Saturday, October 31, 2009

All Hallows E'en

The lampada has been lit all day.
Morning Prayers were accompanied by a Kathisma of Psalms and the accompanying Kathismata prayers, for my reposed loved ones and friends, and for all my living friends who have specific needs.

May God grant us all the things needful for our salvation !

My DD1 and her fiance came to visit us today. They have set a date for their wedding, November 28 th THIS YEAR ! So it is all systems go  complete mayhem  a frantic rush to get everything ready , LOL.

But how lovely to have something nice and positive to look forward to !

DD3 is still at Scout Camp, so the house has continued to seem very quiet, despite positively  heroic attempts by DD4 to fill the void.

We did play bobbing apples, and DD3 dressed up. Two sets of Halloween trick or treaters knocked on our door, wearing great costumes , and were very sweet and polite. We laid in a goodly store of sweets for the occasion, but it is now 8.25pm and we may not get any more visitors.

We didn't have the heart to do the pumpkin with DD3 away, so we will save that for tomorrow when she gets back :-)
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7, Part Two

DH has spent nearly all day doing extremely clever computery things.
 We do now have sound.

The OS still does not believe that we have either a CD or DVD drive, so we cannot use those.

New graphics drivers needed to be sourced in order to solve the wretched text display problems, but at least we can read things now, which was not the case this morning.

We are no longer so unhappy with Windoze 7, but it still needs a humungous amount of work to get the computer fully functional again.

Quite whether 7 is worth all the aggro and hassle, I am reserving judgement for the time being.......
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Moo's Cousin !

I was delighted to read this on the local news today; Moo's Welsh cousin is safely back with his humans after being stolen.........

Moo has a Welsh cousin !
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NaNoWriMo 2009

NaNoWriMo beckons !

I am getting quite excited and have started to get lots more plot ideas, for which I am profoundly thankful !

I will have to discipline myself to get the minimum 1700 words a day written in order to meet the deadline. If I spend the time I normally do web-surfing aimlessly on writing instead, I should do it with no difficulty.

It will be interesting to see if that will be the case..........
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Eerily Quiet

No, this post is not about Hallowe'en.

DD3 went merrily off to a weekend Scout Camp last night. The house is so quiet without her. I don't like it one little bit.

DH, DD4 and I are rattling around very uneasily without our little chatterbox !

I know DD3 will be having a wonderful time, but I shall be glad when she is safely home teatime on Sunday..........
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Windoze 7

In a fit of  enthusiasm, DH bought a copy of the aforementioned abomination    software and installed it yesterday on our main desktop computer downstairs.

What do I think ?  Disappointed is an understatement.

The display is pants rubbish, and unless you have it set on the largest font size, web pages on an old -fashioned monitor are appallingly difficult to read.It is very much designed for modern flat large LCD screens.
 I have tweaked and tweaked every possible setting and accessibility option, but to no avail. In order to read most of my web pages and Bloglines, I now have to scroll both horizontally and vertically to access all parts of each page. I am not a happy camper.

Of course, to try to get onto the 7 helpsite is nearly impossible because of the heavy  traffic..............

 It is certainly not intuitive to use; virtually every feature needs extensive configuration. It is not compatible with our soundcard, so we have no sound at all. So I can't listen to any Orthodox radio whilst I work :-(

DH, after making all sorts of grumbling noises at the hours he spent installing and configuring it all, wants to uninstall it and re-install good old Windoze XP forthwith, which does at least work, and work well.

Better the Devil you know than the Devil you don't know.........

At the moment, in our house, we have computers running Linux Ubuntu, XP, Vista, and 7. I still love my baby webook and Ubuntu :-)
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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Two Titles Identified !

Congratulations to Susan  who sent me an email correctly identifying two of the five titles in my book Meme.
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Literary Meme !

Updated to give the answers, and heartfelt apologies for  leaving it so long. Thank you for reminding me, Gretchen !

The answers are :-

1/ A Civil Contract, by Georgette Heyer.

