Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The Feast of the Unconquered Son

I realise this is a dreadful play on the Latin words.

Sol Invictus. The undefeated sun, from the Sol cult. A late Roman festival, held on 25th December to celebrate this deity  may or may not be responsible for the date we celebrate Christmas.

Saturnalia an earlier festival that started in the third century BC held from 17th December onwards is more often linked to Christmas in modern tradition; but there is no real connection.

But on 25th December I was very happy to celebrate the feast of Gods unconquered Son; even if we don't really have a clue what time of day, what time of of year he was born - or even what year for that matter. 

I would love to know the details, when / where / how.....  Why did Mary go with Joseph? We guess that only males were required to travel to their home towns because of the census. Did Joseph take her away with him because she was an outcast in her own home and town because of her unexpected pregnancy?  Did Mary travel on a donkey? No idea. Did they travel alone or with friends / relatives?

There is a subtle hint that maybe he was not born straight away after they arrived in Bethlehem: "While they were there" the time came for the baby to be born. It was probably not a romantic little stable in a Bethlehem inn (there was after all NO room at the inn). Maybe in a field, or a borrowed house. Some tradition has it that he was born in a cave. Possibly a barn. Barn / stable - what difference. Somewhere poor anyway. He had to be put in a manger to sleep. Sounds awfully scratchy for soft newborn skin.

Shepherds visited him the night after he was born. Shepherds, the lowest of the low - why did God choose them in particular? We hear no more about them - what happened to them after this/ Did any of the shepherds survive to become disciples? Did they bring him a lamb? Not very likely if he was born in mid winter, but there are no clues about this in the Bible. What did the locals think when the shepherds were racketing around Bethlehem celebrating the birth? Did anyone else see the angels?

What did the locals think of the whole thing? How bitter were they about the escape of one child when all the other young boys in their town were massacred? That takes us to the Wise men. Where did they come from? (the 'East' - very informative!) How many were they, did they fully understand the significance of their gifts? Did they follow a star, or simply see a star as the were skywatching at home, then see it again when they finally found their way to Bethlehem? Were they really so naive as to believe Herod? And how old was Jesus when they reached the village? He is called a 'young child' not a baby in that part of the story. And Herod told his soldiers to kill all boys under two, so Jesus was probably at least a toddler.

How did Mary and Joseph feel about it all? I think what would have impressed me most was Jesus' welcome in the Temple, when his parents took him there. Anna and Simeon - wow! What prophecies!

I would love to know about the family's stay in Egypt. How long? What happened? 

The rest of Jesus childhood is almost a closed book. He had siblings; I would guess all younger than him unless they were half siblings as some traditions have it; four brothers and some unnamed sisters.  He lived in Nazareth for some of the time. His father was a carpenter / builder. Was he working on some of Herods great building projects? It would be so good to learn more.

Pup is crazy about the carol 'Once in Royal Davids City' at the moment after learning it in school choir. It has a few lines that had himself and me in hysterics recently:

'Christian children all must be
Mild obedient, good as he'

Our boys mild, obedient?? If this was the young Jesus, then it's a role model they just could not live up to. So maybe it's a good thing that we just don't know what sort of child he was. If he was 'Our childhoods pattern', he would give every child a complex, mine not the least. So I think I'd rather not know some of the details. But the story fascinates me, and I would really love to know more about the incredible story of how Gods unconquered son was made a child, and came to live on Earth.

'Our God contracted to a span,
Incomprehensibly made man'

(from Charles Wesleys hymn  'Let earth and heaven combine')

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

I want, I want, I want.....

No it's not the kids with their christmas lists, it's me.

The kids don't know what they want. Pup says he 'likes surprises'. When I suggested that nothing was a good surprise he got quite indignant, so I think he does want a christmas present. But I'm the one with the three page wish list on Amazon. Himself struggled very hard to produce a decent wish list for his family, who probably very sensibly don't do surprises (at least then you get something you actually DO want). All he wanted was a Kindle.

