Monthly Archives: September 2005

Missing – Reward for safe return

Yes. The prayer book has vanished off the edge of the bath – and the face of the earth. Maybe it had a self-destruct feature built into it on publication; designed to be activated at any hint of unorthodox use. Was it mortally offended at its descent into the miry pit – I wonder? Or did it think I was taking the concept of ‘Common Worship’ too far? At any rate, I feel quite lost without it. Especially as by the time it reappears I shall have lost my place completely and will probably end up arriving at Christmas a month ahead of everyone else.

Some alarming catches

I read in my stats that someone has linked to me via a googlesearch for ‘hairy males.’

I have a small dilemma here. How, when reviewing something does one put over the fact that one only managed to ‘get into’ the work more than halfway through? Diplomatically.

Learning from the natural law incident, I’ve been employing a spare half hour or so this evening googling myself. (Oh the shame!) The word ‘sad’ comes to mind.


I’m on to Natural Law ethics atm. And my poor brain is losing its elasticity as middle age kicks in. Am I stupid or am I stupid?! Though on reflection, late on a Saturday evening wasn’t the best time to tackle the topic. I mean: daughter has flown the nest and is out exploring the fleshpots of the nearest big city. Hubby has flown abroad and is sampling the beers of Munich. (Cue e-mail showing pics of beloved in strange strange hats and with a vaucous grin on his face). Son has left the house and is watching a film with his cronies. An unexpected evening to myself. So, what do I do? Switch on the TV? Sink into a bath with a glass of champagne and a box of chocolates? No. Balance Miffy – balance!

Though to be fair, I was interrupted mid stream by a phone call from a fellow member of our church about a topic which is very much on everyone’s minds just now. Over an hour later, I put the phone down to find that my right ear had started to swell up from the pressure of the receiver pressing against it. I sometimes wonder why folk do talk to me. Or in many cases talk at me. I don’t generally get a word in edgeways. Shades of the knicker elastic syndrome again I think. So maybe this was a message from the Almighty to the effect that it’s best not to choose Natural law as the topic for my next assignment. (She says hopefully).

Wibloggers who are also on board SOF will know of my of my somewhat err…’unusual’ struggles to discern what Him (Her/It) Up There is trying to communicate to me. Latest being the little incident of the prayer book that fell out of my dressing gown pocket and down the loo. Musings as to what this could possibly mean ranged from ‘He’s telling you not to sit on the toilet with your prayer book in your dressing gown pocket,’ to ‘He’s telling you to ditch CCP,’ and ‘Why don’t you read a magazine in the toilet, like the rest of us?’ When he heard, Mr Miff daringly suggested that it might be a sign re the latest goings ons at church. But as those of you who frequent SOF also know – the Agony Uncle’s column isn’t in the ‘serious theological discussion’ section!

What you probably don’t know is that along with the prevarication habit, this squished, non-elasticated budgie is positively gifted at not following her own advice. To continue on the discernment tack, the nice people at the diocesan paper kindly printed another review by yours truly. (TBH it was the one that I’d hoped they’d not find room to put in – written as it was in a hurry in the hotel bar on holiday with the aid of a couple of large Mint Chocolate cocktails). And in longhand. (Look – no pc!). But M Silf’s ‘On Making Choices’ and companion volume ‘On Prayer’ are mini- minor sized and didn’t put me over the baggage allowance. So now, looking at the review what do I see – ‘discernment,’ ‘integrity,’ ‘intuition,’ ‘choices’ – ‘terminal embarrassment!’ If ever there was a person so stunningly ill-equipped to hold forth on all this, it’s one Miffy. (Blush).

News from fledgeling

Mr Miff took the call as I was in the bath at the time. Nothing much to report – other than that her internet connection has finally been sorted. He could also hear my ‘Clangers’ DVD burbling away in the background. What next?! What does the respectable student keep in their collection nowadays? ‘The Magic Roundabout?’ ‘Teletubbies?’ On second thoughts, I’d rather not know!

She’d have been alright today

Lady Godiva, I mean. It turned out quite sunny after all! I worked my way round the rail network, shedding layers as I went. And I’m delighted to say the trains ran like clockwork give or take a few minutes here and there. Greatly enlivened by the ticket inspector on the return leg who might have been a Butlin’s redcoat in a previous life as he joked his way up and down the aisles. Perhaps he was one – as even the public announcements had a certain quirky quality about them. Viz: ‘Ladies and gentlemen. We are now approaching…(hesitation as he wonders where the heck we are) Leamington Spa! Please change here for ???’ ‘Ladies and gentlemen. This is to inform you that we have two pasties and one bacon sandwich available in the buffet.’ (!)

