AboutThe life and thoughts of Freda Marshall, a retired Church of Scotland minister living amongst the mountains and glens of Argyll.
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Valentine or ViVi for short, is here to stay for a few days. He is behaving impeccably and acknowledges that Misty is Top Dog……… though only just. He is a Llewellin Setter, a strain named after a breeder who bred a dog with particular markings and characteristics from out of the English Setter. They have wonderful temperaments, being good with children and very affectionate. It is so funny to see the difference in size between him and our little cairn terrier.
Other news is that my ankle continues to heal well with only the odd twinges. Going back to Dance Class is looking more of a possibility. The main problem is being unbalanced and doing further damage by forgetting to take things steadily. How can one do a samba steadily anyway?
I never get tired of the view from the font garden – and Misty shows Valentine how to be a laid-back dog.
Oh how lazy I have been over the last few weeks. I seem to have been having a holiday from blogging…….. I could make all sorts of excuses about how it is harder to sit upright with my rapidly healing ankle ………… but I won’t. The truth is that I have been enjoying sitting with my leg up whilst enjoying reading, crochet, films and so forth. I am now quite comfortable getting around indoors, but need a stick outside. Also, it is amazing how one’s confidence is knocked. In direct proportion, it seems, to the fear of being knocked into by someone rushing by. Hopefully, I shall be able to start getting out and about now that spring has finally sprung. HBTW has put a garden lounger out for me today, so I intend to …….. lounge.
Here is a quick round-up of media absorbed and enjoyed:
- All in the Mind – Alastair Campbell. An extraordinary book of great insight and depth. It concerns a psychiatrist and several of his main patients. I can’t go into too much detail or I could give away something of vital importance. It’s not an easy read – some of the individual stories are too harrowing, but worth sticking with and certainly one to read again. I give it 9 out of 10
- Fly Away Home - Jennifer Weiner. A new author for me, suggested by our Library Van librarian/driver. Upmarket chick-lit. I shall certainly read more by this author, simply for enjoyment. 8 out of 10
- Quartet – a film on dvd. Stars many well-known faces including Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins and Billy Connolly. The action is centred round a retirement home for musicians and specifically their annual fund-raising gala. Maggie Smith is magnificent as a reluctant new resident and the poignancy of the subject is overlaid with a gentle whimsy and humour. 8 out of 10
- Knight and Day – another dvd, this time starring Tom Cruse and Cameron Diaz. James Bond eat your heart out. An absolute action filled, ridiculous spy romp. Great fun. This is not my usual kind of film, so maybe my mind is just being numbed with craftwork. For sheer enjoyment, I give it a 9.
Anyone read/watched/listened to anything interesting lately?
I’m off now with my walking stick, to struggle outside into the sunshine.
5 weeks and 1 day on and my ankle is healing well. I am still wrapped in tubi-grip but the pain is not so constant. Sitting with my leg up is no problem on rainy days, but not so good when the sun shines. However, things are definitely improving. We hope to get back to Dance Class after another few weeks. Or maybe that is fanciful.
Crochet is coming on well – 9 lap/cot blankets have been sent to charity and I am now working on a larger blanket for HBTW.
As for a commentary on the news – no thanks. It is either too complicated, too scary or too boring, so I am taking the coward’s way out. Perhaps this is the beginning of wisdom, or maybe I am hatching something.
Last time I was talking about sitting in state occupying myself with crochet blankets. There has been a lot more of the same. It turns out that I have a fractured ankle, so rest is the order of the day. Treatment consists of elevation – amazing how tiring it gets with your foot stuck up high after a while – ice and a doubled bandage (and of course painkillers.) Fortunately, the fracture has started to heal already and is healing straight.
Oh dear – I felt so stupid. Imagine being sent to A&E 17 days after the event.
Anyway, it has given me lots of time to think. The bad side is that there has been so much about violence and abuse in the media. In truth, the violent side of life is always there. It’s true to say that with facebook, twitter and so forth, we hear about a lot more that we ever used to. The passing of another birthday has also helped to concentrate my mind on the growth of wisdom in older age. When we are young there is much knowledge to absorb, there are many exams to pass and there are skills to learn for life and work. We tend to think we know it all. Then in middle age we find out how much we do not know. It can be either a worry or a relief, depending on our temperaments. Later, we learn to let go and to be more honest about what things are important in life. If we are blessed with faith in God then there is a framework to work with.
I like to look on this enforced period of rest as being a time to value family and friends, be thankful for the foundations that education gives and ponder where, when and if it is right to share the search for wisdom. Or to put it simply, remember to listen to others and be interested in what they do. The violence, war, all the bad things…….. they still continue, but wisdom can lead us to a way to cope with these things, each of us in our own situation and by sharing with others. That has got to be the way of hope for change.
This is a photo of my craft efforts of the last few weeks. My Granny taught me to crochet when I was very young and ever since I have enjoyed the soothing action of crochet hook and yarn producing simple patterns. She made piles of berets, I go for squares, ultimately sewn up to make lap blankets, shawls or cot blankets. They also make quite good chair covers. Somehow or other the whole process is good for the soul. Some of these are destined for troubled spots abroad in Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia, and it is good to be able to make a connection by thinking or praying about the people and children who may get some use from them.
During the last week it has been especially helpful for me. I twisted my ankle and foot quite badly so have been sitting in state with one foot on a stool. Crochet can still go on apace, and I can half-listen to the news or TV programmes in the background. Which brings me quite neatly to the death of Margaret Thatcher.
