Tuesday, September 30, 2008


For those of you who have been waiting with bated breath to find out about my visit to the gym I can report that I have now been twice and am ok about going again. I am not buzzing about it but in the same breath I am not miserable so am going to keep on keeping on. I went this morning before Henry and I had our theological reflection / team meeting session and didn't need to have a sleep afterward - which was just as well because I haven't touched the ground all day!

Anyway, thanks to everyone for the support...I will keep you posted.

Monday, September 29, 2008

back to church

We didn't do anything specific for back to church Sunday - though I did notices this article (thanks to the Church Times Blog) about a Merseyside church who seem to be an unexpected hit with the Daily Post. Good news I think!

Yesterday was, as ever, a busy day. I was preaching at St John Chrysostom Church on Philippians 1.21-30 in the morning. I really struggled to get this sermon sorted out this week but I think it went ok. My main point was that in this part of the letter Paul gives his readers permission to live with the tension (and not try to fix it) between the “now and not yet” and stand on this shifting ground with confidence. I think the sermon was preached by me for me really. I am a terrible one for trying to pin stuff down - particularly in relation to God's plans!

We had a big Sunday dinner with Elise, Wayne, baby Lillie, Andrea and Paula - roast pork, roast potatoes and parsnips, cabbage, peas and carrots. Followed by crumble. Yum Yum. we then sat and watched Penelope. It was a lovely afternoon.

I then went out to the Deanery evening service which was led by Kip Crooks (who is leading our parish weekend away as well). He was speaking about Art and Faith...which was very interesting. We also had a celebration for Henry's 30 years of ministry. 30 years in Everton no less. Very impressive I have to say!

So, that's my news. I am feeling a bit coldy this evening and have had a day in my office to catch up on bits and bobs. I went out for a few visits this afternoon but other than that its been planning for services, writing emails, poking about with my PhD and faffing. I have an evening off so must go and enjoy some crap TV.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Today I am doing stuff for tomorrow...a sermon needs tweeking, prayers need preparing and some printing needs printing. I am also trying to do things in the garden (very little has been done and as we uncover stuff we discover that the garden is a lot bigger than we we thought and that it is a lot more of a mess that we had ever imagined), I am making cakes and doing some painting (we made a terrible mess on a wall with cranberry juice - long story!). I am covered in magnolia paint and banana cake mix. So, a house sorting and Sunday preparation day.

I am also trying not to care about the Merseyside Derby...one of the good things about being a girl is that you are allowed to not have an opinion about football. Even if I had an opinion I am rarely asked for it. I think the pressure of having a partisan view might be too much for me. Having an interest is enough. The fact that the match is happening at Goodison Park means that the street isn't parked up and I can't hear the cheering from our garden. However, the street is very quiet and we can hear cheers from houses (from Liverpool supporters thus far!).

I had better get on with my Sunday preparation whilst listening to radio 5 live - 24 mins to go!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Brian makes mistakes

You may well know that I am dyslexic. I am perfectly happy with my special backward logic brain but sometimes it doesn't work very well in the world of non-dyslexics. When I am unable to explain myself to non-dyslexics, make humourous spelling mistakes, Malaprop or become clumsy (a most unhelpful additional symptom) it usually means my poor brain has been overloaded by non-dyslexic thought patterns. It is at times like these I refer to my brain as Brian.

Yesterday Brian was on top form and making mistakes all the time. I sent a top secret email to the wrong person thus blowing the secret (thankfully on this occasion it was just a special card secret). I fell over my own feet a couple of times, banged into some corners and bruised my arm and leg. I lost my temper twice over mess - papers in the wrong place and I couldn't find something I needed in a hurry (I try to create an absurdly ordered world when Brian is making mistakes). But the worst thing that Brian did yesterday was a terrible flight booking disaster. I was left in charge of booking return flights to Belfast from Liverpool for New Year. I managed to find some reasonable easyjet flights and thought I'd got it all sorted, paid for and got the receipt. It wasn't until late last night that Mark noticed that I had actually booked return flights from Belfast to Liverpool! So, Brian cost us £120 because each mistake cost £20 to rectify and because you can't speak to a person you can't negotiate!

