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Wednesday, 7 November 2012


On the plane back from Spain (we had spent a brilliant week in La Manga Club with our very good friends), I read a good article about micro homes, and how they are growing in popularity. Why? They are cheap to run and are cleverly designed so that a single person has everything they need. The trouble with space - is that we fill it! No joke - the bigger the house - the more we accumulate yet more stuff we frankly don't need. In a smaller house, it is easy to clean because you are limited as to what you can physically fit inside (and the less you have the less dusting!). I dream of a micro-home - it takes me a whole school day to clean my old farmhouse! I say to myself - it saves on a gym fee.

A few months ago, my husband felt it would be kind to our 22 year-old daughter if we encouraged her to become more domestic. She was living at home and we felt it was time to acquire some skills in the home. So she agreed to 'move out' - well - only across the driveway into our converted stable annexe, which our eldest son had vacated back in 2011 (he found the commute to London ghastly). Anyway she has to keep it clean and tidy and do her own laundry, ironing etc. She has a spare room for her pals so she can entertain too.

So she moved out of her old room of 13 years. Trouble is she left so much junk I didn't know where to begin. I gave her a deadline of a month. Either this stuff goes or I bin the lot! You see - my 7 year-old niece was going to sleep in this room - she had been to Lourdes and was saying a decade of the rosary daily - a most pious child - she wants to become a nun and reads about St Bernadette all the time. I couldn't let her sleep in a room full of junk - she may come across some unsuitable items! Couldn't have that - no.

The day came - it was still full of trash so I got 4 bin bags. 1 for rubbish, 1 for recycling, 1 for parish bazaar stuff, and 1 for textiles. She seemed quite happy with this arrangement.

It's amazing how a good chuck-out clears the mind.

It's amazing what one learns about ones children too, in the clearing out process.

First - there was a load of empty fag packets behind the desk (no surprise there).

One drawer was full of unopened 'The Stage' magazines. That was a wasted subscription!

One drawer was full of dressing- up clothes - of a risque theme - in the bin they went! She had a fancy dress party for her 18th and wore a French maid's outfit. Don't think the parish bazaar would like that, no no.

Next drawer had hair extensions of varying styles and colours - in the bin.

Under the bed was fun - sweet packets shredded by a mouse.

Then I had to tackle the make-up drawers - all in the bin.

One drawer had some things in packets - oh dear I thought. In the bin anyway. But I tackled her about these items and her reply was, "Oh they are not mine - the doc gives you those whenever you have an appointment, everyone gets those apparently" - oh really - I thought. No wonder young people can't control themselves - and the government positively encourages young people to do it with every young person they meet. Yikes - what sort of society are we becoming. The trouble is - young people don't like to 'use' these items (they are passion killers) - so the docs then have to send out sex disease testing kits! I wonder how much all this costs the taxpayer.

Anyhow - it was all done and cleared.

Oh for micro homes!!!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

The joy of porridge - AND IT LOWERS CHLORESTOROL!

I was never a porridge fan and not sure I ever tried it - even as a child.
So on our easy jet flight to La Manga in Spain I decided to try it - yes it was on the in-flight menu. It was delicious. I am converted to this humble oat and in our cold English climate, heartily recommend it. Just put half a mug of oats in a non-stick pan and add a mug and a half of water or skimmed milk (with milk you get important calcium), then stir over hear for a couple of minutes. Put in a bowl and stand it for a minute, then add a swirl of honey, maple syrup or brown sugar. Amazing!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

The Day we venerated the relic of St Cuthbert Mayne

The relic of St Cuthbert Mayne

I always go to Cornwall when the school breaks up for the summer holidays -  we visit my mother who lives in Truro. This Summer (2012) my youngest son and I flew down to Newquay. Very close to the airport is the pretty village of St. Mawgan - where Lanherne convent is located. The Carmelite nuns used to live here, but now a few Franciscan friars live here. This order says the Old Rite exclusively (Latin Mass) every day of the week. The chapel is exquisite.

My mother came to collect us and as usual we went to visit Lanherne convent  - I love the little shop attached - full of holy medals and orthodox Catholic literature - not to mention the gorgeous homemade jams made by the sisters - yes the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate live here too.

On this particular day in mid July we went into the chapel to say a few prayers and we just happened to enter when something rather special was happening. All 6 candles on the altar were lit. There were a few people kneeling. The friar had gone to get something - it was the relic of St Cuthbert Mayne - housed in a glass case. He stood on the altar and invited people to go up and venerate this holy relic.

My little son was silent and transfixed by what was going on - he queued up and kissed the glass case holding the - what must be the wounded skull of this holy martyr. This holy man was an Anglican vicar, who became a Catholic priest and died a martyr's death in 1577. The little prayer card says he is "the Protomartyr of Seminary Priests".

We left the chapel and there were some free range chickens running around. Unfortunately we left the gate open so some of them escaped. We got them back in eventually.

Then off to visit granny's grave - she was allowed to be buried in the cemetery - as she was a Third Order Carmelite.

