I discovered that I had got 3 usable photos today. The prayer tennis- balls, a picture of 3 of the behind-the-scenes-ladies who have produced refreshments and done registration and sorted all the 'backroom' jobs - and finally a picture of Paul's table with all the multi-media gear. The first holiday club I helped at [which was 40 years ago] we didn't even have an Overhead Projector! I still haven't mastered posting pictures with words in between.Perhaps if I talk out loud whilst I am doing this, the pole-bridging technique will help. Or perhaps Bob will decide I am quite mad after all!
Wednesday, 30 July 2008
What? This is a word I learned this morning, but probably will not use very much. Janice and Debs, two teachers who I Respect Very Much were using it. Apparently it means "to articulate what one is doing, so that learning is embedded". So when a child describes his actions in solving a maths problem, he is pole-bridging. If I say out loud "knit one, purl one" it presumably helps me to produce better ribbing, and may even help another person to develop the skill.
Who makes up these crazy words? I found this on a school's policy document on the web...
In Practice · We provide feedback at the point of learning
- We encourage children to articulate what they are learning (Pole-bridging)
- We teach children ‘Mind-mapping’ to support presentations
- We teach children cooperative learning strategies e.g. Pair-share, Rally Robin, Each one – teach one, etc and use them regularly in lessons
- Children produce learning posters for other children.
- Children use PowerPoint
- Children devise tests for one another.
Children perform their understanding.
I think I might be approaching my sell-by date as a teacher. I have been thirty years in the classroom, and never to my knowledge used "Rally Robin" as a teaching tool [what is it?]
Furthermore I have watched a number of children use PowerPoint presentations and they are usually appalling because they seem to get extra marks the more bells and whistles they include, however intrusive or inappropriate. Then I realise that their teachers [and the lecturers who trained them] can't use PowerPoint properly either.
How on earth can we expect parents to co-operate with us in the teaching process if we bamboozle them with gobbledegook eduspeak? I think if Liz or Steph had come home from school with such a policy I would have been banging on the Head's door next day asking for an explanation!
It is with great relief that I have to say that Janice and Debs were only using the term ironically, and I get the impression that they will continue to carry on teaching brilliantly without resorting to such daft language!
Despite extensive googling - when I should have been getting the tea, the nearest I could get to any coherent definition was on this site and said this...
What we at Project Renaissance call "pole-bridging the brain" is the principle of taking functions which are found in widely separate, usually not very related regions of the brain (the "poles," if you will) and expressing those brain functions externally in some combination way which requires their coordination. The much faster external sensory feedback from those expressed-coordinated functions forces a more and more immediate relationship between the respective regions of the brain so involved.
Bob thinks there must be some sort of connection with dyke-jumping or fierljeppen as practised in Norfolk! Watch it on YouTube
Holiday Club - Day 3 and we are surviving [just]
Here we are singing Boing! Boing! - the song the kids adore - they go absolutely mental and throw themselves in the air. It is unbelievably tiring if you do it properly.
Fortunately the last verse involves "going to bed" so we get a brief respite.
It has proved quite hard to lead the singing AND do the dancing, so Geoff and his crew come and give us vocal backing whilst Bob and I jump about on the stage.
The other songs are equally popular - Ace Foundations [whatever happened to "The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock"?] What is your God like? and "In the Jungle"
The Craft work has gone well - the eight groups are all producing amazing things, and I am always astonished by the diversity and creativity that is displayed. I was anxious about yesterday's craft, decorating egg-cup "trophies" to stand on little cardboard plinths, but they've worked well. I was convinced the plinths wouldn't work!
It took Jan absolutely AGES because the church printer seemed to be on a go-slow.
Jan also took all these splendid pictures.
You can see that the children all interpret the crafts in their own way - lots of 'girlie-pink' in some groups, others much more geometric/patterned in their approach.
Weather forecast isn't brilliant, but we have been to the cash'n'carry for burgers etc. this afternoon. Also popped over to Desford to see David who is running the same programme next week. He hasn't led one before and is planning meticulously, although he expects fewer children.
