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…

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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

 

On Joy and Sorrow


I heard this poem today at a funeral I was attending today, and it struck a chord with me.

On Joy and Sorrow
Kahlil Gibran

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

 

lonely-sparrow

I hadn’t thought of it before, but when we feel sorrow it is because we have loved. We cannot experience love and not expect to feel sorrow, and what is life without love?

Please drop me a line in the comments and let me know what you think of this poem.

(PS – more about my four-funerals-in-two-days tomorrow!)

 

 

Wednesday Hodgepodge – 27th April 2016


I haven’t posted for a little while because of things going on at home and in my studies, but I thought I would break my “fast” so to speak with a dip into the Wednesday Hodgepodge this week. Thank you Joyce for enticing me out of the shadows again!

 


1. This is the last Hodgepodge in April. Share something you learned this month. 

I have learned how to crochet teddy bears for babies; I may have a talent for scriptwriting after all; and, my spontaneous joke-telling skills can be useful in a crowded room in front of a breathless brass band.

2. It’s National Poetry Month, and we all know you can’t escape an April Hodgepodge without a little poetry. Keeping the first line as is, change the rest of the wording in this familiar rhyme to make it your own – ‘Hickory Dickory Dock…

 

Hickory Dickory Dock

My dryer has eaten a sock;

A black one today,

A pink yesterday,

The filter now needs an unblock

 

3. What were one or two rules in the home you grew up in? Growing up, did you feel your parents were strict? Looking back do you still see it that way? 

We didn’t have rules as such, but my brothers and I all knew when we’d stepped over the line. My Dad never had to raise his voice to us and we knew we’d disappointed him by the look on his face which was punishment enough. They weren’t very strict but then again they didn’t really need to be. We weren’t naughty kids or anything, just that we never seemed to have any clashes with them and didn’t really push the boundaries very much. I’m sure my brothers might have a different view!

4. Tell us about a kitchen or cooking disaster or mishap you’ve experienced. Do you have many from which to choose? 

The funniest one was when we tried to cook beetroot in a pressure cooker when we lived at my Gran’s house. If you don’t know what a pressure cooker is, it’s a special heavy pan that has a lockable lid so that when you boil it there is no steam escape route and the added pressure inside helps cook the food quicker. Very useful for beetroot because it takes hours to boil properly in a regular pan. This one time, for some reason, my Mum either had the pressure set too high, or she’d left it to boil for too long, but the result was that it exploded and embedded shreds of beetroot in the kitchen ceiling and all over the walls. You may realise that beetroot stains bright red, and the result was the kitchen looked like a serial killer had gone to work in there. We cleaned it all up, but my Dad had to redecorate the kitchen. The stains are that deeply embedded the ceiling has to be repainted every couple of years now because it keeps bleeding through. And it has been nearly 30 years – oops!

5. Plant a kiss, plant doubt, plant a tree, plant yourself somewhere…which on the list have you most recently planted?

Planting a kiss – my friend played in a concert with my band on Saturday night and I went to kiss him goodnight as we were leaving but he moved his head just as I leant over and I ended up head-butting him in the face instead. We laughed, and ended up with a very tentative peck instead!

6. What’s your most worn item of clothing this time of year? Are you tired of it? 

I don’t really have a seasonal wardrobe and I tend to wear the same clothes all year round. However, I have a favourite hoodie at the moment and I am wearing that one more than the others at the minute. And no, I’m not tired of it yet.

7. I’m wrapping up the A-Z Blog Challengethis month and our Hodgepodge lands on letter W. What’s one word beginning with W that describes you in some way? How about a word to describe your home, also beginning with W? 

Myself – “weary”. I’m nearing the end of my degree and got three big pieces of work to finish off in the next couple of weeks and I have been ill again recently. My husband’s wages have been reduced from this month and the financial struggle we have been having for the past six years has just been made a whole lot worse. I’m weary and tired of being tired and weary.

