Diary entry in which one is nearly bombed

I used to ‘diary’ every day. A page a day from when I was about 14. Then it became a ‘journal’ and I kept it going pretty consistently until I started blogging. They all lie in a trunk and occasionally I will rifle through them while looking for something else. I used to have a friend who promised to destroy them all on my death for fear of others reading them. But now I don’t care so much – or perhaps I’ve just forgotten what secrets lie therein.

Of course blogging is nothing like keeping a diary/journal. It is public for a start and therefore probably not one’s inner thoughts. (Well not the libelous ones anyway.) But from time to time, mostly when on retreat or holiday, I do go back to scribbling away in a delicious notebook. One should always have a delicious notebook, don’t you think?

A while ago someone gave me a wonderful book called The Assassin’s Cloak – An Anthology of the World’s Greatest Diarists. Each day there are several entries from well known (or not so well know, in my case) diarists from that day. Pepys is in there of course, and is probably the earliest at about 1661.  Today one of the entries really made me smile, so I share it with you.

I noticed a very funny note in the kitchen from old Kate who ‘does’ for my mother.  ‘Madam,’ it said, ‘had one [bomb] at the top of our street. I was shot out of my bed. It was gastley, all night digging. Today I am nearly a cripple, I can hardly walk. I think it must be rumatism. I am breaking up.  The butcher has run out of sausages.’  My mother’s note for today simply said, ‘Dear Kate, so glad you are still alive. I think we will have Welsh Rarebit tonight.’

Joan Wyndham, 1943.


Blogging… or not blogging

Well, my new year resolution was to keep up to date with my blogging and already I have failed miserably. In my defence I think there are a few reasons for this.  The first being that I use my Samsung Galaxy phone much more these days for emails, reading blogs, and checking Facebook and Twitter. As a result I have not been commenting much on other blogs I check out because it is a bit of a hassle on the phone. I do read them every day, using Google Reader, over a cup of decaff at the kitchen table. And sometimes I mean to go down to the study and make a witty comment or two, but by the time I get there I’ve usually forgotten what I was going to say. (That’s an age thing.)

It has also been rather chilly in my study. I do have nice new windows which keep the draughts out but it is still a cold room in winter – and the radiator goes off at lunch time. (Also, Lucy Pussy has not learned to close doors behind her but I’m working on that. A forlorn hope, I know.) The thought crossed my mind that I could use my netbook for work upstairs in the cosy rooms, but I don’t get a great internet signal up there so that’s put the kyber on that. And my study is an absolute mess just now and I just hate sitting in a mess. However, I don’t hate it enough to make me want to do something about it. It is a shame really because it is a most glorious study and the envy of many visiting clergy.

Today, as I sat in my M&S slinky nightie (not really, but it sounds better than the truth), sipping my Fairtrade decaff, I spotted some advice on blogging by Kelvin. Good advice too, as it happens. And I can see several ways I can improve. These shall include:

  1. blogging more often
  2. commenting on other blogs
  3. doing something about the heating in my study that won’t cost an arm and a leg

New blog

Fr Kirstin had a great idea. Why Fr Kirstin didn’t do it herself, I’ve no idea, but she thought I’d be the very person to do it. And okay, secretly I was delighted. The idea came about when I was hunting for a Eucharistic Prayer suitable for Christmas and Epiphany. Our wee liturgy book doesn’t have a special one for that time of year, and I’ve often thought (and suggested) that they produce one but this is likely to be a long process. However it seems that several people are (illegally in some cases!) using such liturgies and I ended up with a nice choice.

Then I posted a pic of some 3d paper mache letters I get from Hobbycraft and use to make little visual displays in church. Fr Kirstin suggested that I put a new blog together and share these resources with others. And I hope others will comment too and share what they have.

Please note that this is not an official Scottish Episcopal Church website. I am not on the Liturgy Committee (shame!) either. This is merely a sharing of resources between denominations, clergy, lay people, etc. A sharing of what makes good liturgy. A sharing of my ideas and yours. Please feel free to comment and check in regularly at Eat Pray Love Liturgy. If you have recipes, prayers, craft ideas… anything at all to share, please let me know.

New Year Resolutions for 2012

I’m usually quite good at making new year resolutions. What I’m not so good at is keeping them. Over the years they’ve mostly consisted of less food and less fags. As you can see that hasn’t really been a great success. In fact, all it did was set me up to fail. Oh I have given up the fags but as soon as the weight piled on I started again in the vain hope that the weight would fall off as if by magic. This never happened, by the way.

This year it might be better to be a bit more vague, I reckon.

  1. More reading is definitely high on the list. I now have a huge bookcase and a Kindle which are full of unread books. I’d like to do a Susan Hill and make a vow to never buy another book this year and just read the ones I have, but I know that ain’t gonna happen. However, what I can do is make more time to watch less rubbish on TV and read more.
  2. More blogging is another must for this year. Last year I’m not sure why there were so many large gaps in my blogging but I somehow got out of the way. But blogging is mission and mission is high on our priorities here at Christ Church this year so the blogging must improve.
  3. More financial restraint is another must for this year. Already I have made some of my own Christmass presents and nobody threw up their hands in horror at the sight of a homemade fancy scarf.  I have removed myself from all the tempting emails that come in telling me of Emma Bridgewater, Molton Brown, Radley sales etc. I don’t need more handbags or shoes. I may want more, but I don’t need more. And I’m going to keep telling myself that. Really, I am.
  4. More time with God might not be a bad thing either. I’ve loved doing the Daily Office during Advent with others, and will do that in Lent again. But I shall make sure I get a retreat this year and take all my holidays. I might even start something new in church for those who seek silence and quiet time.

