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.
Yesterday was a good day. I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but it really is extraordinary how when I am depressed I honestly believe that I will never feel better and never have done, and once I am better I begin to believe that I will now be better for ever, and even that the depressed time wasn’t really that bad. How we deceive ourselves…
The good things about yesterday were a) a morning reading a crime novel set in Vienna before the First World War, in which the amateur detective is a young Jewish psychiatrist who does psychological profiling before its time; b) a really lovely service in the afternoon in which my son was interviewed, along with his best friend, about their experience of school and what they would like us to pray about as they start a new school year (and I also got to speak German to some visitors); c) an impromptu party in the lovely huge garden of the Mennonite Centre, with margaritas, nibbles and old friends visiting from Canada.
Today was good too: I had to go to Bristol for the day to be part of a group brainstorming about a possible book on gender issues. The train journey was very relaxed (I’d booked a seat) and I managed to read the whole of the Guardian Weekly for a change, as well as enjoying the scenery outside; and then the discussion was very stimulating and encouraging.
In my travels I saw a notice in a rail siding that said, among other things, ‘Nose End Wash’. I found myself speculating on what kind of village or town Nose End Wash might be, and who would live there. It would be somewhere in the Fens, I think…
This is not to show you how spiritual I am, but I spent the weekend at an Advent retreat. Actually the retreat house is ten minutes’ walk from my house, but I stayed overnight because that’s the only way to get away from plaintive cries of ‘Mum’ at night. Also it happened to coincide with the Mennonite Christmas party, and as the retreat was half way between my house and the Mennonite Centre, I skived off the retreat on Saturday afternoon to go to the party.
Mennonite Christmas parties include nice easy crafts like cutting out snowflakes, sticking cloves in oranges and stringing popcorn (cooked) and cranberries (raw) together to make garlands, as well as lots of carol singing. Advent retreats include long periods of quiet, a few thoughtful reflections and a large quantity of good food (the building is also an international hostel full of students who eat a lot). At this one there was also a concurrent retreat of folk who had been turned down for Methodist ordination training. I actually didn’t know this until the end – well obviously I knew there was another group but I didn’t know what they had in common. Anyway during the communion service yesterday which the two groups shared, I had an extraordinary feeling that the man next to me was called to ministry. When I later discovered he’d just been turned down for training, I had to tell him about it. It was deeply embarrassing as I am not a person who normally has ‘words from the Lord’ all the time. But I hope it encouraged him.
Right, nails have been painted purple. All I have to do now is find black lace-up boots (hope I didn’t throw them out), don black skirt and purple Victorian-style top, black dangly earrings, bracelet, necklace and ring, cover face with v. pale powder, do purple eyeshadow, black eyeliner, black mascara, and finally put on and adjust long black wig.
I am going to a costume party tonight. I am going to be a somewhat middle-aged Goth. Will have to go without glasses as the look just doesn’t work with them (can you be a Goth with glasses?), so I shall probably be a myopic astigmatic Goth as well. Son is a skeleton and The Grouch will wear a Frankenstein mask. It’ll have to do.
I got the black wig at the fancy dress shop for £6 – haven’t opened it yet so I don’t know how good it is but I wasn’t prepared to pay £17.50 for a superior one which would require one being a Goth more regularly to make it worth while.
Also got some lovely earrings and a scarf, neither of which are black, from the vintage clothes shop nearby. Before that I had a lovely lunch with one friend in a very comfortable pub with sofas, and afterwards I had an equally lovely tea at the London Mennonite Centre with the lady who had been my ‘auntie’ at college, detailed to look after me when I was a fresher 35 years ago, and whom I haven’t seen for 21 years. She has no right to look so young, but she said I did as well, so that’s OK. Note to self: find some other words to replace ‘lovely’…
…of having a light box next to my desk, if I never remember to switch it on? Several days of glorious weather have seen me not bothering with it because I was getting enough light anyway, but today is grey and gloomy, and I definitely need that boost of artificial sunlight to help me through the SAD season. So that’s my excuse for sitting here instead of doing all sorts of useful stuff.
Why then have I spent all these sunny days indoors and now, the one day when I’m going out to see friends, the sun has hidden itself? Once again, a failure to ‘carpe diem’.
Oh well, one of my objectives today, as well as having lunch with a new friend and tea with an old one, is to get to the fancy dress hire shop and get myself a long black wig in order to be a Goth at a costume (not Halloween, please note, but costume) party next Wednesday. Which will be fun. My own hair is short and blonde (with a little help) so that wouldn’t exactly work. Now where are those black laced boots from last winter? I do hope I haven’t thrown them out. And then I have to devise costumes for son and hubby – it’s a hard life being a mother.