2/  A Nice Derangement Of Epitaphs by Ellis Peters.  This is one of her Inspector Felse mysteries, and an absolute classic.

3/ So You Want To Be A Wizard ? by the incredibly accomplished sci-fi and Star Trek writer, Diane Duane. Ostensibly for kids, but really for adults :-)

4/ The Lost Staircase by Elinor M Brent-Dyer, she of the Chalet School series fame. This is a fill-in book, and unashamedly historically orientated to deal with late medieval/Tudor/Stuart religious customs.  An excellent, though slightly dated read. 

5/ The Dean's Watch by the incomparable Elizabeth Goudge.  I cry every time I read this, but still love it to bits. My copy has, quite literally, fallen apart through being read so much.

Well done to those of you who guessed corectly !


Anybody want to play along too ?

1. Pick 5 of your favorite books.

2. Post the first sentence of each book. (If one sentence seems too short, post two or three!)

3. Let everyone try to guess the titles and authors of your books.


So, here are my five ! Have fun !

Edited to corect two typos. Sorry !

The Library at Fontley Priory, like most of the principal apartments in the sprawling building, looked to the south-east, commanding a prospect of informal gardens and a plantation of poplars, which acted as a wind-break and screened from view the monotony of the fen beyond    Identified.


The boy in the sea was in difficulties, that was plain from the first moment Dominic clapped eyes on him.

Part of the problem, Nita thought to herself as she tore desperately down Rose Avenue, is that I can't keep my mouth shut..

Dragon House was built during the later years of the Seventh Henry by Master Balthazar Gellibrand. Why Master Gellibrand should have left his native Kent and crossed England to the Welsh Marches to find him a home was a question no one but he could solve.

The candle flame burned behind the glass globe of water, its light flooding over Isaac Peabody’s hands as he sat at work on a high stool before his littered work-table.      Identified
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Monday, October 26, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009

Eek !

I have bitten the bullet and signed up for NaNoWriMo.
So now I have to write a 50 000 word story between Nov 1 and Nov 30th.

I must be mad........walks off, shaking her head sadly :-)
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You may remember that a while ago, I blogged about the elderly lady who had an accident near our home.

I forgot to mention that a few weeks ago, I had cause to escort a family member to the GP's  surgery, and whom should I see also sitting in the waiting room, but the very same elderly lady whom I was able to assist in some small way on that eventful day.

She looked quite well, and her injuries were fully healed. She did not recognise me, but I was so glad to see that she seemed to be doing well after her nasty fall :-)
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NaNoWriMo 2009

Is anyone else thinking of joining in National Novel Writing Month ?

I am pondering whether I have the nerve -  intelligent thought processes -  committment to do it. I have loads of ideas whirling in my head, but actually disciplining myself to write every day for a whole month - whoah !
Don't know if I can do it !

 I did think about it last year too, but never got round to it.......
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Clutter Part 2

I must now put up my hand and declare that I have two simply enormous piles of my own paperwork that need sorting and filing, and which I intend to do today.

She definitely gets her hoarding tendencies from me :-)

But I do believe in hoovering, dusting and cleaning, and DD3 has not yet discovered the delights and necessities of these activities, at the tender age of 11..............
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DD3 and I have spent a considerable amount of time and energy this morning, sorting  out her filthy pigsty tip abomination um, bedroom.

Sometimes I despair of ever persuading her that to keep her room the way she does is actually a health hazard. At one point this morning I was seriously contemplating offering it to the Center for Disease Control for research and decontamination......

We have completely sorted out about 2/3rds of the room so far, and it has been thoroughly cleaned. Three wastepaper bins full of rubbish and one large carrier bag of junk have been disposed of so far, and there is still much to do, but we are getting there.

It is only eight weeks since the last major "spring-clean" of this room and I cannot understand how much the clutter has mounted up since then, especially as I go in every week to do an "obvious junk, needs  throwing out" session.
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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Also Recently Read

If you have any interest in exploration, the Antarctic, heroism or  endurance under the most horrific and challenging conditions, you will thoroughly enjoy the detailed chronicles of the expedition of the ship Endurance, under the leadership of Ernest Shackleton  from 1914 - 1917. Gripping stuff indeed.

