Armourial Underwear

I am becoming increasingly aware that I am getting older but though your body ages, your inner self does not. I try to ignore it most of the time. I can still break into a jog, especially when the dog is chasing my daughter’s cat and trying to despatch it to a higher realm.I can still cycle, I may have a problem remembering peoples names,I always hope that something in the conversation will bring what’s on the tip of my tongue to my mind,and why did I go into that room , what was it I wanted? If I go on a long walk with the dogs my body shuts down later and I fall asleep on the sofa.

Then, as is well known by people my age, at parents evening I am aware that my daughter is being taught by “Youths”, some Doctors look as if they are only just out of school and bus drivers treat me as if I’m senile as I have a free pass.

I have suddenly begun to get more post too! Catalogues. These contain pictures of extremely wide shoes, underwear fit for a mediaeval knight and all kinds of gadgets to help you with problems with your body, that you just hope you never encounter!

I have been reading Billy Grahams book, “Nearing Home”,written now that he is 93. A really inspiring piece of writing, you can tell what kind of attitude he has to ageing as the first chapter is called “Running Toward Home”.The first sentence says,”Growing old has been the greatest surprise of my life”. With all the media “information” we are given, I too am surprised that any of us make old age. Everyday TV , radio and magazines tell us how many of us will get terminal illnesses and that we should be ever watchful and take this test or that. Wouldn’t advertisements that tell us to get on with life ,stop worrying about ourselves and enjoy the time on earth we have been given be better?

2 Corinthians 5:1 tells us ” Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed,we have a building from God,an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”

Not everyone makes old age or even middle age, but we are not meant for this world alone. We are meant for Heaven.We have a soul, a spirit made in God’s image. The body that you have now will one day cease functioning. Death is not the end. We will live on, the Bible tells us so. It will either be “in Heaven with God or in a place of loneliness and despair ..totally separated from God.”

Jesus said “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you…that you also may be where I am.”John 14:2-3 Heaven is real.

“Don’t let another day go by without Christ.” Billy says. If you put your faith in Him, you belong to him and nothing can separate you from Him, not even death.

In the meantime let’s get living, don’t spend time on the “what if’s” take a day at a time and live it. Wear heels, a balcony bra, winkle pickerslive , whatever you like ,whatever your age. Don’t spend time waiting for a crisis. LIVE!


Ay, eee, oi, ow, yew.

My divorce will be finalised in a few days so I have been toying with surnames. I looked at both my Grandmothers’ maiden names, and my Mothers’ but none struck me as suitable. I had my first married name as long as I had my maiden name but that was also the name of a disreputable character in a Daniel Defoe novel, so that was out.

The second married name , had to be signed very carefully . In my handwriting it took on a bovine quality and correspondence sometimes arrived addressed to Mrs Cow. I apologise again to anyone with this surname if it exists.

I need to cast off my existing married name (now I sound like a female version of Henry VIII, died ,divorced… so should this one should have been beheaded… only joking.) because, as my ex-husband has probably found, living within a few miles of each other but not together with a very unusual name, has caused many explanations to be given over the past year.

So I am returning to my maiden name. This is not without its difficulties too. It looks German, but our family originated, according to my Grandfather ,from Vikings. However, people have great difficulty pronouncing it. At school, clever teaching types pronounced it as if we suffered from flatulence, and my sister and I practically crawled under the chairs in Grammar School assemblies when form groups were announced . I don’t know if my many cousins had the same problem.

As our family moved from the West Country to Sussex with my Great Grandfather. The A is just that; pronounced “AY”, not “ar” or “at”
just “ay”.
So I shall be VATER, “vayter”, and proud of it. Once when assisting a surgeon with a Gastroscopy, he offered to show me the Ampulla of Vater within the patient’s innards but I declined , because it was pronounced wrongly and I felt for the poor man that we were exploring.

Facebook won’t let me change it without uploading at least two forms of photographic proof, which I don’t have yet of course. I have a wallet full of plastic that will need updating and no doubt “Jim” at the JC will have much to say about it, after he cuts of my money for trying to impersonate someone else!

As I have no inclination to ever change my surname again, there are just not enough boxes on forms, and anyway I have enough trouble remembering other peoples without trying to guess my own; so ifhome you hear me even contemplating it ,please bring me to my senses!

To My Friend

To my friend the Rev. Liss Dan Bergstrom Gafvert.

I only heard today that you had entered those gates,

“Rest in peace ” they say. Ah ha, you won’t be resting you will be living!

