Daybook Entry – 18th February 2017


For Today 18th February 2017

Looking out my window… I am looking at a garden that is in serious need of some TLC

I am thinking… about how busy I am going to be for the next 8 days. I am going to be taking part in my first brass band contest for a very long time, and in the first section which I have not played in for even longer than that. The busyness comes from the amount of rehearsal I have to do between now and then, not just the 2 hours each night with the rest of the band but the couple of hours each day on my own practice at home too to make sure I am in tip top condition to the band and the performance justice. I am looking forward to it and dreading it in equal measure to be honest.

I am thankful… for the gift of music.

One of my favourite things… is sharing food on a Saturday with my family and having some good ol’ quality time together.

I am wearing… post-shower comfies.

I am creating… a crocheted blanket for my son’s girlfriend Megan.

I am watching… as I type this, “Despicable Me” is on TV in the background, but something that I have been going out of my way to watch is “No Offence” on Channel 4. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!

I am reading… “The Ghosts of Idlewood” by M L Bullock for a bit of light fiction reading, but I am also working my way through Richard Coles’ “Bringing In The Sheaves” and “Being a Priest Today” by Christopher Cocksworth and Rosalind Brown.

 

I am listening to… Meatloaf a lot at the minute. I was at my cousin’s partner’s funeral last week and we listened to “Paradise in the Dashboard Light” as part of the service. It spurred me on to revisiting some of the tracks I used to listen to a while back and that I’d not realised I hadn’t listened to for a while.

I am hoping… to hear from the bank soon about a proposal we made to them about our future finances. If they don’t agree in writing then we are going to be seriously up against the wall and will more than likely lose our home. It is a tense time.

I am learning… that even when you do things right, and that you obey the rules, when you’re at the mercy of big corporations who can change the goalposts on a whim then it doesn’t matter how much you comply, you will still lose.

In the kitchen… we are having burritos for tea tonight. Probably not too authentic but tasty and a great way to share food with the family regardless of accuracy!

Board Room… I so need this! Time management skills from Joanna Kay

Shared Quote…

I thought the sparrow’s note from heaven,
Singing at dawn on the alder bough;
I brought him home in his nest at even;–
He sings the song, but it pleases not now;
For I did not bring home the river and sky;
He sang to my ear; they sang to my eye.

From “Each and All” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
A moment from my week…

dsc_1477.jpg
View from the PamCam at rehearsal one night this week. Contest next Sunday in Blackpool …. gulp!

Post Script…

I was caught up in the aftermath of a crash on the M60  on Tuesday this week (video link below – apologies for the advert beforehand, I can’t control that). I had dropped my husband off at work so I could have use of the car to get me to an important meeting about my future training in the church. Fortunately for all concerned in the incident there were no serious injuries or fatalities, but unfortunately for me, I was sat in the car for about half an hour and very nearly had to visit the Bishop’s office still dressed in my pyjamas!

It’s funny how one careless action by one person could have so many consequences that cannot be foreseen or even dreamt of when they do it.

http://players.brightcove.net/2540076170001/Ey9zhZNae_default/index.html?videoId=5326870000001

 

January Daybook


simple-woman-daybook-largeFor Today… 11th January 2017

Looking out my window… I can see clear blue skies, but I can hear the wind howling and there is a storm on its way.

I am thinking… I might cook cheesy bacon pasta for tea tonight.

I am thankful… that mental health in young people is taken seriously.

One of my favourite things… is driving with my son to band practice and having a natter about all sorts of things, both big and small.

I am creating… this little beauty. I began it during the evening on Boxing Day (for my non-UK readers, Boxing Day is the day after Christmas Day) and it is going to be used when we go away in our caravan this summer.

Rectangle blanket based on the traditional "granny" stitch, using rainbow colours. Three repeats of the individual colours followed by three rows of each colour afterwards. Just starting the blue three now and hopefully will finish it this weekend.
Rectangle blanket based on the traditional “granny” stitch, using rainbow colours. Three repeats of the individual colours followed by three rows of each colour afterwards. Just starting the blue three now and hopefully will finish it this weekend.

I am wearing… layers, layers and layers today. The heating is on but I’m bone-cold.

I am reading… “The Coroner (Coroner: Jenny Cooper Series)” by M R Hall

I am watching… The BDO World Championships on TV this week. I love watching the darts, and the BDO suits me because it is not as high-powered or glitzy as the PDC competitions. Darts are good to crochet to as I can listen and only half watch the TV as I’m concentrating on the yarn in my hands.