I love the Notes and Queries series. It covers all sorts of topics, form the sublime to the ridiculous. This volume deals with  the origins of the phrase "anyone for tennis", whether insects urinate, whether putting milk in your tea first or last affects the taste, why do French produced notebooks have squared rather than lined paper and what is the longest voyage ever made by a pedalo, amongst many, many others........

Susan Hill is an incredibly talented writer, whose books cover ghost stories, plays, detective fiction, family life and much more. This one is a gem, dealing with a young woman's loss and journey through grief after her husband was killed in a tragic accident. I was astounded at how innately Orthodox it was in so many ways, particularly  where the protagonist is aware of her recently reposed husband being there with her in their home, but a few days later, he was gone. It was very vividly written and  neatly ties in with the belief that the soul of the departed does indeed stay near its familiar places and loved ones for the first few days after death......I have never read any other fiction books which describe this........
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Recently Read

I have always loved Georgette Heyer's Regency novels and her  crime novels. I have never been quite so fond of her historical novels, finding them rather turgid, with the honourable exceptions of "An Infamous Army" and "The Spanish Bride". I saw "Royal Escape" about the English Civil War whilst in the Library and thought I would try it again, but I was no keener on it this time round than I was the last time.......

Ah, Hugh ! Hugh is the author and star of The River Cottage series about his life as a small-holder, rearing and catching his own food. He has produced many highly successful cookbooks (and yes,  I do have one of them , LOL). This is a collection of his published articles about restaurants, chefs, famous restaurants and food in general, published in newspapers and magazines over a lengthy period. Absolutely hilarious.

The new TP book ! I am not a particular fan of The Beautiful Game, but the journey of the wizards of the Unseen University into forming - under duress- their very own football team is utterly priceless. I savoured every word :-)  Terry Pratchett on top form !!
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Like A Drowned Rat

We have had some very havy downpours of rain recently. So much so, that they were actually flash floods on one day.  The storm drains in the road simply could not cope with the volume of water and the drain covers in the road were lifted clean up and water was spouting into the air.

The bloated body of a rat was shot up with the water out of the drain near our house, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase "looking like a drowned rat...."
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And Even More On Kathisma Prayers !

An exceedingly  comprehensive traditional English language version of an extended Russian usage Psalter has been produced which has been carefully edited and adapted to be  in full conformity with the Septuagint texts.

This volume contains  introductory material, the "before" and "after" prayers, the Kathisma prayers at their appointed places in the Psalter, how to read the Psalter for the Reposed (the prayers are different) and much much more.  Cost of The Liturgical Psalter is $40 postage paid  .

The company's snail mail address is :-

David James
Paradise Press
PO Box 530
New Hampshire

Information gleaned from the Occidentalis mailing list over at Yahoo Groups, where David is a contributor.
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More on Kathisma Prayers

Happy, happy, joy, joy !!
 I cannot help it, I simply love Coverdale/Cranmerian style Liturgical English.........

I have found a link to a downloadable Slavonic/Traditional English psalter which contains the Kathismata prayers :-)

It is quite a big download, 2.89 Mb, and the parish no longer produces a hard copy for sale, so it may well disappear from the site at some point. It may be wise to download it now, to be on the safe side.
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Kathisma Prayers

I have at last found an online source for the Kathisma prayers which are interspersed amongst the Psalms as well as the "Alleluias" and "Glory be" prayers.

The booklet pdf is available here

I have saved a copy myself,  so if ever the original linked site disappears, I still have a copy on my hard drive, and I am printing a hard copy as I type........
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Prayer For A Lost TV Clicker

I saw this over on the Ship of Fools forum, and simply have to post it here !