This morning, 3 of the girls gave us a demonstration of their baton twirling, which they say is their sport. Tomorrow is Dress-Up Day, everyone is invited to come in some sort of Sports Gear. I've borrowed some cricket things from Gillian, our church administrator [who is also a Properly Qualified Umpire] So I shall look the part evn if I am not a sporty person.
It was that or wear my Archers Tshirt and carry my Ambridge mug, and join the 'archers' group!
Ninety-something children make an awful lot of noise! Here they are doing the aerobics with Rose and Sarah.
The staff continue to work hard and clear up well each day, and spend time in the groups encouraging the children to talk about the Bible stories and what has been said in the plenary session.
Our next-door neighbour is 16 today and her mum has apologised in advance for the 'noisy party' - but it is 7.30pm and I haven't heard a sound yet.
Monday, 28 July 2008
The kids enjoyed themselves and everything worked! Rose and Sarah, 2 of the young people had plan a great aerobics warm-up session, and the kids seemed to pick up the Dave Godfrey songs really quickly. Read Bob's blog for his thoughts on Boing!Boing!
Our attempt to take photos of nearly 100 children inside 45minutes actually worked [they have been decorating frames which they will take home on Friday] After we finished, Jan remembered that I'd made a lollipop saying "Champion's Challenge 2008" which the children were supposed to hold for their photo. It is still languishing in the Church Office. Never mind!
We ended up being 7 for lunch, instead of 3 - but as there had been a BOGOF on fish fingers, we had enough food - and I lent out spare T-shirts - there are now 6 holiday club staff shirts on the line, drying in the blistering heat!
Nick and I 'walked' the bbq to church, ready for Thursday night and now he and Bob are taking the remaining fence rubble to the tip [our neighbours took the first half yesterday morning while we were at church]
We have a prayer wall every year in Holiday Bible Club - and the kids write their prayers on appropriate shapes [last year it was bananas, this year, tennis balls] I am always interested in what children want to mention in their prayers. Lots of the usual [thank you for family, holiday club, pets, food - and please help Grandad who is poorly] but today some unexpected ones;
thank you for bed
thank you for sugar
help the people with the fire in Weston-Super-Mare
Children don't usually like going to bed, especially on light summer evenings. Why sugar? I checked out the W-S-M reference on the BBC newspage, and apparently the pier has burned down, which is sad. I don't think I've ever been to W-S-M.
Its almost three years since Southend Pier went up in flames, and five since Brighton lost its West Pier. I am a southern girl and they are the piers of my childhood! There is an official National Piers Society founded by John Betjeman [who else?] whose website is full of wonderful facts. Perhaps I should try and get to all the others before they burn down too!
Bob and Nick are back - time to go out again!
Saturday, 26 July 2008
Just back from a wonderful 24 hours with the girls [and boys!] in London. After a very hot journey down,i arrived at Liz's flat simultaneously with Jon, who took me in and gave me chilled elderflower cordial [bliss!] Liz got in from work, then Jon left for his appointment and she and I walked round to Ev which is part of the Tas chain. Mark and Steph were there already and we had a fabulous meal, surprisingly good value, with a meze of all sorts of amazing dishes with bulgur wheat, chickpeas, aubergines, peppers, mint, garlic, oil, tabbouleh, haricot beans, falafel, salmon,lamb... wonderful flavours and textures.
I gave Steph the new sleeping bag and she gave me the old one, plus a T shirt and some books - Mark donated a bottle of Budweiser. The new job seems to be going well - although there does seem to be lots of free beer involved. Next weekend the two of them are off canoeing in Sweden.
Liz and I strolled back, and got up early this morning to go to Borough Market. The fruit and veg and other produce there are a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. We did not have breakfast - simply because you can graze on free samples and get your calories that way. People are offering you breads and oils, and brownies, and bits of ham or cheese, or olives, or pate, or chutneys - and little cups of cordials and juices and tiny pots of muesli - it is great. There are lots of stalls offering interesting breads - I got a potato bread to bring home, and Liz picked up a rosemary one for our lunch.
