Blue arsed flies.

For those who don’t quite understand the metaphor:: Run around is a common expression meaning to be busy, frantic, or otherwise getting the runaround. But to emphasize how much one is running around, we turn to metaphor. I’ve been running around like a blue arsed fly. The fly in question is apparently a blue bottle fly, which buzzes around rather frantically, like someone who is running around busily doing errands.

Golly gosh! I’ve been busy – still am!! Some good things:

  • My calligraphy course went very well – no-one turned up, so I sat & chatted to Martine, the organiser, for anhour then presented my bill, and came home to do my ironing. Hopefully, I’ll get paid the full amount.
  • SNCF have refunded the cost of the initial ticket, that I couldn’t use, from my horrible journey home from convention. I’m still a bit out of pocket, but we’ll accept that.
  • Mr FD has several interviews/job fairs to go to in the next couple of weeks (fingers crossed) and I’m getting more work too. The Financial Monster is being kept at bay, thanks to the geneerosity of mothers, and some frugality on our part. Plus a transfer of funds from the UK!
  • I’m going here on Saturday for 5 days!

STRASBOURG CHRISTMAS MARKET

Yay! Huzzah! and other cries of glee.

Less nice, but exciting and interesting news:

  • I resigned from the Transition Committee  for the Bishop Elect. My new medication (hormone therapy) does have a side efect of increased anxiety, and I was finding myself getting really stressed, even just over the Zoom meetings (like Skype) It was doing me no good, so I resigned, deciding that I needed just to focus on Church here in Clermont.
  • However, here in Clermont, Father Rob and his wife Caireen are moving on. They are off to Rome, and we are looking for a new rector. We may need to be creative – possibly a part time rector, possibly something else…Happily the new Bishop Elect is interested in and knowledgable in bi-vocational work. Until someone is appointed I will probably be preaching more/taking more services, and we’ll be having various ordained people visiting so we can have the Eucharist.
  • I’m now on the Strategic Planning Committee – but it is focussing on church here in Clermont!! – as we start to think about what Christ Church in Clermont Ferrand will evolve into. It’s sad that we are losing two well-loved people, but it is exciting to l;ook ahead to what we may become, and what God’s plans are for us.

And off I buzz again – need to have lunch before leaving to go to Clermont to teach.

 

Hope all is well with you, dear Ones. I am thinking about my Things to do Before I’m 60 list. I may publish it at the beginning of January – 10 Things in the 10 months before I’m 60. That seems like a reasonable number of things. Thank you for your ideas – keep them coming!

Stuff happening…busy,busy!

Really short post with explanation why I won’t be around for the next week or so…Lots of reasons.

  1. I have shingles (that’s what my painful “trapped nerve” shoulder was all about) – which means I’ve been tired, I’ve taken a couple of days off, & haven’t planned for next week’s lessons yet. It needs to be done. Thankfully, I’m not in a huge amount of pain, as it was caught early: I have painkillers & anti-viral drugs. What it doers mean is that I can’t lie down without a lot of pain, so I’m sleeping on the sofa at night. It’s OK, but it’s not my bed!
  2. It’s the Church Thanksgiving Meal tomorrow – I have to prepare spiced red cabbage and a peach-and-apple crumb cake. I’ll be out most of the day.
  3. I haven’t inputted last week’s lessons into the ILS System. Nor have I inputted next week’s. It takes time.
  4. I have been asked to write a reflection for next year’s 40 Acts!!! How exciting! I’m honoured too – I thought it was only proper Christians who did these things! That needs to be done in the relatively near future.
  5. I’m teaching a calligraphy course next Saturday. I have done NO preparation whatsoever.
  6. I have been given a date for my interview for my Titre de Sejour – on Wednesday!!!! I have to collect a few (but not too many) documents together. I’m already getting nervous! TBH they have been really efficient (excuse me while I faint!) about this – I sent off my initial request in August, got asked for certain documents beginning of September, got a phone call two weeks ago asking for certain other documents which I dropped off the following day, and today I received notification of my Rdv on Wednesday!! Let’s hope it goes smoothly.

So – no time for blogging. Sorry! I won’t have time to reply to your comments either, but I do appreciate them & will reply when next week is over!

PS Thanks for your suggestions on my Challenges before 60. There are some great ideas.  Do please keep them coming!

60 before 60 redux

Thank you to those of you who happily offered their lists of “experiences” or challeges for my perusal – I appreciate the offer…However, that wasn’t quite what I meant. I actually would like you to choose a challenge/thing to do for me…It could be as simple as “Invite French friends for an English afternoon tea” (I quite like that one!!) or a bit more challenging.

