Monday, March 27, 2017

Happy Birthday, Younger Son!

'It's easy to get there. You join the motorway and then come off at the first junction.'

What Younger Son forgot to say was to take the motorway going west. Not east. Go to Neath not Port Talbot. 

But I was on automatic pilot and having looked up Dyffryn Clydach on google maps I knew it was exactly next to the big road and just after Aberdulais. Except of course it turned out it wasn't.

'Dyffryn Clydach is an area not a place,' YS explained after we'd taken a second four mile detour and I was complaining that none of the road signs pointed to it. But we got there in the end, there being a willow weaving and woodworking workshop that Younger Son had organised in his role as events manager for Actif Woods.

Nuora, Grandson4 and I were joining him as it's his birthday and he had to work, having worked all weekend as well. 

It was a glorious day and after taking GrandSon for a walk in the woods I joined in the activity.
My slightly lopsided heart
Birthday Boy making a spatula.
A nice wall in the woods.
Mango and raspberry meringue with mascarpone cream, made by Nuora




Sunday, March 26, 2017

Who would steal a rat?

Followed by our first barbecue of the year.
Yes, it was a bit cold by then.

A lovely Mother's Day today. Grandchildren for a sleepover last night, playing in the garden in the sun this morning, a walk in the park this afternoon, roast beef cooked by Husband and a new series of Suits on netflix.

And two lovely hand-made presents from Daughter and Younger Son (+ Maltesers).
The only bad thing was we met the lady responsible for the rats in the park and she told us three had been stolen!


Saturday, March 25, 2017

And today's post

Husband enjoying his first al fresco lunch of the year.
You can't see but we have a sycamore seedling growing out of the table. Impressive eh?

We're buying a new table this year. But it won't be here in time for our first barbecue this afternoon.

And we went to the library this morning. When we came out the tide was in and the sun was glistening on the water. I said, 'What a beautiful day. It's the sort of day ...' then I stopped myself and giggled. 'I was going to tell you the only joke I can remember,' I explained to Husband.
'Lenin?' he asked.
I nodded still giggling.

Sorry, you mean you haven't heard it? You're in for a treat ...

It's a beautiful day today, the sort of day that makes you want to go and knock on the door of the Kremlin and ask, 'Is Lenin?'

(Courtesy of Ken Dodd.) (I apologise.)

Whoops! Yesterday's post late again

I opened a blank page to write a post yesterday then was called for dinner so went and forgot all about it. 

It was a lovely day yesterday so I went for a walk at Caswell in the morning and along the sea front to West Cross in the afternoon. And around the cliffs I spotted my first violets of the year!

On the sea front I did some shell skimming. I have finally perfected the art: a quick whisht of the wrist and schweeee the shell goes straight to the bottom of the water. It has taken sixty years of practising to achieve such consistency.

And that was it for Friday really. 

Oh yes, I've been reading a book about a woman who is about 26 and who is looking back on the period in her life when her sister vanished. I'd been curious, especially as her brother later disappeared as well, but I was about one third of the way through the book when she said, 'My sister is a chimpanzee.'

When the narrator was born her father had brought home a chimp of the same age so he could study them as they grew up together. I persevered for a while but gave up last night so I'll never know if her brother was a gorilla.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

In which I am almost perfect

So the dentist says I need to have my teeth scaled. 'I will use sonar to remove the tartar,' she says. 'But I should warn you that people don't like it. It vibrates and there is cold water.'

'Phooey,' I think. 'How painful can a bit of sonar be?'
Ooo yee oww! 
The answer is very.

Other than that she told me I have excellent oral hygiene. And she didn't even add 'for your age.'

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

And he's definitely gone

'Is it odd to say I still can't think of him as gone?' 

Husband and I were in the car on our way home from Uncle's where I'd been sorting out some of his clothes. And it doesn't seem strange at all and I somehow think it should.

I've been trying - and failing - to print a photo of him to frame and the best one I have is the one that Husband took for the 2014 article in The Guardian. In it he looks happy and relaxed and well and it struck me how much he'd changed in the last two years, especially since last autumn, and that I hadn't noticed how dramatically he'd deteriorated. I suppose you don't when you see someone regularly.

He never got his appetite back after a bad chest infection before Christmas. I kept saying to myself, 'Once he starts eating again he'll pick up in strength, get his old enthusiasm back and will carry on to live for years.' This was even though he kept saying, 'Oh, I don't want live for years; I've had enough.'

We've been thinking that something may well have gone wrong in his gut: he had bowel cancer a long time ago. He'd been fine since but, in retrospect, it may have appeared again. And maybe Uncle suspected it.

