Saturday, November 30, 2013

Rejoice! Rejoice!

For tomorrow is 1st December, Advent Sunday, bringing with it Christingle, Advent Carols, Advent Wreaths, Candles, Christmas Hope, Mince Pies, Mulled Wine, Parties, and above all the end of NaBloPoMo

Friday, November 29, 2013

A sense of self

I created "Marcella" as a semi-anonymous way of communicating. I still use her as such to comment on newspaper articles or NHS websites, although since her email was hacked she's less useful in those ways than she used to be.

I think I'm pretty good at separating her fiction from my reality, even if I did get an email addressed to her gently criticising me and asking her to get me to pull my finger out.

Whether I'll always be able to tell fact from fiction, keep my petty lies from spilling out, hold my head up high when walking through a little shower let alone a storm, who knows. If not, I hope my carers are as dedicated and knowledgeable as the staff shown in "Bedlam" and that at least someone on the ward likes the me I will have become.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Clear Sense of Direction

On leaving the Maudsley Hospital on Friday I asked one of the staff for directions to Kent. "Kent as in the Bethlem?" she inquired. "And a bit further" was my vague reply.

It's a wonder that I got out of London, let alone into the Weald and my desired destination, but despite falling off the South Circular a couple of times, I did in the end.

It was hardly the fault of the member of staff. I should have given a clearer idea of where I was aiming for and asked someone who was prepared for the question.

When it comes to treatment and recovery in mental health issues that member of staff is one of the best people in the world to talk to, but still I wonder whether we're asking her the right questions and really have much of a clue where we are going.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mealtime Conversation

At the conference on Friday one of the clips shown was of mealtime support - a how not to, and how to support someone with a meal. It was interesting, but I would have used more distraction. OK, I'd probably JUST have used distraction.

I reflected on this some time ago when we spent some time with my mother-in-law. She makes a lot of small talk, spends a lot of time discussing the food, judging it, even occasionally talking TO it. It took some getting used to after our "don't mention the war" meals at home. But, unlike my own dear mother whose mealtime conversations can veer towards diets and how much weight so and so has gained/lost, there wasn't anything wrong with any of her talk.

Maybe I'm too avoidant, but we've used quite a bit of distraction and I'm particularly grateful to Charles Collingwood whose portrayal of Brian in The Archers has provided distraction to our family in difficult times for decades (my paranoid elderly aunt Marcella was much easier to deal with when obsessed about his affair with Caroline than with the imaginary affairs of real people).

I'm resolved to broaden the mealtime conversation but will still avoid weight and shape comments, and anything to do with Helen Archer.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Slough

Klara the car does strange things that Fleur never thought of. One of these is to beep when she's running out of petrol. Fleur used just to stop. It's probably an advantage but it is rather worrying. What if that beep means she's about to run out NOW?

So when she beeped on the motorway I decided it wouldn't be safe to wait 23 miles until the next service station and came off at the next junction and ventured into Slough to find a garage. I did eventually find one and it may have taken less petrol to do so than continuing on the 23 miles, but John Betjeman had a point about Slough.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Writers I have known

I first met (to my knowledge anyway) a writer when I was nearly 4 and moved next door but one to "a friendly witch", a children's author some of whose books, I'm pleased to note, are still available  
maybe even from places where they pay their taxes. 

Not all of her books were published. She REALLY wanted to publish a book on evolution with a biblical slant. No one would publish it. The religious publishers didn't like the evolution bit. Scientific publishers didn't want God. No one wanted her lovely whimsical coloured drawings because they were too expensive to reproduce.

Nowadays friends who write books have better access to self-publishing, wizzy graphics, on line media. I think Fy the friendly witch, despite decorating her 1960s house with furnishing from the Victorian era would have embraced the new technologies. Whether she could have got AppleiBooks to work from a Windows machine is another matter.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Home

50 years ago my parents put a deposit down on this house and my future as a Maid of Kent was mapped out. It wasn't some romantic dream on their parts - they had a young family and a limited budget and this was the kind of house that thousands of young families in the 1960s moved into.



We moved out of the village a few years later into the countryside leaving me, a shy girl, even more isolated and unsure as to whether I was from the village or not. I was never local enough to drink in either the White or the Black Horse, or posh enough to drink at the Three Chimneys. I went to school in the nearby town and my friendship group was largely based there, but I retained a small but very close group of friends (some of whom travelled in to town with me for school) at the Church.

I moved away from the village over 30 years ago but despite an occasional spell of boredom or fury haven't moved away from the Church as a whole. 

I went to the village church with my parents today. Most of the congregation were new to me, some were the same people who had been there when I first went to Sunday School. I was made to feel welcome but as a guest rather than one of the regulars, which was fine. However when the stand-in-vicar asked me at the end "and where are you from?" there was only one answer. HERE

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Family Based Recuperation

I am enjoying some Family Based Recuperation with my parents and their still rather leisurely internet connection after a fantastic but tiring conference at The Maudsley yesterday. I'm shattered, and unlike the marvellous Miranda I didn't have to give blood.

Friday, November 22, 2013

We're Off To See

not the Wizard of Oz but one of the wizards of the genome, in his fantastical Biomedical Research Centre - really looking forward to learning more about what is going to happen to the samples collected for Charlotte's Helix


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Art for Art's Sake?

There has been a lot of music in our household over the last couple of days, much of it coming from my husband's "office" and much of it being very moving but somewhat over my head.

We've also seen a lot of Shakespeare all in one go, and in a more light-hearted moment, enjoyed some folk-rock

The rockers are ageing now, but still doing new work along with the old favourites. Much of the new work is based around the fiction of another family favourite, and nothing wrong with that. Fan-tribute music can be as serious as John Tavener's last work, or a bit of fun, but art inspiring art is as old as art itself.

Here is one of my favourites. I understand it better than the Tavener and know the stories better than the Discworld ones, and I am somewhat biassed when it comes to the lead singer.






Sunday, November 17, 2013

Any Dream Will Do?

I had the enormous pleasure last week of attending Messy Church with my god-children (a cue for a forest of posts about family and attitudes of the Church and the World to the same, but Charlotte has done a much better one) last week.

The theme was Joseph, and the activities included making a bubble picture and sticking on a drawing of your dreams.