I like The Home Place Web’s suggestion of an art exhibition/show…One of my students recently said that a restaurant she goes to has art work for sale on the walls. Perhaps I could explore that possibility.

So those of you who said “You’re welcome to choose from my list” please could YOU choose something from your list…The proviso being that it incurs (if that’s the right word) little or no cost. Sadly, that might put Shazza’s llama trekking out of the picture, but maybe I could visit the llama farm which isn’t too far from here…

So N°1 on the list of A Few Things Before I’m 60 is organise some kind of art show.

What’s going to be N°2?

 

60 before 60…?

I’m going to be 60 next birthday. Eeep, how did that happen?!

People often plan “35 before I’m 35” things to do…I don’t think I can manage to do , or even think of 60 things!

But – here’s a challenge – I’m going to ask each of those of you who really do read my posts instead of just clicking “like” without reading to suggest one thing that I could do. Preferably nothing that costs a lot of money…for example, I’d love to fly in a hot air balloon over the Chaine des Puys…but it’s way too expensive

But something that might be fun, or interesting, or slightly off-beat, or a challenge (but not too challenging!)

And I’ll try to do them! So get your thinking caps on, and put your suggestions in the Comments.

Mr FD has set in motion our joint 60th Birthday treat – he’s booked tickets to see Big Big Train in Newport, Wales on 1st November. We have friends in South Wales and the south of England, so we’ll try to get to see them. We’re going to set up a virement each month into Mr FD’s Livret A account (savings account) so that the money quietly transfers, and mounts up, without us noticing. Not too much, but enough to help spread the cost. Hopefully we’ll be able to stay with our friends, but it would be nice to maybe have one night in a posh hotel…

Here’s a Big Big Train song for you

Food highlights…

Actually, there haven’t been any particular highlights this week – the Chinese pork was OK, but nothing special.

I think the Feta stuffed chicken was the nicest (this is the correct recipe – I linked to the wrong one in an earlier post) but next time I’ll make the pepper sauce in a different way. It was too watery made like the recipe suggests. Tinned tomatoes, marinaded peppers and some harissa would be better than using stock, I think.

I was lucky enough to get another 1€ Lidl box – this one had about 10 packs of mange touts. A lot were too brown-spotted, but we got the equivalent of about 5 packets of good ones. That’s 1.25kg, which were blanched and frozen. There were also 1.5kg of mushrooms, all perfectly fine, which were sliced and frozen (some cooked, some raw), and 4 wrinkly parsnips. There was also a completely rotten celeriac and an unusable lettuce, but still it was worth the 1€ and a bit of extra work. Parsnips will probably go in soup at the weekend.

I’m looking forward to trying this recipe tomorrow: Stove top pulled pork, with coleslaw, and sweet potato wedges. My slow cooker died a death last winter, so I don’t have the convenience of that – we will get another, but just not yet. This recipe seems to give the delight that is pulled pork, without the slow cooker experience. We shall see.

Oh, how true!

Last night, I had Bib either taking up most of my pillow, or licking/nibbling my ear so I’d lift the covers to let her in (why can’t she go in by herself?!), Millie sprawled between my feet, and Jasper was taking up more than his fair share of the Napping Quarters on Mr FD’s side of the bed. Only Pomme was absent, and that’s because she’s less and less inclined to climb stairs now. Bless them!

But we know that they would always come to our aid, should we need them!

Yeah,right….

Pages of the Sea 1918-2018

I know I’ve already posted one Remembrance Day post but I thought that there might be overseas readers – and some UK readers too – who might be interested to read more about one particular act of rememebrance taking place today – or rather series of acts of remembrance.

The film director Danny Boyle has created a series of events around Britain called “Pages of the Sea”. On 32 beaches, in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, images of 32 ordinary, and not-so-ordinary, people who were casualties of the First World War will be drawn onto the sand, and then the tide will wash these images away.

Boyle says: “Beaches are truly public spaces, where nobody rules other than the tide. They seem the perfect place to gather and say a final goodbye and thank you to those whose lives were taken or forever changed by the First World War. I’m inviting people to watch as the faces of the fallen are etched in the sand, and for communities to come together to remember the sacrifices that were made.”

This will be a unique moment to say goodbye and thank you, together, to the millions of men and women who left their shores during the war, many never to return.

For example,this is Driver Stephen Hewitt (25 October 1878 – 30 August 1916) to be commemmorated at Brancaster beach, Norfolk.