I have been listening to… Pemberton Old Band rehearsing for a competition this weekend in Skegness. My son plays bass trombone for them and I sometimes give him a lift to rehearsals. I have enjoyed the experience of being a groupie rather than a player since he started playing with them, and it makes a refreshing change for me to hear a piece of music being crafted into a performance piece to contest level by a band of this calibre. They are in the First Section (one level down from the Championship Section but working on their way back up) and they are a level above where I played with Middleton Band before I stopped playing.

I am hoping… my brother recovers quickly from his surgery yesterday.

I am learning… to trust my instinct.

In my kitchen… I have been making the effort to cook proper meals from scratch. We have a limited food budget and sometimes it can be a challenge to eat healthily all the time, and I have been enjoying the challenge of finding recipes and dishes that we can eat to fill us up, fill us up healthily, fill us up healthily and inexpensively.

Board room… we are looking at the story of Jonah and the Whale for our next Messy Church and I really want to do this activity with the children:

Post Script: I found this site (Strategies for dealing with change) when I was looking for something to help someone I love who is going through some really difficult, anxious times. I found this picture, and thought it would be great to share with you too. Please visit the host site for more like this.

 

Shared Quote…
strong-roots

Closing Notes… I began this post this morning, about 12 hours ago (which is why I said the sky is clear blue and not the midnight black it is now) and today has been another one that has been packed with drama, fun, music, family, planning, crafting and laughter. I thank God that my life is so varied and that it is filled with so many people who stimulate me in so many different ways. I have to say that being a mum is challenging at the minute, and I trust God to see us through the particular storm we are weathering just now. I am grateful to my friends who visited today too – a bit of a giggle and a chat with people you love goes a long way to making things feel better! And music. Ah music. Where would I be without you? Laughing with Ethan and Megan in the car going to band rehearsal tonight and having fun finding music that we all like. Fortunately all three of us have similar musical taste and we enjoyed a great 45 minutes each way listening to all sorts of stuff, from First Class’ “Beach Baby”, to the cast recording of songs from “Sweet Charity”, by way of Glen Campbell and his “Rhinestone Cowboy” (with alternative words, courtesy of yours truly) and a bit of “Hairspray” to finish with. You definitely can’t stop the beat if you’re travelling with the Pamster at the minute!

 

 

Daybook Entry -7th November 2016


simple-woman-daybook-largeFor Today… 7th November

Outside my window… the weather is miserable. It is bitterly cold and the drizzle has got needle edges on it.

I am thinking… that I am glad I took some time out last weekend to have a rest and to gather my strength.

I am thankful… for the food in my freezer. That might sound like a very trite thing to say, but trust me, it’s not. Times are hard and money is extremely tight, and we managed to pull together enough money last week for two weeks’ worth of groceries to be able to batch cook meals in individual portions for the coming months. Not only do we have the security of knowing there are meals ready prepared (and with fresh produce, and where I know exactly what’s in them) but we also have enough to share.

I am praying for… my son’s girlfriend and her family who were suddenly thrown out of their home on Friday. They have had to split the family up to find accommodation for the short term, and she is staying with us for a while until her mum and dad can get back on their feet. I am also praying for my own family, particularly my husband, for the strength to keep going and to trust that things are going to work out one day.

I am creating… crocheted mini Christmas stockings for a bit of fun, and I’m working on a hat for myself for winter.

I am going… to meet up with an old friend sometime soon who I haven’t seen for ages.

I am wondering… whether I am going to finish NaNoWriMo this year. Signs are not good so far, but there’s time yet!

I am reading… “The Hanging Tree” by Ben Aaronovitch. It is the latest in a series of books about a special department of the Metropolitan Police which deals with the magical as well as the criminal. The others have been very good and so far this one is turning out to be the same.

I am hoping… my Achilles tendon heals soon because as the weather is getting colder, it is aching more and the lump has come back again.

I am learning… to look for the fingerprints of God in everything around me.

In my garden… a tennis ball randomly appeared one day last week. I don’t know where it came from and it has gone again now. Who? Why? When? What? How come??

