Wednesday Hodgepodge – 16th July

1. The month of July was named for Roman Emperor Julius Caesar.  He’s quoted as saying, ‘Experience is the teacher of all things.’ So, what has experience taught you lately?

I think the most significant thing that experience has taught me is the old adage that “this too shall pass”. Whether you are ecstatic or in agony, it will pass and things will move on. I have learned to enjoy the moment rather than rue the past or dread the future.

2. Where did you last ‘roam’?

I don’t tend to do roaming, but I did have a nice little wander round Tesco this morning looking for bits and bobs for tea tonight. Managed to bag myself a couple of bargains and had a lovely dinner of roasted vegetables and chicken.

3. Speaking of ‘Rome’…pizza, pasta, gelato…you can only pick one, which would you choose?

Pasta, hands down. I could eat pasta with any kind of sauce, hot or cold, spicy or savoury any day of the week. Not entirely sure what gelato is – is it like ice-cream? If so, then that would be for dessert!

4. ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, ‘All roads lead to Rome’, ‘When in Rome…’ which ‘Roman’ idiom have you most recently encountered? Explain.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day”: I suppose this one is linked to the first question and it is something else I’ve learned with experience, that for anything to be worthwhile it can’t be rushed at and should be taken great care with.

5. What’s a movie you’ve seen or book you’ve read, that makes you want to book a trip to Italy?

Dan Brown’s “Inferno”. The way that the story takes us through ancient art-works and architecture is inspiring.

6. Walt’s original Disneyland opened almost sixty years ago this week, on July 17, 1955.  Have you ever been to the California park? How about any of the other Disney parks around the world? What’s your favourite amusement park ride or attraction?

I haven’t been to any Disney park anywhere in the world. There was a time when my kids were growing up that I was desperate to go but finances would never allow. I guess that the time to take them has passed now, and if I ever get there it would be with my grandchildren (if they come along at all!).

My all-time favourite ride has got to be the Grand National ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. It is an old, wooden ride with cars that are rickety and uncomfortable to say the least, but it is thrilling and I LOVE it.

7. It’s that time of year…when were you last bitten or stung?

Last Saturday night in Todmorden’s Centre Vale Park where the midges were like swarms of needles. Urgh!!! Have you ever tried to conduct a brass band concert whilst waving away clouds of mini vampires? Let me tell you, it’s a challenge!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I had a very strange incident today where in nearly causing a road accident, I actually saved a pedestrian from being run over. I didn’t mean to nearly cause it, but I can’t get over how my carelessness actually saved someone’s life.

Let me illustrate. I was parked up on a main road earlier today, on a bend in the road about 150 yards away from a main junction and just in front of a pedestrian crossing. I wanted to do a U-turn to head the other way, and there was no traffic coming behind me but there was a line of traffic coming against me. I edged out bit by bit so I could turn into the gap that was coming towards me and just as I took my last look over my shoulder to pull right round, a speeding Range Rover appeared coming from behind me. I slammed on my brakes and I thought he had too to give way to me because there was a woman crossing the road in front of me, but in that split second when I hit the accelerator again I realised he was still coming…FAST. I hit the brakes again and he sped round me on the wrong side of the road and the wrong side of the bollards, and was going so fast that he lost control and swerved wildly, rocking up onto two wheels before disappearing away into the distance. The trajectory of his swerve took him within inches of the pedestrian and as I pulled away I realised that he was only on the wrong side of the road because of ME and my error in pulling out in front of him.

I had to pull over because I was so shaken and as I sat I thought about it and went through it over and over in my mind, and I realised that if I HADN’T have pulled out in front of the speeding driver, he would have headed straight for the pedestrian and he would have wiped her out. By the time I had got myself together she had disappeared so I didn’t speak to her, but I can honestly say that something special happened this morning. It feels so strange to realise that by almost causing an accident may have saved someone’s life.

One could almost imagine a force greater than us being right there in the heart of that situation couldn’t one….

Daybook Entry 15th July

021114_2314_DaybookEntr1.jpgFOR TODAY

Outside my window… there are two lovely lavender bushes in pots by the door out onto my deck and their scent is wafting inside beautifully in the evening sunshine.

I am thinking… about how different I feel from this time last week.

I am thankful… that my bout of pancreatitis has finally subsided and I am starting to feel better.

In the kitchen… I made up a pasta sauce tonight from some smoked ham scraps and mushrooms in a creamy sauce. It was delicious!

