Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Shrove Tuesday

Oh, man . . . tired today.  Such a lot been going on.  A hectic series of funerals, preaching on Sunday, a magazine article deadline, sample chapters needed for a new book proposal, letters to be answered, some critical reading awaiting, PCC meeting tonight – with all the associated preparatory work.   I feel a bit bushed.

Calm, calm, calm.  Breathe.  Make a start.

I tell you what, though, it’s Pancake Day (I think) – Shrove Tuesday.  And that means Lent starts tomorrow, and my fast from opinions.  I am so looking forward to it.  I have to preach during Lent – it’ll be interesting, though not especially hard, to preach a sermon with no opinions in it.  Straight exposition.

Absolutely nothing else interesting is happening here.  You?

Sunday, 23 February 2014


 I have this urge to see green.  I guess it must be to do with a longing for the spring.  Not just any green but wonderful juicy apple greens and lime greens, yellow greens.  Strong clear warm greens.  Green green greeeeen!!!

And pink.  Light sweet blossom pinks.

And intense tomato reds.  And orange.

I want to see them, eat them, wear them. 

I’ve had an eBay raid (well, one has to try and effect a certain damage limitation when these urges strike!) to surround and submerge myself in green, pink, orange, tomato red.  I eat a little cherry tomato – oh my goodness, that’s SO delicious! Another!  Another!  Get some more! Peppers, apples, courgettes, celery, cavalo nero, broccoli, lettuce!  Jaffas, clementines, carrots . . .

I stand and look at the abundant moss that grows in our front garden.  Oh, look at that, look at that!  So GREEN!

I feel vividly, cheerfully (even rather wildly) alive.

This is all very well but sometimes even I find myself a little wearing.  Why am I like this?

I had the mole chopped out of my leg – ooh, when I changed the dressing I should have thought to take a pic and show you the scar with its spidery black stitches.  Wow!  It’s a good one!

This was our garden last summer.  This is what I'm ready to see.


Saturday, 15 February 2014

Still laughing . . .

Three further things that made me laugh this week (I am beginning to wonder if it’s just that I have a warped sense of humour)

1)  This lovely card my dear Badger gave me on Valentine’s Day.

You see it has a badge on it that says BEST WIFE EVER.  Well, I have been married three times, and each husband has been married before or subsequently, and in all that time I never realized I was entering a competition . . .

2)  This cartoon I saw on Facebook.

3) The funeral director who wrote to me to set up the funeral of an old lady, giving her date of death as the day after he wrote and posted the letter . . .

But this made me laugh

 A friend posted on Facebook this excerpt from Eckhart Tolle's book A New Earth.  I love it - it makes me smile; all that human posturing!

"Here are some ways in which people unconsciously try to emphasize their form-identity. If you are alert enough, you may be able to detect some unconscious patterns within yourself: demanding recognition for something you did and getting angry or upset if you don't get it; trying to get attention by talking about your problems, the story of your illnesses, or making a scene; giving your opinion when nobody has asked for it and it makes no difference to the situation; being more concerned with how the other person sees you than with the other person, which is to say, using other people for egoic reflection or as ego enhancers; trying to make an impression on others through possessions, knowledge, good looks, status, physical strength, and so on; bringing about temporary ego inflation through angry reaction against something or someone; taking thingspersonally, feeling offended; making yourself right and others wrong through futile mental or verbal complaining; wanting to be seen, or to appear important.  Once you have detected such a pattern within yourself, I suggest you conduct an experiment. Find out what it feels like and what happens if you let go of that pattern. Just drop it and see what happens. De-emphasizing who you are on the level of form is another way of generating consciousness. Discover the enormous power that flows through you into the world when you stop emphasizing your form identity."

Eckhart Tolle, in "A New Earth"

Was delighting in it and thinking how funny it was.  Read it out to the Badger, who found it very true but couldn’t see why I thought it funny: which in itself felt encouraging after I’d only just been saying how I don’t find things funny any more.  Well apparently I’m laughing at things other people are not.  That could explain it . . .

Tuesday, 11 February 2014


After I posted about the benefits of laughter the other day, I thought about it some more.

