Thursday, 25 February 2010

Ireland's Call

Where would we be without Radio 4? I love it. It takes me right back to hovering around my mother in the kitchen while she worked to the now deeply reassuring tones of Woman's Hour, then broadcast much later in the day, I think?

Well, today I listened to their first Lenten talk by Will Self on iplayer. What a great, free, erudite broadcasting we can have! I had come from breakfast in bed, crocheting to the still deeply reassuring Woman's Hour; my Thursday mornings can be unashamedly hedonistic!


My own Lenten readings have been no less of a revelation. As I looked back over the first few days I found myself circling all occurrences of the word back and becoming more and more determined to move forward instead.

When I grew up here in the seventies nobody talked about what was going on. Even my denomination was iniquitously silent thereon. Our news this week is not good. But I won't go back.

Meanwhile Prince Charming has gone rugby mad. It started with Invictus last Saturday night and I have been informed that it is due to culminate in a rugby viewing, Guinness swilling, ultimately meal consuming party this Saturday. His own blog reverberates with Ireland's Call which has apparently been taught to the strawberries this evening! Like the movie, we're beyond rugby as mere sport. No child of ours is going back either.



Monday, 22 February 2010

A gold medal in the Strawberry Olympics

I have not been angry today. I have not been anxious today. A new song has been sung in this house today. Two suns have gone to bed happy, and I cannot quite believe today.


This is my little attempt at a Lenten creative journal. If you do away with the... clenched fist... your light will rise in the darkness , and your shadows become like noon. Isaiah 58. I'm very encouraged- there has never been a clenched fist, I must categorically point out, but there is generally rage at some point!

Earlier in Lent I smiled at the repetition of "thanks offerings" in Psalm 50. And wavered over my Lenten abstention from Internetia. This and Floss' post have sent me to the keys. 172-181.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Three tall tigers tippling tuppenny tea...

This afternoon I was invited by Miss Bennett to a most civilised afternoon tea party in the most Edwardian of style.

We sat down to cake, bunts and scones with tea, and discussed M&S strawberry jam, rites of passage, Rosa Parks, and scrap-booking. My Lenten creative journal has been much inspired!

We then retired to the withdrawing room for a recorder recital and poetry reading. Tongue-twisters and Shell Silverman.

And all inspired and woven about by the Girls' Annual- so refreshing when one is the mother of suns! Thank you, Miss Bennett!



Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Feasting on Lent

Apologies for the weird picures today! We've gone to the desert big time in our house this week- no sand left in the sandpit, so we made do with a lid and a packet of red lentils! Just to further clarify: Jesus is Spiderman "because Spiderman is powerful", and we have a dark knight as the Devil. As we were including Mark's account in our study we also had to have angels- Mattman found one left hanging around (no pun intended!) from the Christmas tree-and wild animals- you may note some dinosaurs in amongst the lions (and tigers)!

Just out of picture we had an ELC garage as the city with tall temple, and a homemade cuckoo clock perched atop the Wii box as a high mountain. Jojo impressively said that the mountain must have been Mount Evrest- his pronunciation; we do know a lot about Everest and other big mountains in this house, don't we, dear?!

Interstingly our lives formed a perfect parallel to the Temptation story yesterday. From the great triumph of this creatively spiritual moment we descended into the hell of a day at home with two small boys that included a broken (favourite) vase and much lamentation on everyone's part. PC points out as I type that this is just like my own enlightened thought of the weekend- the Temptation comes immediately after the triumph of the Baptism. There you go...

I will not be giving up chocolate for Lent. I will be giving up the inordinate amount of time I use escaping to the Internet, ie facebook! And instead I will be going back to my usual Lenten read- Delia, but not with her chef's hat on. And generally trying to get back on top of my life here in Strawberry Land!

I have all your addresses saved into Favourites and will be reading you as special treats- but less from me for a while. Thank you for all your kind comments, and may Lent for you be a time of calm reflection- with more angels than wild beasts!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Friday, 12 February 2010

I am intending.

I am intending to finish packing for a weekend away with Prince Charming, both suns, and my parents in the same mountain hide-away that sheltered us at Hallowe'en.

I am intending to make and ice a carrot cake after packing and before a hot and luxuriant bubble bath.

I am intending to decide whether or not to insert quirky images like Crafting Catherine or to scour our archives for relevant photographs.

I was intending to avail of twenty-four hour Mr Very Big Supermarket Chain to procure last minute essentials.

As you can see, I am achieving none of the above- but I am very much enjoying all your posts! (This does, however, reinforce my current ponderings on Lenten fasts...)

Happy Half-Term! See you for pancakes- a very big day in our house!

Monday, 8 February 2010

Thank you on a Monday to...

...162. Sammy Wilson!

Congratulations on your blog award. I appreciate you passing it onto me and can I wish you all the best for your blogging in the future.

