Holiday update

Spent an hour in the chair with the lovely Pedro this morning having a little root canal treatment. Nothing better for your holiday enjoyment. Of course, now that he’s done it he reckons it won’t hold so I need a cap or crown. I am rather weary of the whole affair and fed up eating soft food (missing filling on other side too).

So what else have I done with this well-earned holiday?  3 DVDs have been watched while it poured rain outside. They were: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (loved the book and love the movie); Doubt (scary Meryl Streep and scary story of nuns and a priest); Quantum of Solace (not short of car/boat/plane/people chases).

I’ve also done a bit of ferrying around of Son #1 and we haven’t been near a Historic Scotland site yet. Next week…

Oh yes, and I gave up smoking. Now on Day 5 and its a breeze. Thank you Champix.

Son of Man

Watched the new Son of Man DVD yesterday and it was fabulous. It was shown at the Edinburgh Film Festival this year and I missed it so have been looking out for the DVD. The cast (South African) are from The Mysteries which is another of my favourites.

It tells the story of Jesus’ life set in modern South Africa. Do watch the extras too which explains it a bit more. The music is moving (and some will be recognised by those who have seen The Mysteries). The language is Xhosa and English with subtitles (not great ones – v small) but don’t let that put you off. The image of the Pieta will stay with me for a long time. And the angels were just divine.

As the blurb says : Mel Gibson look and learn.

Your church should watch it.

Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull

It being my day off, Son #2 and I went to the flicks to see the latest Indiana Jones and what a disappointment. Bad script, lousy and unbelievable story, terrible use of stunt doubles, and poor continuity. Poor old Son #2 has been looking forward to this for such a long time and was livid after. And why did the baddies have to be Russians? I thought we’d got over all that.

We had more fun watching the trailers and its not often I say that.

The Golden Compass

Forgot to tell you what I did on my day off this week. (Well, half day, actually.) Having worked all morning I decided to sit down and watch a movie which is becoming a rare event these days. Who has two hours to spare? Anyway, I watched The Golden Compass and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I did read the book when it first came out but my memory’s not what it could be these days so I can’t really comment if it stuck to the book or not. And I dare say bits were missed out because of time constraints. But I thought it was wonderful and the special fx were amazing. Lots of well known faces too.

Son #2 watched it too and was miffed that I hadn’t told him it was part one of a trilogy. I know what he means. I hate when I get to the end of a programme and its says ‘to be continued’.

A bit like the Ascension really, when you come to think about it. (Oh no, I’m starting to sound like someone on Late Call!”)


Last night a select group gathered to watch Hairspray. What a great movie/musical. I can’t wait to see it on stage. Good messages too – fat is fine and black and white belong together. Some good oneliners too.

My only complaint would be that the backing track was too loud to allow you to hear all the words of the songs. But we could have had the subtitles up, I suppose.

Holy Week begins

Palm Sunday was a most joyous occasion at St M’s with a packed church (69 adults and 11 children). The children led the Liturgy of the Palms and read beautifully. The Passion narrative was moving as ever and we left with no coffee to disturb our mood.

Last night 10 of us gathered in a dark room to watch The Mysteries – a South African company’s version of the Chester medieval mystery plays. All were moved (me to tears several times, surprisingly considering I’ve seen it umpteen times) and we had a good discussion after. If only we could be as unrestrained in our hymn singing on Easter day!

Tonight and tomorrow its candlelit Compline with a wee meditation on Koder’s paintings, followed by Confession in the Crypt chapel.

I think Maundy Thursday’s marathon is sorted but Good Friday’s 3 hours are looming fast and the page is still looking blank. Silence would be good, right?

Into Great Silence

Last night G and I went to see Into Great Silence and what a marathon it was! Nearly 3 hours long and most of it in complete silence (apart from the rustling of sweety papers from the group behind us).

