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Saturday, 30 July 2011


yesterday was the start of a few days off.  i went to a gallery with a friend.  it was a week of new things...

start of the new week

drinks in a new gastro pub that has opened locally (will post more on this another time)

new warhol exhibition at the lowry, salford

i love the building...

and across the canal, the new bbc north studios, media city.


Saturday, 23 July 2011

Beautiful children

These are some of the images from Thailand- the houses in the mountain villages, the orphanage and the beautiful children with their amazing smiles......


Friday, 22 July 2011

best laid plans

plan for this morning; jump in the car, head to wales.  last night; my car made other plans. the garage turned it around.  plans were already re-arranged.  so today brought a different plan.  breakfast out. an hour in the park with a niece.  flowers. i bought them for mum.  now they adorn my lounge.


Sunday, 17 July 2011

can we talk about the weather?

seriously.  it's summer.  so what's with all this rain?  i know manchester is renowned for the stuff. but. it's. july.  this looks like it could be february.  or march.  but this is today. and yesterday.  and if weather reports are to be believed; tomorrow.  and tuesday.

buck up summer.  come back and play.  we're ready.


Thursday, 14 July 2011

early evening sun

i arrived home from work today with a head full of jobs that needed to be done.  

but really.  did they really? 

it's forecast rain at the weekend.  i can do them then.


Good times

Tonight we had all the children from the really poor orphanage over. We took them swimming, and then they came back for tea. Today was about making children happy. We had borrowed costumes for them, and when the children all arrived they dived in to choose one they liked. We took the girls to the changing rooms and they were all shy about wearing costumes, and came out with their costumes over their tshirts and leggings. When we had explained (with no English) how to wear a costume they all ran into the pool and were so excited.
Afterwards they came back for tea and we showed them how to make sandwiches. They put jam, ham, tuna, cheese and salad all on one sandwich! The best was when we gave them ice creams, some children came back for at least three more!
Today was about seeing how homes can be opened to the poor, how simple things of swimming and tea can mean so much.
The hardest part was saying goodbye, as we probably won't see them again before we go home. I will miss their smiles.



Well after all the hard work of the last few days I have a couple of hours of space. If I had to say what days are for, space would probably not be top of my list. I'm not very good at it, it's much easier to fill your life with lots of stuff than have time with nothing.
So, reflecting over the last few days the lasting image is of the orphanage we went to on Tuesday, where the children had so little, lived in such poor conditions, and were so lovely. Their laughter and enjoyment whilst playing with balloons was just the best.
So has this trip taught me stuff? It has stretched me, and I have done things I never thought possible. I have been alongside people and observed the different ways people live. I have realised how small my faith is and how my relationship with God needs so much more work. Maybe that's why space is important so there is time for these things.


Wednesday, 13 July 2011


as i have been feeling under the weather i have decided this week i need to hydrate more than i usually do.  well i say more than i usually do, when really usually is not really at all.  i know i'm meant to drink lots of water it's just that after a while i get a little bit bored and would much rather opt for a glass of something with bubbles. in an attempt to keep myself on track I have opted to make up a small jug of water and drink it out of a wine glass.  like my logic?  add to that the fact that i am using not only sparkling water but elderflower cordial too (sound familiar?) and i am heading towards drinking nothing but water all day...

and with an evening of receding sunshine but blue skies and fluffy clouds who can blame me.


Monday, 11 July 2011

weekend snapshot


Mountain villages

Well in the last two days I have done things I would never have thought I would do. We went to a mountain village yesterday morning to help lead a church service. It was a very poor village, the houses are on stilts and the people have nothing. It was a small church, but thru all wanted to be there. Afterwards we had lunch with the whole village. The toilet was in a bamboo hut, with a soil floor.
In the afternoon we went to another mountain village, and Jill sent up an impromptu medical clinic. Loads of villagers came who would normally never see a doctor. We handed out medicine and prayed for the people. There was a very ill baby who may not survive. In the evening we did another service, and slept in the houses of the mountan villagers. They have no toilets apart from those at the church, to wash you had to use a bucket from water in the hole in a ground. The houses have no beds, nothing we would expect. But they are still so generous, they gave Ellie a pillow when she had none, one of their children did without. All the kids are dirty, have holes in their clothes and beautiful smiles. I have never felt so dirty or humble.
Today was hard as we were tired, but did go elephant riding! The contrast is surreal.


