Monday, September 30, 2013

Not another wannabe writer

Following a suggestion from Daughter that I should specialise more in my blogging - she didn't exactly say that but something along those lines - I decided, after mulling it over for, oh, several months, that I wouldn't. But that I would write a separate blog just about writing.

It seems to make good marketing sense to try and build a following - see how hard I am trying to be with it, using social media type terms? - and I think it's best if I keep the two blogs separate. I say two but I also have my The bits that are too long blog for actual writing as opposed to writing about writing (not another wannabe writer) or anything else (Finding life hard?). Not to mention This Time Next Year, which, strictly speaking, isn't my blog but that of the fictional heroine of my novel of the same name. Confused? You will be.  I certainly am.

So where was I? Or who am I? 

Friday, September 27, 2013

In which I am even more embarrassing than usual

I dial a number. It rings and I wait. It rings a long time so I browse through emails. At last a man answers, 'Hello.'
'Oh ... hello ... oh dear, my mind's gone blank. I can't remember why I'm calling you.'
'Oh.'
'Um, who am I speaking to?'
'John Jones.' 
This makes it worse: I don't know a John Jones. 'Oh dear I can't remember why I was calling you.'
At this point I spot a name in amongst the emails. 'Oh wait, is your wife called Julie?'
'Yes, Julie Jones.'
'Ah I didn't know her name, you see.'
'Oh.'
'She's the one I want to talk to.'
'She's not here.'
'Okay, goodbye.'
And I hurriedly hang up before he can ask my name.

I probably wouldn't be able to remember that either.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Stop all the clocks

Husband has gone off to an auction with the intention of buying a house.

Younger Son and Nuora have a deposit saved but as they're off to Malaysia they thought they'd like to invest and get on the property ladder so Husband suggested that we go part shares.

I went with him and Nuora to view two houses, very cheap houses and when we saw them we could see why: the sides were falling off. Although Husband and YS while he's here are capable and prepared to do some work this was really big builder territory.

Nuora and I though were slightly distracted during the viewing.

The house had been in the same family for many years and presumably the remaining family member had died. The house hadn't yet been cleared so while Husband was lifting up floorboards and peering behind wallpaper, Nuora and I were oohing and aahing over the lovely china in the glass-fronted alcove. And the piano.

We guessed that the last owner was a musical Welsh-speaking chapel-going woman from the piano, piles of sheet music and framed bible quote in Welsh hanging over the bed.

And the garden was full of fruit trees and bushes, not to mention an air raid shelter. Such a shame the house was falling apart.

But saddest of all was the clock on the piano, still ticking away and keeping good time. I'm with WH Auden on this: when death comes along by rights the world should stop. When I've been in a home affected by death it always comes as a surprise to go outside and find life is continuing as normal, as if your world hadn't just been destroyed, as if your loss matters not a jot.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Or the books ...

With more than an average amount of rain and damaged ankles we had to spend quite a lot of time just sitting in the cottage and reading. A real hardship I know.

Books I read
Body at the Tower by Y S Lee. A Young Adult book set during the building of the Houses of Parliament. An easy to digest history lesson with murder, mystery and love woven in.
Rogue in Porcelain by Anthea Fraser. I got this out of the library having misread the author and thinking it was by Antonia Fraser. Another easy read. A journalist researching the family history behind an old local business uncovers a secret. There is a murder but it's late on in the book, which is more about family difficulties and romance. 
The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith. The latest in the Precious Ramotswe series, you know what to expect and it's lovingly delivered. For the first time I did begin to wish Precious was just a teeny bit less perfect but enjoyable as always.
Jennie by Paul Gallico. A classic that I'd never read about a boy who turns into a cat and who is taught to survive and enjoys many adventures with the tabby Jennie of the title. An incredibly believable story. You'll never look at a cat in the same way again.
The Cream Puff Murders by Joanne Fluke. Started reading but after a few pages of being told rather than shown who was who and what was what I gave up. Shame because she's written a whole series and it's fab when you discover a new collection of novels waiting for you. I still remember when I read my first Barbara Pym.
Not That kind of Girl by Catherine Alliott. She's one of my favourite writers of light romantic yarns. I'm about halfway through this one and it's a expected. Not challenging but entertaining.
The Heart Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne. I've saved my absolute favourite for last. Another YA book this is so gripping it pulls you in to caring deeply for the heroine who's in prison for what you don't know at the beginning but the hints are there that it's something truly bad. If you liked Girl, Interrupted or The Bell Jar you'll enjoy this. Thoroughly engaging. (According to the Telegraph the book is "a gritty psychological thriller set in the psychiatric unit of a Young Offenders' Institution." Okay, I suppose it is gritty but it's about heart and mind.)

