Does anyone remember Robert Lindsay as Wolfie in “Citizen Smith”?

It was a TV series at the end of the 70s; Wolfie was the self-proclaimed leader of the revolutionary Tooting Popular Front (the TPF, merely a small bunch of his friends), the goals of which were “Power to the People” and “Freedom for Tooting”. He was, in fact, a bit of a loser, who did not very much to reach these goals!

I’ve been starting to bring my own “Power(points) to the people” as I’ve been putting together Power Point Presentations to go on t’internet before our Church services. A mixture of images, Bible verses, and quiet music, lasting about 7 or 8 minutes, we hope these will (a) tell people that they’ve logged onto the right place and (b) help people to settle into a more worshipful frame of mind. Otherwise there is slightly inane “chat” on the Chat function. It developed out of my Good Friday meditatative service – basically a PPP with music, readings, pictures and poems. It was well received; and gave me a bit of confidence. I’ve been exploring the “Design” settings, and the “add video” options, and I’ve had fun putting them together. I think I’ll be quite sorry (in a very small way) when we go back to “real” church, and I won’t get the opportunity to do them again!

But I wonder if, as we’re so spread out as a congregation, whether a mid-week Zoom meditative service – basically a PPP that someone has put together (me! me!) would be welcome. I’d enjoy doing that, I think. I shall suggest it, I think.

Our Zoom Church meetings have been going well – they’re not very technical or wizzy; you can’t see the speaker (so I may try to put together a PPP for when I’m giving the sermon next week, if I feel brave enough!!), but they are something that keeps us all worshipping together. And when we unmute, and switch on our cameras for “coffee time” afterwards, it’s chaotic but good to see everyone!

If you’d like to join us, let me know in the comments, and I can give you the link for Sunday.

Post Isolation Fantasies…

This is from Kezzie’s choices over here, but I’m afraid these are not terribly interesting!! I think it’s indicative of how unexciting my life is normally, that I haven’t been fantasising about getting back to “normal life” through the Confinement!!

But here you are:

1. Restaurant you would go out to: Probably the Hotel de la Poste round the corner. We have a voucher, which Friends Alison & Gerome gave us for our birthdays. It was supposed to be used within 6 months, but that came and went during March, when we were confined.

We have been doing quite well for food though, as the restaurant next door is doing takeaways to keep afloat. I had a delicious pizza yesterday.

2. Friend you would meet up with first: Probably Friend Alison, for a real apero, not a virtual one. We have been chatting from time to time, keeping 2m away from each other if I pass by her house and she’s outside. Also Louis and Odette, who are good friends too.

3. Place you would go:Back to work?! I’m not sure where I’ve missed…I suppose it’s the freedom to go anywhere that I’ve missed, rather than somewhere in particular. So possibly just for a walk that’s more than 1 km from the house!

4. Shop you would go to: Noz!! And Lidl…Our shopping has been expensive because we’re using the little Carrefour Extra in the village, which isn’t as cheap as Lidl, or the bigger supermarkets.

5. Food item you would buy/eat: We haven’t really missed anything too much. It’s been harder getting fresh fruit and vegetables, including my favourite Pink Lady apples, so that would be nice. We have missed a few ingredients that the little supermarket doesn’t stock, but nothing springs to mind!

6. Cake you would eat: Again, not missing cake, as we can buy stuff quite easily. And the restaurant next door does the odd “Dessert du Jour” which is very nice! Lemon tart yesterday!

7. Show you would go to see/Concert you will go watch: We hadn’t planned any concerts/ shows – there’s not many that come to our corner of France that we want to see. I think Mr FD is planning a Big Big Train concert, but I’m not sure where that is.

8. Relative you will hug first: Apart from Mr FD (and we’ve shared a good amount of hugs during confinement) it will be whichever of my relatives I see first!

9. Holiday you would go on: Possibly the one that we should have been going on at the end of May! We’ve deferred it till September, and we were supposed to be going with my MiL, my mum and my brother. We don’t know what restrictions will be still in place in September for elderly people in the UK, so we’re waiting-and-seeing. It was to a lovely looking place in the Cantal area.

10. Other activity? Going to Church. It will be lovely to see people face to face again! I actually think that being apart has brought us closer together as a congregation. It’s been lovely that people who have left and live elsewhere have been able to join us – that’s been an unexpected bonus of this lockdown – but I look forward enormously to taking communion again. And we will be much closer to finding out about a new Priest in Charge…the closing date for applications is coming up at the end of May, I think.

11. Thing you would do at work: While I have been enormously grateful for the fact I’ve been able to work from home, by phone or by computer, it’s not been the same! Face to face teaching is easier, and more rewarding. But, much as I’m looking forward to going back to work, I won’t be first out of the door on 11th May…I definitely want to wait at least another 2 weeks, in order to (hopefully) avoid a second wave of the virus.