I think that’ll do for now. So what are yours?

And do you have any predictions? I’m sure you can predict which of my new year resolutions will be broken by February. I see that a certain Provost has published his again this year.  (Without the help of Paul the Octopus, I’m told.) Have a look and see what you think. His first prediction affects those of us in the Edinburgh Diocese.

Funny old world

It’s a funny old world, this being a priest. Each day brings different challenges and opportunities. Sometimes you are sitting with people listening and sometimes you are on your own making lists of things to do.  Sometimes you are affirming others and sometimes you are wondering whether what you’ve done is alright. Sometimes you are fretting that you won’t get everything done in time and sometimes you are footering about on Twitter and Facebook. And sometimes you are in design mode, as I have been all week: designing Morning Prayer books; designing Advent Liturgy books; and finishing off the design for the magazine. It happens to be a job I particularly enjoy and I often harken back to those days when I did design for a living. The only downside is that there is never enough time to be really creative and spend lots of time making things look super-duper. That upsets the perfectionist in me.

I’ve also realised that I haven’t been blogging much lately. Not exactly sure why that is except that I have been rather busy what with one thing and another. So my Advent promise will be to do a little more of that.  We are going to be doing Morning Prayer at Christ Church again this Advent every morning at 9am and we shall be using Celtic Daily Prayer from the Northumbria Community. I haven’t decided yet whether we will use the set readings or find something more creative (like the meditations in Celtic Daily Prayer or some other Advent book). All suggestions welcome.

And talking of Advent I note that Mother Kimberly is reviving Love Blooms Bright, her daily Advent blog with contributions from others.  Last year I discovered Jan Richardson’s blog Advent Door which is also worth a look. And Mother Kirstin is doing something with psalms over at her Advent Jottings. If you know of any others please let me know.

Today, while the pixies are away photocopying oodles of stuff, I shall be reading frantically several books which I promised to review for the Expository Times and then forgot. It’s a funny old world when reading becomes a chore. So the wireless has been put off, the cat fed and watered, the redbush and Earl Grey tea poured and steaming at my side, and I vow not to go near Twitter of Facebook until at least one of them is done.

Blogging v journalling

I’ve kept a diary since I was about 12. Most of that time it was a daily diary too. I still have most of them in a large trunk and occasionally I come across them and sit for a while pondering the minutae of my life.

‘Latin today. Boring. Who cares about all these wars?’

‘I think B loves me and he is lovely but J is just sooo cool and I think I fancy him.’

‘Why won’t this baby stop crying? What is wrong with him? Or is it me?’

‘Thinking of going to Church. I know! Can you believe it? Me going to Church? What shall I wear?’

At some point, around my 20s I think, it stopped being a diary and became more of a journal. More thoughts and feelings than merely recording events. And then it all starts to peter out at around the time I was ordained. Probably this was become I was so unbelievably busy that I didn’t have time to journal. Which was kind of ironic when you consider that TISEC (the Theological Institute who trained me) would keep banging on about us being reflective practitioners. I did start to keep a Quotes Journal at this time which became a place to write down prayers I’d found: poems; quotes; passages from books; and I am now on Volume 3.

And of course it was about this time that I started to blog. Now blogging must not be confused with keeping a diary or journalling. Although to begin with my blog was pretty boring and full of ‘things I did today’ entries which didn’t elicit much comment. And journalling of one’s deepest fears and hopes is definitely not the sort of thing that the world needs to hear about. So blogging became more about comments and observations and reviews of books and movies. The only time I journalled was when I was on retreat and the dreaded silence drove me to my fancy notebook and trusty purple pen.

But lately I’ve found that I miss my journal. I miss working through problems on paper and going back over them when solutions are found. Seeeing the journey written down can be very helpful and there is something really powerful about spilling your guts out (in other colours if need be) and ‘getting rid of it’. I often tell other people to keep a journal when they are going through tricky times, and advocate the use of the ‘unsent letter’. (This is absolutely something that should NOT be blogged.)

So I’m going back to my trusty journal. (Lilac linen cover, plain watermarked paper, stitched and bound in case you’re wondering.) I’ve found that I can’t write as much as I used to without my wrist getting achey and my handwriting is not what it was when I won a prize for the neatest writing with a dip pen.

Now if I can just find someone who will promise to come and destroy them all when I die, I’ll feel much more comfortable about it all.

Blogging (or rather the lack of it) in the run up to Holy Week

My plan was to blog every day in Lent. I thought it might be holy and inspiring stuff. It wasn’t. It was the usual moans and stories and a wee bit of holiness. Sometimes I missed it altogether.

Now in the days leading up to Holy Week my well has run dry. I’ve used up all my creative juices in creating stuff for my little flock.  I’ve barely been over the doorstep this week, such has been the volume of stuff needing doing. And then just as one thing goes off to the photocopier, you think of another way of doing it which would be much better but it is too late. Lucy Pussy is no help whatsoever and has taken to sitting between me and the computer screen for fun and attention. (Sometimes it is between me and the keyboard but that is usually dealt with by a swift nudge and a miaow.)

It will all happen but right now it doesn’t feel like it will. I should really listen to my own Lent Course on Prayer, shouldn’t I?



I found this on my romp around the Blogs this morning and it made me smile – a lot. It has never happened to me (yet) but this is the stuff clergy nightmares are made of.

Design Change

I was visiting Ray and Effie today. Ray has a visual impairment but likes to read my blog with his super-duper special computer. He was complaining today that the last design was not clear enough and he’d prefer the tabs down the left side instead of the right. So Ray, I hope this one is clearer.