All together now – Are you loo-nely tonight? *dives for cover..*
Mr M has managed to put his back out – climbing into bed on Sunday night! We still can’t for the life of us work out exactly what happened. He can get out and about around the house at least – albeit he looks rather like a ponderous, bearded turtle.
I’m positively athletic in comparison – though the aches and clicks remain. (I joked to oldchurch choir director that if she needs any jazzy accompaniment to the stuff we’re doing, just use me as a pair of castanets!). Must admit however, that the thought of the annual Christmas card marathon isn’t an enticing one just now. If this goes on I’m afraid it’ll just have to be a quick scrawl, no news and a New Year’s Resolution to finally get round to doing a proper database so that next year we can do address labels.
Here’s hoping I’m not banned from the wibsite for featuring this little menagerie: Firstly, Miffy Jnr, sporting his very first moustache, in aid of the Movember mens’ health initiative.
Second up – our two resident hairy horrors: Miffcat in one of her (many) snoozing places – the dog’s kingsize bed; her humble servant and subject, Miffdog squeezed into second class accommodation nearby.
I’ll spare you the sight of HH number three – Mr M’s beard. It wouldn’t be fair.
with thanks to Ms M who stumbled across this this morning whilst tweeting her frustration at the rail replacement bus service up to Reading. Here, for your pleasure and delectation we bring you:
Yes, I’m so lazy I even pinch other blogger’s post header ideas! 😉 I Am Another Blogger who suffers from serial procrastinitis and acute inability to put finger to keyboard, even though I’m hardly lacking in topics to blog about: contemplative prayer, art journaling, spiritual direction, CAP Close The Gap campaign, Richard Rohr, Greenbelt, Green churches, pilgrimage, back exercises, pilgrimage planning (hence back exercises), Franciscan tertaries, mystics, ornamental cabbages…Life on Mars…
Is there no hope for me?
We’re back into the wool-lined boots after a few flakes of snow fell this morning. It’s still not too early to start making travel plans, of course; today saw Mr M get on the phone and my good self hop down to the station as we began to sort out the fine details for our next major ‘expodition’ later this Spring. By the time I got back – he’d got to the Scottish borders as far as I could make out. Meantime, my estimation of the amount of clobber needed with us seems to be getting smaller by the minute, in direct correalation with the state of my back. At the last count I’d whittled it down to one set of clothes on, one off with a possible third sent ahead of us. Yes, and this does incude undies. Looking on the bright side – at least the smell will deter would-be predators!
Looking even further ahead – Mr M won’t be able to do Greenbelt this Summer. If I go at all, it will have to be solo. So, I’ve spent a number of happy hours online checking out tents suitable for a creaky-boned Miffy of uncertain age, that are a) simple to put up, and, more importantly, from what I can glean from reviewers, even simpler to put down. It was only as I watched the last few seconds of one Youtube demo where a nice young man appeared to be wrestling with what looked like a large black binliner, that I realised he was trying to put it away, not up. As I have difficulty folding and unfolding your average deckchair, I’ll need to practice in the comfort and privacy of my back garden before I try and pitch camp in full public glare.
I guess I must take the prize for the “Greenbelt post blogged so long after the event that it’s but a hazy memory” award. My excuses are pretty feeble: the principal one being the necessity of putting my photos through the boil wash – aka Flickr before they’d load on WordPress, the lesser, my usual attack of Miffyesque procrasinitis. To be fair, life since the Bank hols has been quite full, with a number of to-ings, fro-ings and new experiences, which I may write about on my other, Greenpatches blog.
So, Greenbelt, my third, and in many ways the best experience so far. Year One, of course, being all “Ooh, look! Shiny!” New things, new people, a breath of fresh air at a time when to say I was experiencing problems with the institutional church was to make the understatement of the year. Year Two – well, let’s say, after Year Two, I seriously considered giving it all a miss. This time – all round positive, after the teensiest wobble on arrival. But no more than teensy. After being dispatched down the hill to buy emergency sustenance for Mr M, and finding on my return,that our Nice Next-Door Neighbours had helped him put up what must have been the world’s largest awning (about three times the size of the van!) the only way was up!
The reasons for the change? Well, I’d say – firstly, people, contact with. It’s become increasingly clear that the freedom of being a free agent, not tied down by obligation to a particular church group or organisation has its disadvantages. In 2009 I felt (despite the ever-steadfast Mr M to go back to) desperately lonely at times. I’m sure most folk have had the weird experience of being part of a crowd, yet simply not connecting with them; the more animated and ‘together’ they appear to you, the worse it feels. Then the worse it feels, the less you feel like being sociable, so the more isolated you become….. You get the picture. And there are only so many ‘worthy’ seminars and events I could go to before becoming thoroughly Greenbelted out!