12. Item you would buy: There’s nothing I really want now – before yesterday it would have been plants for the balcony, but the little local garden centre is now opening just in the morning, so I was able to buy a rather random selection of plants. The balcony is looking less bare now! So just the chance to have a browse around the shops…for nothing in particular!


Do let me & Kezzie know if you take part!

POETRY VIII (I think!)

So, people have been sending me their favourite poems too, which is lovely.

Julie sent me this one – it was a good one to share at school, as the children enjoyed the narrative, the tension, the repetition, the suspense…the blood! I’d forgotten it, so it was good to have a reminder.

The Highwayman

The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees.
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding—
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

I’ve just put the first verse, but you can find the rest here

Thank you for sharing, Julie!

Chaos! But fun

We’ve just had a chaotic but enjoyable Family Quiz via a Zoom-type app. With us in France, my niece & family in Malaysia, mum & my sister in Liverpool, a nephew in Manchester, and my brother and his daughter and her family in another bit of Manchester, it seemed 2 pm our time was the most suitable time. The chaos side came when you add a 3 year old “helping” the question setter, and demanding oranges and crisps, plus a baby plus another young one elsewhere, and then a screen that froze and meant that Mum & Judy couldn’t speak!! With five screens all speaking at once, plus Judy & Mum typing into the “chat” function,  you can imagine the confusion…!!

But it was fun, and my brother won by 1.5 points. Mr FD’s pride was wounded by that, so he aims to win next time!!

Actually next time may well be more chaotic as we add another nephew and his family to the mix. They’re in Edinburgh, but couldn’t join in as they had to tale Rosa (the oldest) to the doctor’s. Apparently, if there are any questions on “Pokemon or being grumpy” Rosa will be a great asset to the team!!

We’re doing a “show and tell” with Mr FD’s family tomorrow – show something from a holiday or a special place and talk about it! I still haven’t decided what I’m showing, but I think it might be a little pot that I painted at a Medieval fair in 1992. We stayed in a village called Montferrat, from 15-29th August (I only know that because it’s painted on the pot!) but I think the fete was at a place called Brignoles.

That’s how we’re spending the weekend!


Daily Lockdown Life

I feel I’ve been cheating, posting poems, but to be honest there’s not much else to say!

Like most of us in France (there are those, as everywhere, who don’t take notice) we are in lockdown, which basically means that you can’t go out more than once a day, for no more than an hour. And only for shopping, essential working, exercise or essential care work. We’ve not struggled too much with this, because we have had our work and a big house to spread out in, but we do feel for others who have found it much more difficult. But, even so, I don’t think that the fact it is a challenge is any excuse to endanger other people!

It really ticks me off to see people thinking that rules don’t apply to them (although I do have to admit that, on occassions, I have been out twice a day – once to buy bread, and once to feed the Poor Cats. But I didn’t meet anyone second time round.) and getting together for parties, or going out for picnics, or sunning themselves on the beach. There was even a group of people flying out to France in a private jet, to stay on the Cote d’Azur!

We’ve been supporting the restaurant next door – our Easter dinner was a delicious asparagus-and-morilles-in-a-wine-sauce with risotto – and otherwise eating reasonably healthily, until it all goes to pot with chocklit in the evening!

I was starting to get a bit “stir crazy” by the end of last week, but one of my students made a comment that made me realise that I’d spent 12 straight days mostly working in front of a computer. Yes, I’d popped out for my early evening walk most days, but with preparing a Power Point meditative Good Friday service, and a Power Point to start our Easter Sunday service as well as lessons by video conferencing, I hadn’t had a proper break from computer screens. So on Saturday morning, I tackled the balcony – emptied the disgusting litter tray, cleaned it up, emptied pots of dead plants, brushed up soil, litter and who-knows-what, and generally made it a pleasant place to sit again. There is a cat basket in the shade which Pomme and Jasper both like, and a “second class” box in the shade, which the loser sits in! Sadly, there’s no plants (except the parsley and chives that survived the winter) as we can’t justify driving to one of the bigger garden centres (they’ve been given permission to open) to buy plants, and our small garden centre isn’t open. But I’ve put out a few artificial plants, and tried to make it look nice. If anyone would like to knit or crochet me some plants, then feel free!!

We really need to tackle the courtyard next – that really IS a mess, but neither of us feel that inclined! It was so lovely to get out and just breathe! In fact, I sat outside on the balcony reading for most of the afternoon! On Sunday we had our Zoom church meeting and then in the afternoon I just relaxed and read…and created another PPP for the beginning of next week’s church! I actually really enjoy putting them together, so it was relaxing.

My MiL’s friend, who has been in a nursing home for a couple of years, with dementia has succumbed to this bastard virus. He’s my only personal link to someone who has died,  but I fear there may be more before the end of this time. My mum is at home with my sister, and my brother is doing shopping and delivering it, so neither of my sister or my mum need to go out to more risky situations. With mum at 91, we really don’t want her exposed to risk.

Stay safe, dear Friends, stay safe.