Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American Friends...!
And I am giving thanks today, for all my friends around the world and the love and support they give when I am in need. My friends make me smile and they make me laugh. When I am weeping, they are holding my hand, wherever they are.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Moving on - but not forgetting

Tonight is our Company of Chivalry medieval banquet. It's an opportunity for the group to get together in kit, without the public element, and sit down to a medieval style banquet, followed by much carousing :-)

It's the celebration of the end of the year and a time to honour achievements, bestow promotions within the Household (Company) and to meet up with friends we only normally see at events in the summer.
I have had such a rotten time lately, what with my boss being off sick and my resultant horrendous workload, then my father falling ill and then his sudden passing. I need to see these people and the desire to leave the 21C and all its sadness and 'medieval up' is very strong.
The Company itself is also still reeling from recent bad news so we need an evening together to shake off the bad stuff and reconnect with the group ethos that carries us through the season each year.
So, I'm packing my frock and cloak, a bag full of pastries and a VERY large bottle of cider......and I'm off to Woolavington for a long alcoholic night :-)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

17 November 2010

These are corn poppies, the national flower of Poland.

Today is my father's funeral. Born in 1940 in Lvov, Poland, he passed in 2010 in Salisbury, England.
It's been a long wait as the local crematoria have been very busy and my mother had to find one that was comfortable with a Quaker funeral.

Quaker funerals are not about mourning the loss they are about celebrating God in the life of the one that has gone and their loved ones, and joining together in community to gather strength and share love.
You don't wear black to Quaker funerals - I will be wearing a warm reddish purple skirt and sweater; my dad said that colour suited me. With my boots - he would have loved the faux studs!
There will be no hymns or prayers, unless my mother has chosen a favourite reading. Quakers are all about waiting - waiting to be moved by the spirit of the Lord. If you are, you speak. If you aren't, you wait...
And the coffin is cardboard - Quakers are very much in touch with nature and the world around us.
And no wake - some Friends hold meetings for worship after a funeral to feel the Lord, but it is not unknown to have a get together with a cup of tea and a chat.

Today will be our final farewell to the man who came into our lives and made us look at life differently. In many ways he made our lives better and more comfortable, in some he made our lives more complicated and difficult.
But I loved him.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

For The Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Laurence Binyon 1914

Friday, November 05, 2010

Birthday Films

To celebrate my birthday with my friends, I went to see RED with the lads and Burke and Hare with my BobKat :-)

Neither film has been universally praised, but I am one person who makes up my own mind about what I like and what I don't like.

RED (Retired; Extremely Dangerous) was a glorious romp through every secret agent movie you can think of. Steered by the magnificent Bruce Willis, who was supported strongly by John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren with Brian Cox adding his weight to the cast, this film about four retired secret agents who relive their heyday when one of their number is threatened by the CIA. With a surprise appearance by Ernest Borgnine, this film proved to be a delight. Lots of ludicrously over the top gunfire, car chases, fights and so on - this film played on every cliche they could think of. The result was a cleverly written and excellently acted and directed action movie.

Burke and Hare was a revisit to the notorious gentlemen in Edinburgh in the 1820s who discovered there was money to be made providing cadavers to the medical community. The film opens with the statement 'This film is based on a true story - except for the bits we made up!' - which sums it up concisely and honestly.
Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis revelled in the juicy title roles and were ably supported by Tom Wilkinson, Tim Curry and the ever-so luscious Hugh Bonneville. Even old comedian Ronnie Corbett made an appearance as a mad Militia Captain. This grim story was given a facelift and the black humour was picked out of the bones. It was so funny, we found ourselves giggling inanely to roaring with laughter - from the failed murder attempts to the fainting militia soldier and right on to the little things like always stepping over the prone wolfhound in the pub and the perceived naivety of William Burke. The ultimate irony of this was that the film showed Burke confessing to protect his girl, but in reality Hare was offered immunity from prosecution if he confessed and agreed to testify against Burke. Hare's testimony led to Burke's death sentence and Burke was hanged and his cadaver was given to the Edinburgh Medical College for dissection, and his skeleton still stands in their museum. Admittedly, the writers did play fast and loose with a very dark subject, changing elements to lighten the effect and, as a result, have produced an eminently watchable, if mostly fictional, story of two of Scotland's most notorious serial killers.

Both films have made my DVD wishlist - I could watch them again and again....

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Birthday Girl

Sitting here at home opening gifts from friends and family with a cat on my lap.......looking forward to dinner out with the Much Beloved tonight....nights out yesterday and tomorrow with friends.....

Such is my birthday [deep relaxing sigh]