And I have been trying so hard to fight my materialist streak this year. Looks like it really is NOT working. of course what I really want is peace on earth, and peace with God for all men. But I don't have that sort of faith.

Ho Hum. Or should I say Ho Ho Ho?

Thursday, 17 November 2011

I was wrong

(And mummies aren't wrong very often!)

Pup doesn't need glasses, at least not yet.

Tigs does
His teacher says she was not surprised because he was always wanting to be at the front in class and to peer closely at things. So why didn't she tell us? Doh!
Picking his specs up next week. I'm  a bit sad because it will be harder to see his gorgeous long dark eyelashes. I'm a bit worried because he is an anarchist and the wildest of the wild things, and I'm pretty sure that broken glasses will become a normal part of our future. But I hope it will help him concentrate, especially in school.

As for Pup, he is spitting bricks - he was desperate for specs of his own, and his little bro has got there first!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Pup update

Things seem to be piling up for Pup at the moment.

The Docs are not happy with him, as his gastric reflux seems to be getting worse.

He was recently referred to the physiotherapist to try and improve his mobility problems. She says that he has hypermobile joints. This explains in part some of his clumsiness and difficulty with gross and fine motor control, and why he tires so easily.

And we strongly suspect that he needs glasses - he keeps complaining that things look 'fuzzy' and he is reluctant to read at present, especially on the computer. I am surprised as I'm not aware of sight problems in his birth family, that's one family issue we thought he'd escape - both Himself and I come from short sighted families. So it's off to the optician for us this afternoon. I could cry for Pup - he's got so many issues, it's just one more thing he doesn't need to deal with.

He went through a down patch last year, which he seems to be out of. But he still says things that worry me sometimes - like saying he'd like to be dead. Not in a depressed way, but because he wants to go to heaven.

But please don't think he's unhappy.

Life may be harder for him than for most kids, and often he doesn't seem to know which way up he is. But mostly he is laughing.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Dad's birthday


It's exactly six months since he died.

I still can't believe it.
One of my favourite pictures of us all together (pretending to be lions!)

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Today the cat came to school

It was an accident.

   We were having one of those truly awful school mornings that I think most mums have occasionally. Pup is not an organised child, and he is very distractable; and Tigs is only five and still getting used to the school routine, and would much rather play, thank you very much,  if mum takes her eye off the ball......
The biggest argument for home schooling I know is the awfulness of school mornings. (I still have no plans to homeschool though; I can see the case for it, but  I also know my own shortcomings!)
   Anyway, back to this morning. We left the house ten minutes late, Pup still putting on his shoes and coat. As it is a twelve minute walk  that was serious. I am trying to teach my kids the importance of being on time. (Trying being the operative word here)

   So we were moving fast and not looking behind us. The Kit hasn't followed us for weeks. Then seven minutes into the trip I looked round and there was one wild eyed and panicking kitten just behind us. What to do? Run him back home and be REALLY late? I didn't, I scooped him up and he came along with us. He behaved impeccably until I'd sent Pup into the playground and dropped Tigs off at the office (rather that take him into his classroom with a kitten in arms). Can you imagine the chaos if I went into a class of 30  four and five year olds with a kitten? I can and I didn't want to...) All the way home he squirmed and wriggled, miawed and tried to grab my face. And was he sorry? Not a bit. He got home, demanded his second breakfast and pounded out of the catflap. Not seen him since.

Cats. Who'd have them?

Sunday, 30 October 2011

A burial

We had a burial this afternoon. Our soft hearted Tigs was quite distressed, the rest of us were not so bothered. Forensics suggest that the body that Tigs discovered in the garden was murdered quite recently. We suspect that the criminal was ginger. The victim was a rat.

