Things I Don’t Understand…

There are moves a-foot to “reactivate” my licence as an Licensed Lay Minister, and to make it all official again. As I’m an Anglican LLM worshipping and working in an Episcopal parish there needs to be some coordination between bishops, but I’m guessing it may happen. I can’t find my Licence to preach – I’ve asked for duplicates, but I don’t know yet if they can be provided. On verra

However, I do know that I have been very lax on my studying and serious reading – even since I finished my training I’ve not really kept up with any. I’m not actually very good at studying. When I’m preparing for a service that’s fine: there s a goal ahead, and a deadline, but studying just for the sake of it. Hmmm. I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep that up. Still, I think I need to start. Father Rob has given me a book “Faithful Persuasion” by David S Cunningham, subtitled “In aid of a Rhetoric of Christian Theology” – I’m not sure I understand what that means! If I can’t understand that I can’t help thinking I’m going to struggle with the rest of it. I have a lovely new notebook with a yellow cover and pink pages which is too good to use for teaching notes. I shall use it to encourage me in some Serious Thinking And Reflection

And while we are considering things I don’t really understand, here is an illustration I used in a sermon once that makes some kind of sense about the Trinity, as today is Trinity Sunday:

Well, I’m not a scientist, and so I struggle a little to understand this, but Andrew, who is more of a scientist than I am, pointed out to me that there exists the electro magnetic spectrum, that goes from long radio waves, through micro waves, infra red light, U V light to X-rays. There are all of these waves and they all move at the same speed, but out of these, it is only the light that we can see.

So, for the Trinity, just as there are the different waves moving at the same speed so there is God, and Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, all moving at the same speed, with the same purpose.

The x-rays that enable doctors to see through our bodies, could represent God, as He can see right through to the very core of our being, and with his infra-red can warm our hearts and bring us to life. The light waves, the only part of the spectrum we can see, could represent Jesus, as the light of the world, as the part of the Trinity that humankind could see. The radio and television waves, that enable us to hear the news spoken, could represent the Holy Spirit, working through people today, telling the good news of God. All electro-magnetic waves, moving together, with the same purpose, at the same speed. Creator, Saviour, Comforter, moving together, with the same purpose, at the same speed.

 Sure, this too has its weaknesses, but it’s an illustration that appeals to me, not least because although I’m not absolutely sure I understand it, that doesn’t seem to matter… Just like the Trinity itself!

Public Service Broadcasting.

Yesterday afternoon Mr FD and I drove down to Clermont Ferrand. I had an appointment with the podiatrist about my painful feet – not that it was very helpful. He thinks that my painful feet are simply because I need to wear my orthotics/inner soles all the time rather than just when I’m outside. Or that possibly the pain is due to arthritis. So I am now wearing shoes, rather than slippers, in the house too, and we will see if there’s any improvement. I’m not convinced myself as I had been wearing them almost constantly since the pain started with no major improvement, but on verra. The feet aren’t painful all the time, and mostly it’s discomfort rather than pain, so I will persevere. If they are no better when I get back from the UK mid August I will go back and see him again.

I popped into ILS, the language school where I sometimes work, to say hello, and to admit to parking in the car park. I wanted to just remind them I existed and was looking for work too, although I’m not likely to get anything now until September, as I’m working from July 1st onwards in the UK.

Then I met Mr FD in the centre for a meal – I had an enormous prawn-and-avocado salad, while he had a burger. Plus a delcious banana-and-chocolate pancake, with vanilla ice cream. And then we went to the Co-operative de Mai (a concert venue) for a concert by Public Service Broadcasting.

Wikipedia tells us:

Public Service Broadcasting are a London-based pseudonymous musical duo consisting of J. Willgoose, Esq. on guitar, banjo, other stringed instruments, samplings and electronic instruments; and Wrigglesworth on drums, piano and electronic instruments.The band play instrumental music, with Willgoose noting that “singing is never going to work. I’m not going to be happy with it, I’m not going to be comfortable playing it to other people.”The band have toured internationally.