I didn't do one myself, partly because I was there to "supervise" 7 year old A and 9 year old E (A needs very little supervision and E could run the place, but that's the rules) and partly because I was ashamed of my dreams. Most of the children were a bit embarrassed about their dreams too. "It's too weird" said one, and "it's silly" another. But they were persuaded that their dreams were no weirder than Joseph's and his friends' so they drew giant apples or snails eating their feet and stuck them on to the pink and blue clouds that they had made by blowing into a mixture of paint and washing up liquid, and then left my eldest god-daughter to clear up when they went on to the next activity. I went on to the next activity too, but this did inspire me to think of my dreams.

Lately they have ALL been about NHS computer systems. I've dreamed of filing documents, and furniture, and god-children. I've dreamed of coding illnesses and meals and paintings and cats. I've woken up relieved that I didn't have to find the best way to connect a computer to a hairdryer, and disappointed that I hadn't found the solution to reporting on the flu campaign. None of this is surprising. We've had a new computer system installed at work and it has been a huge learning curve for us all. No need to call Sigmund Freud for an analysis. On the other hand I'm not the only person who's ever dreamed about NHS computer systems and despite what the natural critics of the project would have us believe, the dreams were dreamed for idealistic AND evidence based reasons and have brought good as well as frustration

Friday, November 15, 2013

They're watching you....

According to the scary links on Facebook (hmmm, Facebook, is that a site dedicated to my security and privacy?) Google are reading every one of my emails in order to try to sell me things. If so I hope they do better than Amazon who suggested, AGAIN, that this is what I might like for Christmas, and that both companies pay their due taxes.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thou shalt not covet

But some things are too irresistible.

There's one of these, in lilac, near work. I can't decide whether the lilac or the purple is best but I can find a picture of the purple so here it is. Isn't it lovely?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

More details

Still Antarctic ones, so cold. I'll find the pictures of British wildlife next, a lot less likely to make you feel cold just looking at them.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Not only devils in the details

Angels too.

I don't know why I worried about what to post during November's blog-fest. There are enough Martyn Joseph songs to do one a day for 6 months.

Cardiff Bay is an obvious one, but with more than one meaning. A dear friend sees it entirely as about Cardiff Bay. And in that it IS, the one line; "Saw Captain Scott on the Terra Nova Setting sail for open sea" has always stuck in my mind.

I didn't realise until I saw it on that You Tube clip it that it was THIS version of Scott that they saw.  It fits with this tribute to Edward Wilson which tries to be modern and edgy. Some of it works well  although I'm not sure about naming the cafe after a local hero who died of starvation and cold. Some of it is just the old museum in a new case. And none the worse for that really, as long as you have the time to explore and really look at the exhibits that are crowded into the older part of the galleries.

Somewhere in the middle is the section devoted to Wilson himself. It's small but it's a lovely little detail in a rather overwhelming whole. In that it's a very fitting tribute to someone who was recruited for his attention to detail as a medic, scientist and artist.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Perspective

What I see isn't what you'll see isn't what our neighbour will see.

As long as we accept this we'll probably all get along but it can be difficult when perspectives really clash. The BBC Radio 4 Programme Saturday Live yesterday illustrated this very well. Well worth listening, particularly the interviews with Baroness Susan Greenfield arguing against the internet, and Julie Bailey whose campaign for reform of the NHS has led to hate mail and worse. I have some problems with both of their arguments, but it's useful to be able to see things from their perspective.

Even my phone has its own perspective. I went out into the garden one evening humming "Starry Starry Night" because it was, and decided to take a picture. This is what I got. Not a star in sight but interesting.



Saturday, November 09, 2013

Slow Burner

At All Saints Tide I often link Bonfire Night and Fireworks to the light that shines through the Saints. It's an easy link to make and a good excuse for setting fire to things which is always fun.I do get a little squeamish about being too explicit about burning effigies or exactly why we call them Catherine Wheels but this year decided that I would have a bonfire and a guy for the god-children.

A who is nearly a teenager had much more exciting things to do at the Baptist youth group, so it was left to 9 year old E and 7 year old A to remind me at the end of a tiring day, of my promise and to troop out in the gloom to find the ragged bonfire that I had assembled a couple of weeks ago, and Freda the scarecrow who was to be our ritual sacrifice.

Freda was made out of old clothes, a Primark paper bag, and leaves; lots and lots of leaves. In her prime she was fine and stout. By the end of the summer her head had imploded and her figure had definitely headed south. After two weeks of near constant rain she was also damp, very, very damp, as was the bonfire. With the aid of some shredded paper we did manage to set light to it, and to Freda, but despite all attempts, particularly by A, to poke the fire into some kind of life with cries of "Burn Freda Burn", it never did a lot. Freda's was not a spectacular martyrdom engulfed in flame. She smouldered and gave off a lot of smoke which eventually drove us all back inside.

So that was the end of Freda, or so I thought. We went indoors, had a chat and a cup of tea and eventually all went to bed.

The next day as I made breakfast, I happened to look out of the window. From the bottom of the garden wisps of smoke were rising into the morning air. Freda was STILL burning. Rather a good illustration of many real life Saints I think. Saints like A who has worshipped at St M's for 80 odd years, and joins both the Book of Common Prayer Communion service and the toddler service which precedes it faithfully each week, or B and B and D and D who all play the piano so well for the children and their parents or J who shared her joy of art with all generations until nearly 90.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Thursday, November 07, 2013

It's being so angry as keeps me going

Sometimes I like to drive as fast as I can with the music on so loud that it hurts. While this risk taking and self-harm is probably a sign of terrible flaws in my personality, it's a great release.

This isn't the best version of the song for driving or dancing out anger, but it was the first one that I found and features Stewart Henderson just for Sandra.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Late Harvest

I spent Saturday morning trying to tidy up the garden and pick the last of the fruit before threatened storms. As I worked I hummed a harvest hymn to myself.

Harvest Festivals can be very twee. While the concept isn't as fraught with controversy as Thanksgiving, it's very easy to get it wrong and make it neither a genuine celebration of and for the local farmers who still do exist in this green and pleasant land, or a true call to look at the politics of food. I remember very well the time when the congregation were happily if rather tunelessly singing "All is Safely Gathered In" and C, whose farmer husband had had a stroke in the spring and who had been left trying to care for him and run the farm on her own hissed "no it f*cking isn't"

She was right about her own grain harvest which had been delayed by rain, she was right in a wider sense. All is NEVER safely gathered in. Many many things are left undone, or partly done, or just can't be completed. I've done what I can in the garden. I'll leave the rest for the birds. The same will have to apply to many things in life. I can only do my best and those threads that I leave dangling may just be the seeds that grow into something interesting next year.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Building A People of Power?

That's what we sang in church yesterday afternoon.

