Friday, 27 March 2009

New toys

Hello friends

I have a new car and I am soooo excited.

It's black, it's only a year old, it goes quite fast (but always within the speed limit!) and I love it. I will take a picture and post it soon but I needed to share the news immediately.

Am slightly concerned that I am becoming a bit materialistic but I know I will use it for all sorts of selfless things such as giving people lifts, driving to missions etc...

Oh I can't wait until lunchtime, just to go for a little tootle again...

love The Petrolhead

Monday, 23 March 2009

We won, we won!

I am just back from a weekend in London, although that is slightly misleading because I only went to London in order to get a train to Cardiff because we had tickets for THE match! Oh yes my friends, we were there at the Millennium Stadium for the 6 Nations Rugby 2009 showdown. If you don't know anything about rugby then you are seriously missing out but it's too complicated for me to explain (it's a little like American football without wearing all the protective gear). Anyway every year, the national teams from Ireland, Italy, England, France, Wales & Scotland play in the 6 Nations competition (it was 5 nations until 10 years ago when Italy joined in the fun). I follow it religiously!

Anyway Ireland have never won the 6 Nations. yes, we have come close, tantalisingly so, but we have never actually won the wretched thing and then this year things started to come right meaning that Saturday's match in Cardiff was THE BIG ONE. In fact it was bigger than simply being the 6 Nations decider; if Wales (the current holders) beat us, but by less than 13 points, we still won the competition. However if we beat Wales by even 1 incy wincey point then the Championship was ours and so was the Grand Slam i.e. all 5 countries beaten in the one competition.

Ireland last won the Grand Slam in 1948 so it has been 61 long, long years and WE DID IT and I WAS THERE!! It was the most dramatic Saturday afternoon of my life with the last 2 minutes being the deciding minutes of the match. I have aged about 50 years and my fingernails will take weeks to recover but, boy, what a game. If you have any interest at all have a look at this

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

What day's today?

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Wherever you are, I hope you are having a great day.

What always amuses us here on the emerald isle, is the fact that the whole world appears to join in St Patrick's Day. It's cool! I know there are big celebrations in New York City, Chicago and Boston. There is also a parade in London and this time 5 years ago when I was in Australia there were celebrations there too. It was a hoot!

The funniest thing is that here, in Ireland, people really don't go in for all the Paddy's Day madness. Yes, it's a public holiday so we get the day off work (hurrah!) but, as a rule, we don't dress up as leprachauns, dye our water systems green or spend the day pretending we are extras in River Dance. However we love it that the rest of the world gets so involved!

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Irish Eyes Are Not Smiling

Well life is not so good here at the moment.

In case you haven't heard the news recently, on Saturday night two soldiers who were due to go to Afghanistan the next morning were killed by gunmen as they stepped outside their barracks to take delivery of a pizza (the pizza delivery guys were injured too). We live no more than 10 miles from where it all happened. All day Sunday there was a cloud hanging over everyone; all the local churches were united in prayer: prayer for the families of the two soldiers; prayer for the men who did it; prayer that our highly prized peace process does not go off the rails. How we hoped that it was simply a "one-off".

Then last night, gunmen struck again, this time killing a policeman. So now we are praying that we are not, as one politician put it, staring down into the abyss again.

You can read about it here

We Northern Irish people really do not like talking about what is euphemistically called "The Troubles". This is a beautiful country and we are a friendly, warm and welcoming people and we don't like revisiting what was a dark, dark time in our history. While not everyone may have lost a close friend or relation, everyone certainly knows someone else who did: we are all, at best, only one step removed from personal tragedy. I grew up "used" to hearing about bombs and bullets and, occasionally, hearing the odd blast. The current generation of children know nothing of this and I thought it was all behind us.

I really hope the past few days have been an aberration and that we are not heading back down a road that only a minority seem intent on making us travel.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Weekend here we come!

So faithful readership, what are you doing for the weekend?

We are just hanging around doing "stuff", seeing friends for dinner on Saturday, having guests round for lunch on Sunday and chilling out.

Tonight we are invited to a partake of some posh nosh (we hope) at a local hotel. The invitation has come from the Christian Institute. It's an organisation based in England which has a good Northern Irish presence. I suppose that's hardly suprising given that people here are still more "churched" (& I use the word deliberately) than folks in England.

Now I don't always agree 100% with all that the CI does. However it does publish some great articles and helps give you the Biblical perspective on proposed legislation etc. For example, I found its stuff on stem cell research really informative. Its info booklets are good too. Anyway, here's the link and you can let me know what you think.

I'll let you know how we get on at tonight's event. As my ever so positive husband says, at least it's a free meal!


Thursday, 5 March 2009

Spring flowers and... snow showers!

Last weekend we spent a happy time pottering round the garden (well, mostly Steva did; I was inside making puddings for my sister's 30th birthday party), digging new beds, admiring all the bulbs peeping through the soil, delighting in the snowdrops and crocuses and smelling the early daffodils. It was also mild, not warm enough not to wear a sweater but not so cold that we had to be bundled up.

Spring had sprung!

Or so we thought...

And then we woke this morning to a Narnia like winter wonderland and I drove to work in a blizzard. What is that all about?!

However now the grey clouds are lifting and I can see blue sky so, hopefully, it will be spring again by tomorrow.

I love the unpredictability of weather (well I usually do but non stop rain during the summer can get a bit boring after a while...). I think it's the fact that we humans think we've got everything cracked and are totally self-sufficient when we really, really don't at all! It teaches us a thing or two about reliance and dependence. Maybe it's a good thing it snowed this morning after all.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Feeling Frazzled

I am feeling in such a state of, well, panic these days. I don't know what it is but the days are flying past and I really don't seem to be able to get much done. Actually, what I think I mean is that I put myself under enormous pressure to do a lot (maybe too much?) and then when I don't actually manage everything I feel like I am a failure. I think this is very dangerous psychology!

Last week, I had to go over to Birmingham (England not Alabama!) for work. I managed to stay overnight with an old college friend and admire her new baby and read stories to her toddler and I had a great time but I was totally exhausted when I got back, work was manic and I felt hassled until about Sunday morning.

Thank goodness for the day of rest. We come from quite strict backgrounds especially on the Sabbath day front so Sundays do tend to be days when we don't do any work, chores etc and am I glad about that! Yes there are times when in extremis we have to open our files and do a little catch up (or damage limitation depending on the point of view) but, generally speaking, it's a day of going to church, seeing family, having a lovely lunch, maybe going for a walk and resting.

Once I got Monday started, I thought about updating my blog. I then felt guilty because I hadn't updated my blog in a week. Why do I do this to myself?! I really enjoy writing my blog and it is anything but a chore but I think I felt that I had nothing interesting to report (a sentiment with which you may agree if you are reading this right now!) and that all my loyal followers would be bored with me and disappear for ever. Aren't irrational female hormones just great?!

Anyway I thought I'd scribble something quickly today about how stressy everything feels and how I feel like there really are not enough hours in the day and as I logged in, I read Herb of Grace's latest offering and followed the link there. How challenged am I? And how reassured! I am slowly trying to get everything back in perspective...

E x