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  • Shrove Tuesday

    The very first Shrove Tuesday I can recall was when I was just five years old and we had a day off school.  Why?  because at that stage I was at school in Olney, home of the famous annual pancake race. I remember nothing about the day, we certainly didn't go into Olney to see it, as we lived in a tiny village a few miles away, had no car, and it wasn't the day that buses ran (Wednesdays and Saturdays as far as I can recall).  I have no idea if we had pancakes (crepes) or pancakes (drop scones) at all.  Somehow I imagine in a household with four children, the eldest of whom was five, making pancakes was not even on the horizon that day!

    A few years later, and living by now in Northamptonshire, we learned about the history and significance of Shrove Tuesday at school.  To this day I recall hearing about people going to the priest to be 'shriven', of the rush to consume alll that was 'fat' ahead of the long Lenten fast.

    From the age of 15, with one exception (last year, when frankly I forgot until too late) I have 'given up' for Lent various degrees of luxury... the first year sugar in drinks (to which I never returned), usually sweets and chocolate, frequently cakes, biscuits and desserts, for at least fifteen years caffeine.  This year I am planning to revert to my middle course - no sweet stuff - and add to it no crisps or other frivolous, empty-calorie treats.  And instead I will be 'counting my blessings' with Christian Aid, another Lenten disicpline I've adopted over a number of years.

    I have lost count of the number of Girls' Brigade pancake parties I've been involved with - one of the few occasions I stay out of the kitchen as pancake tossing is not a skill of mine - and I never tire of the fun the girls have stuffing their faces with as many as they possibly can (even if someone will always say in a whiny voice 'I don't like it'!)

    Not got any pancakes planned today - one batch of batter is too much for one person and I'm not about to pay inflated prices for an supermarket or bakery ones.  I expect the poancake shop along from church will extra busy, so I won't be calling there either.  It matters not, I have plenty of other 'fatty foods' to consume in the spirit of the day before Lent starts tomorrow.

    Hope you have a good Shrove Tuesday, whatever it involves.

  • Not Sure...

    Today I FINALLY took myself off to the new Glasgow Riverside Museum about which I have heard mixed reports.  It was a pleasant enough half day out for my day off, and at only about 15 mins walk from home a really easy one.

    A lot of people have commented that they don't like the fact that most of the vehicular exhibits are mounted on the walls, and I tend to agree.  I mean, c'mon I went looking for the Metro (sad loser that I am) and it was on the top shelf... We'll skip over the fact that it was a 3 door 1986 model, not a gorgeous 5 door 1985 or 1997 model, and that it was egg-shell blue not midnight blue... ;-)  More disappointing was the number of really old, genuinely interesting vehicles on high shelves.  It felt more like a shoe shop than a transport museum!

    One of the most popular aspects of the museum is the recreated streets.  The 'earliest' late 19th century one is super, but the two so-called streets for the 20th century were rather disappointing.  Given that it allegedly went up the the 1960s and 70s I expected to see more things I recognised... beyond a red phone box, some lego and ladybird books.

    OK, so criticism is easy and cheap.  I did enjoy my morning there.  The museum is spacious and airy with plenty for children to do whilst there.  Views over and along the Clyde are superb (despite the weather being dreadful) and in summer there are plenty of picnic spots.  The cafe did a passable latte and the cake was perfectly acceptable and reasonably priced.

    Because the weather was grim I opted to give a miss to the Tall Ship, but I will go back to see it.

    Overall, I'm not sure about this as a transport museum.  It's a fabulous building, well-located and easy to get to, and I would go again... but not with the aim of seeing vehicles close up, for that I'd go somewhere else.

  • A Little Knowledge...

     ... is dangerous.

    Over the past few months I have had joint problems in my thumbs/wrists, sometimes also fingers and, it feels like now it seems possibly one ankle.  Although the acute phase has pretty much passed for my wrists, they are a lot weaker than they used to be.  Plus  I do a wonderful impression of an 117 year-old when I get up in a morning.  I am pretty well convinced that this is a drug side effect, a rare one, but one that I have found a small number of others to be experiencing.

    So, I've been doing some research into this and today found a proper research paper that not only supported my hypothesis but seemed to offer a possible solution... except that I was unaware of one important thing... the form of the drug that does not have these side effects ceased production in the UK in 2010.  Which is, I guess, why so many oncologists, GPs etc are not yet recognising the side effect I am experiencing.

    It seems that somewhere between 13% of people taking adjuvant Tamoxifen in one of its three generic tablet forms available in the UK experience some degree of arthralgia (joint pain) but that people who were prescribed the Nolvadex form had no such side effects.  A research project showed that switching from generic forms to Nolvadex alleviated the arthralgia in about 95% of those in the trial. 

    Whoopee, I thought, problem solved.  The danger of a little knowledge.  No, Nolvadex is no longer available, it ceased in summer 2010.

    So, I think it behoves me to jump up and down a bit and make sure that those treating me know of the research so that they do not dismiss my effects.  Then, hopefully, in another decade the recorded incidence of joint pain using generic Tamoxifen will mean that the side effect finds its way onto the leaflets... or even better, someone will have sussed out which binding agent(s) are causing the problem and have sorted it out.

    In the meantime (phrase of the moment) I will plod on with my Tamoxifen as sore wrists/thumbs/etc and old granny stiffness are infinitely preferrable to the alternative.  As another current phrase/saying goes: dayenu.

  • Alphabet Prayers

    This evening's service included an approach to prayer somewhat akin to playing 'The Minister's Cat' or 'I went shopping and I bought...'

    Just to prove I was paying attention, and to get the words out of my brain, this was our prayer

    Thank you God for:











    Kelvingrove Park




    Opera (but only Italian)


    Quickness of mind




    Underground stations





    Zebras, zinc (and another I've forgotten!)


    Brilliant, just brilliant!

    Thanks to Holly for reminding me what V was for - the original version of the post said 'umm I forgot' then half an hour later I remembered and updated the post, which was probably after Holly had commented, but the joys of this platfom meant I only saw the comment this morning (Monday)!  Hopefully I will soon lose this list from my mind!!

  • Busy Day

    Been a busy day - good busy - with church and then a Church Meeting.  I think we achieved a lot - it's tricky sometimes to know what has or hasn't been done as there aren't neat tidy measures for the kind of stuff we were doing.  But I am excited by it.  We have begun a review of OUR ministry, that is the ministry that is exercised by, with, among our church, not a review of how bad, indifferent or good the minister-type person might be.  It meant that a sizeable chunk of the meeting was small group work in which I did not participate, but instead spent around forty five minutes quietly reflecting.

    I think, on the whole, the church is in pretty good shape, and I also think we have plenty of opportunities to go forward in the service of the Kingdom of God.  This is not the place to say too much about the meeting, save that from where I sat, it seemed to go pretty well.

    In a few weeks time our leadership team has a half day away to reflect on the findings of the work the small groups did today... that feels like a good thing, and I am curious to see what emerges.