Blogging, Daybook

Daybook Entry – 2nd April 2017

For Today… 2nd April

Outside my window… it has been a gloriously sunny day again today, and my daffodils are nodding beautifully in the garden

I am thinking… about the week ahead and what I can do with my time

I am thankful… for the opportunity to exercise my ministry in the community where I live

I am praying for… my brother who has got a difficult surgery this week, and my parents who are going to be looking after him for a few days

I am wearing… “Red Musk” from the Body Shop. It is a gorgeous scent and was a Christmas gift from Emma

I am creating… a plan of action to get the house Spring cleaned

I am going… to band practice tomorrow night. “Reflections on Swan Lake” with Pemberton  Band

I am wondering… if I ought to see my GP with this pain in my ankle. I have had trouble with my Achilles tendon for a couple of months but in recent weeks it has got really painful and I’m getting a bit concerned about it now

I am reading…  “The Colour of Magic” by Terry Pratchett. I usually get through books like this in a couple of sittings but I have been so busy recently, and my days have been so filled from start to finish, that when I sit down to read before bedtime I have been so exhausted that I can only get a few pages read at a time. It’s a great book though and it’s no reflection on its quality that I can’t read very much of it at the minute!

I am hoping… this weather holds this week so I can sit out on the deck to write outside

I am learning… to trust my instincts more and more

In my garden… Spring has definitely sprung

In my kitchen… there is very little going on, and I need to plan a menu or else we’ll be eating on the hoof for the next week or so

A favourite quote for today… Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” It is the opening to chapter 8 of Paul’s letter to the Romans and it formed the backbone of my sermon this morning.

A peek into one of my days… this picture is from one of the sessions of Experience Easter I took part in with some of the local schools. This shows some of the children re-enacting the last supper with Eddie our vicar.

One of my favourite things… is looking forward to a lie in tomorrow morning

From the board room… I love these elephants!

Post Script: You may have gathered from the lack of posts recently and reading my post today that things have been a bit busy for me. I have absolutely loved the past four weeks, but they have been pretty full-on in terms of ministry and other things. Just to give you a little flavour of what I have been doing, I have been involved with 7 funerals since last Thursday (four of them in the same morning) and done three home visits to meet with the bereaved families; I have been involved in delivering/hosting 16 sessions of Experience Easter presented at 3 of our mission partnership churches and telling the Easter story to over 1200 children and staff of our local primary schools; I have driven to Wigan and Todmorden for band rehearsals, attended my son’s A-level recital and written and delivered a sermon, a piece of liturgy and led corporate prayers four times in various services and study groups. Oh, and I did a two week spell of exam invigilation too… no wonder I am exhausted!

I did get poorly towards the end of last week with a virus or something, which left me physically drained and meant I spent most of last weekend sleeping off a high temperature and painful muscles and joints. I’m much better now, and to be honest, after such a busy four weeks I am not too sure how to fill up my time next week. I have been putting off so many things because I haven’t had the time – such as cleaning the windows, digging out my painting gear, writing, going out on my bike etc – and I feel a little bit like a kid at the start of the summer holidays with endless days stretching ahead of me to fill. I don’t actually have all that time to myself because I still have a list of things to do this week, notwithstanding the commitments I have to band on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, a study group to go to on Thursday evening, a wedding to do the music for on Friday and Messy Church to do on Saturday and whole shed load of little bitty things which won’t take any time but still need to be thought about and done properly. Sigh… I might just get a whole day to myself sometime soon to get my paints out where I can indulge myself without having to clock-watch. I’ll let you know!



Blogging, Daybook

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…

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 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.




Dreary Daybook

8598a-simple-woman-daybook-largeFor Today… 8th February 2016

Outside my window… it’s horrible out there tonight. Wind, rain, more rain, more wind, even more rain and wind. And we have a leaky roof.

I am thinking… about my son’s parents’ evening we have been to tonight.

I am thankful… that I didn’t kill him on the way home but not quite as thankful as him!

