Friday, 17 April 2015

Remembering Bess

A very sad day yesterday as we had to take our lovely little West Highland Terrier to be put to sleep. She has for some time been suffering with Westie Lung Disease or idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a horrible condition in which the lungs become progressively scarred and breathing is more and more difficult. Bessie was diagnosed last year and the prognosis was that we would lose her around November/ December. The fact that she made it until April allowed her to have a few weeks enjoying some of the nice weather we have had recently; she thoroughly enjoyed sitting in her garden on sunny days and we even managed some walks down the canal although we had to go very slowly for her.

I feel incredibly sad today;  the house seems so quiet and empty without her. She was such an affectionate and sociable little dog and she was always by our side and  came to greet us, ears down and tail wagging when one of us came home. I do know however that we made the right decision yesterday as just over this last day or so she had deteriorated dramatically and was clearly struggling to breathe . I have already realised that there will be lots of reminders of Bessie but my main memory will be of her in her garden sniffing the breeze or walking down the canal, a place we all loved.
Sniffing slowly down the towpath

At the dog friendly cafe. We would have tea, the waiter would bring Bess doggie treats!

Water supplied

Waterside Cafe. Owners also welcome

Daffodils on our walk

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Easter Sunday in the garden

I've had, or rather am having a full day off work today. After church we took the dog for a walk, then the gym and the afternoon has been spent in the garden and enjoying the sunshine. I've planted out my little kitchen garden, which is comprised of several pots and containers on the patio with radishes, salad veg and potatoes. Kev has been started preparing the ground for a vegetable patch in the place of some trees he felled last year. It will be a bit of a project and I am unlikely to be able to plant veg in it until next spring I think.

 It has really done me good to have a whole day off. I really do have to work tomorrow if I am going to get through my coursework marking and preparation for this holiday, I've calculated I need to work eight  to nine days over the fifteen days holiday, either in whole days or half days. A full day with no marking or preparation has become a rare event recently as I am currently marking coursework for every single group I teach on top of other work related responsibilities such as organising awards evenings.
We were asked in church today what we need to change in our lives. I really need to change something about work, either to find different work or to find ways of coping with it more effectively. I saw this on facebook yesterday and it helped a little.

The weather should be nice this week so I am determined to work half days. If I can get up early and do a couple of hours sustained marking then I should be able to manage some afternoons out in the garden and walking the dog down the canal (hopefully planned for tomorrow.) After the boost a day off has given me today, I think it is essential.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Good Friday Hymns

I have always loved the above hymn "My Song is Love Unknown". It is in itself a beautiful meditation upon Good Friday. My only hesitation in posting it is that it jars with me somewhat that the hymn identifies Christ's oppressors as the other, not ourselves but  them.

They rise and needs will have 
My dear Lord made away;
A murderer they save.
The Prince of life they slay.

Leaving aside the possible anti-Semitic interpretations which are perhaps the greatest danger of this hymn, the identification as Christ, the victim as ours and the perpetrators as them deprives us of an understanding of ourselves as oppressors, perpetrators - as fully sinful.It is not until we can confront ourselves as just as sinful as others that we can be fully forgiven. Rowan Williams writes in Resurrection: Interpreting the Easter Gospel, that the paradox of Easter is that "our victim is our hope" and that  none can access that hope without, "the prior recognition that I victimise".I wish we could  change the pronouns of this otherwise wonderful hymn  to "we" to allow it to make more sense theologically. 

We rise and needs will have 
Our dear Lord made away;
A murderer we save.
The Prince of life we slay.

Another hymn by John Newton "I saw One hanging on a tree", identifies the speaker as both cause and  beneficiary of the cross. In this Christ, the victim, is also our judge whose look "seemed to charge me with His death", and at the same time our hope, "I freely all forgive." I managed to find it on Youtube and, although accompanied by slightly schmaltzy pictures, it is worth reflecting upon, as indeed both these hymns are.