Easter Angelus. It took exactly one hour less three minutes to pass a particular place on the route, where it was timed. First came troops of Scouts with their banners, then headed by marshals, behind whom walked the thurifer, cross and torches, leading the long rows of dark-habited nuns and other Religious, with the Abbot of Nashdom in the rear accompanied by one of his monks.

After the procession of the Religious, a group of children dressed in white carried the parish banner of Our Lady of Walsingham, bedecked with flowers and streamers of ribbon. Then came the procession of the Priest Associates of the Holy House, headed by crucifier and lights. A hundred and fifty of the two hundred and fifty associates were in this procession vested in soutane and cotta. The little procession of the Eastern Orthodox Clergy, again headed by cross and lights, came next. First walked the Archbishop Nestor in golden mitre and splendid robes, the train of which was borne by two boys from the little Norfolk village of Gresham; another boy carried his Episcopal staff. Behind His Grace, with train also carried by servers, walked the Archimandrite Nicholas and the Archimandrite Nathaniel, followed by Orthodox Priests.

Then led by yet another cross with supporting torches and preceded by the Verger of the Shrine in his scarlet robe, came the College of the Guardians, first the lay, then the Priest members and the Master. Behind the College attended by servers, and two Fathers from Mirfield who acted as Deacons of Honour, walked Bishop O’Rorke, vested in pontificals. Following the Bishop came the wives of the Guardians, Mr. Craze, the Architect, and then between three and four thousand lay pilgrims, many in the blue veils of the Society of Mary, others in the insignia of the different Societies of which they are members.

The village streets were festooned with flags and bunting. During the procession, the Priest-Associates acting as cantors, most ably conducted by Father Thomas, O.S.B., sang first the Litany of Our Lady and then the Litany of the Saints, to the traditional tones, the rest of the people making the responses.

Arrived at the pilgrim Church the Religious and Priests formed up on either side of the West doors, while the Bishop standing in the midst, said the opening prayers of the form of blessing Churches and Oratories, after which, accompanied by the Guardians, the Bishop and his attendants passed through the original building and then outside made the circuit of the new parts, aspersing the walls above and below with holy water, during which those in attendance upon him recited the “Miserere” and the crowds at the West end of the Church sang the popular hymn, “Faith of Our Fathers.”

Returning to the courtyard, further prayers were recited and then the Bishop proceeded to the fauld-stool before the High Altar, while the remainder of the Litany was being said. Unfortunately at this point there was a serious hitch; according to plan the Priest Associates and the Religious should have come into the Church behind the Bishop, but as so often is likely to happen, when it is impossible to have a full practice with all concerned in a function, for some reason or other a counter order was given and they remained in the courtyard with the result that the strains of the Litany could scarcely be heard within the Church. The Bishop blessed the Altar and Church, and then proceeded to circulate round the whole of the interior of the building, again aspersing the walls above and below, which the Choir in the gallery sang the three Psalms appointed. This aspersion having been made, the last prayer said, the Bishop and his attendants, withdrew to seats at the Epistle side of the Choir, and the Archbishop and the Archimandrites to places at the Gospel side. The Guardians attending occupied seats in temporary stalls put up for the occasion.

While the Altar was being vested the hymn, “Mother of Christ” was sung. The belated Priests filed in and took up their position behind the High Altar and above it in the Chapel of the Coronation (C.B.S.), and soon the whole building was packed from end to end by a standing crowd of over a thousand pilgrims; in the meantime others took up positions in the courtyard at the West front to listen to the relay of the Service in the Shrine, while others proceeded to the gardens in order to assist at the High Mass sung there by Father Raybould of S. Julian, Norwich. The Servers and singers were all members of the congregation of S. Julian with S. Peter Parmentergate, Norwich. Within the Church, the Mass was sung in the presence of the Archbishop and Bishop and assisting prelates, by Father Hope Patten, the Parish Priest of Walsingham, who is also Administrator of the Shrine, assisted by Father Thomas, O.S.B., as Deacon, and Father Derrick Lingwood, the Bursar of the College of Guardians, acting as Sub-Deacon. All the Servers and Choir, with the exception of Mr Oliver Richards, an old Choirmaster of the Parish Church of Walsingham who came to assist, were Servers and Choir of the Parish Church. Despite practices, a certain amount of confusion was almost inevitable, as the aisles on either side of the Altar, reserved for the Servers, were soon crowded by pilgrims, which does not tend to make serving under these unusual conditions, too easy. Mass ended, a Solemn Te Deum was sung as an act of thanksgiving to God for the completion of this further work in the restoration of the Shrine. A visit was then made to the Holy House where Our Lady was saluted by three “Hail, Marys” and the repetition of the Easter Anthem. The ceremonies were concluded by 2.15.