As a girl, I laughed a lot.  My beautiful mama is always laughing, easily seeing the funny side of things and never taking life too seriously.   In our home as I was growing up, every day there was laughter; I can still now see in my mind’s eye, my sister rolling on the floor clutching her tummy because she was laughing so hard; and that would be a regular thing with us.  My father had a sharp, clever sense of humour, and his conversation was shot through with wit.

As a young woman, I found many things amusing.  And now, I just don’t.  There’s a song by Paul Simon (Call Me Al, I think) with the line “I don’t find that stuff amusing any more”; it often comes to mind as something that resonates.

I’ve read of people who were badly ill and shut themselves away to watch funny films, laughing themselves back to health; but I watch comedies sometimes and turn them off halfway through, bored.  Occasionally a film or a book raises a smile, but hardly ever makes me laugh.   And I'm not even ill. 

On Facebook friends post things tagged with remarks like “ROFL”, “ROFLMAO” and “I laughed until I cried”.  But (guess what) I look at them, and don’t find them funny.  A recent one was a YouTube video of dogs who feel guilty.  It was supposed to be HILARIOUS.  I found it heartbreaking.  Why is it even meant to be funny to see animal after animal so ashamed?

These days, I feel worried – about the weather, about climate change, about people who suffer, about our appalling government, about my failure to be the person I could/should be, about finance sometimes.  I feel tired.  And I feel sad – that my involvement in the church no longer excites or even interests me (though my faith still sparks and flares), that I haven’t the stamina for social occasions, that I cannot be the person others wanted me to be.   I start reading books and weary of them – not all; there are some writers (Ursula le Guin comes to mind) whose work still wows me.

How does a person laugh who doesn’t find things funny any more? 


There is a conversation I’ve had more than once about the orders I place with a company that delivers veggie boxes.  I like that all their goods are organic, but of course you have to buy pre-set quantities, so in order to get any kale at all you have to have a whole big bag.  And if you order a red cabbage you get a huge one.  I know a bit of kale and cabbage is good for me but I don’t like them that much.  The amount I'm sent is disheartening, and lasts so long that it’s far from fresh by the time I finish it.  I can choose amounts and sizes at the regular supermarket, but can’t rely on being able to get an organic version.  Also, being mail order, I can’t be sure what the veggies are like until they arrive.  If they’re dry and fibrous or rather sour or tasteless, as sometimes happens, then I wish I hadn’t got them.  At the supermarket I can see and touch and smell before I buy, so the purchase is usually not disappointing – but not that many things are organic (or local, or ethical from the point of view of man or beast).

A couple of times I’ve mused aloud on this matter, and elicited the response, “Have you tried X supermarket?  I think you might find they would be cheaper than B&C (my veggie box firm).

Cheaper?” I say. “Who said anything about cheaper?  What makes you think X’s organic produce is cheaper than B&C’s?  B&C aren’t especially expensive as far as I know.”

“Oh,” comes the reply.  “I thought you said that was the problem.”


 It intrigues me that people are so sure of what you’re likely to say, that when you speak they hear that and not what you do say.  It intrigues me that people assume organic stuff is always very expensive.  It further intrigues me that if I’m trying to find organic food to eat, then mail order difficulties could be solved by simply buying something cheaper.  That means that in some minds the only determining criterion is price. 

I am not very good on price.  I try to find what I’m looking for – organic, ethical, local, tasty and fresh – and I buy that.  I don’t compare prices much because what I want is so rarely available that there aren’t usually many options available for comparison.  I will prioritise buying good food over buying almost anything else, because I see it as buying good health, and I have no place to be but my body while I’m here.  So looking for cheap food has never been my issue.  And yet, every time I have this conversation, what I’m heard to say is “Where can I get cheaper fruit and vegetables than these?”

I know this is not unusual but I still find it strange.  I suspect the way forward is to talk less.  I am probably saying too many words, creating a situation where the other person, buried under my random babbling as under a pile of falling leaves on an autumn day, hears that I am (still) talking, takes a random reading of the subject matter, and makes an assumption as to content without bothering to actually listen.

No prizes, lady readers, for guessing with whom these conversations take place.