God is choosing strange building blocks to do it with. I'm sure a recruitment consultant wouldn't choose seven infant school children and a toddler with their various adults, a shy guitarist, a few members of the Mothers Union and PCC who were possibly there rather reluctantly, and a weird woman in a multi-coloured coat purchased at Greenbelt (well it was more dignified than those T shirts) to build anything, let alone a people of power. Then again a recruitment consultant probably wouldn't have chosen St Peter or St Francis either. 


Sunday, November 03, 2013

Suitable Attire

I help out at our local Church with the children's services. I have no formal role or title, and haven't done any training for a long while (which I probably should, note to self and to PCC and/or anyone who offers such things) so, unlike the clergy who have a uniform and only have to decide how many holy layers to add, I have to decide on something suitable to wear.

It's a formal Church, but this is a "family" service (for which read we are attempting to attract school age children even if what we usually get is toddlers and older members of the congregation who come along to support). It's the weekend so I don't want to have to dress in work clothes but as I got my jeans filthy in the garden yesterday I will be wearing a smarter pair of trousers so it's only the top half I've got to worry about. What I'd like to wear is this T-Shirt

but I think it might not go down well - and anyway it's not mine. I'll probably even chicken out of the Martyn Joseph "You can only trample people down for so long" one, if only because it's obviously meant for a flat male chest rather than a bumpy female one and rather difficult to read on me. Decisions....

Saturday, November 02, 2013

For All The Saints, particularly the angry ones

Kathryn wrote about some saints yesterday. I'm sure hers weren't meek and mild plaster ones and I'm not going to post the works of a namby pamby saint either but a strong, angry, stern, loving, ranty one.



 Charlotte



Every single word is worth reading, either to make you smile, think,  decide to travel, cry or rage.

Friday, November 01, 2013

O no NaBloPoMo

November - autumn leaves, fireworks, cold and dark nights, and National Blog Post Month or some such nonsense.

OK - I'll give it a go, but really should be spending more time talking to my family, and working, and doing the washing up. And then there are all the wonderful other blogs out there that are so much better than mine...

which has given me the ideal idea for a lazy blogger's BloPoMo

Unless I can REALLY think of anything original I MUST say on any given day, I'll steal someone else's post. So today I give you the wonderful Kathryn, and her blog on All Saints Day.  I have managed to upload a different picture for originality.



Saturday, October 19, 2013

Openness, stigma, understanding and confidentiality

When we first toddled up to the CAMHS waiting room and were squeezed with the other six families into the tiny waiting room, on the peeling walls there was a poster from the Eating Disorders Association (now known as BEAT) with a picture very like this one. The picture and the accompanying slogan which encouraged young people to talk about their problems with eating made it clear - people with eating disorders are quiet, reserved souls and the illness will make them even quieter. As our situation was somewhat different, the poster, and the automatic assumption at first by the professionals that the poster was correct, was REALLY annoying.

All that doesn't mean that as a family we're open and honest and can talk about anything. Far from it. While I am genuinely happy standing on a stage talking to strangers about FEAST and BEAT and am going to do everything I can to promote Charlotte's Helix talking to therapists or medics about the subject we were being herded into the waiting room for in the first place usually ends in tears and unfortunately they are mine not the therapists'. We never did acquire the skills needed for family therapy. This thread has interested and comforted me. There are others about who feel the same.

Friday, October 18, 2013

no health in us

"ALMIGHTIE and most merciful father, we have erred and straied from thy waies, lyke lost shepee we have folowed to much the devises and desires of our owne hartes. We have offended against thy holy lawes: We have left undone those thinges whiche we ought to have done, and we have done those thinges which we ought not to have done, and there is no health in us"

It's always struck me that it's those "thinges" (love it) which we ought to have done but which are left undone that come before the naughty thinges which we HAVE done. I'm usually far too busy doing nothing, or rushing from pillar to post in a fury of busyness which amounts to the same thing, to commit any truly terrible sins. But oh, the many many many things which I should have done that I haven't....

I should have contributed to a newsletter which is going out at the end of the month, by 11th. I should have written back to a dissertation student who asked for my help. I should have written down the dates of the meeting that I agreed to attend next week and as I haven't it'll become one of the thinges that will be left undone whenever it was that I was supposed to do it, and that's just the first three emails in my in box. 

I have no real excuses. I've been busy at work. We've all been busy at work. Work is supposed to be a "health and social care" environment. T'is pity then that we're collectively pretty awful and achieving a healthy environment at work. Even if everyone else was though, I'd still find something to rush about and do busily busily busily. Maybe it's because I get distracted by those terrible thinges and spend the rest of the prayer trying to remember what they were, instead of going on to the next bit

but thou, O Lorde, have mercy upon us miserable offendours. Spare thou them O God, whiche confesse their faultes. Restore thou them that be penitent, accordyng to thy promises declared unto mankynde, in Christe Jesu our Lorde. And graunt, O most merciful father, for his sake, that we may hereafter lyve a godly, ryghtuous, and sobre life, to the glory of thy holy name.

So, if you asked me to do something and I happily agreed and then did sod all about it - I'M SORRY. I will TRY to only agree if I really think that I can do it, and to put it in my diary if I do. It's probably just as well though that history ensured that if I get round to it I also get the chance to ask forgiveness daily because there are bound to be more thinges tomorrow.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Buttons

I have a new button, posting you to Charlotte's Helix. I plan to do a bit more than just add a button, but for now it's a very nice button I hope you agree.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Pull your finger out

The nice thing about Marcella is that I can ignore her for months, and then when I need her, dust her off and get her to do the things that I don't have the courage, or sometimes the right, to do under my own name.

Several things have come together in the last couple of weeks to cause me to do so this time and I'm letting Marcella have a go at a rant on my behalf. Ignore her if you've heard it all before.....

I'm all for parents being included in treatment of anything their child happens to suffer from, and especially since one of my children happens to suffer from one, of eating disorders. I'm all for parents continuing to learn how to best help their children throughout their journey with the illness. NO, I REALLY AM.

I happen to think that many parents could do with a lot more help in doing so, real, on the ground practical help not just 50 minutes a fortnight being told how badly they're doing but I would, wouldn't I!?