My house – “welcoming”. It’s where we as a family can simply be, and where anybody coming in can feel at home too. If you’re in my house, you’re one of us and you get treated like one of the family.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

In an effort to try and get myself a bit fitter I have started the “Couch to 5k” running challenge recently. And boy is it a challenge! At my age, with my health problems and at my weight, running is NOT easy. The app I have is one where you walk for a bit, run for a bit, walk for a bit etc. I have been stuck on day 1 for more than a week because I can’t do the 6 reps of running for a minute and a half each time….yet. I will get there eventually but it is going to be a lot less than the 7 weeks this app is telling me it will take. Watch this space!

 

Chain of Events


I have been tinkering with some material for my upcoming TMA for my OU module, and I have come up with this poem. It is a villanelle, which is a stylised form of poetry that conforms to certain rules. It’s a bit complicated when you first look at them, but having worked on this for a couple of hours I can say with some confidence that I ‘get’ it. Here is the dictionary definition:

A villanelle  is a nineteen-line poetic form consisting of five tercets followed by a quatrain. There are two refrains and two repeating rhymes, with the first and third line of the first tercet repeated alternately until the last stanza, which includes both repeated lines.

The prompt we were given was “There is a current moving to the shore” and I had a few ideas about what kind of current, what kind of shore etc as I began, but as I wrote, my hand seemed to lead me in a direction of its own and this is what happened. I have edited and polished it a little, but it probably does need more work yet. I don’t think I’ll be using this for any submissions in the future so it’s OK for me to publish it here. I’d appreciate some feedback if any of you have a minute to let me know what you think.

 

Chain of Events

There is a current moving to the shore
Bringing a slew of rot and decay.
Captain Molasses has done this before.

Sugar, tobacco, exotic animals and more,
Thousands of miles by night and day.
There is a current moving to the shore.

Packed to the gunwales, right up to the door,
First stop Jamaica, Trinidad…to stay.
Captain Molasses has done this before.

Decks with their cargo hold packed ceiling to floor.
No spaces to move. Or breathe, eat or pray.
There is a current moving to shore.

Cash for people – three hundred thousand, four!
Work them to death, their protests won’t sway.
Captain Molasses has done this before.

To see all those people, my brothers, so sore,
Just leave them alone to live, work and play.
There is a current moving to shore,
Captain Molasses has done this before.

You can probably pick out the pattern in this but to be a true villanelle I need to play around with it a bit more, so that the ‘refrain’ lines can be read differently depending on the sense of the stanza, or I could play around with run-on lines etc to make it more prose like. I am not a poet by any stretch of the imagination and I am fully aware that my language is not clever or colourful enough to make it into ‘proper’ poetry, but nevertheless I enjoyed writing this and it fired up a couple of things which I can work on another time. I got me thinking too, which is never a bad thing is it?

 

Amulet


I came across this poem earlier this week and it has stuck with me for a few days. I found it hauntingly beautiful, the language is timeless and so descriptive I found myself there with the wolf in that landscape. The ending feels like it could loop back to the beginning, and so the circle of life is complete and perpetuated. So beautiful and evocative.

amulet

A Bit of Sunday Stealing


I stole this from sundaystealing.blogspot.co.uk/ who in turn stole it from somewhere else, but here’s a bit of nonsense for a Sunday evening. Feel free to follow the link above and do a bit of your own thievery and join in.

1.If you were trapped in a room with the person who asked this for 24 hours, what would you do? The answer cannot be romantic or sexual.

If someone asked me to watch back to back episodes of “Frasier” I would do it. So long as there was also an endless supply of tea and custard creams.

2. If you could learn any language instantly, what would it be?

I would love to be able to speak Russian.

3. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Apart from the Bible (obviously), if I only had one book to read it would be a poetry anthology so something like “Poetry Please”, as compiled by Roger McGough for Radio 4.

poetry please

4. Favourite song lyric?

“No power of hell, no scheme of man,

Can ever pluck me from His hand:

Till He returns or calls me home,

Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand”. 

From “In Christ Alone” by Stuart Townend. It says it all really.

5. Favourite album?

“Love Over Gold” by Dire Straits. Favourite track on this album has got to be Telegraph Road.

love over gold
6. Which time of day would you say is best for you work-wise?

Late afternoon to late at night. My work rate in the morning and early afternoon is usually centred around faffing about and distracting myself with nonsense before I can settle down to actual work.

