Monday, 8 February 2016

When the rain is blowing in your face

I am well and truly sick and tired of the rain at the moment. I suppose I should be thankful I am not down South where apparently they have had it worse than us this time. I suppose I should also be glad I wasn't personally affected by the New Year floods - and yet,  I just want to see a tiny bit of sunshine.  I can't quite get used to them naming our storms, it makes me feel like I live in a hurricane zone. It also makes it easier to take the whole thing personally,we've got storm Imogen to thank for the current downpour, a name which always brought to mind a decidedly middle class girl but now says bad tempered hag. Roll on spring!
This evening a trip down the gym seemed the likeliest way to dispel the rainy day blues, and sure enough that old endorphin hit seemed to do the trick I headed back feeling warm despite being buffeted by the wind and rain. Now I am definitely hungry and looking forward to my evening meal which is pizza, something we rarely eat and not the healthiest but we are going to supplement it with salad, beans and hummus.
I am still taking time to appreciate my Christmas gifts and reflecting on the quality of the hand cream that ended up in my stocking, courtesy of FC, of course. In case any hand cream aficionados are reading this blog (improbable), I can recommend Aveeno and Kamill. Anyhow, here is a teensy present for everyone- to cheer you up when the rain is blowing in your face.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Weekend syndrome

February is here already and I barely noticed the ending of January having been preoccupied by marking the mocks (bleurgh...) I've also had two weekends in a row when I haven't been particularly well having been laid down with what I am coming to call "weekend syndrome". Weekend syndrome often seems to come after a particularly hectic week (or two or three) and it follows much the same pattern which is that I wake up on a Saturday morning with a headache , usually dull but sometimes acute or with migraine aura, feelings of nausea and acute lethargy. By about 10.30 I usually admit defeat and return to bed. I then sleep all day, usually waking up in the early  evening feeling slightly washed out but much brighter. I first started noticing weekend syndrome about four years ago. It is particularly annoying when I have a lot of work to do that particular weekend because it means I have to get up early on the Sunday and work right through the day.
However, slightly spookily, weekend syndrome does not usually afflict me on a "busy" weekend but tends to lie in wait biding its time until I've got most of my work out of the way and am thinking " I can relax a bit this weekend." That is when my body tends to take the chance to "relax" seriously and why I think  it is most likely stress related and haven't yet bothered to visit the doctor.For example it has never yet happened during the working week, in fact I haven't had a day off sick from work for the last two years, and it has never started on any day other than a Saturday. More worryingly though, the frequency of my "weekend syndrome" attacks has increased and last weekend I had an episode which extended over the whole weekend, both Saturday and most of Sunday. I had to get up on the Sunday to do a couple of hours work, but I felt pretty wretched. By Monday I was pretty much back to normal. Thanks a bunch, weekend syndrome!
Weekend syndrome, although it seems like an enemy is, I suspect, both a coping device and a message if I care to listen to it. It reinforces my conviction that I have simply got to rethink and restructure my life somehow and achieve more work-life balance, or perhaps just achieve more life. Until I've got the fricking time to do this I am just trying to take things a bit easier, to live a simpler life and take care of myself physically and emotionally. On the way into work this morning, feeling pretty good as ironically I often do after a weekend-syndrome weekend, I noticed a lot of daffodils in gardens and hedgerows, brought on no doubt by the mild weather this winter and early spring. When I got home this evening, I went to the shed and dug out the remaining seeds from last year: sweet peas, marigolds, green beans, courgettes and made some plans for what I need to buy- I want some purple sprouting broccoli and, of course, seed potatoes. You can't feel stressed when you are planting, growing, gardening.
Which made me think- it will soon be Lent.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Those resolutions

I may have said before that I never make New Year's resolutions and I haven't this year. I think that January is possibly the one time in the year when good intentions are most likely to fall by the wayside. After all it is cold, wet and cheerless with nothing on the immediate horizon to look forward to. January is just bleurgh and the only upside is that it means that the gym, which is heaving with newbies hogging all the machines in the early part of the month should return to normal by about mid-February.
However the government, perhaps mindful of events such as dry January, chose this month to issue new alcohol guidelines the first major update since 1995. The report/ advice, which many did decry as evidence of the nanny state, made pretty grim reading saying that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption and reducing the recommended limits for men to 14 units a week, the same as that for women. Now it is important to keep information in proportion, one website I looked at carried articles warning of potatoes increasing the risk of diabetes, hot drinks linked to cancer of the throat and so on, however in this case I am pretty sure the risks have not been exaggerated.
My usual  consumption consists of  a bottle of wine opened on a Friday night and it takes me two or three days to drink.  So far, so good. The problem is that Mr M is very prone, once the bottle is finished, to open another one on a weekday evening- and I don't usually complain, or I do but only feebly. But unbelievable though it may seem, two bottles of wine takes you into the region of 16-21 units, over the recommended levels.  I am not doing "dry January"( though interestingly loads of my colleagues are) but I am just making sure that once the bottle is gone, another one isn't opened until the next weekend. This usually gives me four or five alcohol days per week. It is not a resolution, or at least not a New Year's resolution, it is just how I think it ought to be.
On a plus note, I've  discovered that one glass of wine contains as many calories as a cornetto ice cream which sounds like an absolute result except that regular consumption no doubt increases your risk of a host of nasties by ridiculous percent...

