Monday, November 23, 2009

Just a high speed update...

...cos I need to be napping!
I went back into hospital again on Wednesday morning with wriggle-bottom's head out of place again and have just come home this morning. It has been very stressful because I just kept being told different things and different midwives/doctors had different levels of paranoia. So at one point it was a c-section on Friday, then Monday, then an induction in theatre in case of emergency, then waiting for it to happen naturally but in hospital in case of home!
I didn't really cope very well with getting sent home today because of having been told so many different things but I'm here now which is really good. I'd like about 24 hours to unwind and get a decent sleep and then I'd really, REALLY like to go into labour! (And it would be kind of cool to go into labour while really wanting it rather than being terrified of it, don't you think?)
Hope you are all well. Thanks for the comments on the last post :) I'm really hoping that the next post will contain pictures of my son!

Monday, November 16, 2009

I Want...

  • To Sleep On My Back
  • A Nice Big Glass Of Wine
  • Pate. Any sort really.
  • Brie. In the same meal as the pate. Or not. Anytime really. In a baguette, with bacon and cranberry sauce. On its own. With the wine...
  • Soft Boiled Eggs. Soft Poached Eggs. Sloppy Scrambled Eggs.
  • A Proper Hug From Husbink. Currently, I have to stand side-on and lean, otherwise I can't actually reach him.
  • To Get Out of Bed Without Groaning
  • To Get Out of Bed Without My Hips Popping
  • To Be Able to Walk My Normal Speed/Distance
  • A Large Peanut Butter Sandwich. Or six.
  • An End To The Braxton Hicks. Who thought they were a good idea? "Is it labour? Is It labour now? What about now? That's three hours at 20 minute intervals...are we heading somewhere? Oh, no, they've stopped now..."
  • Most of all, more than any of the other things, more than anything at all ever, I want my baby. I want to hold him, not carry him in my tummy. I want to see his face, not imagine it. I want to tickle his toes, not my tummy where his toes are.

It hasn't been the best of weeks. I spent Wednesday-Friday in hospital because my baby's just too active and won't keep his head down. He was manipulated into position on Thursday morning (fortunately, he was at that point only about three inches away from position so it wasn't a full turn. Still really rather painful and my tummy muscles are only just recovering now. At least they are mostly recovered, I figure going into labour with already sore muscles probably isn't the best.) and managed to stay there until Friday afternoon so I was allowed home. (Actually, there was one fun thing, I've been scanned quite a lot and in one of them they managed to get some pictures of his face. Ok, they don't give much idea of him, but I can sort of look at my baby now.) We went in again on Sunday because he'd shifted a bit, but this time perhaps only half an inch and so following a scan, it was home again. Today, he seems to have stayed still but I still had to ring labour ward with some questions I forgot to ask on Friday or Sunday. It made me feel like a fruitloop. Now I just have to get through tomorrow and I get to see my midwife again on Wednesday. I just want my baby. I want him to be well and safe and in my arms. Everyone due ahead of me (that I know, clearly, not in all the world) has had their babies now (which includes my absolutely gorgeous nephew. I went and bought him extra presents today cos...umm...I wanted to...) so It Is My Turn. Now please. Baby please. Now. Thank you :)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Final Flings

Last night, with much apprehension on my part, we drove to Newcastle for the evening to see Mr Eddie Izzard in his new stand up show, Stripped.
We bought the tickets oooh, about nine months ago... I'd been umming and ahhing for ages about whether to sell them. We even had someone prepared to buy them right up to the day before if things should happen. I'd been keen, then I wasn't keen, then I realised how keen Husbink was so I was keen again then all the migraines and bad weekends and all the rest of it happened (I may not have blogged about a nutshell, my lovely smooth pregnancy got a little less fun and every weekend got ruined for a while with one bout of illness or another. I was unimpressed and it also made me feel a lot like giving up and just hibernating until he comes out.). So I was pretty much sure that we shouldn't go and wouldn't go and that it would be a really bad plan to go.
Part of the reason that I thought it would be a really bad plan was because Husbink had been on nights all week and so neither of us would be really up for heaps of driving. However, Husbink got a better sleep at work than I did at home on Thursday night and so...I was persuaded.
I'm glad we went, I'm glad we didn't give up and get tied to home before we really had to. We took my hospital bag in the car so that I didn't have to worry and we went. It was fun. We saw the last night of the Sexie tour so this was pretty much as close to back-to-back shows as possible - six years apart. I couldn't enjoy it as much because my bump isn't all that keen on uncontrolable laughter and when you have to stop yourself from finding things funny...
Anyway, this isn't meant to be a review of Mr Izzard (though it is tempting, it was very good in places, slightly off-on-one in others and for me a little sad in others - but overall very good, I've chuckled to myself quite a bit today); this is meant to be about final flings.
Husbink and I are living in hope that we are going to find the time to go out for dinner and have a real date thingy before we become three. We are hoping that we will find time for enjoying each others company (in amongst the getting-the-house-ready and Husbink starting to revise again stuff). But who knows? It could be tomorrow. It could be another five weeks. But I'm glad we went last night. I'm totally wiped out today, but I'm glad we went.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A really weird coincidence...

A lot of the time at the moment, I can feel the little one wriggling around in my tummy. He's a busy lad and whenever the midwife says "is he moving ten times a day?" I just laugh - he's often done at least half of his quota before I get out of bed...
I can't however guarantee what is going to make him move (though Husbink's hand on my belly often makes him stop...he's showing signs of being a little difficult!) but there is one thing that I'm sure is just coincidence but it has happened too many times now and is frankly a little weird...
My ankles have a bit of a tendency to lock (they always have done, or for years at least, this isn't a special pregnancy issue like all the others I could witter on about) and I have to strain a little and make them crack.
And he jumps. Not just after the crack but as they crack, he jumps. He can be totally still, having a little rest but an ankle crack equals a jump. He'll then go back to sleep. My elbows click but he doesn't jump for them. Just my ankles. Crack-jump.
It has to be coincidence but it's happened so much and it is really rather bizarre!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's a miracle!

I used to have lots of trouble with my hands when we lived in Leeds. Lots of trouble with dry skin, cracked, bleeding, ow... Mostly I blamed this on the OCD at the time.
We left Leeds, the OCD got better and so did my hands.
After a few years we moved back to the same lovely county and the same lovely water board. And my hands.....OUCH! For the past year and a bit they have been getting worse and worse. I concluded pregnancy wasn't helping. But all it takes is a few days away from here at my parents' or even better at Husbink's. My hands clear up amazingly quickly.
I'd pretty much given up on the hope of them getting better while we lived here and just resorted to using a huge amount of handcream day and night.
Two days ago, I ran out of soap in the bathroom and found a random bar of moisturising soap in the drawer. It is a miracle! Yesterday and the day before I forgot to put handcream on during the day and my hands were only really dry at bed time rather than destroyed. At the moment, there are just a few little patches that aren't quite supple...
I've used various different soaps while we've lived here (it all comes down to what is on offer, right?) and various different degrees of super-moisturising handcream but nothing has worked like this! Woop! I am no longer in danger of bleeding on people's tablecloths (this happened at a student's house last year).
Ok, not the most exciting post in the world but one of the most exciting developments for me!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Running a Marathon at 34 Weeks Pregnant

I was at the starting line...I was running faster than my really rather sporty cousin...I was halfway through and it was getting dark...I stopped to go to the loo and got lost...I never quite finished...

So I'm having a lot of weird dreams at the moment! Many of them I can't remember when I wake up, I'm just left with the emotion (to be honest, it is usually a yucky/stressed/upset feeling...) and then perhaps later in the day I'll get snippets of it (like the dream with someone telling me that if I was going to drink during pregnancy it was better to have a proper glass of wine than the occasional sip of Husbink's whiskey/beer and that the occasional sip would probably kill the baby...) and then I'll understand why I've been so upset...