7. Favourite city that you’ve visited?

Edinburgh

8. Favourite city that you haven’t visited?

Chicago! Would love to go some day.

9. If you could donate £10,000 to charity, what charity would you pick?

Any charity that supports homeless people.

10. What is one book you wish you could get all your friends to read?

Apart from the Bible? Um… tricky. I would get them to read some poetry (like the one mentioned above), or something thought provoking, like “The Shack” by William Paul Young.

11. What is one movie you wish you could get all your friends to watch?

Might sound a bit cheesy, but “It’s a Wonderful Life” starring James Stewart. It’s a nice feel-good film but also it has a very clear lesson for us all, and that is not to underestimate ourselves and the power we have to affect other people’s lives even without realising it.

12. What do you think people assume about you from first glance?

Because of my size, I think I might appear to be a bit of a jolly character but it would take you only a split second to realise that any confidence and jollity you might see initially is a very thin veneer covering insecurity and a sense of failure underneath. Including the failures and insecurities about my size.

13. If you could play any musical instrument, what would it be?

Well, I can play musical instruments generally (some are VERY generally!) but I would love to be able to play the piano properly. I can tinkle out a tune and I can play a couple of little snippets with both hands, but I would love to be able to play it properly. How lovely would it be to turn up to a bar or restaurant where there was a piano sitting there and I could just sit down and start playing to entertain people?

14. What is your favourite item of clothing?

I have a grey fleece-lined hoody that is like a wearable comfort blanket to me. I got it last summer to go camping with, and it was nice to wear round the fire at the beach at night but was a bit too warm all the other times. It has been washed a fair few times now because through the winter when we didn’t (couldn’t) have the heating on in the house during the day, I wore it day in and day out. It kept my sanity as well as keeping me nice and warm. Recently, I was getting a cold and my ears were hurting – you know how the first stages of being ill feel? – and I couldn’t get warm enough while I was studying, so out came the hoody. Mighty fine feeling it was too!

15. Who was your first follower on your blog? Do they still follow you?

I can’t remember to be honest. I have had a blog for quite a long time now and I migrated from the original Microsoft/Hotmail one when it was closing and took up with WordPress. That was about six years ago now. Wow how time flies!

16. If you could create one thing, what would it be?

I would create the solution to world peace. Seriously. I am guessing it lies somewhere in the depths of a) having enough fuel around the world so we don’t have to fight over oil supplies and b) having totally different religions about the same God and yes, fighting over who’s right. If only we could calm down and behave, world peace isn’t such a far-off dream is it?

17. Favourite superhero?

Bananaman.

18. If you were to write an autobiography, what would you title it?

“C-, See Me”. I always manage to achieve a grade of about C minus in everything I do (EVERYTHING) and ‘see me’ was something frequently written on my school work as a kid by the teacher because I’d either misunderstood something and got hold of the wrong end of the stick, or I just leapt off in a little world of my own. It’s a pattern that has stuck with me through to the tender age of 44 (and a half).

19. If you were to have a band, what would you call it?

I do have a band, and it is called Todmorden Community Brass Band. And yes, we rock!

20. What is your favourite card/board game?

I love playing Cluedo, and would play it all the time if someone would play with me. Card games? Not a huge fan, but we have a game called Domino which has become a camp favourite when we are away in the caravan. Great fun and a masterclass in poker faces…not!

21. What was the first IM service you used? Who was the first person you talked to on it?

The Microsoft/Hotmail one. I can’t even remember what it is called let alone who I talked to on it.

22. If you could give a friendly hug to any one person, who would it be? Cannot be your romantic/sexual partner if you have one.

Today, I would hug Eddie and Phil. For very different reasons, and they both know why.

23. Have you ever won any sort of contests? What kind?

As a competing bandsman since about the age of 10, I have had my fair share of wins at contests but the biggest one so far has been when I played principal cornet for Middleton Band and we won the National Finals in 2007. Big achievement, and one that I am still incredibly proud of.

24. Who was the last person you hugged? Cannot be your romantic/sexual partner if you have one.

Ethan my son.