And today I was delighted to discover that the library was able to source for me The Supremes at Earl's All-you-can-eat, as recommended by Rose, so I'm looking forward to reading that.

Not forgetting the dolphins!

Cardigan Bay has the second largest population of bottlenose dolphins in Europe and most days (in summer) they can be seen from the harbour wall in New Quay. 

We'd been scanning the sea eagerly each day we'd been walking but up until Thursday the sea was way too choppy. Every white horse and black buoy was a potential dolphin or seal and I'd resigned myself to not seeing any but then we went to New Quay on a relatively calm day. 

It's hard to take a photo or film something when you're jumping up and down and squeaking excitedly. (Strangely enough I seemed to be the only person on the harbour wall thus affected ) Even when I handed the camera over to Husband he didn't do much better so this isn't Cecil B de Mille. 
video

And finally ... for now

'Do you think someone jumped here?!'
'Or proposed?' Husband for once the romantic.
'Or the favourite spot of someone dead?' Me again. It's the writer in me. Much better if it's tragic.

Man with a gun

When you're miles from anywhere and surrounded by farmland it's not entirely surprising to see a man with a gun.

It's a little more unusual when that man is creeping about in the hedgerows, dressed in full camouflage gear and his rifle has a silencer. 

After we'd passed him I whispered to Husband, 'Do you think I should have taken a photo of him?'
'Do you think that would have been a wise idea?'

He was certainly taking poaching to a new level. If that's what he was doing.

Traffic jams in Wales

I really felt for these girls with full dangling udders.

When it's you and a tractor who'll give way? (The tractor fortunately.)
You've got love a place called Plwmp.

The road sign was bigger than the place.

Just so Welsh!


We needed sustenance

With all these long healthy walks we needed occasional refreshment stops and I have to say we didn't have a bad experience - other than Naturally Scrumptious in Aberaeron where I was given a teabag in a cup but even there the welshcakes were very good. 

The cafe in the car park at Llangrannog had lovely home made cakes and ice cream and Creme Pen Cai in New Quay had an amazing range of home made ice creams and sorbets. I eventually opted for honeycomb & butterscotch with creme brulee while Husband had sticky toffee, fig and walnut. Quite expensive but worth it. Oh and the tiny little cafe in Cwmtydu also had good home made cakes especially the plum crumble cake - and proper tea in a tea pot .

In New Quay we enjoyed 'the best fish and chips I can remember having' according to Husband, sitting on the sea front spotting dolphins. It's not much that will drag my attention away from my chips but dolphins do the trick.

Then last night, for our farewell dinner, we went to the Harbour Master in Aberaeron. A Michelin restaurant it was certainly very popular. My starter of Cardigan Bay crab bhajis was nice but I couldn't taste the crab but my Cardigan Bay lobster with warm rocket and potato salad was divine.





Cat lovers look away now

This was the cat belonging to the owners of the holiday cottage we were staying in. Their house was next door but they too were on holiday so we didn't see them. Just their cat. And very sweet and lovely she was. But Husband hates cats. So, in spite of her piteous crying at the door, and my, 'she wouldn't do any harm and she can sit with me,' he refused to let her in. 

I had to avert my gaze to avoid meeting her eyes and seeing the hurt and/or resentment in them.

The cottage was called Heddfan, meaning peaceful, and it was that.

The garden was beautifully laid out and there was a path into the adjoining orchard where there were hooks for a hammock. Unfortunately a strong wind and a dodgy ankle meant I didn't get to swing low beneath the boughs.
During the week we had our share of wet days - first at poppit Sands
(see even when on holiday we remember George!) and then at Aberaeron.
But we had mostly dry though breezy days.

Mwnt takes its name from the little mountain created by glaciers hundreds of thousands of years ago. The beach and Mwnt itself are owned by the National Trust but the tiny chapel, Holy Cross Church, belongs to the Church in Wales and is used for services weekly.