So it was kind of nice the other morning to wake up the other morning having just had a fairly straight forward crazy dream like I'm used to. I always dream a lot. I always remember my dreams. They are often fairly entertaining (for me anyway...) The most confusing part of the marathon running dream wasn't that I was managing a marathon with this huge was that I was already pregnant for the second I had my current baby at 34 weeks and baby number two was at about 12 weeks at the same time...clearly my dream had gone a little sci-fi/fantasy at this point!

Ah well, back to the real world of Bargain Hunt, Home & Away, Diagnosis Murder and making very good use of BT Vision...

Friday, October 02, 2009

Keeping up with the news...

It's been one of those weeks.
Story after story knocking the previous one off the "top spot".
Sometimes, it feels like news hangs around too long, a story is dragged out and we know every tiny detail possible and that can really be pretty yucky.
This week however it seems like we've been rushed, one thing to the next and what was the top story may not even feature in the next bulletin.
Particularly it was the Philippines that made me feel that. Lots of devastation, lots of need, lots of horribleness and then it was totally gone from the news - not just from the headlines but the whole news as first the tsunami and then the other earthquakes took over. And then the distinctly unsavoury more local news.
So what is my point? I don't know. I "felt bad" that the Philippines were being forgotten. I "felt bad" that they weren't getting the attention any more. But is it right or wrong? Or neither? I find the obsession that comes with some stories far worse because it doesn't seem to be healthy or helpful but in this case I feel that if the headlines are gone too quickly then will people be less likely to give money or time or whatever to helping.
Since being nasty to the Oxfam man, I've been thinking a lot and wondering a lot about what the nation as a whole does in terms of giving time and money to whatever cause it might be. Do "chuggings" (have you heard of that? can't remember where I heard it, "charity muggings" - the ones who stop you in the street) or door knockers stand the only chance of getting donations from most people? Or what about the often horrendous NSPCC adverts? Do people need to be properly shocked?
I wasn't intending to start going into that yet as I'm still pondering. Hmm...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Husbink and the Sunglasses

Once upon a time, Husbink had some sunglasses. Then one of the arms fell off so he got a second pair while keeping the first pair with a taped on arm in case of emergencies.
A short while later, the second pair started to disintegrate. I think this time it was that the lenses kept popping out.

A number of years passed and it became evident that Husbink could not hang on to a pair of sunnies for more than a year, often quite a lot less... One pair fell down a crack between rocks in NZ, another pair had again the continuously popping lenses, another pair I think got left on top of the car... It goes on.

He used to have the same problem with mobile phones though mostly that was actually just one horrendous week when he lost three phones in four days. He had to prove himself capable of keeping one before being allowed his swanky new phone!

On Monday, we went out for a nice walk and then to the designer outlet place on the edge of town. We had the camera with us from the nice walk and Husbink was carrying it. He hooked his sunnies through part of the strap and off we wandered. Back at the car about an hour later, no was all so familiar. The shock, the despair, the questioning, the guilt...

He had had these ones for a little over a year so I guess that is quite enough really and apparently...he never really liked them anyway!

(Apols for delay in posting, partly no brain, partly no time, partly waiting for a non-baby post to present itself!)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I was horrid to the Oxfam man...

So, I'm a little slow moving but seriously, not that slow! Not yet...

I'd just finished my tea nad was reclining on the sofa in the hopes of avoiding indigestion when there was an aggressive knock at the door. To be fair, with our door knocker, it is quite hard to do anything but an aggressive knock. I pulled myself off the sofa, already wondering why I was bothering as it wasn't going to be anyone of interest and toddled towards the door. At which point it was knocked aggressively again. I picked up my keys, went into the hall, the person knocked again...

I opened the inner door while they were still fiddling with the knock, perhaps considering a fourth attempt...

On opening the door and seeing it was an Oxfam irritation did not subside. It perhaps increased and I opened with "I heard you the first time". I paused briefly before continuing with "And we already support you". The man, who was not getting the hint said "Ah, but which project?" to which I replied, "I don't know, I don't really care and I'm so much not in the mood." He'd left our front yard before I shut the door.

I feel bad because he had to pull himself together from the shouting pregnant lady and move on to the next house but...I'm not exactly calm yet.

The thing is, although he riled me with his triple knocking impatience and although I generally find people at the door selling things/asking for money pretty irritating, it was actually my final customer at work today who really got me started...

Twenty minutes before I was due to leave, the phone rang. Normally a lengthy call with us is about five minutes long, ten max so I didn't fob the call off on someone else. I really should have.

It started with "My name is Mrs Blah, I'm actually really rather a regular customer in your shop." Right. Not a good start. If you are regular, you don't need to tell us, we know you. She followed it up by telling me that they live pretty much the length of the country from our store. Very regular.
However, they would be coming next week and wanted to be sure that we had everything they wanted to look at. She proceeded to give a comprehensive list and I was able to find everything she wanted. She then passed me on to her husband. How I wish I had passed the phone on too.
Foolishly, I assumed he would be as organised as her...
He began to waffle on through about half the stock we have, not specifying a colour. Or, indeed a size.
I asked him when we discussed the first garment what size he would like and he said "Hmm, it goes from S-XXL, so I imagine XL, possibly XXL." I told him we had a few in XL but XXL was harder to find and we would be unlikely to have any in but could order them for him. We moved on to the next item. Some trousers. I asked for his waist size and he suggested I was being difficult and asking questions too hard for him. I had to simply reply "ok, we've got a reasonable range of sizes, there should be something..." Back to tops. He told me an item and I said "Ah, we're a bit limited at the moment, we don't have any in in extra-large."
"Extra large? I'm not extra large! Dear me, I never said that, I would never say that."
I paused. Took a deep breath. "What size were you interested in then?"
"XL. Or possibly the one down from that. Never extra-large."

I forced myself to physically smile for the rest of the conversation. It was the only way I could hope that I sounded even vaguely interested or polite. Sadly, I will be in store when they come next week. It might of course be fun to point out what S, M, L and XL stand for...someone suggested he might've thought XL meant extremely luxurious...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A blog on the page is worth two in the head...

You know what it's like...
You haven't blogged for a while. You've got loads of posts in your head. You've even started to write a few of them.
But it has been too long. You can't just come back with an average post now, can you? You must burst back onto the blogging scene. So every post gets analysed and checked and never finished and certainly never published.
So you wait until your brain totally disengages and you just post whatever - like I did on Friday, about the meercats... but still, a blog on the page is worth more than two in the head, right?!

Friday, August 14, 2009

I like silly things....

So I've had a horrid day. Stupid horrid. Things going wrong, being frustrating, wasting my time blah blah blah.
I have been miserable and grumpy and sad and teary and emotional and horrid to Husbink and slightly loopy on.
This evening, Husbink is building our new wardrobe and I have been sitting on the bed doing jobs on the computer. These jobs included quite a lot of looking at various bits of insurance and so on.
So I was going to look at and and...then I remembered that someone said that if you actually go to as opposed to comparing the can do just that...
I laughed. A lot. So, so much. I compared two meerkats, one from Honolulu whose hobbie was battle re-enactments and another from Bangkok who was all very arty...
I cried with laughter as I read the list of hobbies that the meerkats had and which I could choose from. Particularly, I liked "martial artistry" and "belly jiggles".
Ok, so if you spend too much time on, they do eventually send you to but it's still very good silliness. Or it is when you have previously been having a horrid day.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Multitasking? Cute?

