Archive for August, 2007

Congrats all round!

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

It’s the day they’ve waited the past five years for – exam results – GCSEs to be precise – all done and dusted for another two years and joy and relief or re-sits and dismay.  Well, thankfully, for Alex and friends its joy and relief, Mikey, Hannah, Haig, Lesley ‘n’ all have done well and passed and are moving on to a new phase in their lives.  Well done to them all.  Their future is before them …. we don’t know what the future holds but we do know Who holds the future.

Homeless!

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

What does the word homeless mean to you?  What images does it conjure? People that you know?  For me it now has a new connotation after visiting my friend Lucy, 91 (almost 92) who lives in a nursing home.  She used to be my next door neighbour.  Instead she now has one room – ensuite – with remnants of her old home scattered about.  She is moved out of her bed into a chair – out of the chair into bed.  Her head is bowed low and her appetite has gone.  She enjoys soup but sometimes falls asleep and it is left to go cold and removed and its only served at lunch time.  She could ask but she doesn’t like.  Instead, in the evening she has milk.  Lucy has all her faculties and shows great interest in all who visit her.  She remembered that my children’s exam results would be through and asked after them.  She asks about her old neighbourhood and I tell her about our mole and ‘manic Peter’.  She laughs.  Then sadly, she says “I have no home.”  She tells me how awful that feeling is.  Nowhere to “go home” to, even though she’s too frail to go anywhere.  Lucy has been in a nursing home for over three years now.  The staff are kind and friendly and although this is now in effect her home, it never can be “home.”

Lucy was a midwife during the blitz in Liverpool, delivering babies and having to go outside to fetch water and seeing Liverpool on fire – she describes it looking like “hell”. (My dad was 9 or 10 when he watched from his bedroom window the same event).  Lucy delivered Cilla Black and dressed Paul McCartney to go home after he was delivered.  Lucy worked with his mum.  She is one of the last stoic, British ladies who remind us why Britain was once called Great.

My uncle is also in a nursing home and desparately wants his own place.  He had one and couldn’t manage and needs 24 hour care – to be lifted and washed and dressed etc., still he wants his own place – a place of his own – a place he can call “home” – this it appears, is more important than practicalities like being able to move.  This is what causes depression and introverted nature and the ‘blocking out’ of life.  No matter how caring the staff.  Dependent upon someone, anyone to visit, to take out to break up the existence.  He once had a life – a wife, a child a home – he was once a boxer and was reviewed regularly in the paper – he has served his national service – but that was all a long time ago – another life.
My aunty is an EMI home.  She is only young but has ‘rapid onset dementia’ and rapid it is.  This once vibrant, glamorous lady with an opinion about everything and everyone, was once on TV for Gingerbread – fighting for the rights of divorced women left alone at that time to bring up the children whilst the husbands walked away – hers walked away. She fought for her brother’s rights above. She can no longer hold a cup – she is still ‘at home’ but ‘the lights’ are dimming. She knows what she is saying and looks sadly frustrated because no-one can understand.  She too just wants to be in her own home and is powerless to intervene.  Not long ago she won an appeal that she herself set in place to prove that she was not a mental case – she knew and objected to being treated as such – she proved she was right, sadly, it also proved the horrible, cruel reality of her true condition.  She won’t be going “home.”

So, being homeless in the traditional sense, especially in this country where our welfare system has to be the best in the world, isn’t quite as bad as being”homeless” and yet, again because of our welfare system life for the above mentioned is so much better than it could be or would be in other countries.  Each has their own room with their own ‘bits and bobs’ and photos and pictures and are cared for 24 hours and kept warm and fed and for the above, are loved and visited and have people who care and to speak up for them. For those without means, all this is paid for and their needs are met.  Sadly, the welfre state does not take into account our personal happiness but it does the best it can.  The carers work hard and are underpaid but most love their job and bring a smile to the faces they care for.