The building probably dates from the about the 13th century.
It was on this ridge, overlooking Mwnt beach that husband and I fell out.

'Take my photo standing at the edge,' Husband said.
'Okay.'
'No, move further over; you'll get a better shot,' Husband told me.
'No.'
'Go on, move across.'
'No!'
'Well, you go and sit on that edge and I'll take your photo.'
'No!'
What Husband didn't appreciate was that I was throwing a wobbly. Having scrambled to the top (with bad ankle) before realising there was nothing on the other side except a drop I was clinging on to the very rock for dear life.
'I'm going down now.'
'You wuss!'
'Yes, I'm a wuss and I don't care as long as I get back to a grounder level sooner rather than later.'


 Amazingly we were still speaking on Thursday, when, with my ankle strapped, I was able to walk about 6 miles and on Friday we managed 8, mostly on cliff paths, some of which were just a little hairy. I really didn't think I could manage this one.
'Talk to me,' I said.
'What about?'
'Anything boring to take my mind off where I'm walking.'

The previous day I'd got up a steep slope while he'd explained potential energy to me. (Incidentally I firmly believe that physicists have made it all up.) And it worked again this time. Two sweaty palms later and I was rewarded for my bravery by a dolphin who'd chosen the spot just below our bit of the cliff path to browse.

In fact I did so well ... that we came back the same way. Partly, it's true, because we couldn't find the alternative path that was supposed to exist.

This is quite a long post so I'll let you have a break now ...

Monday, September 16, 2013

I make up in enthusiasm what I lack in knowledge

'Look, a bunny! ... although it has very long ears:  it could be a hare. ... Wait, it may be a pheasant!'
Husband, 'It's a bantam.'
'Oh. That's a bit like a pheasant, right?'

In that it's at least a bird and not a bunny.

Having turned right at Plwmp we found our lovely little holiday cottage down the end of a very long lane with hardly any misturnings and the only real one happening because I missed out one of three instructions that said 'turn left to Llangrannog.' (Surely we were going in a big circle?)

We wanted peace and we've found it here. We're just up the road i.e. a 35 minute walk, from the cove at Cwmtydu, famous for its connection with the smuggler Sion Quilt, and a place where you can join the Ceredigion Coast path. (I got it wrong: we're not in Pembroke but the next one up.)

But today, after a rainy visit yesterday to Poppit, we set off from Llangrannog to walk to Penybryn around said coast path. Undeterred by the battering of the wind - blowing onshore thankfully - we'd managed about a mile (maybe) when, scrambling down some steps my foot slipped off the side (into the bushes not over the edge you'll be pleased to hear - although if it had I wouldn't be writing this) and twisted.

St Carannog was keeping watch in the wrong direction when I fell over
Like a brave little solider I continued on for maybe another half mile (Husband will laugh I'm sure when he notes my generous distances but it felt that far) before the reality that however far I managed to walk I'd have to walk back again made me stop and say, 'Perhaps it would be better to return now and save myself for another day.'

At Llangrannog I managed to struggle as far as the cafe for my second cream tea of the holiday and then Husband suggested that I should paddle. 'Rugby players have ice baths to fight strains.'


By the time we got back to the cottage, in spite of the blackberry and apple crumble ice cream I managed to force down before setting off - I needed it after the paddle - my foot was screaming. So I've spent the rest of a perfectly sunny and lovely afternoon stretched out on the sofa with my foot up. I just hope the rest will have done the trick and I'll be able to walk again tomorrow. 

Internet access here is fairly slow - okay very slow - so I won't put up too many photos till we get home.

I'm just waiting for Husband to cook my steak for me now ...



Saturday, September 14, 2013

And we're off!

Is it very 'old' to choose a holiday cottage because it has a 'queen-size bed with comfortable mattress'?

No, that wasn't the only reason: it's also a romantic cottage for two close to the Pembrokeshire coastal path. And there wasn't that much choice at the last minute. But the bed did sway it for me.

Just waiting for Husband to finish getting ready; I've been ready for ages. Also been very excited all week. You'd think we were off to, I don't know, Bali Hai or somewhere, not west Wales, probably in the rain.

