It’s Zoe and Irene’s second day in school since we left for NZ on Dec. 5th, missing the last week of school, and getting 3 snow days off. They are utterly rusty, no doubt, but well-rested. Forecast for heavy snow on Tuesday night!
Unusual birds at our feeder, time to bring out the bird books, and most unusual, a COOT, black with a red bill, seems to have taken residence under our hedge. We are scattering bird seed on the ground for ground-feeding birds, like the pheasants who roost in our orchard, and the coot loves it. Winter joys!!
Used a new vegetable for the first time ever. Zoe made a delicious chicory and chicken casserole yesterday to decompress after her school day. She added some fennel too, which we’ve only used once before. Fun using new veggies. Might try endive–because I have not the slightest idea what that tastes like!!
Whoa! Tesco tonight needed to be seen to be believed. The shelves were pretty much denuded of fruit and veg. I could not believe it. According to the Guardian, Gordon Brown’s comments on food security and the price of veg. have sparked panic buying of carrots etc.!
An adorable new bunny joined our family today, Bandito, a 7 week old lop ear, companion to Empress, a black and white bunny; Jake, our black and white collie; our fat Aylesbury ducks, Buttercup and Daisy; and Zoe and Irene, two humans. Bandito is white, with brown patches around his eyes, and, yes, we are hoping for a litter! Of bunnies.
“Sit as little as possible. Give no credence to any thought that was not born outdoors while moving about freely.”–Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche of course needs to be taken with a kilo of salt, but it’s amazing how much a good long walk clears one’s thoughts. The snow has all melted, and I’m off for one now.
Really getting down to writing my second book after a 3.5 year hiatus to set up our publishing company. The joy of finding the precisely right word and phrase; few things compare with it!! (Even if, the very next day, one finds an even better word or sentence!)
Hot tip to all small business owners. DO NOT hire your spouse. Roy just made a really stupid, and somewhat costly, mistake, and when I told him off in no uncertain terms, just stood there, grinning happily from ear to ear, as if he had done the greatest thing in the world. ” Well then, fire me,” he said. And double my workload? No way! I fumed, and growled; he had won that round. Stay tuned!
Roy and I are taking an interesting 20 week course in The History of Christianity at Oxford Uni. 1st meeting today–an ambitious survey of 20 centuries in 2 hours!! Lots I knew, but a fair amount I had forgotten, or never knew. Excellent lecturer. I think we are going to find it a very interesting course!! What a very fascinating story!
Irene, 10, stayed home with Zoe to do homework (interspersed with computer games). She reversed the intended equation. We returned at 10 p.m. to find her awake, and asking to make lamb samosas!! Me–” Irene, it’s your bedtime.” She, “But I find deep-frying satisfying.” Me, “BEDTIME!” She, “That’s the problem!! I just don’t have any job-satisfaction.” Roy, “Perhaps that’s because you don’t have a job?”
LORD, what I once had done with youthful might, / Had I been from the first true to the truth,/ Grant me, now old, to do–with better sight,/ And humbler heart, if not the brain of youth; / So wilt thou, in thy gentleness and ruth, / Lead back thy old soul, by the path of pain,/ Round to his best–young eyes and heart and brain. George Macdonald, Diary of an Old Soul
Intense, interesting week! Jan & Karoline Sassenberg & their cute, spunky kids lunched with us–young Germans who serve in a slum of Freetown, Sierra Leone. Their faces were radiant & they were more free, relaxed & happy than I have ever seen them. God has given them a love for the poor, & they now work where their hearts truly are. There is magic & bliss in doing exactly what God has fashioned you to do, high or low.
Blessed evening. I’m immersed in 1st century Christianity for the History of Christianity course at Oxford Uni. which Roy & I are taking. Irene’s reading Indian mythology (I loved the Ramayana and the Mahabharata at her age!). Zoe is re-reading “The Great Gatsby” for the umpteenth time. And Roy is baking gourmet pizzas (spinach, ricotta, and parma ham). Our Sunday resolution–no cooking & as little work as possible!
A verse for blocked writers. “Moses, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD ? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” Exodus, Chapter 4.
A lovely nine days, of writing every day (except Sunday). Back to poetry, my first love. Yesterday, I hit my own voice again, my distinctive subject matter, exciting. Am trying to write with less dependence on education, training, previous reading and study, and more reliance on the spirit of God, of creativity. It’s a very interesting retraining of instincts and reflexes, after so many years of relying on the former.
Aargh! Each time the phone rings now, it’s Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs returning my call. What possessed me to ignore Small Business taxes until the 11th hour? And now, guess what?–I think I am going to go all girlie and leave Roy to file my taxes for me. There should be some advantages to being married to a brilliant but absent-minded mathematician!!
love spending the day in our conservatory, watching the day shift and change. It was sunny in the morning; then suddenly sleeted, then hailed on our unsuspecting ducks. The stars crept out, and there is a luminous full moon flooding the conservatory with light at the moment.
Lovely peaceful evening. Nesting. Zoe is galloping through the Pentateuch being determined to read the Bible in a year. I am reading the American poet, Jane Kenyon, and writing poetry, Irene is reading Lemony Snicket, and Roy is communing with his computer.
“Forgiveness is not just an occasional gift; it is a permanent attitude,” Martin Luther King. Roy & I are studying Phil Yancey’s “What’s so Amazing about Grace?” at the Headington Pastorate (small group, or home group). Interestingly, it’s really about the delicate miracle of forgiveness, a core of the Christian life, which often gets sidelined. I don’t recall a sermon on forgiveness in the last 5 years at Aldate’s!