The visuals were exceptional including the ones which looked as if they had been taken with a mobile phone. Images which have stuck in my mind include: prayer; a young man applying ointment to an old man; prayer; shaving heads; prayer; monks sliding down a snow slope amidst laughter; prayer; making habits; prayer; bread and fruit; prayer; the sacrament; prayer; darkness and shadows; prayer; cells and solitude; prayer; digging snow; prayer; a blind monk happy in the love of God; prayer; cats; prayer; dripping water and an argument about ritual; and prayer.

I liked it. No, I loved it. And so did G, thank goodness, because I had dragged him along and you really don’t want to inflict 3 hours of torture on a friend.

Carthusians are supposed to be the most austere order and I know I wouldn’t last 5 minutes. However, it is good to know that they are out there doing all that praying.

A nun’s story

Yesterday I watched the Nun’s Story with Audrey Hepburn – gosh, she is beautiful even with a wimple. It is a film of it’s time and the scenes in the Congo are atrociously patronising. In fact it gave me lots to think about regarding overseas mission work – and not all good.

At the end of it all she decides not to stay as a nun, preferring to be a nurse. Mother Superior, who by the way is described to her as Christ’s representative in the convent – so why do the RC church have such a problem with women priests? Mother Superior tries to persuade her to stay but once she is convinced that she has made up her mind, the frosty face takes over and Sister Luke is made to sign a document, given her father’s dowry back and told to go to a room where her clothes are. No fond farewells, no kind words, no counselling, just banishment. “Ring the bell when you are ready and the door will be opened.”

This is Hollywood, I kept thinking to myself. Drama, that’s all. But then a friend phoned who has recently come out of a convent. “It’s just like that,” she said, “but worse.” No dowries nowadays to be handed back to help you on your way. Still no counselling or support offered. No help given.

And that friend did get a job as a hospital chaplain but is still struggling financially to cope with furnishing a house, buy a car, clothe herself, pay council tax and everything else that life has thrown at her.

The Church needs to do something about this. We are not good at looking after our clergy and those in religious orders, at caring for them pastorally. Who helps the helpers? What they need is a half-way house. Any offers?

There, that’s my rant for the day over.

Films and stuff

Still catching up on films I haven’t had time to watch. Yesterday it was Kingdom of Heaven. A good old knight’s tale. And Orlando Bloom was seriously cute in it.

Also watched the new series of CSI. No mention of the bedroom scene which finished the last series. We want to know!

Sort of missing Celebrity Big Brother in a kind of car-crash voyeurism sort of way. I do love watching people and of course all the big stories were in this series. Still not sure that there was any more bullying or bitchiness in this one than there has been in the past. The only difference this time was the race question and the media rottweilers chewing it all up. But sadly a reflection of real life.

Enjoyed the new episode of ‘celebrities’ working as Auxiliary Nurses. I did that for a few years in Simpsons Maternity Hospital and all I got to do was clean incubators, run around with blood samples, empty bins and answer the phone. I certainly did not get to bath babies or indeed help to deliver them. Guess you have to be a ‘celebrity’ to do that.

All very enjoyable but I’d still rather be able to read. And get back to work.

What have I been watching?

Reading is getting too hard with the old eyes these days so I have taken to watching DVDs and films instead. Managed to pick up a bug of some sort which necessitated a few days indoors so this is what I’ve been watching:

The March of the Penguins. Not really sure why everyone raved about it so much. It was informative, short and sad in bits. But not enough comedy for my liking. A few more penguins slipping on the ice would have helped.

Regeneration. Loved the Pat Barker books when they came out but this somehow didn’t quite live up to them. However, in this month of Remembrance, it was good to be reminded of the horrors of war.

The Royle Family : Queen of Sheba. On TV last night and really very good indeed. It had it all – laughs (the sofa bits, the emptying of the catheter bag, the laminating, and nana’s famous last words), and pathos (the naming of the baby, nana in the lounge and her demise). Great writing.