The most poignant moment of the morning was finding his jacket with the handkerchief still just peeking out of the top pocket. Uncle was always a gentleman in manner and dress.

Husband said, 'No. Life's been too busy. I was thinking about him the other day and it struck me: he's gone. And I miss the old codger.'


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

In which I come out of the closet

So yesterday I upset a friend. I didn't mean to but I did. So since then I've been thinking a lot and trying to clarify my thoughts - always a tricky job when it involves my brain.

There's been a lot of discussion - and pain - around the question of homosexuality and the church. I have friends on both sides of the argument: those who say homosexuality is definitely a sin and those who are equally firmly convinced it's not. I have been reluctant to give my views on the subject because I didn't want to upset either side but that's not being honest. 

So I upset my friend by saying I honestly didn't know if homosexuality was a sin to God. My head says yes but my heart says no. I read passages that seem to say quite clearly that it is but then I think of Jesus (who didn't say anything about it) and his attitude of inclusivity, and then I read articles about how the church is failing to disciple or teach its young people properly (and losing them in the process), and then I read other articles about love and I end up even more confused than I started.

So I thought I'd better try again to look at some passages myself.

My first thought was that not only does Jesus not say anything about homosexuality neither do the ten commandments (although there is a bit in Leviticus, which appears to be things God thought of after the first ten biggies, and which includes some quite severe laws and drastic punishments many of which would be laughed out of church today). 

What the ten commandments do is give us a guide to living. If we do the the things God says we shouldn't do they will cause hurt or pain to us or someone else - so that seems quite reasonable to me. Likewise Jesus in his manifesto (the sermon on the mount) gives us good advice for living: do good and it'll do you good.

What Jesus really doesn't like is hypocrisy: people saying one thing and doing another, especially those leading the church who should know better. The ones who care more about the rules than about the people in their care. He prefers the company of honest sinners. Yes, he tells them to go and sin no more but he's there in the dirt and the mud with them, helping them, helping us.

It's because we can't keep the law that Jesus came. We are no longer under law. 

So back to the subject. Some writers in the New Testament also express themselves strongly on the the topic. Often quoted are these words of Paul:
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. etc (Romans 1:26-27) 

But if you look at verse 25 the people Paul is talking about are those who had:
exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator ...

The gay Christians I know know the truth about God and worship and serve him, so they are not the people Paul is talking about nor the unrighteous mentioned in a similar verse in Timothy's letter.

A lot of pro-gay people will put the cultural argument that the times Paul was writing in and about were times of sexual craziness where prostitution and abuse was accepted and even welcomed in temples, where people were used and abused and love had nothing whatsoever to do with it. And I'm sure that's true too. (Paul also said women shouldn't speak in church and frowned upon long hair on men.)

So my head is coming down more on the not a sin side. (When I say homosexuality I am talking about loving committed relationships between two people who happen to be of the same sex.) 

If it is a sin then it's between God and the individual. It's nothing to do with me as long as I don't see one individual using or abusing an another. My job is to encourage people to meet God, get to know him, accept his love. Anything more than that is down to God. And quite honestly I'm pretty glad about that. I have more than enough of my own sins to worry about.

P.S. As you can see I'm my usual wishy washy self on this, but that's okay, because there are loads of things I don't understand in the bible. But I know Jesus and he's pretty cool about that and with me so I'm not going to worry.
P.P.S. I also read an article by a man who considers what he'd do if one of his children came out as gay. He said he would love them not despite their sexuality and not because of it but just because he loves them. I hope the same is true of me and my gay friends.

When is a stool not a stool?

Remember my resolution to think before I speak?

Postman arrives with a parcel. I open the door and say, 'That doesn't look like a stool.'
Postman looks at me, smiles anxiously, and says, 'Sign here please,' before hurrying away.

Perhaps Husband wasn't talking about stools when he said he was expecting a delivery today. He could have made that clear to me. But is that the delivery he told me to wait in for? Or should I still be expecting stools?

Speaking of stools reminds me that I still have a bowel cancer testing kit to use. It arrived during the what-I-call difficult times earlier in the year and I put it to one side to 'do later'. Later has arrived. But I'm busy today ...

Oh yes, and I have a new knife! The same as the one that went missing. Happy woman.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Another short one

Okay so I've rewritten the blog post I was going to post yesterday but I'm not posting it yet. I want to have some details checked by someone I trust.

In other news, GrandSon4 is much improved and eating better.

I spent a large part of today walking to and fro between banks in the pouring rain trying to persuade them to accept a cheque. You wouldn't think they'd be so reluctant, would you? As an executrix I should have waved my wand, said the magic word, 'Acceptiamus!' and they'd have been saying please and thank you good as can be.