So, when I was about seven, my Brownie troop had a float in the Halloween Parade in our town in New Jersey. (For those of you who haven't experienced that kind of Halloween, it is very, very different to any form of Halloween in the UK - a very family friendly occasion and just a good excuse for a family carnival.) So, we were doing Snow White. There weren't enough of us so do it on our own so we joined with another troop...which led to two Snow Whites because it couldn't be agreed who would provide one...
Anyway. I was a deer. Which was quite nice really cos the costume was warm! So, we'd been told to keep waving and smiling all the way along the parade route. I was a very good little girl, so I did. It was quite late at night though (I have no idea how late but I was very sleepy) and so there I was waving and smiling and doing everything I was told...and yawning...
The parade was always on the local TV station and as our float went past the commentary stand, this was the voiceover... "Oh my, I've just seen the cutest thing! A little deer, waving and smiling and yawning all at once!" ...and there was me, fast becoming the celebrity of the Brownie troop...
Fast forward twenty-blah years to last weekend. We were at a friend's wedding in Cambridge. It was a lovely day but pretty exhausting all that standing around (I quickly found that the miracle heels I bought for a wedding last summer that were much higher than I'd normally wear but had lovely padded soles couldn't tolerate the extra stone and a bit I weigh this year...standing around was not at all comfy (fortunately I had spare shoes that were an improvement)) and the chairs were really not all that fab either. So early evening I'm slumped in a chair, Husbink had brought me a cushion from the car and I'm kind of zoning out from proceedings. In my own little had stroking bump, one hand stroking Husbink's back.
Suddenly there's a flash and I look up confused to see one of the bridesmaids smiling..."rubbing bump and hubby, so maternal, so cute!"
The pic is on facebook with a fairly similar caption...
Multitasking? Cute? ;)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Actually, I didn't.

Something has been irritating me Technology? People? Companies? I'm not quite sure who to blame...

Just now, I switched on the computer, got myself online and saw that my virus software was doing a big update. All well and good, I like it when it updates. This was a particularly big update but they do happen sometimes too so I was not bothered (other than that it was making everything else a little sloooow.) Until the end. When up pings the message "Thank you for choosing to download the XXXXX (virus software) toolbar." What?! I didn't. I don't like it. It gets in the way. It suggests that I was use Yahoo! to search not Google. It takes away the shiny new (ok, not very shiny or very new...) Google page that I had been getting used to whenever I opened a new tab. It generally irritates me. But when I look at whether I can delete it or shrink it or anything else, it emotionally blackmails me "With this, you are sooooo protected. Every webpage you look at is thoroughly checked by my magnificent powers of security. Nothing can possibly go wrong...while you have me!" Ok. Fine. Make my browsing experience a little more irritating and possibly a little safer but don't suggest that I chose this method and Don't Thank Me!

That being the main bit. How many times do you get unsolicited mail/email/phone calls/whatever that start with "Thank you for choosing..." this product, to support this charity, to align yourself with this political party, for recycling your nose hair..... When you did no such thing, made no such decision. Just be honest!

"Hi, This is a piece of junk mail. You don't really want it but we're sending it on the off chance that today is one of those days where you feel like reading everything that comes through the door. It is a good excuse for not doing the cooking/vacuuming/washing up/tidying that you are meant to do. It feels virtuous, reading the post, doesn't it? Well, now we have you in that frame of mind, please can we sell you something/beg for money/play on the heartstrings?

Chances are you aren't reading this so we'll just slip in a couple of insults or inappropriate jokes cos frankly, who is going to care?"


Rant over. :)

Sorry for the lack of posting. This is mainly because I wanted to do that holiday post that I mentioned before but haven't been in the mood (does anyone else suffer from bursting into Glenn Miller whenever they say "in the mood"?) for it and so haven't wanted to post anything else because then the holiday post wouldn't happen...ah well...

In a total aside, and to leave things on a happy note, have you ever seen a wild puffin? If not, I thoroughly recommend it for the soul, for your well being, for good health and good cheer! I saw my very first puffins while we were on holiday in Anglesey and then we went last Friday to Bempton Cliffs RSPB reserve in East Yorkshire and saw lots more. They make me smile so very much. I must look like a loon peering through binoculars grinning madly to myself. Husbink had the camera and took lots of photos but we don't quite have a big enough zoom yet. But I think you can tell they are puffins. :)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Compulsory Annual Post

So it is Wimbledon again. It seems that something happens that makes me want to blog about it each here we go.

Last night I stayed up (ok, for normal people it wasn't that late but I'd been planning an early night with my book as Husbink was on nights) to watch the Murray match. Having seen at least some of all of his matches so far, I found this one really intriguing - because it felt so much more familiar.

At last, the crowd knew what they were meant to be doing. At last, there were sections that I couldn't watch. At last, I had to walk away from the TV fairly frequently - because I really did have to get other things done and couldn't fritter away the entire evening on a game of tennis.

Watching last week, Husbink and I had both felt that the crowd - including us - didn't quite know what to do with straight sets. This isn't what we are used to from "our man". We are used to agony. When Murray was simply playing fantastic shots, there were cheers, there was applause but it was slightly lacklustre. Once things started to go a little pear-shaped, we were comfortable again. We can scream and shout and cheer. Hanging our heads one minute, pulling out our hair before leaping up in triumph, pumping the air the next.

I'm always a little amazed by the British desire to support the underdog. In some instances, as with tennis matches, this is partly due to the fact that you get a better game if the underdog puts up a fight, but I think there is more to it than that. We feel like the underdog so often (which is a whole other discussion) that we support them whoever they are. When one of ours starts to do well, yes we enjoy it but we don't quite know what to do with it. The Ashes will be at their best if England scrape through. A resounding victory in each Test and we wouldn't know where to look.

I don't want to go through the trauma of the end of the fourth set last night again. I would like Murray to win each match from here on comfortably but for us the spectators, the experience might be slightly dimmed.

PS we were on holiday last week and shortly (when I have done the picture sorting thing) there will be a couple of lengthy posts...including some propaganda)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I have decided

So. The journalism course. That didn't go so well. :s
BUT. In a very helpful sort of way. I'd been pondering journalism (quite a bit at Husbink's encouragement) for quite a long time and, although some of my issues with the course are with the course, I have now established that it isn't something I want to do. I'm not, umm, hmm, thing enough. I'm really not quite sure what thing is. It's not that I'm not curious enough. It's not that I'm not disciplined enough.
If anything (and this is going to sound quite dumb and like I should have known beforehand), it's just that I don't like reading magazines all that much. Meh.
So, I've paid for it, I can't have a refund, I'll still receive all the tutorials. There have been some interesting nuggets in what I've read already so I'm sure I'll read through them all at some point and that what I pick up will be useful so I'm not beating myself up over this. What I am doing is being fairly sure what it is I want to do now. Which is quite a marvel for me!
1) I want to be a mum. Well, durrrr!
2) I want to be a tutor. As I finished with my GCSE students a few weeks ago I realised just how much I enjoy tutoring. I currently have a couple of younger students (who are very hard work) and I briefly had an adult student that I may pick up with again in September. These are both good but it is actually the year 9/10/11 stage that I really enjoy. It is fun maths, easy enough for me to teach and also the bit where many people suddenly realise a flare for some part of the subject. It's great! I know I won't have any new students for a year now (probably) but I know I'll want to go back to it as soon as I can.
3) I want to make a serious go of getting one of my novels published. I will finish editing. I will do my research. I will send it off to all the right people. It may not come to anything but it is certainly not going to come to anything wasting away on my laptop semi-finished. This was the main thing that became absolutely clear from the journalism course. I love to write and I love to write what I love to read - I love to read novels, I love to write novels. I don't love to read articles, I don't love to write articles. Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


So, lately Husbink and I have talked about names quite a lot. Obviously.
There is an abundance of names for girls that we like we we've stopped talking about them for now as it is just a case of picking one...but boys? Much harder we are finding. So hard that we've pretty much given up on sensible suggestions and are just enjoying being really, really silly.
The other morning I tried to raise the names question again, sensibly. It went ok for a while. We discussed various potential options but none that we were really taken with... Until Husbink suggested "Carl" I can't remember how it came up (oh yes, by this point we'd started listing characters from favourite TV series or this was after Carl Sach in Boston Legal...having rejected Denny and Alan already). So yes. Carl. Which when you put it with our surname...(if you aren't getting it, say it a little faster ) (and apologies if you don't know our surname, this will make no sense. Hey ho.)
I was in a very silly mood by this point and it was all a bit too much. I didn't stop laughing/crying for a long, loooong time.
If it wasn't going to cause lasting psychological damage to our unborn child I would not be seriously tempted to call him Carl. If it is him.
We are not to be trusted with such serious things as naming babies!! We are also considering spelling things with their initials...oh dear...