I bristled a bit (OK a lot) at the part of this excellent article which stated that “One of the biggest problems is that people do not take this disease seriously,” says James Lock, an eating disorders researcher at Stanford University who cowrote the book on family-based treatment. “No one gets upset at a child who has cancer,” he says. “If the treatment is hard, parents still do it because they know they need to do it to make their child well.” Yes, it's true. Yes, these ARE serious illnesses on a par with leukaemia or brittle asthma. Yes, parents MUST take them seriously and do all that they can to get help for, and to actively give help to, their child. Yes, there is a culture of not taking these diseases seriously. But REALLY? Is it the terrified parents who are sitting in his office, or the millions more who can't get near it for reasons of finance or geography or information, who aren't taking the illness seriously, or is it the rest of the world?

Is the parent who takes their child to A&E because she hasn't eaten her meal taking it seriously or making it worse - well it will largely depend on the reaction of the A&E staff. If they back her up and help the child to eat then it'll be the former, but if, after the 3 hour wait, they tell mother to calm down dear and send them on their merry way, it won't. Is the parent who begs for admission for their child taking the illness seriously or running away from his or her responsibilities as a parent to sort this out at home? Is the parent who listens to and takes the advice of the highly recommended, hard researched and paid for, therapist who tells them not to be the "food police" being unutterable wimp or trying hard to rescue their child from a terrible illness with all the (inadequate) help they can muster? Is the parent who calls the police when the child is violent towards siblings or runs away from home being sensible or "getting upset at" their child?

This one comment in an excellent article rubbed me up the wrong way not because there's anything wrong with it per se but because of the context within which I am reading it. I KNOW that that's largely MY problem, that others, even those families facing the same illnesses, don't live in the same skewed looking at life upside down world that I do. Others don't look it immediately as a call to lazy incompetent parents to pull their fingers out.

However I do think that, in a world where a completely respectable specialist charity can post this awful article which, leaving aside the question of the visual image, seems to argue that  eating disorders are choices and if only they could work harder and challenge themselves everyone with them could recover and climb Everest; in a world where senior political figures with the best of motives still can't tell the difference between dubious "body image" initiatives and working towards treating eating disorders seriously; in a world where senior clinicians are seriously considering initiatives that call for parents to apologise for their children's eating disorders and argue that knowledge of the biological underpinning of such illnesses is unhelpful, parents really aren't the only people who could do with a lecture or two from the fantastic Walter Kaye. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

While you're dealing with my kangaroo, put my rhino in a cage too

As I said last month, I tend to jump the the defence of clinicians even when it's not in the least my role to do so. As an administrator within the NHS I know the frustrations involved in this and tend to try to understand administrative mistakes too.

Sometimes though, I just get veeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy angry at the incompetencies of the services, particularly the mental health services, and want to charge at them and tell them what utter numpties they are.

That of course is no more helpful than covering up for them so it's probably just as well that I found out about their latest mistake in communication (which I suppose may have been caused by the post office anyway) at 6:30 tonight when they'll all have gone home. Gives me time to sleep on it, formulate a plan and then CHARGE

Sunday, May 12, 2013

cheating!

Last night I went to a quiz night organised by Kathryn. It was a lovely night and I really enjoyed it, however being parted from my internet connection, even via my phone, for three hours was hard.

The reason I wasn't allowed to use the internet was obvious - to do so might have involved cheating.

As the great Tom Lehrer noted, there's a fine line between cheating and research. 

I'm definitely crossing it here. Instead of my own blog, I give you, and more importantly ME, someone else's.

Here is ONE MORE MUM'S blog post about her dear son J. In a week in which I had begun to doubt whether pursuing an assessment for my daughter for Autism was a good idea, I am much encouraged by this. I think it's probably a good idea for everyone, whether they have what are euphemistically called "special needs" or not, to be encouraged to do what they are good at rather than made to do what they find impossible.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport, Tie Me Kangaroo Down

I've been trying to write this since November - it's still not "right" but if I don't press "publish" now I never will, and having got used to blogging again during Lent it would be a shame to give it up for Easter.


I adopted the boxing kangaroo as my picture after the EDIC 2010 conference. I was so angry that the plausible theories of "The Recovery Model" actually boil down to leaving people to struggle without support, that professionals thought it OK to allow patients with a BMI of 11 to "choose to live with their illness" and that parents were still being encouraged to "let them hit rock bottom", that I decided the only reasonable stance a parent could take was to nurture his or her child safe away from this madness and hit out at anyone who suggested otherwise.

Of course it was a bit of black humour. I know that kangaroo parenting is preached against in the New Maudsley Method and thought I understood what it was and why I shouldn't do it.

I didn't really, and in an attempt not to be a kangaroo I think I've sometimes been an ostrich and ignored genuine opportunities to help and sometimes been a rhino and tried to head-butt others over obstacles when t would have been better to carry them.

It was only at the FEAST conference in Nottingham that I think I REALLY got the drawbacks of being a kangaroo and realised that I am still very much one. By advising carers not to be kangaroos the professionals aren't telling us not to care, to cook, to plan, to support the person. They're telling us not to cover up, make excuses, bluster, support the illness.

My ahah moment about this came straight after the showing of a brilliant film developed by Professor Treasure's team and funded by the Succeed Organisation. It showed a family acting out the kind of rhino meets kangaroo meets  jelly fish in the zoo from hell that can become the new normal with a misunderstood life-threatening mental illness in the house, and then the alternative when dad took the St Bernard stance. Doing so did NOT involve covering up the distress caused by the illness, or explaining to the angry brother that "she can't help it". It involved acknowledging his distress, rolling with resistance, and moving on.

Straight after the film was shown I logged on to Around the Dinner Table and found someone I know quoted (presumably without his express consent) as saying something controversial. Immediately I knew that the Dolphin or St Bernard approach would be to leave it up there and let people discuss it - these weren't the words of a vulnerable patient, they were the words of a robust clinician. They weren't being hammered down out of ignorance by a group of hostile harpies, they were being questioned by a polite but extremely well informed group of people with a passion for the subject. What I did was to try furiously to edit it to take out any identifying information. As I was doing this from a conference room via my phone all it did was mess up the format of the post and make it obvious that it had been edited by a madwoman. Just as in the first film clip, my attempts at saving the person, while well meaning, only ended up saving the misguided remarks.

I tend to do this with clinicians. I work with quite a few of them. I think I understand where they are coming from. I try to support them because I know that in general they are doing valuable work with the best of intentions. All too often though, in attempting to support the person, the organisation, the good parts of the work, I end up leaping to cover up the mistakes, to make excuses for the gaping holes in the system, to delete the unfortunate wording which "he can't really have meant, can he?????"