I am praying for… Simon and his family; Anne Marie and Lauren.

I am wearing… pink jumper, grey t-shirt, black jogging pants, blue and white stripy socks. I am a walking piece of designer artwork this evening.

I am creating… not very much at the minute as I’m not feeling very creative. However, I did make these the other night to pass a quick half hour and some spare wool from my stash.


I am going… to spend the whole day working on my writing assignment tomorrow.

I am wondering… how my brother Alan and his wife Debbie are doing. We haven’t seen them for ages and it’s high time we organised a visit.

I am reading… “Abattoir Blues” by Peter Robinsonabattoir-blues-paperback

I am hoping… for an unbroken night’s sleep tonight. Last night was disturbed by the need to wake up early today, meaning that in order for me not to oversleep I was subconsciously scared of not going to sleep properly in the first place. Gah! Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

I am learning… to trust my instincts about storytelling.

In my garden… we have had a robin visit us every day for the past few days. I think he’s looking for food so I might put some out on the feeder for him.

A favourite quote for today… “I passed!!! XX” (From my daughter Emma who passed her driving test today at the first time of trying. Thanks muchly to my brother John who has been her driving instructor and whose brilliant teaching has got her through first time).

emma driving test

A peek into my day today… in the space of about 20 minutes I saw these two idiotic drivers parking like this. The first picture shows you a small sports car parked on the pavement with his offside wheels stuck in a grass verge, made muddy by the torrential rain all day and where he has parked because there was no room on the road. I filmed him trying to get out and I was not prepared to help him – apart from the fact it was wet, muddy and dangerous, my thoughts are that he got himself into that mess because of his own stupidity so he can get himself out. Or wait until there’s space on the road.


And this second picture is after a man drove up, threw his car into the disabled parking space, and then RAN into Asda at Eastlands. No blue badge on the dashboard, and no consideration for anybody who might have needed that spot right by the door. He couldn’t even get it between the (extra wide) lines.


One of my favourite things… is being told how lovely my children are, and especially how polite and well-behaved they are.

A few plans for the rest of the week: I have an assignment due on Monday next week so I will be mostly working on that, but I have a lot of critical reading to do for my children’s literature too so it’s going to be a heavy study week this week. It is the start of Lent on Wednesday, so I will be going to an Ash Wednesday service at my church on Wednesday evening after a visit from my friend Helen and Friday night is band night.



Daybook Entry 24th January 2016

8598a-simple-woman-daybook-largeFor Today… 24th January 2016

Outside my window… we’re awaiting the tail end of storm Jonas that has battered the east coast of the USA. It’s all calm for now but it won’t last…

I am thinking… about what I am going to write for my end of module piece for my creative writing course. I’ve got a few ideas swilling around and I am going to have to decide soon so I can submit my plan.

I am thankful… that I managed to do two whole assignments this week.

I am praying for… guidance over a thorny issue I am wrestling with.

I am wearing… black t-shirt and pyjama shorts. Well it’s Sunday evening!

I am creating… notes on a screenplay I want to try out.

I am going… to Stay and Play in the morning, our mums and toddler group at church. It’s a bit of a bind getting up on a Monday morning but the kids and the mums (and the grandmas, aunties, carers, child-minders and my colleagues!) all make it worthwhile.

I am wondering… if we’ll see snow in a day or so.

buffalo soldierI am reading… I have just started “Buffalo Soldier” by Tanya Landman (it’s a set book for my Children’s Lit module) and for entertainment I have just begun DCI Banks book 20 “Watching the Dark”. I finished Stuart MacBride’s latest Logan McRae book “In The Cold Dark Ground” last night and it was a cracker. Well worth the wait from the last one, and I’ll probably do a book review in a day or so.

I am hoping… my hair grows quickly. I cut it before going to bed last night but I took a bit much off my fringe and it stands up a bit like I’ve had an electric shock at the minute.