They take samples from old public information films, archive footage and propaganda material, attempting (with tongue firmly in cheek) to ‘teach the lessons of the past through the music of the future’.At first, the band consisted solely of Willgoose. He made his public debut at The Selkirk pub in Tooting, London in late 2009. Shortly afterwards he issued EP One. Teaming up with Wrigglesworth on drums the band played its first festival in September 2010 and work began on a second EP, The War Room, which was released in May 2012. Since then, the band has released two albums, Inform-Educate-Entertain (2013); a second one, The Race for Space, was released on 23 February 2015. While writing The War Room the band formed a close relationship with the British Film Institute, using their material during live-shows.

For live shows the pair are augmented by visuals expert Mr. B and bass guitarist and flugelhorn player JF Abraham, who also features on The Race For Space.

I have linked to one of their videos before, but here’s another:

It was a really enjoyable concert, but I have to say the support band was a little bizarre. It was a local duo, playing electronic music, but the singer was really quite wierd. What made me smile though was that they obviously had brought along their family and friends to watch, as a little granny with her walking sticks was ushered into the hall for their set, and was hastily ushered out again afterwards, looking slightly shell-shocked!

We met a girl there who was clearly some kind of super fan, as she admitted that she had been following PSB around Europe on this tour and others before this. She had seen all the shows, and was recognised and acknowledged by the musicians and their crew. I couldn’t help wondering (a) if she had a job and if she did how did she get the time off to follow a band around Europe (b) if she had a job and if she didn’t how did she get the money to follow a band around Europe?! Still, each to their own!

A good evening out!



Five years ago – and now. Happy Days.



Here is Pomme sitting at the window of Mr FD’s study 5 years ago – our 25th Wedding Anniversary. Today is our 30th Wedding anniversary. We aren’t doing anything special, as we had a lovely night away on Saturday. In fact, after a morning working Mr FD is going for a bike ride and I’m going out for a walk. I think I need the exercise!


For our 25th Anniversary we had a party – and George-the-Kitten came to the party!! He had to go home again to his mum afterwards but it was lovely to see him. Tonight we’re having steak-frites and salad – we pigged out a bit on Saturday evening!

The A-Z of me

Lisa at Into the Glade recently “tagged” me & challenged me to write an A-Z of me. Hah! Easy I thought (except for a few letters, anyway!) But no, I was wrong! I had too many things for some letters and nothing for quite a lot more!

As I’m going away on Wednesday I thought I’d crack on and try to write mine, as otherwise I knew I would forget. (There’s another “F” – forgetfull!) I hope you enjoy reading these.

A is for…Alison

It’s my first name, and the first name of four good friends – plus other people I know…all around the same age! Obviously it was a popular name round about then.

B is for…blogging

Something I really enjoy, although sometimes I find it hard to think of topics to blog about. I love getting comments, and while it’s nice to have lots of followers I prefer lots of comments. Sometimes I envy those people who get offered things to promote & review on their blog – one blogger I used to read was offered a mini-break on a cruise ship!! – but I don’t think I’ll ever get to those dizzy heights. “Woman” magazine did offer me some free apps for some readers, but that’s as far as I’ve got.

C is for…church

I have almost always gone to church. When we arrived here I went to the Eglise Reformée but found it too hard to understand, & I really didn’t get on with the Pastor. Now I go to the American church in Clermont Ferrand I find it much more satisfying. It’s a long drive though (55 minutes) so I don’t go every week. (C is also for cats. But see “K” for that. It’s for cycling too, which, even though I don’t, does tend to dominate the house, due to the fact that Mr FD does. We have three bikes in the downstairs salon. )


Here is our Rector, Father Rob, strumming his whatever-instrument-that-is, at the open air service that we had last June on the Plateau de Gergovie, above Clermont Ferrand.

D is for…dancing

I love dancing. When I went to an evangelical church I used to do liturgical dance (squirm). I did a lot of Morriss dancing in Milton Keynes but my back didn’t really like the jumping. I did a course of ballrroom dancing too, but I’m finally happy with my line dancing which I do most Wednesdays.