Husband is taking his laptop and there is - intermittent - wifi I believe but I'm not planning on using it too much. I did contemplate taking my exercise dvd with me but only very briefly. This holiday is to rest and relax, enjoy the countryside and take gentle walks. (Actually Husband doesn't do 'gentle' walks but if there's a promise of an ice cream/cream tea at the end I can be persuaded to go most places.)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Do I have an interested face?

'Interesting?' said Husband. 'No.'
'Thank you, dear, but I said interested not interesting.'
'Oh. No, you don't have that either. You just glaze over.'
'You notice it so why don't other people?'

I was interested in whether my face had a particularly inviting talk-at-me look about it as over the years I seem to have been subjected to more than my fair share of people who talk at me, regardless of my glazed-over eyes, and it's men in particular.

I can think of two who were part of Linden long ago who could ignore not only the glassy-eyed stare but the barely-concealed yawning without even a suspicion that they were to blame. Two? No, make that three. No, actually now I can come to think of it most of them are male. Males who assume I'm interested in computers - just because I play on one doesn't mean I understand the workings any more than I could attempt brain surgery just because I have a head - engines, politics, personal family history - now and again if there's a reason to know it, fine, but not because, 'well, I might as well tell you this now I've started.' No, really, you needn't - and, well, you get the idea.

And I suppose any topic, even one in which I have a great interest, will soon become boring if it's a monologue in which I am given no opportunity to respond and there is never any suggestion that the speaker might be interested in what I have to say on the topic.

Look, if you want to be boring, do what I do: write a blog; don't talk at me.


Packing for my hols!

Had my hair done this morning ready for my holiday and then walked over to the library. My intention was to return the book that is due back tomorrow and not borrow any more as I have another 3 ready to read ... but I couldn't help myself. 

Now I have 6 library books and 2 charity shop books to take on hols with me. I'll be all right if it rains at least.

I know people who will similarly prioritise their holiday packing. First the books then everything else will have to fit in around.

I suppose I should think about a kindle ...

* * * * * * * * * *
Walking through town is an incredibly depressing thing to do. More shops have closed down every time I go there. Even the charity shops are shutting up.

The one bright spot in Swansea seems to be Plymouth Street, which has a number of vaguely artisan shops and a cafe. Specialising must surely be the way forward for the city if it wants to attract shoppers back into the centre. If there were shops selling goods you couldn't get elsewhere, accompanied by quality food stores, delis and cafes, it may be possible to breathe new life into what is rapidly becoming the dying heart of the city.

Sometimes Husband gets an urge ...

and it just has to be satisfied.

To be fair, I'm the same: when I get the urge I have to have some too. And nothing else will do. Only chocolate does the trick.

But it's Husband's urges I'm talking about here and the problems it causes me. If there's nothing chocolatey in the house then he goes in search of the cooking chocolate. My cooking chocolate. The good quality dark chocolate I buy to have in the pantry ready for when I have to make brownies or choc chip cookies. The chocolate I now have to hide.

Don't get me wrong: I don't begrudge him chocolate but I do object to him stealing - yes, Husband, it is stealing - my cooking supplies.

You'd think the fact that I've hidden it would deter him, make him realise how wrong it is for him to be reduced to this, but nothing of the sort. Rather he takes it as a personal challenge. As a result - and because he kept finding my hidden stash - my hiding places are becoming more and more obscure. So obscure that I'm sometimes surprised when I unexpectedly come across a bar.

I just hope I don't die suddenly. The children when going through my effects (what a strange word) might be disturbed to find chocolate in my knicker drawer. (Note to Husband: I do NOT have chocolate in my knicker drawer.)

On the other hand, it might just make them laugh, at a sad time, to remember their loopy mum.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Me a sucker? Surely not

Okay, I know it's unlikely but surely they can't sell something that's not what it's supposed to be? Which is why I bought these magic/message beans.
Allegedly when the bean grows it will have I love you written on it.

Yes, I know: how can that be possible? Unless, as Younger Son suggested it's genetically modified and has been crossed with a Care Bear.

But I've planted it. And now we just have to wait and see. 

I'm excited; how about you?

Monday, September 09, 2013

On being a dad

I am very proud of Elder Son who's written this article on fatherhood:
https://medium.com/p/48e235107629

Coal tar anyone?

It seems I am behind the times - as so often is the case - in my liking for a proper bar of soap to wash my hands. My children all prefer liquid soap and judging by the diminished choice in Sainsburys, so does the majority of its customers.

