Showing posts from October, 2017

Do I make myself clear?

  One of my favourite radio programmes growing up was My Word!  The chairman of the panel game introduced the teams each week with the phrase ‘whose business is words’. I wondered how they had managed to make   words  their business. I wanted to do the same. Not having a television I sometimes had spare time in the evening. One of the ways I filled it was by doing a sort of treasure hunt through a dictionary. If I didn’t know the meaning of a word in the definition of another word, I’d look that up, and the next. I still turn to a book rather than an on-line dictionary (and some of my friends ask me the meaning of words!) The English language has many words, which are made to serve in more than one capacity. I was reminded of this recently when a newsreader on the radio said the police are calling it, 'a shed-load of…' …I think someone was picturing a wooden out-building full of whatever it was. I realised that the police had been describing the load the lorry ha


Looking for information? What do you use? Google no doubt. How would you like to go direct to the source? I may just have the blog for you in that case as I'm going to list a few sites that give some interesting, useful and occasionally downright silly information. 1. The British Library Access their online catalogue, the newspaper archive, and lots more besides, including some books dating back to the time of Jesus Christ. The site also let's you know what exhibitions they have coming up. 2. Improbable Research Looking to see what the cutting edge of science is doing? Look no further. On this site you can find out what the latest strange research is. Are chocolate and tea better than flouride for our teeth? Can you train crows to pick up and collect dog ends? This is also the site that awards the ignobels every year. In short, research that makes you go 'ungh?', then makes you think. 3. The National Archives Wills, military records, the domesday book, pa

Bring Me Sunshine

This title, as well as linking nicely to the recent ACW comedy writing competition, may recall happy memories of Morecambe and Wise for several of you. My favourite sketch of arguably Britain’s best comedy double act is from the 1971 Christmas Show featuring Mr “Andre Preview” and the “boys from the band” (better known as world famous conductor, Andre Previn and the BBC Orchestra. Even now when Previn is in London, he is still greeted as Mr Preview.).  For anyone who hasn’t seen this, please look it up on YouTube. I think it’s the funniest thing ever seen on television. Morecambe and Wise used theatrical curtains as part of their TV shows.  Image via Pixabay. So what has this got to do with ACW?  I asked myself what it was I loved about M&W and this sketch especially.  Firstly, their timing and delivery were spot on.  Morecambe and Wise had their timing spot on - always.  Image via Pixabay Secondly, they were noted for their professionalism with continual rehearsals (

Pilgrimage to Iona by Trevor Thorn.

The interpretative board in the Abbey  grounfdsreferred to below My wife is bolder than me! At a reunion of a retreat weekend, Iona was mentioned, and our long history of visits with groups ‘emerged’.   One of the group suggested that we should all go, and our week on Iona was ‘born’. As it happens, only 3 of that original group were able to come, so Pam made it known through her Facebook page that the week was happening. In the event, 18 months later, twenty one of us set out by various routes to the island at the end of September. Pam was the only person who knew everyone in the group and I had considerable anxiety that would place more responsibility on Pam than ideal if we, too, wanted some quiet time during our week on the island. I need not have worried. The group members all arrived, delighted to be part of a ‘new’ community and the welcome at Bishops House, the retreat centre, added significantly to our collective pleasure at arriving, although that was not wi

Deep Motivation, by Lucy Mills

Writers have a common denominator – we write. (At least, we hope so!) But the way we write, the hows and the whens, can vary greatly. There will be many of us who, on getting together, find ourselves in understanding company – where we keep saying, ‘Really? You too? That makes me feel so much better!’ But equally we can come across those who make us feel somewhat ‘lesser’, or a little bit odd, perhaps not a ‘proper’ writer because we don’t do things a certain way. Writer, know thyself. ( And by the way, thyself is allowed to be different from that lot over there.) One writer, chatting to me at the recent ACW writers’ day, expressed her anxiety over those who implied that there is a ‘best way of doing things’ – a ‘right way to write’, as it were – those who swear by writing a certain amount each day, keeping to a very specific routine. I said to her, as I have come to believe – we are all different; we all work in different ways; what releases one into productivity can impr

The busy mum's prayer time, by Fiona Lloyd

For anyone who has ever felt distracted while trying to pray . . . Hello God, it’s me. Well – obviously, you know it’s me, but I confess I’ve been a bit busy recently, so I thought I ought to check in with you again. So: here I am. You have my full attention – well, for the next quarter of an hour or so, anyway. If I don’t get this card in the post tonight, it won’t get there in time for Aunt Maud’s birthday, and we all know what she’s like when she’s in a bad mood. Actually . . . why is she so grumpy? I feel like she still hasn’t forgiven me for the time I accidentally trod mud into her new carpet 15 years ago. At this rate, her grudge will outlast the carpet. Sorry, not a good start. What’s that thing the psalmist says about entering your courts with thanksgiving? Clearly, you’ve given me lots of things to be grateful for, so here we go: Thank you for loving me: that’s an easy one. No, no, that sounds big-headed. What I

Hidden Stories 3—Moth and Rust

I’m fascinated by the way the teaching of James’s Letter can be brought to life when the story hidden within it is brought out. Here’s a third story about Sophron, based on part of chapters 4 and 5. Sophron, the assistant pastor at the breakaway Jerusalem synagogue—one of those where they worship Mashiach Yeshua—is on his way to the market. He has decided to make a surprise visit to the modest business he owns there to see that everything is in order. As he turns down the street where the shop is, he notices a couple of men standing together just across the road. Nothing unusual about that, except that they are exceptionally well dressed, and as one of them lifts his arm to make a point, Sophron catches the flash of several rings on his hand. With a surge of pleasure, Sophron recognizes him: the man who came to prayers in the synagogue a couple of weeks back, whom he placed in one of the best seats. Sophron was unable to speak to him then, because he was grabbed by Elder Yakob and

Butterfly wings and big jumpers

The other day I was surfing aimlessly - I mean, writing something profound - and I was distracted  by a ping from my inbox. As every writer knows, a ping from the inbox requires immediate attention, so I answered the call. It was an alert to say that there had been a message from the child we sponsor in Uganda. His name is Brian, he's ten years old and he likes football and animals. He's doing well in school, and passed his exam last year. He wants to be 'an army man' when he leaves school. Or maybe a doctor.  I don't write to Brian anywhere near as often as I should. For someone who likes words and uses more than her fair share most days, I don't give enough to my little boy over the sea.  Today I sent him a card since it's his birthday in November. I sent it early as it takes a while for everything to be translated and sent over to Africa to find him in the tiny one-room mud and corrugated iron hut that he shares with his mother and grandmoth

Not Mutually Exclusive by Emily Owen

I came to write this blog and my mind was an absolute blank. Sometimes I can chivvy it out of blankness, but not today. So I did all the usual distraction things; make a cup of tea, check my emails, read the paper, make another cup of tea, have a look on Facebook.   The tea was very tea-like, the emails stimulating, the paper interesting, and Facebook?   Facebook had a memory for me. Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote my first blog for ACW: I wrote about my goddaughter’s spelling mistakes in a card she sent me.   I know; how mean is that. The memory popping up on Facebook prompted me to have another look at the card (more distraction?!) and I realised that, in pointing out the mistakes on the inside, I’d bypassed the front. She was saying “I love you” and yet I’d chosen to focus on the mistake inside.   How often do we do similarly with God?   As we look at our lives, our work, our writing (in m