Friday, 15 January 2016

Friday night

I wrote in a post last week about the likely feelings of Justin Welby facing the start of the Primates meeting last Monday and posted this little clip. I've been down the gym doing my Friday evening stint and seen Welby "apologising" to LGBT people. He doesn't look a happy man. Despite the fact schism has been avoided,  the archbish looked like someone who knows things just aren't good and, it may be my imagination, but he looked a little shrunken as though he felt that the church he leads looks that bit more shoddy and shabby than it even did before.  In spite of brave talk of no victors or vanquished, this was never a win-lose situation and always a lose-lose situation for so many people and most of all for the Church itself.
Sometimes Friday night feels worse than the dreariest Monday morning.

Monday, 11 January 2016


One of the items on my Christmas list this year was some Marks and Spencer's thermal socks. I wear them a lot in the winter- we don't put the heating on that much- and my old pairs were getting decidedly threadbare. However the extremely warm December made me wonder whether I would ever need a pair of thermal socks again! So this sudden cold, or at least colder, snap has had the benefit of allowing me to break into said socks and very warm and cosy they are. In line with the £20 pound Christmas present spending rule (which Mr M broke...), I  am taking the time to really appreciate everything I received for Christmas this year.
I know there possibly more important things going on in the world than my socks- news of David Bowie's death, possible schism in Anglicanism and so on, but where would we be without socks I ask myself? Makes you think, huh?

Sunday, 10 January 2016


I heard this morning about an open letter signed by 105 church leaders, many of them senior, to Justin Welby and John Sentamu saying this is the time for repentance in the Church of its treatment of LGBTI people, its lack of duty of care and its inability to embrace and celebrate LGBTI people. In some ways I support this letter. The Church has hurt and continues to hurt LGBTI people in profound ways and its attitudes have, I believe, contributed to discrimination, hostility and violence. I  might go so  far as to say the Church has blood on its hands, for example in the instances of suicide and the violence, often murder of trans people caused by attitudes to which it may have contributed.
 My views on the issue of discrimination in the Church whether on the basis of gender or sexuality are the main reason I am not a member of the Church of England. So I don't have a problem with the idea of repentance, I just wonder how helpful it is, especially at this particular time? After all, the insurmountable problem is that many others, especially those in the African wing of the Communion also fervently believe that those who support LGBTI rights, and support gay marriage need to "repent" of what they see as non-adherence to scripture- and they could argue about that for a long time really, and in fact have done, and still not managed to agree, in many ways because of different cultural perspectives.

I think both sides have to understand that the likelihood that the "other side" is going to change their views and "repent" is slim or non-existent.I suspect that when people are told to repent, especially when they have made their mind up and believe they are in the right, it just pisses them off even more. It is also very important to remember that repentance is not just for other people but for all of us, and we all have lots and lots of things to repent of, starting with our inability to show love to each other especially when that is really difficult.

The Archbishop of Brazil, the Most Revd Francisco de Assis da Silva, said that he hoped the gathering would be, " a meeting between pastors and not a chess game", and that, "in Christ, every person is welcomed... and the exclusion of those who are liberals or conservatives is not a good start." He continues, " No one is the owner of God's will. Everyone needs to change their mind and spirit to become truly servants and address adequately those issues that our times challenges us with: the absence of love and the absence of justice."

 What will happen, will happen. In the greater scheme of things, it doesn't matter too much, but if you do have any lingering affection for the idea of a global Anglicanism, pray for a spirit of wisdom and love, echoing hopes of the Archibishop of Brazil and Justin Welby below.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Dragging on?

 You may or may not  have caught wind of the fact that the next big event in the Anglican Communion takes place this coming Monday at Canterbury in the form of a Primates' meeting. Nobody cares knows what will happen in this meeting. The press seem to fervently hope there will be a major punch up (metaphorically obviously), there are comments along the lines that the Anglican Communion is "at a crossroads" (again? still?) and some reports that Uganda will walk out or alternatively that there will be a good disagreement.
Like everyone else, I don't really care. If had a choice, I would always go for agreeing to disagree, if that's not possible then a parting of the ways seems fair enough to me, after all what could be more excruciating than things dragging on like this? If you are bothered, Mark Harris tries to explain why it matters. You might spare a thought for Justin Welby who possibly will be looking forward to Monday morning even less than the rest of us. I've no idea how long this Anglican shindig is planned to last- hopefully it will be over by Friday for his sake.