Saturday, July 28, 2007

Can't help acting on impulse...

An e-mail discussion with a friend about whether to go and see La Vie en Rose (the Edith Piaf biopic) put me in a French mood this morning, so to speak. I went downstairs (What? Doesn't everyone check their e-mails as soon as they get up?) and dug out my cheapo collection of French café songs on CD and started to play them. It's a hotch potch collection of Edith, Charles Trenet, Maurice Chevalier - you know the sort of thing. As I sang along with the bits I know, I said to his Lordship "Pity we haven't got any croissants, we could have had a French themed breakfast." With that, he grabs his car keys and trots off to Tesco for some 'authentic' French croissants. We shunned instant coffee for the proper stuff and had croissants, pain au chocolat and jam. I suppose the jam should have been Bonne Maman but it was damson with Lindisfarne mead - all I could find in the cupboard but it did the job. Very nice...

Later we were at the local shops, the sun was shining (first time this year, I think!) and we were on our way back to the car when we spotted some people sitting outside a pub. I said "Ooh, d'you know, I could just drink a nice cold glass of cider..." Enough said, the genie of the croissants again responded to my whim. Even better since we felt naughty 'cos the kids were at home and didn't have a clue. Two impulsive acts in one day. Can't be bad. Still shouldn't these things happen in threes? Hmm...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Bored, bored, bored...

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way...

Also sprach Pink Floyd...You know it's amazing how you crave time off and when you get it you just fritter it away. I am absolutely bored senseless but it isn't that I haven't got anything to do, I just can't be bothered picking myself up off my big fat behind and doing anything. I have lived on chocolate, biscuits and Pot Noodle all week. I am eating myself into oblivion. And that's before I even start on feeding my internet addiction. I have set up yet another blog - this time for the local Christians to post ecumenical stuff of interest. Actually, I think this one will be reasonably popular. It is called sinnergize - no, it's not a spelling mistake, it's just me trying to be clever!

We did get to see the delightful, delovely 'P' and 'S' the other night at the rambling mansion that is the local vicarage. We only intended to stay for an hour, since 'P' was still poorly but we were greedy and stayed until gone midnight. Well, we had a year's worth of chat to get through and we won't see them for at least another year.

I am currently trying to paint a picture. Of course, I can't paint and this is my first attempt so it is pretty crap but I want to exhibit it in the church art festival, if only to serve as an encouragement to others to have a go ("Blimey, that's rubbish, even I could do better than that!") I may or may not post a photo of it here when it is finished - depends how strong I am feeling.

I keep having dreams about my old job. Last night I dreamt that they took me back on, evenings only! The previous night I dreamt that I was feeling sad 'cos I would be leaving at the end of the week. When I woke up I thought I still had my last week to go. Strange...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

First days of the hols...

Here's a piccy of a lovely little rose which is currently residing in a pot on my kitchen window sill. How very cheery it looks! Well, we are a few days into the summer hols (or my unemployment, whichever way you look at it). Not done much as yet. I'm still going through my typical post year end torpor. Everything is still a bit unreal after leaving work. Yesterday I did venture out to the local town centre. I thought it would be a good idea to spend my Waterstones vouchers so I have ordered all of the recommended reading for my course. I also had some vouchers which my parents-in-law gave me for my birthday so I have bought some novels to balance out the compulsory reading. While I was in there, who did I bump into but 'M' (Head of Drama) and 'B' (her mate and a former colleague). Seems you can't get away from them (only joking!) That is the thing about this peninsula (and particularly educational circles) -it's very close knit (some might describe it as 'incestuous'!)

'M's' sister was also there and she has some baby bunnies to find homes for. I was tempted. Well we still have a barely used hutch in our garden so I have asked 'his Lordship' if we ought to get one. He was actually well up for it so we are using the opportunity to challenge our youngest to sort her attitude out. She doesn't know what the reward is, yet, as he has put it in a sealed envelope (the 'prize notification', not the rabbit!).
'P' and 'S' are very good friends of ours. The friendship goes back to 2000 when I first met them and attended a short introductory Christianity course at their house. He was actually a local vicar at the time. Given their role in my spiritual journey, I place them in my Premier League as friends go. They are now living and working in Kenya but are currently visiting the UK. We had planned to go for a meal with them last night at a South African restaurant but sadly 'P' has taken really poorly. I'm not surprised, they run themselves into the ground. Anyway, rather that cancel completely, his Lordship and I decided not to cancel the table but to go ourselves. Super food! To be recommended. We both had crocodile for starter and I had ostrich for a main course. His Lordship had kudu which I gather is some kind of antelopey creature. Anyhow, it was beautifully cooked the staff were delightfully warm and hospitable and I am recommending it to anyone in the area. It is the Jabula and it is on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal in Ellesmere Port, just by the Boat Museum. Will see 'P' and 'S' tonight for coffee and cake...

Friday, July 20, 2007

Parting is such sweet sorrow...

I finished my job today at the end of the summer term. Guess that makes me officially unemployed. I felt a bit shaky all day. Leaving some really good mates is such a wrench. When you spend best part of your life, over a number of years, with the same group of people you naturally become very attached to some. I've always managed to keep my distance to a certain extent but I think the whole faith thing makes me care about people far more than I used to and in so doing I make myself vulnerable. I suppose that is a good thing. At least it puts me in touch with my full emotional range. Yesterday Languages had cake and sparkling wine to say bye bye to myself and to P who is also leaving and also for E who has had a promotion. In English they had a full blown buffet lunch to send me off, complete with Buck's Fizz, table cloth and everything. I wanted to love them all.