A rush was made to the Refectory and four marquees set up in the garden to secure lunch, while the village was also sought by many; numbers of pilgrims, however, preferred to bring their own picnic meals, and sat in groups on the grass. During the afternoon, the strains of the “Stabat Mater,” were repeatedly heard above the murmur of voices of the assembled pilgrims, as different groups conducted by their Priests made the Stations of the Cross. A continuous procession of people passed through the Holy House, stopping for a few brief moments to offer their prayers and then pass on to give room for others, while for hours on end a stream of people waited their turn to drink and be sprinkled at the Holy Well.

During the afternoon the Archbishop and his attendants with their Choir visited the Holy House and sang a Te Deum in honour of Our Lady; at the conclusion of which the Rosary was started, the vast crowds within and without the Church joining in; the whole of the afternoon as well as the Morning Services being relayed.

After a popular hymn, Father Biggart, C.R., delivered an oration, which will be found elsewhere in this number of the Mirror, and then followed Benediction of the most Holy Sacrament.

By 6 o’clock the cars and char-a-bancs were moving away crowded by happy pilgrims, making their homeward journey.

Monday, June 6th, was one of the most wonderful days in the history of the revival of the Holy House, and we trust a day that will bring much blessing and spiritual consolation to many a soul. Over six thousand people visited the Holy House on that day.

The following morning at 9 o’clock, Archbishop Nestor, assisted by the Archimandrites Nicholas and Nathaniel, and other Ministers and Servers, sang the “Holy Orthodox Liturgy” at which Bishop O’Rorke assisted in cope and mitre, attended by Father Patten and Father Lingwood, Prince Galitzine acted as lector and administered the lavabo to His Grace. During the Mass special mention was made by name of Bishop O’Rorke, Father Patten and Father Lingwood and the Archbishop not only personally came from the Altar to incense them, but also to give each of them the kiss of peace.

At the conclusion of the Liturgy bread was blessed and distributed by the Archbishop to all at the Altar and in the congregation.

This wonderful conclusion to the Blessing of the Extension was, we believe, the first time the “Orthodox Liturgy” has been offered in Walsingham ever, and we hope and pray that it may be the beginning of new relations culminating in complete reunion of the great Churches of the East with those of Canterbury and York and the Churches in communion with them.

End snip

It must have been a wonderful sight.
Of special interest is the fact that Archimandrite Nicholas Gibbs was the English-born tutor to the children of Saint Tsar Nicholas, who, inspired by their example, became Orthodox and kept the memories of the Imperial Family`s piety alive.
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It Feels Like Winter....

It really does feel like winter now that the clocks have "gone back", and consequently, it is getting dark very early.
We`ve had some stormy weather too, which adds to the desire to stay happily ensconced in the warm house.

Nevertheless, the dog still needs to be walked, and errands have to be run.

The tortoise has been brought safely into his winter home in the garage (thanks, DoomHamster - tortoise finder extraordinaire!) and we`re pretty much set now.

There is the minor detail of the fuel prices in the UK having doubled, so everyone I know is muttering that they are not putting their central heating on till at least half-way through November, to try to reduce the bills.