Sunday, June 07, 2009

An Excitable Pregnancy Post

So I've been having lots of nerves this past week - is everything still ok after the scan? Is the baby growing ok? Heart still beating well? Etc...Etc...
So this morning I made Husbink listen to my tummy. He really, really didn't want to because he thought if he couldn't hear anything I'd just get more stressed. I assured him that wasn't possible but that maybe he could reassure me. So after some wheedling, he had a listen. Then pulled a face that really, really alarmed me before saying "do you know what? I think I can hear it!" so after a few moments of chattering, he said "can I listen again?" and this time was very confident that just by sticking his ear against my tummy, he can hear the heartbeat. Very exciting! When he gets home this evening he's going to try to get his stethoscope nicely positioned so I can hear too. :)
I do still have moments of complete confusion at the thought that there actually is a baby growing inside me. It isn't some abstract concept, there really is something in there. Crazy!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

I do feel rather sorry for Mr Brown

I know it isn't fashionable and I suspect it isn't sensible but I do feel really rather sorry for Gordon Brown at the moment.
I've had a soft spot for him for years and years since his baby died. (My mum wrote to him as someone who had been through the death of a baby and at that point was working for FSID (Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths - you know why they prefer to use the initials!) to empathise and received a very kind letter back - not entirely personal but not entirely impersonal either. It was enough to impress me.)
So anyway, I suspect the poor chap should never have become PM under any circumstances but certainly not under the circumstances that he did. And now the world seems to be falling apart beneath him, poor poppet.
He's not an upfront leader type. He's not charismatic. He doesn't inspire people. He shouldn't be there. But now he is do we have to be so horrid all the time? Yes, he should resign and maintain just a little bit of dignity (actually, I think it is too late for that - his only shot at dignity now is for something AMAZING to happen that vindicates everything he's ever holding on and hoping perhaps is *his* best option just now) but please, please, please can we/they/everyone just be a smidgy bit nicer to him while he goes?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Quite the Reverse

So after my whinge about a certain company's poor customer service, I felt it only fair to write about the excellent customer service I've received today, only this time I'll name the company (actually, companies but I shall mostly be praising one...)
So. I haven't been into a Lush store in years. Mostly because of the smell and assuming I'll feel awfully sick if I spend too long in there. Also because I mostly think that they make bath bombs and bits of soap. While these are nice enough, I really don't buy them often. (I know what follows will be preaching to the choir with le Welsh.)
Anyway, I've been looking for a gentle sort of face exfoliator for a little bit now and as I was passing Lush as I left town, I thought I'd stop in.
I wandered about for a pleasant amount of time before I was offered assistance. I explained what I was after and the assistant showed me several options, one of which seemed like just the thing. I was getting prepared to buy some when she said "so I'll give you a sample. Try it out, it might not be right for you in which case you could go this way or that but do try it for a few days before committing". I was impressed enough by this point. Then I remembered to check that everything was ok for pregnant ladies (aside here: I keep hearing half comments about problems with some skin products while pregnant but as yet have found no information on it other than very vague remarks. So I'm assuming that normal stuff is fine!)
I was assured of the nature of all Lush's products and that I'd have no problems but the sales assistant was now very excited to show me lots of lovely massage bars and moisturisers and other yummy things that would be a good thing over the next few months. I had a hand massage and then tried out several other scrubs and moisturisers and and and.
This reminded me that I had actually been looking for a new hand cream for over night as my hands are still really not liking the water in these parts. So we sorted that.
Then, ever so delicately, she suggested another skin product that I might be in need of and again got me a sample so that I could see if it did please me before committing.
Finally she gave me a copy of the Lush Times in which she had marked up all the products we'd talked about and which ones were generally good for pregnancy.
I came away with three products and lots of information having only spent £5.82.
Clearly, all her information and help is also a very effective selling technique but I don't mind that at all, it is still very, very good service.
(The other places of good service today were Jessops (they always do well I have to say), a little jewellery shop the name of which I cannot remember but I will go back there for any jewellery needs in the future and Tullivers, a health food shop where I didn't buy anything but gained a lot of information on dealing with the combo of hayfever and pregnancy. (More aside - Jessops sold me a diddy camera (which I was looking for as a birthday present from Husbink's parents) to be a more mobile item than our lovely but often impractical D-SLR. It's blue and it's cute and it does everything I wanted it to. I am happy. :) ))
So, well done Lush, you've just acquired yourself a new loyal customer. I sincerely hope you can keep me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Body, Mind and Soul

So we are all made up of lots of different aspects, we can divide those things in many different ways. One such way being to think of our bodies, our minds and our souls.
At the moment, my body is boss. Big time. If my body says jump, I jump. My sorely neglected, my soul perhaps even more so. I don't have the capacity (mental? physical? emotional?) to listen to anything other than my body at the moment. Mostly what my body says is "feed me" and "rest me".
I've had to listen to it just now and decide not to go out for the evening. The evening would have probably benefited both mind and soul but the body won out again. I don't think this is a problem. For much of my life, my mind has won. Not so much over the past seven years or so since finishing uni but I still think it gets its fair share. My soul tends to win in bursts, great big bursts of getting what it needs that then fizzle away until I realise that there is need for a burst again.
That last pattern, the soul one, is one that it would be good to get out of but otherwise I think it is ok that different parts of ourselves are fed and tended at different times.
You can of course see that my mind is going to pot at the moment from the inane babble of this post. Ah well. I thought it was time to finally let one of the semi-ideas in my mind out so here you have it. There was another one about taking a long time to learn some lessons but I think I've basically written that post before, perhaps about eighteen months, two years ago so I thought that could wait a bit longer (in this instance, it has taken me years to learn that although I might like the wallowing and reading and bubbles of having a bath, they always (well, almost) give me tummy ache and a relaxing shower is much, much better for me. Here endeth my lesson. I think last time it was about a particular author who I admire but whose books I can't stand...)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Rather Lacking

The company I work for is VERY big on customer service. We rely heavily on an extremely loyal customer base and so we go out of our way for them every day.
Sometimes this is particular situations like the woman I had in a few weeks ago whose husband had ruined his favourite trousers by getting a biiiig stain on them while doing some DIY. We had no advice on ways to remove it (it was not coming out) so instead managed to track down a suitable patch (the trousers were no longer current stock) which involved cutting up a spare pair found at head office...
Other times, it is just our policy that gives the good service. We have no 28 day limit for refunds or exchanges. We have one of (if not the) longest guarantee in the business on waterproofing. If we start a 20% off promo and people come back in complaining they hadn't heard one week, two weeks, three weeks ago when they bought their x, y, z, we refund the difference in gift vouchers... Sometimes I get irritated because we are a small company and would people really do that to M&S or Debenhams when they have one of their blue cross sales? Maybe some would but I suspect not as many as do to us. Anyway. The point is, I spend my time at work bending over backwards for people (sometimes I'm happy to, sometimes it grates, it rather depends on the person) and so I have very little tolerance for bad service.
This week, I got very cross with myself for not saying to someone how utterly abysmal their service had been. Instead I left. Then I spent the rest of the evening fuming and plotting what I might do to rectify the situation while knowing that I wouldn't be bothered to do any of these things.
I was in a shop on the way home from work. I was looking to buy a few things that I required but I was buying treat versions rather than cheap versions. There were signs all over the shop saying that if I spent £20 I would get a free bag. As I I was spending nearly £20 on what I wanted I thought I might as well tip it over the £20 mark as a free bag never goes astray with me. Several sales assistants checked if I needed any help and one of them pointed out to me that there was an offer still on that ended that evening so she'd removed the signs. She did not say "so the offer that all the signs in the shop are for is not running yet". Nothing of the sort.
When I got to the till and made my purchase (which included getting sucked into a discount card thingy) it became apparent that my free bag was not forth coming. However my money had been taken by then and I was tired. It twigged that if one offer was still running the one advertised everywhere wasn't. I stated this much. The woman (who was the manager making this even worse) simply said "no" at the end. I was tired. I was grumpy. I just walked out. I did not point out how poor her service was. I did not point out that in my shop if we put the signs up early so we can go home on time, we honour them. It is our fault, not the customers that we are over-keen.
Now I'm left just not wanting to ever go into that shop again. But I like their products. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


So, I promised a more news-full post so here goes.