The Shipmate who composed it uses the nom de plume of  "Adeodatus" , and I reproduce it here in all its grandeur:-

"Almighty God, forasmuch as it hath pleased thee of thy great goodness, mercy and benificence to ordain unto all things that they be subject to thy healthful servant Gravity, and as it behoveth thy people ill to request or petition that thou shouldst even for the twinkling of an eye suspend the blessed workings of the same: do thou therefore, we beseech thee, send thine aid to this, thine unworthy disciple, that by patience and diligence and with thy good grace and favour, he mighest find the tv remote that seemeth to have fallen down the back of this most comfortable sofa or settee for the third time this evening; for the love of thine only Son, etc."

So it is possible to write completely contemporary prayers in mellifluous and solemn English.........
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The 100 Most Beautiful Words In English

Edited to add that this was not my own work.
I would have loved to have been clever enough to be credited with this, but all credit must go here :-

The 100 most beautiful words in English


Ailurophile   A cat-lover.

Assemblage   A gathering.

Becoming   Attractive.

Beleaguer   To exhaust with attacks.

Brood   To think alone.

Bucolic   In a lovely rural setting.

Bungalow   A small, cozy cottage.

Chatoyant   Like a cat's eye.

Comely   Attractive.

Conflate   To blend together.

Cynosure   A focal point of admiration.

Dalliance   A brief love affair.

Demesne   Dominion, territory.

Demure   Shy and reserved.

Denouement   The resolution of a mystery.

Desuetude   Disuse.

Desultory   Slow, sluggish.

Diaphanous   Filmy.

Dissemble   Deceive.

Dulcet   Sweet, sugary.

Ebullience   Bubbling enthusiasm.

Effervescent   Bubbly.

Efflorescence   Flowering, blooming.

Elision  Dropping a sound or syllable in a word.

Elixir   A good potion.

Eloquence   Beauty and persuasion in speech.

Embrocation   Rubbing on a lotion.

Emollient   A softener.

Ephemeral   Short-lived.

Epiphany   A sudden revelation.

Erstwhile   At one time, for a time.

Ethereal   Gaseous, invisible but detectable.

Evanescent   Vanishing quickly, lasting a very short time.

Evocative   Suggestive.

Fetching   Pretty.

Felicity   Pleasantness.

Forbearance   Withholding response to provocation.

Fugacious   Fleeting.

Furtive   Shifty, sneaky.

Gambol   To skip or leap about joyfully.

Glamour   Beauty.

Gossamer   The finest piece of thread, a spider's silk

Halcyon    Happy, sunny, care-free.

Harbinger   Messenger with news of the future.

Imbrication   Overlapping and forming a regular pattern.

Imbroglio   An altercation or complicated situation.

Imbue   To infuse, instill.

Incipient   Beginning, in an early stage.

Ineffable   Unutterable, inexpressible.

Ingénue   A naïve young woman.

Inglenook   A cozy nook by the hearth.

Insouciance   Blithe nonchalance.

Inure   To become jaded.

Labyrinthine   Twisting and turning.

Lagniappe   A special kind of gift.

Lagoon   A small gulf or inlet.

Languor   Listlessness, inactivity.

Lassitude   Weariness, listlessness.

Leisure   Free time.

Lilt   To move musically or lively.

Lissome   Slender and graceful.

Lithe   Slender and flexible.

Love   Deep affection.

Mellifluous   Sweet sounding.

Moiety   One of two equal parts.

Mondegreen   A slip of the ear.

Murmurous   Murmuring.

Nemesis   An unconquerable archenemy.

Offing   The sea between the horizon and the offshore.

Onomatopoeia   A word that sounds like its meaning.

Opulent   Lush, luxuriant.

Palimpsest   A manuscript written over earlier ones.

Panacea   A solution for all problems

Panoply   A complete set.

Pastiche   An art work combining materials from various sources.

Penumbra   A half-shadow.

Petrichor   The smell of earth after rain.

Plethora   A large quantity.

Propinquity   An inclination.

Pyrrhic   Successful with heavy losses.

Quintessential   Most essential.

