Friday, February 12, 2016

George and the birds

Younger Son has been eating a gluten-free diet but I was still surprised when Husband announced that the bird seed he'd bought was wheat-free. It seemed a bit extreme.

Turns out the lack of wheat is supposed to make it less attractive to pigeons. 

It doesn't.
Just about all the birds that visit our front feeder are pigeons.

Except George who strictly speaking isn't a bird but likes to eat peanuts.

Talking of George, the whole expanse of Swansea bay to frolic across and he still manages to home in on the dog treats dropped by another owner.

That was just before he ingratiated himself with an elderly dog owner who told him and his own dogs to sit. George's bottom was on the sand before you could say periwinkle putting the man's dogs to shame and leading to more treats. 

He knows to whom to cosy up.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

I tried to be the little engine but I couldn't

"I think I can, I think I can ... oh no I can't."

In prison on Sunday with Sean as the guest speaker. It was supposed to be me.

It's taking me a long time to shake off my post-Christmas stupor and as I tried to think what to speak about I began to panic as my mind was quite blank. And more importantly empty. So I messaged Sean and said, 'Help!'

Now asking for help does not come easily to me. I will do just about anything to avoid it. Even if someone offers I usually turn it down. Pride, arrogance, I can do this, I don't want to admit to weakness, all of this combines to make a strong taskmaster.

But I couldn't do it. 

Last week I visited Shirley, an old blogging friend, and one in whom I've confided my weariness. She gave me the wise advice to prioritise and maybe sometimes even put things aside or say no. Again I'm not very good at taking advice but I'm glad I did on this occasion.

Sean, of course, was brilliant. He used the scripture about giving the whole of your heart, soul and mind to God. It's something I've always struggled with believing I've too many other things in my heart, soul, mind, to be able to give it all to God but Sean said he'd come to look at it differently. He used the example of the widow's mite, that she gave what she could and was blessed for it. God takes what we give, flawed as it may be. It's the willingness, the wanting to want to, the trying but not believing it's enough - the poverty of spirit - that matters. 

God bless the ones who know they can't, the ones who acknowledge their failures, the ones who know they need God.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Fitness freak

George went for a walk with Nuora and his best friend, Willett, on Friday so I decided to take advantage of having a free (of course I could have been cleaning ...) morning and walk to the library.

Not a bad way to get to the library
Going there was fine; coming back into the wind that was howling and the sand that was swirling was a little tougher until I left the beach and went onto the prom. Where they have a fitness trail! Needless to say I had to have a go at some. Well, at those I could work out what to do with.

This was my favourite. You stand on it and sort of swing back and for - at least that's what I did. Very good for the hip joints I'm sure.

This one ... maybe to have a rest on?

And fun as it is to pretend to be a bus driver there's only so long you want to do it if you're not actually sitting upstairs in the front seat of a bus.
And as I crossed the threshold upon reaching home my Fitbit on my wrist buzzed excitedly as I'd reached 10,000 steps.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Young Montalbano, Husband and Fitbit

Yesterday evening I did 7,000 steps while watching Young Montalbano.

This morning I was telling Younger Son when Husband interrupted saying, 'It's not the same though, walking back and for in the corner of the room.'
'I know but it's better than doing nothing.'
'Yes, but it's not the same. Look up your statistics.'
'It's still 7,00 steps and better than nothing.
'Yes, but ...'

At that point I sulked out of the room.

Husband is unlikely to be alive to watch any more Young Montalbano if he keeps this up.

The Dress Shop of Dreams

I can thoroughly recommend The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna van Praag, A delightful tale full of lovely characters. A bit of a mystery interwoven with magic and love. Super duper.

Why I hate pastors' wives

Back when I was a church administrator, every Christmas we (the church) would receive a card from a larger church signed, 'from the pastors and their wives.'

Quite apart from the implied sex discrimination it's offensive and I think it's a peculiarly religious thing. You don't get cards from the doctor and his wife or the accountant and his wife. You'd like to hope their wives wouldn't stand for it. I mean, what woman wants to be or is happy to be an appendage?

I assume it's to do with man and woman in marriage becoming one in the eyes of God. But if that is the case then surely the woman must have the same authority and power as the man. Which, of course, she doesn't. She is just the wife. Useful no doubt for making tea.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

No foot rot for me!