You may remember a while ago I very vaguely mentioned keeping secrets? Well, I'm lousy at it. Not at keeping your secrets - if you tell me something that you want to be confidential, I can do that, no problem - it's my secrets I struggle to keep. Anyway. I've done a bit better than sometimes over the last few months while I've kept two things relatively quiet. Well, three things actually. Note the relatively though. By no means have I kept them secret!

First, and least excitingly, I've started a freelance journalism course. This came about for various reasons and I'm not sure where it is going. What I mean by that is currently I'm not thrilled with the course. It is a little silly and quite frustrating in places. It also isn't put together all that well and that really winds me up - something lecturing me on the importance of care and attention to detail as well as grammar and spelling that can't do it itself. Grump. Anyway, I can (normally) look past those things to the actual content and with that I'm still not thrilled but perhaps the benefit of this course is that it will confirm whether or not I'm interested in this at all. And confirming not is just as valid an answer. I'd looked at some more fulltime journalism courses but they were very big time and money commitments for something I wasn't sure about. This is a relatively low time and money commitment and a good starting point. I'm sure aspects of the course will be very interesting even if at the end of it I don't do anything as such with it.

Second, and equally excitingly with the third secret (sort of, they are quite different sorts of excitement) is that I'm pregnant. Just passed the 12 week mark but no scan yet. Which everyone keeps telling me must be a good sign - if they were at all worried about me, they'd have got me a 12 week scan. As it is I'm waiting until nearly 14 weeks. Waiting impatiently!
I have been relatively lucky through the first trimester. I haven't been sick at all. I have felt pretty lousy at times and done a lot of sleeping but I know it could have been much, much worse. Now my mind is beginning to reel with all the practicalities but I'm doing my best to not be overwhelmed, at least until Husbink's exam is over.

Third, I still don't feel like I can quite say in this context because it isn't my news so I shall continue to be oblique. Many of you will know this one already. Which is that someone else is pregnant and due at a very similar time to me but a long, long way away. This is so very, very exciting. I have found it much easier to be excited about this other pregnancy than my own. My own has implications for me (like a lot of time with my feet up!) and this other one I can be much more simplistic about and enjoy!

I'm not sure I quite believe the middle bit of news yet, Husbink certainly has moments when he is less convinced! I've been assured by various other men that until the scan, it is really unreal for the father. So what if your wife is being hormonal and crazy? Isn't that just normal?! For me a big part of the unrealness comes from the distortion of time. It seems like it has been going on so long now that I can't believe I've only known for seven weeks. That this strange bit of time has only lasted that long.

Well, there you have it. Now the news is out there, I can perhaps write interesting posts again that I promise will not all be about how I feel today and whether there is a bump and what I craved last night (my afternoon craving didn't work for me...I craved, I ate, I was not satisfied) and so on. I may even subject you to some of my articles for the course. We'll see...

Sunday, May 03, 2009


Well, that's about as far as this post had got in my head. I just wanted to check in really.
I've had a thoroughly lovely weekend with the marvellous Ruth. It is a little terrifying just how long it had been since we last met but at least we've had the weekend now and the possibility of lots of other meetings over the summer. We talked. That's about the size of it. It was fab.
Other than that...
Last week was pretty crazy at work. We were seriously understaffed. In the end, I only worked 7.5 hours more than usual but it still meant work/tutorial every day but one. I was very sleepy on Friday. And Saturday. And today. I fell asleep on the sofa this afternoon but it was vaguely nightmarish sleep so I'm still mostly just wanting bed now!
I realise this is not the most exciting post in the world ever. Give me another week to get myself sorted and I promise a more interesting post soon...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Group Dance

I can't imagine that I've got through two and a half years of blogging without mentioning The Group Dance but that doesn't mean it isn't worth mentioning again...
I think life would be vastly improved if it were like a Disney film... When any major decision faces you, when any marvellous (or dreadful) thing occurs, you start to sing and a chorus suddenly appears behind you, knowing all the moves and helping the song along.
A couple of advertisers seem to have caught on of late that this is a deep seated desire in many people's (women's?) hearts.
The first is the Berrocca ad...You but on a really good day...where the four people "dance" on treadmills. I love it. Especially the bit with the two "skating" across the treadmills sideways. It's a group dance. People passing by are suddenly united by this desire to dance...
The rest of the ads are by some mobile broadband provider or other and they are even better. I assume they are based on the event about a year ago when Rick-Rolling ("attacking" people with Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up) was "all the rage" and there was a planned singing at something like 6pm at Liverpool Street Station...suddenly heaps of people burst into song all around the place, not knowing if they'd be joined - but they were. Anyway, these ads are all in train stations and all involve lots of people singing and dancing together...and I just want to be there!
I think it is part of the whole loss of community thing as well, there is something about The Group Dance that makes you feel like you belong to something larger, a bunch of people beyond those you know personally.
I think I've mentioned before about various national radio DJs that create this sense of community despite the fact that the listeners have no geographical proximity. One of the best examples is Chris Evans on Drivetime on Fridays...he plays the same song at about 6.20 every week (it used to be Delilah which was brilliant, now it's The Wonder of You which is so-so) and that is the start of the weekend - you sing along and then text in where you did the D-Spot (as it was) or the E-Spot (as it is).
Another of my preferred examples is that of Steven-ing or Steven-age from Adam & Joe on Radio 6 on Saturday mornings. If you don't listen to Adam & Joe, umm, basically, if you ever here someone in a public place shouting "Ste-ven!" and others responding "Just coming!" then it wasn't someone shouting to their friends, it was strangers connecting... Husbink wanted to try out some Stevenage when we went to see Lenny Henry in Othello at the West Yorkshire Playhouse last month but I wasn't sure the audience was right...
Back to The Group Dance... The streets in this town are so busy so much of the time with all the tourists that it would be so "easy" for a group dance to form, perhaps I should just start one day and see if anyone joins in...

Friday, April 17, 2009

So tired...

...but want to post!
I've had a nice day today, doing nice things but actually I think it is the one hour of work (seeing one of my students) that has been the best part of the day.
I've seen this student twice a week almost every week since October. She's a lovely bubbly girl, very easy to talk to and teach (in terms of responsiveness) but she does struggle with the subject more than anyone I've taught before.
It is a month tomorrow until her first GCSE exam. I have been very worried about her abilities and whether I have earned all the money her parents have been giving me over the past six months.
On Wednesday I saw her and she proved to me that things have changed in the past few months. Her mental arithmetic was fantastic. I was very impressed and relieved.
Today, everything seemed to be working. There were still bits that she needed help with (otherwise I would really have been stealing my fee) but it seemed that suddenly things were clicking. There will be plenty more moments in the next month when I'm concerned about the exams again but for now I'm really pleased that there is a good chance of the necessary grade afterall! Hurrah!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Making Mistakes on the Internet

This post is going to be hard to write without adding to the things that are on the internet that shouldn't be. I will be intentionally vague. I hope you can still keep up.

Someone I know has made a bit of a hideous mistake and put something on the internet that really should not have been there. They are going to lose their job. Which seems to be an increasingly common issue with the internet and email doesn't it? There was something or other on the news this morning about people being fired because of Facebook comments/posts/pictures/whatever. I didn't listen too much but you'd have thought people would start to learn some time soon, wouldn't you?