DH is even talking about examining the cost of a wood-burning stove to take advantage of the extant fireplace in our main living-room. We have access to loads of wood washed up on the beach :-0
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Monday, October 30, 2006


Blogger has been up to its usual bizrre tricks. Yesterday I tried twice to post about my eyeball adventures on Saturday, only to have the dreaded error messages from Blogger.

I sulked, I pouted, I got rather cross and decided to write a whole new post today instead, which I did, and which Blogger decided it would accept and display.
Only to find ten minutes later that the wretched Blogger had resurrected the preceding two posts in all their glory and published them.

The mind boggles..... but I have delted one and left the other original up for your delectation should you choose to view the link and see what my afflicted orbit looked like :-0
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The Eyeball Of Doom

Our plans for a quiet and peaceful weekend didn`t materialise :-)

DD3 was invited to a friend`s party on Halloween, so off we trotted to the shops to get her a cheap-ish costume.
When we got back, after pottering for a while at home, I felt as if there was something in my eye. I couldn`t see anything amiss, neither could DH, but within an hour, my whole left face was swollen, eyeball included, and my vision was blurred.
So we headed off to A & E, where mercifully there were no drunks and only one pair of foul-mouthed yobs. It was quiet, so I only had to wait for about 20 minutes before being seen.

Turns out that whatever got in my eye had come out, but had caused a massive allergic reaction, so all the conjunctival membranes covering my eye as well as my eyelids had become inflamed and oedematous (filled with fluid), hence the bizarre and quite vile appearance.
I came home with an eye-patch and five days worth of antibiotic cream to apply four times each day.

I didn`t need a Halloween costume, I could have just uncovered my eye, that would have been bad enough !
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Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Quiet Weekend ?

This was supposed to have been a quiet, relaxing weekend after the rigours of last weekend`s birthday extravaganza.
Fate obviously had other plans.

Yesterday afternooon, I suddenly felt as if there was a stray eyelash in my eye. I looked and DH looked, but there was no sign of a foreign body. Within minutes, my eyelids had started to swell, and within half an hour, all the conjuctiva of the eye had swollen dramatically and become inflamed. It looked as if I had been beaten with a baseball bat but witout bruising discolouration. Vision was blurred, so off we trotted to A& E.

The desk clerk looked at me and said "what can we do for you ?".
I refrained from stating the bleeding obvious, with an eyeball that was actually swollen as well as the one side of my face, and meekly said that I had something in my eye.

It was relatively quiet and I only had to wait about half an hour to be seen. I saw two doctors, who did a very thorough investigation, involving local anaesthetic and dye, as well as some high-tech gadgetry. Whatever it was had come out by itself, but had caused a massive allergic reaction, so I came home with a pirate eye-patch and five days worth of antibiotic cream for the afflicted orbit.

It is better today, but still hurts, and computer access will be very limited.
For those of a curious disposition, this is what my eye looked like yesterday :-)

Graphic link not for the faint-hearted !
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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Quiz

Lorna, at see-through faith posted an interesting set of questions, and I`ve answered them.

Things I’ve done (for good or bad) are shown in bold.

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain (Wales)
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive 05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula. I would like to one day, but I have held snakes !
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you’ and meant it!
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game (football- Swansea V Everton.)
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s nappy
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon

22. Watched a meteor shower

23. Drunk champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse. Twice, in The Grand National !
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Scored a winning goal
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Visited all 5 continents
40. Taken care of someone who was drunk
41. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
42. Watched wild whales
43. Stolen a sign
44. Backpacked
45. Taken a road-trip
46. Gone rock climbing
48. Midnight walk on the beach
49. Gone sky diving
50. Taken a train through Europe
51. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
52. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table, and had a meal with them
53. Milked a cow
54. Alphabetized your CDs
55. Sung karaoke
56. Lounged around in bed all day
57. Gone scuba diving
58. Kissed in the rain
59. Gone to a drive-in theatre
60. Started a business
61. Taken a martial arts class
62. Been in a movie
63. Crashed a party
64. Gone without food for 5 days
65. Gotten a tattoo
66. Got flowers for no reason
67. Performed on stage
68. Been to Las Vegas
69. Recorded music
70. Eaten shark
71. Buried one/both of your parents. And a much-loved stepfather too.
72. Been on a cruise ship
73. Spoken more than one language fluently
74. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
75. Walked a famous bridge. Lots in London !
76. Had plastic surgery
77. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
78. Wrote articles for a large publication. Yep.
77. Tried to lose weight seriously.
79. Piloted an airplane
80. Petted a stingray. Fantastic experience, in a sea-life aquarium
81. Broken someone’s heart
82. Broken a bone -yep, arm.
83. Eaten sushi (yuk!)
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Parasailed
86. Skipped all your school reunions
87. Shaved your head
88. Caused a car accident
89. Pretended to be “sick”
90. Swam in the Pacific Ocean
91. Saved someone’s life - a few times at work.
92. Fainted
93. Been in the room while someone is giving birth . Lots of times as a midwife, and four times myself :-)
94. Hitchhiked
95. Adopted a child
96. Been caught daydreaming
97. Been to the Painted Desert
98. Called off a wedding engagement
99. Donated your blood
100. Become a follower of Jesus Christ
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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Abortion Rights and Wrongs

ABC news has run a story about a 22 year old woman , who, pregnant with her third child and allegedly struggling to cope with a mentally abusive boyfriend, killed her unborn baby by shooting her own abdomen in the third trimester of her pregnancy, rather than raise another child.

This has to be one of the most distressing things I have read in quite a while.

Full story here

She was so close to giving birth to this baby .
Why didn`t she just put the baby up for adoption ? Or just leave the abusive boyfriend ?
Did her family or friends or neighbours not notice that she was struggling, unhappy and in need of support and appropriate help ?

Or didn`t anybody care ?

Lord have mercy on us all.
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Regular readers may remember me mentioning some dissent in our parish about 18 months ago, when some disaffected X ethnic background folk- and some wannabe non-X but wish they were folk - had set themselves up in active and wilful opposition to the lawful authority of both parish priest and Archbishop, even setting up their own group despite the Archbishop`s express and formal refusal to give them a blessing to do so.

This was a painful, difficult and divisive time for our little community, when it seemed as though all we had worked so hard for in terms of spreading Holy Orthodoxy was to be in vain over a dispute as to ethnicity and their idea of the Church as an enhanced ethnic social club.

We prayed and we wept, we searched our own hearts and consciences as to what was the true reason for this dissent, and at times, we felt very alone, but we struggled on, praying and believing that God would sort all in His good time even though we didn`t understand why we were being tested so.

And so it proved, for several of the dissenters have spoken to Father and have returned to the parish family and the Sacraments, for which we rejoice and praise God for His goodness and mercy. When our brothers and sisters choose to separate from us, we are dimished too.

Now we pray for the rest to return, so our joy may be complete.
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Having posted about my reading Martin Gilbert`s book "Holocaust Journey", imagine my surprise when in a charity shop yesterday I found a copy of his seminal historical work "The Holocaust - The Jewish Tragedy" , which I quickly bought for the princely sum of 80p.

I haven`t started reading it yet, as my DD3 has got me hooked on CSI and I have a few episodes recorded from TV for my viewing pleasure (!)
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Monday, October 23, 2006

Current Reading

I thought I would post what I am currently reading :-)

Frank Chalk " It`s Your Time You`re Wasting" which is absolutely terrifying and very cleverly written, describing his time teaching teenagers at an average comprehensive school.

"Soul Music" by Terry Pratchett(yet again!) I have all TP`s books and have met him several times, most notably at the first ever Discworld Convention when I was dressed up as a Bananananana Daiquiri. TP fans will of course know this comes from "Witches Abroad" .........

"Holocaust Journey" by Martin Gilbert.
A fascinating, harrowing, sickening account of the atrocities endured by the groups targeted by the Nazis for the extermination camps. Martin Gilbert took his MA degree students around Europe to see places where these atrocities were conceived and perpetrated.

