Well here I am again after a long gap – what’s new? We just had two lovely weeks in Austria, though The Grouch was ill the first week in Vienna because it was too hot, and Genius Brat was ill the second week in the mountains because he caught a cold. At least I had a good time! (actually so did they really when they weren’t being ill).
Funniest moment of the holiday, to match the menu on our last trip that offered ‘Tart of the House’, was the English menu which declared that its Carinthian cheese noodles (which are not actually noodles but a sort of giant ravioli) were filled with ‘cheese, mint and pot’. I think they meant potatoes… I was also amused by the toilet paper dispenser (with no toilet paper) that announced its name as ‘Triple Willy’. Nasty condition, that…
Nothing broadens the mind like foreign travel, though you should always ask for the English menu which is guaranteed to give you a laugh.
Meanwhile, we finally got some tuition in Maths and Physics for Genius Brat, just two weeks before we went away! I have asked for the rest of the 40 hours tuition we were offered to be delivered in the holidays, since we had waited six months and had to book our holiday without knowing tuition would be offered, but the borough has refused since it is their policy not to give tuition in holidays. However the lovely tutor has offered to come in this week (which brings us up to about half of our offered tuition time) and to see if he can do anything after that – but not next week as GB is going away again to gifted camp! (just like that humorous card – you know, the one where the extremely intelligent child is pushing on a door marked PULL).
The master (or mistress) plan for the next month or so is for me to spend the mornings working on some writing ideas and the afternoons doing clutter clearance. It remains to be seen how much of this actually gets done. A lot depends on the weather, as if we suddenly get an unexpected summer it may be too hot to waltz around clearing cupboards. OTOH I am booking some nice central London events which will only benefit from warm weather – including a rare opportunity to go up the BT tower (which I remember going up decades ago before it closed), and lots of lovely retro events at the Festival Hall, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain, an event I would have liked to be at if I had not been aged minus two at the time.
What to say? The funeral went well, with nearly 100 people there, but I think we are all still recovering (especially The Grouch who had to plan the whole thing). Since then we have had our last church lunch at the London Mennonite Centre before it closes, which was painful; I have preached again on Bible characters facing change (Lot and Hagar this time); I have had several downs but always managed to get up again (cue Chumbawamba…); we have failed to procure home tuition for Genius Brat but we have got local authority transport to get him to school, which is a great relief as otherwise it would be two buses and two walks. And we have managed to get him at least twice a week to his voluntary work by dint of paying him for it (he is saving up for a new computer since his last one exploded, projecting ball bearings everywhere).
My sleep has been all over the place but this is largely due to my being a dirty stopout – I had three interesting musical experiences in as many weeks:
First was an Elvis impersonator who was quite good but very loud – we left at the interval. I’m not into Elvis anyway but it was a fundraiser for the local autism group and I thought I’d see people I knew there, which I didn’t (the audience seemed to be entirely made up of the Elvis impersonator’s fans, all women of a certain age…)
Second up was an evening listening to Botown, a group who do ‘Bollywood soul’ and who are mates of my Pakistani friend’s husband. Bollywood soul seems to consist of a soul-style backing with lots of brass, and Bollywood style Indian singing on top. Actually it was a surprisingly fun evening, though I was in a very small white minority in the audience! And it was too loud as well, though not as loud as Elvis.
Third (and best) was the opening night of the Meltdown Festival at the South Bank, this year curated by Ray Davies (he of the Kinks and the lovely legs). So of course it had to open with Ray and his current band doing all the old Kinks singles (and fining himself 5p for charity every time he said ‘Kinks’). Also too loud, but fabulous fun especially as he encouraged us all to sing along (which also happened at the Botown gig but I couldn’t oblige as all the songs were in some Indian language). Of course I knew all the words…
Why do all these events have to be so loud? They are all attended by a distinctly middle aged audience, and I doubt if any of them want it so loud. The music is so much better when you don’t have to stick your fingers in your ears… My friend had £150 ear defenders – I think if I continue to relive my youth at this rate, I will need some too.
This will be long. Just warning you.
1. Good news
1.1 I got the electronic version and the typescript of the book off to the editor. No response yet, but no news is good news.
1.2 Genius Brat went off to stay with his little friend and friend’s mum in Devon, and then they all went off to Centre Parcs (but not before Genius Brat had been picked up by an 11 year old girl in the park, which had been duly discouraged).
1.3 This meant The Grouch and I could go off for five clean days in Brighton, after I had led worship on the Sunday (which stopped us going for a whole week as soon as Genius Brat had gone).
1.4 All of us had a good time on our respective holidays.
1.5 Best news of all: we arrived back to find an email telling us Genius Brat has been awarded a place in the autistic spectrum unit at a mainstream school, which we had asked for. This is really a miracle, as they were only creating two 6th form places in the unit and there were already at least two other kids interested.
1.6 We had a very busy but good weekend: me at a book launch on Sat, with the couple from the US who founded our congregation (sadly not ‘funded our congregation’ as I typed first…!). Sunday, a church lunch, also with this couple, then a lovely service, then a question and answer session with aforementioned couple, who are very important to our church’s history. Then a party to celebrate 40 years of one very special lady’s history with the Mennonite Centre and the church. And lots of people from the church’s past attending one or more of these events.
1.7 I’m on Premier Radio on Friday morning, and speaking at Christian Resources Exhibition on 11th May, both about my depression book (Crying for the Light), of which I have discovered the publishers still have 500 copies so it’s still worth plugging it.
1.8 We have another busy weekend ahead, with a church awayday on Saturday and a civil partnership celebration on Sunday.
2. Not such good news
2.1 We weren’t sure till the last minute whether the special lady could come out of hospital to attend the party, as she is dying of cancer. The good news is that she was able to come and take part fully, and that we were able to sit round her and share memories of her, and tell her nice things about herself while she was still with us.