However we haven't convicted the ginger peril. Pawprints found at the scene were not sufficiently clear to make a good case against him, and there are several other suspects; at least one of whom was seen lurking suspiciously in the area the day before.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Tigs is five

About 18 months old
  This totally wild boy has reached his 5th birthday. I can't call him a toddler any more, sadly. And I can see how he's moving further away from me each day. That's the way it should be; and we've got a lot of years to go yet. But seeing my two neices who are 13 and 16 getting towards the 'leaving home' stage I can see what will happen to us in 13 (?) years or so. And it's not long. I really enjoy watching him grow and develop. Yesterday I saw a man out walking with his toddler boy, and felt very envious.  But I don't really want to go back there - do I?

  I suppose every parent feels the same; but it didn't feel so bad with Pup; partly because his little brother was still around, and partly because I suspect Pup will always be much more dependant on us. 

  I am concerned about Tigs because since he started school he seems to have lost interest in books, both in reading and being read to. And he's stopped trying to write.  I am concerned because he has a rebellious streak (no, not a streak, more like a motorway) and I think he may have stopped because he's suddenly realised that he now has to learn these things. Up until now it's been a game. And his behaviour at home has become er..... challenging. Apparently it has been similar at school. He has been keeping the teachers very busy. We have always said that he has to be kept busy; if he gets bored there is TROUBLE.

  I think its just a matter of watch, wait and hope he gets back on-line.

Meanwhile (in no particular order) more pics:
With Grandpa

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Phase Change

   I can't get over the feeling that my whole life is going through a period of change - physical, and spiritual. Partly because Tigs is now at school, so the shape of my days is changing. But other things as well. Mum moving near us is a big change.
My job now feels superflous. Not unnecessary, because I need to earn money, but I feel quite disconnected from it; which isn't too good, as I still need to do it, and do it well. I was always planning to change direction workwise when Tigs started school, but Dad's illness and death have inhibited me from doing anything about it over the last few months. Now Mum is moved, and most of the work on her house is done (it will be sold soon, we hope - we have a buyer) I can start to think again.

What I'd really like: to write books. A crazy ambition as I know there are a hundred wannabes out there for every published author. I've ideas galore for stories.

And I'd like to get fit (which is why I'm sitting at the computer not out cycling, jogging or swimming!!?)

And spiritually. At church recently we had a big event that has made me feel I am not doing enough with God - that is a clumsy way to put it, but I'm not sure how else to say it. The church want to do mission. The idea makes me cringe and shrivel like a small screwed up piece of paper. A few years ago they had an 'outreach' event, where it was suggested that everyone should be getting out there to evangelise. I did point out that this was totally unbiblical, that even Paul with his mission to save the world says that 'some are evangelists...'. Which lets me off nicely.  When I try to 'share the word' it always goes badly wrong, and to say the least, is not usually at all glorifying to God. Maybe I need to  / can get better at it, but I have to be realistic and accept I do not have a gift in that direction. So it's possible I can support the drive to mission by baking cakes or something similar. And praying - need more practice in that area. MUCH more practice.

So get to it !

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Found under my sofa

Meat cleaver
Road sign
Thomas the tank engine book
A grape
Assorted pens, pencils
One (only one!) of Pups enzyme tablets - he's always dropping them.
A long lost application form for the summer holiday club
4 cat toys
A monkey
One needle
Lid from drink bottle
A LOT of dust.

Sadly no money, or missing treasure.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

In my dreams...

......once my little Tigs started school, I would be free to get so much done. have tons of time, and be full of energy to complete a few projects and start dozens more. To do some voluntary work. To maybe do a few extra hours paid work.

In my dreams.

The reality? The last two weeks trying to organise moving Mum to her new home, rushing over to the old house at weekends to sort / pack up / throw away all my parents nearly 50 years of married life, plus a tons of stuff belonging to grandparents. Trying to hold it together on the one day a week I do go into work, so it doesn't show that I am shattered all the time.

Well we have finally moved mum, and have an offer on the house, which we are minded to accept. So phase 47 of the 'sort out the parents' plan is over. The most important bit - get mum somewhere to live where (I hope) she can be safe and happy. Relax for ten seconds. Now move on to the next phase. Sort out money, start the massive job of emptying our spare room of the piles of clutter we've acquired. Sell a few things.