I was tempted to ask him how they were on the gin and tonic front – if it wasn’t for the thought of the likely effect on my bladder after one too many station coffees. And after the family visits which were not good, not bad, but ‘as expected.’ After some hours of listening, listening, listening, I felt like a cross between a dried up sponge and a piece of old-fashioned and perishing knicker elastic. What can you do when the conversation – or more often the monologue, goes round and round the same old topics, and when no immediate solution seems apparent? When you’re never quite sure what’s true, what’s not, and what’s somewhere inbetween? You start to wonder just who is sane and who’s not.

It (the knicker elastic syndrome) even followed me as I tried to have a breather and an egg sandwhich on the benches in the shopping precinct near the cathedral. (No time to visit the latter unfortunately). An elderly, scruffy and distinctly whiffy gentleman plonked himself down nearby and proceeded to engage me in conversation. To be more accurate, he waffled on about this that and the next thing; the woeful state of the world today, World War II etc etc. Refused my offer of a sandwhich. Just wanted to talk to someone. From the state of him I’d suspect he probably lived in a similar place to SIL, if not ‘in the community,’but seemed relatively harmless. Ah well.

On the sunnier side – thanks go to the odd other fellow traveller for a few laughs: The lady with the Paterdale terrier on the return journey, (As fellow rare breed owners we had a good chat). The lady opposite on the way out and our giggles over a departed fellow passenger’s reading matter. Should we tell him he’d left his girly mag behind or not? I gave this serious consideration for all of a minute then reluctantly returned to my reading on OT and NT connections, montheism, polytheism and goodnessknowswhateism. And of course, Mr Redcoat and his pasties.

Revise that one…

…four hairy males, if you count Miffdog and cat. Do the last two count though – as they’ve both had the ‘snip?’

The fledgeling came back to visit: Midweek to pick up more of her things ( I sneaked a carrier bag of Tesco’s bits n’bobs into the luggage) and for the weekend. Finding the course absolutely exhausting and seemingly none too sure about the other folk on it. The group dynamics are quite interesting – differing between gender . Apparently there are so few boys that – to quote Ms Miff – they’ve ‘bonded’ together quite quickly into one little colony. (Fleeting visions here of hairy, baboon-like adolescents burping, thumping their chests and scratching each others’ fleas). The girls, on the other hand, are tending to form into numerous little (and potentially poisonous ) cliques. It was ever thus, I reckon. Probably goes back to the stone age, when the hairy hunters clubbed together to burp, thump their chests, scratch their fleas and boast about their latest exploits with the friendly neighbourhood sabre-toothed tiger. Whilst the ladies kept the home fires burning and bitched about, men, woad, and agonized about whether ‘my bum looks big in the lastest mammoth skin over the shoulder sleeveless tunic.’

Maybe it’s the fledgeling leaving home, but the approach of autumn isn’t exactly filling me full of joy and delight this year. Strange that. I’ve always thought of myself as a winter person. Normally I love the long, dark evenings – enjoy curling up with a cup of cocoa , a good book and the cat. As someone who’s never really found it easy to find summer clothing to suit me – I look forward to the time when I can pull my tried and trusted woolies out from storage. Not so now. I’m more inclined to forget the ‘mellow fruitfulness’ and focus, unhealthily on draughts and decay. The inevitable musing on one’s own mortality.

This may be due to personal circumstances. Apart from the MIL situation – there are several older folk I know who are battling with illness and the inevitable isolation that goes with it. I find myself listening and watching a fair bit – and it’s interesting to see the differing attitudes people have towards the inevitable. Some, like MIL rage against it – to the point that the the quality of life they could yet have slips away. Others like the lady who’s been newly diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening condition are realistic about their limitations but within these try to keep going as much as they can. And yet others, like the very sick member of our congregation I visited yesterday display a quiet bravery that I hope I’ll show when the times comes for me. Know what a ‘quiet spirit’ means now. At risk of descending to using cliches – it fairly took my breath away. And I’m so glad that I took Mr Miff’s advice to ring the bell – and not just dump my obligatory bunch of flowers on the doorstep and sneak off.

