Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Determined not to spend these last two days....

....soley in prep. for the Big One, we ( me and the kids) went for a walk this afternoon.
Keith is at work, and tomorrow too - boo!

As we live in the town, we have to drive to anywhere half decent for a walk and had got a fair way to our destination + getting caught in 'Last Minute' traffic, before Thomas quietly said,
' Did anyone shut the front door?'

No-one could remember, so we had to turn round, go back home and check - it was shut (phew) but see comment.

The reason we couldn't remember was because so much always goes on as we walk out of our front door and today, the precursor to the door opening, was a row about what ball to take and who's ball it was - like it matters, but it quite obviously and painfully does!

As I was going through the rigmarol of 'Finding The Keys' the kids tumbled out into the street, playing with the ball and as I walked out of the door, it became apparent to me that Thomas had no coat on, so I asked him to get one. I then went to one of my neighbours to give them a prezzie ( the guy who couldn't sleep in a previous blog)...it's a book about God! My neighbours wife was emotional.

We eventually ended up in Bedford's Park - a huge expanse of woodland and parkland - we have a favourite walk to a blasted tree which is Monkey Heaven and my monkeys took great delight in swinging about on it. It was getting gloomy at this point and I knew we had forest to walk through, so wanted to hurry along. We saw a dead fox, which wasn't nice, but it gave the kids a sence of purpose as I suggested we should stop in the Visitor centre to let them know.

There was a real sence of adventure too as Joe took us through a shrubbery instead of walking along the path - holly hair was the result ( Hedge Backwards designs)

The Park boasts a huge herd of Reindeer so we went to check them out, to ensure they were ready for the Call Up from St Nick!

It was quite magical really.

As we walked back to the car park, it was quite dark and amongst the trees was a lamp post - Narnia style - lovely. We all stopped to gaze for a moment then walked throught the trees to the car.

One of the most evocative sound tracks to a movie I think there is, is 'The Lord of The Rings - The Return of the King' and it was on the CD player in the car as we drove out of the park and down the winding lanes back to reality. I took my time driving along as the houses, mostly very posh, had put on a fabulous Festive Light Show.

Awe and Wonder were in my heart, Thomas ,Elyse and Joe were in my car and the lights of Romford were glowing in the distance.

...to be continued.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Ok - it's NOT the Real Thing, but it makes me feel VERY festive!

Other things that give me that Christmas Glow are:

  • Hearing a Salvation Army Band play Hark the Herald Angels, but it HAS to be outside carolling!
  • Christmas Lights on my tree.
  • The last day of the school term, kids coming home in random paper hats and school bags full of cards from mates that they see every day, but sign the card with their surname too - funny!
  • The 'pop' that the Quality Street tin makes when you open it for the first time.
  • All five of us snuggled on a sofa for four watching a daft Christmas movie.
  • Hearing Thomas confess in a morning meeting that he doesn't ever think about what he wants for Christmas, but that he's just thankful for what he gets!
  • A 90 year old lady putting £2 in my collecting box and telling me that the Salvation Army looked after her when she was a little girl.
  • Seasonal Veg Soup (brussel sprouts!) with chestnuts, leek and bacon hand made by two of my lovely buddies.
  • Knowing that I can have a lie in tomorrow
  • Singing this, this morning, and getting emotional

Then let us all with one accord Sing praises to our heavenly Lord That hath made Heaven and earth of nought And with his blood mankind has bought. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel Born is the King of Israel!

That's the REAL THING.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

The Advent Conspiracy

Check out this fab. site, bought to my attention by my cool friend and work colleague Michelle Leeder.


...and to help you out with spending less this Christmas Time, have a look at this list which I recycled from Judy's blog :

Christmas Gift Suggestions:

To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect."

Oren Arnold

I'd like to add one more:

To your family, TIME!

Happy Advent!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

No time to iron, but plenty to tidy up the Blog Roll.

If you haven't blogged since August basically - you're off ( for now)

Check out some new entries Faroe John, Ian M and Carus are worth a browse . Carus will link you to some other interesting types like Glyn and Katie. Steven O is CO at Failsworth in Manchester with his C-razy wife Lynley - she's Australian!...and Judy's is now linking to her new Blogspot Quiet Moments - lovely!

We're off to buy our REAL tree today with a root ball and everything :)


Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Curtain Update - because I know you care!

So, I got a phone call yersterday afternoon telling me that the curtains were in.

'Really?', I gasped, 'Oh my goodness that was quick....are you sure they are the right ones and not the original ones?'

'Oh, hold on' says the voice,' oh sorry you are right, these one have just been left in the trolley'

I am not too disappointed at this point but then the voice contunues with barely perceptable note of doom.

'Ah, Samantha ( my Nemesis) was just telling me about this one' she continues,' we are having to ring around as the material you want is discontinued, so we are seeing if we can source it from some of our other stores'

*gasp* again.

I go from feeling quite heartened by their service, which, if I hadn't goofed up would have been quite immaculate, to thinking that I reconfirmed my order last Monday and they are only just ringing round to source the fabric + they ring me to tell me that the curtains are 'in', when quite clearly they are not, and they have discussed the issue prior to me getting this call.

So there you go, I guess more will follow at a later date!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Please tell me if I've got the wrong end of the stick here but.....

.............I get an email from Children and Young People Now about ongoing and breaking news and quite a lot of it lately and not surprisingly, is about the reaction to various serious Child Protection cases that have been reported over recent weeks and months. This was in todays bulletin:

Kirklees Council announced earlier this week that two senior councillors would oversee a general review of the council's processes and working practices for child protection and safeguarding.