In my kitchen… I have made a concerted effort to cook from scratch every night for the past couple of weeks, and it is paying off. I did a lot of research into budget and straightforward recipes that used basic ingredients that I could get cheaply, and I have been trying out some really good and exciting new dishes as well as making some of our family favourites for meals. It has been a useful exercise – not only is it costing us less, but it is healthier and I feel more useful in the house by contributing something by cooking for us all. Tis a good feeling.

A favourite quote for today… “some days you’re more on top of your horse than others” (can’t remember who said it, but it is a good one!)

A peek into one of my days… my graduation last week. I was conferred the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Humanities with Creative Writing from The Open University at the Bridgewater Hall. Phew what a mouthful, but what a day! Thoroughly enjoyed it and I could get used to wearing that gown and hood.

One of my favourite things… is clean sheets, clean pyjamas and a clean body before bedtime. Bliss!

Post Script: You may have gathered things are a little difficult at the moment, and it has left me unwilling/unable to blog very much recently. Trust me, I feel better than I did a little while ago so I will be making every effort to try to blog a bit more in the coming weeks. There are lots of things on the calendar coming up with band and church and so on, so keep watching, things are going to be interesting to say the least.

 

Daybook Entry 15th August 2016


8598a-simple-woman-daybook-largeFor Today… 15th August 2016

Outside my window… the sun is setting, throwing up a beautiful peachy glow over things in the garden

I am thinking… about doing a long-distance walk next summer, inspired by the beautiful countryside in North Wales where I have just been on holiday. There is a route from Holywell that winds its way from chapel to holy site to standing stones to chapel westwards towards the Llyn peninsula and then on to Aberdaron on the tip which, it is said, has been used by pilgrims for centuries. The whole route is around 135 miles and if I do walk it, I would probably mix camping out in the wild with B&B’s and proper camping overnights. My fitness levels need to be improved – a LOT! – before I seriously consider it, but I think it would be something good to set my mind to doing for both physical and spiritual healing.

I am thankful… for the two weeks of family time I have just spent in Wales in our little caravan. Things have been tense and stressful for too long recently and I think we all needed the break away from the routine and grind of daily life. There was a time when I thought we wouldn’t be able to have a holiday this year, even a cheap one camping in a farmer’s field like we did do, so yes, I am extremely thankful that we were given the chance to do that.

Family time camping in Wales
Family time camping in Wales

I am praying for… strength, wisdom, insight and guidance for myself; healing for a battered and bruised friendship; a light at the end of this very dark and winding financial tunnel I am travelling down.

I am wearing… shorts and a t-shirt. It’s been a hot day today in Manchester.

I am creating… a story about two friends who promise each other they will get together with each other if neither of them has a partner by the time they are 30. It’s a plot that has been done before (many times!) but there will be a twist to mine which I don’t think has ever been written yet.

I am going… to have my hair cut tomorrow. I have done it myself for the past couple of years and as there is still some money in the kitty from our holidays I’m finally going to have it cut by someone who knows what they are doing and who can even up my dodgy layers at the back.

I am wondering… if this broken tooth will hold up til next Monday when I can get to the dentist to have it fixed.

I am reading…  “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon. Kevin was given the box set of series one for his birthday and we watched it bit by bit in the evenings on holiday. I enjoyed it so much I have decided to read the book too. It’s a great story, one of my favourite genres, where Claire ends up slipping back through time from 1945 to 1743 and the eve of the Jacobite rising in Scotland. there are a lot of historical anachronisms, but they are forgivable because the storytelling is so good.

I am hoping… for a better night’s sleep tonight than I had last night. It was a good old-fashioned tramadol night last night, complete with twitching, restlessness, itching and hallucinations which have left me feeling a bit hungover today. Sleepy, not quite ‘with it’ and wondering if what I dreamed about someone being pregnant is just a flight of fancy or if my subconscious has picked something up and is playing it back to me under the guise of tramadol-induced ‘sleep’.

I am learning… to let go of things even though it hurts to do so.

In my garden… the hydrangea bush is a gorgeous colour this year. It has been pink or blue in the past but this year it is a beautiful lilac/purple colour. I think it can be explained by the change in soil pH after the removal of a tree next door a couple of years ago. I read somewhere once that the acidity or alkalinity of the soil where a hydrangea is situated has an effect on the colour of the blooms, and I think that’s what has happened here. I’d post a photo but it’s gone dark now. I’ll try and remember for next time.

