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- Page 9

  • Catriona's Crazy Clinical Trial

    A while ago I mentioned that at some point my treatment might see a change of drugs to a regime that *may* (for which read *will*) cause nails to fall off because of interruption to the growth phase and increased photo-sensitivity. The recommended means of reducing/preventing this is to paint your nails with dark nail varnish

    Having seen my oncologist this week, it is now "quite likely" that this change will occur so I thought I ought to conduct my own clinical trial of nail varnish ahead of time, I mean I wouldn't want to discover that the varnish itself causes my nails to drop off would I?  So today a trip to the local branch of "Amazing Pharmacy Products" to pick up four colours - enough, I deemed for my trial.

    So, the first stage of the trial demands certain assumptions for it to be possible...

    • that left and right hand nails will behave the same way
    • that finger position is not significant
    • that toe nails will behave the same as finger nails (cos I'm too lazy to paint 20 nails just now!)

    Each finger nail is painted with a semi-randomised choice of polish.  It has to be semi-randomised - I need symmetry between hands or I get stressed (I know, on the spectrum blah blah..)  With four colours it means two nails on each hand are the same colour, maybe I should have had five but I wasn't thinking of that then and anyway it was 2 for £5 so it would have to be four or six...




    I opted against a double blind trial - painting nails with both eyes closed seemed just too tricky!  Here we have 'purple rain' 'green with envy' 'liquorice' 'blue my mind' and more 'purple rain'.  Nuff said.

    It all looks very silly, not least as I keep my nails very short, they aren't exactly a good shape right now and the medical nail varnish method means you have to ensure you cover the edges as these are the weakest point - beauty treatment it ain't.  The woman who taught me manicure 30+ years ago would freak!

    Anyway, phase one of the trial is to ensure that by tomorrow morning I still have nails... OK so we all know I will but this has to be done scientifically... the varnish just might make them fall off.

    Not sure I'm courageous enough to go to church with multi-coloured fingers but I just might opt for one colour that matches my outfit...

  • Ministers' Spice

    Or spouses.  Spice sounds more fun though.

    This is something I've thought for ages but never got round to posting.

    In each of my churches I have had ministers' spice - wives and widows - and they are just such a wonderful blessing to the girlie rev because they know what life in a manse really is like.

    Every now and then I get a card from Ruby (not her real name) a minister's widow who always has something encouraging to say, and who was always a great ally for "interesting" funerals!

    From time to time Ruth (also masked) sends me an email that pops up to cheer my day and regularly expresses her appreciation for my preaching.

    Rose, Norma and Elin (OK the masking is thin if you know who any of these five spices in two churches are!) always smile at me across the church on a Sunday and share a laugh at the oddities of church life.

    Not one of these women has had an easy life.  Some of them have experienced great personal tragedy in the very public sphere of the church.  They have seen their husbands hurt by what churches do at their worst and they have seen the impact on their children (where relevant) of living in the goldfish bowl.  Yet each is still there, week by week, "keeping on keeping on" as Ruby says, and loving their ministers as only the spices can.

    And I love them.  I love their honesty, their insight, their wit and wisdom, their faithfulness and the sense of solidarity they express.

    It's not that these women are any more wonderful than anyone else, it's just that their ministry of spiciness is so easily overlooked.  So, for today at least, let's hear it for the spice!!

  • Draughted!

    Hurrah!  I just emailed a first draught of my MPhil submission to my supervisors.  At a MS Word count of somewhere between 43,000 and 53,000 words (depending what is inlcuded or excluded) it's probably about the right length.  University regs and MS Word of course don't match on how you do the count.  I'm secretly pleased that my bibliography looks long enough and that I have around 350 footnotes... that makes it look cleverer than it is!

    Not sure what anyone will make of it - some bits a bit navel gazey - but we shall see.

    For now I'm just glad it's in the ether...

  • Eisegesis and Other Stuff

    Eisegesis - the act of reading in to a text.  The thing we are all guilty of when reading the Bible, especially the bits we know well and have heard since we were small.

    Yesterday's Bible study - which was excellent - took us to the Samaritan woman at the well.  The notes, which are basically good, led us down that familiar path that says she must have been morally suspect because after all she had had five husbands and now lived with a man who was 'not really her husband' (GNB).  Here is classic eisegesis.

    Had her five husbands died?

    Had her five husbands each divorced her because she burned the tea (a legitimate excuse for divorce in those days I believe)

    Had any of them loved her or had she been a mere chattel in various land-ownership deals?

    And the man she now 'had' - did she choose him or did he choose her?  Was she a concubine (something that in OT times had failed to cause the divine eyebrows to rise)?

    It is hard to imagine how hard life would have been for someone who had, for example, been widowed five times or divorced (sent away as displeasing) five times.  There is a danger that we read in to her status a sense that she had chosen not be married to this latest man, that somehow she was like a 21st century minor celeb in and out of divorce courts all too often.

    So, I was a bit annoyed with the notes.

    However, our leader had done a brilliant job and took us on in our thinking abour people who are despised because of who they are and/or what they.  We were introduced (or I was, some already knew of these folk) to Mary Seacole and Josephine Butler, each of whom worked with people on the margins of society and risked ridicule and rejection herself.  I found myself reminded of the BMS Night Light project in Thailand working with people trapped in the sex industry and of the risks that brings.  It also served as a reminder that there are women who work the streets of Glasgow to put food on the table for their children.

    Mysteriously my personal devotions (IBRA) had the exact same text set for yesterday.  So to end here is the thing that struck me, it's not new, but it made me think.  Jesus wanted a drink of water, the despised woman had a bucket; if he was to get a drink he needed to ask her for help.  What does that say to me about pride, arrogance, independence and prejudice?  What is it I need that someone I despise can offer me?  Will I have the humility to ask?

    Oh yes, a last thought... Jesus didn't say to the woman 'haste ye to the resgistry office and get ye wed' - how much do we impose our values/norms beyond what Jesus requires?

  • Glimpsing Grace and Beauty

    Yesterday I was at one of the hospitals to see one of the consultants to discuss some stuff.  When I arrived what I saw was truly beautiful...

    One little old lady who struggled to walk, even with a stick

    One consultant oncologist gently took her arm and walked slowly with her to his exmaination room.

    Angels unawares perchance?