I've been using Palmolive for years but recently I've noticed it's not as soapy as it used to be. Either the soap has changed or the local authority/water board has, without telling me, started sneakily adding chlorine to water making it hard. I suspect the former is more likely.

So, today, in the supermarket I dithered between the few remaining choices. In the end I opted for Dove (with added moisturiser) and a bar of Pears see-through soap, but while I was there I had to have a sniff of the Wrights Coal Tar soap - excuse my foible. For some reason I mostly associate it with Great-auntie Lottie who lived in Air Balloon Road (and isn't that a wonderful place to go on holiday?) in Bristol. 

Puzzling over why anyone would want to wash with coal tar, which sounds thoroughly unpleasant, I did a bit of browsing. It seems that coal tar is a very effective treatment for psoriasis and generally is good for the skin - which I can believe: it smells as if it would scrub you clean. However the EU in its wisdom has declared it unfit for human use unless medically prescribed. So today we have Wright's traditional soap with coal tar fragrance. (I believe it now contains tea tree oil for its antiseptic properties.)

It wasn't always thus though.



Sunday, September 08, 2013

A wonderful two weeks

After two weeks of having grandchildren here we're back to normal today. At least almost. We still have Younger Son and Nuora who'll be living with us until the conservation project they're hoping to set up is up and running. In Malaysia. But I'm not thinking about that yet. Plenty of time to worry about them being on the opposite side of the world for 9 months of the year - at least it's not 12 - when it happens.

We've had a fab two weeks with the family but, I have to admit, I'm feeling just a little weary today. This afternoon I thought, 'I could do something useful like strip beds,' but then I thought, 'Why bother?' So I watched Victoria Wood talking about tea - television on a Sunday afternoon, how very decadent (although it's the way families used to spend Sunday afternoons, watching the Hollywood musical) - read a little and dozed a little. All very pleasant and relaxing.

During last week we did finally manage to take a ride on the land train ...
 although it wasn't until we were on the way back and GrandSon2 was sitting on my lap that I noticed something. This is what happens when you leave Grandad in charge of putting on shoes.
What's more we've booked a holiday ourselves!

Ever since our trip to Rome and Venice back in February we've said that we'll have a lying-in-the-sun holiday in September. So, we both spent a lot of time, before the family arrived, browsing websites to find holidays. As I've mentioned before Husband is quite particular: he likes flights from Cardiff (or possibly Bristol) that leave in the middle of the day and arrive back early evening. This limits our choices somewhat. Add to that the question mark over what the weather will be like in the Med in September, our - or my - fussiness over hotels, and the balance between quality and cost, and you'll understand why it takes us a long time to find a suitable holiday. But I did eventually!

And then Husband sighed and said, 'I don't think I want to pay so much money to lie in the sun after we've done such a lot of lying in the sun at home this summer.'

So we're renting a cottage in west Wales.

Which is absolutely fine by me. We can walk along the Pembrokeshire coastal path, eat cream teas, read a lot, and rest. Sounds perfect.

Oh yes, and the top restaurant in the nearest town (I use the term lightly) to the cottage, according to Tripadviser, is an ice cream parlour. It just keeps getting better and better.


Wednesday, September 04, 2013

A nightmare

As it was a lovely sunny afternoon yesterday we decided we'd take a ride to Mumbles on the land train. (Daughter and children are still with us this week as Son-in-law is away at a conference.) We wandered down to Blackpill and waited - but no train arrived. A load of police cars turned up though.

It turned out a 5-year-old girl had gone missing from the lido. She'd been gone for about an hour at that time. We hung around for a while waiting to see if the train would arrive but I don't think our hearts were in it. I clutched GrandDaughter closely to me as I murmured prayers for her safety.

At last just as we were about to leave we saw one policeman making a thumbs-up signal to another and, yes, the girl had been found. She'd been taken to a police station by a couple who'd found her somewhere.

I can't imagine how her parents felt during the waiting or when they heard she was safe but I was close to tears. 

It was such a beautiful afternoon and the lido was quite busy with parents, grandparents and children who were enjoying their very last day of the summer holidays. It was the sort of fun atmosphere that you wouldn't want to believe could be infiltrated by a wrong-doer; and it was the sort of scene you could imagine being in a crime novel about abduction.

Thank God it didn't turn out that way.

