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  • jullietwright 2:04 pm on March 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Lent   

    29 March 2015

    Palm Sunday already; only another week to go before Easter. Since Ash Wednesday, we have been encouraged to take on more – charitable works, study groups etc – and give up certain pleasures such as throwing stones at people and chocolate. How about throwing chocolate at people, does that count? Of course, the throwing stones isn’t literal, it means making malicious and/or spiteful remarks which aim to hurt people. The other side of the coin is how we should react when stones, or even small fragments of gravel,are thrown at us.
    On the matter of giving up chocolate and other sugar-laden treats, do you know that fig rolls are permitted in Lent? We were served these at a study group in the vicarage and Fr. Paul Scott told us that they are allowed. I doubt if this is actually enshrined in Canon Law, but fig rolls are a useful standby for the times we really crave something sweet.

     
  • jullietwright 6:17 pm on February 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Rules for the care of the Domestic Short Hair 4 February 2015   

    1. On arrival, visitors must stroke The Cat’s back if it is more than three stairs above the hall floor.

    2. At least 2cm of milk is to be left in each cereal bowl after breakfast. The bowls are to be placed within easy reach of The Cat.

    3. No dried food containing vegetables of any kind is to be placed in The Cat’s feeding dishes.

    4. A new sachet of cat treats must be purchased before the old sachet is finished.

    5. Clean water must be provided before 11 pm (23.00hr).

    6. It is the responsibility of the carer to avoid stepping on a tail or other part of the feline anatomy stretched out on the stairs; not The Cat’s to remove itself.

    7. Dead prey animals are to remain untouched on the patio for at least four hours.

    8. Appropriate veterinary care must be provided 24/7 so that rat bites to the shoulder or other parts of The Cat can be treated immediately even at 9pm on a Saturday night. Staff at the facility are required to be lavish in their praise of The Cat.

    9. Sleeping arrangements are at The Cat’s discretion even where they cause inconvenience to the carers.

    10. All other cats are to be summarily ejected from The Cat’s residence, especially when attempting access through the cat flap.

    11. The Cat is not obliged to divulge where on earth it has been for the past 24 hours.

    12. A full packet of Dreamies cat treats should accompany The Cat on its visits to a cattery. The cattery should be one that includes “luxury” in its title.

     
  • jullietwright 1:08 pm on January 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: How to have a miserable January - and it's only the 10th.   

    If little green men from Mars visited us, what would they think? Christmas is obviously the time for buying cheap sofas, January is the season for diets, detoxes, exercise plans and other punishments for lounging on cheap sofas. Even in this secular age, we retain a puritan streak which could, ironically be responsible for those few extra inches on the waist. Those of us brought up during post-war austerity cannot stand waste – the last mince pie in the packet, the chocolates with the centres no one really likes, the remains of the bread sauce lurking at the back of the fridge, they would be better inside the bin than inside us but we just can’t do it. So ditch the guilt – we are the victims here.

    By the way, Stephen who runs St. Mark’s Coffee-Bingo is now recycling unwanted Christmas gifts.

     
  • jullietwright 12:54 pm on January 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Thoughts on Christmas and related topics   

    That’s Christmas over for another year and creme eggs are in the shops. Our turn to have the Crawley branch of the family for the festivities this year. Forget eating turkey into the New Year, we had to go out for fresh supplies on Boxing Day, supervised by Jem who, at nearly 10, shows all the signs of being an astute shopper. We took a jar of loose change with us and he watched with interest as the total mounted up on the machine – extra pocket money for him and his twin sister.

    On Christmas Eve, we were at St. Mark’s for the Nativity Play and Christingle. All very noisy and festive. The Christmas tree had been comprhensively decorated by the Junior Church – well, not so much decorated as smothered in glittery stuff. Kitty was a shepherd (head dress courtesy of the Internet, tea towels are so last year) and Jem one of the kings. Each had a line of dialogue and the combination of Shiremoor and West Sussex accents was an interesting one.

    The pantomime at the Tyne Theatre was Cinderella. No actual pony for the coach (boo), but great fun with much enthusiastic shouting of “behind you” and “oh, no he isn’t”, not least by Grandma who thoroughly enjoys the whole spectacle.