Ratatouille   A spicy French stew.

Ravel   To knit or unknit.

Redolent   Fragrant.

Riparian   By the bank of a stream.

Ripple   A very small wave.

Scintilla   A spark or very small thing.

Sempiternal   Eternal.

Seraglio   Rich, luxurious oriental palace or harem.

Serendipity   Finding something nice while looking for something else.

Summery   Light, delicate or warm and sunny.

Sumptuous   Lush, luxurious.

Surreptitious   Secretive, sneaky.

Susquehanna   A river in Pennsylvania.

Susurrous   Whispering, hissing.

Talisman   A good luck charm.

Tintinnabulation   Tinkling.

Umbrella   Protection from sun or rain.

Untoward   Unseemly, inappropriate.

Vestigial   In trace amounts.

Wafture   Waving.

Wherewithal   The means.

Woebegone   Sorrowful, downcast.
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Cuteness Overload !

I *so* want one of these Hello Kitty duvet sets for myself , but they don't make them in king-size. And I suppose DH might object to the overwhelming pinkness of it all  :-)

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Making Candles

This is a beautiful documentary about making church candles.

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Old-Fashioned Fairground

Folly Farm has a large selection of historic traditional fairground rides. This carousel, in full working order, was magical. Each horse was beautifully painted and named. This horse was named Matthew.

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Alpacas !

These alpacas were gorgeous, and so friendly !

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Especially For S-P And Moo !

Not as large as Moo, nor as handsome, but still a fine Chelonian !
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Pygmy Goats At Folly Farm

Pygmy Goats in the Folly Barn

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Bottle-Feeding Goat Kids At Folly Farm

This goat kid was waiting impatiently for visitors to produce the bottle of milk :-)

Happily glugging down the milk !                                                             

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Nothing Beats.....

having a present which is almost as big as you are :-)

This giant Hello Kitty cushion was a roaring success !
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Sleeping Beauty

......on a Scooby Doo bed !

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Folly Farm

Folly Farm is very much more than a farm. Situated in a glorious part of Pembrokeshire, it has an enormous number of indoor and outdoor attractions, making it ideal for a child-friendly day out, no matter what the weather.

As DD4's birthday dawned bright and clear, we set off anticipating a fun day, and we were not disappointed :-)

As a child, I loved playing with marionettes, so this coin-operated display was a must for me :-) If you click on the photo, you get a larger version for your delectation.......

Lots more photos to follow in a day or two.....
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Getting Things Done

I have finally worked out how to upload photos I have taken with my brother's brilliant digital SLR camera.

This camera was his pride and joy, and I am delighted that my mother wanted me to have it.

I will certainly give it a good home, and have taken some nice photos with it.
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Bags For Life....And Other Things

Warning, this post may cause offense or distress.

I have a rather dark sense of humour, sometimes.......



Tesco, one of Britain's major superstores, runs a very high profile recycling campaign to cut down the use of plastic carrier bags. Called "Bag For Life", they offer a variety of durable re-usable bags which they will replace for free if they break. It is a sensible, practical and popular concept, which was quickly taken up by other supermarket chains. Further details can be seen here.

I actually have loads of Tesco's Bags For Life and use them regularly. I really love the designs of the plastic bags, which they change regularly.

You may well be wondering, at this point, what on earth I am rambling on about. If you go to the Link above,and look at the picture, you will see a very nice hessian type sturdy shopping bag. Durable, sensible, and rather attractive.

Other companies and organisations have taken up the idea with enthusiasm, and it is quite common to see these hessian bags with logos of all kinds. A town not a million miles away from us has produced its own version, for instance.

But imagine my surprise, therefore, when arriving at the funeral director's office to pick up my brother's cremated remains, to see a hessian bag, sporting the name and logo of the Crematorium where my brother's funeral service and cremation took place. In the bag was the wooden casket containing my brother's ashes. The casket was surprisingly heavy, and the bag *did* make it much easier to transport the casket safely to our car.

