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  • Confused...

    Yesterday I was sorting out the pet insurance for Holly Cat.  The last time I had a pet, there was no such thing, or if there was, it was in its infancy and I didn't use it anyway.  Anyway, after a very long, convoluted discussion it got sorted.  I just don't get why they need to know (a) my date of birth or (b) my occupation.  It is surely Holly's age (nine), occupation (manse moggy) and medical history (no known problems) that count... Perhaps I should be grateful that unlike travel insurance they didn't demand a blow by blow account of my medical history (evidently having/had cancer means I'm more likely to lose my luggage or be robbed if I go abroad...).

    I can see that some questions make sense, such as the fact that she's an only pet, that she is nine, that she lives indoors.  But I'm not clear why me being a minister or living in this specific part of Glasgow makes a difference.  After all, as a sanctified moggy whose primary task is to beautify the manse you'd think she was a very low risk.  Strange then that her insurance has gone up by 50p a month from the old policy...  Must mean RCs are lower risk than Baptists... what can I say?  I wasn't planning on baptising her...

    Between that and a technical hitch on the VOSA website meaning my car had to have its MOT done twice even though it passed first time it has been a confusing couple of days.

  • Hair Today...

    Some dates stick in the mind for all sorts of reasons.  September 9th sticks in mine because it was a year ago to the date that I had my hair cut ready to start my cancer treatment.  For twelve months my pigtail has lain, carefully wrapped, in a drawer, except for occasional moments when I've taken it out to remember.  Today I took it out once more, still smelling sweetly of the Fructis shampoo with which it had just been washed, still silky soft, still a reminder of what once was...


    It is now back in the drawer where it will lie untouched for a very long time; it belongs to my past, but a past I choose to remember.

    This morning I took a few hold-the-camera-at-arms-length photos:

    003.JPGside.jpgotherside.jpgAt the crown it is still a bit thin, and I noticed this week that the hairline has receded a bit at the temples, but basically I have good, strong hair, now about two inches long at its longest bits and, if I'm honest getting to the stage where I will soon have to give in and get it tidied up by a hairdresser :-(

     My thoughts have gone pretty much in two directions as I've reflected

    Firstly, has been the responses of other people, which have been many and varied.  I have one very good, longstanding friend who cries whenever they see me because they love long hair and find it hard to see me shorn of mine.  Someone else who has known me all my life, and who I caught up with recently for the first time in almost a year, failed to recognise me with short hair.  Another person told me I look younger, yet another that I looked better with short hair.  Someone perceives my chemo-curls as a blessing from God (no, its called follicle damage) and plenty feel free to tell me I look trendy (some hinting 'for the first time in your life').  If nothing else, all this teaches me to be gracious - people are being kind and well-meaning in whatever they say.  Yes, this is the most 'trendy' I have ever looked but maybe I was happy being 'untrendy'.  Yes, my hair looks fine and I am lucky enough that it suits me as it is, but that doesn't mean I'd have chosen this.  I never really realised just how much we bother about hair, especially women's hair, until this happened and mine starting attracting so much comment.  And because I would never presume to tell someone they look better after a change of hair style, it has bewildered me that others do.

    Secondly, I guess is the taken-for-granted-ness.  Although hair loss was a whole body thing, it was only the obvious hair loss that I really noticed.  I recall one day in May standing in the shower and noticing the droplets of water glistening on the tiny, colurless hairs that grow on backs of my arms.  That they had been lost and now regrown I had not noticed.  There was, in that moment, a sense of beauty and wonder - I've never quite seen my right arm in the same way since!  Now that my hair is long enough to be ruffled by the breeze, to protect my head from extremes of cold or heat (or the hardness of raindrops) I am slowly losing the immediacy of what it felt like to need a hat most of the time and the taken-for-granted-ness slowly returns.  Some things have changed in my attitude - when I wake up and look at my mussed up hair I enjoy the moment rather than rushing to make it respectable. 