    We had a break from putting the house to rights (K suggested making soup from the detritus under the table) for the New Year’s Day concert at the Sage. The programme was mainly Vienna-centred but included selections from the Nutcracker, and, of course finished with the Radetzky March. Who remembers the original General? I was reminded of a concert we attended on a barge on the Danube Canal. The Radetzky march was accompanied by much clapping, banging on tables and stamping of feet as is customary. Out of the corner of my eye, i caught sight of a party of Japanese tourists their faces frozen into horrified immobility at this sudden strange behaviour by these Westerners.

    Cultures may differ but friendship is universal and Christmas is a good time to make sure our friendships are in good repair. Wishing you all the best for 2015.

     
  • jullietwright 3:18 pm on November 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: A Ladies' Guide to the Game of Ruby Union   

    17 November 2014

    My friend, Mary, has been telling me that she enjoys watching rugby (union that is, rugby league is a whole different ball game) on television but has little idea of what is going on. Here then, are a few helpful hints.

    There are two teams of fifteen players each, one referee and two touch judges who run up and down the lines at the side of the pitch and wave a flag when the ball is kicked over a line; this is known as “being kicked into touch”. There is also the crowd of varying size depending on whether the match is an international at Twickenham or one between two obscure provincial clubs. The function, however, remains the same, i.e. to shout advice and encouragement to the players and question the parentage of the referee.

    If you attend a rugby match, do not, on any account, stand directly behind the goal, as you risk being mown down by a knot of muscular young men. The aim of the game is to score a “try” by exerting downward pressure on the ball behind the goal line. This is often done with balletic grace and gives the team five points; another player then attempts to kick the ball over the bar for two more points – “a converted try”. Johnny Wilkinson was well known for converting tries when he played for Newcastle Falcons. In this way, the score sheet can build up quite quickly in a way that does not happen in football. Sometimes a player takes a direct kick at goal; this is a “drop goal” and is worth three points. One important fact to remember is that that the ball may be carried forwards but may only be passed backwards. Players who forget this give penalties to the other side. Serious breaches of the laws may result in a trip to the “sin bin” for a few minutes – the grown-up version of the naughty step.

    Sometimes, players form themselves into a heap to resolve whose turn it is to play the ball. This means that a rugby team is very muddy by the end of the match, except for the full-back who does not get involved in such things. A more organised way of settling disputes is called a “scrum”. Only the forwards, numbers one to eight, take part in the scrum and the participants are big – really big. The players lock themselves together and push in an attempt to to gain possession of the ball which has been thrown into the space between the teams by a number nine or scrum half. In cold weather, steam can be seen rising from the scrum, a combination of body heat and passion for the game. The front row, the props and hooker, are often very adept at concealing from the referee what is happening to the ball once it enters the scrum. If the ball has been kicked into touch, a “line out” will take place at the spot where the ball went over the line. A nomber of players line up facing one of the hookers (number two) who calls out an obscure code and then throws the ball at the lines. One member from each side is lifted into the air (again like ballet but less graceful) in an attempt to take possession of the ball.

    A rugby match lasts 80 minutes and if there is, for example, an injury the clock is stopped so there is no extra time added on. However, the match does not end until the ball is out of play – over the try line or the touch line. In theory the match could go on for hours, but by that time, the players are thinking of a hot shower and a cool pint of beer so they tend not to hang around.

    Well, Mary, I hope this helps you and other ladies who have been puzzled by the goings-on on the rugby pitch. It’s a great game, a wonderful spectator sport.

     
  • jullietwright 3:13 pm on October 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: On attending a Speed Awareness Course   

    26 October 2014

    There is a road in Cramlington; a stretch of straight dual-carriageway between the shops at Manor Walks and Cramlington Learning Village. Beware that stretch of road, ye motorists, it is a trap for the unwary, it has a 30 mph speed limit. So it was that a letter came through the post giving me the choice of a £60 fine with three points on my licence, attending a Speed Awareness course or appealing to Bedlington Magistrates’ Court about unfair treatment. The last wasn’t an option – an ex-colleague sits as a magistrate at said court and I don’t know which of us would be more embarrassed if I appeared before her. The points would bump up my insurance, so £84 and the course it was. An attempted whinge to lawyer son about only doing 35 mph in my ancient Micra had no effect – if I broke the law, I must face the consequences (and after all the sacrifices a mother makes …..).