"Marley And Me" by John Grogan.
There is so much of Basil in this book, though he is not anywhere near as bad as Marley was. Labradors are obviously all crazy but incredibly loving and lovable dogs, LOL.

On my Wish List at present, though I have asked our local library if they would consider buying it for stock, is the newly-published book about Fr Alfred Hope Patten, the eccentric genius restorer of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.
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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Worth A Visit

I heartily recommend a visit to this site, if you have ever wondered about the Old Believers of Russia.

I have visited this chapel, and it is just amazing to see so many ancient and authentic icons.....
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The Week That Went

This week has just flown by.
I had all sorts of good intentions about various topics i wanted to blog about, but time just went and so did the momentum.....

Admittedly it was busy, with DD4`s 5th birthday on Tuesday, complete with extended family tea-party after school, all the preparations for her main party, then speech therapy appointment on Friday, then her birthday party on Sat morning, closely followed by meeting up with my brother( who lives 200+ miles away), my niece and my mum for lunch, before the second party of Saturday which wound up at 6.45pm.

And today with Liturgy and Memorial Service for our departed parishioner Sergei, we have had a pretty full week.

Memory eternal, Sergei !
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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Sarcasm Quiz

I am sure I shouldn`t really post this, as it is a sad indictment on my spiritual state, but I answered the questions honestly and look what came up :

You're Totally Sarcastic

You sarcastic? Never! You're as sweet as a baby bunny.
Seriously, though, you have a sharp tongue - and you aren't afraid to use it.
And if people are too wimpy to deal with your attitutde, then too bad. So sad.

It`s accurate, but I`m not proud of it......
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Birthday Girl

Abby was 5 today.
Five !
How can my baby be 5? Where has the time gone ?

For all you mums with new babies, cherish every moment, no matter how exhausting or nerve-wracking, no matter how endless the bad days might seem, for all too soon your precious little bundle will be "all growed up" like mine.......

Happy Birthday Abigail and Many Years !!!!
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Monday, October 16, 2006


Today is the anniversary of a disaster which happened in Wales exactly 40 years ago, yet whose name evokes immense sadness even now to almost everyone in Wales.
The small mining community of Aberfan was suddenly engulfed by a collapsing slag heap from the nearby colliery, including the primary school, where 116 children died that morning.

When news broke of the disaster, every available person from all the valleys around went to help. Every mineworker not actually serving a shift underground at the time dropped everything and ran, including my Uncle Nally, who ran from his village, over the mountain-top and down to Aberfan, where he, like so many others, dug, with his shovel and even with bare hands to try to rescue those who were buried under the coal waste.

Every possibly means of transport was commandeered to bring helpers to the village, but for the locals it was almost as quick to run.
My father was actually working his shift underground at the time of the accident, but as soon as he could, he too was racing to try to rescue those children. He had two children of his own; there was no way he was going to stay at home.

I cannot even begin to imagine the grief of the community of Aberfan then, or even the grief they still endure now at the loss of a whole generation of children.

One of my father`s friends lost his twin children that day, and his life was changed irrevocably in an instant.
The heartbreaking thing ? It was completely preventable. It was due to the stupidity and negligence of the National Coal Board that the accident happened. A natural disaster would have been bad enough, but negligence ?

Lord have mercy.
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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Partied Out

Yesterday DD3 & 4 went to a party .

It was loud, noisy, bursting at the seams, and two hours of fun and laughter.
A good time was had by all, and Many Years to dear Molly, whose 5th birthday it was.

We are pretty much partied out now. This is the fourth successive weekend I have escorted DD4 to a party, and on Tuesday we celebrate DD4`s own 5 th birthday with a family tea party at home and then a party for her schoolfriends at the local cinema on Saturday morning, followed by another friend`s party in the afternoon.
Thank Heavens it`s nearly half-term; I could do with the rest from zooming around all the time ! LOL.
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Our Lady of Walsingham

Those of my readers interested in Western Rite Orthodoxy or Anglo-Catholicism may be interested to know that today marks the 75th anniversary of the translation of the image of Our Lady of Walsingham to the Holy House in the Shrine in Norfolk, UK.