Thank goodness for fellow ‘Seabirds,’ then! This time round, unlike previous years, I didn’t have much to do with the First Order Franciscan brothers and sisters, it was fellow tertiaries who made the difference – organising several get-togethers, (in the Beer Tent, naturally!). Not to mention bumping into others around the site. (On one occasion being recognised by the profession cross I was wearing). This gave me a few set points and a structure to the weekend. I’d also thought to contact the folk from last year’s course beforehand and did manage to bump into quite a few of them. Such little things help – like getting a text first thing on Saturday to saying ” Good morning – we’re meeting at such and such a time and before that we’ll be at…” or more amusingly, during one talk “We’re sitting however many rows ahead of you and to the side… ” Then there there were brief encounters with one ‘Ship’ couple who recognised us before we did them and with whom we were able to talk this and that , and bewail the shortage of beer in the Jesus Arms. (Thank you, N and D). P, whom I don’t tend to think of as a Ship person anymore, whose frenetic texts made me laugh,and who helped me in the annual Wandering round the tea tent looking lost trying to recognise the group I’m looking for routine. It was great to chat to Truthsign again,also, and thanks also to TG and FM who popped round the back of the paper canon during the Peace at the Sunday morning service, to say hi.
We planned in some lighter stuff this year, like Late Night Twist on the Friday evening, the Big Sing on Saturday and one of the art workshops. Apart from one of the excellent Richard Rohr talks (which I’d not originally intended to go to ), most of the weightier stuff was left to the later part of the weekend. I nearly forgot the audience with James Cook and Tom Hollander of ‘Rev,’ definitely in the well-worth waiting (and did we wait!) for category. Somebody said the BBC was filming on site. I’d love to know how they’re going to work that footage into a new series.
Betty Blue, our trusty hired campervan was a welcome refuge during the small amount of time we actually spent in her. We weren’t half cold though! My record on layers one night was four (vest, top, long-sleeved thermal baselayer, fleece) plus thermal base leggings, cargoes and three pairs of socks. Topped by a woolly shawl over my sleeping bag. I’m putting a hot water bottle down on the list next year, even if we have to fill it up in the grandstand loos.
And talking of ahem…”facilities,” the only cloud over the weekend as far as I was concerned, and even then it didn’t spoil it,was ongoing tummy problems. My fault – not watching what I was eating. There are only so many variations one can have on plain mashed potatoes. By the Monday night I was so bored with bland food that I cracked – and had some fish and chips. Big mistake! Should you have been in Soulspace early that evening and noticed a pale-faced demented looking woman rushing up and down the stairs twixt the panoramic restaurant and the entrance foyer, or sitting, doubled up in the final Dave T LTQ popping Gaviscon like there was no tomorrow, that was Yours Truly. A colonoscopy since has shown I have diverticulosis; I’ll spare you the details (TMI). Suffice it to say, it’s not exactly the most glamorous of complaints. Bring on the mashed potatoes.
Another happy discovery: The YMCA 24 hour cafe, (wonderful scrambled eggs on toast).
So, altogether, cool beans…as Ms M would say. Though maybe ‘beans’ isn’t the best choice of words, under the circs.
Other than that, the summer season is in full swing chez Miffy. Offspring One is sunning herself in Malta. Offspring Two and his mates have just set off* for La Belle France, and Mr M has launched himself back into his training programme. No big events this year, though plans are in the pipeline for a reprise of part of his 2006 TDF shadowing for 2011. And talking of pipes, the Miffy internal plumbing is again under investigation, though indications point to nothing serious; hopefully, it’s due to time of life. (Which might account for my weird urges above!). Could make for an interesting time at Greenbelt, though. I’ll need to steer clear of all those lovely, exotic food stalls. (Bah!)
* Armed with a pile of cheese and egg and watercress sandwiches to last them five days, I’ve just been informed. Again, this could be ‘interesting.’
Let’s face it – at my age, everybody is getting younger, even Dr Who. Yes, we’ve finally said goodbye to David Tennant (:() ages after the remainder of the televiewing public of course. All we have to do now is catch up with the Matt Smith episodes. Who, incidentally, hails from UEA, where Miffy Jnr is about to embark on his final year.
Earlier, the young chap at the health food shop introduces himself- turns out he was at school with our son. Gracious me, I feel so old!
Meanwhile, dreams…yes…well… My earlier worries that the good Doctor would filter through into my subconscious seem to have been unfounded. Unfortunately, sundry other bits and bobs have wormed their way in in his place. Sooo embarrassing! If this is the effect all my healthy eating is having on the system, I dread to think what’ll happen if I sucuumb to good old fat-ridden fish and chips or a curry. What did Jung eat, I wonder?
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! 🙂