The day was rather special and we felt priviledged to be there to venerate this holy relic.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Rupert Everett - best looking queen of them all!

I have always liked Rupert Everett's acting. He is still dazzlingly good-looking.
So I feel very perturbed that he is now getting horrid hate mail from "All the queens out there" (he said this) purely because he stated that he does not think a gay couple should adopt children. He says can you possibly imagine going to speech day with 2 dads there! And he further goes on -"and when you are trying to sleep and dads are having queenie rows! His choice of phrase is piquant! He is close to his mother - he understands how important a mother is. His mama still prays that he will be swept off his feet by a woman and marry her. Who knows what is round the corner!
Good on you dear boy!

Thursday, 13 September 2012


Oh Dear! It seems we are a nation of binge drinkers! Or at least regular bingers.
A binge drinker is someone who consumes more than 6 units - for women, or 8 units for men - in one sitting. A bottle of wine contains 9 units - which means that 4 glasses of 125ml wine is tops - any more and you are a binge drinker.

I don't like being called a binge drinker (of which I am guilty sometimes) - it disturbs me. It puts one on the level of slapper or hoydenish behaviour. Not nice.

More than 6 units for women and 8 units for men in one session. That is the facts.

Does this mean that if at lunch time you have 6 units of alcohol - no more, and then at supper you have 6 units - no more - are you not a binger then? The medics or experts said per session - they need to clarify this. Also - some people are able to consume more than this and they are completely sober.

The other thing - surely it depends on ones weight? If one is thin you can't drink much and if you are too fat - 7 units won't affect you.

My favourite tipple is fizzy wine - prosecco, champers etc. They don't carry the unit amount on the bottle. So how does one calculate units if they aren't displayed on the bottle?

But this news shook me up. Enough to watch the units.

It is certainly food for thought.

Maybe they should invent a machine that one carries around, which would measure the units. Someone could make a mint if they invented this tool.

Friday, 24 August 2012


Sitting in the hairdressers I picked up this week's "Woman" magazine - not one I usually read - but it had an eye catching article - about the rise in abortions amongst the over 30s. I found it extremely shocking and sad - these women - in many cases married with children are having abortions citing the recession - austerity abortions. Why oh why are these women not told about adoption - there are so many infertile couples desperate to adopt.

The women interviewed seemed upset and I was pleasantly surprised that this 'dowdy' magazine wrote from a pro-life point of view. There seems general unease at the amount of abortions - the statistics are grim. By the time women are 45 1 in 3 will have had an abortion. Add to that all the chemical abortions - caused by The Pill and the internal devices and rods in the arm etc? How many babies are being extinguished? It doesn't bear thinking about.

With all the contraception available and free thrust at women - why are abortions rising?!

The magazine also pointed out that abortions are costing the NHS a significant amount of money. Some women are having multiple abortions - they regard abortion as birth control.

The oxymoron in all this - the liberals on the 60s hailed contraception as the best thing since sliced bread - saying abortions would be reduced as a result. What happened? The more contraception there is, the higher the abortion rate.

What is all this doing to women's mental health - it must be a time bomb. waiting to explode.

Sunday, 22 July 2012


I met a retired teacher recently and she was playing Mozart on her CD player. I asked her about it, and she told me that when she was supervising her boarding house, she used to put a Mozart CD on - "it calms the children" - "Really?", I replied. "Yes - it's been scientifically proven - the beat in Mozart calms boisterous children down and focuses their brains". With the school holidays upon us, I decided to hunt out my CD collection for Mozart and found 2 CDs - one was a freebie from the Daily Telegraph and the other one was at the bottom of the pile - unused by the looks of it.
I will let you know the results when I have a group of children for the day!

Hungry Britain and Ken Clarke's biscuit lament

There has been an extraordinary growth in hungry people in the UK - food banks (God Bless the Trussel Trust for starting them) are opening every week up and down the country to feed the growing hungry - due to many factors - job losses, divorce, benefit cuts etc. On radio 4 on 18th July (around then anyway) I was listening to the Today programme at 7am, where a young mother of 2 children hadn't eaten for 5 days, so that she could feed her children. In tears her story is not that unusual. Due to divorce, she had no money to feed herself or her children despite trying to get a job - any job in fact. This is Britain today - we have starving families - is this progress?

On the same news programme - Ken Clarke has been complaining about the removal of biscuits from cabinet meetings - he of all people does not need biscuits - in fact as a senior politician he should set an example by restraining his biscuit appetite! This is also Britain today - huge swathes of very overweight people, nay obese - costing the NHS millions in gastric bands - and other health problems due to overeating. I used to be amazed at the huge people in America - I mean HUGE. With a 'dunkin donut' cafe on every corner is it surprising?! But the UK is catching up.
I have a suggestion to make - when you buy a 2 for the price of 1 (biscuits for example) - donate the free packet to your local food bank. You will help feed a starving person and save yourself the extra calories by not eating the free packet.

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