Monthly Archives: January 2007

Friday Afternoon Technical Ponderings

I wonder what on earth the surfer googling ‘Miffy Sound Effects’ was wanting to use them for?

I appear to be making a dent, albeit a tiny one on the blogosphere. Not with my erudite theological reflections, unfortunately. Instead, one of my blogrollers (is there such an expression?) – Mike.F. of themercyblog has spotted the outbreak of Peculiar Aristocratic Titleitis that I unleashed on the wibstie a while back; his being particularly apt, apparently! Thanks, Mike. What I do hope he has realised by now is that – contrary to the impression my comments give, Miffy is a female rabbit. Unfortunately, thanks to a mix of the vagaries of Blogger and the total technical ineptitude of both Mr M and myself in the face of modern blogology, my beloved hubby has succeeded in muddling up our respective profiles, with the result that if I wish to post a comment, I can only do so as Mr M. Worse, he has even managed to blog some entries as Yours Truly. Now, I can cope with struggles with self-image, but the abrupt change to that of a hairy, beer-swilling executive with a penchant for lycra cycle gear and cycling 50 miles of a weekend is one that I find ‘challenging,’ to put it mildly. It sits uneasily with the complementary profile of self as a quiet, Myers-Brigg Intuitive, would-be Franciscan with an unhealthy liking for Nice Cups of Tea and Classic FM.

Ok, I take it back

About there only being so many ways one can say ‘Oh Lord, you’re wonderful…’ (see my last blog entry). As was proved when I stepped outside this morning at 5.a.m. and ….. well… What else can you say but ‘Oh Lord, you’re wonderful!’ or more eloquently put: ‘How great thou art!’ Though what came out at the time was ‘Oohhh!!’

Can I have a weekend ? (part two)

Having an unexpected morning sans work today, thanks to plumbing problems elsewhere. So I shall occupy the time in procrastination and update you on my adventures on public transport. (I must have started a trend as I see that wiblog/steve/read.php?21481 has also chronicled his experiences. ) Sadly I received no glowsticks, although in cases of potential delay and inconvenience I always try to position myself as near to the buffet car as poss, in the hopes of being offered a complimentary gin or three.

So, travels of a Miffy: Continued on Saturday as I once again chugged my way down the line – to a ‘Seabird,’ meeting this time. All went well: I watched a profession for the first time – and was relieved to see that it was a quiet, low key affair. That augurs well for when my own time comes – likely in a couple of years time. As budgies go, I’m a retiring sort of bird and anything smacking of fuss and fanfares is enough to make me take wing and migrate!

The actual adventures started on the way home, when, put discreetly, I experienced what could only be described as a minor but annoying incidence of bullying by a gathering of persons of younger years. And, much to my astonishment, stood up to them! More details than this I will not give, in deference to the worries of my offspring who fear that I am now a marked budgie who will forever need to travel incognito unless I wish to have various bits of me distributed all over town.

Sunday – on the road – or rather, on the train yet again; this time to see CartoonBlog’s very own Dave in full flood at a church in Wokingham. (Sorry, lost the link here). Had a great time (thank you, P!). I’m sure other folk have written about the talk – part of a series on the Cartoon God – far better than I – so do hop over to Cartoonblog and have a peep, if you’ve not already done so. It was good that there was a real, live cartoonist available. Next time round the talk will be on Shultz’s Peanuts, so for obvious reasons, there will be no VIP visitor that week!

It’s always good to have break from your own place of worship once in a while – and I’m glad that I battled public transport system, tiredness, and creeping cold to try it. It’s an odd, but strangely positive feeling looking round a place from the point of view of an ‘outsider,’ seeing the old, familiar parts of church life with new eyes. Here are the children coming out – it must be nearly Communion time. Ah, look – that lady striding down the path with a purposeful glint in her eye – she must be the advance party on the coffee rota. They ‘Pass the Peace’ here, too (!) but (thanks be to God) they DON’T hold hands and grin during the Blessing!

As I mentioned to P, what gave me some new ideas to pass on was the liturgy and in particular the choice of songs and hymns. These were mostly what I can only describe as rather more ‘outward focussed’ than those I’m used to. It’s tricky to describe; maybe if I say Iona type stuff that’ll give you an idea of what I’m referring to. A welcome change indeed from -and I don’t just cite my own church in this – a diet of either what Rev. Gerald Ambulance would call ‘O Lord, you’re just really Lord’ choruses http://www.wibsite.com/features/inflatablechurch/ (I give up on the hyperlinks) or worse, the perennial ‘Jesus is My Boyfriend’ ditties. Not that there’s anything wrong with either of those categories per se. After all, one of my favourite hymns is Wesley’s ‘O Thou Who Camest From Above’ http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/t/w/h/twhocame.htm, surely one of the greatest ‘Jesus is my boyfriend’ songs of all time. But you can have too much of a good thing – and there are only so many ways I find, that I can say ‘O God you’re wonderful’ before I start to run out of words. Maybe that’s the solution – we need to stop chattering and lose our dependence on words. More apophatic worship; that’s what’s needed! ‘Fresh Expressions of Silence.’

