Sunday, 21 June 2015
The five finalists were all very good, the winner absolutely outstanding, and to my great satisfaction is the one I chose.
Of the more than 20 years it has been running I have on all but one occasion always chosen the winner.
What that proves heaven only knows, but it tickles my vanity.
I watched Andy Murray win his match this afternoon on TV of course. I should have been visiting the "Secret Gardens" in the old town, but was too tired after this morning's service to cope with another trip into town.
This may or may not be related to the fact that I am not very well at present, so am taking things easy/
In this town 99% of the taxi drivers are Asian (usually Muslim) and since I use a lot of taxis many of them have become friendly over the past few years,
As it is now Ramadan many of them are suffering the usual early days of that very testing time and until they become accustomed to fasting all day are not feeling their very best. The chap who drove me to church this morning told me he is diabetic and is actually better (or at least his sugar levels are better) during this period than normal.
The one who drove me home says he drinks vast amounts of water in the early hours before daylight which last him well until about mid-day, but after this he becomes more and more thirsty until he can drink again.
One of them has a 10-year old son who volunteers to fast with the adults, has been told he need not do so until he is 15, but insists on doing so and is apparently well and happy.
I cannot tell you how much I admire such strength of will and determined faith, but also fear that taken to extreme, it may be the roots of fundamentalism.
Part of my taxi journeys are always taken up with discussion about the similarities of Muslim and Christian teaching and I always feel that there are more things we have in common than divide us.
Never a particularly gullible person nor much inclined to generalise I still find to my surprise that the vast majority of the muslims in this town are easier to talk to than many of my own countrymen.
At St Mary's we have a very large community of Zimbabwe Mother's Union, who along with their husbands and children add considerable zest and enthusiasm (and noise it has to be said), to our all-age service when they sing with drummers some of their versions of our better known hymns.
One of their number is a valued member of our choir.
I think perhaps the key to good international relations is to simply listen to what (foreigners) have to say.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 10:59:00 p.m.
Tuesday, 9 June 2015
Today I murdered my balloons.
What kind of comment /confession is that? My kind.
Those long-suffering readers who saw my item on the balloon family I acquired on my birthday back in March will perhaps remember that I intended to keep the helium filled 'children and mama' as long as I could.
They were still occupying a chair this morning in various states of deterioration when I suddenly thought "this is mad, they are taking up a whole chair, the room is a mess".
With that I took my letter opener and callously ended their existence.
Now I feel guilty!
That, odd though it may be is as nothing to the fact that I 'talk' to the birds when I've been out all day and they were fed only once (early morning), instead of two or even three times.
When I eventually - after a very long time, throw out a pair of worn-out shoes I say, "sorry, you really have to go". Then I miss them.
If the large pale ginger cat who is a regular at my restaurant, doesn't eat all his biscuits I say "sorry I shopped somewhere else and they don't sell the ones you like".
I could go on, but for the sake of your poor nerves will refrain.
There is probably a (not very nice) name for my sort of mind but, if you know it, please keep it to yourself.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 12:15:00 p.m.
Saturday, 6 June 2015
This morning I have a lot of housework to catch up on.
This afternoon there is a Golden Wedding service with full eucharist at St. M's, The couple at the centre being our retiring church warden choir member and his wife who is involved in dozens of other enterprises in our church family.
After the service there will be a buffet party, which in my case is to be followed by a party for the 18th birthday of one of my friends in the close.
So, lots of lovely time out of the very grubby house, followed by tomorrow's normal morning service .
This morning I am trying to rectify the neglect which is everywhere apparent. First by vacuuming the whole house, then dusting polishing etc.
My vacuum cleaner is frankly cheap and not nasty exactly but inadequate. It weighs so little that I can carry it upstairs on one finger.
Unfortunately this wonderful fact (the reason I bought it), is accompanied by several eccentricities which I am getting used to. For example, when it becomes too warm it dies, with a sound like a fading air raid siren. It is then necessary to wait for it to regain its strength before it will cooperate.
It lets me know when it is getting choked with dust by spitting out or regurgitating its contents, usually when I am almost finished.
This morning it did its usual fade-out so I thought, "a good time to have a coffee" and did just that.
Half way through my second cup there was a sound like a road drill and I went to the front window to see which of my neighbours was starting some building work. No one!
Puzzled I went upstairs to see if I could see better from there where the racket was coming from..
Lo and behold it was my vacuum cleaner which had switched itself on and was clearly waiting for me to resume.
Somewhat unnerved by this autonomous action I switched it off at the mains and said "Now let's see you start up".
Either I am losing the plot completely or it is as I have always suspected, household machines have independent life.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 12:00:00 p.m.
Saturday, 30 May 2015
My good friend Jean Rolt of "Tregear Vean" who is currently awaiting surgery to remove a growth on her face, brought home to me very sharply the importance of names.
In a recent post she blogged that giving the 'wart' with which she has lived for years a title has totally changed her perception of it.
Have names really such power? Yes, I think they have.
Someone living in an abusive relationship which has become habitual, often fails to recognise it for what it is and when finally brought to realisation by an outside source will at first deny and only then become shocked by it being named.
My late husband who had been unwell for many years was finally diagnosed with the disease which killed him, was completely unprepared for the naming of his disease, and from that day onward began to live differently, much more fearfully than before.