However, I simply cannot imagine ever using that bag, bearing a crematorium logo, to go shopping with on a daily basis, somehow........

Quite what I shall do with it, once my brother's remains have been interred, I am not sure.

A Bag for Life is one thing, but a Bag for Death is quite another......
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Isn't it funny, just writing down how difficult I found it to send the photos to my brother's work colleagues was enough to spur me on to send the photos off by email and that job has been completed now.
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I am procrastinating and I do not know why.

I have photos of my brother to email to his colleagues, and I just cannot bring myself to do it. It will take me five minutes tops and I have put it off for a fortnight.

I have a story about picking up my brother's cremated remains, and I cannot bring myself to write it.

I have three pairs of lovely new trousers which only need minor adjustments, but again, I cannot bring myself to do them.

About the only thing I have managed to do today is pray for folk for whom I have promised prayers, and to watch my collection of Jericho DVDs whilst attacking a mountain of ironing.

Yesterday was DD4's 8th birthday, and we had a great day out. I have all the photos uploaded on my PC and am putting off writing the blogpost. Everything just seems such an effort at the moment.

Is this just me, or is it grieving ?

I don't know......
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I thought this was just amazing !

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Jewish Wisdom

I often amble over to some of the Hassidic Jewish sites to have a read.

One article at by Aron Moss, entitled "What If I Have No Time for Spirituality?" particularly caught my eye, especially as I have been struggling to juggle family, home and work committments.

It is well worth a read.
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Busy Busy

Just about sums up this week so far.

Between the new job, visiting my Mum and helping her with things, picking the girls up from school, plus washing and ironing has dominated my week.

I have only done three hours of volunteering rather than my usual nine, and it has made a big difference :-)

Mum is very much better, and was able to get downstairs and sit for about an hour and a half before needing to lie down, but that is a vast improvement over the weekend.

Mother in law also continues to improve in health, so that is also a big relief.

The weekend will see DD4 celebrate her 8th birthday.....I don't know where the years have gone. My baby !
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Monday, October 12, 2009

On The Up :-)

My mother is very much better today, thanks be to God.

She is sitting up in bed, taking notice and issuing instructions, which is *always* a good sign ! I washed a mini-mountain of laundry for her and hung it out to try, did paperwork for her that she was fretting about, and sundry other jobs.

On the walk back home, I was blessed to see a buzzard lazily soaring on the thermals (it was a gloriously sunny and hot afternoon) so I simply stood and watched and throughly enjoyed the sight :-) It was fun.

Mother in law is still not so good, but feeling a little better.

I had a busy day in work, plus one of my volunteer jobs for an hour or so rather than the three hours I normally dedicate to it. I am cutting back, honest :-)

Thank you all for your prayers, I really, really appreciate each and every one of you so much, and thank God for you all.

I am blessed.
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

"Fed Up Part 3" - Or - "Trying Hard To Be Positive !"

Mother in law phoned today and she is still no better, so she needs to see the doctor on Monday morning, as he instructed. She "sat" on this illness for two whole weeks without saying a word to *anyone*, even though we saw her for several hours on one day last week and this week, which has certainly not helped the situation at all.

My mother had a slightly more comfortable night, and our lovely doctor popped round to see her this morning (he is still off-duty and doing all this without pay, but he is a "proper" doctor who does care about his patients !) and gave her another injection of Demerol and increased her oral painkillers. She is able to drink fluids but cannot eat. So quite what will happen next, I have no idea.

She cannot stay home like this indefinitely and at some point will need to go into hospital for investigation/long-term pain control strategies.

The wood did arrive last night, albeit later than we expected, and we managed to get it all stacked in the garage in one and a quarter hours, which was jolly good going, considering it was dark outside :-)

I am trying hard to be positive but things seem to be unravelling around me at the moment......
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Saturday, October 10, 2009


The Doctor has been and Mum wouldn't go into hospital after all.

She has had a shot of Pethidine (Demerol)to make her more comfortable and her meds altered, but that's all he can do if she won't agree to be admitted.

