No it’s not a CIA inspired series for small people with fishing rods and pointy hats.  I have had the privilege for more years than I care to admit, to be welcomed into a second lovely family.  I tend to walk in the door, put the kettle on, do the washing up, kiss Bill, hug Maureen and read their radio times! I’ve gone to a family funeral, boxing days, and a lot of the best parties I can imagine.  I hate parties – formal clothes, too much booze, endless small talk.  But here I’ve played table football, pass the parcel without forfeits and card games, stood on chairs to put up balloons and made endless sandwiches. No pressure.  I’ve even been to a fancy dress party and formal black tie dinner with them.  Two of my worst nightmare scenarios!!  Having no brothers or sisters, it’s been great gaining an extra dimension of family belonging-ness even if it is loud, extravert and you never know what’s coming next.

But the flip side is the garden.  These are two of the warmest people with the craziest tastes.  Gnomes, plastic donkeys, ceramic fairies, an easter island head in plastic.  The gnomes are painted and repainted: some are noseless, some have collapsed faces.  No gnome seems too grotesque to be thrown away.  My friend spends days painting her mum’s rescue gnome collection and all I can do is sit there helpless with laughter, tea and lemon cake.  At least my real first family mum only collects plastic owls.  And I have “Dolly the sheep” or Hild as she got christened – she’s from a German friend. I hope she’s not going to be cloned any time soon.



Sparrow O’Clock

In summer the sparrows are waking at 4am. There’s a “chack chack” chorus from the greenery over the back wall.  With a light accompaniment of thin, thready song, which I suspect is robin wake up warbling. I’ve been sleeping in the back bedroom as the sash window isn’t so busted and opens letting in more breezes.  And air con hum from the shop over the wall, and breaking bottles from the bottle bank..and the sparrow alarm clock.

They dust bathe in my back yard.  Perch on the fence, dart down to flick feathers and find crumbs and whatever else sparrows find in moss and basic pottery pots back yard.

If they didn’t wake me up so early I would think more of the fact that Jesus talks about God caring about them and me, and less about why the heck they are so very noisy and unmusical!


Cake, white linen and neanderthals….

It’s been an interesting week really.  It started with a sermon that made me think.

I heard echoes of the rider on the white horse whose name is faithful and true

who leads out the armies of heaven dressed in white linen. (no not a sermon on revelation – but on Habakkuk!)

And I thought, what an impractical uniform for war.  Wearing linen I feel on egg shells each mealtime for spills, dressed in my best with the breeze blown through the weave.

White wear for a bride, not the blood of battle.  Only an army confident of overwhelming victory is going to war in such a suit.

Then I went home and watched a programme on BBC 2 on neanderthals.  Like you do!

I’m hooked, can’t wait for the next installment this Sunday.  Recreating a man’s face from a skull, 3D graphics, “neanderthal avatars” trying out kick boxing and break dancing…(BBC2 Neanderthals/meet your ancestors) Fast, powerful and lethal in a fight. I used to talk TV history programmes with my good friend Carol and I am sure she’d have loved this one. Maybe blogging about it honours her memory somehow.

Today I sat in the morning sun on a ratty picnic table with a manager in sunglasses with a cake box under her arm being fed distilled hope on my job.  Friday is a very nice place to get to.

Thank you for bearing with a little whimsy.  Especially as I’m stone cold sober.  Not even a bud “prohibition beer” in sight.

Sunburn Saturday

First Saturday in the month I walk.  Sometimes (like today) I have to make sandwiches prior, pack the rucksack, find walking clothes and talk sternly to my lazy Saturday seeking self to “GET OUT OF BED” It’s an early start and the bed is warm.  I have data processing back – sore and locked up.  And zero enthusiasm.  I walk into town with robin and long tail tits singing in the flowering cherry trees and flood my system with good filter coffee. And a little bit of joy comes back into the world!

Suitably drugged with caffeine, and with a friend making excuses to the group for my total inability to make small talk we plod along under blue “photoshopped it can’t be real” sky.  Chiff chaff and blackbirds hum and warble and the bird watcher in me thinks I hear a green woodpecker.  But it could just be someone laughing along the heathland.

Soft cotton washed beech leaves, the twisted sleeper planks laid across bog, walls patched with river tumbled pebbles from the pebblebed heath.  The sunbed coconut waft of ripening gorse and I’m searching for wheatears with their bandit black masks as we trail along.  Needless to say we don’t see any.

It’s a lovely day.  I hope it lasts, but if not I’m grateful.