And Tigs has just gone down with one of his stinking colds - and when he gets a cold he gets one. So that's one little boy who won't be going to school tomorrow, so I can't go visit mum to see if she's settling in or needs anything. Still, I'm happy that she is in the 'right' place; everything seems to say she's where she should be. I hope she feels the same and settles quickly. I hope so, because I chose this home for her.

mum and dad
I can't imagine what it must be like at 82 to lose your husband, home, and most of your pssessions, to move 50 miles from home to where very few people know you, to a home chosen by someone else; and to have to start again. I just pray it will be easy for her. She coped really well with the journey, although she was exhausted, and the staff were very welcoming.  It's a small residential home, with about 25 residents with really friendly staff. I thinks she'll like it. I hope so!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

A new beginning

Tigs started school this week.

He admitted to me that he was a bit worried, and he has regressed slightly lately; in the nicest possible way. He taken to carrying his cuddly cat and half a dozen of his bears around with him at home(he's a bit of an arctophile) He's also been taking them to bed, which he stopped doing a few months ago. He tried to smuggle his doll into his school bag. And dad and I are getting lots more cuddles than usual.
I like it.
On the day school started he ran out of his bedroom at 7 o'clock screaming "I'm going to school, I'm going to school!"
Since then he has been high as a kite, although I have noticed yesterday that  the wind is dropping slightly.
 When we got to school the first morning he was all for kissing me goodbye in the corridor; he did not seem at all concerned. I had to persuade him that I was coming into the classroom.for a while.
That day he literally bounced all the way home from school (we have a ten minute walk to school)

Pup seems to be coping ok in his new class so far as well. He has a male teacher this year, which we are very happy about. They seem to be getting down to work straight away - year 3 means real work, no more play. I think it will do him good.

And I am getting used to a new era, of being child free at home. The first day I felt completely lost, and spent about an hour wandering the house. Going out for lunch to a friend whose little boy has just started as well  was a real help. Today is my first full day home alone. It is going very slowly......

Thursday, 1 September 2011

One hard thing about Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a hard enough thing to deal with, but one thing I find particularly hard is the not knowing.
Not knowing  in five or ten or twenty years time whether we will still have our son.
Whether he will be fit, active; able to work rest and play like anyone else.
Or maybe exhausted, oxygen dependant, wasting away for want of a lung transplant.

Not knowing whether a treatment will be found to 'cure' him. There is no real cure for any genetic condition. There are drug therapies in the pipeline. Gene therapy, lung treatments. Any or all of them may change the future for CF sufferers. Maybe it will become just a 'mildly debilitating' condition as I heard it described recently, instead of a lethal killer.

We don't know.  He doesn't know.

He's lying on the sofa right now, worn out after a trip to the hairdresser and half an hour at the playground. Every time we have a bad day like this I wonder if it's just normal tiredness for a child who is growing fast and has had a busy few days, or a short setback; or the beginning of the downhill slope for his health.

 I try and be positive. My sister has been reassuring me - her daughter is going through a growth spurt at the moment and gets very tired.  And he was clowning around in the swimming pool yesterday with as much energy as anyone. So maybe it's just me. I should stop thinking.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Legoland in the rain

Is fun. 
Believe me! The queues are shorter, you get the water play area to yourself. 

It's worth it.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

A byte

I wonder if kids can be civilised?

Pup, who is a gentle boy and not usually aggressive, has just bitten his brother, leaving a nice ring of toothmarks. And lied about it in the face of this incontrovertable evidence. No-one else in the room, and there's no way Tigs can have bitten his own stomach.

What do you do with them?

Postscript: Pup has just said very sadly "I'm sorry I bit Tigs. I'll always be sorry". Learning about remorse at the age of 7!