Lest I’m starting to sound like Florence Nightingale reincarnated, let me say that I’m NOT looking forward to tomorrow’s train journey up to the sunny midlands to visit MIL and SIL one little bit! Even the prospect of several hours (with the train operator concerned at LEAST a couple if not more!) with nothing to do but read a good book or daydream fails to appeal.

(Come to think of it – Lady Godiva probably dreaded the approach of winter as well!)

She’s gone!

The first fledgeling to fly the nest! (Sniff!) 🙁 Yes, just two hours ago – Ms Miffy packed up her Miffmobile, and called round to BF, before setting off down the motorway to her ‘own’ flat. And tomorrow at 9.30 a.m. sees her starting off on the long road to being a real live artist. An artist, according to her, who is suffering from a severe case of ‘Can’t draw any moreitis.’ Which might prove to be the teensiest drawback seeing as she’s on an art and design foundation course.

And the responsibilities of adulthood are weighing heavily on her shoulders. We trailed round Tescos the other night stocking up – with daughter determined to stick to her budget for the week. There were moral and ethical decisions to be made. Organic, free-range and fairly traded goods eat a large hole out of it. In the end, she went without chicken rather than buy the cheaper, but ‘non well brought up’ variety. I can see myself sneaking food parcels over to her. (Although I’ve been told it might be best not to let BF pass them on – or they might never reach their destination!)

(Sniff again) Here I am – stuck in a house with two hairy males! 🙁

Oh well. She’s only a train ride away.

Should I subtitle this blog…

…’struggles of a stretched chameleon?!’

Last night I broke through the writer’s block of the last few months and a rather nifty multicoloured reptile is now adorning the first page of my brand new journal. Why a chameleon? Well, I suppose it’s an oblique reference to trying to be all things to all men/women/persons, really. During one of the rare instances the other day when I wasn’t panicing – I was reflecting on the various ups and downs we’ve had this summer – especially those which have finally forced me to stagger off clutching my entrails (metaphorically speaking). I find this incredibly difficult being a reclusive, introvert Miffy. (It’s bad enough acknowledging I have entrails tbh) And desperation dictating that I’ve no choice but to wave said entrails around at other (carefully selected) folk is even more scarey. Basically because, I think, the sight of someone else’s innards hanging out are not the world’s most pleasant sight, and people’s reactions vary to it. Some pretend that you’re not there. I know – I’ve done it to others myself in the past. Too much a reminder of your own internal plumbing. Others rush to slap a nice, hygenic sticking plaster on you. After all, the whole business is so embarrassingly untidy, don’t you know. And emotional , grey, and frayed at the edges. For heaven forbid that emotion (other than in carefully controlled situations) shades of grey, and ….horrors……doubt (!) should have a place in today’s institutional church.

So, thank God for those few, very few people from a third group who’ve cheerfully – if at times slightly bemusedly* put up with the vagaries of my letting it all hang out, and who’ve resisted the temptation to reach for the heavenly first aid kit. Or who’ve used it with care and consideration – whatever their own personal viewpoint might be.

So, why the chameleon, then? Well, isn’t it said that a chameleon adapts to whatever colour setting you place it upon.? Hence, if it finds itself on a multicoloured background, the poor thing, in trying to be all things…. becomes in dire danger of exploding! Being a yes person myself, with an all too easy tendency to adapt my opinions and behaviour to those I’m trying to please, is what led to several ‘interesting’ encounters recently. As it has for Mr Miff. All kinds of reasons behind it all. I need to keep these tendencies in mind, and steer clear of doing a St Paul/chameleon act in future. How to keep the balance between having people don their surgical masks and plead a pressing engagement at my approach and yet stick to my ‘true colours,’ there’s a puzzle!

And, a new feature for the Mifflog: ‘What I’m reading.’ Might look better by my links in future – if some techie type can tell me how to sort it.

Journeying in Faith

Wrestling for Blessing (thanks to the diocesan newspaper review that put me on to this one…)

Connected Christianity (thanks to same paper for letting me read this one for them.)

* And a final thanks to old overseas friend, D, who phoned me in a hurry this morning. I didn’t have any time to explain what it’s all about, but a quick ‘entrails,’ ‘scared stiff’ and ‘pray tomorrow, please,’ and she understood.

Crikey. I need a strong cup of tea after all that.