Stephen Hewitt was born in Halvergate, Norfolk, to Christina Elizabeth Tower Harper and Isaac Christmas Hewitt. In 1899, aged 20, he married Louisa Caroline Catt.By 1916, Hewitt had joined the Royal Field Artillery as a driver, trained in the management and use of horses. He served in the Salonika campaign as part of a multinational force in the Balkans fighting the Bulgarians and their allies. In the spring of that year, British and other troops advanced from the Greek port of the same name, despite facing the region’s harsh climate and being struck down by diseases such as malaria and dysentery. Another hazard in the hills were these men fought were packs of wolves. Stephen was out riding when he was attacked by such beasts, dying from his wounds

Among the other people to be remembered are

John Basil Armitage, Cheshire Regiment, Age: 41 Date of Death: 17/05/1917 (Formby Beach, near Liverpool)

Kulbir Thapa, 3rd Queen Alexandra’s Own Gurkha Rifles Date of Death: 03/10/1956 (Lyme Regis beach)

Richard Davies  Date of Death: 25/03/1917) (Ynyslas beach, Ceredigion)

Dorothy Mary Watson Date of Death: 31/07/1917 (Swansea beach)

Wilfred Edward Salter Owen, M.c. Manchester Regiment Date of Death: 04/11/1918 (Folkestone beach) – perhaps one of the “less ordinary” people to be commemmorated, Wilfred Owen wrote some of the most powerful, moving and angry poetry of WW1.

You can find out about all the people to be remembered at the website of Pages of the Sea If you click on each beach, you will find out who is being rememberted, and more about their details. I just picked a few at random.

I think this is a beautifully fleeting way to remember these, and all those others, who have given their lives throughout the ages. Whatever one’s view on war, I still think a pause for thought, for remembrance, for a determination that we will do our part to bring peace to our corner of the world, is never a bad thing.

And Carol Anne Duffy, our Poet Laureate has written a poem full of pity, and anger, and compassion, as powerful as those of the war poets:

The Wound in Time

It is the wound in Time. The century’s tides,
chanting their bitter psalms, cannot heal it.
Not the war to end all wars; death’s birthing place;
the earth nursing its ticking metal eggs, hatching
new carnage. But how could you know, brave
as belief as you boarded the boats, singing?
The end of God in the poisonous, shrapneled air.
Poetry gargling its own blood. We sense it was love
you gave your world for; the town squares silent,
awaiting their cenotaphs. What happened next?
War. And after that? War. And now? War. War.
History might as well be water, chastising this shore;
for we learn nothing from your endless sacrifice.
Your faces drowning in the pages of the sea.

Carol Ann Duffy, 2018

 Edited to add a link to a You Tube video about the event:

1918 – 2018

Four years ago, when it was Remembrance Day for the commemmoration of the beginning of the First World War, I wrote the following post.

Today, commemmorating the end of the First World War, I am going to duplicate the post. It still sums up what I feel:

PEACE HAS TO BE LEARNED

Apparently that great orator (!) Sylvester Stallone once said:

“I could start a war in 30 seconds. But some countries spend 100 years trying to find peace. Just like good manners, peace has to be learned.
I don’t know if this was in a role for a film, or as Sylvester Stallone, but on today, Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, call it what you will, it’s a thought worth thinking about:
Peace has to be learned
And sadly, with its thirst for power – dressed up as patriotism, or as religious fervour, or any other name it is given to justify it – this world (or rather the people within it) needs to learn peace.
I will say no more. I don’t have the skill with words. Many people all over the “blogosphere” will be trying to put into words their thoughts on this portentous day, 100 years after the First World War, the war that was heralded as “the war to end all wars”, but which became the war after which there has never actually been peace throughout the world…
I will simply leave you with this most moving of songs and videos, by the late Clifford T Ward. It is beautiful, and leaves me weeping everytime I listen to it. Please click on the link and take 5 minutes to listen & remember
DAY TO MYSELF
Clifford T Ward
 It’s all so different now
From just a few weeks ago
When April was about to smile on England
And I had to go

So here I am again
Far from where the blackbird sings
And lanes I love to walk along
Lost in my thoughts

And what of you my love
Though you’re so far away
Yet so close to me in all I do and see

And so on my day off
I could have chosen monuments
Historic chateaux, palaces
Or finding ways of improving my French

Instead I wandered out alone
Here where woods and fields abound
And in a quiet corner found the resting place
Of English soldiers killed in war

And what of them my love

Who died so far from home
No last farewell kiss
All that remains is this

It makes me so ashamed to feel alone
Whatever would they think of me
For I shall see my love again

It’s all so different now
From those few years ago
When April smiled so sweetly still
And they had to go