In my kitchen… we had pasta which was brought back from Italy by Ethan a couple of weeks ago. He was on a band tour with Bury Music Centre and thought I might like to have some genuine Italian pasta, which was very thoughtful of him. It was multi-coloured and very nice. I did a chorizo, mushroom and tomato sauce to go with it – delish.

A favourite quote for today… “Young people might have lots of energy to run fast, but older people know how to read the map”

A peek into one of my days… 

Sunset at Nant Gwrtheyrn, Wales
Sunset at Nant Gwrtheyrn, Wales

This photo is one of my favourite from my holiday this year. A glorious sunset, the sounds of the waves below us on the beach and my son in silhouette setting up his camera to take some shots of his own.

One of my favourite things… the taste sensation that is sweet and salty popcorn mixed up together. Oh my word!

Post Script: My postscript today is a thank you and an apology to Mary. First of all, thank you for your lovely card which arrived the morning I left for my holiday, and an apology that I didn’t get to send you a postcard from Wales because I took your card with me but forgot to bring the envelope with your address on it! I have sent you a couple of cards in an envelope so you can see a bit more about where we were on holiday – expect it in a few days!

 

 

Daybook Entry – 13th July


8598a-simple-woman-daybook-largeFor Today… 13th July

Outside my window… there is still a trace of blue in the sky and it has gone 11pm

I am thinking… about the juxtaposition of tragedy and celebration today

I am thankful… that I have a ministry in the church

I am praying for… Millie’s family, Alfie and his mum, the children of Pike Fold School who came to Messy Church today

I am wearing… my hair loose for a change

I am creating… a jacket for myself. I have cut out the pattern pieces and the fabric for the lining, but I haven’t plucked up the courage to cut out the fabric for the jacket itself yet. I’m letting my knees recover before I get down on the floor to do that!

I am going… to take my son shopping for clothes tomorrow for his band trip to Italy next week

I am wondering… when his passport will arrive

I am reading… I’m in between books at the moment having finished “House Rules” by Jodi Picoult yesterday afternoon, but I did read a short story by Neil Gaiman last night called “Odd and the Frost Giants” which was brilliant. I don’t usually read fantasy stories, but this one was a great read and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants a satisfying read for half an hour or so

I am hoping… I don’t miss the delivery man tomorrow who is going to be bringing me my Dad’s birthday present in the post. I’m hoping my Dad likes it too

I am learning… that the human spirit is probably the toughest substance in the universe

In my garden… we have lavender, strawberries, thyme and parsley growing on the deck and the smell is divine

In my kitchen… we had a bit of a concoction for tea tonight – mushrooms, courgettes, yellow peppers, red onions in a tomato sauce with gnocchi. Not bad for a knocked-together quick meal

A favourite quote for today…

Psalm 139

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

A peek into one of my days…

Dragon in the sky tonight
Dragon in the sky tonight

One of my favourite things… is seeing children singing and dancing in church

Post Script:

It has been a very trying time for me and my family recently and we have survived yet another storm in our lives. It has felt like life was giving us a bit of a kicking but we are on the up again now and looking forward to a couple of things this month now. First of all, Ethan is going away with the music centre for a few days’ concert tour in Italy next week then it will be our 25th wedding anniversary the week after. A few days after that we are planning on going camping although Emma won’t be with us this time and she is staying at home. She has been working away at a High Adventure camp for the past six weeks and between you and me, I think she’s a bit fed up of tents and sleeping bags at the minute! Our change in outlook is because of a couple of things that have come together at the same time and it has made things altogether feel better, even if they haven’t actually solved the problem. With prayer and faith, and the grace of God extended to us through our friends, life is feeling a lot happier and we have some things to look forward to now.

 

 


daybook buttonFor Today… 3rd July

Outside my window… first day today for about three weeks with no rain!

I am thinking… how spirited the Iceland football team are. They certainly have heart

I am thankful… that I have such caring friends and family. We have had a tough time as a family recently with financial difficulties and I am extremely grateful for two people (my Dad and an unknown benefactor) who have given us money this week to be able to get through it.

I am praying for… our mystery benefactor; my Dad who has fallen off his bike this weekend and who is a bit battered and bruised today

I am wearing… dark blue shorts and a white t-shirt

I am creating… a screenplay to submit for consideration to the BBC

I am going… to chase up my son’s passport application tomorrow. He needs it back before 20th July and the ETA is 6 weeks… got to apply the pressure tomorrow or else he won’t be going to Italy with the music centre

I am wondering… how amenable the passport office is going to be in the morning

I am reading… I am in between books just now having just finished R D Wingfield’s “Night Frost”. Need to find a new book before I go to bed.