It made me realise how difficult booking flights, making orders, and generally doing on-line buying actually is for me. I try to avoid it - or get Mark to make the final transactions and there is always a sinking feeling just after I press "make transaction"...but this was by far the worst (and expensive) on-line mistake I have made. I wonder if there is a way dyslexic people can have the agreement read out to them or if there is some way if you have particular needs you could actually speak to a real person to make bookings? I am not sure I will feel all that confident about making such transactions in the future. hey ho.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

avoiding exercise

I have managed to avoid taking any form of exercise for a long time but tomorrow is the day that all this changes. I have an induction to the local gym which has been prescribed by the nurse at my new doctor's surgery (having had a check up she just happened to notice that I was overweight and a bit of a couch potato). I have signed up for Liverpool's healthy living scheme which allows me to see a personal trainer, join the gym and have my physical well being monitored over 12 weeks. I am not looking forward to this step at all. My aversion to exercise goes very deep and the thought of being the gym fatty feels me with horror but I realize that being affective here - the curate in two parishes in Everton - my health needs to be boosted.

So, I would welcome your prayers - for lethargy (oh I am very good at being too tired to go for a walk/swim/spin); for my sore arthritic feet which do not respond well to impact; for the poor person who has to motivate me off the sofa and in to the gym. But most importantly that I don't lose heart too quickly and keep at it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

my list

looks like this:
- Finish writing our Will - boring, depressing but necessary (the co-op do a great will writing service)
- Sort out risk assessment for church
- write up notes taken at meeting with Environmental Health man
- write a funding report
- look at and sort electoral rolls
- Write a sermon for Sunday
- Write the talk for Women's Fellowship today (which I have done!)
- phone hairdresser and sort appointment for me and Eva
- go food shopping or make a list and send someone else
- read minutes etc for meeting this evening and find out where meeting is and where to park etc
- get trainers for first gym visit on thurs
- make cakes for Sunday
- plan pastoral visits for next few weeks

There are lots of other bits and bobs but this is where I am up to just now. I am off to Women's Fellowship shortly to speak, drink tea and eat cake (it is a hard life) and I have started to plan my preach for Sunday so am on course - Philippians 1: 21-30! Like Paul I am dealing with the tension between the desire for the new heaven but enjoying the cake in the old earth (Paul obviously worded his argument differently)...will there be cake in heaven?

Monday, September 22, 2008


I have been using Reflections for Daily Prayer: 18 August to 29 November 2008 which have been written by John PRITCHARD, Jane WILLIAMS, Tom SMAIL, Emma INESON, Maggi DAWN, Alan GARROW, Ian PAUL.
The collection follows the lectionary readings focusing on one aspect and offering reflections as well as the collect for the day. I find it a very useful focus for my daily prayers. Having been so caught up in the business of being a new curate and trying to keep up some spiritual routine using these reflections has been a spiritual lifeline to me. I have decided to subscribe to the following editions (quarterly) and can recommend it heartily.

You can buy your copy and/or subscribe from Church House Publishing.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Tomorrow I am off to Narnia! The Cathedral are hosting a Prince Caspian family fun day and I am available for prayer at a meditation station as part of the spiritual installation. I think there will be a lots of different types of activities - from the obviously spiritual to the more activity based crafts and workshops.

The blurb on the website says:
"Come and join us for an all age family fun day at Liverpool Cathedral. Climb the tower of Cair Paravel, watch the archery demonstrations, see live owls in the Cathedral. Have fun in the workshops, have a go at the crafts, meet our very own Prince Caspian. Get to see the wonderful 5ft wooden carving of Aslan, which featured in Marney Hall's garden at the NEC Birmingham and featured on BBC Gardeners World. Don't miss out !
Times: 10am - 4pm"