All day today I felt as if I would burst into tears if anyone said anything nice to me and we had this 'valediction' thing at a local rugby club. You know, speeches, presentations, that sort of stuff. I was a bit nervous about it but there were loads of people going today so there was time to acquire some dutch courage, thankfully. My boss J did a lovely tribute to me which was all the more poignant since she herself was leaving today. The staff bought me some lovely gifts and cards and said such nice things that I feel quite unworthy of their kindness.

When I got home I felt edgy and obviously had some surplus adrenalin in my system so I was pacing up and down a bit. A pizza and mammoth dose of Big Brother has relaxed me a bit now, though so I might have a milky drink and to bed. I'm glad Nicky went - she did moan a lot but I felt for her as she left. She looked so uncomfortable.

I must remember it is my turn for church cleaning tomorrow at 9.30 and I've a hairdressing appointment at 11:00. Will probably visit Mum in the afternoon.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

5 Fave hymns

Well, I've been tagged by Brother James Hayes f.i.c. for my 5 favourite hymns. You don't make it easy, do you Bro James? I have agonised for days over my choices and have probably left some good ones out. The original tag was for the 5 favourite Latin hymns and 5 favourite English hymns. Well, I have to say 'Latin hymns' is somewhat problematic for me since, apart from Ave Maria, I've never sung any Latin in church. However, I love sacred music and can at least summon up some favourite pieces as follows (in no particular order):

1. Miserere Mei by Allegri - achingly beautiful and has me floating in the rafters every time.

2. Lamentations of Jeremiah by Thomas Tallis. I love a bit of melancholy, within reason, and this whole series of pieces lets me know I'm still alive by taking me to the lower reaches of my emotional spectrum.

3. Crux Fidelis by John IV, King of Portugal. More sweet melancholy.

4. Stabat Mater by Palestrina. I just can't get enough of those minor keys.

5. Jubilate, Servite (Taizé) Not sure if Taizé counts as Latin hymns but I'm getting desperate now. The words are Latin, anyway. And I needed to prove that I can do joy, as well.

Favourite English Hymns:

1. Amazing Grace - I did an Alpha course in 2000. I wasn't going to church at that time but when I decided to come back to Mass, the opening hymn was Amazing Grace and how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like coin a phrase. I had been nervous coming throught the door but when I heard this, I felt as though it was just for me.

2. O Sacred Head Ill-uséd - We used to sing this around Easter time at primary school. Before I understood the words, the music spoke its meaning to me.

3. When I Survey the Wondrous Cross - I love this one. Again it is a primary school memory like No.2. I think the words are beautiful and I love each one of the 3 or 4 settings that I have heard.

4. How Great Thou Art - When I hear this the desire to worship is uncontrollable. I have, on occasion, gone all charismatic and lifted my arms up with this one. Wonderful stuff!

5. The Day Thou Gavest, Lord, is Ended - I love Abide with Me but it all goes pear-shaped for me with the phrase 'point me to the sky'. It makes me think of those human cannon balls. I have trouble not bursting into laughter when I hear it and since this hymn is sung mainly at funerals and the FA Cup Final, this is not always an appropriate response. So my alternative funeral hymn (or indeed end of day) is this one.

I will rise to the Brother James' challenge and try for the contemporary worship and contemporary Christian music offerings (although I sometimes have difficulty knowing where one ends and the other begins, so be patient with me.)

Contemporary Worship

1. Befriended by Matt Redman - Our God is, indeed, an awesome God but it is in intimate moments such as this that I really feel loved.

2. Lost in Wonder by Martin Layzell - As above.

3. Pour Over Me by Stuart Townend - As above.

4. Be Still, for the Presence of the Lord - Really listened to this for the first time at a 'Life in the Spirit' seminar at our church. I sometimes think that the Holy Spirit is the all too often neglected aspect of the Trinity and yet what would we achieve without the Spirit? Does you good to remember God's presence in the world 'cos sometimes we forget and think it all depends on our feeble clay.

5. How Deep the Father's Love for Us - Stuart Townend is one of the great writers of contemporary worship songs and this is his finest, in my humble opinion. Modern and yet drawing on the great traditions.

Contemporary Christian Music

1. Carry Me by Sabio. Full of contemporary angst and vulnerability but strong in the knowledge that Jesus is the best friend we have.

2. Thank you by the Katinas. I think we're talking the modern Gospel stable here. Some might find it cheesy and boy bandish but I like the sentiments. I like it and it is my list, so there...

3. All Because of You by Tree 63 - A love song to God and I love it.

4. Did You Hear the Mountains Tremble by Delirious? Great song. I have fond memories of singing it at the top of my voice in Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral at a Delirious? gig. Great stuff.

5. What a Friend I've Found by Delirious? More reflective than the last and has more in common with the previous category. What a Friend We Have in Jesus for the postmodern age. By the way Delirious? are at Greenbelt Festival this year...

I am going to tag Dirty Catholic and Mark...