I am hoping… that my Dad hasn’t broken his wrist after his fall yesterday. He is going to the fracture clinic tomorrow to see the extent of his injury. He has got it in a cast for now but hopefully tomorrow will reveal no fracture

I am learning… that it is painful to admit when friendships and relationships come to an end

In my garden… a photo from last week:

dsc_0144.jpg

In my kitchen… I made a vanilla and chocolate traybake cake on Friday to take to band practice for my birthday. It was one of my more ‘average’ attempts

A favourite quote for today…

A peek into one of my days… dsc_0162.jpg

This is my Dad just before his ride yesterday. He is training for a sponsored bike ride from Manchester to Blackpool next Sunday, and he is raising money for The Christie Hospital which is a cancer specialist hospital in Manchester. He has raised money for them before and he was/is looking forward to riding again next week to raise some more. If his injuries from yesterday are such that he can’t ride next weekend then he will honour his sponsors and will ride in a couple of months when he has healed. If you would like to sponsor him, his JustGiving page is at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Derek-Swain

One of my favourite things… is having both of my children here for a meal together

Post Script: Money, or lack of it, causes a lot of stress. Lack of money but owing it to others causes even more stress. Owing it to others and not having enough to cover basic costs before you even begin to think about paying debts is one of the biggest stresses I can think of, and it has the potential to cause so much harm. I alluded to it above, but these last couple of weeks have been the most stressful I can remember for a long time because of debts and money issues and I cannot say enough times how grateful I am to the two people who have helped this week. It has meant that we can take the pressure off for a little while and we can take time off from thinking about how to get out of our mess.

It’s a funny thing really. As you may know, I am a Christian and my faith in God teaches me that all will be well, God has got this, and if we trust him he will catch us as we fall. And I do believe that, I honestly do, but it takes a certain depth of faith to believe that when it feels like things are in freefall. Knowing God’s hand is there to catch us as we fall means the world to me and I am certain that as a family we would have broken up before now and personally I would have had a nervous breakdown or something if it hadn’t have been for my faith in God. Yes, debt is stressful, and yes, not having enough money to cover debts and basic living costs is stressful, but having God’s grace extended to us and shown to us through the actions of friends has literally kept mind and soul together through this.

We are a long way of solving our financial crisis yet, but by the grace of God we will get there as a family and we are all the stronger for it.

 

 

 

Daybook Entry 13th June


8598a-simple-woman-daybook-largeFor Today… Monday, 13th June

Outside my window… The sky is clearing slightly after a full day of drizzle, rain, rizzle, and showers

I am thinking… About how acts of hatred and violence seem to be everywhere we look at the minute. If it’s not guns and shootings in the USA, it’s football riots in France. If it’s not an argument about politics in Europe, it’s a hate-fuelled torrent of political abuse from people vying to be the next President of the United States. It’s everywhere and I’m sure that the world cannot be so filled with hate as it seems to be.

I am thankful… for the privilege of working with so many children at church in so many different ways. For example, I have been involved in three very moving baptisms in the last couple of weeks, each with their own different pastoral cares and this morning at Stay and Play was a joy for me.

I am praying for… E&S and their wedding later this week; my son who is facing some health challenges; my daughter who is spending the next 2 months in a forest teaching young people how to do all sorts of outdoor activities.

I am wearing… my comfy Everlast ankle socks. You know when you have a pair of socks that are the right amount of tight round the top, with a nice band that goes round the arch of your foot and snuggles it just so, and are thick enough to be warm but not too thick to be sweaty, and are pristine white? Well, a pair of those.

I am creating… a portrait of my son, and a painting of a sunflower. I’m into oil painting at the minute – a complete break away from words for a change.

I am going… to try to paint a landscape in the next few days.

I am wondering… when the summer is going to return again.

I am reading… “Time of Death” by Mark Billingham.

I am hoping… I can solve the problem of how to paint eyes in portraits or else I won’t be able to show you my son’s painting!

I am learning… that oil painting is not as easy as I thought.

In my garden… my bike is waiting patiently for me to oil its chain and to dust off the pedals again.

In my kitchen… we had lamb biryani for tea. All home made and twas rather delish.

