Thursday, 26 May 2016
I suppose 'they' could have been lurking here in dark corners for a while but I suspect this is a new team sent to raise hair on necks.
A couple of days ago reaching for the hand towel in the kitchen I just managed in time to spot a large thick-legged member of the species squatting in all its ghastly leggy blackness waiting for my unsuspecting fingers, with an evil glint in its eye.
Opening the back door I shook the towel out into the garden and saw it scuttle off at speed.
The usual feeling of panic subsided slowly and I gradually lowered my guard and began to move around the house more naturally again.
Then last evening/night I was about to go to bed when I saw a suspicious movement against the skirting board of the office.
Reaching for the waste-paper bin I grabbed my long-handled feather duster and advanced on the enemy which suddenly shot behind the bookcase. With a "damn you stay there" I poked at the edge of the bookcase, to no avail.
It appears to have vanished - but - I know better. It is just waiting for me to drop my guard again and out it will come
What instinct is it that prompts these horrible creatures to choose the worst possible moment to 'drop' in? How do they know we are just relaxing and ready for bed, or settling comfortably to read and how much does it amuse them to know the fear and agitation they cause in cowardly hearts like mine?
This is only the beginning of the season. HELP.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 11:53:00 am
Thursday, 12 May 2016
The prospect of taking life at a slower pace is a very appealing one, but not the same in practice as in prospect.
For the past (almost) seven years I have been trying to fill my every waking minute with activities.
The alternative seemed to be to sit and examine my navel or stare at the walls and try to discover the meaning of life. So, I sought activity, busyness, occupation to the extent that I now find myself longing for a day off.
This is a "normal" week. Sunday leave the house at 9.00 am for St Mary's, Back home usually about 12.00 noon. Monday Tuesday and Wednesday leave the house at 9.00 back about 1.30pm
Thursday shop or do household chores , Friday am same as Thursday but choir practice from 7 to 8.30 ish (out of the house at 6.30 back at 9.00pm
Saturday unless there are activities at St Mary's or in the Close household chores, paper-work etc.
But, wonder of wonders I now have a cleaner who does 2 hours every Monday, and from the 26th May I will have a gardener for a couple of hours,
The huge relief I feel at finally getting some help is perhaps a reflection of the build-up of stress I have been experiencing as my house became gradually grubbier and my garden turned into a weedy jungle.
Despite my bravado and apparent "I don't care what it looks like" attitude, I have been feeling slowly more and more aware that having someone in for coffee or a chat was beginning to feel embarrassing
as the general scruffiness of my surroundings grew daily worse.
Hopefully in a few weeks I will once again feel happy to have unexpected visitors and who knows may even be proud of the garden again.
First steps taken.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 9:05:00 pm
Friday, 6 May 2016
Services on a weekday evening are generally poorly attended, but I think it's the first one we've ever held in the Chancel.
On one side sat the congregation and the servers, and on the other the 'choir', or the seven of us who had turned up.
The organist sat at the keyboard and the Rector on the Altar steps.
fifteen of us in all.
While some of us were muttering sadly that it was hardly worth turning up, our lovely choir-mistress/musical director remarked quietly that it was not a concert but an act of worship.
Viewed in that light it was a lovely intimate and very personal little service and we all left at the end feeling lighter-hearted than we were on arrival.
The fact that the anthem was one I didn't like, and the fact that I had the 2nd reading had made me a bit nervous and uneasy, so the short but good sermon and the close atmosphere had a mood-changing affect which I very seldom experience.
Sometimes the 'message' gets lost in a big busy well attended service where quantity rules.
This time we had quality, and very good it was too.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 3:30:00 pm
Thursday, 28 April 2016
What a month. We have had unseasonable warmth, rain (in torrents), hail, sleet and snow, Frost and very cold winds, in fact a year's weather in a month.
Last Saturday we had a service for the Queen's 90th birthday at St. M's, with all the great and good of the county in attendance.
On Sunday afternoon we had the Annual Scouts Dedication Service and St George's Day combined.
Somehow we seem to have miraculously avoided the worst extremes of this crazy month and have avoided being either drowned, frozen or struck by lightning. Can't imagine quite how.