I am tearing my hair out.
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Fed Up 2 Updated

Mum has now agreed to go into hospital because she can no longer stand the pain.

Waiting for the doctor to arrive to assess her.

And of course, the wretched enormous whole winter delivery of firweood is on its way to our house too and I cannot be in two places at once. If it just gets dumped on the drive, with no-one to stack it safely in the garage, by the time I get back, it will have been stolen.

Aaaaaagggghhh !!!!!!!!!
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Fed Up 2

My mother is really very poorly indeed today.

She is in terrible pain, her prescribed extremely strong medication is doing nothing to help relieve the pain, she can barely move at all, yet she refuses to let us phone for the Doctor to come out and assess her because she does not want to be admitted to hospital.

Which, of course, is exactly what she needs to get the pain under control.


Prayers please.............
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Friday, October 09, 2009


I am cautiously optimistic about the way the part-time job is going. But doing that, plus my other comittments, and caring for husband, children, dog, house etc is taking its toll.

I am sooooo tired. It is an effort to do very much round the house at the moment.

I may need to seriously re-assess some of my voluntary work and cut back accordingly. I feel as though I am being stretched very thinly at the moment..........
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Fed Up

Yesterday did not start well.

When we came downstairs, it was to find my favourite of our two lovely budgies was a very dead, cold, crumpled little heap on the floor of the cage. His companion, the noisy and oddly psychotic Charlie, is alive and well, which pretty much rules out environmental factors.

So there was much sobbing from the small people. And a sad little burial in the back yard.....

DD3's tendinitis is back with a vengeance.

M-I-L disclosed she has not been well all week so we had to take her to the doctor this morning.

My mother is not so good either.

The weather has turned very cold. When I was cooking tea this afternoon, I had to wear a thick cardigan over my jumper and turn the oven on and leave the door open to keep warm in the kitchen.
Thankfully, our firewood is being delivered on Saturday evening...........
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Thursday, October 08, 2009

New FMG Book

Frederica Matthewes-Green has a new book out, about the Jesus prayer.

An excerpt is available to read here !
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Monday, October 05, 2009


I now have a part-time admin job :-)

I haven't been criticised or fired, so I think it probably is going okay......
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Resources For Children

There are loads of new items over at Potamitis Publishers especially some super colouring sheets, worksheets and puzzles.

Well worth a visit :-)
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Sunday, October 04, 2009

My Brother

My mother's favourite photo of him, taken in 1988. It so vividly captures his smile and his bubbly, energising and motivating personality.

It was a blessing and a privilege to have him as my brother !
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Recently Read 3

I saw this in a bookshop when it was originally published, looked at how "thin" it was compared to his other books and was reluctant to part with the money, to be honest. So when I saw it in a thrift shop for 50 pence, it was instantly in my hands.

And yes, it would have been worth paying full price for. The only Bryson book I read which I didn't think was truly wonderful was the Life and Times of the Thunderbolt kid.

And maybe I shall get that from the Library and give it another try. Perhaps I am a little less critical than when I first read it.......
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Recently Read 2

"Come, Follow Me" chronicles an amazing year in the life of Mother Cassiana when she was in Moldavia (Romania). She lived and worked with the nuns at a monastery, and was sent on various obediences to visit other monastic foundations. The richness and depth of Orthodoxy in this area is wondrous and astonishing. I would really love to visit one day.....

I always enjoy reading things Jewish, and "Holy Days" was a fascinating look at the Hassidic world. Definitely another keeper !

After Michelle's glowing review, I simply had to read this one, and I am so glad that I did. I shall be reluctant to return this to the Library and simply must have my own copy :-)
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Recently Read

....but photos only just uploaded to the computer :-)

I thoroughly enjoyed Educating Esme. The diary of a newly qualified teacher's first year at a "deprived area" school in Chicago. Inspiring and terrifying in equal quantities......