Anyway, as I said, this post isn't really about that, that is just the scene setter. What this post is about is gossip. You see, I knew a little about this particular issue before today. I should not have done. I mostly wished I didn't. But I didn't do anything with my knowledge and I didn't stop the conversations.
Today has been a free for all on the "victim" amongst mutual acquaintances. It has been discussed from all angles - the funny side (there is one, albeit a rather cruel one), the stupid side (which could also be the disbelieving side) and the wider implication side.
I do not know how to extract myself from conversations of this nature but I don't really want to be part of them either. Correction - I would like to not want to be part of them. I feel uncomfortable with them but I still want to know what is said, enjoy the chewing over that such discussions have.
This is something that I go through on a fairly regular basis. How to extract myself from conversations I do not wish to participate in...but equally don't want to be left out of.
There are bitchy conversations, complaining about one person or another.
There are cyclical, depressing conversations that just get people lower and lower.
There are conversations where I simply don't want to know.
I didn't think I did well at all at distancing myself but someone did tell me last week that they were amazed by my patience because I never seemed to join in one particular string of bitching session. This has given me a little bit of hope for keeping going with the attempt. Any wise thoughts, little tips or evergreen conversation turners?!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Right then.

I was going to blog about some of the serious stuff from New Word Alive wasn't I? Hmm...once again the week has stolen the blogging mojo from me and I'm now at the weekend (feeling very sleepy) and wondering what it was I was going to say...
So I suppose a summary is the best I can hope for at the moment so it goes like this...
I had a very good time at New Word Alive (for those confused by the "new", I was too, I'm still not sure I can explain the ins and outs properly but what used to just be Word Alive has now split from Spring Harvest for various theological issues). There were bits that were not good, I felt a little bit of an outsider at first but by the end it all came together.
The organisers put quite a big stress on the need to have a holiday as well as go to sessions and stuff. This was quite a change from when I'd previously been and it was very easy to overload yourself with knowledge during the week and feel like popping at the weekend. Instead this time, I mostly went to one morning, one afternoon and one evening thing. Sometimes though I stayed in the caravan and watched the morning or evening session on the telly. Otherwise, I slept, I played Adventure Golf (superior in many ways to just your average crazy golf, if for no other reason than fitting in with the theme of this blog), I debated ways for one of our group to ensnare a "famous" single Christian speaker... And of course, the goat came out from time to time when everyone was getting too sensible.
All the sessions I attended were good, wholesome stuff. They gave me things to think about and things to change. They did not answer big questions (like which church?) they did not make me think I should change my life forever. But that is ok, or perhaps even good.
When younger, I used to experience the highs and lows of these kind of big Christian events. While there, everything was possible, everything would change, the world would never be the same... Then home... The highs never lasted and rarely changed anything. To have a more consistent sort of experience where I can learn and come away with a few small nuggets that can make a difference in my life is a much more valuable thing.
Apologies. I'm really sleepy. I doubt this is making sense... Giving up now... Sozzo!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Too Much to Say

I've just been away for a week at New Word Alive, a Christian, umm...well, some people call it a conference but that sounds too dull, some call it a convention but that sounds too sci-fi...
Anyway, whatever you call it, it was very refreshing and just what was needed.
I first went to Word Alive in 1994 when it was part of Spring Harvest (I only gathered on the way there that it was no longer part of Spring Harvest. To do with some fairly significant differences of opinion that I don't think I have fully grasped yet so will not try to explain.) but I hadn't been since 2004, just before getting married. This year I went again without Husbink and without many people I knew in the group as two of the stalwarts were busy at home with their very new and gorgeous little girl.
So anyway, there is plenty to be digested and spat out (hmm, I eant that in a positive way, perhaps not the best choice of phrase!) over the next few days and weeks but for now I will tell you a very silly thing from the week...
I went to stay at my lovely friend's house on Sunday night to make the long journey on Monday a little less long. Her best friend who I know reasonably well by now was also there. Anyway.
Monday morning, we were all sitting on my friend's bed having cups of tea when she declared she had a present for me.
Knowing how lousy I've felt over the past six months or so, when a certain item came into her work place with the book people, she felt compelled to buy it for me.
It's cuddly. It's a hand puppet. It's a goat. It sings. In a bizarre voice. The Lonely Goatherd. Sadly, only one verse!
So much fun. Husbink, clearly, hates it. Well, actually, I don't think he hates it quite as much as the bravado shows. Or so I will keep telling myself.
Should you wish to witness it, YouTube has more than one clip showing it but you can see one here.
It is very good to have very silly friends :)
More of the serious stuff soon.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It comes, it goes...

So for a bit there I was back in the blogging seems to have gone a little awol of late.
I have half written a post but I can't quite finish it...which actually is relevant to what the post is about...keeping secrets. So you see, the post is quite hard to write!
Anyway, I'm ticking along. I'm off to Spring Harvest next week. I'm looking forward to it but I'm also a little nervous, I always am for some reason, many reasons I expect.
We had a nice weekend last weekend with Husbink's parents. It was VERY relaxed. So relaxed as to be lots of sleeping and not very much else.
Husbink is on nights again tonight and I am off ot home group. I would rather be sleeping but I'm sure it'll be good for me.
Anyhoo, just to check in really. :)

Saturday, March 14, 2009


There are times when you simply have to be proud to be human, proud to belong to the people that you do. One such time for me was last night watching Comic Relief.
I get a lot of whiners at work. People who complain about everything, especially money. Last week seemed to be full of them. They only see the bad and they are so unbelievably selfish as well. Our shop is not cheap, people who shop with us are pretty well off, not just in the grand global scheme of things but in the UK scheme of things too. And yet they whine and whine and whine. So I start to think the worst of people.
Then you see that Comic Relief raised a record breaking amount of money. £57million on the night, up to £59million now. People aren't all bad. People are prepared to reach into their pockets to help other people. This was a good thing to be reminded of!
The other thing that I really enjoyed about it was the whole celebrities prepared to make prats of themselves thing, like teachers at the end of term or leaders on the last night of a holiday club... It somehow makes you feel part of something, which is also a very good thing. And something, as I think I've mentioned before that is seriously lacking in our communities these days. I feel more part of a radio show audience than I do part of my street. If that makes sense.
Anyway, all round, it was an uplifting thing. An uplift I need to take with me over the next few days.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Why does it make a difference?

I was coming to post about something else but an email I've found on the way has changed the topic!
This email was from a friend and it was a forward from a friend of theirs regarding blood/bone marrow donation as a general need and specifically for their daughter (the friend of a friend's daughter. Keeping up?!) I am not a blood donor because I can't be - I had two blood transfusions (following my two jaw operations) in the "bad" window when bloods were not properly screened and there was BSE and so on. So I can't donate blood now or ever. That's a slight tangent.
With this email was a flyer highlighting the family's campaign. I was thinking along the lines of "oh, that's sad, poor them, hope it works out" before opening the flyer. Then I opened it and the girl affected is just gorgeous. About eight years old, beautiful smile, really bright looking, her hair in cute bunches and so on. So now the story is devastating, desperately sad, wish I could donate (but see above, I can't - though maybe bone marrow? I don't know.)
Why does the fact that she is cute make any difference at all? Obviously there have been studies into things like maternal instincts and that cuter children (bigger eyes, whatever it is) do bring out more of the natural desire to protect but still...
I can't ever know if the reaction would have been the same on opening the flyer - maybe it was just having a face to the problem that was the trigger and how she looked didn't really have anything to do with it but I think we've probably seen this on bigger scales anyway to know that it isn't just me and that the story and just a face does not produce the same interest as a story and a pretty face. Thoughts?

Monday, March 09, 2009

Being Me

A bit of a break from the last post for something more lighthearted!

