London Ship-Meet

Yesterday was a really lovely day. The Mister and I went on a Ship Meet in London and we met down at Tower Hill, wandered across Tower Bridge and then along the South Bank past the Tate Modern and almost up to the London Eye where there was a Christmas Market. After a very slow meander we went to a pub where we had manage to acquire the whole of the upstairs to ourselves, where we proceeded to eat, drink and be merry. We were even joined by a bishop and the Captain of the Ship of Fools himself. Apart from being a bit drizzly it was such a fun day.

Days like this remind me just how important the Ship of Fools has been for me over the last few years. I am sure that many people would think that the idea of an online community is a little strange, and the idea of meeting up with members of that community really quite bizarre. However, the Ship has given me a safe space to consider different issues and to discuss them with a broad spectrum of people. The Ship is no longer just an online community, I have many ‘real-life’ friends who I originally met online, and yet these days they are just friends, not online friends. Ship-meets such as this one mean that these friendships can develop and extend, and they continue to be a vibrant and important part of my social life. I have met many good friends online and indeed I have met some particularly special people through the Ship.

So, God bless this ship, and all who sail in her!


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The ebb and flow

Picture 344

“Dear Lord, today I thought of the words of Vincent Van Gogh; ‘It is true there is an ebb and flow, but the sea remains the sea.’ You are the sea. Although I experience many ups and downs in my emotions and often feel great shifts and changes in my inner life, you remain the same. Your sameness is not the sameness of a rock, but the sameness of a faithful lover. Out of your love I came to life; by your love I am sustained; and to your love I am always called back. There are days of sadness and days of joy; there are feelings of guilt and feelings of gratitude; there are moments of failure and moments of success; but all of them are embraced by your unwavering love.

My only temptation is to doubt in your love, to think of myself as beyond the reach of your love, the remove myself from the healing radiance of your love. To do these things is to move into the darkness of despair.

O Lord, sea of love and goodness, let me not fear too much the storms and winds of my daily life, and let me know that there is ebb and flow but that the sea remains the sea. Amen.”

Henri Nouwen – A Cry for Mercy

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The Baby P aftermath

I was just listening to the news and they stated that there has been an increase in the amount of children removed into care since the end of the Baby P trial – about a 30% increase.

This I am not surprised by. I spent part of my morning in a child protection meeting trying to plan what is going to happen to one of my clients when she has her baby. Whereas before the media reaction to Baby P (in my professional opinion) there was little interest in my client other than the usual, “oooo we must monitor” blah blah blah, suddenly we are all being railroaded into a very heavy-handed approach to child protection. I sat in this meeting and by the end of it I had been channeled in the direction of considering residential rehab for mother and baby… at an extortionate cost. Money that we don’t have, and if social services want to go down this route then they can fork out for it.

It just seems to me that instead of being measured in responses and considering families on a case by case basis everything suddenly is blown out of proportion. I understand it and yet it makes me quite cross. We fight and fight to get appropriate services to support clients and yet the minute something terrible happens they aren’t even given the option of trying to be a good parent. I have no doubt that under that much scrutiny many parents would make monumental mistakes.

I am not sure we will get any balanced response in the next few months. The icing on the cake was the suggestion (however “unsaid” it was) that I was being unprofessional in suggesting that my client should be given the opportunity to parent before she is cast in a negative light.

In my experience, I just can’t win!


The new improved Auntie Doris

So, here are the photo-shopped pictures from the make-over weekend. I like them, and whilst they look like me they also don’t look like me. If you know what I mean! What do you think?

Original on the left…. photo-shopped on the right.

_MG_2881 Anna3
_MG_2702 Anna1
_MG_2707 Anna2

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RC Part 76 – No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay

No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay is a brilliant book!

The story is about Cynthia who wakes up one morning to find her mother, father and brother have all disappeared. There is no note, no explanation and she has no idea where they all are. Twenty-five years later there are some strange developments and some sinister things start happening… eventually she starts to find out the truth, but it isn’t really what anyone expected.

