“Oh, do not let us wait to be just or pitiful or demonstrative toward those we love until they or we are struck down by illness or threatened with death! Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are traveling the dark journey with us. Oh, be swift to love, make haste to be kind!” Henri Frédéric Amiel September 27, 1821 – May 11, 1881) Swiss philosopher, poet and critic.
02 October 2009
Conservatory done on Tuesday. Yay! It’s 13 by 21 feet, so we’ve started having dinner there, and have placed armchairs around a coffee table. & some pretty plants. Our garden was seriously neglected while we had workmen & materials around, so we went out today with shears to get our garden to resemble the tidy pretty gardens of the natives a bit more! It seemed a brave & forlorn attempt today, but we will get there!
Went on a private tour of the Museum of the History of Science in Broad Street, Oxford, arranged for Writers in Oxford. Fascinating and weirdly beautiful stuff–brass astrolabes, armillary spheres, Lewis Caroll’s photography apparatus, Einstein’s equations. Saw the absolute CHAOS of the new Steampunk Art exhibition to open on Monday. Finishing things at the 11.99th hour is apparently an Oxford specialism!
Dr. Israel Gelfand, mathematician, who recently died, aged 96, often said, “You have to be fast only to catch fleas.” He sought to teach not only the rules of math, but also the beauty and exactness of the field.
Help! Irene has Facebook. She sent me a button to paste on my page, saying “This Mummy makes pretty babies.” Now do I accept it?–and what floodgates will it open?
After bringing up Zoe, who was remarkably resistant to peer pressure, it was a surprise to see Irene really tearful because her friends have Nintendo Wii, Ds’s, Ipods, and cameraphones, & at 10, she doesn’t!! I strongly disapprove of computer games or gadgets, but finally decided she can use her amassed savings to buy the latter two. I have just upgraded my blackberry to a Apple Iphone so lost moral superiority.
House looking remarkably clean. I regretfully parted with the lovely cheerful Brazilian sisters who did the cleaning and some housework, because their cleaning wasn’t hugely better than mine would have been (saying a lot!) Running a business has left me impatient with sloppiness! Since Sept, we have had a cheerful, conscientious Christian Zimbabawean lady do the cleaning & some housework–and the honeymoon continues!
12 October 2009
Roy & I talked last night about Jesus’ exciting statement, “Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and its righteousness, and all the rest will be added unto you.” Like the rest of Jesus’ sayings, one can only verify the truth of this by empirical evidence, by trying it. We worked out what seeking the Kingdom of God first would look like in our lives. A question. What does the Kingdom of God mean to you? And seeking it first?
Our church has a pastor of Theology, Simon Ponsonby, whose sermons are mind and spirit expanding. His sermon last Sunday on the Glory of God was like spiritual pyrotechnics. Theology at its best. Zoe wants to study Theology at Uni. I’m glad. At it’s best, it’s grand. We are going to Simon’s Romans study in his School of Theology. Am so looking forward to it!
Going to New Zealand for 2 weeks over Christmas. Dread task of booking tickets looming up. Does anyone have airline reccos? Zoe’s flying to Greece on a Classics trip next week for 8 days. We did all those sites/sights with her when she was 11–I love Greece!–but she is now almost 15 and studying Ancient Greek and Latin, and should get far more out of it!
Okay, I am embarrassed to be as excited as Irene and Zoe about my new toy, but my new Iphone is SERIOUSLY cool–satnav, a camera, an ipod, email, a phone, voice messages, calculator, internet, weather, maps, facebook, all on a slim stylish gadget. Of course, now that the kids are home guess who’s going to discover all the potential of the Iphone first? You’re right!
Technology wars continue, chez Mathias. Roy disdains his beloved laptop, choosing to check email on MY
new sleek, dimunitive Iphone, which he calls “the Baby.” This appellation for a toy she wants infuriates Irene! Zoe has got me to, sort of, promise her one. In the moment of folly, I promised Irene one for Year 7. Roy and I will be married for 20 years next month. Guess what I’m going to get him?