They seem used to people taking photographs and 'strike a pose' at the drop of a hat!
My loaf came from the guy with the 'bread not bombs' apron!
Liz also bought some mushroom pate for lunch and I got some French yogurts in little glass jars to bring home. I was reluctant to buy too much, because I felt that in the heat of the car,
many fresh things might spoil.
syrups - but had to take a picture of this one - it is Candyfloss Flavour - but in France, candyfloss is called "Barbe a Papa" - grandfather's beard! These biscuits were splendid too - I specially liked the 'owl' shortbread.
Round the corner, by the back of the Market, was a lady selling French Patisserie, and her stall was breathtaking too.
However everything was very expensive, and horrendously fattening.
I can understand why the place is so popular with all the wealthy, professional, 'foodie' types - although we didn't actually see anyone this morning [apparently Nigel Slater goes most weeks] There are lots of meat and game stalls - I was concerned about the one selling 'baby haggis' I asked Liz if it was right that these creatures should be taken away from their mothers whilst they are still so young!
Many of the stalls are run by French folk - but the Ostrich Meat stall is from Nottinghamshire, up near Jon's family home.
As we left the market, I display of jewel-like soft fruits caught my attention, all from Kent.
But reason prevailed, and I knew they would be a soggy mess when I got them back to Kirby, so I left them and just took their picture! We walked back and cut through the Shopping Centre at Elephant and Castle - the opposite end of the retail trade, with Iceland, Tesco's, Peacock's and a Pound Shop!
Here's Liz's Blue Eggs from Clarence Court - wherever that is! She says they have rich golden yolks, and a great flavour - particularly good when scrambled. They are stamped with blue crowns, not little red lions!
I bought two other things - a couple of beakers in the poundshop.
They were only 39p each and they are Dead Ringers for the Cath Kidston Blue Spot Range [£14 for four]
This I considered to be an excellent bargain!
Above - the CK beakers, to the left, my £shop ones! In the background of my photo you can see the wonderful new fence panels Pete fitted this week. The garden is looking really good [if you ignore the stack of old fence panels on the lawn!]
After a splendid lunch with Liz and Jon, I drove back - very hot and sticky up the M1. We had our meal, then we practised the Dave Godfrey action songs for tomorrow. That was utterly exhausting - I am sure Bob was right to use this DVD - but the physical requirements are phenomenal - the box should carry a health warning! Bob spent some of last night learning the songs - so he is better than I am - but even more exhausted therefore.
I've unloaded the stuff from the car - including a half-built theremin from Jon, a Unicef T-shirt from Steph, Mark's Budweiser, various books the girls had borrowed...it feels like Christmas! Now I shall collapse in front of the TV and watch Foyle's War.
Thanks, kids, for a lovely break!
Friday, 25 July 2008
Really busy trying to tie up loose ends before I dash down to London for the evening to see the girls. Whilst doing my fabric sort the other week,I came across a tiny scrap less than 10 cm sq. with Bart chalking "I will finish what I start..." Decided I ought to frame it for my friend Lesley - so I have done this and put those lovely verses from Philippians on the back, in recognition of her Finish summer.
Also managed to alter a skirt for a friend and make a cushion for Liz. The fabric is a remnant of Orla Kiely curtaining, which was left over from some display or other at The Tate. That worked its way to the top of the pile when I was sorting out the fabric too.I had a cushion pad in the loft already, so sewed it up the other evening. I am , as usual, ridiculously thrilled to have produced something pleasing for virtually nothing. OK cushions cost upwards of £50 in the shops!
How come one week's club, 2 hours per day needs all this - and two week's camping holiday in Ireland on a motorbike needs so little?
When we went to France in 2006, I kept a journal, and then had just one copy published via Lulu as a gift for Bob [that was before I began blogging] No end of folk in the church have borrowed it to read, and some have even got their own copies! Yesterday the ladies at the Coffee Drop In asked if I'd be writing a book this year.