THIS IS THE KANGAROO STYLE THAT I AM ADVISED TO AVOID

It's difficult, especially when the whole system in which the clinicians I respect and want to do well are working IS under real attack. Try running the mouse gently from side to side over this "helpful" diagram and you'll get some idea as to what it's like within the NHS at the moment. But the dad in the film did it, and with a lot of help I can too.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Tell me a story

Here we are at the end of Lent.

It certainly doesn't seem late enough in the year to be Easter, but that's partly because it is rather early and partly because the weather's colder than it was in January. I've been able to get into the garden today but only because it's been dry and, as 7 year old A says, if you work hard you'll get warm.

The LLLL task is to share the Easter story, and the suggested method is by giving someone an Easter card.

I HAVE posted Easter cards to a few people. I've received two lovely ones in return. However I'm not sure that, lovely though they all are, the cards really do much to tell the Easter story. After all, the real cross didn't have flowers round it and I'm not sure there are any bunnies in Jerusalem.

So here's a real Easter Message, courtesy of Kathryn.

And here are some cute little bunnies just because







Friday, March 29, 2013

A regular churchgoer

One Sunday morning I got caught. My husband set out for his church wishing me well in attending mine. It started to snow so he turned back and found me, not singing Anglican hymns in the pews, but enjoying an internet debate in my pyjamas. He wasn't best pleased and accused me of not going to church any more.

I DO go to church. I sometimes go on a Sunday if I can get dressed on time and there isn't some frightfully important thing to do on line. I'd rather stay in my PJs but although our congregation were very accepting of 4 year old A's decision to wear her penguin PJs to church every Sunday and hardly batted an eye-lid when her older sister wore a Minnie-Mouse onesie to Midnight Mass I think they might draw the line at my Peacocks fleecy jammies. When I do drag my clothes on and go I usually enjoy the service and really appreciate the music but my concentration span ain't what it used to be (probably all that internet time) and I don't always manage to concentrate on ALL of the service.

Thursdays are different. Thursdays are a Holy Day of Obligation. Maundy Thursday is the Holiest of days and particularly significant and wonderful for always being a Thursday.

Yesterday was special even as Maundy Thursdays go. It started with the customary foot washing. As usual most of the toddlers while fascinated by the water were reluctant to take their own shoes off. Rather specially though one two year old did it, and washed my feet and tried to encourage his twin to join in. The toddlers then baked bread to take home and break with their families.

After lunch with a friend I collected the god-children and went to the Catholic church hall for the local passion play. I'll admit, I expected it to be pretty dire. A, who is now all of 7, expected it to be a pantomime with a Dame and dancing and lots of jokes. We were both wrong. It was serious. I was glad that A has a wobbly tooth to keep her occupied in the quietest bits and very proud of the lot of them for being so good through what was a long, serious and very moving play. It DID contain the usual suspects from the local am-dram set playing the usual parts but it also featured some of the god-children's young friends including a girl with learning disabilities who performed her lines quite magnificently, a youngster who was too unwell to attend school at 11 but featured as the first convert at 13 and a Christ figure who was "chunky", Welsh and absolutely excellent. It managed, for me at least, to pull off the almost impossible - to retell the same old stories, including the parable of the Good Samaritan adapted for modern times, which is usually enough to send any churchgoer to sleep, movingly and memorably.

After the play we repaired home and shared a non-Passover meal. It WASN'T a weak and mocking attempt at being Jewish. It was a fun and Holy and very often irreverent meal with friends complete with prayer and wine and, when the children were hopefully not listening, quite a bit of Tom Lehrer 

The other special thing about Maundy Thursday is that, unlike other Thursdays, it isn't followed by a day at work, it's followed by Good Friday.

My Love Life Live Lent task today is to think about the Good Friday story and I'm going to do that as part of the Church on our village's walk of witness, but first I had better get off t'Internet and change out of my PJs if only because it's going to be a very cold one.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I give up...

Yesterday's task was to "be more imaginative, find out what someone has given up for Lent and then buy it for them for Easter"

I really can't see what's immaginative about that. Or practical.

One of my bosses gave up meat for Holy Week, but I'm sure she wouldn't thank me for buying her a ham sandwich for Easter. My husband has given up meat and milk and I WILL buy him some of both for his Easter, but since that isn't until May I have plenty of time to find a bargain Easter egg or a good value piece of beef. I don't know what anyone else gave up. I suppose I could try to find out but that wouldn't be imaginative it would be intrusive and unwelcome.

So all I did yesterday was to give anyone who might be reading this blog the gift of a day off - consider yourselves blessed!

Today's talk is easier - to buy some flowers for someone. So far the morning is lovely and the sun is shining, so I will be able to pick or buy some flowers for my neighbour, and I will get some for me too.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Repeat after me....

today I'm supposed to learn something off by heart.

Love Life Live Lent doesn't actually specify what but I suspect they don't mean the NICE guidelines on eating disorders so that I can recite them backwards as a party trick so I think I'm going to try to learn the words of this so that I can sing it even when I've forgotten my reading glasses and lost the hymn sheet as I usually do in Church.

Monday, March 25, 2013

encouragement

I'm supposed to encourage others today, and I don't suppose encouraging my husband to put the bin out or my daughter to clean the bathroom count. My online activism might be thought more "rabble rousing" than encouragement, if only I could work out what exactly we should all be being encouraged to do.

A dictionary definition of encourage is to
  1. Give support, confidence, or hope to (someone): "encouraging results"; "I feel encouraged".
  2. Give support and advice to (someone) to do or continue something: "pupils are encouraged to be creative"
Looking back over my day, while I may have tried to give this in more spiritual or emotional ways I think the most encouraging thing I've probably done today is to organise the payroll early so that people get paid before Easter. It would certainly be most DIScouraging for us all if we weren't paid, so that will have to do. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Simple?

Today I am supposed to live more simply by finding a thing I don't use and giving it away.

I tried to give away a slightly soiled senior professional but no one wanted him, and to be fair, he's really rather needed where he is. I don't NEED the cats, but I like them, despite one of them waking me up in the night by throwing up on the carpet.

So today has been a bit of a failure on the LLLL front really although I do learn via Twitter that the Archbishop of Canterbury went shoe shopping, so presumably gained some material goods rather than giving any away, today so I'm in good company.