Monday, 15 August 2011

just pictures

Of our recent holiday. Sun, sea, beaches, trains, room to run - what else do 2 small boys need?


  I have been looking at my last few posts and detected a sad and maybe monotonous theme running though them.
And it's a bit misleading really, because our life is going on here despite the fact that Dad is missing from it.

  The kids are as hyper as ever. Tigs excelled himself yesterday by throwing moonsand ALL OVER the kitchen, then tipping a bottle of linseed oil out all over the summerhouse floor (at least it wasn't anything worse - we store our old paint pots in there!) He is full of destructive mischief at the moment. He writes on his bedroom wall and furniture (his 'job' this morning is to wash down part of the wall). This morning I walked into his bedroom to find he's ripped all his posters off the wall. Fine, he'll have to do without them. He's torn a massive hole in the wall of the trampoline doing a somersault - thankfully it did its job and he didn't fall off. He really needs school! not that I want rid of him, but I feel I'm not giving him enough; that it's partly boredom that is making him like this. At least I hope it is . If not I may just have to accept the truth - that that I am rearing a vandal!
   It's only 3 weeks until he starts school. Only 3 weeks holiday to go. I was really looking forward to this holiday, but now I approach each day thinking 'what will he destroy or break  today?' :-(
  Both boys are banned from their bikes for riding them in the road without supervision, so they can't let off steam that way. And the trampoline's not safe. And the slide has been condemned, it is getting old and unsafe. Oh dear.

   Nothing for it but the paddling pool today. He will get 'stuck in', and have a great time as usual. I do enjoy seeing his energy, and the enthusiasm with which he throws himself into everything. May that enthusiasm extend to school!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Most Days

I can just jog along.
But some days I feel really exhausted physically and emotionally.
Some days the kids get a bad deal, as I can be on a very short fuse.

Some things just set me off crying. Like visiting Osbourne House on the isle of Wight last week, Queen Victoria's 'country cottage', I saw the bed where she died, and the plaque her children put up over the bed . The curator must have been surprise at this weird woman crying over Queen Vic's death.

I guess it's all part of grieving. It gets me in the strangest ways and at such odd times.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

losing the plot

Yes, I did.
On Sunday morning I couldn't find any clothes to wear to church. I mean any clothes that were clean, ironed and fitted me; I don't just mean something smart co-ordinated and 'suitable'.
So I lost it. Threw clothes around the room, emptied my drawers onto the floor. Scared the cats. And the huisband (kids of course were impervious to it all.) Himself was walking on eggshells for the rest of the day. And my fuse was very short for the rest of the day - and still is.
We had a friend coming to lunch that day. Fortunately (for the situation, not for her), she had lost her father recently and understood how grieving can take you in the most unexpected directions. One direction it has taken me in is comfort eating. Not good for the wardrobe. Anyway friend has volunteered to take me for a clothes shop in September - can't wait. Need some therapy.
And w are off on holiday soon - a week of just us and a tent. No hi tech stuff (except for my camera which I cannot do without these days.)
Time to relax. We all need it!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


 My wild boy.
Four years old, and as cheeky as they come. I just heard him telling his brother he had smelly socks. That's about normal for him. Full of mischief, noisy, active (not hyperactive, he can be still when he wants to) Sometimes you might think he is as subtle as a brick.

 But the same kid won't watch any programme or video with even the mildest violence, hates it if anyone play fights. Gets upset if his brother is told off. Loves music.

Is a very effective learner - if he's interested in something he will sit and watch and listen until he feels he has 'got' it. If he's not interested - forget it!
He's taught himself to do somersaults on the trampoline.

He doesn't know all his letters confidently yet, but the ones he knows he can use very effectively to make words. Can count up to twenty ten, and in tens up to a hundred. Talks for England and is superbly self confident.

Is a total anarchist.

Tigs. My very favourite four year old.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Ginger shadow

Wherever I go, he is.