May they have jags to drive there, may you feast on crayfish and celebrate with Aquavit!

May your table be loaded with goodies, may you sit in the garden in the sun in those shorts and the garden be full of flowers while a burn plays over the rocks and birds sing an anthem!

May the final rosette have been a big one when you ran through the tape and your reward great.

Knowing you was an EXPERIENCE, and my life would have been dull without that encounter, with all the debates, arguments and sharing of knowledge. My walk with God is the richer for them.

Rest from the worlds pressures, but live to the utmost in your eternal years my friend.

Vi ses, (Be seeing yer)


Country Mouse goes to Town

I have just returned from a break in Stirling, it was only 3 days and most of it was spent travelling from the West Coast of Scotland to the East Coast.

I spent my nights in the Stirling Youth Hostel, which by the way is good with everything you need and a room with ensuite is only £30. I did the touristy things and wandered the walks and took photos of the historic buildings and generally enjoyed myself. No TV or radio, (I forgot the headphones for my phone.) which was great. On the last morning while waiting for my bus to Glasgow I looked around the shopping centre. WOW! I had forgotten how long I had been living in the sticks!

Marks and Spencer Food Hall blew my mind, so much fresh fruit and veg. Meat ,Meals , shelves and shelves of it. I must have looked a bit strange because I think I stood there with my mouth open. Our Co-op, is about 15×30 ft, and it gets very cosy if you try to pass someone in an aisle. You know exactly what should be on the shelves, but it can’t be guaranteed. (Even worse, I suspect if you live on one of the islands.)

I wasn’t there to holiday though. I had an interview in Fife, that’s the sticky out bit of land above Edinburgh, if you don’t know. The coastal towns/villages are very pretty but going inland, places began to look a bit tired and run down.

I got as near as I could to my destination for my interview for Parish Assistant , having been given much advice by two members of staff at the YH amusingly named James and John! There was a taxi outside the nearest station, just the one, and I got chatting to Bob who was very interested to know why an English woman was going to his home town. “Not much there .” He said. He didn’t go to church he said but he transported a lot of old women there. He didn’t even know where the Church was!

I had a look around the place, an old fashioned bakery was really busy, it had all the old cakes I used to buy when the children ,now in their 30’s were at home,including green frog sponge cakes and Mallow Men. If I hadn’t have been trying to look professional I would have brought a box of fancy cakes home. As it was I had a large ruck sack and a hession carrier with “I love Crawley” on it already and resembled a bag lady. Bless Norman ,the session clerk ,who met me, who said “Don’t worry, you look fine!”

The interview went fairly well, same old questions and my presentation .The subject I was given to speak on was “How can Parish Churches reach people in their communities that other Churches can’t reach.” Well, doesn’t that just sound like the Heineken advert? “the beer that refreshes parts that other beers can’t reach.” Well thats where I started from! Then I told them about Carlsberg, if they did Luggage carousels you would get a crate of lager with your luggage, if you got your haircut you and your dog would be entertained by an all dancing /singing group and so on.

They didn’t laugh much, and I began to wonder if they thought that I was a raging alcoholic!

So then I asked them “What if Carlsberg did Church?” Would we really believe that God could transform lives by the power of the Holy Spirit? Would we be an all singing ,praising group of people who knew the price Jesus had paid for us and that we were saved by grace. Would we live in communities where people were allowed to be themselves and we would help each other grow into who we could be in Christ?

They went a bit quiet then and moved me along. Of course we don’t need Carlsberg but we do need to be better equipped and trained to meet the needs of those hurting in our communities before we start going out there to help. So that was the gist of my speech.

The HR people didn’t say much, but I could see Norman was impressed and he told me so afterwards. I have no idea if I’ll get the post and couldn’t help asking God why he would want me there any way?

So it’s a waiting time again, it would mean great change for the remaining young person and me to move again.

My reading today was this:

Our heavenly Father is interested in every detail in our life. If we want Him to work in a particular area—whether relationships, finances, vocation, habits, or something else—we must be willing to let go of our control and give over to Him whatever He asks of us.

We may think we have no attachments that come between us and the Lord, but He knows our hearts. One Sunday as I was about to preach a sermon along these lines, He showed me something I hadn’t yet surrendered. I realized I needed to deal with it, or I wouldn’t be able to preach the sermon. So I was glad when the choir’s song took a while, because I had time to come to a place of being able to say, “Lord, if that’s what You desire, I commit it to You. You have the right to claim it at any time, so it’s Yours right now.”