Friday, March 22, 2013

O Lord Hear My Prayer

today I have to list 5 people I met today and pray for them. I will, but I'll pray for those who love them and those who are like them too

Lord send your blessings on R the tramp who sleeps under the carport at work. You really would have to be on a lot of heroin to be able to stand sleeping outside on a night like tonight and he probably is but he must have had a mother once, maybe brothers and sisters, he has "friends" who inject drugs with him and landowners who try to discourage him from sleeping and messing in their carport but put up with him anyway. Lord Hear My Prayer

Lord send your blessings on P, and all my other colleagues at work. It's been a hard few weeks. We're struggling to provide a good service to sick and vulnerable people, and demanding people, and people who don't appreciate how difficult it is to work within the constraints of budgets and regulations, and people who do, and people who care about the service and want to protect it and people who don't. We are doing our best and our best isn't always good enough. Lord Hear My Prayer

Lord send your blessings on N, and all my other friends in cyber-land who are frightened or angry or confused or depressed. Bless them, their loved ones who are cared for by them or who in turn care for them. Bless the people they have been hurt by, the people they despise, the people they rely on, the people they admire. Lord Hear My Prayer

Lord send your blessings on K, my priest. When I go to the Orthodox Church I am unable to fill in the prayer sheets as one is supposed to complete them in a particular order with one's priest at the top and the poor dears can't get used to the idea of a female name at the beginning of the list. Send your blessings on them as well, and the Pope, and the ABofC and all in leadership roles in the Church and the world. Lord Hear My Prayer

Lord send your blessings on Z and all of the rest of my family. Z has a scary medical appointment at a (relatively) ungodly hour tomorrow, her father has a lot of church to go to and singing to do in the next couple of weeks, her sister is a long way away from us all, her niece is learning to eat rusks in a foreign land and her mother could probably do with some prayers as well.



Thursday, March 21, 2013

Smile!

I am required to smile today.

Actually I don't find it very difficult - I tend to grin inanely when confused, grittedly when upset and ferociously when angry, but I don't expect that's the kind of smile I'm supposed to give.

I'm mainly smiling nervously as I wait to see whether my car will pass her second attempt at an MOT, and guiltily as I look on-line for replacements should she not.

If she does, I'll buy her a new sticker


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A triad of blessings

Today's given task is to: BE MORE THOUGHTFUL Think about what might make someone happy, then do it!

I read the task before I went out to work, I planned what I was going to do (which involved pension schemes, not guaranteed to make everyone happy, but a good idea for one particular colleague) and failed to get time to do it.

Instead the person being made very happy by the thoughtfullness and understanding of others was me.

 The last person to show understanding and to earn my gratitude was very keen on triangles, and it's true that good things often come in threes, so I'll start with number 1.

At the top of my understanding triangle is my friend Bev Mattocks. I am 3/4 of the way through her book and it is simply brilliant. Although excellently written it makes for hard reading. It's not an easy story, but it's one that is SO familiar. Anyone can (and the newspapers often do) put up a few pictures of emaciated people and say they are writing about eating disorders. There are plenty of first person memoirs by sufferers available, some inspiring, some saccharine sweet, some far too graphic for my tastes. Professionals have written general descriptions from the dry and medical to the flowery and fanciful. But I have never read a better book for describing what it is like to watch helplessly as a loved one is taken over by the beast that is an eating disorder. It isn't just the food. It's the spending hours persuading, cajoling and physically transporting the person to school only to be rung up half an hour later to be asked to take them home again. It's the waiting expectantly, almost excitedly for an appointment only to come out after it wondering if anything has happened at all. It's the awful times of false hope followed by crushing disappointment. It's the guilt, the shame, the hope, the burning love for the person who is hurting so much but just cannot accept your help even if you do have a clue what might be of help.  The book may be too upsetting for some sufferers and their families but it should be compulsory reading for anyone working within the field just to give them SOME idea of what it is really like while waiting on the waiting list and in between the 50 minutes a fortnight therapy sessions.

The second angel of comfort was a medical student. I am ALWAYS comforted by the medical students I meet at work. Every single one of them has in some way or another given me hope for the future of the NHS. This one is extra-special in as much as she has given me hope for the future of those bits of the NHS I care about particularly passionately.

The third was the lady with the triangles - lots of triangles. You probably have actually to be there to fully appreciate Olga Bogdashina Her books may be excellent and I'm definitely going to give one or two of them a go, but her public speaking is superb. As she promised, within two minutes we'd forgotten that her accent is thick and were attuned both to how she was speaking and what she was saying. She presented so clearly and with so much understanding the barriers that may occur between parent and child, between parent and professional who all need to work together but who all have such difficulty understanding each other.  O for the day when a speaker can talk to a mixed group of carers, patients (for want of a better word) and professionals about eating disorders in such a genuinely collaborative and understanding way.




Tuesday, March 19, 2013

You're welcome....

"Be more welcoming, invite someone you don't know very well round for tea"

Hmmm - I didn't read this until 8pm so too late for today, but really?

Could be awkward

Could be bloomin horrible for the person who we don't know

but why?

Just being IN to make tea rather than my coming in late, and having enough food to share however many, or few, at the table, and being confident that it would really be all OK would be a challenge. Then again just because the Love Life Live Lent booklet comes in pastel colours and a handy format doesn't mean Lent isn't supposed to be challenging. Time to make some changes so that this might be a possibility.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Five Minutes Peace

Was all I had to do today for Lent - spend five minutes sitting still listening to my own breathing.

Unlike Mrs Large in the children's book, I don't have children pestering me every minute of the day, and there were quite a few times when I could have chosen to take my five minutes, but I did have to find a quiet spot. I found the ideal one - my dear old car which also doubles as a playroom, a performance venue, a racing car simulator, a teaching aid, a classroom and a place for live worship - and that's just for the god-children when it's standing still outside the house. She goes in for her second chance at an MOT on Thursday - if she doesn't pass she is going to be very sorely missed.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

another swapping day

The task today is to make a cake to share with friends, but we'd already planned to do that tomorrow so today has been a day off Love Life Live Lent to do an Easter activity because every Sunday is a little Easter. The Easter-tide activity of the day has been spring cleaning, which isn't exactly holy, or relaxing, but needed doing.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Power of Positive Thinking

I've had a couple of occasions today to remember my husband's comment on CBT, most particularly on this book. 

It's ironic really, in a week where my irony levels have already been dangerously high, that once was when a friend wondered on the basis of good evidence whether it would be a good match, and the other was when another friend declared that it definitely was.

His summary? "750 pages of pull-yourself together".

He's not a fan. I can see why and if ordinary, sit down and make a list and work out where your errors are so that you can counteract them CBT wasn't bad enough , there's CBT-E where you sit down and make a list of what you've eaten and how bad you feel about it and are able to challenge those feelings, or not!

So, evidence-based and everything else, if lists of negatives aren't for me yet, and may never be for mine, what about a nice little list of positive things.

