Tag Archives: friends

Out of the mouths of babes …

It’s easy when you’re aware of all that’s wrong in the world to feel despondent. But two things I’ve read over the last week have warmed my heart.

In the aftermath of the controversial vote in the Church of England’s General Synod to continue with the status quo and not consecrate women bishops, my facebook and twitter feeds have been full of disappointment and hurt. I think quite a few of my readers know @RevArun from twitter, I read this and I have to say in the midst of the gloom it raised a smile:

“Just been told my 4 year old daughter’s response was to shout “it’s a disgrace” on being told of #synod result by my wife.”

And then I read a blog post which brought a tear to my eye. Dianne is someone who started commenting on my old Glasgow photo blog a few years ago, and when I returned to her blog to say thank you I loved her blog and her writing and her take on life, and she has become one of my favourite online buddies. The last few years the blog has been enhanced with the regular adventures and words of wisdom of her granddaughter Hope. A couple of weeks ago Dianne and her family and neighbourhood were in the midst of coping with Hurricane Sandy, which was a real worry, and she talked a bit about it on the blog once she got power back. The last word though has to go to Hope: 3 year old wisdom.

It’s so easy to be cynical the longer you see the world and some of the numpties who run it, but these two examples of strong, cool girls have given me so much hope that the future can be better.

2011 Project365 (day197)

16th July 2011

On Thursday I was at Central Station heading home after Tai Chi, and was a bit fed up that due to delays my train was cancelled. I’d forgotten my mobile phone, so went to use a payphone at the station to call HD (as an aside, it’s years since I used a payphone and I was horrified to discover that the minimum amount is 60p!!! It was 10p last time I used one!). While I was on the phone I noticed out of the corner of my eye someone looking at me, turned round to see these lovely boys – friends of Auntie Doris who I’d got to know a little bit at Greenbelt and a bit more at her wedding last year. It turns out they were up in Glasgow for a gig, and for both of them this was their very first time in Scotland. None of us could believe that as soon as they step onto Scottish soil for the very first time, who should they see pretty much straight away!

As we went to Stirling yesterday we couldn’t meet up, but I met them in town this afternoon before they caught their train back down south, it was fantastic to catch up again, and I still just cannot get over how random it was that we just bumped into each other, particularly as the only reason I was there was that my train was cancelled – if it hadn’t been I would have left the station about 5 minutes before they arrived and we’d never have known! This afternoon was much nicer than marking essays I must say! (guess what I’m going to do now ….).

A week of stuff

I haven’t blogged for a week, which has been due to a combination of being too busy doing interesting things or having large chunks of boringness when there’s been nothing to write about. Anyway, things worth telling you about:

* weekend in York. Our best man had his annual birthday walk (his walk 3 years ago was our second date). This year (unlike last year) we didn’t get drenched, so that was good. We started at a village, the name of which I have forgotten (West something-beginning-with-T), and walked about 7 miles mostly along a river through fields and woods, to another village called Masham which has famous breweries (Theakstons, Black Sheep). We had a meal at a hotel next to the Black Sheep brewery when we finished the walk, and I made the mistake of ordering Guinness (my usual beer of choice) instead of something made by Theakstons. I sent the first one back as I thought they’d given me a pint of Coke by mistake as it had no head, and the second one only had about a millimetre of head which had disappeared after a couple of sips, and it didn’t taste as good as usual. I think they were having an off day. Anyway, the walk was good, we got to see lots of friends, and our best man and his wife recently bought a new house with a lovely garden so we got to nose at that too. A lovely weekend.

* interviews. HD has had a couple down south this week and last, we’re still waiting to hear. He thinks one went well, the other not so. Everything is being thoroughly crossed, as it’s getting a bit crucial that we get something soon as I’m about to get my final pay packet from the university. I have an interview lined up at the end of the month for a health visiting job here which I’m not desperate to do but if there’s nothing else going I’m glad I can fall back on it. Still waiting to hear from the part-time jobs I applied for, which I’d prefer if HD gets a job down south as it means I could still be around here a couple of days a week which will be helpful for seeing supervisors/going to the library/sorting out the flat/etc.

* shipmeet. Actually it was also a mini-wibmeet, as 4 of the 10 people who met last night at Ad Lib were also wibloggers. Smudgie and Smudgelet are up for a visit this week, so we had a meal in the evening – unfortunately due to thesis commitments I couldn’t share in their afternoon adventure. It was good to see Smudgie, and also fellow bloggers Surfing and Tractor Girl, and to see some familiar and unfamiliar shippies as well. I was particularly impressed with my pudding – I had a chocolate brownie (which was really really something else, it was gorgeous), but I figured that as it had a strawberry on my plate *and* I declined the accompanying ice-cream, that meant that it was virtually calorie-neutral.