A favourite quote for today… “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you sow” Robert Louis Stevenson.

A peek into one of my days… my Prince Charming this morning, pulling funny faces at the camera

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One of my favourite things… is watching the rain watering my lovely green garden.

From the board room… I am sooooo making this for Emma!

 

Post Script:

We are deep into the GCSE exam season again, with only a few more weeks left before another set of 16 year olds are left bereft and betwixt the worlds of school and sixth form or college. Having worked in secondary schools for the past 14 years, first in pastoral role and now as an exam invigilator I have witnessed this stage of children’s education many times over. I don’t know whether I despair OF these children, or despair FOR them as they reach this stage. Most of them are well-adjusted individuals who realise the enormity of exams, and the consequences of having good, bad or indifferent results but there are some who are entirely clueless and it’s those young people who I feel deepest for.

Take the boy on Friday, who whilst waiting for the exam officer to arrive with the papers, said to me “Will I get in trouble if I put my head on the desk and go asleep?”. I said to him that he wouldn’t be in trouble from me, but did he really want to scupper his chances of passing the exam by not even attempting it? His response is typical of a worrying trend that I’ve seen before, and he said “Well, even if I score 90 on this I’ll only get a C so I’m not going to bother”. And he didn’t. The exam started, he answered the first part of the first question and then promptly closed his paper and put his head on the desk for the duration of the exam.

Why would you do that? Why does he think his only worth is in terms of what grade his exam shows? Why does he not care that even a grade D is worth something? And if he wasn’t satisfied with what he had attained already, why did he not work harder for the last couple of months to try and pull himself up? It’s not as if young people today don’t know where they are in terms of attainment and grading etc because they are tested and told often enough.

But here’s the thing that worries me and makes me despair FOR them: so, even if that lad had pulled his guts out and attained a C for that subject, what difference will it make to his earning capacity in the years to come? Even ‘good’ grades don’t necessarily convert into ‘good’ jobs. No job is secure any more, and all that lad could hope to get would be a zero hours contract in a warehouse of retail outlet somewhere for the next couple of years. I don’t blame him for wanting a nap on a Friday afternoon instead of sitting an exam when the sad truth is that it probably won’t affect his life chances and options later on very much at all.

The even worse thing is that he’s not alone is he? There are thousands of children churned out of the school system each year with little to look forward to and little prospect of getting ahead or lifting themselves up from the position they are in unless they are extremely lucky or extremely brave. A subject for another blog post maybe, but it seems that schools are little more than exam factories whose job it is to churn out compliant drones who fall into the category of “A* – C” or not, as the case may be. Art, creativity, spontaneity, individuality and so on are all squashed and discouraged, sacrificed for grade boundaries and “performance indicators” for both staff and students, upon which funding is based for subsequent years.

In some ways I wanted to shake that boy for scuppering any chance he had to further himself on Friday, but in other ways I applaud his individual stance and his refusal to play the game of being turned into another drone. Only time will tell whether that was the right course of action for him to take.

 

Daybook Entry 22nd May 2016


8598a-simple-woman-daybook-largeFor Today… 22nd May 2016

Outside my window… it’s a bit cloudy, a bit dusky, a bit wet and a bit too early to go to bed

I am thinking… how much I wish it wasn’t too early to go to bed!

I am thankful… that this difficult period is nearly over at last

I am praying for… Ethan, Chloe & Lily and all who have exams this week; baby Storm who was baptised today and was a delightful visual aid in my sermon this morning; Harold’s family and friends who are grieving; Arthur

I am wearing… my reading glasses, my hair in a loose bobble and nothing on my feet

I am creating… I’ve not been very creative for some time now because of finishing off my degree, and once my final piece has been submitted later this week I will be making up for it! I have got a list of things I want to draw/ paint/ crochet/ photograph/ write about/ compose etc

I am going… to write a 3000 word essay from scratch tomorrow

I am wondering… if I’ll get said essay finished tomorrow…

I am reading… lots of text books and critical essays for my degree and I have a John Grisham lined up for when I can indulge in a bit of guilt-free reading for pleasure in a few days time

I am hoping… I sleep alright tonight. Last night was disturbed to say the least

I am learning… to relax and speak in public. That might sound daft, but up til recently if you presented me with a microphone I would have run a mile, but like today, I not only ad-libbed a bit in my sermon this morning but I was able to talk to a crowd of people listening to the band playing in the park with no problems at all. Not nervous, not struggling for things to say, not embarrassed by my accent (pure Manc!)