(D is also for Dormouse – my nickname from the time when Mr FD and I were courting, and I would spend Friday evenings asleep on his parents’ sofa after a long week teaching. It’s also for Donkeys...I really would love to have a donkey. If I had one I would call it Hotey: Donkey Hotey)

E is for …education

I have spent most of my life in education in some form or another, either school, college, teaching, or in the Eucation Dept of Milton Keynes Council. This English teaching is the best part of it though. I am lucky enough to be able to say I love my job (even though it is a little precarious at the moment!)

E is also for Elbow, one of my very favourite bands. And excema – but you don’t really want to know about that!!!


This is the card I made for Elbow when we went to see them in the Echo Arena in Liverpool.

F is for…food

Which I love. Very little food is not loved! (Offal is not loved. Nor are brussel sprouts)

F is also for France – see the page “Throw off the Bowlines” for more information – and Fasting, as I am trying to follow the 5:2 way of eating. F is also for Fat Dormouse Getting Thinner, which is my other blog

G is for… God

The most important thing in my life. God so loved the world that he sent his only begottten Son that whoever believes in Him should not peris but have Everlasting Life. This is how we know what Love is: God first loved us.

(G is also for goats. I like goats. But I thought God should come first!)

H is for …husband

Dear Mr FD who looks after me in so many different ways. Thank you, Mr FD.


Here is Mr FD hiding behind George and Millie!

I is for …in laws

My FiL died suddenly just before we moved to France. He and I didn’t see eye-to-eye over many things, and I think he often found me as irritating as I found him! My MiL howver is lovely – I am so lucky to have her. She has found a new man and I wish them every happiness!

(I is also for Iona, where I had an amazing, spiritual holiday with my then-9 year old godson, Joe)

J is for.. (Oh, this was hard!) Joe, Simon & Ruth

who are my godchildren. Joe is working in Columbia at the moment (not quite sure what he’s doing!), Ruth got married lastr summer & works as a graphic designer, & Simon is studying History at Oxford Brookes.

K is for…a Kindle of Kittens

Our Very Bad Kittens: Pomme, George, Millie and Bib. None of them are really Kittens now, but that’s what we call them!

L is for…Liverpool

I am a proud Scouser, even though I don’t have the accent!

L is also for LLM (Licensed Lay Minister) which is what I was, and hope to be again. It’s how I can serve God. (See “G”!) L is for Lolcats (of which I use far too many!) and for  Llama – another of my favourite animals. How can you not love their little faces!

M is for Milton Keynes

We lived there for 15 years and I loved it. A vibrant, well-planned city with history and vision for the future. It really was a great place to live.

It’s where I learned how much I loved acting. And where I became an LLM.

N is for… Narcissus

(a bit of a struggle this one!) But narcissi/daffodils are one of my favourite flowers.

O is for …October

It’s when I was born! A good month!

P is for …Preaching

This is what I am very happy to do (although the sermon for Sunday isn’t flowing as well as it could – possibly because I’m spending time trying to write this A-Z!!) I know I have a talent for it, and it’s a great pleasure to use this talent for God.

Q is for…QWERTY keyboard (?!)

I don’t have one. I have an AZERTY keyboard (French)  and it’s very difficult going back to an English keyboard now!!

R is for…Reading

An enormous pleasure! I don’t read anything too heavy, but I enjoy crime thrillers – not too gory thank you! – and lightish reads. I have a Kindle, but prefer the real thing!

(R is also for restaurants. Where I love going. And for Rita, my first big role, in “Educating Rita”, performed at Stantonbury Campus in about 1988 or 89. R is also for Rend Collective, a favourite Christian band)

S is for …serendipity

My favourite word

(S is also for sheep…and Saint Just en Chevalet, where we live)


A view of St Just

T is for…Theatre

I’ve mentioned how much I love acting, but I love going to the theatre too – not that I’ve been to the theatre since we’ve been in France. I love most things, but I do love a good musical!

U is for …unstable

Which I am a bit – balance-wise, that is! I have fairly small feet for my height, plus dodgy ankles that sometimes seem to give way for no reason whatsoever.

V is for…varifocals

(Yes, OK, so we’re scraping the barrel a bit here!) I wear glasses. They are varifocals!