* thesis. Argh. If I could just get my current chapter out of the way then I could get on with something fun (I always think that when I’m at this point in a chapter). Hopefully it will be finished by the end of the week, but only if I step up the drama queen histrionics act. One good thing is that due to the worrying about jobs and money, I really am not remotely fussed about the uncertainty about my thesis extension. I’ve got more important things to worry about.

That is all, I think.

New and shiny

I went to visit a friend this afternoon who had a new shiny baby yesterday (some of you from the Ship will know who I mean). She was very lovely, and it was great to see another new life as we head up to celebrating Easter. I’m sure I’ve pontificated on “God give me a parking space” prayers before (as a general rule I disapprove, unless I need a parking space of course, when it’s different!). This time I didn’t pray, but was very grateful that as I pulled into the (large and very very very very full with other people who were there for visiting hour) car park and wondered how long I was going to have to spend fruitlessly driving around in the hope that I’d be in the right place at the right time to catch someone who was just leaving, someone just, well, left. Right in front of me. It was literally the first space in the car park. Hooray! 🙂

In other news, thanks for the phone advice. I have a new SIM card, idiot-proof (I hope!) instructions on how to transfer my old number to the new SIM card, and didn’t have to put up with a salesperson trying to sell me something I didn’t want (though the woman at Virgin didn’t seem too impressed with me transferring, but unfortunately for her she couldn’t compete with my free handset, and she wasn’t *too* pushy). I have charged up the old phone so I am still contactable (due to the Easter holiday it might be the middle of next week before the new phone has my old number), plus I have a few pounds of credit to use up. I’ve just made sure not to put the back on the old phone, as one of the many problems with it was that it was impossible to take the back off it. The only time I’d ever managed it before was when I accidentally dropped it, and I was a bit squeamish about doing that deliberately! Anyway, hooray about that too.

In other other news, we are away for the weekend. Count Your Blessings posts will still appear until Sunday, and I’ll be back in Glasgow at some point on Monday. We will be staying with some good friends, also meeting up with the outlaws on Saturday who are on holiday in the same area. I expect lots of food to happen. (I’ve bought Easter eggs. I can’t tell you how tempted I’ve been the last day or two, having not really thought about chocolate at all for most of Lent and not having missed it much. Roll on Sunday breakfast!). It will do us good to get away. I hope that the new life and resurrection represented by Easter will be reflected in our luck (specifically HD’s work situation and my thesis, sigh. Am getting a bit fed up with it all).


This afternoon we had a meet-up of Glasgow-and-environs-based folk from Ship of Fools. We went to a Spanish tapas restaurant up in town called La Tasca and I must say the food was very nice indeed, though I am still experiencing something of a garlicky aftertaste (this is not a bad thing, because I like garlic, and as the only person I am intending to snog is probably similarly afflicted we can cancel each other out). Mostly people I knew already, but we had one new person (who is also doing a PhD in my faculty, and who has to mark essays by the same students!), a new baby and an imminent bump-soon-to-be-baby as well. Had a very useful chat with one shipmate who is a nurse as I need to get my act together about getting work for when the money runs out, it was also fun to share our colleagues-and-nursing-students horror stories as it is always reassuring to know that it’s not just me that attracts the weird/useless/clueless ones.

No photos unfortunately, you’ll just have to take my word for it that we all looked great!

Now I’m back I need to pack for tomorrow’s adventure. I’m off to London till Monday night – staying with friends in sarf London tomorrow night so am really really looking forward to catching up with them, and then on Monday I’m going to a study day at the British Library. I’ve never been there before, and having looked at the various collections on-line am wondering how much of it I can sneak out of so I can look at the illuminated manuscripts and music scores and maps and stuff, as that will probably be more interesting than the stuff I’m meant to be going there for. Actually that’s not true, I’ll be speaking with the area subject librarians who know about Romania and stuff, so with any luck it will be really useful. I’m just a bit concerned as their online Romania collection mainly seems to be quite ancient – I hope it’s not a wasted journey. Well, it won’t be wasted from the social point of view, but it would be good if I can actually learn something as well while I’m there.