On an apparently different level, when i was singing back in the sixties and seventies, I was almost paralysed by fear when faced with the prospect of an audition. Yet, if someone, no matter how exalted or famous said to me "come and sing this to me", I was relaxed and able to perform at my best. Is the word 'audition' really so terrifying?
People who have done a particular job for many years without any real recognition of their efforts will be overwhelmed by the job being given a title. The job will remain the same, but the person who does the job will be for ever changed.
So, what is in a name?
Posted by Ray Barnes at 11:31:00 a.m.
Wednesday, 27 May 2015
Things are happening in my life of course, but only negative ones at present.
I appear to be going through some kind of low-spirited apathy, not "The slough of despond" exactly but something similar.
This is not a new thing for me of course, I have a history of depression, sometimes mild, sometimes more serious, but this long period of disinterest in everyday affairs is unusual.
It's not as though there is any lack of things to do (albeit almost all of them to do with St Mary's), but I am finding it very difficult to raise any enthusiasm for any of them. Even music is failing to arouse any but the most feeble response.
There is a spate of birthdays in the close and invitations to go with them but I am simply not able to feel any real interest.
My garden which is becoming daily more overgrown is not encouraging any active response, more an increase in apathy combined with anxiety.
Housework has always been a bit of a no go area for me and it is now a real effort to make myself do the basics.
I read the blogs but can only seldom raise enough interest to comment. I cannot write anything other than rants and do not want to put off for ever the few readers I still have,
This coming Sunday, instead of the normal attendance at St M's, my friend the parish administrator and one other lady and I are going to see our previous, greatly missed incumbent and his wife in their new church and then to lunch. We are all looking forward to this and I am hoping (perhaps unrealistically) that this will prove the 'spell breaker' which will restore me to a better frame of mind.
It is perhaps unfair to pin too much hope on the reunion proving a catalyst but I feel that some kind of spiritual refreshment will take place.
Watch this space.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 10:26:00 p.m.
Thursday, 7 May 2015
Several times in the past few weeks I have heard people say "I don't vote, it's a waste of time, nothing ever changes".
There are a number of ways to interpret that statement, "I can't be bothered". Fair enough but don't complain when it has become clear that nothing is going to improve in your particular areas of interest.
" I don't trust politicians". Politicians are people and behave like people, some are trustworthy others are not but you can't go through life trusting nobody.
"They say they will do such and such, but once they're in power they forget all their promises"
There are many ways in which you can influence that. Local complaints and campaigns to rally support. If you don't speak out nothing will change that's for sure.
"I don't like so and so, he talks posh, he doesn't understand working people". It is quite likely that his 'posh' speech has been slowly and carefully acquired over a long period of time in order to be accepted by the rest of his party.
"She is a working class snob, she resents us and our money is not safe in her hands". It may or may not be true, but if your monied and privileged background hasn't taught you how to look after your wealth, tough!
The one that really gets to me is "I'm not interested in politics they're boring, nothing to do with me".
Really? So 'we' are one thing and in our own little cloud and 'politics' is in a little box, just over there, nothing to do with the stuff of ordinary life.
Well I've got news for you. Life is politics. Every single thing we do is influenced by politics and failing to use your vote to at least attempt to change the things you don't like.or to improve the things which are already in place, whether your interest is in housing, education, health, community or any other aspect of daily existence is a shameful waste of opportunity.
In this country we have a reasonably democratic way of life, with many freedoms not available to people in many other countries. It is our right certainly but also our sacred duty to use the vote our predecessors fought so hard for.
Not going to vote? Shame on you.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 11:24:00 a.m.
Tuesday, 28 April 2015
I phoned my donation through early so I could turn off the TV and think of something else.
All the way in to St. M's I found my mind turning to the dreadful pictures and stories that are unfolding in this latest and most dreadful of natural catastrophies.
This was my SPACE duty morning, always very busy, sometimes fun, more often challenging I was glad to be occupied and in a manner which had some merit.
Later someone told me they had had a pet cat put down yesterday, once more dropping the mood down to zero.
Returning home this afternoon my neighbour's son came round to let me know he has passed his driving test. Full of high spirits he lifted the feel of the day back onto a happier level.
Watching the 6.00 pm news this evening more details were becoming known of the extent of the Nepal disaster and knowing there was nothing I could do I once more turned the TV off.
At 8.oopm I settled to watch my long-time favourite Holby City. A good storyline with some ups and some downs, my spirits rose to dizzying heights when the end of the programme saw the return of my hero - Heinrich Hanson.
My cup runneth over.
What absolute nonsense. How can a mere TV programme cancel out the misery of the events in the real world?
Well of course they can't, do not really do so, but what they do manage is to restore the balance in a day filled with highs and lows.
When people use the very over worked expression "a roller-coaster ride", this is, I think, what they mean.
Without the redeeming factor of light-hearted trivia we would all sink into the depths of depression if we allowed bad news to take over our lives.
Finding the balance is tricky and is difficult to sustain at times but is the key to survival. We are of no use to other people if we are not able to retain our own stability.
Anyhow, to end this wandering reflection, may God bless and help and inspire us to try to help the poor victims in Nepal.
Oh, and God bless Heinrich Hanson. :-)
Posted by Ray Barnes at 9:41:00 p.m.