25. If you could be skilled in any one activity, what would it be? Cannot be romantic or sexual.

I would be a skilled writer. I consider myself a writer already but a skilled one is some way off yet. I would like to be able to be good enough to earn a living from it, whether that is through journalism or blogging, or copy writing etc. Of course, like any writer, I harbour that dream of being the next J K Rowling but I am a realist, and know that even if I could finish a novel that connected to the literati just at the right moment, I doubt that I would have the sass to carry it off. I’d be happy to be able to earn enough to clothe and feed myself from skilled writing. That would be nice.

writer

Share Your World


I am taking part in Cee’s “Share Your World” meme this week, and you’ll find my answers below. If you would like to join in too, click the picture and you will be taken to Cee’s host site. Welcome aboard!

Are you usually late, early, or right on time? 

I’m usually early but for some reason today I have been late for both things I had a meet time. I don’t know why! It was as if my clock was conspiring against me today and was thieving time from me in 5 minute slots. One minute I had 15 minutes until I needed to leave the house and the next I was 5 minutes after that time. How? HOW?! I hate being late. I think being late for something is the height of rudeness so to be late – twice – in one day today is something unusual and something of which I’m not particularly proud.

If you were or are a writer do you prefer writing short stories, poems or novels?

Well, I am a writer, and I prefer to write short stories but I have a dream one day of having the discipline to write a novel-length piece. I know it’s a simple matter of discipline because I have got notebooks and files and folders full of scraps of paper with notes for characters, plots, plot twists, story frameworks, little snippets of conversation and observation etc, but it all needs writing up, and that takes discipline. Which I lack.

I have written some poetry but it’s not very good. Or very poetic for that matter. I tend to write comic verse, or really predictable rhyme schemes that are not at all sophisticated but they entertain and challenge me so I will probably keep that up. Nothing worth sharing though!

Where did you live at age ten?  Is it the same place or town you live now?

I live in a lovely part of Manchester called Blackley. I was born here and moved away briefly when I first got married but I have lived here for the past 17 years and can’t ever see myself leaving it. I love this place and I love the people here. I wrote about my home town on this page if you want to read more about where I live.

Would you rather be able to fly or breathe under water?

Hmmmm tough question! I have a recurring dream where I am under water, but by getting my mouth up close to the underside of the surface of the water I can breathe quite easily. For some reason, in this dream, it’s important that I can breathe under water and it never occurs to me to put my lips up a bit further so I can breathe the air above. That’s the nature of dreams I guess. But, if had to make a choice of that or flying, I would have to choose flying. I’d quite like to be a bird, preferably one that flies long distances at higher altitudes, so not a sparrow or something. I’m more of an eagle or red kite kinda bird.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I am grateful for the safe delivery of my cousin’s baby William last Tuesday. He’s the first baby to be born on that side of my family for a long time and he is a little cutie pie.

This week, I’m looking forward to the clocks going back on Saturday. I love that “different” feeling on the day after the clocks have changed, especially when they have gone backwards in October. There is a different quality to the light during the day, and there is a different sense of settling down and being home-y as dusk falls a bit earlier. I think I ought to have been born as a grizzly bear because I would love to start hibernating at this time of the year. Just imagine what it would be like to close the door on winter, settle down with a cupboard full of food and lots of loving friends and family around you to share stories, play games, sleep and generally resting and restoring yourself for a little while.

PamCam – Today’s Office


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The things we do for our kids eh? This is the PamCam of the day, in my “office” while I’m waiting for my son at the Music Centre. I submitted my poetry assignment yesterday but there’s not much resting for me at the minute and it’s onwards ever onwards when it comes to studying.

The text book you can see shows the next section in my work – Life Writing. I’m not exactly sure what that’s all about yet but no doubt it will all become clearer very soon.

And don’t let the dashboard display fool you. It may say it’s 6 degrees out there but by cracky, I think it is missing its minus sign!

Brrr I think I should have brought a blanket tonight. He shouldn’t be too much longer then I’m heading home to do some more work at my proper desk. Where it’s warm and I can have a nice brew.

Happy Mondays!!