In my garden… the sunflower seed I planted a few weeks ago has not put in an appearance yet. I think I have misunderestimated the cold weather we have had recently

In my kitchen… there are lots of cooking projects waiting to be fulfilled when I have the time

A favourite quote for today… on Friday night, listening to Brighouse and Rastrick band playing a pianissimo section of Ravenswood, standing next to a 10 year old in my band:

10yr old: They’re not very good are they?
Me? What do you mean?
10yr old: Well, you can hardly hear them. Look at all these people who’ve come to listen to them and they can’t even hear them. They’re not very good!

I didn’t have the heart to explain to her that playing that quietly was a highly skilled thing to do…

A peek into a few of my days…

A couple of recent photos for you.

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One of my favourite things… is drinking weak Vimto

Post Script:

You may have noticed that I have been very quiet on my blog for some time now. It’s because I have been busy with my church work and had a heavy workload on for my degree so I have struggled to justify the time to devote to blogging with all that going on. More recently still I have been doing some work with Lees Band preparing them for Whit Friday last week. That was a brilliant experience but I am seriously exhausted now! I have missed blogging and once this week is over I will be able to get back to some level of “normal”.

Just to show you what sort of thing I’ve done just in this last week or so: Friday – conducted Todmorden band; Saturday – Messy Church; Sunday – led prayers in church; Monday – did Stay and Play at church, worked on my 30 minute screenplay; Tuesday – finished screenplay, submitted it, rehearsed Lees Band; Wednesday – funeral of a congregation member at church and rehearsed Todmorden Band; Thursday – produced a load of promotional literature for the golf club, rehearsed Lees Band; Friday – funeral of another congregation member at church, Whit Friday; Saturday – all-day conference with the Archdeaconry; Sunday – preached at church, conducted Todmorden Band in a concert. It’s been a whirlwind but it has been extremely satisfying too.

 

Daybook Entry – 29th March 2016


012614_1641_DaybookEntr1.jpgFor Today… 29th March 2016

Outside my window… there is the remnants of Storm Katie battering the house and there is a definite chill in the air tonight. It’s wet, cold, windy and miserable

I am thinking… how much my own body hates me at times

I am thankful… my prescription arrived today

I am praying for… there seems to be so many people close to me who are affected by serious illness , whether their own or a close loved one and my prayers today re for them. It is very hard to stand by and watch people you love being affected by health problems and you feel especially helpless because there’s nothing you can do to take away the pain for them. My prayer is for calmness and strength to endure the pain of watching loved ones in pain.

I am wearing… my comfy socks. They are the ones I wear when I’ve had a shower and they are just the right amount of tightness to be secure without strangling my feet, soft enough to be comforting but not that soft they irritate my skin and they have just the right amount of stretch to stay in place without cutting off the blood supply in my ankles or slipping down under my heels. Win win!

I am creating…  prayer bears. Here’s a photo of one I made for my friend Hils over the weekend. I have adapted the pattern since then and am now on for my third one. They are lovely to crochet and are so cute when they are made up.

Prayer Bear for my friend Hils
Prayer Bear for my friend Hils

I am going… to get ahead with my studies this week. There is a week’s break on the calendar for both modules this week and I am up to date after a mammoth effort before Easter to catch up with all my work. However, there is a heavy reading list to get through in the next couple of weeks so if I can do something to get ahead this week I’ll be doing myself some favours.

I am wondering… what’s wrong with Terry the Terrapin. He seems very lethargic and not fond of his food at the minute, and there are a couple of white patches on his shell. They look like he might be getting ready to shed again, but I don’t like it when he basks all day instead of swimming about and digging in his rocks.

buffalo soldier book coverI am reading…  “Buffalo Soldier” by Tanya Landman. I’m ostensibly reading it for my assessment at the end of my Children’s Literature module, but it is so good I am enjoying it in its own right. It’s the story of “Charley O’Hara”, a freed slave girl who disguises herself as a man to join the US Army just after the American Civil War. She finds that freedom isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

I am hoping… my little sunflower (planted on Saturday) is weathering well in the horrible cold rain we are having. Come on little flower, you can do it!

I am learning… not yet, but when I’ve finished my degree I have two things on my hit list to learn, one is sign language and the other is shorthand. I don’t mind if I just manage to cover the basics in both of them but it’s something I want to do for fun.