When she became Prime Minister I was a busy mother with four small children, as well as being a manager in commerce. Truth to tell, I was probably not as politically aware as I should have been; looking back though I see the seeds of many of our country’s problems as occurring during her time in power. The whole sorry tale of the banks and financial institutions; the ever-increasing difference between those who have and those who do not; an increasing tendency to think of the self rather than others; a lack of consideration for those who are disabled – unless they can don carbon-fibre prosthetics and run very fast…….
Harrumph………. ok, Thatcher was a dedicated believer in a form of politics which she viewed as good for the country. She meant what she said, and she got on with things. She was a force to be reckoned with on the world stage and fortunately, she was never faced down. I recognise that many people think of her as some sort of saviour, but many others see her as the destroyer of communities, heavy industry, manufacturing and the solidarity of working people through trades unions and dangerous jobs.
I am uncomfortable with the idea of people publicly holding celebrations because she is dead. I think it better to respect someone’s passing whilst being able to be realistic about their contribution to life. Baroness Thatcher was a frail old lady at the end of her life and the latter half of the 20th Century was largely shaped by her and her beliefs.
As for me …… I shall get back to my crochet. How about you?
Misty has been very good about losing weight – so far she has lost 0.6kgs which is quite a lot for a little cairn. We are aiming for a target weight of around 7.5kgs. Of course she is not as neat and tidy as this photo – she is due her spring beauty treatment, but the weather is far too cold at the moment. Holy Saturday of the Easter weekend is a strange time for Christians – at least it is for Presbyterians. In some traditions there is a big clean up of church, getting ready for the celebrations tomorrow. Some Church of Scotland congregations have taken on the spring-clean as well. It was great to see Pope Francis washing the feet of the young offenders, especially as two young women were included. As to the forthcoming sermonising tomorrow, I hope for love, grace, acceptance and peace.
At Dalamory HBTW and I are awaiting visitors and making the most of the bright, (but cold) weather.
Each year during March I have tended to make much of the fact that it is my Birthday Month. This year, we have barely been up to finding special treats and events. Following on from Son #3′s two removals we have all been content to stay put and collapse at home. However, spring is definitely here this week so I thought a Birthday Prayer would be appropriate. It is from Sacred Space.
Open us, Lord
Lord, open our eyes,
that we may see you in our brothers and sisters;
Lord, open our ears,
that we may hear the cries of the hungry,
the frightened, the oppressed.
Lord, open our hands,
that we may reach out to all who are in need;
Lord, open our hearts,
that we may love each other as you love us.
The French Gardener was a happy find for me on the crowded shelves of the monthly Library Van. The blurb on the front says: Anyone who likes Joanne Harris or Mary Wesley will love Montefiore’s atmospheric romance. I couldn’t have put it better myself. The plot winds its way round contrasting romances like the shoots of a climbing shrub attaching themselves to ever deeper layers in the reader.
Essentially it is about the relationships amongst a family who move out of the city to a large country house and gardens. The gardens are gradually brought to life as the stories unfold. The book is pure romance with a lifelike feel-good factor. The characters are instantly recognisable, if not always likeable, and the plot leads you on faster and faster as it becomes imperative to see what happens next – an unusual feature for a romance.
If you are looking for some light distraction this is for you; it has the added bonus of leaving some magic behind in your soul.
The book is available in kindle format or secondhand, but well worth the effort of finding it. Marks 8 out of 10. Or maybe 9 because I am a silly old romantic at heart.
Couldn’t resist posting a video of Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen
Fifty years ago – I know, I know – it was the done thing to go to a trad dance at the local football stadium halls. We thought ourselves so smart because we liked jazz as well as rock and roll, though we still did the odd quickstep and slow shuffle to some numbers. Then I hooked up with HBTW (It probably means something different now…..) anyway, we were dating, so the dances tended to be at the local uni halls. Fast, furious, familiar and oh so poignant. how wonderful that we still dance even today.
Cannot believe Kenny is dead and gone, and suddenly 82 doesn’t seem to be so old.
May he rest in peace with grateful thanks for all the pleasure and fun he brought to life.
These last couple of weeks have been a bit fraught – all to do with Son #3 and yet another removal. So sitting quietly on a Sunday afternoon it was lovely to get unexpected visitors – Son #4 with his entourage, (the two littlest grandchildren who can hardly still be called The Tinies – they’re growing up so fast.
Like whirlwinds, the mood of the house changed – there was life and laughter and energy…. and an injection of thankfulness for good measure. But my tale is about something that happened just as we were finishing a meal. Young J appeared holding a white polar bear, he asked if he could take the bear home – he had been doing a project at school on cold places. His Mummy told him no and that he shouldn’t have asked. When he went to put the bear back I had to tell my story, one which meant I really wanted him to have the bear.
17 years ago I was doing a project myself – writing letters to magazines to see if I could get any published. It was part of a Writing Assignment. The undernoted is the text of the letter and Yes, it did get published, winning the polar bear.
Dear Teddy Bear Club
Unexpectedly coming across your magazine helps me to understand something from my childhood and prompts me to write now. As a small child, I envied my grandmother her collection of bears. They sat regularly on her bed – completely out of character with her rather austere nature. At least, that’s what I thought then. I couldn’t fathom why she had them and crossly felt that she ought to give me at least one. After all, I thought, bears were toys for children and I was her only grandchild. Now I realise that she must have been lonely. I’m sad that I was too young to help her much, but I’m glad she had the bears.
So you can see how important it was that my smallest grandchild should have the bear. I was able to find a toy dog for his sister, so they both had company to go home with.
Some day, I should think about the scary grandmother and tell her story. So often I will mention my Scots Granny – and always with the warmest of memories, but the English one gets short shrift.