2.2 She has moved to a hospice today, and we don’t think we’ll have her for much longer. And her husband and 20 year old daughter, both much beloved of our church, both died of cancer within the last 8 years. As you can guess, our party with her was very emotionally moving.
2.3 Much less importantly, I weighed myself after coming back from Brighton, and I weigh as much as I did when 9 months pregnant. Time to engage in some Lenten discipline, methinks.
So today I revised Chapter 10, did a little tweaking on chapters 8 and 9, and wrote an intro which is much shorter and snappier than the original intro. Then I wrote a note on my attempt to use inclusive language. All I have to do now is one more whizz through for typos, missing bits and style errors, then print out a paper copy, change the electronic version into a Word file my editor can read, and send both off flying through the postal service and the ether* respectively, to meet their fate. All of which I will do tomorrow between seeing the osteopath and seeing the therapist.
After today’s efforts were finished and I’d had lunch, I went out for a walk and completely unexpectedly, at the end of my road, met someone I used to be, or thought I was, in love with. And discovered that I am not in love with him any more, and possibly never was. Which for some inexplicable reason made me feel very sad.
*All right, I did watch the second part of Everything and Nothing with Jim Al-Khalili last night, and I do know the ether doesn’t really exist. It’s a metaphor, OK…!
… the Bluetooth adapter. Which my son spent quite some time looking for this afternoon, disturbing my attempt to complete revising chapter 8 and get to my belated coffee break (I got up late). For behold, the Bluetooth adapter was very small, and in my son’s room there are many things… And lo, he found it, and we both rejoiced, and then I finished editing chapter 8 and took a long coffee break. And then I edited chapter 9, and tomorrow I will edit chapter 10 (or possibly delete it entirely) and write an intro, so that I can send off the book to meet the deadline of Thursday. It’s almost time to say, Rejoice with me!
The big news of the last couple of weeks is that I decided I had finished Chapter Ten as far as it is possible to finish it at the mo, and have declared the first draft of the book DONE! I am now stuck into revising it all for sending in next week. Had a good bash at Chapter Three today, and decided some of it belonged elsewhere, but that there was a whole new section I wanted to write. This is all very encouraging and rewarding, but I worked so intensely on it this morning that I have done virtually nothing useful this afternoon except go for a walk and have a nap. Remaining hours were used up listening to the Beatles and playing patience games on the computer. Redeem the time….!
Today was our ‘cancel church and visit someone else’s church’ Sunday which we have periodically. On the long drive to the church we wanted to visit, we passed ‘Our Lady’s Convent Church’ only unfortunately I initially read it as ‘Our Lady’s Corset Church’ which sounds highly dubious…! Then in our worship sheet instead of thanking God for ‘the redemption which is ours in Jesus’, it invited us to thank God for ‘the redemption which is our sin Jesus’. Oops…I think they need a better proofreader. In all other respects it was a lovely church, though nearly everyone was away for half term and we visitors made up almost half the congregation (it’s like that at our place sometimes too). And they stayed around afterwards for at least an hour drinking tea and chatting, just like we do… The music was led by a rock mandolinist which was refreshingly different. Hope they will come and visit us sometime in return.
Well, here I am again, and whaddyaknow, I haven’t blogged for three weeks. No idea what’s been happening, except that it was more stuff that happens.
Actually, I do have a few ideas. Genius Brat, the Grouch and I paid a visit (my second but their first) to a possible new sixth form for GB, in a school which has a unit for kids on the autistic spectrum and which is just about to take the first sixth formers in the unit. As well as being about to have a fantastic new sixth form building built, supposedly by June although at the moment it’s a car park with no signs of building. We all loved the place – the downside is that they only have two places in the unit on offer and there are already at least two kids interested. I’ve alerted the local authority to our desire for him to go there, and the admissions panel meets on March 15th. We need a miracle – please! By the way the unit is headed by a lovely woman who knew GB when he was little, as her son was in Montessori with him. It all comes around… he got his statement of special needs in the first place because the head of the borough’s autism team had a kid in Montessori with him. I’m afraid it’s not what you know, it’s who… (or should I be correct and say ‘whom’?)
What else? I did some more, rather sporadic, work on the book – now almost finished Chapter 8 of a possible nine or ten. I continued to visit the ‘just right’ therapist and more or less keep up with the homework she gives me. It does seem to be helping, although I have had a few dips – but overall, this is the longest that I’ve felt mostly well, for ages. And last weekend I went on retreat to the gorgeous seventeenth century house with the lake and the great library and and fabulous desserts. While I was there I think I really made a breakthrough on some things that have been bothering me a long time. They may well come up and bother me again, but I think I know what to say to them next time. Must go back there again soon, I failed to finish a good novel from their library and I want to finish it before I forget what it was all about!
Other updates: my mother is well and up to her old tricks of trying to run my life; hubby and I have decided to have a monthly date; kid is volunteering every day this week which is a big improvement on his playing computer games all day. Hope I can get him to continue after the end of the week. And I need to book a holiday. Don’t let me forget, will you?
Rejoice with me, for I have re-started work on my book! And I am pleased with what I have written (around a thousand words of Chapter 7). If I remembered how satisfying writing can be, would I get round to it more often?
OK, so I pretty much wasted the rest of the day. But at least I’ve made a start… Looking forward to doing more tomorrow.
Today after nearly a fortnight’s break, I managed to get down to my book again (this was at the cost of not going to the afternoon showing of a film I wanted to see at our local arthouse, but hey, I have to work sometime….). Chapter 6 of draft 1 is now finished! Woo hoo!