Monthly Archives: February 2006

Pork pies and Bath buns

I must have had food on my mind when I peeked into Shifty Gnome’s blog this morning. Why else would I have mistaken a pic of his brain for a pork pie? There is a strange logic in this, however, as when I logged on, I’d just finished texting Ms Miffy the direction to Sally Lunns in Bath. She should be well on her way there now. ‘There’ being an open day at Bath Spa university. Offspring is thus armed with a long list of places to see: Sally Lunns as mentioned, the man who sells monkeys (??), the fudge shop, and the Teddy Bear shop. Oh, and something about seeing round the University art dept!

Miffdog took a tour round the garden earlier. We’ve light sprinkling of snow here. How long it stays is anybody’s guess. Strange in that that we’ve had two mornings when it’s actually been far colder mid morning than when I set off across town at 5 a.m. This isn’t the world’s most pleasant experience, although it’s interesting to see who else is up and about at that ungodly hour. At present mostly some of the folk refitting a department store in the shopping centre and a lone Biffa chappie whizzing round on one of those street cleaning thingies. Far more bearable is the return journey, wide awake and usually on an adrenalin rush. As I come down the hill and into the edge of the shopping area, I cast envious glances through the windows of one of the hotels where well fed looking executives are tucking into their full English breakfast.

Mr Miff has booked his time off work in May/June for his Tour de France shadowing attempt. I shall be in residence here at Maison Miffy of course, in order to supervise little Miffy over that crucial GCSE exam period.

The other half is eschewing modern technology for this ride. He doesn’t intend to be forever popping into internet cafes; a true ‘get away from it all’ time. Although he has consented to take his mobile phone with him so that we can keep in touch. I was wondering if maybe I could take on the role of anammusi….anamsuesis….you know, and start some kind of travel blog over the period. To his great joy, he’s also found that his time away clashes with the World Cup. That solves the problem of what to do in the evenings. Pure genius! And to my great joy, might I add. For the first time in living memory World Cup fever will not be infecting our household!

Right. The sun’s coming out. I think a little walk with Miffdog is in order.

Don’t panic; or am I just being chicken?

Just been reading a bird flu thread on another discussion forum. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve given little thought to the fact that it’s almost on our doorstep and that if the type that transmits across to humans makes an appearance, we could all be in for a doomsday type scenario. My only reaction so far has been to think a) those poor farmers, and b) Bother it. We’re not going to be able to buy free range chicken any more.

However, the web being the mine of info that it is – some sources advise stockpiling essential supplies, including protective face masks. (The latter can be used as a source of exchange and barter I gather). And not just any old face mask, either. No, there is a hierachy of protectiveness, and to get the ultimate in such for your loved ones you may need to dig deep. It puzzled me though, that one model – fairly basic was nevertheless counted OK, because apparently the virus attaches itself to fairly large particles. Which is in direct contradiction to the advice given me at the weekend re protection from Ms Miff’s good old influenza B; he pharmacist reckoned that with this type the virus is transmitted via such tiny droplets that most of them would penetrate through the part of the ask through which you breathe, rendering it pretty useless to begin with.

Maybe it’s sheer foolhardiness, but I’ve noticed that the older I get, the less worried I get about scares like this. Years ago, when the children were small, I’d have been out there stocking up on bottled water and loo rolls with the best of them. Not so any more. And it’s not as if I’d wouldn’t be affected – judging by my recent tendency to gunky bronchii. Strange.

Seems to have worked

Not the mask. (The pharmacist at Boots reckoned it wouldn’t afford much protection). But ‘stick it up your nose and stop your cold from starting’ device; a horrible, sickly, viscous fluid that makes the wretched organ drip like nobody’s business does appear to have stopped the Big Green Slime Monster and his cohorts from taking up residence. As Mr Miff and I have one each, the scene in the bathroom at bedtime is probably best not described!

Anyway. In the end I leapt on to a train, trawled round buying up half of M and S’s ready meal section, (Think I got a bit carried away there; Ms Miff has enough stuff now to last her a good couple of weeks!*) then charged across town to her abode. Found offspring up, dressed, and a wee bit better, but definitely weak and woozy – thanks in part to industrial strength Benylin Flu cure. And the slime monster is definitely well and kicking; she sounds like a sealion in full cry. With exams, assessments, open days to attend and UCAS forms to complete, (including the dreaded personal statement) NOT good timing. Especially as in my own experience of flu, the temptation at the first sign of rallying is to rush off and totally overdo things before relapsing.

I call her earlier this evening and she’s decided to crawl in tomorrow and see if she can beg time just to sit and do research before sitting the exam next day. And as BF will be around on Monday, maybe he can persuade her to see a doctor.

* Well, chocolate brazil nuts, sticky toffee pudding and custard are all good, nourishing foods, aren’t they?! 😉


What to do? Even after exchanging texts with Ms Miff earlier, still not sure whether it’s wise to don my Florence Nightingale mask and hop on a train to the other town or not. To explain, Ms Miff is currently languishing in self-imposed exile in her abode, having gone down with a nasty but of flu during the half term week just ending. Self -imposed, but very unselfish. Her reasoning being that she doesn’t want us to catch it, especially as I’m starting in a new job on Monday. And as past blogs about the wicked green slime monster show – when I catch a cold or flu, I really do catch it. Even if hubby went, he’d inevitably pass the lurgy on to me, (has sniffles already) and her brother is up to his eyes in coursework deadlines.