I am not going to tell you anymore… you’ll have to read it to find out 🙂

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RC Part 75 – 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith

44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith is a fab little book. It is a beautiful observations of daily life, as seen by 5 or 6 characters. For me one of the most useful things though is was that it had really short chapters as it was originally written for a newspaper. This meant that I could pick it up and put it down easily when I was at work and needed a short break. Well worth a read if you can get a copy.

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Medical matters and German sausages

I have had another happy and fabulous weekend in Leeds, apart from it taking me absolutely hours to get there. The drive was vile and by the time I arrived I was feeling alternately suicidal and homicidal. Oh well.

Excitingly on Saturday we went to theThackray Museum of Modern Medicine. I expected it to be a piddly little affair, but it was huge, and generally marvellous. They had re-created Victorian streets explaining what life was like in the city 150-or-so years ago. The museum looked at all the advances in medical sciences including treatment of diseases, vaccinations and treatments, moving on to look at modern medicine and advances in technology. I did try to persuade The Mister to put on one of those Pregnancy Empathy Belly things. Sadly he refused, possibly because he knows full well what I am like and was convinced that I would have taken photos. He is absolutely right. I would have done.

Of course the goriest bit (and the bit I found most fascinating) was the exhibition about amputations and anaesthesia. It is definitely well worth going to and rather unexpectedly we got two adult admissions for the price of one which was a bonus. Also, they had Charles Dickens there telling stories and a craft fayre, which wasn’t up to much to be honest.

In the evening we went to the German Christmas Market which was sparkly and lovely. We drank mulled wine, ate German sausages and garlic bread and just wandered and watched what was going on. Lovely.


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Nooma – Rhythm

Tonight at our cell group we watched one of the Nooma DVD’s called Rhythm.

I love these little films. They are generally clever, make me think and encourage me to think about God in different ways. In this film a relationship with God was compared to a song… that the song is God, and it is always going on, but the question is are you in tune with the song? I love the idea of this relationship being like a song… the consistency of the tune, but how many ways can we hear the same thing? How many different instruments can we hear in the whole? How many different ways do we each experience God, and yet the song remains the same.

“Jesus is like God in taking on flesh and blood, and so in his generosity, in his compassion, that’s what God’s like.
In his telling of the truth, that’s what God’s like.
In his love, and forgiveness, and sacrifice, that’s what God’s like.
That’s who God is. That’s how the song goes.”

The question from this statement was “Is God compassionate, truthful, loving and forgiving OR is God compassion, truth, love and forgiveness?”

I simply answered yes because I both believe he IS all these things, but also that he is able to offer all these things.

“The song is playing all around us all the time, the song is playing everywhere, it’s written on our hearts, and everybody is playing the song. See, the question isn’t whether or not you’re playing a song, the question is, “Are you in tune?”

PS) I tried to add a Youtube video but couldn’t work it out… any advice from the experts?

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Have a heart!

The issue of “presumed consent” for organ donation has been in the news. Basically what this means is that instead of having a policy so that people have to sign up to agree that their organs can be used after their death, there will be an opt-out policy. It will be assumed that if you do not say otherwise your organs will be available for donation.

Now, I don’t see what the big deal is. I know for some people there will be religious arguments, whether they are a Jehovah’s Witness of whatever, and that’s fine. They can have their little card saying they want to be kept fully intact after their death. However, I think there are a lot of people who just haven’t thought about it too much. They don’t like the idea of being chopped up, but the reality is that they are dead. It doesn’t really matter.

However, for those 6000 people who are on the organ donation list presumed consent could make an enormous difference. If the rate of available organs is increased then more people will live. Surely, that has to be a good thing. If an individual is too lazy to opt out of a scheme then why should those on the waiting list suffer. Maybe I am being naïve, or maybe I am just being logical.

Quite frankly when I am dead they can take what they like. I see it as recycling and to be honest I am happy to be as environmentally friendly as possible. However, if they could implant my heart into a natural blonde who is a size 10 then I might finally get my (dying) wish!

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This was shamelessly nicked from Deelea. I have done lots of things, but it seems to me I still have a lot I want to do!

Bold is for Done. Italics is for want to.

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train Chicago to Seattle an amazing trip
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one

94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Anyone else want to do this one?

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