Sunday, 10 September 2017

Same Old Same Old

Last night I watched (along with several million others world-wide) the last night of the Proms.

Having first watched the highlights of the last day of the England/West Indies Test Match, I was in a fairly jubilant state.

Still buzzing over the England win (and in particular the splendid performance of James Anderson, I was feeling more aware than usual of my Britishness.

About 10 minutes into the familiar formula of the "Last night of the Proms", I was suddenly rather sick of the whole flag-waving, balloon throwing, self-congratulatory spectacle.

I know people love the tradition , same music, same audience participation, huge laughs at small jokes, and the chance to cheer not only the performers but themselves also, but something about the rather smug "aren't we lucky to be British" flavour, set my teeth on edge.

It is true there are many things the Brits do well, and it is right to recognise that fact, but the hugely complacent and self satisfied blanket self-approval worries me.

Any type of nationalism worries me.

It is beginning to feel that this particular annual event has little to do with music and more to  do with self aggrandisement.

Am I just seeing what is not there?  or  is  it perhaps time we laid this out-dated piece of theatre to rest?

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Here Goes.........

A very brief message to anyone who might miss my blog for a few days.

This morning I have the first of my two cataract operations, this one is the left eye.

Not looking forward to it much but it has to be done so I suppose I was lucky to get a cancellation which brought my op forward by a few months.

The taxi will collect me at 7.00am (just an hour and a half) so  I had better go and get my shower now.

See you soon !

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

ODDS AND ENDS

Our very varied and quite extreme weather this last few weeks has produced some significant changes in local gardens - not all good, and has encouraged visits from some rather unusual avian visitors.

Yesterday morning I saw a large shadow pass the window and rushed to see what it was,

It is at least 3 or 4 years since I took the picture on the left of a heron on a nearby roof.

This time he was much closer but although I took a photo I am still unable to download from my camera onto my lap-top so could not use it here.

I have had a hedgehog in full daylight and a pair of young Jays in the past month or so.

The heavy rain has turned normally smallish shrubs into almost trees, and has beaten all the roses into the ground.

The growth has been phenomenal but the damage to blooms has reduced everything to sodden brownish masses.

We have had thunder and lightning, hail storms and very strong winds, humid and airless days but not much sunshine.

A build-up of power or a power surge caused my main sitting room light to blow a few days ago.
For most people this is a non-event, for me it is a major problem.

Not happy on ladders or anything more than a foot off the ground I had to try to work out a strategy to change the bulb without breaking my neck.

Anyone watching my antics would have sent for the men in white coats as I tried first of all to climb onto the top of my two-step ladder, then, taking first one then a second dining chair built myself a little pulpit using the chair backs as hand holds.

After about 3 attempts I removed the old bulb and attempted to replace it with a new one.
To cut a long and tedius story short it took me about twenty minutes in all to succeed.  Such a small trivial thing yet i felt as though I had scaled the North face of the Eiger,

Whenever I can i try to do things myself rather than ask for help but oh my goodness age is creeping daily closer.

I can hardly bear the excitement!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Hard Won

Have just returned from my local polling station.

A local councillor has resigned and the vote is for a replacement.

As usual, the community centre/polling station was empty. no queue of eager voters champing at the bit as they waited for their opportunity to have their say.

One of the chaps outside commented that I always vote and seemed surprised at the fact.

I replied that the vote for women was hard won and should be valued.

Though I have often mentioned before that I was brought up on a diet of politics and was aware that women came by their right to vote after long fierce battles, I was not really sure of the date when we were 'permitted' that right.

My mother who was born in 1905 would have waited 23 years before she had that right.  Only women over 21 and who were house-holders being allowed to vote in 1918.

Just how many women that would have applied to in those days i cannot imagine, but it must have been precious few.

Living as I do in a county where the Tory vote is supreme, around 33,000 last time, and Labour only having about 17,000, I am aware that in a general election my left-wing vote would be wasted so i therefore vote with my heart and vote green.

A local election however, is a different kettle of fish entirely, and there is always a chance (slim I'll grant) but a chance, that 'my' candidate might win.

How then, could I not vote?

On the world stage local politics maybe small fry, but for all of us it is the little everyday thing which make up most of our lives.

Perhaps it would take the threat of the vote being tsken away to force people  to use it.

Despite the woeful state of political affairs in this country, I am thankful every day that I do not live in a country run by Donald Trump.


Monday, 7 August 2017

Blessings

Parting from someone I see quite regularly, but who is a 'stage 4' cancer sufferer, I felt today, as i often do, at a loss to choose the right words.

This is a very stoical and inspirational person, not she would say, brave or heroic, (I would disagree), but simply resigned and accepting of what will eventually happen.

While never listing a catalogue of her woes, she is quite open and honest about her current status and answers even the most probing questions without flinching,

Anyone who didn't know what was wrong with her would get no clues from her conversation or her manner, yet everyday tasks must sometimes seem like climbing Everest to her.

I pray for her daily, and know that a number of others do the same, but when it comes to saying goodbye, every time I find myself wanting to say something uplifting rather than the usual, "take care, see you next week".

Sometimes i am able to say 'bless you', but always feel slightly awkward doing so.

Two images always come to mind when wishing her well, one is the beautiful one of being sheltered under God's wing, the other - from the old Irish blessing - that of being held in the palm of God's hand.

For me, nothing could be more comforting yet I am not able to quote either of them.

Why I wonder is it so easy to write words but so difficult to utter them?

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Locked out

Google will not let me onto my own blog or accept my password am having to attempt this on my IPad   If it will let me publish this it may have to become my only way of contacting you all
I will try

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Time Out

August is a 'choir break' at St Mary's.  All the normal Sunday services take place but without the choir.

For the "Mice" this means a month off.  For the rest of us we may if we so wish take the time off but it is expected that we will attend as part of the congregation.

Many people are away on holiday so the few of us who do attend are supposed to add volume to the hymns.

No anthems are sung during this period but instead, our choir mistress asks us to sing some Taize during Communion.

For me as an alto this is far more stressful than the singing of an anthem since we are scattered about the congregation and expected to sing harmonies.

If you sing and have ever sung anything other than the tune (usually sopranos) then you will know just how awkward it is to sing a 'non-tune' surrounded by people who are all trying to sing an unfamiliar tune.

To say i am not looking forward to it is an understatement.

Those of us who do not take holidays and who feel guilt tripped into putting in an appearance every Sunday will reach September neither refreshed nor relaxed, but, in my case at least, relieved to be once again singing as part of the choir.

The things we  do to pass the time !