Eva went with her school on Wednesday and had a great day so I am looking forward to being part of it. If you get a chance you should pop down.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

fashion police

I don't know if you have seen this story on the BBC website but a man was recently arrested for wearing baggy jeans in Riviera Beach, south-east Florida. Since his arrest the law that allowed the fashion police to make the arrest has been challenged and a ruling has declared that the young man's imprisonment was unconstitutional. Too right it's unconstitutional - we middle aged faded blooms might not like to see vast sways of underpant cotton, or protruding thongs but surely young people should be able to have the right to have a go at wearing weird and wonderful combinations, challenge conventional clothing rules and look as daft as they like. As the news-story rightly points out this particular arrest smacked more of racism - attacking the fashion preferences of African-Americans. But, remember if their not stopped now the fashion may come and knock at your door next - yes you...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

deanery chapter meetings

I went to my first Deanery Chapter meeting the other day...and, to be honest, I am still not sure what happened. So it is interesting to read what other clergy think is going on at theirs. Dave Walker is asking the question - Rev's are giving their answers!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

in charge

Henry and I meet up on a Tuesday to talk business and a Wednesday to theologically reflect on recent events and spend time praying for each other, our families and the church and wider community. Today we had to conflate the two meetings into one because Henry is off to London and leaving me in charge. We met for a few hours this morning followed by communion at the Women's Fellowship group I am then running him to the station later. I hope he has a parish (or preferably two parishes) left when he comes back!

Actually, I think I am going to be running about so much that I won't be able to cause too much trouble. I am sure I'll be ok. Mark is away of Thursday for the weekend so I really will be left holding the baby and in charge!

Anyway, I am off to do some visiting now so sorry this is so short. Catch up later. Wish me luck.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

historic buildings

Today I have tried to get round to see some of Liverpool's Heritage Open Day buildings. Unfortunately I only managed Christ Church, Linnet Lane and St Georges Church, Everton. I always enjoy HOD's and this year I feel I have not been able to do it justice. Hey ho.

I have realised that I am seriously avoiding PhD work at the moment so have promised myself to get a grip next week and start to fill empty moments (not that there are many of those) with sorting, re-drafting and honing. If you see me on here too much (and/or facebook, commenting on your blogs / sending emails etc) then please feel free to tell me off. Face-to-face encounters are ok (in moderation) and only on Tuesday will I read Heat magazine. That's it. I need to get a grip.

Right, I am off to the supermarket to get the week's shop, then an early night because we have a Baptism tomorrow (I'm not doing the actual Baptism but I am leading)...and we have a house full for lunch.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

sense of sound on songs of praise

Today I am off to Formby to see Sister June - the "healing nun" and my spiritual director. I am looking forward to some wise words and spiritual healing! Also, the drive to Formby is lovely and I can have a spot of charity shop shopping as well. Hope to be back by 2pm when I will do a bit of work in my office and some visiting later. All good I think.

I am thinking about a few of my Trinity friends who are getting ordained over the next couple of weeks - Mel must have started her ordination retreat. So, I'll be thinking about them for a while as they prepare for that. Last night I joined a housegroup (which will be meeting here on Wednesday evenings). We had a great time chatting and looking at Revelation - which I have to say was a challenge to me and a book I may need to spend some time studying in more depth. Having worked on the book of Daniel with Ernest Lucas last year I feel better equipped to return to this and peel away some of my layers of thinking.

Anyway, to the subject of this entry - Sense of Sound Choir are appearing on Songs of Praise this Sunday on BBC 1 - 4.35pm - 5.10pm. Of course I won't be able to watch it because I will be at real live church...having said that I will be taping it! They will be singing Stevie Wonder's Pastime Paradise which will be a real treat.

Pastime Paradise

They've been spending most their lives
Living in a pastime paradise
They've been spending most their lives
Living in a pastime paradise
They've been wasting most their lives
Glorifying days long gone behind
They've been wasting most their days
In remembrance of ignorance oldest praise
Tell me who of them will come to be
How many of them are you and me

Race Relations
Confirmation.......to the evils of the world

They've been spending most their lives
Living in a future paradise
They've been spending most their lives
Living in a future paradise
They've been looking in their minds
For the day that sorrow's gone from time
They keep telling of the day
When the Savior of love will come to stay
Tell me who of them will come to be
How many of them are you and me

Proclamation of Race Relations
Verification of Revelations
World Salvation
Confirmation.......to the peace of the world

They've been spending most their lives
Living in a pastime paradise
They've been spending most their lives
Living in a pastime paradise
They've been spending most their lives
Living in a future paradise
They've been spending most their lives
Living in a future paradise
We've been spending too much of our lives
Living in a pastime paradise

Let's start living our lives
Living for the future paradise
Praise to our lives
Living for the future paradise
Shame to anyones lives
Living in a pastime paradise