We texted this morning, because when I phoned last night, she could barely whisper. So there she is, sans BF who’s away til Monday, and with the prospect of an exam on Monday. (The original idea, BF being absent, that she could get in some uninterrupted study time over the holiday) The best laid plans…. Though at least now, she’s got 24 hours grace from college, who’ve agreed to letting her sit her exam a day late.

But with this work, it involves dawn rising, and it’s not the type of thing where you can subside behind your screen and your e-mail if you’re hatching the lurgy. Gaah! WWJD? Stride in there without a thought, I reckon. And I’d normally do just that. But… 🙁 I wonder if a protective mask and that disgusting chase- the- cold -away -before -it- starts would do the trick?

If I was a fuzzy-wuzzy bear

Groan. Why oh why did I make that promise. Tell you what, would a quick blast of ‘The Sun has got His Hat On’ do instead?

So, not quite a hat trick as the Cat’s shelter has no ‘possibles’ for us at the moment. Miffdog is being unaturally calm and well-behaved – what with all the attention he’s getting. It’s almost tempting to say let’s just stick with a Miffdoggy household; it’s so much easier to manage without refereeing scraps between animals . And yet…I just have to see a cat passing in the street or let my mouse click onto the cats rescue site and I’m in floods.

But back to recent developments: Mstr Miff was right. Good news. It only remains now to work out how I’m going to exist on rather less hours of sleep per night than before and being up with the dawn chorus. Seems the best idea is to start to bring my bedtime forward bit by bit over the week, so that by the time I start I should have a sporting chance of adjusting. Although I do hope that the dog doesn’t adjust alongside me. I don’t think that the neighbours will appreciate the sound of him spending pennies in the wee small hours. And how to cope with evening trips out…? Never mind. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

While I was out …

Well thanks to Mstr Miff’s unorthodox phone answering methods I’m not 100% sure, but… I think He’s seen his way to that favourable outcome. I’ll have to wait til Monday to be certain though.

‘If I were a butterfly…’

Theme tunes continued

‘If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. ‘ (Luke 9:26)

I had one of my rare flashes of insight today. Totally spontaneous and un-premeditated. Is there any other kind? Well, it’s plain to see you’ve obviously not had to suffer me holding forth at homegroup or you’d not ask.

There we were in Luke 9 – Jesus sending out the twelve disciples; feeding of the five thousand; Peter’s confession of Christ (Who do you say that I am?). So we reach Jesus’ response: taking up your cross daily – challenging enough without the verses above.

We wondered what they could mean. Was Jesus referring to those times when we’ve not stood up for Him as we should, denied him, in effect, like Peter? Or maybe not on such a grand scale; simply those grey, grubby, parts of the everyday struggle when we’ve not been as close to him as we maybe should have been? The all too familiar periods of ennui, ‘blahs’ and blips. All of this maybe? Although it was more the implications that got us; if we’re ashamed, how much more will Christ be ashamed…. A sobering thought.

Now I’m not trying to minimise the graivity of all this. And yet… I got to thinking about shame and self knowledge (often uncomfortable). There’s the censorious, self-righteous, condemning ‘ashamed.’ The finger-pointing, tut-tut, throwing the first stone ‘ashamed.’ You know, I don’t think that’s what Jesus is referring to here. Try ‘deeply saddened,’ ‘stricken,’ ‘cut to the heart,’ maybe. Made not out of a need to put the person in their place, but out of a loving concern for their welfare.

Here’s the example I gave. I wondered at the time why I reacted the way I did to one of the final scenes in ‘Chocolat’ the way I did:

In the film (differs from the book btw), the Comte de Reynaud, the village’s self-appointed censorious, priggish moral guardian ( a pharisee if ever there was one!) weakened by over zealous Lenten fasting is overcome by the dawning realisation that his marriage has failed, his own actions have almost led to tragedy, and that worst, the God he thought could supply all the answers, is noticeable by his absence. He breaks into the Chocolaterie of his arch rival Vianne, and starts to smash the place up, before sucumbing to his darker side; grabbing at chocolates and stuffing them down his throat in a frantic, almost animal-like orgy of greed and lust before collapsing weeping. The next morning, Vianne finds him sleeping in the shop window, grubby, tear stained, and as he wakes, deeply, deeply ashamed.

What would your reaction be? What was Vianne’s? WWJD, as they say? I was surprised at mine. Knowing the ending already, I’d thought, as I reckon most of us would, that I’d look forward to seeing this holier- than- thou complacent goody-goody, kill-joy get his well-deserved comeuppance. Instead, I found the scene disturbing; almost unbearably moving. Why? Because I think, of Vianne’s reaction, which was not to mock or condemn, but simply to hand him a glass of alka-seltzer. Simple as that. And, as you can see from the next scene, help him get back on his feet and to begin the long, slow and I’d imagine, painful journey back to acceptance by the community.

God moves in mysterious ways, as the old hymn says…

Well, would you believe it?

I wouldn’t. ‘He’ as per Him Up There has actually come up with the goods. Today’s trip up to Godiva land passed almost…reasonably, nay – pleasantly,under the circs. Now strike me down with a thunderblot or even a thunderbolt for saying this, but blow me; prayer works!

Though Mr Miff may not be in agreement. His bike fell to pieces again at the weekend.

Now, if He, (The Almighty, not the veloved I mean beloved) could just see his way to a little matter of a favourable outcome to the current job application…pleaasssseeee, I might even see my way to altering my theme tune to ‘Shine, Jesus, Shine’ for a period. No, let’s be rash – ‘If I were a Butterfly.’ You can’t speak fairer than that!



Not sure what to make of this one. Does it capture the Miffiness of my musings, do you think? I was hoping for something a wee bit more…’profound.’ 🙂