It’s difficult to be completely obedient if we’re holding on to something too tightly. The Lord wants our attachment to be exclusively to Him. You may have multitudes of things that God has blessed you with, but the moment any of it has a hold on you, His work in your life will be blocked. But when you open your hands, gripping nothing, you will be totally free as the Holy Spirit’s power flows through you.

Is there anything you feel you could never give up? Think about whatever captivates you, and honestly consider whether it also holds you captive. I challenge you to release that relationship or situation to the Lord right now so He can give you the freedom you’ve been craving.


It’s time to hand over control and wait.STIRLING

Pootle Day

To pootle: to travel slowly with no real purpose. My friend posted a painting of a cottage beside a river and commented that it was a place to pootle. Thank you Sian, I needed to be reminded to “Pootle”.

Pootling or pooteling is a biblical word you know. King David did a bit of pooteling in Psalm 23. Just lately I have been rushing about getting busy sorting out the family and now we are within days of youngest daughters exam results too. Families are getting everyone ready to return to education here in Scotland. But sometimes we need a day off from everything, to get our heads straight, to allow our bodies some rest, to appreciate those around us and our environment.

It’s time to pootle.Image result for Pooh bear philosophy” He leads me beside quiet waters, He makes me lie down in green pastures. ” says David talking about God. So today, lets have a pooteling day, wander by some quiet water, in your head if you haven’t any near by, lie down in some green pastures and relax. Don’t say too much ,just listen out for God’s voice ….

Can you prove that?

If you are in the throes of getting one of your little darlings off to Uni or College, I feel for you, I really do!

We have filled out form after form and electronically scanned dozens of pieces of paper to accompany them. Although I have developed a hatred of printers, it took me two hours this morning to get it to recognise the new ink cartridge. Thank goodness for the nice man on You Tube! It sends me messages when I am desperately trying to get yet another document printed and says “Printer is busy.” as if it hasn’t got time for me just at the moment. I have learned tricks on how to get it to do what I want, creeping up on it and pressing buttons ,shouting “ha ha got you!!”

We have searched for and applied for grants and bursaries and yesterday breathed a sigh of relief as it all disappeared into the  airwaves… but NO, it all comes pinging back!

The e.mail says, “You didn’t send proof of this…”  “But you didn’t ask for it! “, we cry! So we scan and send more. The most irritating reply was “Have you thought about going back to school?” Going back to school ?, he’d be gone 20 by the time he left!!!! If you don’t want to give us the grant ,just say so!

Then there is THE STUFF, a three column list of requirements from a toothbrush to bin liners to enough socks and boxers to prevent him having to do too much washing, he says! We have an enormous list on the wall and every time we think of something else it grows, a tin opener being the latest addition.

I chat to the lady on the phone at the student accommodation, she is soothing, how many other neurotic mothers has she dealt with today. When she tells me how many international students they have, I think, he’s only moving about 150 miles away, these folk are coming from other countries and different cultures. It puts things in perspective.

I am still applying for jobs, the latest doesn’t interview until October, so I have time to get the boy away first. Had another meeting with “Jim ” at the Jobcenter who suggested that I did a course. Apparently they had a very good one lately on planting a herb garden. No I am not joking, I didn’t know quite what to say ,so I think I smiled and said ,”Lovely.”. I live in a flat, and I don’t think a herb garden would help my employment status , or am I missing something?   Maybe a mustard seed is worth considering in all this though?

I have learnt a lot more about admin lately though.Anyone want a crazy woman who shouts at printers ?

Everybody go surfing, surfing in the Uk…

Thank you to all of you who sent messages of support and prayers following my last application. I have just spent the last two days filling out, what seemed,  the most high faluting ,complicated application form yet. This time for the “other side” Church. I breathed a sigh of relief when I reached the end yesterday having chased moving letters around small boxes that jumped into other boxes when ever I pressed “enter” , struck my head against the computer screen and growled enough to frighten the dogs, only to find …that it said “e.mail with C.V.”!

Why? I am just going to repeat the information that I have just spent hours putting on the last form. Arrrrrgh! So I went to the Guardian site and found a template that puts the same information in a different way so that you don’t realise that you are reading the same things . Good old Guardian. It gave me a chance to say how wonderful I might be at the job too, no lies, just a tiny tiny bit of exaggeration perhaps???. But I am not holding my breath because it becomes like an emotional roller coaster, you hope and hope and hope and you get right to the top of the incline and teeter on the edge and then  the letter comes that begins ,”We thank you for your interest in …blah blah blah..” and you drop down the track like a lead weight.

