It was thirty years ago today!

Well, yesterday actually …

Here I am, sipping champagne & orange juice, left over from yesterday’s breakfast, when we celebrated the Pearl Jubilee of my parents getting married.

Pc280290_2                         Such a cute couple, aren’t they?

BB Resquiat in Pace

As we all probably know by now, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated yesterday.  I’ve been reading through the comments on the BBC website’s Have Your Say thread, and it’s quite revealing as to the state of people around the world.  Some shrug their shoulders and say, ‘Well, that’s what Islam seems to specialise in’, others raise their fists in anger at the West for the destabilising effect it has had on the region, and others just argue with the ones that said something else.

When things like this happen, I’d prefer to mourn.  We have such a fun time in Britain, predicting the outcome of the (2009?) election, basically because we have an underlying assumption that our political leaders will survive that long.  In such a situation, I wonder what I’d do: probably keep my head down and delegate the decision-making to someone else.  Poor Pakistan.

Also, what would I think if I was a Muslim?  If I had been brought up to believe that my brothers and sisters in Islam are living in a way that is (nearest to) the solution to the world’s problems, by now I would be getting more cynical by the day – there’s only so much you can blame on an extremist minority.  That’s why I feel sorry for Muslims just now.

I guess (due to our glorious history), Christians have had to chew this sort of stuff over for centuries – I hope we have been anyway.  For most of the Christians I know, dealing with our violent/crap heritage is just part of the story now, and in many ways that can be quite helpful.  It’s helpful for me, anyway.

In one of our tea-drinking sessions the other week (with Maria, Tom, & Clare), we were talking about how you only really have the right to criticise something if you are part of it – ie. I can criticise the Church, because I’m part of it; because it is me.  This means that I tend to be very open and even-handed when talking about people with whom I do not share beliefs, whilst being quite stinging about Christendom, but I realised that that’s because I love it and care about it too much to not have strong opinions.  I’d say that this is why I can’t point fingers at Muslims (or Pakistanis) – they aren’t me.  My job is to mourn.

Advent Reading #4

Town …

                   Oh holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in – be born in us today
We hear the Christmas angels, the great, glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us, O Lord, Emmanuel

And was Jerusalem builded here?

Dartmoor_prison This is Dartmoor Prison – almost the epitomy of ‘dark satanic mills’ as far as looks are concerned – and tomorrow I get to go inside!

It’s been nearly 3 years since I first got asked to go and ‘do something’ in a jail, but it’s never happened.  Tomorrow, it will.

As a treat – and by way of a Christmas present for the poor lonely souls who vacate this page of mine – I thought I’d give you a copy of the song I’ll probably be singing tomorrow.

Here it is: Download 08_my_fathers_eyes.m4a

[recorded at the Factory years ago, with my friend Rami from Egypt on violin …]

Advent Reading #3

    Abraham was the father of Isaac,
         Isaac the father of Jacob,
         Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
         Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
         Perez the father of Hezron,
         Hezron the father of Ram,
         Ram the father of Amminadab,
         Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
         Nahshon the father of Salmon,
         Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
         Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
         Obed the father of Jesse,
          and Jesse the father of King David.

     David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
         Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
         Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
         Abijah the father of Asa,
         Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
         Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
         Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
         Uzziah the father of Jotham,
         Jotham the father of Ahaz,
         Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
         Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
         Manasseh the father of Amon,
         Amon the father of Josiah,
          and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers
          at the time of the exile to Babylon.

    After the exile to Babylon:
         Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
         Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
         Zerubbabel the father of Abiud,
         Abiud the father of Eliakim,
         Eliakim the father of Azor,
         Azor the father of Zadok,
         Zadok the father of Akim,
         Akim the father of Eliud,
         Eliud the father of Eleazar,
         Eleazar the father of Matthan,
         Matthan the father of Jacob,
          and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary …

                         … of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.


Yesterday, my dear flatmate Clare & I received (upon payment of lots and lots of money) the keys to our new place:

This place, this 30, this flat number 2
Is a place, is a 30, that’s waiting for you
Whether you’ve been at Sainsbury’s
(which is over the road)
Or in Henry’s Cellar Bar
(the live music abode)
Whether you need tea, a hug, or a chair
You’ll find that these things are usually there
And available, available, available to you;
In this place, this 30, this flat number 2.