Words, Words And Yet More Words


I begin with an apology my friends. I had a little hiccup in my blogging output at the start of this week when things simply got too much and I didn’t have the energy to string together two words to form a sentence for you, so I had a little rest and began again yesterday.

The reason for my loss of energy is largely because I have fallen behind with my studies and I have two deadlines looming. I have also got some other work to do collating comments on a survey which is taking large chunks of time, so time and energy for my blog was severely limited.

busy-bee-clipart-dcryMLqc9I also had a very busy couple of weeks with church which has been BRILLIANT. In the last two weeks I have preached and led the service at both churches (St Peter’s have a service at 9.30am and my home church of St Paul’s have ours at 11am) and preparing for them has been great fun, but taxing too. I hope you can understand why my blog had to take a back seat!

And it has all been WORDS. Words for my preaching, words for the liturgy last week, words for prayers, words for poetry, words in my music notes, words for the survey work I’ve been doing, words on emails and application forms…..Usually I am a wordaholic but earlier this week I had hit my limit.

However, it’s not over yet and there’s more to come. My biggest worry at the minute is that I have a deadline coming up on Monday where I have to hand in my assignment for my creative writing course. It’s poetry this time, and I can honestly say that I don’t think I’m cut out to be a poet. At all. I have been struggling with so many aspects of it – line length, rhyme, rhythm, theme etc – and I have almost given up on the whole thing so many times it’s getting to be laughable now.

The task is to produce 40 lines of poetry in any form and to write a reflective commentary on the process and pitfalls I faced whilst producing it.  So far, the commentary is going to be the easy bit! “I can’t find my voice, I have drafted and redrafted dozens of couplets and stanzas trying to cobble something together, I have had feedback from the student forum (helpful) and from my husband (not so helpful – “it doesn’t even rhyme!”) and have realised that my creative talents lie in other directions” etc.

Until this evening.

We had a meeting at St Peter’s church tonight, and I took the chance to have a look round the building afterwards. It isn’t an unknown building to me, but I was desperately looking for inspiration from somewhere, and it being a 150 year old building I thought I might be able to pick up something.

And I’m glad to say I did! I can’t publish it here yet because of anti-plagiarism software the tutors use to check submitted work. I can fail the assignment if they see that it is online already, even though it is entirely my own work. How you can plagiarise yourself I don’t know, but them’s the rules I’m afraid.

I do feel better tonight about my workload now. Apart from cracking the back of the poetry assignment, I have managed to catch up quite a lot of my music coursework too in the last few days and I have even managed to make a start on the blanket I have taken an order for a couple of weeks ago. If only I didn’t distract myself so many times through the day I’m sure I would have been able to do even more, but hey ho, I’m only human and I can only do what I can do!

So there you have it. All these things going on in the past couple of weeks reached a bottleneck over the weekend and things are a little better now. Just in time for the next weekend!

 

Imperfect Rhyme


I did a poetry writing exercise and wondered if you would like to give me some feedback please? The intention when I set out was to write a poem about a trip I took as a child and the instruction was to concentrate on the journey. Unfortunately, that only lasted as far as the first sentence for me and my mind took me off in a completely different direction (nothing new there then!).

I thought about playing about with the reader’s expectation of rhyme and came up with this. (The words in bold are the words where the intended rhyme is supposed to be). Apologies to non-UK readers if you don’t get all the references but hopefully you will still enjoy the poem.

 

The interminable journey in the back of a transit van.
Two families squashed together
For a long twelve road-hours,
A holiday to the Isle of

Wight. Across the Solent on a ferry
Sickness all around
From the adults
While the kids were busy making

Sandcastles on the beach, in anoraks.
Well this is an English summer!
Made of raincoats and wellies and

Picnics in the wind, or in the back of the van
For those too chilled
To sit in the wind.
Sandwiches, bottles of mineral shared by the

Families together. Rain and coloured sand,
Trips to Blackgang Chine. Cowes week
And sunburn – yes really! – that one day when
The rain took a holiday and Dad cut his

Leg on a rock jutting out into the sea,
Just beside The Needles,
Thinking he’d been stung by a 

Jellyfish. All too soon it’s home-time
With twelve road-hours ahead.
Two families with holiday tales
To be told in imperfect rhyme.

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