I am wearing… as my tummy is still very sore I’m wearing my comfy tracksuit bottoms and a wafty t-shirt. For the record, my tracksuit bottoms have never been trackside, and the nearest they have ever come to seeing any exercise is when I amble round the house as I have been doing these past few days.

I am creating… a holiday plan.

I am going… to the northeast of England in a couple of weeks. CANNOT WAIT.

I am wondering… if I can contain my nerves until I see the dentist in six weeks time. Apparently that’s the earliest I can see a dentist as a new patient, but I have a dodgy filling that needs attention and I am not just nervous of dentists but terrified. Actually, make that petrified.

I am reading… “The Darkest Hour” by Barbara Erskine.

I am hoping… that Emma is doing well in Portsmouth this week. She is on a bit of a break with her boyfriend but she has no phone at the moment so I am out of contact with her and it feels weird. We received a postcard from her this morning which was lovely but it’s not the same as having a text or a phone chat is it?!

I am praying for… God’s healing touch in a number of places that are close to my heart.

I am looking forward to… going on holiday in my little caravan with my family and enjoying some time at the seaside with my camera.

I am learning… How to use the camera properly so I can do some proper timelapse photography and some astrophotography. I am also learning how to do some post-production so I can maximise the colours and finish of any decent pictures I might take whilst I’m away.

Around the house… the tide of housework is lapping at the shore. Having been out of action for a little while last week it is taking me some time to catch up on things again and to be honest things are a bit messy. Sigh…I wish I was Canute sometimes!

I am pondering… going out on my bike tomorrow sometime.

A favourite quote for today: “Enjoy life today; yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come”

One of my favourite things… is singing nursery rhymes with children at Stay and Play.

A few plans for the rest of the week: I have some music to arrange for a special service of commemoration that is coming up on 3rd August so I will get down to that tomorrow; I have some campsites to ring tomorrow to finalise bookings; I am going to a healing service at my church on Thursday morning and a Eucharist in the evening in another local church; I will be going to band on Friday night and Saturday morning is Messy Church.

A peek into my day

These were taken yesterday morning at our last Stay and Play before the summer break. We sang outside again because the day was so lovely, and then we went back inside to have our Teddy Bear’s Picnic and to give out our farewell certificates to those who are leaving for Big School. It was a bit emotional!!

DSC_0505That’s me on the right in the grey t-shirt. I love my little friends I do!!


Looking forward to seeing them all again in September, but it will be different without all our 3yr old graduates!



Come and join us at and join in!!

Fare Share


This is me earlier today at our local Tesco helping out with their “Fare Share” appeal. It’s an appeal for foods to be redistributed to local charities, such as homeless shelters, food banks etc and I was very proud to do a two-hour shift with my mum and another lady from my church in publicising it and encouraging shoppers to help out.

What humbled me was the fact that it was sometimes the least likely people who were the most generous and who donated 5 trolleys worth of food while we were there this afternoon. One woman summed it up for me as she handed over half a dozen bags of shopping and said “I’d hate to be in a position where I couldn’t feed my kids “.
I know what she means, and I think there are more people than we realise who are treading that very fine line separating the “haves” and the “haven’t enoughs” in our community.

If you’re going shopping this weekend why not bib along to Tesco and see if you can donate to their cause?

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Speaking of 180…when was the last time you ‘did a 180′ on something?

Earlier this week. Let me explain: I have played in so many “Last Night of the Proms” tour de yorkshireconcerts in my musical career that they wear a little (LOT) thin and generally I don’t like doing that type of music. Being a conductor I get to choose what we play and so when we were asked to do a joint set with a choir this coming Saturday at a concert to mark the grande depart for the Tour de France, I thought I would give a little nod to it and gave my suggested songlist to the choirmaster, purposely leaving out “Land of Hope and Glory”. I hate it. With a passion. It drives me bananas and I can’t abide it. (Can you guess my feelings about this one?). I thought I was being clever by suggesting other songs instead of this one…but the choir have insisted that we sing/play it. Doh! So much for my adamant posturing that I will NEVER conduct this piece again in my life.