An inside view of Churchill and World War II by one of his team of war secretaries. It was fascinating to read about a real-life experience rather than a third party sanitised historical account. The author portrays herself, Churchill and those she met in very real terms, though her admiration and respect for Churchill shine through in every word. A great book, and certainly one I will look out to buy a copy for myself.

Claire Tomalin's biography of Jane Austen is superb. Words simply cannot do it justice. I shall treasure this book and re-read it often.
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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Memorial For a Veteran

Originally posted by Walt over at Life in Manch Vegas.

This message speaks volumes…
In our hands we hold today.
In our dreams we hold tomorrow.
In our hearts we hold forever.

We're hearing a lot today about big splashy memorial services.. I want a nationwide memorial service for Darrell "Shifty" Powers.

Shifty volunteered for the airborne in WWII and served with Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st Airborne Division. If you've seen Band of Brothers on HBO or the History Channel, you know Shifty. His character appears in all 10 episodes, and Shifty himself is interviewed in several of them.

I met Shifty in the Philadelphia airport several years ago. I didn't know who he was at the time. I just saw an elderly gentleman having trouble reading his ticket. I offered to help, assured him that he was at the right gate, and noticed the "Screaming Eagle," the symbol of the 101st Airborne, on his hat.

Making conversation, I asked him if he'd been in the 101st Airborne or if his son was serving. He said quietly that he had been in the 101st. I thanked him for his service, then asked him when he served, and how many jumps he made.
Quietly and humbly, he said "Well, I guess I signed up in 1941 or so, and was in until sometime in 1945 ... . . " at which point my heart skipped.

At that point, again, very humbly, he said "I made the 5 training jumps at Toccoa, and then jumped into Normandy . . . . do you know where Normandy is?" At this point my heart stopped.

I told him "yes, I know exactly where Normandy is, and I know what D-Day was." At that point he said "I also made a second jump into Holland , into Arnhem ." I was standing with a genuine war hero . . . . and then I realized that it was June, just after the anniversary of D-Day.. I asked Shifty if he was on his way back from France , and he said "Yes. And it's real sad because, these days, so few of the guys are left, and those that are, lots of them can't make the trip." My heart was in my throat and I didn't know what to say.

I helped Shifty get onto the plane and then realized he was back in Coach while I was in First Class. I sent the flight attendant back to get him and said that I wanted to switch seats. When Shifty came forward, I got up out of the seat and told him I wanted him to have it, that I'd take his in coach.

He said "No, son, you enjoy that seat. Just knowing that there are still some who remember what we did and who still care is enough to make an old man very happy." His eyes were filling up as he said it. And mine are brimming up now as I write this.

Shifty died on June 17, 2009 after fighting cancer.

There was no parade.
No big event in Staples Center .
No wall to wall back to back 24x7 news coverage.
No weeping fans on television.
And that's not right.

Let's give Shifty his own Memorial Service, online, in our own quiet way. Please forward this email to everyone you know. Especially to the veterans.

Rest in peace, Shifty.
Chuck Yeager, MajGen. [ret.]
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Friday, October 02, 2009

Funeral Day

The funeral and reception both went very well indeed today.

The Crematorium holds 400 and it was almost three-quarters full. I was delighted to see so many people there. One couple flew all the way from Abu Dhabi yesterday in order to attend the funeral...........

Mum took it all very hard, and had to follow the coffin in a wheelchair. She was too fragile and too wrung-out to walk. At the reception, she sat down and simply couldn't move to speak to people.

I had to do all the "meet and greet", which I found hard as there were so many of his colleagues, friends and neighbours I simply did not know. I managed, though. I saw Mum safely home and got home myself at 6.30pm.

I am absolutely exhausted, but so very glad the day went so very peacefully with no difficulties.

We gave my brother a good "send-off", so I am relieved, and Mum was happy that it went smoothly.

Thank you all for your prayers......
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Thursday, October 01, 2009


Tomorrow, Friday, is my precious brother's funeral.

Prayers for his repose and for strength for us as a family to bear the grief of the day would be very much is going to be hard.
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