[that was a poem, by the way]

So do pop over: 30/2 Morrison Street, EH3.  0131 2281691.

There’s a lounge and a kitchen and a wooden-board floor!
There’s a toilet-cum-bathroom, with its own locking door!
There’s a room for a David, a room for a Clare
And a room that may come to have instruments there.
If a walk-in pantry might thrill you, come in
And pour yourself bourbon and baileys and gin
And pause for a moment to recognise that
This really is not a half-bad type of flat.

[that was another one]

Advent Reading 2

Lucy was very wide awake indeed, and so was everyone else. In fact they were all sitting up with their mouths and eyes wide open listening to a sound which was the very sound they’d all been thinking of (and sometimes imagining they heard) during their walk last night. It was a sound of jingling bells.

Mr Beaver was out of the cave like a flash the moment he heard it. The others all sat in the cave waiting and wondering. They waited nearly five minutes. Then they heard something that frightened them very much. They heard voices. "Oh," thought Lucy, "he’s been seen. She’s caught him!"

Great was their surprise when a little later, they heard Mr Beaver’s voice calling to them from just outside the cave.

"It’s all right," he was shouting. "Come out, Mrs Beaver. Come out, Sons and Daughters of Adam. It’s all right! It isn’t Her!"

So Mrs Beaver and the children came bundling out of the cave, all blinking in the daylight, and with earth all over them, and with the sleep in their eyes.

"Come on!" cried Mr Beaver, who was almost dancing with delight. "Come and see! This is a nasty knock for the Witch! It looks as if her power is already crumbling."

"What do you mean, Mr Beaver?" panted Peter as they all scrambled up the steep bank of the valley together.

"Didn’t I tell you," answered Mr Beaver, "that she’d made it always winter and never Christmas? Didn’t I tell you? Well, just come and see!"

And then they were all at the top and did see.

It was a sledge, and it was reindeer with bells on their harness. But they were far bigger than the Witch’s reindeer, and they were not white but brown. And on the sledge sat a person whom everyone knew the moment they set eyes on him. He was a huge man in a bright red robe (bright as hollyberries) with a hood that had fur inside it and a great white beard, that fell like a foamy waterfall over his chest.

Everyone knew him because, though you see people of his sort only in Narnia, you see pictures of them and hear them talked about even in our world – the world on this side of the wardrobe door. But when you really see them in Narnia it is rather different. Some of the pictures of Father Christmas in our world make him look only funny and jolly. But now that the children actually stood looking at him they didn’t find it quite like that. He was so big, and so glad, and so real, that they all became quite still. They felt very glad, but also solemn.

"I’ve come at last," said he. "She has kept me out for a long time, but I have got in at last. Aslan is on the move. The Witch’s magic is weakening."

And Lucy felt running through her that deep shiver of gladness which you only get if you are being solemn and still. 

"And now," said Father Christmas, "for your presents."

Rejection, Rejection

This week, I had the interesting pleasure of getting invited down to London Village for an interview – I’ve never flown to an interview before, (and they’re apparently going to pay!) so I guess that was pretty glamourous.

The job was an interesting pleasure in itself: set in the political land, I would have been doing administeration for, and networking within, an organisation that tries to train and support Christians around and about the Westminster Monster, and nationwide.  Quite a broad premise, and I guess that’s what attracted me – the chance for a space of my own from which to ‘do things’ within a fascinating sphere of society.

But as you can tell from my tone, I didn’t get it.

Rejection I didn’t really expect to get it, so I wasn’t disappointed.

What would have been FAR more awkward is if they had decided that they wanted me, since then I would have had to decide if I wanted them.  I’m still kind of wondering whether the positives (great foot-on-the-ladder job, huge potential, reasonable salary etc.) would have outweighed the negatives (moving away from Maria, skipping out on my flatmate and my Edinburgh friends, starting from scratch in a new place for the 4th time in 5 years etc.). They probably wouldn’t have.

So this is one bit of rejection that I don’t really mind.

Obviously, I’m bored of applying for jobs that don’t want me, and I’m tired of hoping for Something Perfect to turn up (cos each time it seems to, it turns me down).  I’m presently working relatively hard – about 24 hours a week – doing all the jobs I can, and I still get the feeling that I was better off with Job Seekers Allowance & Housing Benefit.  Ah, the System, the System …