After at least 2 years of complaining and putting up with both holey wellies and walking boots I've finally bought some new wellies. It was a close thing: I even took a trip to town to buy myself some but lost interest after looking in a couple of shops.

It was being with GrandSons in their brand-new wellies at the weekend that spurred me on. I was so frustrated at not being able to splash through puddles with them that I came home and ordered myself some. 

But not until after some serious browsing and investigating. All the wellies I've had over recent years have been comparatively cheap and bought, as Husband put it, more for style (if you can have stylish wellies) than sturdiness. So we googled dog-walking wellies and I finally decided on these.

I'm really hoping these will be comfortable for walking - most wellies give me flat feet ache if I walk in them too much - and long-lasting. They cost enough!

Smart eh? I was very happy until Younger Son peered at them and said, 'They're not waterproof.'
'What do you mean? Of course they're waterproof. It said so on the website.' (I believe everything I read.)
'But the leg bit is made of wetsuit material and they don't keep the water out.'

So I set out to test them

They passed the squelching through mud test.
And they passed the wading through the stream test - even though the water came above the rubber bit. And I had to stay there long enough for Husband to take a photo with his phone and then realise it wasn't working so take one instead with the camera I was carrying. In other words I was standing there for a good few minutes.

Smart, warm and comfortable. All that needs to be tested now is longevity. 

Monday, February 01, 2016

Anteaters have long tongues

Spent the weekend with Elder Son and family in Surrey.

While pretending to be dogs I point out to 4-year-old GrandSon1 that dogs have longer tongues than people so can lick water out of bowls. He nods but says, 'But not as long as an anteater's.'

You can't argue with that.

Terry's Old Geezers

Back when I had to get up early in the mornings to get the children to school I listened to Wake up to Wogan on Radio 2. The phrase TOGs (Terry's Old Geezers) came to be the name for his listeners who would write in to tell Terry of their latest age-related calamity. The lucky chosen few of those whose letters he read out on the show received a t-shirt or later on a sweatshirt emblazoned with the words, 'Do I come here often?'

The one and only time I wrote (emailed actually I think) in was to tell Terry my joy at discovering that after I had spent best part of a year believing I was, say, 47 - I can't remember how old exactly -  I was in fact 46 and wouldn't be 47 until my next birthday.

Doing the school run meant my listening to the show was interrupted so I missed my email being read out! But I was pleasantly surprised a few weeks later when I received a parcel from the BBC.
Sir Terry Wogan will be missed. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

"It's their loss", no, really it is

So, a few days ago, I received my first rejection email of 2016 - or as I prefer to call it my first 'it's their loss' email. (Only reaching that stage after sobbing quietly for a few hours.)

Yesterday I received a 'we'd like to see more' email, which, strangely enough made me feel worse than the first one. You see it was from a publisher. Again you'd think, 'Well, that's good, isn't it?' But I don't know; I am suspicious. And I became even more suspicious after I googled them.

On the original publishing website they did say that they may ask for a contribution towards publishing costs, which can be a sign of a vanity publisher but, on the other hand, is like going to a regular printer if you self-publish, but that unlike a vanity publisher they would only publish if they considered it of suitable quality.

The reviews I read however suggested that everything would be of suitable quality and that the financial contribution requested could be very high.

So, yes, my reaction was: the only people who consider my manuscript worthy of publication are scam artists. Hence my misery.

Anyway we're off to Surrey for the weekend so time with grandchildren will cheer me up. We're setting off this afternoon so I'll miss any more 'It's their loss' emails that arrive - I find Fridays to be a 'good' rejection receipt day. I am convinced agents come to the end of the week and just want to reduce their pile a bit so fire them off willy nilly. 

I hope my next post will be more cheerful: I'm not really as horrendously miserable and dreadful to be around as I may sound. At least I hope I'm not ...

P.S. Vanity publishers came into the news a few years ago because they were taking lots of money from people to publish their books. They played on people's vanity and desire to be published - much like self-publishing - but at a great cost - unlike self-publishing. I self-published This Time Next Year at no cost to myself, unless you count blood, sweat and tears.