Colliding worlds

The world continues to shrink and collide. I remember when I first started getting involved in online communities, talking about my “real life” and “virtual” friends, and then getting really startled when “real” and “virtual” worlds started to coincide and overlap, and “virtual” friends became as “real” as “real life” friends. People from the wibsite and Ship of Fools turned out to know/have grown up with random people I knew in real life (especially people from madchurch, bizarrely), and since being on facebook it’s been amazing to see how many people have unexpected mutual friends with me – a few people I know from online are friends with a friend of mine from uni, whom they know from GCN, for example. I’ve had several facebook exchanges along the lines of “where on earth do you know x from?!” – one madchurch friend saw a comment from someone (whom I got to know through a friend of HD’s) and messaged me to say “I was at a Crusader camp in the 80s with someone called Jane Bloggs*, I wonder if it’s the same one”, so I messaged her and it turned out they were indeed already acquainted but hadn’t been in touch for 20 years, and then they spent a fun evening reminiscing together and catching up via facebook messages. I’ve also had a couple of “real life” friends come up to me and sheepishly confess that they think they’ve been reading my blog. One of whom as lots of people already know now has her own blog here too – we first met in the early 90s, and I think at first we were both a bit freaked out by the real/virtual overlap.

Now it’s my various virtual worlds that are colliding. I’m really delighted that Katya, one of my most faithful and regular commenters over on my Glasgow photo blog, has started to comment here too. I can thank Ian for following her comments on Glasgow DP and starting to comment on her blog for her getting to know the wibsite a bit.

Every time I experience one of these mini-world collisions I get a bit of a jolt. A pleasant one mind! I think I didn’t realise until I had lots of friends in lots of different places coming together the extent to which I choose what I reveal about myself in each different context. I think all of them are authentic expressions of who I am, whether it be the creative, spiritual, pseudy, or whatever sides of me, but I always wonder if those who know best the spiritual side of me will be surprised by the slobby side, or those that know the creative me will be put off by the more spiritual, even though it’s all me. I think I’m rambling (Shurely not – ed), not to mention getting a bit “me, me, me” on you – anyway really all I want to say is despite the momentary discomfort I think the coming together of these different worlds is fun and helps make the world both a smaller and bigger place. Yay!

In other news, working at home hasn’t worked at all. I have no self-discipline whatsoever (she says, like that’s news). Tomorrow will be better (actually maybe I’ll go into work after all). Sigh.

* Name changed to protect the guilty, obviously!

New Year

IMGP6379 We had a really lovely new year which we spent with some friends in York. After an amazing meal cooked by one friend we walked up to York Minster with a bottle of champagne and saw in the New Year with several thousand drunk people! One of our friends there is a bell ringer who has rung before at the Minster for New Year, so she was really looking forward to hearing the bells, but once the first “Bong” of midnight sounded the cheering and whatnot was so loud you couldn’t hear a thing!


A couple of days later we headed further south, firstly to see my parents and then to see HD’s parents and pick up the last of our stuff. My mum is recovering really well from her op – she showed me her war wounds and they are healing really nicely. We got back to Glasgow yesterday, and today the early alarm so that I could get a good amount of work done at work was a bit of a shock to the system, though not as bad as it could have been I guess (I’m expecting it to get cumulatively worse as the week progresses.  Groan). One of my New Year’s resolutions is to try to do at least a 9-5 day Monday to Friday at work as I really need to get my act together for a much more important resolution, which is to finish the thesis in 2009! I arrived at work at exactly the same time as the guy who shares my office (well, I suppose I should say I share his office as he was there before me!), it turns out that we have exactly the same resolution! (the 9-5 one anyway, he’s still got 3 years of his PhD to go). He reckons he’ll last till Wednesday, I’m at least giving myself till the end of the week!

Talking of resolutions, my various ones this year are (in no particular order):

* Finish and submit my thesis in 2009.
* 9-5 Monday to Friday working (at least) in order to achieve that.
* Lose weight. Having weighed myself this morning I am the heaviest I have ever been in my whole life, and I want to lose 24kg. Which is mathematically rather handy, as that makes 2kg a month (or about a pound a week in old money). I intend to do this through not snacking between meals, not buying chocolate (though I’m not going to be precious and if anyone gives me chocolate I’m not going to refuse it or make a big deal of it), having smaller portions and no seconds, and only having a glass of wine with a meal (usually if we have wine I tend to have 2 glasses). I reckon that will at least arrest the upward (and outward!) direction of the weight, and if I have to do more then it won’t be too difficult. I’ll also try to go to the gym a couple of times a week.
* Read the Bible daily. I don’t think there’s any point saying “Have a daily quiet time” as that just won’t happen, but having gone through (still am there really) a really dry patch I think that daily reading will at least be a step in the right direction.
* Try to reduce my overdraft and not spend money frivolously.