On Friday, Husbink got home from the night shift and wasn't completely exhausted. It was a beautiful day so I suggested he didn't sleep and we went out somewhere. We went to an RSPB reserve on wetlands east of Goole. It was very beautiful. There were lots of birds. (I love wigeons, they are so cute - pictures another time). We also saw stoats. Or weasels. We aren't quite sure which but they performed very well. (I quick Google search confirms our opinion that they probably were stoats. The fact that a few of the same images came up for stoats and weasels though makes me not completely confident...) And we saw rats. But they were out in the country so they were cute too! (Actually, they were quite interesting as my immediate reaction to them was "gosh, I've never seen an unstressed rat before!" they were just chilled, nibbling food, sunbathing...)
Then we Ikea'd (I think it is a verb, no?) and acquired new furniture so Saturday was spent rearranging the house. And buying lots of seeds so that I can grow patio vegetables (potatoes, carrots, peas, tomatoes, peppers and another go at spring onions but I'm not holding my breath there.)
We played poker on Saturday night with friends in Leeds.
Sunday was chilled other than a strenuous gym session and a challenging sermon in the evening. I had some pain so I was pretty grumpy and a bit wiped out. I still have some pain today so I'm still a bit wiped out. Though that is partly due to the personal training session too.

ANYWAY. That was all preamble to the point really. The point was, that I had a really good weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed all the things we did but I also realised that I've been having a bit of a tendency to behave how I think other people are expecting me to behave at the moment. With our new cell group or the knitter natter group or whatever, I've been taking the lead from the people already there rather than just being myself. If they don't like me when I'm being me, well, at least they know what's not to like!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

A personal debate in public

I thought I'd expand one of the paragraphs in the previous post a bit since I've received a few offline comments about it and writing things down helps order thoughts and people's opinions are very important in such things too. Opinions? Perhaps not the right word - people's wisdom is better I think.


  1. I think it is important (and in many instances explicitly scriptural) for Christians to meet together because...Fellowship is good. Spending time with people on the same journey, though at many different points, is a seriously necessary thing to do. Some of that time can be formal (corporate worship, bible studies etc) but some (most?) needs to be relational. It needs to be about getting to know people and having genuine relationships with them that lead to accountability, honesty, true support...
  2. People need to worship together. Le Welsh will know who I'm talking of when I mention a chap who once said "sometimes it takes me a full half hour after I wake up in the morning before I start truly worshipping God" (or something along those lines). Well, sometimes it takes me the whole day. And the next day. And the next. If I did not have times of corporate worship giving me a good kick up the backside (yes, sometimes they can give a bad kick up the backside too) I might quickly lose all ability to worship God. Except perhaps those glorious moments of blue skies/trees/mountains/birdsong/rivers...I think and hope that I would always feel drawn to my creator and saviour in those contexts.
  3. We need to learn. Yes, there is an abundance of Christian material (not least the bible!) out there from which we can gain knowledge and understanding of God in private but I do not think we can take away what comes from learning together, discussing with others, hearing directly from people wiser than ourselves. We need to come together to be taught. On our own we can pick and choose too much and start creating the God we want to exist rather than continuing to be created by the God that does exist.
  4. Communion. I think perhaps in contemporary times this is not as obvious as it would have been thirty or forty years ago. Because we are in a major backlash against tradition and formality and ritual (some of which is good) we may have lost sight of the fact that communion is scriptural - it is just some of the trappings of it that perhaps are not. Communion can certainly be part of a meal with friends. It can certainly be taken out of "the church" but it does require Christians together to do it.

Next come the things that I think are vital to our Christian lives but don't necessarily have to be done together.

  1. Love. Kind of like point one above but not so much about the growing/discipling fellowship above, more about the outward looking, how we treat the world aspect. It is impossible to sustain that love with God and how we keep ourselves "fuelled" or "topped up" or "on track" with God may indeed bring us back to point one above.
  2. Justice/Social Action/Call it what you may. An offshoot of love but a more active one. We're all different. For some this will be a serious money challenge, for others a serious prayer challenge, for others a serious get off your backside and be my hands challenge.
  3. Stewardship. More of the same in a way. Taking good care of what we have in the widest possible context. Environmental issues are utterly mainstream now but they are utterly Christian too.

I know there are many shapes of church now. There are traditional (in the broadest sense - to encompass all that meet in a building on a Sunday morning and have something more or less akin to the hymn sandwich style of my childhood) churches. There are mainstream non-traditional (like our local Vineyard that meet not on a Sunday and structure things differently but are part of a fairly well known, fairly widespread organisation). There are new style house churches. There are churches that meet in pubs, clubs, shoe shops (that is possibly the best of the ones I've read about). There are groups of friends that meet up to encourage their faith.
The thing is, with any of these "new" styles of church (by coincidence, I've just taken a break from writing and popped over to Simon's blog which contains thoughts on newness.) when they become successful or popular, they are going to find that they need a bigger building or a purpose built building or that in fact Sundays really are the most convenient time to meet... They are going to find that they do and say the same thing every week, creating liturgy all over again. They may find that they go on loving and acting in the world in a more upfront out there sort of way than their predecessors but they are going to start looking awfully similar.
Because of that, I have always felt it better to try to change the churches that already exist and help people (myself at the top of the list of people to help) change their habits, change what they desire from church, change their outlook, rather than dash off and create a new church from scratch that is going to hit all the same problems in a year, five years, ten years, twenty years. As someone put it recently about the church I'm currently affiliated with "They were all young twenty years ago and doing amazing things. Now they're all writing books about the things they did then." The church is relatively new despite being in one of the oldest buildings in an old city. They've gone from big ideals and newness to big ideals and familiarity. This is not a criticism, it is what happens. But I'm bored of it. Is this just my problem? Do I need to face a time of discipline to get through it and come out the other side? Do I need to fight along the way and use my dissatisfaction to create change? Do I need to depart all together and try one of these new fangled systems of church?
I've just deleted a whole other paragraph because I think that is enough thoughts for one day. I could go on for a long while with related thoughts and ideas but I'll stop here for now. I would love to hear what you have to say, by comment, by email, by phone, face to face... When I've thought some more (and maybe had some feedback), I'll perhaps post round two! In the mean time, I'm going to do something that I've been considering for a while and email Traidcraft to ask about fairtrade wool...

Friday, February 27, 2009


Truthfully, I enjoy my job about two thirds of the time. The other third tends to be pretty frustrating, irritating and silly. In the non-good sense. Two-thirds enjoyment isn't bad I think.
Truthfully, however much I might enjoy it at times, it is not enough. Over Christmas, it was enough. I love meeting that many people and doing things to help them - even if it is helping them part with cash that perhaps some of them should not part with. Hmm.
Truthfully, I love tutoring. My students are fab. They make me laugh but they are also learning which is so exciting and encouraging. I was fearful for one of them quite recently. I really didn't think she was going to improve but now we are getting somewhere and I hope she will get the grade she needs to do the almost entirely non-maths course she wants to do next year.
Truthfully, this city is ok. It is very beautiful. There are some fun things to do. People are superficially friendly.
Truthfully, we do not have any proper friends here. A few of my colleagues are heading that way - they are lovely people, they just aren't quite proper friends yet.
Truthfully, I'm sick of churches. I wondered the other day if I was having a crisis of faith but I realised I'm not. It is simply a crisis of church. This is surprising to me. I have always been very pro-church. A lot of people are unsure whether church is vital to faith. I have always said yes, yes, yes! But now, I'm sick of churches. I know there are 'alternative' churches out there but they have yet to fill me with joy either. This is truthful, but perhaps not the full story, being such a small space.
Truthfully, I'd rather not be here. I would still rather be on the other side of the world. I'm sorry. I've tried. It has been a year. More than. I'd really like to be able to say "that was nice but it is over, this is now, this is good" but I can't. I'd still much rather be there. That doesn't mean it would be the right thing or indeed that we shall ever live there again. It certainly won't be the case for another six and a half years.
Truthfully, there are people I miss all over the world now. There is never going to be a place to live where I don't miss someone. And that's not a bad thing, actually.
Truthfully, I'm sick of my body. (skip this if you don't want to know...) Bleeding all the time (or what feels like all the time, there are very little gaps) is depressing. It is also tiring. It also requires me to eat more red meat than normal. And more fruit (which is a little less obvious). Cysts are no fun either. They at least don't happen quite so much of the time but they really hurt when they do. And then when they burst...that's really no fun.
Truthfully, I don't know what I'm waiting for. I've been playing at waiting for so long - waiting for Husbink to finish uni, waiting to be settled into married life, waiting for a good time, waiting for some stability. I thought I was waiting for babies now but see above, I can't pretend to be waiting for babies just at the moment. So what am I waiting for? And when I stop waiting, what is it I'm actually going to be doing? The waiting takes the ideas away and I have to stop it.
Truthfully, most of the time, I'm ok. I'm alright. I'm quite happy really. But the health stuff takes it out of me which when combined with the church stuff and the waiting stuff make it hard to pull myself together at times.
Truthfully, at moments like the end of the last paragraph, I realise how very British I am. I do believe, in one way or another, in the stiff upper lip. Pip pip!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Celebration

(There are many things to post about just now but this outranks them all. By a long, long way.)