Alex in Benllech

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

Alex had a great time in Benllech and the weather was good for a change – lots of sunshine. Hannah and I made a surprise visit to the team on Wednesday and I have to say, I was the one who was surprised. We made the trip in three hours. Its a lovely drive and I love Anglesey – if we didn’t have such awful weather we’d forget Spain etc and visit the local foreign shores of Wales and Cornwall. Anyway, back to my surprise. Alex smiling. Not only smiling but beaming. I knew she’d be good in a team and be helpful etc., but to see her up front, doing games and actions with 50 odd kids and their parents watching, not to mention passers by looking on, and enjoying it, was great for me to see. She so enjoyed her week away, sleeping on a roll up mat on a floor of a hall and making new friends of various ages. She is still buzzing from her experience and can’t wait until next year and she wants to do two weeks this time. Thanks to Karen for taking her and having her on her team for her first UBM. As for the dress code, Alex was accepted for who she is – black nail varnish ‘n’ all. It was a great team and all the members do a great job, most using their annual leave to participate in UBM – sharing the good news of Jesus with those who wanted to listen. The good news by the way is this “Jesus came to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20 v28)
During that week Morna, Barney’s sister came to stay. You can catch photos of them both jumping if you log onto Peter’s photos. She is so cute and I feel tempted to get another dog…..

We went on ‘Rug Patrol’ yesterday at Langley Mansions in Formby. Longsuffering Bob (who incidently is also kind) has travelled near and far to find the perfect rug to fill a space in front of the hearth. He’s been up and down dales, worn the leather from the sole of his shoes as he’s traipsed streets all over the North West in search of “the” rug. On a couple of occasions he thought his prayers had been answered as Julie said “yes” and they brought the rug home – only for Julie to say “no” – and back it went and so the search went on. Bob now has a well practiced look for Julie when she asks his opinion – not too keen in case she suspects he’s just had enough and will say “yes” to anything in order to end the search, but not too off putting in case, just maybe, perhaps, this could be the one which puts him out of his misery. Alas, it is not to be. At Langley Mansions in Formby yesterday, there on the floor where once a perfectly nice, warm, inviting carpet lay, was instead the more trendy, uptodate, laminate flooring and in front of the hearth a poor lifeless rug who knows its time is coming to an end but until Julie finds “the” rug the end is not in sight. In the meantime, longsuffering Bob gets on with life and tries not to think about the next impending trek around the country to find “the” rug.

We’re there for you mate!
Exam results! Well done Stuart. He got his ‘A’ level and Diploma and is off to study graphics and photography at Blackpool. Good stuff.

Alex – we await her results in eager anticipation. God willing, she will be off to college in September and living in – that means moving out (aagh!) – for four days of the week – she can’t wait.

Anyone know how to get rid of moles? We have at least one in our garden which is intent on staying put despite Peter’s best efforts to deal with it humanely and inhumanely! Help!

Spain!

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

We went, we saw and we’re back home!

First impressions of Spain – looked like Mexico and I should know as I’ve seen loads of Westerns. Our home for the week was a small villa in a residential area with a lovely beach and the Med at the bottom of the road. Loads of lovely old towns and villages to visit and a great first trip as there was a lot on offer locally. However, the Spanish don’t seem to like tourists. Between 12 noon and 6 pm everywhere is closed – no shops, no access to all the tourist attractions of the area. We have plenty of pictures of us outside buildings as we couldn’t get in. It was like visiting ghost towns. Not only that, the Spanish themselves do not go out of their way to be friendly or helpful. By 6 p.m., shops begin to open and if you wait until 8 p.m., restaurants begin to serve food and very good it is too. Personally, the only reasons to go to Spain is sun, sea and sand. In Britain we have plenty of sea and sand (we are an island afterall) but sadly we are lacking in the sun department, especially this summer. For us summer came early, Easter to be exact and nice it was too. Sadly, we thought this was the start of things to come but alas – no. We also got lots of “stares” this could be for two reasons, one we are all so white (lack of sun) and two, our two eldest children wore cut down jeans but looked like Huckleberry Finn and Max Wall respectively and perhaps they thought we were poor!

Whilst visiting a town not unlike Torquay, I saw a copy of the Daily Express with a brilliant picture of Muslim women surrounding a WPC with the slogan “British Police Go To Hell”. The reason I think this picture is brilliant is that it contrasts so well the teachings of Mohammad and Jesus. The women with their faces covered speaks so well of Islam. Whereas, the uncovered face of the very brave and professional WPC there to protect them epitomises the teachings of Jesus “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who ill-treat you.” (Luke 6:27) Wow, what radical teaching.