Can I have a weekend in which to recover from the weekend, please?!

The centre of the known universe is at Reading station. No, poor benighted creature; didn’t you realise that the centre of the known universe can be found (at least as far as the media are concerned) in the C BB House? I have an entire wardrobe to exchange, buy, mark and parcel up asap for MIL, and I was awake for nearly 20 hours on Friday. Oh, and Leamington Spa station is unbelievably cold at 7 o’clock at night. But I was prepared – as you’ll read later.

Friday: Up at dawn as usual. Off to work as usual. Afterwards, I hurtle across town allowing enough time to have a ‘powder my nose’ as they say, grab a coffee and otherwise wake self up before catching the train to Godiva land.

One little thing; I’d completely forgotten about the timetable changes. Find that my train has been moved back by 20 minutes, leaving virtually no time for connection at the other end. Goodbye ‘comfort stop,’ goodbye coffee, on the advice of co-operative railway operative, I take the slow train to intermediate station mentioned above, brave smelly loos on the platform, grab packet of throat sweets and sandwhich and go in search of the Edinburgh train which instead of leaving from just down the platform, has now been moved over to Platform Eight! On reaching Platform Eight, have nice chat with older lady about the vagaries of train companies – the which shall remain nameless or not, as the case may be.

Train arrives. Acting on previous advice from kindly railway employee, head straignt for a certain coach (No, I’m not telling you which!) in which I know all the unreserved seats are situated. It works. I have a seat!! Yes, I realise we’re talking trains here – so what’s so unusual about having a seat, I hear you ask. Believe me, they are a rare breed in this neck of the woods.

Doze happily. Journey is greatly enlivened by the by now mandatory humorous announcement by the buffet car manager. I’m starting to positively look forward to these. Sadly, I can no longer remember Friday’s, but I can remember laughing, so it must have been funny.

Arrive at Godiva land on time. Heave self off into the city, passing an ‘interesting’ metal sculpture en route. A horse appears to be rearing up into a tree. Why? I look up into the tree and nobody is to be seen – which sort of puts paid to my theory that maybe Lady G’s horse had grown tired of bearing his charge and had tossed her away into the nearest convenient place.

Plunge into the shops. Today I am visiting MIL in her new care home for the first time. For reasons best known to the place from whence she came, half her wardrobe has disappeared. Or seems to have. Either way, what she has left is woefully inadequate according to the nice lady at the home. When I spoke to her beforehand I began to feel the same way a parent might feel being lectured by its child’s headteacher for not having the approved items on the official uniform list. So, urgent replacements are in order. An hour later I stagger out with an enormous carrier bag, hail a taxi and make my way first over to SIL’s place. Greeted by member of staff, who then goes off to find SIL. I sit and wait. And wait, and wait…. About half an hour later, and after at least one reminder, SIL finally appears. A bad day, apparently, and her main interest seems to be in whether I have remembered her supply of cigarrettes. So ten minutes or so later, I’m on the road again,.

Arrive at MIL’s care home. Greeted by the very nice lady. (And TBH, she is very pleasant. The place seems to match up to Mr M’s impressions of it and they really do seem to have the residents’ best interests at heart.) Go to find MIL. Have nice cup of tea. Chat. Then the tricky bit. Just as I’d anticipated and from bitter previous experience, the clothes will not do. Despite the fact that it is patently obvious both to me and to Nice Lady that they fit MIL, such is her conception of herself, that no, they do not. A tricky conversation ensues in which I start to feel like a piece of elastic being pinged, ponged and punged to and fro between two opposing parties. Ho, hum. Luckily I have the receipt tucked away safely. So, I can take the clothes back home (90 miles or so), catch another train into the nearest big city, exchange them, name tape them (and if I have any say in it, remove the wretched size labels!) bundlle them up, put them in the post….. Meantime, I pop out to the nearby shops to buy more essential toiletries.

Pop back. Repack my bag, having unpacked it several times to search for missing phone. Stuff in sundry Christmas presents that MIL says she cannot use… Stagger off to station to find have just missed the 4.24 train. Settle into cafe and am just phoning Mr M at home when see that 5.24 is now down as half an hour late. Ten minutes later, 5.24 is cancelled. Nice kind, railway employee informs me I have two choices: either to wait another hour for the 6.24 (now also due to be late arriving), or catch special coach to Leamington Spa – due to leave in 15 minutes. Given that I’m coffeed out, and my bladder can only hold so much, I decide to plump for the latter option.

