Tuesday, January 31, 2006

TV Thoughts

Last night I watched a documentary about the Peruvian "Mermaid Baby".

This lovely little girl was born with both legs fused together, a so -called sirenomelia baby. I have only ever seen a photograph of a miscarried baby with this syndrome, which is incredibly rare, and she is the only child alive in the world with this syndrome, as almost every other baby dies in utero. I wanted to watch it from a professional viewpoint, but I soon became caught up sadness and anger .
Her father came from a remote Peruvian village, where his family regard her as a curse, and wonder why God has allowed her to happen.

The parents , like most other Peruvians, who live in poverty, were promised that surgeons would help their baby if they agreed to take part in a media circus, for there is no other way to describe it.
The operation which took place to separate her legs was televised live, and the only way the parents could watch it was in a room where they in turn - and their reactions and emotions- were also being filmed and broadcast.

These parents agreed to it and would obviously have done anything to help their lovely little girl, who is their pride and joy, but you would have thought that even the feeding frenzy which is the world media would have shown them some compassion.

The doctor involved was a media seeker, keen to improve his status and reputation as the doctor who "cured" the mermaid baby.
When these sweet parents asked him to be their baby`s godfather, because of his help, he instead asked that his friend the Mayor of Lima be used, as it would improve the mayor`s chances when he runs for political election.

I tell you, it made me want to hurl.

I am pleased to report that the initial operations were successful, and the little one is doing well, but she will need major reconstructive surgery at further points in her growing years.
I will be praying for her and her parents.
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I apologise for the infrequent posts, but I am spending most of my free time with my mother at present, helping to sort out the paprwork etc after my step-father`s death.
Today is exactly one month since his death, please spare a moment to pray for his repose.
Memory eternal !
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Mary`s Song

As promised before Christmas, here are the words to the lovely "Mary`s Song" sung a cappella at DD3`s Carol Concert.........

Lord, You`ve filled my heart with joy,
Lord, You`ve done great things for me.
For I am just a lonely child,
I rejoice that God is my redeemer.
Lord, You`ve done great things for me,
And Holy is Your Name.

Lord, Your mercy reaches out,
And cloaks all those who fear Your name.
Great and wondrous works are done
No-one can compare with You, for -my
Lord, You`ve done great things for me,
And Holy is Your Name.

Lord, who scatters far and wide,
Those who lay down great and mighty plans.
The rich, He has sent empty hands,
Raises those who`re poor and lowly.
The Lord will help my own dear land,
And Holy is His Name.
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Saturday, January 21, 2006


DD3 decided she wanted to help represent her school in the inter-school junior cross-country tournament.
So off we trotted this morning, on a crisp, frosty but sunny morning to join about 200 other children and their parents/teachers.
Our race involved running twice the length of a rugby pitch and four times the width of a rugby pitch, which is an awfully long way for a seven year old, I have to say.

She did really well for a first attempt; two girls dropped out completely just over a third of the way round, and DD3 came last but one.

What amazed me was some of the parents there.......the stewards made it quite clear that all spectators had to stay off the running area and that no parents were allowed to "run" with their children to pace them, because it confuses the runners and could cause accidents.

When the couple standing next to me saw their son was starting to flag, the mother instantly said to her husband " Look at him; he`s losing his pace, you`ll have to go and run with him and get him going again !" and off the husband dutifully trotted, despite the stewards` remarks.

Some of the families did seem to have lost sight of the fact that these were young children having fun, not doing the qualifying round for the Olympic finals.............. they were seriously competitive :-0

Nevertheless, my little one enjoyed it, and has won points for her school by choosing to take part, even if she didn`t come in the first twenty !
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T S Eliot and Lancelot Andrewes

I was intrigued to find out last night ( from an overdue reading of a copy of the Anglican Church Times for the Epiphany) that much of T S Eliot`s glorious poem, The Journey of the Magi , is based upon a sermon preached by Bishop Lancelot Andrewes to the King at Whitehall on Christmas Day 1622...........

"A cold coming they had of it, at this time of the year; just the worst time of the year, to take a journey, and specially a long journey, in. The ways deep, the weather sharp, the days short, the sun furthest off in solstitio brumali, the very dead of winter."

Compare with T S Eliot`s version :
'A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,The very dead of winter.

'And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.
All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down This set downThis:
were we led all that way forBirth or Death?
There was a Birth, certainly, We had evidence and no doubt.
I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different;
this Birth was Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

This has always been one of my favourite poems, and I was delighted to read of its association with the godly Lancelot Andrewes...
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Monday, January 16, 2006

Tagged Again :-)

I`ve been tagged by Dave Holford, and I am endeavouring not to be so dilatory in responding this time :-)

Four jobs you have had in your life

1. Mother :-0
2. Shop assistant
3. Midwife

and that`s it.

4 Movies You Could Watch Over and Over

1. The Sound of Music (stop laughing !)
2. Jumping Jack Flash
3. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
4. Harriet The Spy/Galaxy Quest are tying for 4th place..............

4 Places You Have Lived

This is tough , as I have only lived in two places
1. Rhymney Valley in South Wales until I was 2
2. Where I live now in S. Wales :-)

4 TV Shows You Love To Watch

1. ER
and that`s it, folks :-)

4 Places You Have Been On Vacation

1. Greece
2. Austria
3. Spain
4. Canary Islands

4 Websites You Visit Daily

1. The Daily Telegraph
2. My Bloglines account
3. The Chalet School Bulletin Board
4. The Ship of Fools

4 Of Your Favorite Foods

1. Chocolate
2. Pancakes with maple syrup
3. Christmas dinner
4. Anything I haven`t had to cook myself and preferably don`t have to wash up after , either , LOL.