There has always been an Orthodox presence and interest in the Holy Shrine, and the little Orthodox chapel tucked upstairs is one of my favourite places to attend the Divine Liturgy and receive the Holy Mysteries.......

More info about the celebrations at Walsingham this weekend can be found here

I wish I could have gone to join in......

Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us !
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Two Books

I am reading two books at the moment, both of them riveting and as different from each other as chalk and cheese.

One is Metropolitan Anthony Bloom`s "Living Prayer", the other is Mark Pinsky`s "The Gospel according to The Simpsons".

From Metropolitan Anthony :

"Theophan the Recluse says:`You ask yourself, "Have I prayed well today?". Do not try to find out how deep your emotions were, or how much deeper you understand things divine; ask yourself: "Am I doing God`s will better than I did before?" If you are, prayer has brought forth its fruits, if you are not, it has not, whatever amount of understanding or feeling you may have derived from the time spent in the presence of God."

Ouch. That struck home. I don`t think I am doing God`s will better than before.
I think I have a long way to go.

On a lighter note,The Simpsons book is a detailed critique of the "spiritual life of the world`s most animated family", and covers every aspect of the show, from its treatment of Hindus, Jews, Catholics, Fundamentalist protestants, moral dilemmas, personal prayer and much more. Impossible to find short quotes from without destroying the flow of the text:-( but I am really enjoying it.
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Doldrums and the Evil One

It seems that there are quite a few of us Orthodox folk in the blogging doldrums at present.

It is really making me wonder whether this is a concerted multi-frontal attack by the Evil One to dissipate the amazing strength and support that many of us, and espacially I, have found the network of blog buddies to have become on my spiritual journey.

Perhaps we are doing something really quite special and important, praying for each other, providing words of comfort and support and love to one another in a world where Christianity is so devalued, mocked and maligned. It really has become a virtual community.

No wonder the Evil One must hate it so much......
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A Mennonite Blogger

I was really interested to discover a Mennonite blogger yesterday.
His site is here and there are some amazing posts on the front page alone.

For a Mennonite, he sure seems to have an awful lot of Orthodox views :-)
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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Prayers For A Friend

I was the recipient of some sad news today, concerning a friend of my DD4.

I can`t divulge details, but if you could find time to remember Sam and his family in your prayers, I would be grateful.

His family need all the help they can get at present.
Lord, have mercy !
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Monday, October 09, 2006

Deep Thoughts

It is amazing just how therapeutic a good long walk in the rain with the dog has been today.

I do love my whole family dearly, but sometimes I find it hard to find consistent patience, humility and love in the way I behave towards them.
Sometimes I`m fed up, irritable, grumpy, and resent having to do things for them instead of being able to do things for myself. Once last week I caught myself yelling at the young ones "Why do I always have to do everything in this house ? Do I have slave tattooed on my forehead ?".

And these are the children I have been blessed with, whom I love dearly and for whom I would lay down my life if needed. God help my enemies, that`s all I can say.......

The reason why I have to do things is because I have a family and I am privileged to be able to care for and love them. So many women would love to have what I have, yet they cannot.
I am ashamed.

At heart I am a proud and selfish person who thinks she deserves more than she has got from life. And it is complete drivel. Objectively,I can see I have been so lucky, so blessed to have had the experiences and relationships and family that I have had, yet I always hanker after more. Another book, another chocolate bar, another anything.

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be able to be content with the abundance I already have, instead of wanting more and more, and what is worse, thinking I deserve more and more and more......

I don`t deserve any of it. Everything I have is a blessing and a gift from God, and I repay Him by being grouchy , angry, resentful and selfish.

So it is obviously time for Confession, to have a good housekeeping of my soul and conscience, to receive my spiritual prescription and medicine. I know my arthritis and fibro have really kicked in again over the last few weeks with a vengeance, but I don`t think that will cut much ice at the Dread Judgement Seat, somehow ... I need a kick up the keister, to be honest. And I know I will get it one when I go to Confession.
Better a humble Confession and a metaphorical kick up the keister now, then making my family unhappy.