My theory is that we have had several centuries of St. George being in charge of things and now things have changed. The dragon is taking over the proceedings and the weird weather we are experiencing is him, flexing his muscles.
There are buds on my early roses, leaves and buds on my tree peony but the daffodils are still in bloom. That is, until Hector (that's the dragon) singes them with his hot breath.
This morning I watched a crow dipping some bread I'd thrown out in the ice-covered bird-bath before taking off with it. Perhaps if he had hung around for a while Hector might have toasted it for him.
At present, 10.58 pm it is pouring and the rain and wind are lashing the back of the house.
Who knows what we may get tomorrow.
Thank heaven it will be May on Sunday.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 11:00:00 pm
Thursday, 21 April 2016
It has therefore been quite a struggle since John's death to keep an eye on what is in the bank and what it is doing.
My one attempt to save over a set period and leave at the end of the set time with the original sum intact, plus, hopefully some interest, has now matured and I spent an hour and a half with a lovely helpful girl in my bank yesterday trying to look into the future.
We have finally sorted everything out to my satisfaction and with one further appointment made for a few weeks time, I left the bank feeling reasonably happy.
Since it was one of my St. Mary's mornings I made my way there after the meeting. Under my arm was the black leather folder with all the papers detailing what we had discussed.
After my morning stint I headed for Marks and Spencer to do some grocery shopping then down to the bus stop to get my bus home.
A few hours later I realised that I no longer had my folder.
This morning I phoned the Church, Marks and Spencer and the bank to try to recover my papers.
Thinking I may have left them on the bus I tried unsuccessfully to find a lost property number for the bus service I use. There is no number.
As I had to shop in town again this morning I talked to the bus driver who kindly rang round a few of his colleagues. Again no success.
My folder appears to have vanished and I am desperately trying to remember exactly what information is contained in the papers. I think (hope) there is no card or pin number and the bank seems to think it will not be possible for anyone to try to use them fraudulently.
I fear I am a bear of very little brain and what brain there is appears to be scrambled..
Posted by Ray Barnes at 9:00:00 pm
Thursday, 14 April 2016
So far in the past 24 hours I have had 4 phone calls from an organisation calling itself UK Lifestyle, or Lifestyle UK.
This is the same organisation which nearly drove me mad last year and I foolishly imagined they had given up.
All the callers are Asian, mostly but not all male, and they all begin with am I speaking with Mrs Barnez.
Followed by good morning/afternoon and how are you today Ma'am?
So far I have managed to refrain from telling them exactly how I am, but told the last one to stop phoning me.
Currently I am pretty stressed anyway, (domestic problems), and my blood-pressure is rapidly reaching boiling point. To say nothing of the fact that stress makes my PD tremors return despite medication
What on earth will it take to get rid of these awful invasive leech-like pests?
If I knew where to buy one I would buy a whistle and every time they call blow it deafeningly.
BT are totally uninterested and apparently unable to do anything to stop them.
I was about to go and have an brief rest (;possibly nap), but am so het up I feel like pulling the phone cable out of the wall and stamping on it.
I think I'll join a nunnery.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 2:33:00 pm
Sunday, 3 April 2016
Today is Low Sunday, a concept I find difficult to understand.
Apparently the choir is not required (de-choired), so we may have the day off.
In previous years I have attended church as part of the congregation on this day, but this year have decided to have a day away from St. M's
Despite the assurance of all those who know about these esoteric things that I am not expected to be there, I feel guilty.
It has stopped raining and the sun is out. I can have as lazy or active a day as I choose, yet there is this cloud of guilt hanging over me and I feel unable to relax. (Like the days when I played truant from school).
It seems to me that guilt is built into the fabric of humankind in case we should decide we might like to enjoy ourselves.
In the 17th Century the Pilgrim Fathers were depicted as miserable, long-faced, psalm-singing, bible-quoting zealots whose belief in God was a sober and fearful thing. They didn't last long (not in this country anyway) but perhaps they left us with this legacy of guilt.
Original sin is a Roman Catholic concept but where did permanent guilt come from?
Please feel free to ignore my melancholic mumblings but if you have any thoughts on the subject I'd like to hear them.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 10:23:00 am