My overlocker machine has been delivered by the courier, having had its service etc at Bambers - but I don't think I should unpack it and do any sewing just now, that can wait a day or two.
Everybody is being really helpful and offering all sorts of ways to lighten the load for Bob and me, as we prepare for the Holiday Club.
It reminds me of Annie Vallotton's lovely illustration for Galatians 6:2 in the Good News Bible - each person helping the one in front!
I think the blog will be a bit neglected for a while - I shall be very occupied with other things. Not to mention jumping up and down going "Boing Boing Boing!" - which is one of the Dave Godfrey songs Bob wants us to sing next week. Lack of musicians means reorganising the music, so we are using one of DG's DVDs. This should go down well with the kids from my school at least, as they know Dave from the Number Fun Day back in April.
You can tell things are hectic round here - I have completely lost touch with goings-on in Ambridge - a friend's email referred to how awful Emma was being, and it meant nothing to me! Only ten days to the holiday. Hallelujah!
Monday, 21 July 2008
Working hard even though it is a Day Off. We've been busy gardening! The grass is cut, the shrubs are pruned [and the clippings shredded] and the bench has been oiled again. For years, I wanted a proper garden bench - and was utterly thrilled when the church gave us one for our Silver Wedding four years ago.
It has a lovely padded green cushion, and when the weather is good, it is great to sit outside and relax - or work on my laptop, or read a book - and in the evenings, I enjoy sitting outside with Bob, chatting and drinking tea!
The fig has been moved outside for the summer.
Bob is greatly amused by my new bloggers-habit of stopping every so often to take a photograph. I need the practice - look how I have chopped off the top of his head in the first picture!
One cause for excitement this morning was my ivy&rose bowl which Adrian, Marion and Lucy sent for my birthday - this is what it looked like then. The roses died away and I moved the bowl outside. Today I noticed a lovely new rose blossoming.
If you are reading this blog in Norfolk, Sarah, please pop across the road and tell Marion her rose is blooming, in case I forget to mention it!
Sarah [whose fabulous fortieth birthday party I had to miss last month due to commitments here] lives in Norfolk across the road from A,M & L, and her husband Richard has a great new blog called OilyBlog - all about performance cars.
After the gardening stuff, we went out to test the new helmet intercom on the bike, with moderate success. Thus far it seems Bob can activate his mic, and speak to me, and then I can reply, but I do not seem to be able to initiate the conversation. Which is probably the safest option really!
Even though it was Monday, we had more Holiday Club stuff to sort out. Having Dave to do so much of the work over the last 3 years has been a great help and we really miss that this summer. HOWEVER in an overwhelming gesture of practical support and Christian love, the Deacons have decided that next week, they are going to sort out our meals. I've been told to expect stuff ready for the oven or freezer, and they have already checked with Steph as to our likes and dislikes. This is SUCH a weight off my mind - it is a real relief knowing there will be a decent meal each day when we crash out utterly exhausted [and would perhaps have been tempted to go to the chippie or the Chinese night after night] We are truly blessed with some lovely and generous people in our fellowship.
Two good services yesterday, the evening sermon was on Psalm 27
The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
and one great quote [Bob said he couldn't find the original source]
"Fear is the small darkroom in which negatives are developed"
Saturday, 19 July 2008
Today we went to a friend's 60th birthday party [got another one to go to in 2 weeks time!] The weather alternated between sun and rain, so we kept diving under gazebos. It was fun talking to friends and catching up with news of their families who are graduating, marrying, buying homes, having babies... It's just 3 years since Steph's graduation.
The weather was beautifully hot and sunny that day.
Last night I was searching for something and came across a page ripped from a diary. Back in the last millennium, in the days before blogging, I tried more than once to keep a diary. I threw them all out in a decluttering purge at one point - but I had kept this final page from one I wrote twenty years ago. It amused me to re-read it yesterday - and also cheered me to realise how the girls have grown up into such lovely young women. At the time Liz would have been 6, and Steph 4 - and I have no idea which jumper was referred to!
