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- Page 3

  • Gaudete - and Nativity

    Anvent 3 - Gaudete Sunday -  Joy - Sunday School Nativity... one of my favourite Sundays of the whole year.

    The picture is my 'doodle prayer-reflection thing' from yesterday's GPRL focus on nativity and incarnation.

    My Doodle was largely inspired by the objects I had taken along that 'is nativity for you'...


    tea towel star.jpg

    I was really struggling to think of an object, and in the end took three...

    a checked teat-towel

    a birthday candle

    a star decoration I had made at an event for international students on Friday evening.


    During the sharing time everyone laughed out loud and instantly 'got' the tea-towel, I had to explain the other two - the birthday candle (my sixth birthday was the first time I heard the story of the birth of Jesus via a school 'Christmas play'), and the decoration, which was all about people in our glorious diversity, which seems to me to be at the heart of the nativity.

    Today I will enjoy every nano-second of the Sunday School service, and remember my six-year-old self wide-eyed and filled with wonder as I heard the greatest story ever told.

  • Send more Kitties....

    Sometimes what is needed isn't more deep stuff, it's more kitties... (old photo)

  • The Morning After...

    Evening came, and morning came, and the sun rose again.

    I can only assume that, on a UK-wide basis, there are marginally more people feeling pleased this morning than those who are not. 

    I am among the devastated - what has happened to the 'home nation' that taught me values of compassion, justice, generosity, gratitude and so many more?

    I am saddened at pockets of smugness that 'we beat them' (whoever 'they' are) when the detailed results show that the big gainers also lost seats, and there are many marginals.

    My social media feeds are full of people weeping, people fearing they will lose their homes and will have to surrender their pets to shelters, people whose children are shaking in fear and who clutch their infants closer and wonder what world they have brought them into.

    Suffice to say, my track record on voting for 'losers' continues, but I am content that my vote was a 'for others' vote and that far from wasted, it expressed a view.  I'll never tell you who I voted for - that's always between me, God, and the ballot box, but it wasn't for what I fear will be a dystopian disaster.

    It would be easy to despair, easy to give up.  Instead I grasp the truth that the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot and will not overcome it.

    We had a beautiful sunrise this morning, and the full moon hanging in the dawn sky is simply beautiful... there is always hope, however faint its glimmer. (Alas my phone photo is pretty poor!)

    13 dec 1.jpg

  • Election Day

    I was sorely tempted to title this post 'Another Election Day' or even 'Yet Another Election Day', echoing some of the voter-fatigue I encounter in conversation with others, but in the end decided against it, reckoning it was better to express that within the text rather than the title!

    It was pitch dark when I went to vote - not something I have often experienced, even though I have almost always been an early voter.  A hi-viz clad person stood at the door of the school to ensure everyone got in and out, but it was way too soon for any of the party people to be present with rosettes, flyers and clipboards - for that I am grateful!

    The last time I recall going out early in the dark to vote was more than 30 years ago, when I lived in Derby, and I called into the polling station en route to work, waiting for the doors to open at 7 a.m.!  It was a little later than that today, but still done and dusted by 8 a.m.

    A steady stream of people were voting, though no queues as such (the person before me had just got their ballot paper as I arrived) and it was all incredibly calm.

    Voting is a privilege - not a right - granted to those who exceed a certain, somewhat arbitrary, age and are not otherwise disqualified.  A privilege, not a right, and one for which people died.  For that reason, if no other, it is essential to particpate.

    Voting is a responsibility - a choice entrusted to people (defined as above) to select from among several alternatives, who will be their voice in the relevant governing authority.

    With the FPTP system, the reality is that often many, possibly most, voters don't get who they chose (lots, maybe most, MPs are elected on well under 50% of a vote).  This doesn't mean votes don't matter and don't count - though it's understandable why people might feel that way.

    So my ubiquitous rant - get out and vote.  Vote carefully and prayerfully.  Vote not for 'I' but for 'us' (and think carefully what 'us' means to you!).  As ever, I am not telling how I voted, and won't tell anyone else how they should vote. But at least tomorrow I can wake up knowing that I did what I could to speak for values that matter to me.

    The photo is a view form my bedroom window, with light breaking on the horizon... whatever happens today the sun will rise again tomorrow, and eternal attributes of love, hope, faith, joy and peace will continue to permeate even the deepest darkness. 

  • End of an Era

    Bit of a ramble.

    Today really is the end of an era as the very last Virgin trains complete their last journeys.  This was Glasgow Central at 13:15 when a friend from Warrington arrived on a quick day trip to visit an elderly relative.  As I stood there, and snapped a couple of quick photos, I felt surprisingly emotional.

    I am not a fan of Richard Branson, but Virgin trains have carried me on many significant journeys, especially the 05:40 ex GLC, as I travelled to Northampton via Euston at least monthly for a few years. 

    The jokes about the availability of porridge. The times I ran along Euston Road to make connections.  The wondering if the delay en route to Glasgow would mean missing the last train out to home.

    The journeys to Northampton General Hospital, to clear Mum's flat, to visit her in the care home, to arrange her funeral, to conduct her funeral, to bury her ashes... a lot of hugely significant memories, and important thoughts  processed, a lot of tea drunk, a fair few cheese toasties... all on the distinctive red trains

    And work trips, of course, on the 05:49 to Birmingham, a quick change and then a quick trot up Wealy Park Road to the BMS college for meetings, or at various times to Preston or Lancaster for meetings.

    There have been holiday trips and catch-ups with friends.  There have been carefully planned trips and unplanned mercy dashes.

    Of course the trains will still be there, and I will still use them in their new ownership, it just feels strangely significant that this franchise, which has existed for 22 years, is now ended.