He may be sleeping in in another part of the same room. Or doing his mad kitten routine, persecuting his toy cat, or killing a sweet wrapper. Or begging (if  I'm in the kitchen.) Or on my pillow (if  I'm in bed.) Or if  I'm here at the computer he's usually 'helping'. Or asleep on the mouse mat.

If he's scared he'll run to me, and stand by me, so we can face the danger together.

It's good to be one little cats special 'people'.

He has got a little more venturesome recently, and will sometimes go off on his own. He's been 'treed' twice this week.
And another adventure......
We think this is a result of falling in next doors pond - after their newts or frogs? He appeared on our shed roof dripping wet and shivering. Took a lot of cuddles and towelling dry before he was his normal mischievous self.

He shows every sign of becoming a really adventurous cat, and already at 4 months we can see he'll be a big cat. He's a delight.

He's my light relief. Life is pretty hard work at the moment. We have just buried Dad, and have got Mum into respite care. Meanwhile we have to empty and sort their house ready to sell, and find Mum somewhere to live.

We is my sister and I. We've both got kids and live quite a way from the parents house. So lots of commuting. And some unsettled kids. When your kids are adopted they unsettle pretty easily.

The girlcat still hates him - or pretends to. She uses some very choice language whenever he goes too near. But I've seen signs of a thaw - he chases her and she doesn't object, she has been known to sleep a few inches from him. Trouble is, she thinks she's an old lady (At 9??!) and he is really upsetting her equilibrium.

Sunday, 5 June 2011


Sorrow may abide for a night, but Joy comes in the morning.

We spotted this in our garden one morning about ten days ago. It's a circumzenithal arc.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011


   On  6th May  the Consultant told my dad that there was no chance that he would ever be fit enough for a heart bypass operation, His heart was functioning at about 20%, so he was weak. A number of additional health problems had left him very frail, with little energy to do more than just 'get by'.

  I rang him last monday (the 9th), and we talked for a while. He spoke about what the Doctor had said, and I think he had peace about it. He said that now he could "Make the best of however long I have left".
I fill up every time I think of that. On Thursday morning Tigs and I were out for Tigs regular music session, and shopping, and we came home to a message on the answerphone - ring my parents home urgently. I have to admit I still think of Dad as the 'well' one. I thought something had happened to mum.
So I rang and mum answered  "Are you all right mum?" it came out in a scramble of words. Her answer was deliberate - I 'M alright - but Dad's dead."  She found him in his bed that morning, peacefully asleep. For ever.

I wish I'd known on Monday that he only had two days left.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Easter holidays

   We didn't go away at Easter, but seem to have been busy. Easter seems a long time ago now. I will never forget Easter day, we had a joyful morning service at church.  The children were all given ribbon streamers to wave during the songs, and my enduring memory is of Pup dancing at the front of the church with his ribbons. No other children were dancing; but Pup  is a bit of an exhibitionist does not suffer with any inhibitions...  Or  in fact any other hangups about his identity and gender. He wore a fetching multicoloured neckace to church this week and spent most of his time after church playing with the girls. He loves to play with toddlers and will tell anyone who will listen about his imaginary baby.
   Now Pup is back at school, Tigs at preschool. We have a reminder of Easter in two bags on the dining room table, Tigs bag has the few small remains of his Easter eggs, Pups has about six untouched eggs and bags of chocolate. I often have to throw Pups eggs away. I bite my lip to remind myself not to nag him to eat them. He gets enough nagging on that subject.

Back to happier subjects. We had a visit from Grandma and Grandad, and dragged them along on an outing to the zoo. We saw a lot of exciting creatures.

We did a few walks, and had some adventures on the way....

kite down
We played with the kitten.
My wild child can be very gentle when he's in the mood.
 We went to the bike park.
sorry about the graffiti

And Stowe landscape gardens.
And did a LOT of trampolining.
We also visited friends, and had friends, and aunt and 12 year old cousin visit,  helped in the garden. And rested a lot.
We needed it.

Thursday, 21 April 2011