Sunday, March 18, 2007

Good times!

I just had the best weekend!

Well, it didn't start off too great - Wood St. Man and I had an argument on Friday night (when we were just married we dubbed Friday night as Fight Night! - although we are not re-inaugurating it), also Wood St. Man made dinner (bless him) but used some cous cous that had been in the fridge for a fortnight - cue heaving at 2.30am Saturday morning.

OK, so the start wasn't the best, but by Saturday morning I felt a lot better if not 100% and then went wedding dress shopping with my lovely pal. It was a very productive trip and we came away with a purchase. All I can say is that her husband to be is a very, very lucky man! I even felt a bit teary later that evening when I thought about how beautiful she looked! My next task is to help organise her hen night - oh the possibilities!

After that we went for lunch in John Lewis (fancy!), but it was remarkably cheap and I enjoy an exceedingly yummy, freshly made spinach and ricotta crepe.

After that I checked into the Crowne Plaza - well what else would you do? The parents of another lovely friend treated us to a night at the Plaza and tickets to the Ronald McDonald House Ball with them, my pal, her boyfriend and 4 other friends. Oooh it was great! Possibly in my top 10 nights out ever! We got lovely Sanctuary gift bags, champers, as much booze as our table could hold and a beautiful 4 course meal. The only blip was that the celebrity compere/MC was rather drunk, offensive and arrogant. I started thinking about verses from Proverbs about God opposing the proud and then I remembered another verse about specs and logs.

Anyway, there were 2 bands. Two! For a dance-aholic like me I almost reached transendance. Also Wood Street Man, being a massive blues fan, was not off the dance floor (a very rare occurrence) for the full set from midnight till 2am. We didn't reach our room till after 3am. I love late nights and mad parties!

It was also amazing to see how the 'other half' live. But then most of the world would see me as being well and truly part of the other half so I guess my perceptions are relative. There was a raffle, where tickets were £10 and a silent auction where corporate hospitality for 10 at Hampden and Wimbledon were on offer and a football shirt signed by Raul, Zidane and Beckham went for over 3 grand. I guess that is how you raise big money for charity in a very short space of time.

I was also brill to reconnect with one of my dearest friends. This year I made a loose resolution to see more of my non-church friends and so far I haven't been doing too well. I am now spurred on to being a lot more intentional about this. Aside from just loving spending time with people I love, we need these guys on Alpha!

In the morning we had the breakfast of champions at the buffet and skidaddled over to see my mum. She even gave us one of her chocolates. Any my lovely husband brought me a soft boiled egg and soldiers as I typed this. Ahhh.

Thank you God for your mercies, big and small.

Blessed be the name of the Lord when the sun's shining down on me when the world's all as it should be, blessed be your name.
And blessed be Your name when the road's marked with suffering, when there's pain in the offering, blessed be Your name.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Where is your happy place?

When the world becomes too dark and wearisome for me, there is a place of peace and repose unlike no other, a place where goodness and beauty reign and to which I escape to find my suppressed inner domestic-goddess. That place is......Cupcake Bakeshop!!!

If even that place seems a bit too complex (the Gogi berry and pink Himalayan Rock Salt cup cakes were a bit much even for me), then my default happy place is none other than Martha Stewart.

Oh yeah, I still know how to have fun!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Left or Right?

Wood Street Girl here. We saw the film 'Bobby' last night, a fictional account of the assasination of Robert Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in 1968. It was great, fantastic ensemble cast and very informative of the hot topics in the US back then in the dark days of the Vietnam conflict. The stellar ensemble cast was a wee bit too much at times (almost every scene had a Hollywood veteran) but really it was great. Obviously it was an excellent bit of propaganda for the Democrat party, which will doubtless get all those right of centre wound up, but it really challenged me on my views of the political scene in the US and more generally.

At present the Republicans market themselves as the no-brainer vote for Christians - anti-abortion, anti-euthanasia, anti civil unions, pro Christian stuff generally etc. And the Democrats are, largely, pro this stuff . Now the Democrats on the other hand are pro more 'social programmes' covering employment/unemployment, health and the environment which is total anathema to the Republicans who belive a vote for bigger government is akin to voting for the Devil. However I find the view that a vote for the Republicans is a vote for God is abhorrent. Having spoken to some hard core Republicans I find their 'take care of your own' attitude is compassionless and unreflective of the selflessness of Christ. Here we get into lots of issues about the interpretation of Christianity in a very individualistic society, which is better left to the theologians. But I hope you see what I'm getting at.