Thanks to Mimi and Laura for their loving encouragement.
I will keep blogging unless my spiritual Father says otherwise.
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Blog Woes

I am a bit disheartened by my blogging .
I feel that I have lost motivation and that my posts aren`t terribly interesting any more.
Not to mention that the sheer discipline of sitting down and typing is, some days, more than I can muster.

I think I will persevere a while longer and see if things improve.
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In town last week, my mum and I were walking past one of the greeting card shops when she noticed a "bargain basket" outside.

I should mention, at this point, that my mum is one of the most prolific, patient, focused bargain-hunters God ever created. She can spot one a mile away.

She prodded me and said "Have a look!".

I did, and nearly fell flat on my back, for there were brand new, shrink-wrapped widescreen DVD movies of Star Trek - First Contact and Star Trek - Generations.

I have Generations on video, but not First Contact, though I saw it in the cinema.
The price of each of these treasures ? £1.00 each.

I was soooooo happy. We have watched them both, and thoroughly enjoyed them.

I will be going shopping with my mother more often :-)
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Zombie Mode

Didn`t get to sleep till about 10 last night (late for me) and then DD4 woke me up in the middle of the night needing to go to the toilet, so by the time I had done that, got her back to sleep, then got back to sleep myself, it was very late - or very early, depending on your perspective.

DH gets up at 4.45 am to get ready to drive back to work, so that always wakes me up good and proper. I stayed in bed till 5.30, but could not go back to sleep, so I got up, made a cup of tea, turned on the computer, read my email, caught up on my favourite blogs, fed the dog.

It is now 6.46 and I am so tired I cannot think straight. There is no point in going back to bed now, because I would have to get up at 7.15 to get the young ones ready for school anyway.
Hence the total zombificiation of Elizabeth.........
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Saturday, October 07, 2006


Neonatal Doc has an interesting article about her own - and the Amish community`s- reaction to the Pennsylvania shootings here
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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Times They are A-Changing

I forgot to mention that Autumn is definitely now here in Blogsville, Mimi !

Yesterday was the first day cold enough to produce "Dragon - Breath" weather, and the children were thrilled to bits.
It is gloriously sunny in the day, but a little cool in the morning school-run and positively arctic in the middle of the night :-)
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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Killing Sprees

I have read with horror about the latest horrific school shooting, this latest in Pennsylvania amongst the Amish community.

May God grant Grace and Rest to all those murdered, and have mercy on those who perpetrated these evil killings.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by these dreadful events in Pennsylvaia, Colorado and Wisconsin.
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The Rise And Rise Of Basil

Basil the dog now has his very own blog.
Ho hum.

There is no stopping his megalomania, I`m afraid.........

On an unrelated Basil note, my basil plant has grown tiny white flowers ! They are really pretty, and this has never happened to me before when I have kept basil.
When will they set seeds ?
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Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Destroyer

Apologies for the lack of posts this week.
Basil the destructive dog of doom has destroyed no fewer than **three** modem cables during the course of this week.

Much as I love him, I wish he didn`t have this obsession with modem cables.
At this rate he will end up on the TV programme "Dog Borstal"......
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Monday, September 25, 2006

Interesting Take on Marriage

For a truly insightful, thoughtful and funny exposition of the roles of men and women in marriage - and just why marriage is so challenging, read Dwight Longenecker here

I have read some of Dwight`s previous work on St Benedict, and he is a *very* thoughtful RC writer.
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Sunday, September 24, 2006


I shall be glad to see the back of this weekend.

DH went foodshopping, and spotted some nice ready-made meals on ridiculously cheap special offer at the supermarket. He bought loads of them . And I mean loads, thinking that it would save me having to cook so much over the weekend, bless him.