"Wednesday July 6th, 19988 - Being a mother is exhausting!Elizabeth is Totally Tudor - she always seems to be Good [?] Queen Bess, whilst Stephanie is Cook, Mary Tudor, or "The Spanish". Stephanie is frequently beheaded.
Left to herself, Stephanie inveigles me into playing Weddings, Babies,or Parties. I get the role of Pastor, Midwife & Waitress [she is Bride, Mother & Hostess]
I have decided to finish off the jumper I began on holiday last year, if I can. [2 weeks involvement per annum means I'll finish it in 1991 - perhaps!]"
Friday, 18 July 2008
Sorting out the freezer, I found a mysterious Chinese takeaway container - it was unlabelled and contained something unidentifiable. I was reluctant to just chuck it away, and at Bob's suggestion, I let it thaw out - and found it was applesauce. I remembered then that I had a load of apples going soft earlier in the year and I had stewed them, and Liz had sent me this [very easy] cake recipe. I'd frozen one cupful of the sauce in order to make it again. I used natural yogurt, but had no allspice, so omitted that.
Here it is...
Liz's Easy Applesauce Streusel Coffee Cake
**¼ cup sour cream/crème fraiche/yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
¼ cup plain flour
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
grating of fresh nutmeg (1/8 tsp)
4 tbsp cold butter
¼ cup chopped nuts (don’t need to toast)
Preheat oven to 180c. Grease & flour a 9 inch round springform pan or an 8 inch square metal pan.
In a medium mixing bowl, thoroughly stir together flour, soda, cinnamon, allspice and brown sugar; set aside. In a large bowl, mix melted butter, applesauce, (sour cream,) vanilla and egg. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients and stir until mixed. Pour into pan.
Make streusel. In a mixing bowl or food processor, mix together all dry ingredients then cut in butter. Sprinkle over top of cake. Sprinkle nuts over top of streusel. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown around edges.
Cool slightly. Remove sides of pan, cut into triangles. Serves 6-8
** Can omit and use 1 whole cup applesauce. 1 cup = 250ml
Once Bob gets back from his latest meeting, we shall each have a mug of coffee and a slice of cake. The mugs are HUGE - they are the freebies we got in May from the Christian Resources Exhibition.
Feeling very excited because I have just realised that this time next week I shall be in London WITH BOTH MY GIRLS! Steph changes departments at work next week - and Liz is about to change jobs, so no doubt they both will have loads of news.
Here is Psalm 127 from 'The Message' celebrating the joys of children!
If God doesn't build the house, the builders only build shacks.
If God doesn't guard the city,
the night watchman might as well nap.
It's useless to rise early and go to bed late,
and work your worried fingers to the bone.
Don't you know he enjoys
giving rest to those he loves?
Don't you see that children are God's best gift?
the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?
Like a warrior's fistful of arrows
are the children of a vigorous youth.
Oh, how blessed are you parents,
with your quivers full of children!
Your enemies don't stand a chance against you;
you'll sweep them right off your doorstep.
There may only be two arrows in the Almond Quiver - but I love them both immensely and often wish we lived nearer.
So, being a good little housewife [and wearing the wonderful t-shirt Liz gave me for my birthday, I have assembled all my proper darning equipment in order to fix the hole.
I just love having my own real vintage darning mushroom - and a skein of Chadwick's darning wool. Most socks these days are not worth darning, but the m/c ones are
heavier, and Bob will need them for the holiday.
I am pleased with the darn which has come up beautifully even and smooth. In fact it has turned out so well, it is hard to photograph it!
The first time I ever darned socks for Bob was Monday 24th September 1978. It was two days after we got officially engaged, and I darned all the socks he possessed - 27 of them, and every one was holey!
Love can drive us to do amazing things!