    I have no desire to grow my hair really long again - many reasons, it would take several years, it is now considerbaly more grey than it was a year ago (though I am probably one of the few brunettes in Britain whose roots are darker than the ends!) and it would need to go through all sorts of stages to get there.  At the same time, I am not yet ready to settle for (very) short hair either.  Whatever anyone else thinks about its apperance, I will probably allow it to grow for a good while yet (tidying not withstanding) to see how it looks before I settle on a long term style.

    What a difference a year makes...

  • Total Daftness.... Songs for Saturday

    Following yesterday's parodies of hymns and songs, and in preparation for Saturday's yomp around Glasgow in the dark, here are a couple of possibles:


    Shine, Glasgow, Shine,

    Fill your bag with stuff for shops to sell

    Walk, people, walk,

    Raise a lot of funds

    Rain, rain go away

    We don't want to use our raincoats

    Support Cancer Research UK

    And beat this thing we will!


    (OK it doesn't quite scan or fit the tune... )

    Or this one


    We're raising cash for charity

    Walk, walk, in the dark

    The glow sticks glow for all to see

    Walk, walk in the dark

    Walk in the dark, walk in the dark, walk in the dark to raise cash for charity


    Any others?  The dafter the better.

    Many, many thanks to all who have already sponosered me - I jave just raised the 'bar' again on the target in response to your generosity.  I am very humbled because as well as friends, there are many folk listed there who only know me as a blogger or a bcc avatar.  There is still time if you haven't done so and would like to...


    EDIT - comments behaving badly YET AGAIN so received this by email from AndyJ

    Jesus bids us shine with a pure clear light;
    yomping in the darkness Glasgow's not so bright.
    If it gets to morning and we're still aglow,
    please to soothe our blisters and our 'yomper's toe'!
  • Fare Thee Well

    This Sunday we say farewell to a lot of folk - many of them lovely African stduents who have enriched our lives greatly whilst they have been with us.  It is humbling to read their 'thank you' emails to me and to us, expressing their gratitude for the welcome they've received and the opportunities we have afforded them.  How do we express what they have given us - beaming smiles, deep spirituality, generous hearts, willing service.

    This Sunday we have a "Yoruba Bash" when we will sing once more the songs they've shared with us, I will pray for them (and for a couple of longer-standing folk leaving for a new life in Luxemburg) and we will be saying 'fare thee well'

    I am really not a fan of the song 'blessed be the tie that binds' but I have chosen it for Sunday because it expresses something appropriate to this service.

    Hopefully many of our home students will be back with us after their summer away, and in a week or so a fresh group of home and overseas students will find their way to this wonderful, crazy-in-a-good-way, open, welcoming, generous church we call home.

  • When is it Funny? When is it Wrong?

    Two items from today's BUGB e-news sweep got me thinking.

    The first is one that I find funny - but others may find offensive - which is a parody of some overworked worship songs.  Is it funny because it is Christians parodying Christians?  Would people take offence if a mobile phone company had done it...

    The other related to the phones for you advert that involved a cartoon winking Jesus and was released around Easter:

    phone ad.jpg

    Is it actually offensive/blasphemous or is it just cheesy?  Would we get uppity if the same image had been used in the context of a Christian product or event?  Have you ever checked out the 'gadgets for God' section of Ship of Fools?

    If I am honest, I think the phone advert was a poor call.  It doesn't offend me, though it would have done in my very pious younger years, but it reflects a failure to appreciate just who Jesus is, at least in the eyes of Christians and, indeed, Muslims.  Jesus endorsing a brand of phone - no, I don't see it somehow.

    On the other hand the video coming from within a Christian context is both funny and profound (well relatively) in that it uses humour to challenge something we all know exists but don't have a language to express.

    I think that there are kinds of humour that have to come from 'within' to be appropriate, things that insiders can do (however cheesy, naff or inappropriate) and get away with it but outsiders really ought not to attempt.  Is 98 complaints to the ASA a lot?  I've no idea.  I can only assume that the majority of people who saw the advert (I only just found it!) treated it with the level of interest it merited (i.e. none).  And presumably given we don't all have the miraculous deal on an android phone, the 'celebrity' endorsement didn't pay off?!