Saturday, 9 July 2011

First impressions

Well, here I am finally in Thailand. After all that waiting, completing of lists and preparation we are here. It feels very real but unbelievable at the same time. So impressions so far; it is so hot, I had forgotten how warm heat can be, the kind that makes you feel really sticky and sweaty. The place where we are staying most of the time is amazing, very western and nothing hard about it. However, today is the easy ride as tomorrow we go and stay in the mountain villages. Today has been an easy introduction, we went to a country park and swam in the river. The kind that in the uk you'd probably go it doesn't look very clean, here you just think it's cool! There are lots of little street stalls, and we have met some other families who are living out here. Everyone is very real, no edge.
So first day it is good,and it is easy. Today was for settling in, spending time with friends and making new ones. Tomorrow is when I need to be brave.


Wednesday, 6 July 2011

it's about perspective

this is where I sit in my garden.

i sat here to read the papers on sunday.  i had a cushion, i put up the parasol. sunday was a beautiful sunny day. i sat here on monday night with grant.  we sat out until it was dark.  here in the north that was until nearly 11pm. i know, crazy. these long summer evenings are my favourite.  these are what i long for in the dead of winter.  not the kind of snow on the ground winter but the rain all day and all night winter when going out isn't crisp, it's dank, damp and annoying.  i sat here last night.  i talked to a friend for nearly an hour.  there was no cushion involved that time.  there was humidity with a little wind.  the kind of pleasant warm wind that cools you just enough but not too much so you have to reach for a cardi.  

this is my view.

these are my veggies.  this year i'm on tomatoes in a big way. five of them. strawberries too.  last years plant is looking sorry for itself but this years is growing quickly and already has four feeder plants growing from it.  my peas are a disaster. the snails and caterpillars have got them.  beyond repair.  my courgette is healthy with so many shoots and flowers coming i am excited.  this year i am trying to grow butternut squash.  it's coming but compared to the courgette it's slow.  i need patience.  i water.  i feed.  i talk to them.  slowly they will come.  these green leaves will turn into flowers and from them fruit.  they have been happily growing for a couple of months now.  we've had too much rain and not enough sun but that is coming and growth will be put on and progress made.

i have a lovely neighbour who tells me you can't stay on top of your garden when you are working full time.  i am sure this is her way of trying to make me feel better about how overgrown my garden is.  

when i was on the phone last night i got up and wandered around.  now i could tell you i looked at how dirty and green my deck is.  i could tell you i wondered if i should just scatter wild flower seeds and properly let my overgrown boarder come into it's own.  or i could tell you it's all about perspective.

i looked at my veggies from the other side.

i have no idea why i have got two months down the line until i've done this.  but there it is.  my first tomato.  and look at it. (you know that if you click on the photo it goes to the bigger picture, don't you?)  it's not a tiny i've just arrived tomato.  it's a tomato that has been growing underneath all the big green leaves for weeks now. how could i not have noticed it?  what on earth have i been looking at?  there it was.  getting on with the business of growing all by itself.  in fact we all get on with the business of growing all by ourselves come to think of it.  but that movement, that change of perspective, caused me to shriek down the phone. caused me to beam.  caused me to stop and realise that you can get caught up just looking at things from one point of view.  your own.  if you don't move around you don't get the benefit.  you don't get the full picture.  just around the corner, on the other side could be the most wonderful new thing.  it brought into sharp focus we are not meant to sit still.  move your perspective and wonderful experiences occur.


Sunday, 3 July 2011


Well... in 4 days time (not counting the rest of to-day) I'm off to Thailand, to join up with 10 other people who went on Friday.
To-day has been about waiting....after all the build up to everyone going it has felt very strange to think that the rest of the group are already in Thailand.
These few days are also about preparation...doing all those lists of things like canceling the papers, paying the milk bill, and getting suncream. However, it feels like the gap between...a waiting time.....and with that comes unease and a not being sure how to spend your time. The sense of delayed expectancy, of saying goodbye to friends you won't see for a while, knowing there will be new stories to tell when you next meet.
So, will post again before I go, but for now am going to go and do another thing on my list....and then I will deserve that glass of wine:)