I’m in an interestingly tender (or poignant) rhythm just now; pootling off every morning to Exmouth to put my Granma’s hearing aids in (they’re new, so she needs assistance).  Since I have no class to teach this week, I’m able to follow that little bit of home-help with some good old quality time with the oldest member of my family.  It’s here that the poignant stuff comes in.


My Granma’s 88 or 89 (I can’t remember, & I’m not sure she can either), so her memory goes back to the 20s.  Yesterday, she’d had bad dreams in the night and was telling me that it wasn’t going to be a good day.  So, to get her out of that, I got her talking about her childhood – about drinking milk warm out of the cow at the Bowen’s farm over the road – and on to the time she met my Grandad and he would come and visit ‘to look at the mountains’ (Granma was brought up in south Wales and Grandad had allegedly never seen a mountain before).  Granma laughed, telling me about her hard-bitten mum and how she would say, "Here comes Lewis, come to look at the mountain!" when Grandad arrived on a misty cloudy day when you couldn’t see anything.  He and Granma would go walking up to Carrickcarnen castle – ‘it was very romantic’, she told me this morning.

And then, part way through our talk yesterday, I was just struck with how unsurprising it would be (in some ways) if Granma only lived another few weeks, or if she had already died and I never had the chance to have these conversations.

Today we talked about the War – Grandad stationed in Singapore and sitting in a ship full of ammunition in Singapore harbour being bombed by the Japs.  But they missed, and I am alive today.


I feel like I’m making friends with my Granma for the first time, and I’m really really glad I have the opportunity.  She’s quite a big burden on my parents (who oversee her care), so it’s easy to get annoyed by her, but I love her and am grateful for our little morning sessions.

By the time we’d finished yesterday, Granma had forgotten that it was going to be a bad day 🙂

happy anticipation

                 This is my baby – she arrives tomorrow!

                           I’m very excited really 🙂

Maria_being_21I’m being a teacher at the moment – I have six very nice Spanish girls to instruct in the authentic use of my language – and the other day I was using a picture of Maria & I to ask questions.  I asked, "How is she feeling?"  Alicia answered, "She is feeling lovely, because she is loved."

I think that was one of my favourite moments in class last week …

Underground Inkling

I was reading some stuff the other day (some of which has now mysteriously appeared on my Dad’s Inklings blog) about how JK Rowling, the greatest living British writer (according to umpteen polls), is not actually the broomstick-riding white-magic pagan that she’s often portrayed to be.

No friends, no no no.

While some slightly scary Christians have burned her books in an attempt to rid their worlds of ‘witchcraft’ and ‘magic’ (and thereby protect their children from demons – a noble cause), Rowling has quietly been a Christian the whole time: part of the Church of Scotland; attending meetings semi regularly (‘more than weddings and christenings’); and originally given time to write the books by a friend from church who looked after her daughter.  Etc.Etc.

In recent years, a lot of Christian media-types have actually started saying nice things about the Harry Potter books – about the values they espouse; the friendships, sacrifice, etc. – and Rowling would always answer ‘Yes’ when asked if she believed in God or was a Christian.  But everyone seems to have ignored this dimension to her: that over the last decade and a half this Christian lady has been combining her love of creativity with her general cleverness (she got a first in Classics – not bad when writing about griffins and unicorns and phoenix’s) to put together what’s almost sounding like a contemporary version of what Charles Williams, or Tolkien, or Lewis were doing 50/60 years ago.

Generally, a lot of Christians don’t believe that something is a Christian Book unless it’s an allegory of the Gospel, or includes God in there somewhere (Narnia is the classic example).  Hence Dorothy Sayers, John Grisham etc aren’t Christian Writers, and GK Chesterton only is when he sticks to apologetics.  Obviously, this is BALLS, but at the same time you’d have thought that if Rowling was some kind of contemporary Inkling, she would have given us some more obvious clues.  But apparently, she wants the books to be the clues:

JK: I do believe in God. That seems to offend the South Carolinians more than almost anything else. I think they would find it…well that is my limited experience, that they have more of a problem with me believing in God than they would have if I was an unrepentant atheist.
Interviewer: You do believe in God.
JK: Yeah. Yeah.
Interviewer: In magic and…
JK: Magic in the sense in which it happens in my books, no, I don’t believe. I don’t believe in that. No. No. This is so frustrating. Again, there is so much I would like to say, and come back when I’ve written book seven. But then maybe you won’t need to even say it ‘cause you’ll have found it out anyway. You’ll have read it.

So, it seems like this forthcoming seventh book (one week to go …) has, from the beginning, been planned as the answer to all those sorts of questions.  I’m not sure it matters really – a good story is a good story – but I quite enjoy seeing Christians get tied up in knots about things for no reason.

If JK Rowling has been an underground Inkling for all this time, it would make me really happy.  What a surprise it would be to the cold, calculating, cynical world that believes it can sum every human up in a paragraph!  The sense of drama is so much higher when motives appear fuzzy, and the fact that she’s managed to keep a hat on all this stuff for so so long only intensifies that.

unnecessary abuse of nouns

Managed to get lost today, attempting a scenic route back from Exeter.  An extra 20 minutes worth of petrol and some useful practice in passing 4x4s in narrow lanes.  But somehow, coming across a long-forgotten corner of the westcountry made it all worthwhile.  The property is called

                           Bedside Manor

  –                                         [I kid you not]

That’s like bad grown-up schoolboy humour, isn’t it?  I’m desperately hoping that it’s been called that since 1824 or something.  I think need to go to bed and dream of waterfalls and dolphins and rainbows and raindrops on roses and bright copper kettles and so on.  Then I won’t feel so bad …