Friday, 26 December 2014

Oh No, Not Baby Oleg, I Can't Bear It.

After all the wonderful (totally exhausting) music and services of the last few days it was a relief to get home after Christmas Morning's Eucharist and slump.

Zombie-like after the four hour's sleep between getting home after Midnight Mass and being back for the run-through before the service, I thought what a huge difference between the first couple of Christmases after John's death and this one.

Still totally alone,  but no longer lonely and while grateful for all that being a member of St' Mary's church and choir has meant to me, nevertheless the chance to opt out of the bustle and excitement of Christmas and just fall into a chair, feet up and do nothing at all for as long as I chose was a very welcome change.

Yesterday (and I am ashamed to admit again today) I watched one of my favourite feel-good films, the glorious Nanny McPhee.

I also watched "Carols from Kings" and "Puss in Boots" followed later by "Emmerdale" and "Downton".

In addition, as if that were not sufficiently depraved, I watched "Coronation Street", which is sponsored by the great, wonderful, appealing , totally addictive Meercats.

I am not ashamed to admit that I love the Meercats, in particular dear lovely tender-hearted old Sergei and sweet little baby Oleg.

To my horror settling to watch the latest episode in their absorbing African Adventure I  was grieved to see a heart-breaking farewell between the newly confident Oleg and his adopted 'parents'. Mr Alexander and Sergei.

Sergei's tear filled eyes were not the only ones.

Is there any hope for me out there, or have I finally bade farewell to my last half wit.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

The power of music

The first time I attended midnight mass was in 2009, four months after my husband's death.

Not a church-goer, not a Christian, not even with the vaguely "C of E" background of most British  adults in the UK, I was despondent, lonely and with a hankering for I knew not what.

A caring lovely neighbour thought as a music-lover I might enjoy the experience of Midnight Mass and, since she was intending to go to our local church took me with her.

At a time when I would normally have been in bed, we left home and drove to town.

The church was beautifully decorated, candle-lit and amazingly full of people - no mean feat since it is a huge building.

There was an air of anticipation throughout the service.  The sermon was preached by the then rector wearing a reindeer hat with antlers on his head, the excellent choir sang every carol and hymn with which I had a nodding acquaintance (from school days), until they got to one I had never heard before.

Sung softly, and unaccompanied the unusual and haunting tune caught me and stayed with me for many weeks after the service.

I discovered it was called "Jesus Christ the apple tree", and made up my mind then and there that I would learn it, start to sing again (after a 24 year gap) and that I would join the choir of that church and one day sing the lovely carol.

Five years and six Christmases after that, we are finally to sing it in our Nine Lessons and Carols Service tomorrow evening.

,For the  past week I have been laid low with a horrible cold, sore throat and basso profundo croak, which is now beginning to loosen its grip, so tomorrow I will sing the lovely carol even if it kills me and deafens everyone else.

It is much too important an occasion to miss.

Christmas is about so many things, memories being one of the more important ones.

If I have done it right (unlikely), clicking on the picture at the top will give you the version of the carol sung by the St. John's College Cambridge choristers.

If it doesn't work you can get it on you tube.

Either way, listen, enjoy and have a very happy Christmas.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

A Sad Day at St. Mary's

This morning we learned of the death last night of one of our oldest (in terms of service), members.

She had been in poor health for quite a while and had visibly deteriorated rapidly in the last couple of weeks, yet somehow, no-one had been prepared for this.

Always a controversial character, M had a very short fuse, a fairly sharp tongue, and a well honed critical faculty.

She had in her time clashed monumentally with many of us, not least yours truly, yet, there was an openness about her attacks which was refreshing and once she had had her say,normal service was resumed.

Additionally and much more importantly, she was the first to offer help, physical or financial when a sudden need arose.  Always to be found making something for a craft fair or bazaar.  The first to bring in a pile of quality items to be raffled (and only too ready to do the selling of the tickets for said items herself).

She had a very large house and garden with a heated swimming pool in its own building, both of which were constantly offered for church functions, or to raise money for her numerous charities.

If someone was taken ill she would run them home or to hospital, visit them and bring them home.

She collected jokes and always had a list of the best ready for every eventuality.

Tireless in her work for a number of groups and committees, she seldom used her failing health as a reason to duck out of a responsibility.

In short, she was a marvellously contradictory personality, and a hugely valued and well-loved pain in the posterior.

God rest your soul, Blessed thorn, and may you rise in Glory.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Knowing your place

This lovely snoozing image was my dear feral Sam.  The picture I wanted to use was of the current door-step feeder, the ginger monster.

For some reason, although I have his photo in my gallery, I cannot access it for the blog.

Yesterday was very cold and I had intended to give him his usual large handful of cat biscuits/kibbles or whatever they're called, but he decided to sit a few feet away from me and stare at me.

Slightly concerned since he is usually hungry I soon realised that he was not looking at me but at Hercules the other ginger cat belonging to a near neighbour.

Hercules was placidly washing his round furry face with a languid paw but with a glint in his mean green eyes which boded ill.

He is top-cat around this area and most of the other moggies treat him with respect.  Not so my ginger lad.

For some reason he had decided to brave it out and only a certain rigidity in his long spine gave a hint that he was not too comfortable.

Neither cat paid me any attention so I grabbed the box of biscuits and put a small handful in front of each of them, standing between them to attempt to ward off attacks.

Hercules sniffed, ate one or two of 'his' pile and strolled off round the corner without a glance at my friend.

Delighted, I added more biscuits to  his pile and said encouragingly "come on he's gone you're safe"
As he didn't move I touched the top of his head tentatively and said "eat your bickies".

He stood up.legs stiff and gave me 'the look'.  You know the one, it says "will you never learn your place woman, this is man's business", He then walked off in the same direction as Hercules.

How can a cat make me feel small?