So now, as my two fingers are sore from typing, ( of course I knew what generic programming was and computer languages??? really ?? I can learn! it was only a small part of the job anyway.25a608d35db37e84475b89d4aa4ae64b) I will go and do something that doesn’t require my brain to hurt, and possibly sign up for one of those Silver Surfer computer courses.

Jobs ,or not, as the case seems to be.

A quick update on the job situation. I didn’t get the first post, although I was told that I interviewed well so they would consider me for a second post, same job” Family and Youth Worker”. The HR left a message on Friday to say sorry they had missed me they would drop me an e.mail. No e.mail was forth coming so I had to wait all weekend. They rang this morning to tell me that I didn’t get this post either.

Apparently  I was told that they were again impressed by my interview ,that my presentation was extremely good, I have a wealth of experience and many transferable skills and should keep looking and applying for jobs on their web site. So I asked why didn’t I get the job? A big pause followed, and the person on the other end tried to think, “Well they just had more experience…”.

I suspect ,and I don’t blame them ,that “more experience” probably means that they were younger  and held a driving licence, but I’m just surmising. To have more years of experience would put them in their dotage!

So , back to the drawing board, I have plenty to fill my days but nothing brings in money and hearing on the radio this morning about impending cuts to Tax Credits  the future could sound a bit scary.

I want to get very cross and shout about unfairness and what on earth does God think He is doing but then he is Jehovah Jireh, my provider. God rules OK!provide

Seeing through my glasses darkly.

Ok so I have got an interview at long last for a Youth and Family Worker. In the letter I got confirming the date and time ,I was given the wrong address. Instead of the town I am going to, the HR assistant, Nicola, had written “Duncan”. This is not a town in Mid-Argyll. I romantically believe, because I am a softy at heart, that perhaps Nicola was thinking of Duncan, when she was writing my letter. Probably it was something like Auto Correct, but I prefer to believe the other scenario and hope that they are happy.

I read that the interview was an hour long, cogs whirr, brain connects and it suddenly dawns on me that perhaps some kind of presentation is involved, so I e.mail them. “Oh Yes! ” they say “We forgot to tell you.” Must be Nicola daydreaming again. So, I get out all my relevant books, literature  and stuff ,and go mad on Google. I write lots of notes and think that tomorrow I will write it all up.

So I wake up this morning and look in the mirror. Oh my! One eyelid is bright red and twice the size of the other!!!! All the information I have read says “Keep eye contact,when delivering your presentation.” My goodness who wants to keep eye contact with someone that looks like the cartoon cat Tom, when Jerry just poked him in the eye! Yuk!

I had to go up to “Town” today, so I thought that I would pop into Boots the Chemist. You know how the adverts tell you to speak to your pharmacist and she will save you trying to get an appointment with your G.P. sometime in the next 3 weeks if you are lucky? I asked to speak to the pharmacist , she came over and I pointed out the problem and said “I’ve got an interview, I can’t go like this!” ” Eeeyew! ” she said ” You should see a Doctor!” I explained I hadn’t got time before the important date. “You could try Specsavers” she suggested. This didn’t appeal to me either, so I suggested that she might have some ointment that would reduce the swelling, she thought for a moment , “There is something .” she said, going to a shelf. “Oh no, we don’t have any.” At that I gave up and left. All I needed , I thought was a little Chloramphenicol and it would probably do the trick. But who am I to argue with a professional.

I wander along in the rain, it is June and the temperature according to a lady in a coffee shop registered 6.5 degrees in her car, and the wind is blowing ferociously and I am freezing and I can only see properly out of one eye!. I pass a little private chemist and go in to see if they have a pharmacist. They do, Sylvia is older than ME! “Hmm.” she barks looking at my eyelid, “Chloramphenicol!” and shoves a tube in my hand. “Don’t forget to bathe it with salt water.” she commands. Sylvia may lack any bedside manner, but I trust her.I manage to get my shopping and get the bus back home, the wind is blowing a “hoolie” and the rain is now torrential!

So now I am typing through a blur of cream. I do hope I shall appear less scary by Thursday or I won’t know where to look! Perhaps dark glasses would be the thing to wear, but definitely not in this weather! Do pray!