SAMMY WILSON MP MLA

(dictated by Mr Wilson and sent on his behalf)

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Happy Birthday, Sarah!


When I first went on a Presbyterian Overseas team to France, amongst many other life changing things that happened then and on subsequent trips, I met Sarah and her family. She was four months old. Her older sister was slightly older and in a plaster cast. Her parents were coping valiantly with work, mission, heat, mosquitoes, ants, camping with two babies, one in a plaster cast!

Tonight we were honoured to be invited to her now Irish home to celebrate with her friends and family- still one older sister, one younger brother and one younger sister. Valiant folk indeed!

Eighteen cupcakes for eighteen years- Happy Birthday, Sarah!

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Key Skills

Mags' perspective:

Year 10 Careers 12.25pm Friday. Key Skills. Communication being top of the List. Example given was of asking for a refund in a shop. I recount PC's highly successful standing ground in a well-known car and bicycle chain.

The story began last Saturday when all four strawberries set off excitedly to buy new bikes for junior strawberries. There was a sale that had been well researched by PC. Chosen bikes were not in stock. Lamentation and gnashing of milk teeth. Assistant assures us that bikes will be in stock on Wednesday and, my goodness yes, this sale will be on for another month.

PC returns to same shop with small things on Wednesday night when I was at my Library work. Manager decries thought that sale would still be on and the bikes are not yet out of their packages and are therefore unbuilt. Come back on Friday, and ok we'll let you have them at sale price.

Calm negociation on PC's part displays great communication skills. Even my Year 10 are impressed by this and particularly like thought that at that very moment two small suns will soon be cycling happily along.


Prince Charming's perspective:

Friday. First visit to shop. Bikes are here, come this way to complete paperwork. Daddy, I can't pedal this. Jojo's stabilisers are touching ground, but the back wheel alas no. PC also spots screws missing on Mattman's silver loveliness. Oh dear, we'll have to fix that.

Prince Charming's calm negociation skills are disappearing fast, as is suns' ability to delay gratification much longer. Quick trip to not just any coffee shop, but *&* coffee shop. Apple juice and gingerbread men later. We can't seem to fix these stabilisers. They're a bit wobbly. They're not really safe enough for my child. Hmmm. Refund for stabilisers. Trip required to another well-known high street stockist of all things children for stabilisers (and new cycle helmet to avoid paying any more money to chain 1).

Don't know that Year 10 patience would stretch to the full version next week!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Five favourite things

These three. My strawberries!


Bed- at home (droooool), or anywhere actually!





Food- preferably with friends, and certainly culminating in beach barbecue. (Adults were very present and all litter responsibly disposed of....)



Holidays. Not necessarily in Avignon for the Festival. It's nice there too in Lou Mistrou's with a chocolat chaud end of January!


Experience giving meaning to language...




ps Gordon Brown is very accessible, but Stormont wins the alacrity of automated response prize. Sammy Wilson however had a glossy brochure through my door today. Impressive. (I think all of Newtownabbey got one!) He says he's working hard for me in Westminster...

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Bolts from Books


First outstanding quote of yesterday: His mother is not a good housewife," one of the women claims. "Their house is shabby and dirty. She's lazy and doesn't stay home."

Second outstanding quote of yesterday: If only they would read a little Dickens or Kipling they would soon discover there was more to life than cheating people and watching television. One cannot help thinking of recent media storms here in this little Northern land...

I am therefore going to send on this fabulous and most appreciated award to:

Gordon Brown, Brian Cowen, Peter Robinson, Martin McGuinness and, my own MLA (I think?!), Sammy Wilson.

I'll have to list my five favourite things tomorrow, as I appear to have some interesting people to find now...

Monday, 1 February 2010


152. Greatly thankful that January has gone so quickly, especially for friends who dread the whole month. I think it has sped by partly beacuse of the...
153. SNOW, snow, snow, snow, SNOW!
154. Lovely friends with whom to craft and coffee, share and survive (Inspections!)
155. Progress on the GCSE "Learning for Life and Work" front, though the road is still long!
156. Suns who have really been most sunny- I am loving these ages and stages
157. A very mellow Sunday spent entirely at home yesterday, during which it actually started to look more like home and less like a scruffy charity shop!
158. The not unrelated desire to be even slightly houseproud in February, fuelled in another part by Prince Charming bringing home brother-in-law, brother-in-law's girlfriend, brother-in-law's friend and brother-in-law's friend's wife from last night's gig!

159. Sun stars for following instructions in school. Oh the relief of letting go, even for a moment.
160. It was fabulous to have a chance to hear North this weekend. I've been watching that guitarist on stages for nearly twenty years now!
161. Head Down and Keep Going- the adage that is replacing Keep calm and Carry On in the Land of the (sometimes tearful) Strawberries. But we do laugh when it is pronounced...