Jim Dodds, cabinet member for children and young people, said: ( italics mine)

"We are not carrying out this review because we have any specific concerns, but because we need to be seen to be responding to understandable and widely publicised national cases, which have an indirect impact on all agencies working in the field of child care, child protection, and safeguarding."

I have a real gut wrenching reaction about people doing things because they 'need to be seen' doing them. I have read this paragraph a number of times, and in the context of the article it was written, to see if I can somehow make it right in this case, to ensure that I am not flying off the handle here, but I just can't!

My question is - What will the review be based upon if they have no specific concerns and how much difference will the findings make if it's seemingly just a PR exercise?

Am I alone in thinking that sometimes I/we/people need to be brave enough to admit they have been wrong and step up to the plate, particularly when the safety of some of the most vulnerable people in our society is at risk?

I know the answer and I know the reality - sad isn't it?

Saturday, 6 December 2008

No time to blog? No time to breath.......

...but just two minutes ago I had a gift, a gift of an opportunity.

A chat with a next door neighbout as I was unloading shopping from the car - he asked me how we were going to celebrate Christmas this year - how has the credit crunch changed our plans? I had to confess, not that much as we have never gone really mad a Christmas Time anyway.

'Oh' he said, 'and the fact you have a faith probably makes a difference anyway?'

( Thank you God)

YES it totally does! He went on to tell me that he has suffered from ill health lately and isn;t really sure that tomorrow is promised, so when he goes to sleep at night, he's not really sure of his options - calls himself an agnostic and thinks that he'll end up somewhere, just where though?

We talked about the magic of Christmas Eve having kids in the house and here's where God stepped in.

'You know', I heard myself say, 'my faith means that when I go to sleep at night, any night, I have the hope and the anticipation of Christmas Eve in my heart, the promise of something better tomorrow'

He gave one of those lop sided looks that people do when they are maybe pondering something for a moment and don't quite know what to say...

( people DO look at me like that fairly often - is it just a ME thing or does anyone else ever get that?)

.....so I said,'Bless you, it was really good having this chat - hope you sleep well tonight'.

We both laughed and went on our way.


Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Tough week and it's only Wednesday? Pray this!

‘…‘I do not [make judgments] out of the narrowness of my experience, but in the largeness of the one who sent me…’ John 8: 14 – 18
God will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love…’Zephaniah 3:17

Verse 1
When the day begins
Let the morning bring
Mercy melodies that feed my soul
When the evening comes
And the day is done
Father, quiet me with songs of love

So I can know you
Hear what you say
So I can walk with you
To the places that need your grace

Verse 2
In my hopes and dreams
In everything I see
Your perception is the truth I need
In the things I do
All that I pursue
Thread your presence through the heart of me

So I can know you
Hear what you say
So I can walk with you
To the places that need your grace,

Lord I often trust in what I see and what I touch
Let my choices rest in everything you are

So I can know you
Hear what you say
So I can walk with you
To the places that need all that grace has achieved for us.

So I can know you
Hear what you say
So I can walk with you
To the places that need your grace
To the places that need your grace
Father this is my prayer today

Monday, 1 December 2008

It's Curtains for Me!

As feared, the curtains that were waiting for me at the Mill were indeed made to the original measurements - I take full blame for the wrongness of the measurements.

I visited the Mill this morning with my head so full of other stuff that I suddenly realise I am feeling no anxiety - OR maybe someone was praying for me. Either way, I was fortified.

My Nemesis turns to face me and I smile and say 'Hello, I'm Mrs Hall'. She gives me a blank look. I fill her in on the situation so far and the light begins to dawn. No-one has told her to expect me and I am disappointed, feeling guilty that I have more information that she does, and she works there.

Anyway, I trail behind her to 'The Desk' and she asks her supervisor if she knows anything, at which point I become invisible and the supervisor swings into full supervision by telling my Nemesis that she will have to sort it out.

I invite myself to take a seat and watch as the full horror unfolds - she can't find the paperwork, she refers to the Supervisor again who suggests she should make a phone call. She explains roughly what has happened to someone on the other end of the phone, getting a few facts wrong, but at this point I am beginning to feel sorry to her! The supervisor suggests that she check the curtains to ensure they are the wrong ones, and they are, but even wronger than my measurements. They have added a few centimetres, but not enough to make up the full metres I had missed, unfortunately.

While she is gone checking all this, the Supervisor turns to me to explain that she is encouraging my Nemesis to do this on her own as it will be good for her. I explain that I don't have all day.

Another phone call ensues and meanwhile I go and look at the short version of my curtains and I have to say, they are lovely - I could have cried!

Anyway, to cut a long curtain short, the Curtain Makers have actually mucked up, as the new measurements were sent through, but ignored as they are so busy and so my curtains are now 'remakes'.

The good news here is that I don't have to pay for them - only the wrong ones, essentially getting the ones I want for half price. Very cool indeed.

I am advised that I might not get them beofre Christmas but I don't care and suddenly I am their favourite customer - 'If only all our customers were like you', the supervisor says.

GASP! So, in this chummy mood that is enveloping us all, I begin to share my fears about habidashery and how this has only compounded them and the Supervisor confesses that she is intimidated by it all too, but the girls keep her on track.....on track....!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh dear me, how we laughed.

So yeah, my Nemesis, is just normal and we are now almost mates and I'm really looking forward to going to collect my new curtains - again!