In my garden… apart from my little sunflower seed (come on little seed, you can do it) there are lovely clumps of daffodils, some crocus, lots of greenery and a sad little football that has blown into the middle of the lawn from somewhere.

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Wet daffs in the garden

 

Stormy garden with random football sadly sitting in the middle of the grass
Stormy garden with random football sadly sitting in the middle of the grass

 

 

In my kitchen… I made a lamb biryani last night for tea, which I usually make with curry paste that you can get in a jar. Last night’s choice was Madras, but there wasn’t enough left in the jar from last time so I topped it up with the remains of a Rogan Josh jar from the time before. The trouble is that I’d already added some cumin seeds to the onions and lamb in the pan and the resulting sauce was, erm, a bit warm to say the least. It was so warm that we were in physical pain from the third or fourth forkful each. But it was absolutely delicious once the pain had subsided and the leftovers today have gone down a treat.

A favourite quote for today… 

“We know not what we shall be”; but we may be sure we shall be more, not less, than we were on earth. Our natural experiences (sensory, emotional, imaginative) are only like the drawing, like pencilled lines on flat paper. If they vanish in the risen life, they will vanish only as pencil lines vanish from the real landscape, not as a candle flame that is put out but as a candle flame which becomes invisible because someone has pulled up the blind, thrown open the shutters, and let in the blaze of the risen sun.

From The Weight of Sun by C S Lewis

A peek into one of my days…

These two photographs show two sides of my Easter weekend. The first shows my Gran sitting with my son at the Maundy Thursday supper we had at church last week. We had a lovely service beforehand and then ate together afterwards, sharing a lamb supper with around 90 people. The second photo shows the cross swathed in a black cloth on the steps at St Peter’s church where we had held a prayer morning on Saturday. This photo shows the pathway of light we lit as part of our prayers, and to me these two photos represent so much about what my life is all about. Family, faith, fellowship, prayer, hope and love.

One of my favourite things… is taking time to appreciate and give thanks for the beauty of creation.

From the board room…

These are definitely on the cards for me to make this summer!

Post Script:

I have been absent from my blog for a little while, but hopefully I’m back now. Things have been pretty manic recently, with assignments on top of extra reading for the OU and me being ill (again). I am through the worst of it now and am looking at life with a bit more renewed energy so fingers crossed blogging will be back up the list of my priorities again.

Here goes!

 

Daybook Entry – 24th February 2016


Daybook EntryFor Today… 24th February 2016.

Outside my window… it is a chilly -1 and each star is like a little chip of ice in the sky.

I am thinking… about who fascinating it is to cross paths with new people.

I am thankful… for my musical gift.

I am praying for… my old friend Jason who is in a high dependency unit tonight after a significant and serious surgery today.

I am creating… a plan for a screenplay. Can’t publish it yet but watch out, it’ll be coming soon!

I am going… to be leading our Lenten Bible study tomorrow night with my friend Helen.

I am wondering… whether this scratchy throat will develop overnight or will disappear.

I am reading… a really crappy novel that is nice night-time reading but not worth commenting on really in amongst the reams and reams of notes and critical essays I am reading for my studies…

I am hoping… I can make a good headway on my children’s literature assignment tomorrow. The official deadline is tomorrow lunchtime but I have an extension until Tuesday because I have been a bit poorly.

I am learning… to say “no” and to take some rest when my body tells me I have to.

In my garden… I have recently put out a new bird feeder filled with nuts and seeds but there hasn’t been many visitors yet. I might have to add a bit of something extra to tempt the birds in.

In my kitchen… Emma and Gemma made a delish meal tonight of pasta and a “sauce” which was stuffed FULL of vegetables. Very, very nice.

A favourite quote for today… this is from our Lent challenge at church, and it is a video I created for the verse “The Lord is my salvation”.

A peek into one of my days…

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This is my friend Dot and it was taken on Saturday at our Deanery Away Day which was held at FC United. It was a great day and we had a good old natter about stuff.

One of my favourite things… is watching people blossom when they are given encouragement and praise.

Post Script: I posted yesterday about the question of whether Britain should remain in or leave the EU, and it has sparked a bit of a debate it seems. Have a look and see, and please leave me your thoughts if you have an opinion or an observation about it. I’m keen to find out if other people are as confused about it all just the same as I am.