Not every bible study ends with the police being called

Sean's back ... and the police had to be called to last night's bible study; is there a link here?

Good to have him back in the driving seat and leading a feedback session on the series we've just finished on 'Difficult things Jesus said'. And apart from our abusive and threatening visitor it was a good evening.

* * * * * * * * *
I notice that Seamus Heaney and David Frost were both 74. If I were die at that age that would mean I only had 14 years of life left. I'd better get on with living it.


Monday, September 02, 2013

Yarri

Each month in our Sunday Tribal Gathering at Zac's we've been looking at one of the Beatitudes along with the piece of artwork commissioned. This month it was 'Blessed are the peacemakers' and the art is this Aboriginal painting - I don't know the name of the artist I'm afraid but I'll try and find out and add it later  - that tells the story of what was possibly the first act of reconciliation between Aborigine and white settler in Australia.
I precis-ed an article to tell the story here:
Our story is set in Australia in the nineteenth century. There was a short stretch of the Murrumbidgee River where it was possible to cross in safety and many white settlers used it to cross and continue their journeys across Australia. As it was a popular river crossing small businesses grew up around it. Sometimes the settlers would have to wait several days for the river to be low enough for them to cross so hotels, shops, houses and eventually a small town was built there. 

The local Aborigines told them they should move and build on higher ground because they knew it was a floodplain and sooner or later a big flood would happen. The settlers ignored the warnings thinking the Aborigines just wanted them off the land so they could keep it for themselves. 

In 1844 the river rose 3 feet and the inhabitants of the town had to hide in their lofts. In spite of this warning they still believed that they were safe from serious flooding. 

By 1852 Gundagai had a white population of 250 people and a school, a bank and a police station.  In June 1852 it rained for 3 weeks and  the town was cut off when the floodplain was covered in water. The townspeople still refused offers from the local punt owner to take them to safety believing that because the rain had stopped they were safe – but then on Friday June 25th the water from a higher catchment area hit them and a torrent 6 and a half feet high tore through the town. 

The punt owner tried to rescue people but was swept into a tree and all except one aboard were drowned. It was now obviously too dangerous to take a boat into the waters and people were being swept away from their rooftops.

Then a lone figure in a fragile bark canoe appeared. His name was Yarri. Again and again, he forced his way across the raging torrent. His canoe could only hold himself and one other but, one by one, he rescued flood victims and brought them to land. By Friday night the river was rapidly rising at the rate of over three feet (1 metre) an hour and as darkness closed in people were forced to cling the highest rooftops and chimneys or swim to the nearest treetops still above the water. 

In the early hours of Saturday June 26, the river peaked at about twenty feet and had swollen to a width of one mile. Guided only by the cries for help and the moonlight, Yarri continued paddling through the ferocious waters trying to avoid the surging logs, debris and dead cattle. 

On Saturday morning another brave aborigine called Jacky Jacky, joined the rescue bid, in a larger bark canoe which could hold more than one person. He was able to rescue several people at a time.

Yarri and Jacky Jacky continued to rescue those who were still clinging to life in treetops during the night and through the next day Sunday June 27. The epic rescue took three days and two nights of exhausting effort and by the end Yarri had rescued 49 people and Jacky Jacky another 20. The number of lives lost was estimated to be between 80 and 100.

Aboriginal painting is very symbolic and in this one the yellow leaves number 69, the total saved by Yarri and Jacky.


A little concerned when I turned up for yesterday's Tribal Gathering at Zac's to find it was just me and Mog. And then Mog went ...

But only to the shop and soon others turned up. We knew it would be a small group because lots of people were away but what we lacked in number we made up for in quality. A great discussion on 'Blessed are the peacemakers' - particularly interesting in view of the situation in Syria at the moment - and atmosphere. 

Rowland had an especially challenging viewpoint. He suggested that sometimes peacemaking involves taking action with good intention but another alternative is intercession, not perhaps as I would think of it eg as long-term ongoing prayer, but as a lifestyle, a choice. It took the intercession of one man, Jesus, through dying, to bring us peace; it took the intercession of one man, Robert Jermain Thomas, a Welsh missionary who died in the attempt to plant the seed of Christianity in Korea, a country that today has more than 12 million Christians.

I have to admit the option to be a peacemaker looks slightly less attractive when linked with dying for the cause.