Comedy haircut and morning face - can it get any worse?!
Comedy haircut and morning face – can it get any worse?!


I am learning… the Harvard system of referencing. And I have to copy one every time I need to write one.

In my garden… I saw a little robin this morning pootling around in the laurel bush. He seemed quite happy to be there, hopping from branch to branch and nipping at a couple of buds here and there. Happy chappy and I enjoyed watching him for a few minutes.

In my kitchen… we have just had hunter’s chicken, potato gratin, peas, carrots and broccoli followed by tiramisu. A proper Sunday tea.

A favourite quote for today… “God’s got this”.

A peek into one of my days…

I went on a training course at Manchester Cathedral this week and I was struck again by how beautiful and inspiring the building is and had to share this photo. It was a cold, crisp day which you can tell by the clear blue sky and the sunshine really set off the stonework. How’s this for a lovely view of Manchester?



One of my favourite things… is sharing pretzels with my daughter

From the board room… my next project!!


Post Script: My youngest will be 17 on Tuesday and I am looking forward to his birthday and dreading it in equal measure. Looking forward to it because it is one of those milestones that young people anticipate in the UK when they are legally capable of driving a car and he has been looking forward to that privilege for years, and dreading it because I can’t believe how quickly the past 17 years have flown by and how old I feel knowing I have a nearly-adult son. I look at him sometimes and my arms ache to hold that tiny baby again, to soothe his pains and his cries, to make sure he is asleep when he should be, awake when he should be, to make sure he is fed and comfortable in his clothes with no worries in his head other than where his next lot of milk or dry nappy will come from. I will probably blog more about him on the day (no doubt with some embarrassing baby photos too!) but for today, I just want to savour the last few days of him being a 16 year old before he turns that ‘adult’ corner into manhood.



Daybook Entry – 18th January 2016

8598a-simple-woman-daybook-largeFor Today… 18th January 2016

Outside my window… Winter is having a bit of a break. We have had some snow over the weekend but it has warmed up and dried up today and even though it’s still a bit chilly it isn’t exactly freezing.

I am thinking… about the stage directions in Peter Pan for an essay I’m writing.

I am thankful… that I don’t have to get up too early in the morning. The old body is a bit sore today and it needs its rest.

I am praying for… a family I have come to know recently who are living in a difficult situation which is set to get even more complicated in the next couple of weeks.

I am wearing… shorts and a t-shirt under my big thick dressing gown.

I am creating… a list of things I’d like to create when I’ve got some spare time!

I am going… to pick up my new glasses tomorrow. I will then have a distance pair, a reading pair and a middle-distance pair that I can use when I’m preaching or conducting, or when I’m on the laptop. At the moment I struggle with either fuzzy faces or fuzzy text.

I am wondering… how on Earth I’m going to get two assignments done by this time next week.

I am reading… “Bad Boy” by Peter Robinson. I can only read a bit of it at a time in between all the other stuff I’ve got to read. I’ve been studying Peter Pan so that’s been to hand for a week and I am just about to start “Buffalo Soldier” by Tanya Landman which is a set book for the end of the course assignment.

I am hoping… tomorrow is a migraine-free day.

I am learning… to trust my instincts when reading between the lines.

In my garden… I have an empty bird feeder which I will be filling up tomorrow to encourage some birds.

A favourite quote for today…

a year from now

A peek into one of my days…


Vital essay-writing tools

One of my favourite things… is cuddling new babies

From the board room…

I remember making something like these when I was a kid, only we used sugar or salt, and we left them to grow by the fire for about a fortnight. I wish I could remember exactly what we did now, but these that I found today look so much better than mine all that time ago.

Post Script:

I’ve just read that Glenn Frey of the Eagles has died, news which saddens me. One of my favourite albums as a teenager was Hotel California and his voice on Lyin’ Eyes was fantastic. I’m sad that he suffered at the end and I’ll be forever grateful for the contribution he made to the world with his music.

Here’s a video of a live performance of Lyin’ Eyes.