- that's a challenge to all of us I think! Best go and speak to Sister June about Stevie Wonder...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


It is so cold. I am shivering in my office getting ready for a housegroup this evening and thinking about going out to a coffee shop to plan rather than be in here. I am a bit worried about turning on the heating because our quoted bill for the next 12 months is just under £2,000 (which we pay in monthly installments and is based on last year's consumption at this address). We haven't had the heating on - apart from occasional emergency clothes drying - and I don't want to start until Oct. But, it really is quite cold. Now, I have an income (admittedly not all that much but I am settled and have a secure job) which means that this bill is annoying (understatement) but can be dealt with and with belt tightening can be paid. However, I am quite concerned that there are many people who will find themselves in fuel poverty this year. I wonder what is the Christian response?

Monday, September 8, 2008

La Machine escapes to Birkenhead!

After a busy day in the parish I managed to get into town by 9pm to catch La Princess as she walked past the Empire. The amazing crowds in town almost blew me away...I am not sure I have ever seen so many people in the city at night and certainly I have never experienced collective popular euphoria on this scale before. There was a carnival atmosphere - a world turned upside down feeling - as the the people took over streets usually chocker with cars, taxis and buses. This is the sort of welcome that is usually reserved for football heroes! Yet last night the crowd was more diverse, the atmosphere calm and almost serene.

As I wondered down William Brown Street (do click on the link as it will give you a panoramic view of WB St) past the Walker and on to the library I was very pleased to find John Davies standing on the bottom of the steps. What a treat! Shortly we were joined by Kate who's husband Tommy has been working with Mark on La Machine - we are both La Machine widows who haven't seen our husbands in daylight for nearly 2 weeks! Our vantage point, on the steps, was great...we were able to see the giant spider as she came down the street and advanced on to the Tunnel.

What has been impressive about the production of this three day performance has been the way the company has used the existing cityscape to theatrical advantage. Making adjustments to the street furniture to accommodate the procession (the removal of the tunnel roundabout, the uprooting of traffic lights and closing off of major roads for days at a time) they have optimized the city's natural contours as well as it's man-made structures. This final city venue provided a perfect amphitheatre for the spider's last stand...

Liverpool's La Princess was driven out of the city by a combination of fire, water, snow and a barrage of fireworks. Her exit down the tunnel the finale of a beautiful weekend of spider related elation. I have to say I am going to miss the beautiful beast. Mark is experiencing a combination of exhaustion and post-performance downer. How will he fill his days now La Princess has escaped to Birkenhead!? He is still in bed and may need cake.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

We were at the dock yesterday when the princess took a dip in the Mersey...we all got very wet. Here are a couple of videos that capture some of the atmosphere

We are planning to go back into town shortly to see her wonder back up to concourse house.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


At lunchtime today I actually saw a bbc news story that claimed that Liverpool Arachnophobes were having to leave for Widnes because of La Machine. Even the thought of Liverpool has now filled Arachnophobes with fear and can cause stress. Not that this put the PM off who was also visiting the city today!

Having spent a few hours with the spider this afternoon I can confirm that it is neither real nor threatening. In fact it spent most of the time I was with it asleep. Mark has just returned home from spending the day with La Machine and has had to go straight to bed!

I don't have photos but this is a video of last night's appearance on the concourse. When I visited it last night at 10pm it was just hanging out. B-T-W I didn't take this video as I wasn't allowed to leave the vehicle!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

La Machine

This, and other pictures, can be found at this BBC picture link and John Davies has taken some good shots as well which are up on his flickr.

The next few days are going to be quite hectic here at the vicarage. Eva goes back to school, I have curate's duties to attend to and Mark is working on La Machine. Having seen the front page of the Liverpool Echo this afternoon there probably isn't a person in Liverpool who doesn't know what the creature is by now!