Having studied economics I have to agree however, government intervention should be limited, broadly, to the areas where the market fails - property rights, environment issues and other negative externalities. Personally I am in favour of the state providing universal education for lots of obvious and not so obvious reasons. Universal health care?, Well I really think it could be provided more satisfactorily if those who work were to pay a stand alone health care premium of sorts and I would definitely overhaul the unemployment benefit system to make it more condusive to getting people back to work. The 'benefit mentality' of Scotland makes this a particular bug bear (also being battered with a hard core work ethic by my parents probably has contributed also). But more recently I was convicted while reading 1 and 2 Thessalonians - that we as Christians shouldn't be a burden and should work hard to support ourselves. What do others in the blogosphere think? Feel free to wade in and tell me I'm wrong, I'm just putting down my initial thoughts on the matter.

Having said all that I am a gut Democrat (social justice, overseas development, generally more compasionate), although I simply could never vote for them as they are pro-abortion etc. Although I am not eligible to vote in an American election (which makes this a bit of a hypothetical argument) this really bothers me: as Christians are we stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to politics? Are we happy to compromise our spiritual values in some way when we vote? Should we forego our democratic right to vote? I always vote (except once! aargh I didn't register in enough time in Norwich!), and I see it very much as voting for the democratic process as nailing my political colours to the mast. Men and women also died so I could vote and my vote is very much in appreciation of their sacrifice.

In short I am confused and interested in your views. Comment away!

Interesting fact about me: the reccommended purchases that Amazon suggest based on my wish list (seriously, if you don't have one, you should) tells me that I should get Richard Dawkins 'God Delusion'. Is there a subversive element to Amazon who having seen that I have Andy Hunter and Dave Crowder CDs on my list, and think I need re-educated? This surveillance society we're in may be tipping over the edge!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Reflecting on Christmas

I know that we are now through the Christmas period, but if you like to reflect like I do, then this is definitely worth a read: A Christmas Observation

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year in the Peak District

Woodstreetgirl and I just spent 2 days with great friends in Buxton. What a great time of eating, drinking and being merry! We even managed on New Years Eve to be energetic and go on a 6 mile walk - we needed to as Dennistoun's answer to Martha Stewart had been baking especially for the trip and, well, it was New Year after all!

Check out the video of woodstreetgirl navigating dangerous waters while woodstreetman (obviously feeling very chivalrous) stands back to record in case there is any falling in ;-)Even the swan thought it was worth watching!

The Peak District is such a beautiful place, and may not be as dramatic as the highlands, but from what little I experienced, it seems just as interesting in its own way.

A special hello to those of you that we spent this special time with, it was great to see you all and hope we can repeat again soon - where do we go next after Edinburgh, the Lake District and now Buxton?!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas musings

Just wanted to note down a few of my (Wood St. Girl's) musings over the the Chrissie period:

1) I really like Stricly come Dancing - I only watched the final and the Christmas special, but it was really good. The only thing I didn't like was Bruce Forsyth's smutty introductions of the dancers - so cheap. What touched me in particular was when the intense sensuality of the dances contasted with the few seconds of film where Mark Ramprakash celebrated with his wife after winning. There was such open hearted love and intimacy in those few frames that the hip thrusting, bum wiggling dances didn't get close to.

2) I got the Take That album for Christmas and Wood Street Man got a laser guided jigsaw - bring on the power tools and cheesy pop, we're set! I also got series 3 and 4 of Spooks...form an orderly queue!

3) I love being on holiday - today was my first proper sleep in and I feel great. My dear husband however, had 10 days off before i went off on holiday and therefore is past the chilling out phase of holiday and now wants to be productive - he has written a colour-coded priortised list which is now on our google homepage. When I consider the time we have available to do all the painting, shopping, curtain making and cleaning he has listed I think today will be my first and only sleep in. (Note to self: remember to check answer machine at work tomorrow...!)

4) We're off to the Peak District to spend new year with my fabulous friends what I love. I met these guys in Norwich when I studied at my beloved UEA, which in my humble opinion is the best place in the world. Ya boo sucks to anyone who doesn't agree. The hard part for me when meeting up with my uni pals is that they all are doing amazingly well in their careers and climbing the greasy pole with ferocious speed while enjoying themselves magnificently. Up until fairly recently this is what I thought would be doing right now, and although my life is wonderful, spending time with these guys does make me want to get out there and kick the tyres. Is there a life out there for me that's more MI5 than 9 till 5? I hope so.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Recent trip to Oban

Thought you may want to see some photos of our recent (short) holiday in Oban. These are all from a day trip to the Islands of Seil and Luing, just a short drive south of where we were staying in a caravan kindly borrowed from our friends in housegroup.