Here’s me with George-the-Kitten. And my varifocals.

W is for…wine.

‘Nuff said, really!

X is for…xenodochial*

(which is a rather archaic word meaning “hospitable and kindly towards strangers”) I would like to think that we are hospitable. I love cooking for friends and it’s always a pleasure to serve good food. Next week we are having some visitors, a friend of Mr FD’s from Uni – he hasn’t seen him for over 30 years! Being hospitable meant we met Aaron, a friend of a blogging friend, who was a delightful young man.  I need to try to be even more hospitable, I think.

Y is for…youngest

I am the “baby” of the family. My sister is 5 years older than me, and my brother 3 years older.


A picture of me and mum.

Z is for…zentangle inspired art

Another of the things I love doing. Here are just two examples:



 So there you are! Some things you may have already known about me and some you may not have known. I hope you enjoyed reading my A-Z of me. I won’t tag anyone, but if you want to join in, please let me know!

* I found this word on a delightful site which had lots of archaic or obscure words, and their meanings. I particularly liked the fact that there was the word “ucalegon” with the very specific meaning “a neighbour whose house is on fire”. Not just “neighbour”, not “neighbour in trouble”, but “neighbour whose house is on fire”. I would imagine that the number of times one can use this word is very limited!

But this might be one occasion: “Quick! Phone Phil our ucalegon!”


You may have noticed two extra pages linked at the top of the page.

There is “Throw off the Bowlines” which isn’t new. that gives some explanation as to how we ended up in France.

And there are the “Dregs from the Other Teapot…” pages. These are selected posts from when I was blogging using Wibsite – my first venture into blogging. This was  a small, friendly community of bloggers, and I stuck with them for quite some time, before moving over to WordPress. I didn’t want to completely lose my old blog, and if you really feel interested you can go here to read more (although you won’t be able to see any of my photos – one of the reasons I left Wibsite)

It has actually been a great pleasure reading back over various posts and remembering things I had forgotten about. I could have easily added lots more posts to “The Dregs” but have just chosen about 10 or 12 in each part. I hope you enjoy reading them, and finding out a bit more about me!

I have a little list…

…as I believe somebody-or-other sings in The Mikado.

Actually, that’s a lie – I haven’t got a little list, but I want to blog today, and A List of 10 Things that Make Me Happy seems to be a good thing. So I’m compiling it as I blog…

1. Mr FD.

Well, of course. Sometimes, of course, he doesn’t make me at all happy, particularly if I’m being Mrs Grumpy from Hell, when nothing would make me happy, but, generally he makes me very happy.


how can you resist a smile like that?!

2. My faith

Perhaps that should be N°1, but this list isn’t in any particular order. So I can put it here. The belief that God, the creator of everything, cares for me and loves me is a very Happy Thing. I know that life isn’t always rosy, and there are times when I look at the world today and wonder if God really knows what he’s doing, but in my heart of hearts I do believe that somewhere there is a plan. Even if we can’t figure it out.

3. Cats

Especially our four bundles of mischief.


here are two of them – brother & sister cuddling up!

4. Wine.

It’s good, wine is… I’m not a connoisseur by any means. A 1,99€ bottle of South African white from Lidl is good. A nice rounded robust red is also good. Champagne less so, as unfortunately it seems to give me cramp (although that might just be the effects of dehydration!) I like wine.

5. Going to a Restaurant

It doesn’t matter if it’s a little family run bistro or somewhere a bit posher. There’s something about going out for a meal that I really like – trying new food, perhaps, or just not having to cook it myself. I’m not sure. But I like that we go out quite a lot here.

A local restaurant, owned by a friend.

6. Theatre

Be it musicals, Shakespeare, comedies…Be it acting or watching… I love the theatre. Sadly since being here I’ve not had the occasion to get involved in Am-Dram, but in the UK I loved it. I’m very happy that the Kids Department at the summer school are going to TWO musicals this year. I won’t be missing those!

This is the theatre wherein I  did the majority of my acting, at Stantonbury Campus school in Milton Keynes.

