Monthly Archives: May 2010

Confessions of a bibliophile

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

An old Dave Walker which about sums up my state of mind, (and the state of the study) on this bright and sunny Bank Holiday Monday. Only in my case, it’s books which are threatening to take over the place. Don’t you just love the way ‘My Failings’ get given a category all to themselves. Even better, a googlesearch has just revealed that there are other bumbling bibliophiles like myself out there. Yes, there really is a blog out there called ‘Overflowing Bookshelf!’ I am not alone! Jessica, when I checked out Exhibit A I thought “But that’s my bookshelf!” Are you sure you’ve not snuck incognito into Maison Miffy with an Amazon package?

So, my dilemma is twofold: How to (reluctantly) find new homes for some of my collection (my Marketplace shopfront is creaking at the seams), and, in the longer term store and catalogue the remainder. I suspect the first will involve going through my inventory pulling out books which are simply not selling, and upending them into a large bag for the next charity drop that comes up. Alternatively, take them into the charity shops myself. Of course, I then run the risk that those of a more…’theological’ bent may get swept up by some well-intentioned soul and ‘offered’ back to the library at ‘Oldchurch.’ Who will then have to spend ages laboriously shifting through them before trying to frame a suitable tactful refusal without mortally offending the donor. And let’s face it, even Oldchurch won’t warm to the sight of my tatty old copy of TPDL, complete with cynical scrawlings in the margins.

Alternatively, suggest that ‘Newchurch’ start a library, then I can lend out those books which I actually value and want to read again. Well..?

Bookaid International don’t accept secondhand books anymore.

Otherwise, the recycling bin is the way to go. Oh dear. 🙁

Cataloging will be more of a long-term project, I think. But useful. For now I’ve begun a spreadsheet though I’m wondering about whether some of the online systems would cut out some of the hard slog. There’s a few pros and cons here. I already have Shelfari, though as I use it principally to display books on my other blog, I’m unsure whether it’s possible to have lists that don’t show up on it. LibraryThing looks to have more shiny bells and whistles. However, it’s only free up to the first 200 books. Hmm.

Either way, it’d be good to have some semblance of order, then I might actually get round to reading some of the stuff I’d fogotten I’d got!

Home, Sweet Home

After a week which has seen me pottering round Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire and East Anglia. We got back yesterday from a flying visit to see son, who’s just completed his second year at UEA. More about that on my other, Greenpatch blog. We had a great time seeing the sights from the obvious (Cathedral, market and shops) to the inspirational (Shrine church of Julian of Norwich – see photo) and the quirky, like the famous Norwich Puppet Man, (he even has his own website!) After all that, I’m quite happy to curl up at home with a Nice Cup of Tea. And cake would do nicely, too. (Japes, maybe you could find a way to send some ‘virtually!’)

Walking Away

We’re newly back from spending a gloriously sunny weekend in Somerset. The main purpose of which was to say goodbye to my long-term retreat place CSF Compton Durville. As I may have mentioned elsewhere, sadly, it’s having to close, with the community being dispersed (the Miffy imagination visualises brown-clad sisters wafting gently on the breeze to the far corners of the kingdom!) to other houses in the province. About 130 people, all of whom, like myself, will each have their own stories to tell about their encounters with God in this very special place came to an open afternoon, concluding with a farewell Eucharist. The photo of my good self was taken, courtesy of Mr M* in the convent’s wild garden, one of my favourite haunts. More, perhaps, on my other blog. As I said to Mr M on the drive back, I’m not sure at the moment exactly how I feel about it all. I am glad, though, that we went.

* Apologies for the none too flattering view here. For reasons beyond my (admittedly limited) technical ken, the beloved’s memory card refuses to let me ‘shrink’ the snap to medium.

** Nope, you’re in luck. What a relief!

Hi ho, hi ho

Long time no blog, which from the viewpoint of you, dear readers, is probably a good thing, given that life chez Miffy lately has ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. Sublime – we’re several weeks into the final part of the course down in the land of Seagulls and Brisk Sea Breezes: an introduction to spiritual direction training. And, surprise, surprise, despite my pre-term wobblies and gut-churning, so far I am enjoying it! I’ve not been struck by a thunderbolt, as yet no voice from the heavens has thundered: “Spiritual direction? Pull the other one; you’re a spiritual disaster more like!” More to the point, I’m increasingly getting to recognise those times when I’m in danger of dropping back into my old ways of all or nothing thinking, when I let the slightest blip or criticism knock me for six. The week of accompanied prayer we took part in prior to term beginning helped me move further along with this one. Yes, I’ve a long way to go. But one step at a time is the watchword. Gracious me, these walking holidays certainly have provided me with a knapsack full of analogies.

Ridiiculous: Well, we won’t dwell on the more physical gut-churning other than that so far tests show nothing nasty lurking round the u-bend. It’s one of life’s mysteries and shall forever remain so. Although, in all the fuss and panic of the last six months or so I’d barely noticed that The Seven Dwarves of the Menopause are beginning to put in an appearance. Actually, when you glance down the list, some of them have been in residence for decades. (Forgetfulness, anyone?!). And who would have guessed that Election Day 2010 would have heralded “power surges,” the like of which could be harnessed to feed the national grid. Forget eco-tricity,use menopower! Of course I blame the new, shiny Dave ‘n Nick combo; too much excitement for a Miffy to take.

To return to forgetfulness, if you’re going through similar changes, I’d advise you to think extremely carefully before employing mnemomics as a means of recalling data. We did a little field research on the tube yesterday as I tried to remember my route by using images as ‘pegs.’ Bakerloo line – direction Elephant and Castle, change at Piccadilly; so far, so good. It was afterwards it all started to go pear-shaped. Let’s just say – look at a London Tube map, plot your route on the Piccadilly line towards Holloway and all will be revealed.

Even choir practice isn’t safe now; Men of Harlech, anybody? “His lance is long but mine…” Quick, pass the brain bleach. Help me, somebody! 🙂