Thursday, 17 July 2008
And you and the Levites and the aliens among you shall rejoice in all the good things the LORD your God has given to you and your household [Deuteronomy 26:11]
The Lord has truly given us many good things today - not least the energy to keep going! It's been a wet and miserable sort of day, and singing my heart out at the service at another of the OAP homes didn't help my sore throat. I decided we needed warming, comfort food for tea. So I made a Red Lentil and Butternut Squash Dahl adapting a recipe I ripped out of a magazine weeks ago, which has been languishing in the kitchen for a while. [I think Bob must have expressed a desire to have some lentils when we were in Sainsburys at one point, because I had a new packet in the cupboard]
RED LENTIL & BUTTERNUT SQUASH DAHL
prep time 15 min, cooking time 30min, serves 2**
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
2 garlic cloves peeled, chopped
½ red pepper chopped
5oz split red lentils
1 small butternut squash, peeled, cut in 1" cubes
1 pint vegetable stock
- Heat oil, sweat onion, garlic, and pepper 5 mins
- Add spices, stir well, stir in lentils, squash and stock
- Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer 25 mins till squash is tender
- Serve with rice.
**Except these quantities were way too much for us - and we only ate about 60% - will probably serve the rest tomorrows with some chicken bits from the freezer. Maybe the recipe was allowing for Levites and aliens with big appetites.
We sang To God be The Glory at Portland House. The version in the book this afternoon ended with 'rapture' - not 'transport' or 'worship'. If I knew how, I would set up a blog-poll for people to state which is their favourite last line for this hymn!
If you have 10 minutes, check out this amazing little film!Step Saving Kitchen which I found via a link on to Jenny Wren, on Lynns blog.
[I hope the link will work if you click on the picture]
This is obviously where my housekeeping is going wrong - I do not have a 'Planning Station', or a cupboard dispensing 40lb [!] of flour into a bin - or a container of tea 'over the range'. How times have changed.
I did like her useful little rack inside the door for holding a cookery book - until I realised that being under 5' tall, this just wouldn't work for me - my cupboards are too high.
We have had a really busy Thursday. Getting ready for Sunday and Holiday Club, and taking an OAP service. Now Bob is out again, sorting out PA for someone. The local Anglicans had some sheets of copper nicked off their roof - and the rain got in and baptised their sound system.
And on the unjust fella [But more upon the just, because the unjust pinched the just's umbrella!]
St Swithin's Day Plus One and it is definitely raining. But I don't believe in that tradition anyway. Anyway, rain reminds me of Noah not Swithin. Been thinking about ARK building [Acts of Random Kindness] and the aim of Hope 08 to get people motivated to do so many hours of Good Things this year.
To brighten your day here are some pictures of God's goodness as seen in my home this morning. Firstly the fig tree - which is positively burgeoning with fruit. It is unbelievably exciting to me that one of my five-a-day fruit portions is something we have grown ourselves. They taste SO good, and I am utterly ecstatic whilst eating them [cf Meg Ryan!]
I have rearranged the bouquet which I received at the School Production - the gerberas had all bent over at strange angles.
How do you pronounce the 'g' in gerbera anyway? Like gerbil or Gershwin? I have heard florists say both.
...Quick check in the OED reveals it is the same as geranium, and comes from Herr Gerber, the German naturalist who first identified it.
There was correspondence in The Times once, I recall, about the 'g' in margarine - which ended when one chap said "It is obvious - hard in winter and soft in summer!" [it was in the days before Flora]
Back to the Hope 08 thing - Bob was at a planning meeting last night for the Village Fun Day in September. This event is chiefly planned and organised by Karl our Village Bobby, and Jenny. Jenny's eldest son died tragically in a motorbike accident, and since then she has worked tirelessly to improve facilities for Young People in the village.
As usual, Bob and team are providing PA and we are working, as Churches Together, to provide Story Tent, Prayer Tree, Songs of Praise and much more. Last year the wind was incredibly strong - Mike, Nick and I spent ages hanging on to flying gazebos! We have ordered two banners from CPO to display on our pitches.