Todays challenge is to THINK MORE POSITIVELY Make a list of the good things in your life and thank God for them.

It could be twee. It could be  truly revolting. It could be a very short list. But I'm going to give it a go and make it into something I like.
 Wordle: Untitled

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Slow Down, Not So Fast

A truly sensible one today I think - slow down, take more time. I can't take more time over breakfast because I'd already eaten it by the time I read the task but I will try to take more time over other day to day tasks and do them more thoughtfully.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Time to torture the family?

Today's challenge to ask someone how they are and then really listen sounds very worthy, very suitable, very kind. I do have a problem with it though. Being asked "how are you?" might just about be OK, but demanding an answer long enough to really listen carefully to might be, to my alexithymic lot, about as welcome as asking them to sit on hot coals.

I could have done it at work but we really wouldn't have had time to talk and listen because, well, we were at work.

 So I'm going to sort of cheat again. I'll ask the question of my nearest and dearest but I won't expect anything in return. While I'm waiting I'll be listening to what people think of the new Pope.

I have listened to my dear daughter's comments on the subject already, and I take them on board. They are not a surprise to me and I know what she means. It's probably going to be quite a time before we get the first openly lesbian pope and much of the anger that many feel about him (and would feel about any likely candidate) is justified. On the other hand I'd also like to listen to the opinions of Catholics living their faith and making it work day to day.

An interesting day.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Happy Birthday to You

Today's task is to take care of friends by remembering their birthdays.

I could add lots of birthdays to my outlook calendar, or join one of the facebook groups that sends out reminders but I'm not that trustful of technology to keep things for more than a year, and since most of my friends only have one birthday a year and I may already have missed it, I'm going to hoik out my elderly birthday book from the desk and start updating it.

It's my mother's birthday on Good Friday, and also that of an old friend, so I know I already have some cards to buy. On the other hand I WILL forget some important occasions so PLEASE don't feel offended if one of them is yours.

Monday, March 11, 2013

I'm going to have to defer on this one

Today's task is to save water.

I really can't think of a way that I can do that today. If I decline to do the washing today it'll just get done tomorrow. Likewise the washing up. It is so piercingly cold that I haven't felt like looking out at the garden let alone saving some of the ice in it. I think all I can do now is seriously investigate the possibility of an extra one of these - but I'm not going to buy one until there's a possibility that installing one won't result in frostbite.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

days merging together

The horrible, nasty, bitter cow of which there is at least as much in me as there is horse in a Tesco burger, says that I swapped today's Love Life Live Lent task and did it yesterday.

Today's task is to "Think of others, do a job that others normally do".

Yesterday I was supposed to "have more fun, play a game" but having come over all peculiar at work I came home and played the game of lying down in a darkened room all evening, which is usually done by others (yes, yes, because they usually need to and I'm fortunately usually healthy so don't) in our house.

I WILL try to do a job normally done by others - going to volunteer to do some of the extra deliveries a friend has landed herself with. If I make up a story or try not to walk on the cracks while I'm doing it hopefully it will count as a game and I'll have done yesterday's task today.


Thursday, March 07, 2013

easy peasey

today's task to listen to some beautiful music - thanks to Goodinparts I have a piece a day to make my way through.

I have tried to copy them here but have failed, so will have to go back to her facebook page and nick them from there.




Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Love thy neighbour

If the task was literally to speak to my neighbour, as in my next door neighbour or the people across the road then I failed totally. One of those days rushing around from pillar to post talking to lots of people in lots of places but not at home or nearby. Maybe I can try it tomorrow instead.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Open Wide

The suggested tasks for being more open, trying something new seemed quite easy - eat something different, try a new experience.....

Practically, today I have a lot of the same old same old to do. The run up to Orthodox Lent and Spring and the opportunity to clean the freezer has meant that we've been eating what's there which is chicken, and chicken, and more chicken. The end of the financial year means the same scrabble as last, and the one before, and the one before that to get all i's dotted and all t's crossed in the accounts, the data, the reports. As a volunteer I have to write a report for an online magazine that I've written to before, study minutes and papers for a quarterly meeting which, while vital, is going to be similar to last quarter's, and write an account of how we failed at FBT. Now that's new - NOT!!!

It may be possible, it may even be desirable, in the more distant future, to give up some of the same olds and try something really new, but it would be an enormous decision and not one I can make now or on my own.

At the moment I have to try to maintain the balance between hope and dreams for the future and keeping my head above water for now, so I have googled praying for discernment and found that it may or may not mean asking for help with decisions and that this is one of the prayers about it

God our Father,
You have a plan for each one of us,
You hold out to us a future full of hope.

Give us the wisdom of your Spirit
so that we can see the shape
of your plan in the gifts
you have given us,
and in the circumstances
of our daily lives.

Give us the freedom of your Spirit,
to seek you with all our hearts,
and to choose Your Will above all else.
We make this prayer through Christ our Lord.

 

Trying to actually practice asking for discernment is new, and hard, and sufficiently like going to the dentists for Lent I think. 

 

Monday, March 04, 2013

Bless this house

TAKE CARE OF YOUR HOME Tidy a room or a cupboard in your house

Not too difficult a task, although which one to start on was initially a question. It was one that was soon answered when youngest daughter told me she would be coming here next week with her baby - so it's the big bedroom that's getting tidied in preparation for their visit. Maybe I'll find some lost treasure too. 

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Communications

I have vowed this year NOT to drone on about telephone conversations, even in May when I had my worst ever one, so it's probably fitting that I modify today's task a bit.

I am supposed to "Keep in Touch, phone someone you haven't seen for a while". Well I HAVE seen one of my daughters quite regularly, but can't phone her anyway as she's hopeless at keeping a phone. I haven't seen the other one, but her phone signal is terrible and talking that way is pretty frustrating for both parties. I DID phone my mother-in-law yesterday but she has a sore throat so it wasn't fun for her.

Adapting the task seems like a good idea, and fortunately these days there are a lot of alternatives. I've messaged a couple of lovely friends. I've e-mailed others. I attended a meeting in person and hand delivered some of the resulting literature. And tonight I'm going to sit down with some pretty cards from the local newsagents and WRITE. Using the good old Royal Mail is still a pretty effective way of communicating.

