Monday, 24 April 2017

It's What Friends Are For!

This is my first visit to the American South. I have been visiting the US for forty years, and the farthest south I've been (in the east, that is) is Washington DC way back in 1977. 


It's a pleasure to be here, guests of a friend of my husband from the Forest of Dean Chess Club in Mitcheldean, Gloucestershire. Stephen has a holiday home here in Davenport, Florida, which is a LONG way from Mitcheldean! 

Today we visited Mount Dora, which reaches a lofty elevation of 184ft. This is lofty for Florida. 

Lovely little lakeside town. Here are the photos, you can judge for yourself:

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

The True Democrats

In August 2015 I watched a rank outsider, a pacifist, socialist, a vegetarian, jam-maker romp home against a skilled and polished set of opponents to become leader of what is now, thanks to him, the largest Social Democratic Party in Europe.


I am referring to Jeremy Corbyn, and as those who read my blog will know, I joined the party during his acceptance speech, having voted as a Fabian.


Jezza, as I hardly ever call him, has had a rough ride since August 2015. Establishment figures of every hue have mounted a pretty relentless campaign of vilification against him: HIM, personally, not his policies: I remember a few of the squalls of outrage: he doesn't bow, he doesn't wear a tie. He rides on trains, he rides a bicycle, he is weak, he is a bully, he has no charisma, he is a cult figure ... And on and on and on.


What I first noticed about him was, that he always answer the questions put to him. I was, frankly, amazed! Politicians have 'Media Gurus' that train them in avoiding doing so, by any means possible. If appreciating that he treats me with that kind of respect makes me a dupe of a Cult Figure, so be it.


Moving on. Having joined the Labour Party I am now faced with a choice. Will paying the fees and turning up for the vote suffice, or should I get involved. I got involved. I started going to meetings. There are six of us who meet regularly, eight sometimes, though hundreds have joined the Party in our region recently, few others come to meetings.


I am now the Chair of our Branch, because I caved when it looked like no-one would stand, and here I am leading meetings giving away jobs, smiling a lot.


I like talking about myself, I expect most bloggers do, but this isn't about me. I breezed in, and as I once made abundantly clear if the bastards finally get their own back, and Jeremy Corbyn is ousted, I'm off! I do a great flounce. I know how to cancel a standing order!


Cherry looks at me and says, quietly ( she is a quiet person) " You can't. There's too much inequality"


I looked at Cherry, and Chris and Roger, the old-timers, so recently enthused by the arrival of a true left- winger as Party Leader. They know the score, they sit it out year after year, doing the donkey work, knocking on doors, distributing leaflets: a thankless task in a Tory town.


These are the true democrats. They do what they do because they want people to know things can be different. They give people a choice.


And Corbyn? Well, if the attack-dogs hound him out of office, he'll carry on doing what he's always done: Steadfastly standing up for the vulnerable, defending public services, calling out the profiteers and the war-mongers. And me? How could I possibly let Cherry down.

Friday, 14 April 2017

God's Friday

I have one of my signature chest infections, and it's jolly inconvenient. At least it frees me up to blog.

Most of the Triduum will pass me by this year, I am not even sure that I will make the Easter Vigil on Saturday night, which is going to be a problem, because I am Flower Monitor and the flowers are placed in the church immediately before the Gloria and if I'm not there, WHO'S GOING TO ORGANISE IT?

I fetched the flowers from the wholesaler yesterday, and dropped them off at Gail's house. She is an artist, and what she does will be uplifting and amazing. I just put them in pots.

Gail is, like me, a convert to Catholicism, and the shine hasn't worn off. I often feel I need to apologise for being a Catholic, because everybody knows that since the Church become a corporate arm of the state in three-hundred- and-something, very bad things have happened. Still are, I expect, I make no excuses.

"Bad Day?" Gail was looking frazzled.

"My boss (An Evangelist) won't come tomorrow because we're idolaters." Eye roll. So this Man of God had spent the day bending Gail's ear, with, basically, "Why You Shouldn't Be A Catholic For Dummies." No wonder non-Christians laugh at us. What a plonker.

Not going to fall into the trap of passing any (other) judgement on him. I give Gail a hug, and leave to go to bed with paracetamol and a gallon of water.

It was my turn to preach at Outdoor Church on Tuesday. I say, "Preach" but it's a lot less grand than that really. Outdoor Church meets in Gloucester Park on Tuesday's, and is pretty much just that.

I'm nervous. The last time I preached it all ended in tears (mine). Our people are not pretty people, and sometimes the sheer hopelessness of their lives spills out as anger. I get it. Or, I got it, both barrels, and, 'fessing up, I deserved it.

So I'm sitting on the steps of the bandstand stilling my mind, quieting my heart ready for the service to start.

Kurt and Graham are letting off steam. Some Christian had told them they couldn't be friends with them because they're 'clients.' And they are angry. "They're fake." Says Kurt. "Never met a true Christian!"

I don't intervene. If I had, I'd have said,

"We're ALL plonkers."


Friday, 7 April 2017

Poet's Block (Resolved)

Poet Unblocked


There came a day when I was SO

A Poet

That I felt in incumbent on me

To Be Word Perfect.


This led to .. Problems.


Honest but ordinary joys like

Smelling the flowers

Listening out for church bells

Holding the babies -

Those kind of things, were,

Well, just too mundane.


For A Poet Like Me!


I felt sure, given a moment

I could outdo Tennyson and give

Betjeman a run for his money


Wax lyrical on grand occasions

Make a mark in literary circles and even - You know -


Be Published.


Bugger it.


I LIKE what I

Used to write before I was

A Poet.


It wasn't capital letter great, but it was me.


Flighty, Flirty a Little Bit Dirty ...


Full of Spring and things that

Sprung to mind. Like say


God and stuff.


So, now my fingers are flying across the keyboard again


The church bells are ringing in my head, The babies are asleep in my memory and the flowers are once more stimulating my olfactory nerve. We're off!