Rather more than 15 minutes later we’re all waiting outside the station when a thought strikes me. Life may be grim indeed – but look on the bright side, Miffy. In the event that we should end up stranded in Godiva land for the night, I have the essentials right there with me. All a girl needs in an emergency such as this is clean undies. And that’s exactly what I have. Not just one pair of knickers, more like 15!!

The thought takes me right through the coach journey, tempering the accompaniment of Radio One and the blanket coverage of the latest goings-ons in the BB house.

At risk of being struck down by a thunderbolt – God moves in mysterious ways indeed, and His sense of humour is becoming distinctly oddball…

To be continued…

While the pasta comes to the boil

Or ‘less is more’

‘When we discover ourselves “hidden with Christ in God,” we don’t NEED any kind of self-image at all….This is what willl happen when we expose ourselves to silence and stop exposing ourselves to the judgements of the world;when we stop continuously “picking up” the energy of others; when we stop thinking about what others think of us…’ (Richard Rohr, Simplicity – The Freedom of Letting Go).

Such a shame I didn’t read the above yesterday. Before I let someone’s remarks get to me; making all my insecurities not just come out to play but positively gambol around – waving banners and yelling: ‘Hey – Look at Me!!’ Combine that with the pre-menopausal Period From Hell (sorry, gentlemen) and Insomnia Rules O.K. *

I have a long, long way to go…

Never mind. On to happier things. A great surprise arrived with the morning’s post. Remember my musings back at the end of December about the great childhood ‘Seabird’ ‘Godincidence?’ And did I mention that (wondering whether I was just being silly) I’d written a short note to them about it? No? Well, imagine my surprise at opening an envelope to find a very kind letter, brochure, and some leaflets about the Seabird Retreat Centre. And I was even more pleased to find that, like my down-the -road place, not only do they offer space for individuals to take time out for Quiet Days, but that they are within doable travelling distance…and…are not a couple of large stones throw from little brother’s stamping grounds.

It takes very little to cheer me up.

All go for Mr Miff, too. Having spent most of last week ‘doing his judicial duty’ (she says obliquely) like a good citizen; he went in today to discover that instead of this being his last few days, he’s one of the lucky ones chosen to go for the long haul! More than that I don’t know – as, quite rightly he is not allowed to say.

Pasta water about to decorate kitchen. I must sign off.

* Note to Ms Miff should you be lurking here. It’s not you I’m talking about.

Shopping is the new religion

I’m heartened to enter 2007 knowing that God does indeed move in mysterious ways his wonders to perform etc. During a late birthday present shopping trip to the next big town last Friday with Ms Miffy, we noticed that The Almighty has extended His sway yea even unto the hallowed areas of haute couture. Now, (theoretically speaking, you understand; the Lord’s blessings not having extended themselves to my finances) – not only can I assure those concerned with my spiritual welfare that I’m Shopping in Faith, but I can testify to the fact that I’ve ‘got Religion.’

Never mind. Nearer to home, and more in my price range is the tempting offer glimpsed in our local Tesco today. Who could resist ‘Hot Sin Soup?!’* ‘Get thee behind me….’

At least that’s what I thought it said. A google search shows me to be wrong. It must be Him Upstairs telling me I’m due for another eye test.

Gliding gently into the New Year

Sans HTML. Can’t work it out for this link – so I’ll post it straight. This arrived yesterday via our local ‘seabird area mailing : Do have a look at Brother Gabriel skateboarding on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKX7QmaL_bw. Marvellous, yet strangely surreal – opening it after watching three episodes of Jeeves and Wooster and attending a small, quiet, Iona style communion service earlier in the evening. It certainly gives a new and ‘interesting’ meaning to ‘Fresh Expressions of Church’. Especially when viewed after a couple of glasses of champagne! (Beats Jools Holland, any time!) Other than that, my only expression of church was with an unexpected (but welcome) visitor earlier in the day, surrounded by the post-Christmas mess. ‘Kitchen Church’. I could get used to it!

So – a quiet Christmastime. Still – I’ve been happy enough catching up on lost sleep and really winding down. * All over too soon, alas and the alarm is set for 4.30 a.m. tomorrow. When’s the next Bank Holiday due, I wonder?

* I’ve been roadtesting a new ‘uplifting’ skin cream set – a present from one of my sister in laws. Mr M thinks he sees a slight improvement, although we’ve not decided whether this is due to catching up on my sleep rather than the efficacy of the products. I think we’ll know by tomorrow night. If my face has descended to my navel, we’ll have to put it down to the extra rest. Apologies, a certain well-known high street chemist’s store!