Much hilarity chez Mathias. Roy, who works from home 3 days p.w., made a delicious tandoori chicken, entrusting me with taking in out while he picked up the girls. Now I did not forget the chicken. I kept thinking how good it smelled. I just forgot to taken it out. Instead of glorious saffron, it is the blackest black. And it’s not the first time I’ve burnt a roast! Now remind me why I leave the cooking to Roy and Zoe!
14 October 2009
Spent a gorgeous afternoon avec ma famille watching Le Chateau De Ma Mere by Marcel Pagnol. Roy & I watched all the Pagnol films 20 yrs ago; still love them. The girls loved it, though Irene ran away at the end. I have ordered both books in French and English. Will read them in French, turning to the English at particularly beautiful or knotty passages. Just can’t take the eternal student out of this girl!
Though I love living in the country–though somewhat of a city girl!–it has its heartbreaks. On Fri., after dusk, Roy, Zoe & I were talking each other in putting the 3 ducks in their shed. The phone rung, we forget; 30 mins later, a loud quacking. A fox had snatched a duck. We recovered her, no sign of blood, alive but limp. She was dead the next morning, probably from shock & a broken heart. Our best layer! RIP.
18 October 2009
Zoe was good in Richard III last night at the Oxford School Shakespeare Festival. There was a jazzy Midsummer Night’s Dream too. She is doing Drama for her GCSE and loves it.
18 October 2009
Interesting if centrifugal evening. Zoe at Creation Theatre drama class, Irene went to girl’s cell, painted nails, ate pizza, & studied Ephesians. Loved it, came home & wrote haikus about God. Roy & I went to Simon Ponsonby’s School of Theology. Listened to the whole of Paul’s Letter to the Romans read out. Powerful, poetic, passionate, haunting stuff. I love it. Will be studying it for the next 16 weeks. Can’t wait!
Phew, deed’s done. Bought tickets to New Zealand for 25 days over the Christmas holidays. But the Christmas holidays aren’t 25 days? They are, if you miss the last week of school and teaching. My scholarly children will be outraged, when we break the news to them. Eeks! 2 weeks in the magical South Island which I LOVE, a week plus in the North Island. Hurray for sun!!
Lovely day in London. Lunch w. my college friend, Jane in Dulwich; shopping in Southall, an amazing place, most un-English. It could be Commercial Street in Bangalore. V. few white faces, lots of Indians hanging out, having a good time; jewellery shops, gaudy clothing shops, sweet shops, Indian fast food, restaurants, & supermarkets w. Indian fruit, veg, food & frozen food. Had yummy chicken biriyani & Diwali sweets.
24 October 2009
Quiet day. Zoe is in Greece and will be there for her 15th birthday on Wednesday. She’s on a classics trip to Athens, Delphos, Corinth, Olympia–all places we had visited with her in 2005 before she studied Latin and Greek at school.
We had a fab lunch in Thai Orchid, in a conservatory full of palms and exotic orchids, very tropical. I love Thai food, having developed the taste late. Prefer it to Chinese now.
With Zoe in Greece and Roy at the University for his gruelling two days a week teaching, I’ve lots of hours of amusing Irene. One day went off successfully with a shopping trip, during which she got me to buy her more chocolate then I should. We swum outdoors in a pretty cold pool yesterday–but are both well, thankfully. On Friday, another swim? No, a library trip, I think. Lovely autumn weather. I love it!
27 October 2009
Having 15 people to lunch on Sunday. I was planning out menus, trying to find something delicious but non-fussy and simple, with Irene coming up with ever more exotic, sweet and high-fat suggestions. “No Irene,” I said, “this logistical challenge needs to be resolved by prayer” (the most efficient and cleverest form of thinking). “Well,” she said, “Why don’t you just discuss it with your heavenly daughter?”
31 October 2009