Friday, March 01, 2013

In which I, ever so politely of course, tell LLLL to get knotted

The task for today is to do something different, the suggestion being to have a "screen free day". WHAT? Look here archbishop and whoever, MY FRIENDS LIVE IN THE COMPUTER. If I'd had a screen free day I'd have missed all their birthday wishes, and lively debates, and this

I have done some different things today. I've been given cards and presents and I've had wine with my tea. I wore a smart suit to work mainly because I had it out after wearing it for a service on Wednesday and I've had birthday cakes with blue icing from the godchildren. And now I'm going to read a book which I was given by a good friend, but first I might just spend a little more time on line......

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tidy Up Time

Today's task to "make your local area cleaner" by filling a bag with litter was obviously meant to mean that I should go outside and pick up rubbish from the street. If it warms up a bit this afternoon I might just do that, but first of all I have quite a bit to tidy on my desk, some minutes from December for a start....when all that is done I might even tidy up the blog posts here that are hanging around unfinished, on the other hand I might not.....

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Present Time

when Love Life Live Lent said that I should give a present to someone it probably meant to a person, but since Parsley the cat started to unravel the hat I was trying to make I knitted him a mouse instead. He doesn't look that impressed but it was fun to make and he may well play with it when he thinks no one is looking.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Making new friends

The LLLL booklets come in assorted varieties suitable for different ages and stages in life. The tweets, which are free and don't involve finding a church that is stocking the booklets, don't. Therefore my instruction today, on the theme of being more friendly, was either to "be friendly with someone new" or "play with someone new". I rather prefer the latter and hope that the couple of new groups of friends I have picked don't mind my joining in their games. As I'm going to watch their play from a distance rather than step in and change it I think we'll do just fine but they seem very friendly indeed and I'm sure if I could join them physically they'd welcome me.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Time to say grace

I read today's Love Life Live Lent task too late to say thank you for my breakfast (cereal and banana) or lunch (couscous) so am now going to say grace before sitting down to fish and chips for tea.

Food! It's sometimes difficult to "consider the lilies" and not worry about it, reflect and not take it for granted, or avoid putting meanings onto it that really aren't there. Best to just say  thank you for it.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Look here

when I read the task today I thought it would be lovely - what nicer than to NOTICE THE WORLD, go for a walk and notice what's round you ?

On a day like today almost anything. It is so flaming cold that I have been out to Asda and noticed the things on the shelves, and at home noticing the dust. I did go out in the garden to put the bin out and noticed that the poor crocuses, peeping out quite beautifully last week, are frozen like the rest of us.

So I'm not going for a walk. I'm huddled up in front of the computer wearing two pairs of warm pyjamas and a pair of bedsocks. I might go and look for a hat soon as well. I shall try though, for the rest of the day to LOOK properly at what I am doing. To concentrate on one screen at a time. To appreciate the pictures and messages on the computer and maybe even remove the dust and look at the wood and carpet and fabric underneath with a fresh and appreciative eye.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Finally the one that I've been waiting for

since Ash Wednesday. The opportunity to say "thank you".

There are a lot of people I'd like to say thank you to, and I've been trying to do it fairly regularly, although I'm sure there are lots of opportunities I've missed too.

For now, I'll say thank you to Leah for some very sound advice , thank you to Kathryn for some beautiful meditations both here and in song posted on facebook, thank you to all who make me smile, whether intentionally or otherwise, and an especially warm thank you to Cynthia who took the time to share good memories of my daughter's childhood with her and with me, just because she wanted to.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

curiouser and curiouser

Today I am supposed to be more curious and to wonder about something.

I am guessing that this doesn't mean read some paper about the same old subject and bang on with the same old ideas, which leaves me with a first question for the day, what should I wonder about?

I will have to keep my eyes and ears open during the day and find something. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tell Laura I Love Her

Well no, I'm going to have to tell her myself.

Today's task "Be More Loving, Tell Someone You Love Them"

 With some people this is easy. Our neighbours and their children are extremely generous people who share their home, their food and their words of love very easily. It is great to be told by 9 year old E that she loves you, and to say it back. It doesn't even come off badly when the words and sentiment are shared with their teenage son.

As a more middle-class, stiff upper-lip Brit, I find the words more difficult, especially with my family.

It is easy for the sentiment to be stilted, qualified, especially if the person I'm speaking to is diffident, unsure, troubled in his/herself.

So my challenge is to say the words to my immediate family. I'll start with the easiest who may be physically furthest away but is no problem, and work through the list. If I manage it with my parents I'll really will have achieved something.

Oh yes, but Laura, I do love you, and Irish I love you too,

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Turn that light off!

Today's task is to help save the planet. Apparently I can do that by turning an unused light off. In a house where I am only one of the occupants and we tend to keep to separate rooms this could involve turning the light off on someone else, which doesn't seem fitting for Lent. Therefore I've decided to make things much more difficult for myself and turn an otherwise VERY used computer off. Instead of debating finer points and getting into interesting discussions I'm going to sit and knit that cat toy in the room where my husband already has the light on. Wish the poor man luck.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Be creative - make something

The task today is to create something. At work where my job is to look after the accounts and data "making something" might be thought a little suspect. In campaigning all I am tempted to do today is to make a stink with MP for not attending the Parliamentary Debate on Eating Disorders. Therefore I am going to try to make a hat. I have the wool. I have the needles. I'm not sure about the patience and the time.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Plant a seed

The weather has made the challenge to "Enjoy your world, plant a seed, a very easy task, although I think it probably is too early to plant the sunflower seeds that I bought especially.

I have scattered some wildflower seeds in the "meadow", and planted a bean in a jar in the hope that I will be able to see the roots grow. As an addition I've "planted" the new spider plants growing from my two old ones hoping to be able to use them as bedding plants in the summer. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Everything's News

Today's LLLL instruction is to watch the news and to choose one item to pray about.

Awkward as ever I don't tend to watch the news but rather to read it on-line, but with a little modification I've managed the task. My e-mail provider attempted to help by telling me what the most popular news items of the day were:

•  Fashion Priest's take on Leather Heaven and Hell
•  Hague to announce human rights programme
•  What's Clegg's Valentine's Day surprise for wife?
• Jobless man sets fire to himself in France
• CCTV shows driver hit woman and toddler

Hmmm, the BBC tell me that a sportsman's private life and the content of "beef" burgers are more likely to be of interest and certainly items one and three on the list above remind me that, in the words of Martyn Joseph, Every Thing's News However I was moved to look at item four, not so much by the sensationalist headline as by the quiet presence of someone with, perhaps, a similar lifestyle. "The Tramp" often sleeps in the car port at work. He was there again tonight. He must be freezing cold but he probably doesn't notice because of the drugs he takes. His task, each night, is to be alive in the morning. I pray that he will be.