After a bit of a lie in, I got up this morning and saw that I had just missed a call from a good friend, my phone being on silent. I'd been meaning to ring her for quite some time and so initially was very pleased. However, in the few minutes it took me to ring her back I had realised a more significant reason for a Saturday morning phone call and was not surprised when she answered sounding a little teary.

A wonderful, wonderful lady who many of you will either know personally, have met at our wedding or at least heard a lot about over the last eight years, died peacefully in her sleep this morning. She was 98. She has wanted to die ever since I've known her, she couldn't understand why the Lord wouldn't take her yet! At the same time she revelled in all the people she knew, in all the marriages and births that she witnessed, these last few years a number of small people have kept her going very well. All we ever wished really was that when the time came it would be painless and peaceful. It was, as we understand. We were a little saddened at Christmas when she moved into a home as that was something she had always wanted to avoid but all reports are that she enjoyed it and kept very lively and chatty right until Thursday this week. On Friday, she was a little sleepy.

I have tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat while I write this but I know that above all, we should celebrate today the wonderful life that has passed.

A little bit of brainstorming with Husbink and Mrs SD has led to the following options for the day...
A visit to Tiger Tiger - when it opened in Leeds, she was there like a shot, enjoying sitting at the bar chatting up the barmen. The best bit was, we couldn't go at the time! It was an over 25s bar so she at 93 (or so) could enjoy it while we at 23 techinically could not!
A lot of shouting of "Come on Tim!" - she loved Wimbledon and especially our Mr Henman. We can't force a day of tennis so unseasonally so perhaps just settling for the supporting would do!
Displaying photos - her mantle and window sills were covered with wedding and baby pictures. Many of us were honoured to have our turn in pride of place after our weddings.
Bake cakes - she was very good at this, my favourite always being the lemon cake.
Eat pizza and donuts - she did like to see us well fed.

But by far and away the thing that will always remind us of her most I think will be the glasses of bucks fizz that we had in her living room to celebrate birthdays, Christmas, Easter...or any other special occasion. Raise a glass, cheers Hilda!

Friday, February 06, 2009

What constitutes "full time"?

(It was, by the way, a very good adventure. Husbink particularly took some amazing pictures of lochs with fog and wisps of cloud...I shall do them justice at another date...but for now...)
I believe in part time work, quite strenously! As well you know (if you know me), this is nothing to do with being lazy, it is to do with being healthy and happy and seeing Husbink and looking after him and all that sort of thing.
Over the past few weeks, I've been picking up more and more work. It seems that rather a few students got their GCSE mock results over the past month and there has been panic in the ranks and a need for tuition has arisen! So I refuse some and accept some. I now have five hours of tutorials a week, plus all the travelling that they bring. I might be picking up another student next week too but all seems to have gone quiet on that front so I am probably not.
Anyway. I still technically only work 25 hours a week, plus the travel. That makes 30 hours at the absolute maximum. Most full time work is at least 37 hours a week but I am doing enough - more than enough actually, I feel my time being stolen. The house is suffering a little. A couple of my outside interests are suffering. I am quite content though and with the nature of my students, I will lose them all in a few months time once exams are over and can then start again deciding how many to take on and where to "put" them.
But my point is, I keep thinking "I'm working full time now" - which I'm not, officially, but to me I am.
I know lots of you work proper full time or more than full it because you love your jobs? Or that we value our time differently? Or that I'm just quite lucky to be able to be so picky? Or a little of all of the above?
In other news, I have new glasses. Because my eye sight has improved. I'm less short sighted all of a sudden and so reading and writing and knitting (three major uses of my time) were becoming very painful.
My glasses are mostly black and a little bit orange. Not what I was expecting but I rather loved them so...(oh, and they are a lot more subtle than that sounds but I did enjoy telling Husbink over the phone that they were BLACK and ORANGE. He was afraid...)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Time for An Adventure

Having said there has been a lack of adventuring, at last we are off again!
A week of holiday, a week of new places, photographs, walks, food, pubs...hurrah!
This past week has been long and difficult and no fun in many places. So I've made my own fun from time to time.
I have used (at points slightly unnecessarily) my bright green, slightly too large, covered in daisies umbrella. When I received it as a Christmas present I was a little alarmed because of its size but now I love it because it makes me smile.
I have laughed a lot with Husbink. Hurrah for Husbinks!
Just at the moment though I'm stuck on the sofa because my body has said enough! I really rather do need this holiday...
Back to Sense & Sensibility...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Being Lazy

I have taken a long, long time to learn how to be lazy. That's lazy in a good way. Clearly.
Yesterday, I think I may have finally managed it.
We woke up. I made tea. We snoozed, listening to Adam and Joe on Radio 6. We got up to make breakfast...and took it back to bed. Listened to more Adam and Joe and when they finished, switched over to not-Jonathon Ross on Radio 2. Husbink read Empire. I read The Economist.
We eventually got up around 1pm and had some lunch. We played Mario Kart.
Around 3pm we went to the gym. We left the gym sometime after 5pm.
We came home and pootled about before making a fish laksa for dinner. We played more Mario Kart, watched an episode of Life on Mars. I went to bed. Husbink watched Match of the Day.
For me, the gym bit was hugely necessary otherwise I'd have felt like I'd wasted the day too much. Also, I'm not good at not leaving the house. If I stay inside too long, I do go a little loopy. (Various days on holiday when we've tried this have ended in tears. Actual tears.)
It was a good day. But today, I get to be busy again, rushing hither and thither and that's much more what I'm made for!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Not Much Adventuring Going On...

Both in the blogging world and the real world.
It seems we have settled down to 'normal' life again. Which, frankly, is a shame. I know it was inevitable but that doesn't make it good.
Not to say that life in the Used-to-be-Adventuring household is bad; it isn't. Things are ticking along pretty well at the minute. Husbink loves his work. I am getting to the point where the work is good. It has taken a little while to get the balance right but I think I'm pretty much there.
We are starting to meet people and make friends in our new city. We are settled in our house. We have decided on a church (this was not like our deciding on a church in NZ where it was so utterly obvious and right and so on. This was deciding on a church in a "there's very little to pick between so let's just choose" way). We have joined a gym. Much as I always think I shouldn't like the gym and that there should be other (cheaper, better) ways of exercising, the gym really does work best for me. Partly because I can go on my own (and prefer going on my own) so it is something I can do when Husbink works (or sleeps, like this morning when I will go to the gym while he recovers from the night shift.)
Anyway, the point of all this is that it does not lead to anything very much to blog about. I know I used to blog about normal life as much, if not more, than about adventuring but it seems I needed the adventures to make normal life also worthy of note. This is not to say that I haven't had hundreds and thousands of posts (okay, that might be going a little far...) going round my head over the past few months but all of them, for a range of reasons, have been censored before meeting the page.
So that's my quietness dealt with but what now? I am in a state of some change which is always the kind of time for blogging but it is very internal change. Things are now not changing for a while, possibly a really long while, and the internal change is learning to live with that. Does this make for interesting blogging? Or perhaps, if not interesting blogging, motivated blogging?! We shall have to wait and see I guess!
'Til then...