They are well-made and waterproof, with eyelets.
Sensibly, the HOPE logo doesn't have '08' on it, so we can use them next year too!
I spent last night photocopying and collating nearly 1000 worksheets, memory verses etc for Holiday Bible Club. I'm glad that job is out of the way! Today I have got to sort the refreshments.
Bookings continue to fall through the letterbox - and one very kind note from a parent saying her child couldn't come this year - but enclosing a donation to our expenses anyway! That must count as an ARK.
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
At house group last night, we were looking at Mark 7, and 'Corban' and the way that adhering to tradition can become more important than following the Word of God. It was all very positive discussion - interspersed with wonderful anecdotes from our differing backgrounds, and we agreed it was hard to be consistent in our witness. Particularly the who 'in the world, not of it' thing - and wanting to show people that we have a positive attitude to life, not a negative 'Thou Shalt Not' approach to everything.
So this morning, I found myself sorely tested on this...
Having had a haircut, I caught the Park'n'Ride into town. I arrived just as the previous bus pulls out - so when the next bus pulled in, there were a few of us waiting, and there had been general conversation in the group about the weather and holidays and stuff. Then the bus arrived and we all climbed on.
If I am on my own, I often get out the paper and try and do the Killer Sudoku on the journey. So, I settle in my seat and unfold the paper, and the gentleman in the seat behind says "So what's in the Times today, then?" [Go away,I have a cold, I do not want to chat really...] "The picture is of the two brothers whose father feigned death in Seaton Carew" "Nobody's honest anymore, that is the trouble with the world" "Mmmm"[that was me, murmuring non-commitally] "Don't you think everybody's dishonest these days?" "Well...some people seem less honest than others" Then there followed a diatribe about politicians and how they all have 2 houses and what did I think of that? "Some of us would like to own ONE house, never mind two" "Then there's that dreadful John Lewis List" At this point, the gentleman's wife joined in "We used to have a Lewis' in Leicester, you could get ham on the bone and lovely haberdashery. Can't get that anywhere these days"
HERE I made my fatal error - I replied to her comment! "Oh, but you can, Button Boutique is brilliant for all sorts of haberdashery" and the man began again."Gay Bishops, what do YOU think about that dreadful gay bishop?". Except he said it rather loudly and I was very conscious that the busload of passengers were all quite silent. PANIC set in. Should I have recognised this couple? Did they know I was the Pastor's Wife? Were the other people on the bus who had recognised me? I suggested that he was asking the wrong person, I was strictly Nonconformist and didn't feel I should comment on the behaviour of the Church of England, as they do things differently.
"Yes, but what do YOU think?" Tried again to wriggle out of it by saying that there was too much media hype, I didn't know the full facts and furthermore the media always emphasis the negative side of the church and ignore good things. After all, we were running a children's holiday club in the village in a couple of weeks and I don't see any newspapers covering GOOD stories like that.
"But all these lesbian mothers and gay bishops, it's all wrong don't you think? and they will be letting them get married in church soon. You must think that is wrong?"
He looked very uncomfortable and said no more, just turned away and stared out of the window. I busied myself with sending a text and then I got off the bus at the early stop - along with kids I recognised from school, and their parents, who were smiling and friendly.
Should I have said more? Was he listening to my words anyway or just wanting to get someone to back up his arguments? And why do I always get tempted to respond with provocative remarks like "Oh, but don't you think that God loves sinners then?" or "Jesus was kind to prostitutes - what makes you think he was nasty to homosexuals?" or even "I am a mother, married to a clergyman - how do you know I am not lesbian and he isn't gay?" [OK that would be a bit extreme, I admit!] Fortunately this morning I held my tongue - it didn't seem the right time or place.
I don't want to be judgemental - of anyone, be they gay bishops or bigoted bus passengers. Neither do I want to compromise my belief in the truths of Scripture. But finding the common ground to even begin a sensible discussion is so difficult sometimes!