We’ll see. I think most of these are reasonably manageable.

Anyway – happy new year everyone!

Aberdonian adventures

HD and I went up to Aberdeen today. He had an interview and I came along for the ride really. We decided on the basis of the weather forecast to take the train, but when we left in the morning and it didn’t seem particularly icy out I wondered if I’d been making a bit of a fuss. However, by the time the train was north of Stirling I was really really glad we weren’t driving – there was a lot of snow to be seen, and a lot of fog, and the further north we got the colder it felt (oh.my.goodness it was so cold!), even while we were still in the train.

Once we had found where HD had to go we grabbed a drink (him) and sandwich (me) then I left him to do the hard work and I plonked myself down in the art gallery cafe and did some work (no, really – I rewrote next week’s conference talk AND read some journal articles, so it was very productive). We won’t know the outcome of the interview till next week – they are apparently interviewing a number of candidates this week, so although it is very selfish I think I shall pray that all the others are rubbish. I rather liked what I saw of Aberdeen (even though it was cold, grey and wet).

Now we’re back I’m catching up on work and programming in pictures to magically appear every day on my other blogs as we’re away this weekend. A friend is celebrating his 40th birthday by hiring some barges for the weekend, somewhere in Cheshire, so I shall be packing the thermals and spending the weekend on the ocean wave (or at least the canal wave). My worst ever holiday was a barge holiday, but I’m looking forward to this as it wasn’t the barge bit that was the problem before but the particular combination of people. 8 people on one barge for a whole week – I think I was the only person out of all 8 of us who didn’t have an argument with at least one other person; the atmosphere was permanently of the cut-with-a-knife variety. This time though it’s only a weekend, and the plan is basically to start at a pub, pootle down the canal till we find another, and then pootle back again. I think I can cope with that 🙂

London shipmeet

Today HD and I went into London town to meet up with some people from the Ship of Fools.  We started off at Tower Hill and then crossed Tower Bridge and walked along the South Bank.  I have to say, some people walked really really slowly!  But, I did have a good time, it was great to get back into London (and out of Luton for a bit!), and brilliant to see a number of people I’ve not seen since Greenbelt, or in some cases since I left London over 3 years ago, as well as to meet a few new people, including Kelly the guest of honour from California.  I took some photos which are here.

We stayed as far as the Tate Modern, but apart from looking at the big spider (brrrrr!) in the Turbine Hall HD and I only had time for a quick look round the shop (for a birthday present for a friend) before we had to head back to Luton. Everybody else carried on walking and were aiming for a pub near Waterloo, I was really sad we couldn’t go but needs must this time. If anyone fancies saying a little prayer for us, HD has a job interview next week (this is why we headed back, so he could spend some more time to prepare a rather scary-sounding – not to mention rather long – presentation he has to do). His contract here finishes in a few weeks’ time, so it would be good if we knew what life might hold in store (and at least where we’re going to end up) sooner rather than later. Thank you 🙂

Where did they put the volume control?

Today some of my really good friends from London, who have been up in Scotland for a family wedding, called in on me for the afternoon before heading back to the airport and home. I’d known about this for months, and was really looking forward to it – I’ve known K since 1990, and D since 1993 (I’ve known his brother though since 1987 as we were both at uni together), and I was birth partner when their two oldest kids were born (J, the oldest, is the equal-best godson in the world) (I have to say that, I have two godsons!). They also have 3 year old twins, T and M. However, whilst I was really looking forward to it, I have also, over the last few weeks, been looking at the Stately Pile and thinking a number of thoughts, namely: what am I going to do with all these kids? where can we go? how can I keep them interested and not bored for 4 hours? how badly are the twins going to trash my flat? etc etc, and I must admit I was a tad anxious too. However, I have to say, now that they’ve gone, that they were great – thankfully although the weather wasn’t exactly tropical it was at least dry so we spent quite a long time at the kids’ play area in the local park, and – most unexpectedly – the hit of the afternoon when they were here was my Goodies DVD, which they all loved, whoever would have thought it? The 70s may have been the decade that taste forgot, but even though it’s terribly dated the humour still works on so many levels.

I must admit though, my flat really is a bit on the small side for that many people, particularly little people with lots of energy. Although they were really well-behaved and didn’t totally trash the place, I did find myself marvelling not only at their energy but also at the fact that they never stopped being energetic and wanting to be in everything, even when they were watching the DVD. It was only when they left that I realised how quiet the flat was now it was only me again. I wonder if I’d find kids less exhausting if they came with a ‘mute’ button?