    I took the last vacancy, and, on a balmy Tuesday evening, duly presented myself at an anonymous building near Annitsford. Identities were checked and the group, all of whom looked completely law-abiding, were directed upstairs and introduced to our course leader who was the personification of a retired policeman. His first word did not endear himself – he was pleased to be taking the evening course and the afternoon ones were full of OAPs – thanks a bunch! However, things looked up after that and I learned a lot. Did you know that the 20 mph limit on estates etc is unenforceable? Not that that is an excuse for doing 50 mph sending old ladies and small children running in terror for the pavement. I also failed the observation of hazzards as I recognized the film as being shot near where my stepdaughter lives in Ascot and was interested in identifying the shops, especially one where I bought some Chardonnay which tasted like battery acid – but that’s another story.

    Altogether, it was time well spent and it is amazing how many of my friends have admitted to attending similar courses, including a former vicar of St. Mark’s – since you ask, he did not wear his clerical collar for the occasion. I am also able to identify cars on that stretch of road; their drivers are all doing 28 mph in the inside lane, especially when the white van is sitting on the central grassy area.

     
  • jullietwright 2:47 pm on October 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: On being editor of the church magazine   

    22 October 2014

    It’s time to produce another magazine. I’ve been doing this since 1983 when the then vicar of St. Mark’s, Shiremoor, Fr. (later Bishop) Nigel Stock, conned me into becoming editor. At the time, the magazine was called ‘The Marksman’ which confused some people as they thought it was about archery and a few of the peace brigade objected to references to weapons. Now it is ‘The St. Mark’s Messenger’

    Thank the Lord for modern technology! No more calling at the vicarage for the electric typewriter and transporting the pages to whoever was transcribing them that month and then having to paste the whole thing up for photocopying. God bless the computer, Publisher, Clipart and Email. I have had various assistants over the years; some of whom thought the whole thing would collapse when they left but it is just me now.

    About 80 people pay a subscription of £5 per year for 10 editions – a bargain if every I saw one. The key principle is not to include too much religion and to include as many photographs of church events as appropriate. People like to view photos of themselves. As a retired teacher, I often include a couple of educational pages – this month it is the Stasi – a sinister bunch if there ever was one. Humour is essential, and I have loyal group who send me articles they have found on the Internet, but the most monthly popular item is by our astrologer-in-residence, Madame Cholet, who joined the team in 2000. She makes a prediction for that month’s astrological sign and her friend, the Pythia of Delphi, has acted as occasional agony aunt. Next month, she will be reminding readers to buy their tin of salmon in time for Christmas. It is essential to have a tin of pink salmon in the cupboard in case unexpected visitors call over the festive season and there is nothing to offer them to eat.

     
  • jullietwright 2:26 pm on October 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    20 October 2014

    On North Tyneside’s building plans, Murton Village lies in the centre of a sea of blancmange pink. I have lived in the village for over 40 years and hope we are not going to be linked up with Shiremoor, New York or West Monkseaton. Apparently one of the fields shows evidence of medieval farming so that should be safe anyway. Our little community at the top of the village feels the same as I do; we were young mothers together and have grown old(er) together, most of us are grandmas now and a few of the original group are no longer with us. We miss them.

    About me. I have borrowed my blog name from one of my cats because I can’t stand mine. It is Greek but apparently even the Greeks don’t use it any more – very sensible of them. If asked to give a succinct description of my character, I can do no better than borrow the comment from Edie in ‘Last of the Summer Wine’s’ about Foggy Dewhurst’s mother – “a woman of a nervous disposition but a great believer in flannelette.’ That will do for now.

     
  • jullietwright 12:22 pm on October 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Sunday 

    Today Ken came to help me set up a blog

     
  • jullietwright 11:59 am on October 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    19 October 2014 

    Today is Sunny and we are going to the village pub for lunch

     
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