7. Friends

Either in Real Life or through blogging. How special it is to be able to share interests and conversations…either face to face or virtually. And a blogging friendship (with Mags) meant that we met Aaron, a splendid young man who was cycling from Istanbul to Belfast (as you do) Blog swaps and blog hops are also fun.


I love reading – I prefer real books, but the convenience of  the Kindle is good. I enjoy lots of different genres, but nothing too heavy. I don’t think I have a particularly favourite book, but I do return to certain books over and over again. Author-wise, I like Elizabeth George and Peter Robinson for crime novels, Phillipa Gregory for historical stories, Sarah Harrison and Joanne Trolloppe for lighter reads, Tim Moore for humour…But that is nowhere near an exhaustive list!

9. Crafting

If you’ve read the blog for any length of time you’ll know my preferred crafts are card making and Zentangle Inspired Art. I don’t have a lot of whizzy machines to do my embossing or die cutting – just cheap stuff from Noz and whatever bits I can find!


A sheepie ZIA for my Grow Your Blog giveaway. There’s a similar one waiting for me to get it to Michelle at Boulderneigh!


A ZIA card for my friend’s Christian “birthday”


A selection of cards created for Spanish Stray Cats

10. Dancing

I’m not small and compact, I’m not tall and willowy. I’m tall and chunky, but dancing makes me feel willowy and graceful (except when I fall over my feet!)  even if I’m not!  I’ve experimented with liturgical dance, morris dance and ballroom dancing, but I am loving my Line Dancing at the moment. Well, not at the moment exactly, as I have a mysterious pain in one of my feet, but generally. The feeling when I get through a dance without making a mistake is fantastic (very rare, I’m afraid, but fantastic!) and I love the buzz that I get from dancing! It’s brilliant!

Other quick make-me-smile things…


Professor Brian Cox (even though I often have no idea what he’s talking about!)

(with a Brucie-bonus of Doctor Who as well!)

Alan Rickman

the BBC’s Flagship Film Review Programme

Good comedy films & programmes

including (but not exclusively…) “What We Did on Our Holidays”, Father Ted, Big Bang Theory, Black Books, Raised by Wolves, almost anything by Guy Jenkins & Andy Hamilton, The Last Leg, Wallace & Gromit, and many more which I can’t think of at the moment…

Chocolate, in its many forms (except possibly dark chocolate)

Llamas, donkeys, sheep, ducks, goats


So there you are! Things Wot Make Me Smile. What about you? Do any of those float your boat?

Muguet de bois

On Thursday (30th April) I bought two little plastic stem pots of lily-of-the-valley to give to Valentin’s mum (Valentin is only 10 so I don’t think he’d appreciate flowers) and to Adal (&, by proxy, Pascale, his wife) – my two students. The reason being that on May 1st, La Fete du Travail, it is traditional to give little posies of lily-of-the-valley to those we love, to bring happiness for the year ahead.

Pascale gave me a sprig in return, saying that one should reciprocate – that’s a new one on me! – but I had already bought myself a little plant potfull, so on the way home I called in to see Cathy and passed my sprig from Pascale onto her.

Yesterday, 1st May, Mr FD went to see our friends across the square (something computer related) and returned with a little glass vase stuffed full of lily-of-the-valley for me from Monique. It is sitting on my desk, but of course, the cats are interested in it! While the cat pictured above is not George, it could so very easily be!! I must be careful though as I think it is poisonous for cats, as for humans.

I’m hoping I can plant my potfull under the trees in the courtyard – I believe lily-of-the-valley like shade – and that they will return next year. Lily-of-the-valley always reminds me of my Nana, who had a very shady  patch of ground in front of her terraced house in Liverpool. It was paved mostly with little cracked tiles, and the only plant I remember growing there was lily-of-the-valley. The scent reminds me both of Nana and Mum, who used to wear Muguet de Bois perfume by Coty

I didn’t know why France had this tradition though, until somebody posted a link on her FaceBook page to this article which explains the story behind it.

So, to all my dear readers I offer (a day late!) this little bouquet of happiness:

Just don’t put it in your soup!!