Once home we settled back into normal life – loads and loads of washing (thankfully, the weather was lovely and it all got dry over two days) and Alex was sick with tummy pains by Friday she had “the Stevie Crams” unfortunately, we were due at my cousin’s wedding in Durham on Saturday. Saturday came and Alex was going to ge left behind under the supervision of her aunty – we were to leave by 10:30 am at the latest, that was the plan…..instead at 12:30 we were at the hospital doctor on call centre!! Confirmation that it was just a tummy bug, albeit painful, we dashed up the motor way, well not quite dashed exactly more strolled – long delays were predicted from where we entered to the motorway right on up until our exit. We sat and 30/40 mph the whole way, all the time debating whether or not to ring and cancel. We chose to ring and let all concerned know we would be delayed and thankfully, although we did miss the actual wedding ceremony we did make it for the rest of the proceedings. My cousin Joanne looked stunning and my cousin Claire her bridesmaid looked great in emerald green (the colour she turned down in favour of pink for my wedding)!! The flower girl Emma looked beautiful and it was a proud momen for her mum and dad too. The weather was gorgeous after so much rain and the setting, Lumley Castle Hotel was perfect. It was quite an initimate and informal wedding and Joanne smiled the whole day – she and Andy make a lovely couple and I’m sure they’ll be smiling for many, many years to come.

Alex felt better after she’d thrown up in the hall of the castle you’ll be pleased to know.

We travelled home at 12:30 am and arrived home at 3:15 a.m., safe and sound and sleepy.

See pictures below.

jo_wedding.jpg

claire_wedding.jpg

Alex is off to Benllech Bay in Anglesey on Saturday for a week with United Beach Missions. She’ll be at the beach every day entertaining children who turn up for the fun and games and bible teaching. It’s her first time and already she’s having to learn to “conform” as UBM’s dress code is a bit strict and I dare say at some point in the future they’ll have to “a dress” this 🙂

Scousers rule! (City of Culture and all that…..)

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

Well you can take the ‘lady’ out of Liverpool but can you take Liverpool out of the lady? I’m talking Cherie Blair – how not to bow out gracefully – she had to have the last word and I should know – my dad used to call me “last word Kate” – I’ve always liked the name Kate!

And so onto important matters – children – all around the world children are targets. Maybe its just me but increasingly the news involves children being abducted, targeted by evil people in all sorts of evil ways – no culture can claim the moral high ground – we’re not protecting our children – from so called third world countries where parents actually sell their own children into a life of vice to li’l ol’ England – children killing children. What hope for such societies? Thank God for the release of little Margaret in Nigeria, continue to pray for little Madeleine and her safe return to her parents. Jesus is our only hope. In the ‘last days’ evil will increase. Carman sings a song “Friday’s here but Sunday’s on it’s way.” Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. Amen.

We’re all going on a summer holiday – well, hopefully, God willing, weather permitting and terrorists permitting. We’ve got to leave at 3:30 a.m. for a 6 a.m. flight from Liverpool (John Lennon) airport “Above Us Only Sky” is the slogan – if only. Hence, I’m killing time here. We’re off to Spain. I’ve never been before and I am looking forward to it especially Barcelona – I love cities – cities of culture, just like Liverpool. We’ve been practicing the language – Peter’s not too bad but surprisingly, Alex can remember a lot just from a few classes in primary school. I’m taking the phrase book – I’m quite good with the pronounciation though because a lot of words are “guttural” not unlike scouse!

My cousin is having to face a ‘Goliath’ with regards to her health at the mo’ and I just have to say her attitude and strength of character have so impressed me. She is so dignified and I am very proud of her. I know there are many having to face their ‘Goliaths’ at this time and I want you to know that you are upheld in prayer. Jesus says “Never will I leave you, never will I foresake you.” Call upon Him now.

The Taylors have been to Oz and went diving in the Great Barrier Reef – their pictures are superb – what an opportunity and what an experience – the next best thing to going yourself is knowing people who have been and who share their experience with you. (That includes breakages, Sue, if you read this).

Barney has gone on his hols too to The Ekers’ residence – thanks Ekers.

Well, just over three hours to go before I say !Hola! to Spain and for now say !Adios! to yiz all.