But there was one slight problem. He hadn`t realised they were *frozen* ready meals (not keep-chilled with plenty of time left before their expiry dates), and needed to be kept frozen. When he got home, he loaded them all in the fridge, and it was only after they had all defrosted that I opened the fridge and went "uh-oh". So we have eaten lots of them. Burp.

Bearing in mind my food budget for the four of us plus dog is £70 a week, to have to eat about £15 of ready meals in 24 hours was a bit of a blow, not to mention over-loading the stomachs :-)

The dog had a lucky escape from serious injury when DH left an empty Coke tin in the living-room with the dog. When DH went in again, the tin had disappeared into a shower of literally hundreds of tiny shards all over the floor, pulverised by Basil`s powerful jaws. Luckily the dog appears to have suffered no ill-effects.

The straw that broke the camel`s back was DH returning from walking Basil yesterday with the admission he had lost his wedding ring. He was desperately upset; after all, this was one of the pair that had been blessed in Church for our Betrothal service, then our Crowning service. We all piled out and retraced his steps as far as possible, but the wilderness where we generally walk the dog is acres and acres of dune-land and scrubland, loads of bushes etc, so impossible to search properly. We even went on the beach, in case it had dropped in the sand or shingle there, but to no avail.

Ho hum.

After the unscheduled expense of the poor cat last week, there is no way we can afford another £150 to replace the ring for the forseeable future.
Not the most peaceful and pleasant weekend we have ever had, I have to say.......
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Saturday, September 23, 2006

McDonald`s Versus the NHS

I wasn`t surprised to read this article showing that a manager at McDonald`s actually gets a much better deal in terms of working conditions than a junior NHS doctor in the UK .

And management staff at the Golden Arches get private medical cover for themselves, spouses and children. Go figure.
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Friday, September 22, 2006

Prayers for Hamster

I join DoomHamster in asking for prayers for Richard Hammond, (known on the show as The Hamster) one of the presenters from the BBC Top Gear car programme.

We all watch Top Gear, and we were very distressed to hear of his extremely serious accident whilst trying to break a land speed record. It is a dangerous thing to do, but it is still dreadful when disaster strikes as it did here.

Mercifully his condition has improved somewhat, and it looks like he will survive. Yesterday the odds were apparently given as 50-50 by the doctors.

Full story here
Heartfelt prayers for him, his family and his colleagues from the show, who are all naturally very upset.

The Hamster has now been transferred out of Intensive Care to a general ward, where he is making good progress, thanks be to God.
Thank you for your prayers.
He is a much-loved presenter in the UK, and well-wishers have been making substantial donations to the air ambulance fund which transported him from the accident scene to hospital.
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Arabian Nights

It is only by the closest of shaves that Turkish authoress Elif Shafak has been cleared of "insulting Turkishness" by a Turkish court.
I kid you not; go here to read how bad things are for anyone who dares to insult Turkishness in any shape or form.

And to think it may not be long till the European Union allows Turkey to join - the mind boggles. People in Britain would most likely end up in court accused of insulting Turkishness too, just for writing in a blog or a newspaper.......
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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Speech Matters

On Sunday, DD4 just looked me straight in the eye and said :
" Oh Mummy, I **love** talking !"

I had tears in my eyes, for this is the precious child who has struggled with a majorly significant speech delay for two and a half years, and is only now really just starting to catch up with the rest of her year group in school. Only within this last year has she emerged from a prison where she could think but not make herself understood to anyone around her, nor understand what people were expecting her to do.
I can only begin to imagine how scary and traumatic it must have been for her.

I love to *hear* her talking!

Just don`t start me ranting about how she has been really badly let down by the NHS due to scandalous chronic underfunding of the Speech Therapy/Pathology service both nationally and locally, which meant that she had to wait a whole year even to be assessed, and then had to go back on a waiting list before having five 45 minute sessions of speech therapy in one year.And that was it.

Thanks to her wonderful Nursery class teacher and Classroom assistant, who spent huge amounts of time talking to her and coaxing her to talk back, she has made really significant progress since last September.
There is still a long way to go, but at least she and I can talk to each other now.......
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