4 Places You Would Rather Be Right Now

1. In Church
2. Somewhere warm and sunny ! Church in Greece would be a neat option , I suppose.
3. Romania......always wanted to go there.
4. Poring over dusty Birth, marriage and death registers, tracing my elusive family history........

4 Bloggers You are Tagging

1. Richard
2. DoomHamster
3. Huw Raphael
4. Anyone else who wants to join in.........
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Anathema !

I have created a new category of folk for whom Anathema should be pronounced, namely those inconsiderate car drivers who drive so close to the kerb when it is raining that they send up huge quantities of spray from filthy puddles in the gutter upon families walking their little children to school.

My little ones got wet and I got utterly drenched this morning.

I did bellow "Thank you !!" in a seriously sarcastic tone of voice at the retreating motorist, which was not a good example to my little ones, but I was cold, wet, dirty and angry, with a long walk to school and a long walk back again ahead of me.............

Bah. Anathema !!!!!
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The funeral of my stepfather went very smoothly. Distressing, as all these occasions are, but it actually was very comforting too.
As per his request, he was cremated, and there were over 200 people at the crematorium chapel, which was packed and people were standing at the back...........

On Saturday a letter arrived from the crematorium to my mother, advising her that his ashes would not be scattered in the Garden of Remembrance (as she originally wished) for a further 14 days, as so many families in the past have changed their minds once the funeral is over.

As a result, my mother has indeed changed her mind and today we have arranged for the purchase of a plot at the Crematorium Garden for his ashes to be interred in , which enables a slate memorial plaque to be affixed as well, which means that we will be able to go and lay flowers there etc.

I am actually really glad she has changed her mind, as I like to be able to go and lay flowers and pray at a burial plot. Looking at a lawn where there may be several hundred folk`s ashes scattered, with no mention of a name anywhere near their resting place is a very poor substitute in my mind............almost as though they never existed.
I know many people like this method of disposal, but it seems so clinical to me, personally.

Thank you all for your prayers, they are very much appreciated.
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Monday, January 09, 2006


Congratulations and Many Years to the newly illumined Michael, and the newly baptised Juliana, who received the Holy Mysteries for the first time on Sunday at our parish.

I was not able to be with them, but my thoughts and prayers accompany them.

Many Years !!
Chronia Polla !!
Mnogaya Lyeta !!
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Asking a Favour

Prayers for the safe return of DD1 (AKA DoomHamster) from the USA would be much appreciated.
She leaves Denver on Monday night (9th) and arrives back in the UK Tuesday morning (10th) for her coach trip back home.

We are all looking forward to seeing her.

DD2 brought her longhaired boyfriend up on Saturday, and in the dark hall, Abby took one look at the long dark hair and was shouting "Louisie!!" and was about to launch herself to hug when she realised it wasn`t her beloved sister Louise at all and was in fact a male.

She fixed him with a suspicious glare and said "What`s your name?" in her best interrogator`s voice.
The poor boy was quite perturbed to say the least.......... LOL.
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Memo to Self

1/ Do not blog without copious quantities of caffeine.
The funeral is on Weds 11th, just in case you were thinking that the funeral was occurring last Weds.

2/Engage brain

3/Post Christmas withdrawal from copious quantities of sugar does strange things to the body.

Do not eat so much sugar in 2006.
Even though my little ones have bought me a huge box of Turkish delight for my birthday, which was on Sat 7th. I haven`t opened it yet.........
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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A Death in the Family

Dear friends, it is with a heavy heart that I entreat your prayers for the repose of the soul of my very much loved stepfather, Gordon, and for the whole of our family.

As many of you will remember, he had open heart surgery back in March 2005, and was recovering well. Indeed, he was with us for Christmas lunch and was the life and soul of the party.

His diabetes started to deteriorate and he collapsed and died late on New Year`s Eve.

I did not want to blog about it until all members of the family had been contacted and told personally.

The funeral will be on Wednesday.
Memory Eternal !!
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Sunday, January 01, 2006


A happy St Basil`s Day to you all :-)

We have made and cut our orange flavoured Vasilopitta, and it was jolly nice !!
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New Year Greetings

I wish you all a peaceful and blessed New Year.

DD3 is going to the Pantomime tomorrow to see Snow White and The Seven Dwarves with one set of her grandparents (my ex-husband`s parents).

She is wildly excited and will be wearing her new party frock which she had for Christmas.........we will be taking Abby somewhere for a little treat of her own :-)
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Ellis Peters

Philippa, you asked about the Ellis Peters detective novels !

They are absolutely wonderful, set in the 1950`s in the Welsh Marches on the whole.
I would start with "A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs" or "City of Gold and Shadows".

"Holiday with Violence" is about a group of teenagers who get mixed up in a robbery in Italy. This is one of my personal favourites.

"Black is the Colour of my True Love`s Heart" has a music theme, as does the "Funeral of Figaro"

"The Knocker on Death`s Door" is also a brilliant read.

All of her detective books are gripping, and I can pretty much guarantee you won`t be disappointed :-)
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