Anyway, if you need to know the plan here it is:
"Something unforgettable is about to happen in Liverpool as a highlight of the Liverpool European Capital of Culture celebrations. Vast in scale and spectacular in execution, this breathtaking new commission from La Machine will spin a tale so magical that an entire city will fall under its spell. Just as The Sultan’s Elephant stopped London in its tracks in 2006, so this three-day adventure will unfold against the landmarks of a great city, stopping the traffic and captivating everyone who sees it. Prepare to be amazed by a show that will make you believe in the impossible…"

Wednesday 3rd September

Dawn The creature appears suspended on the side of Concourse Tower.
08.00h Press briefing – with photo and interview opportunities.
10.00h A Research Base is set up at the Echo Arena at the ACC.
16.00h Scientists arrive at Concourse Tower to set up searchlights to light the creature.
20.30h Scientists switch on searchlights, which stay lit overnight.

Thursday 4th September

11.30h The creature is craned off Concourse Tower.
12.30h The convoy carries the creature and sets off for the Research base at ACC.
13.00h The convoy arrives at the Research Base.
14.00h Press briefing with a member of the French artistic team.

Friday 5th September
11.30h The scientists perform experiments on the creature using different special
effects to see how it responds to different stimuli. The creature wakes up and
is prevented from running away by a wall of Chinese firecrackers and by a
fire effect. Eventually the creature is sent to sleep by a snow machine.
13.00h Interview / photo / filming opps - member of the French artistic team,
representative from Liverpool Culture Company, members of Artichoke
production team.
18.00h The creature wakes and parades to Salthouse Dock.
19.30h The creature arrives at the Dock and takes a bath, accompanied by live music.
After her bath, she is dried and perfumed.
20.30h The creature sets off for Cunard Building.
21.00h The creature arrives at Cunard Building. It begins to snow gently and she
falls asleep.

Saturday 6th September

11.30h The creature wakes up in the middle of a magical snowscape, and is
serenaded with music.
12.30h The creature goes to sleep again.
13.00h Press briefing with a member of the French artistic team.
14.45h The creature leaves Cunard Building and walks up Water Street.
15.30h The creature arrives at Town Hall – smoke effect.
15.40h The creature walks towards Derby Square along Castle Street.
16.00h Water ballet at Derby Square.
16.15h The creature walks down Lord Street to Holy Corner where it is snowing.
17.00h The creature sleeps.
18.30h The creature wakes and walks down Parker Street, serenaded on the way.
20.00h A tempest rages at Ranelagh Place.
20.30h The creature arrives at Concourse Tower, climbs up the tower and goes to sleep.

Sunday 7th September

15.00h The creature wakes up and is prepared for the evening’s entertainment.
16.00h The creature goes back to sleep.
19.30h Cherry-pickers and musicians arrive.
20.00h The creature is removed from the tower with a crane.
20.30h The convoy leaves the tower and parades to Queensway Tunnel entrance.
21.15h The creature tries to escape, but is prevented from doing so by the special
effect machines.
21.30h The creature escapes via the tunnel.

A show by La Machine
Created by François Delarozière.
Music composed by Dominique Malan.

Special effects by Thierry Loridant. Costumes by Gaelle Choveau.

bits and bobs by Mark Loudon

Obviously most of the Sunday stuff clashes with church so I won't be seeing that but hopefully Eva will hook up with some of her friends and get to see most of it - not sure how popular I would be if I made her come to church and miss the finale!

Monday, September 1, 2008

great face for the radio

I mentioned a while back that I was going to be on Radio Merseyside - Daybreak with Wayne Clarke - talking about how I came to be a curate! Well, I was - on Sunday at 8.20am. If you missed it then you can listen again (for one week only) by clicking on the listen again bit on the bottom right.


Today I have mostly been fiddling with my PhD. I am due to meet my supervisor next Monday and I have promised a new draft of everything (which isn't going to happen) by tomorrow. I have been able to manage an abstract, the intro, chapter 3, the conclusion and bibliography. The working on the rest depends on how these go down. I think a bit of creative cutting and pasting may be in order but Sara needs to have a look at the whole thing and give a verdict before I am prepared to commit any further editing.

The good news is that I have booked 4 days away st St Deiniols in Oct to have a go at the next draft. It is so distracting here at home - Mark is on the upstairs computer, Eva bouncing about. So, a few days away will, hopefully, kick the latest draft into touch.

I want to eat vast quantities of chocolate and drink white wine every time I finish a day on my PhD. I have no idea why it makes me so stressed!? The only thing that is spurring me on is the thought of finishing it and getting on with my life. Hey ho.