2.  It’s Independence week in the US of A! What’s your favourite thing about America right this very minute? Favourites only! Let’s hear what you love about America!
My favourite thing about America at the moment is the romantic notion I have of the northernmost states. In particular the Olympic Northwest, Maine, New England etc. I dream of visiting Vermont and Maine one day and then making my way westwards towards Washington state to Seattle and beyond.
3. Stars or stripes? Red, white, or blue? Watermelon, homemade vanilla ice cream, or blueberry pie?
Difficult question, being a Brit! But ok, I’ll play along:
Stars (twinkly ones in the sky)
Blue (it’s my favourite colour for everything, including my favourite football team)
Ice-cream (can’t stand watermelon and never had blueberry pie)
4. When did you last see stars, figuratively speaking?
I slipped in the shower last week and banged my head on the shelf at the bottom of the bath. The panic of slipping combined with the clonk on the head made things go a bit starry for a little while!
5. ‘Clear as a bell’, ‘with bells on’, ‘lots of bells and whistles’, ‘saved by the bell’…which phrase ‘rings’ truest for you lately? Have you ever seen The Liberty Bell?
“Clear as a bell”….as in “I wish my hearing was as clear as a bell”. We have a tendency to tinnitus and deafness in my family, and recently I have been experiencing more spells of tinnitus than I’ve had before. I have had it on and off for as long as I can remember, but just at the moment it seems to be more frequent, more annoying and louder in volume than it has in the past. It has begun interfering with my hearing too, and at one point over the weekend when I was climbing the stairs, I got an attack of the whistling in my left ear at the precise time my right ear hearing “timed out” for a couple of seconds and I over-balanced slightly. Actually come to think of it, I wonder if that’s why I fell in the shower too? Hmmm…might have to go and have that checked at the doctors.
And no, I’ve never seen the Liberty Bell but I have played it lots of times!!
6. Are you caught up in World Cup Fever? Have you watched a lot, a little or none at all?
I wouldn’t say I’m caught up in the fever of it all, but I have really enjoyed the matches that I have watched. We didn’t expect our team to do very well, but even by England’s standards, that showing in the group stages was woefully pitiful. But, looking on the bright side, being a Manchester City supporter, there were plenty more opportunities to see my favourite players in action because they play all over the world. (I know there’s an argument to be had about the state of the domestic league’s make up of national players but hey, I’m not getting into that here!). I was rooting for the USA last night – Tim Howard is a hero – but I’m glad that my Vincent Kompany’s side did well and got through.
7.  Bid farewell to June in ten words or less.
Is it that time ALREADY??
8. My random thought:
I don’t know that I have got enough fingernails left to last me until I get my result from my OU module in a couple of weeks. We have been told it will be sometime after the online forums go to “read only”, and definitely before 18th July but we don’t know exactly when it will happen. The forums went to read only over the weekend… *chew, bite, gnaw, chew, nibble….

Experimental Photography

One of the things I am looking forward to this summer is going on holiday to the north-east and spending some time on the beach at Bamburgh with my camera. Bit by bit over the years I have been adding to my photography knowledge, and I have long been fascinated by landscapes and time lapse photographs. I really want to do some whilst on holiday so I have been teaching myself a few new techniques recently.

Here is a video I produced today, using photographs I took in my own back garden. My learning curve has been not so much “steep” as “downright vertical” this week!!

The images were shot on my trusty Nikon D40 and I took 480 pictures at 3-second intervals. I then ran the images through Windows Movie Maker at a rate of 24 frames per second, giving a 20 second video of the clouds forming over my house at tea time.

I have really enjoyed producing this one, and now I know what I’m doing (mostly) I am looking forward to doing more in the very near future.


Ailsa Craig

imageThis is a photograph of my daughter piloting a Royal Navy boat in the middle of the Irish Sea and the lump of rock on the horizon is Ailsa Craig, from where the granite for 99% of the world’s curling stones is extracted.

You wouldn’t believe that was open water would you? It’s like a mill-pond out there!

I’m a very proud mama.




Vending Wishes

Vending Wishes

Soft drinks, electronics, nutrient-free snacks — you can get all of those from a vending machine. But what type of vending machine is sorely needed but doesn’t yet exist? Share your automated retail fantasies with us!

Taking my prompt from yesterday’s Daily Post, I’d love to see a vending machine that gave out roast dinners. So, you’d put your money in and press B5 and out would come the roast potatoes. C6 would have carrots, A2 would have broccoli and D1 would have cauliflower. The whole of the “E” row would have the meats – E1 Beef, E2 chicken, E3 turkey, E4 pork, E5 gammon, E6 duck (for the posher customer) and E7 goose (for the even posher than the duck customer). The gravy would come out of a spout like on a hot chocolate vending machine and the puddings would all be lined up ready for you to choose from when you’ve had your dinner.

Do you think we could ever do that? Get me James Dyson on the phone please!!