Category Archives: Books

Quality time with my sofa


Yes, well, that was a waste of 12 days! Still, my doctor now recognises me, my sickness record is well and truly shot to pieces, but I’ve saved some money on travel. My sofa and I have never had so much quality time together, and I’ve never been out of the house so little in All My Born Days.

Normal service is resuming, though. A little removing of the dust and cobwebs, a little hoovering, a little cleaning of the toilets has taken place… Scrabble opponents are muttering darkly about being beaten again… (“I’ll tell the doctor you’re  really, really not well, I’ve just won three games in a row.” offered one opponent after the first dreadful appointment where I was all ready to change doctor. Things improved on the second visit, thankfully. This surgery is within walking distance but  also on a direct bus route when I’m not well. Which, on the whole, is my state when I require a doctor. But, then I plan my life around the Number 11 bus.)

However, I do not wish to over-do things and give myself a relapse. (As happened with the Great Flu Dramas of 2008/09 and 1990.) So, I’m sitting quietly, (when not blogging, checking the whole of the Internet, replying to the pile of e-mails that has accumulated, ) with a pile of hymn books, contentedly adding to my Index of Indices. I did bits of it somewhere in those 12 days, but I can attest to being so much better as I’ve added over 300 hymns this morning, whereas I was averaging 20 or so, then needing an hours nap. Admittedly, today I am tackling a book that is in alphabetical order, and with lots of hymns that don’t have alternative titles, so am kind of speeding along the spreadsheet column with ease. Two days ago, it was also alphabetical order, but with loads of alternative titles. Maybe it was a bit over-ambitious to  go for a seasonally arranged book when Not At All Well. It also took a couple of hours to untangle the messes created by inserting cells and not rows…

I’ve also got ammunition for my students who are grumbling madly about having to work with spreadsheets – I keep telling them they are beautiful, and they don’t believe me.  Never mind, they’ve had a fortnight off me and my inanities, it’s back to normal tomorrow!

But, for today, I will continue with the quality time with my sofa.

Brain-ache, bright ideas and “Oh bother it”!

After much deliberation, checking of timing, and being ready to leave as soon as the result was declared,  it was deemed that this morning’s following of the Scotland Argentina game prior to going to church was the plan. It was just as well I had a 25 minute walk to church to recover from the match.

I now have complete and utter brain ache after trying to work out what’s got to happen next if Scotland are to progress… and that’s after reading the Scotland v England Permutations on this page. I have grasped the essentials. I think. I’m also sure Ben and Tom will explain to me tomorrow in great depth. (Ben and Tom, aged 18 and 19 respectively,  may have a poor grasp of basic skills in Numeracy and Literacy, despite all our efforts, and somewhat interesting social skills, but they have an excellent grasp of the important matters in life, such as who needs to do what to get through the Pool stages. They are saddened that I have not put my impressive ability to spot a missing capital letter or full stop within 2 seconds of glancing at their work, to better use. But we get on very well, and Monday morning breaks are devoted to the finer analysis of Rugby during World Cup and Six Nations seasons.)

In between times, I’ve been having Bright Ideas – about where to go next with the painting and decorating, about what to do about Church stuff that continues to bother me, but is no longer overwhelming, and the Getting a Life thing… they’re all percolating!

On the “Oh bother it” front, I’m hoping today’s excessive noise from my new neighbours is an occasional rather than regular event. I have to go to the library on the way home from work tomorrow, as I can’t renew my books on-line again (I was planning to go next weekend!) and who gave my nephew permission to have his 21st birthday?


What a difference

Working routine is now back to “normal” for hours, but in one role only, rather than two. The difference is very, very marked. I’m working as many, if not more hours,  but stress levels have plummeted significantly, and the general energy levels have risen. I have been out and doing things for my own amusement and enjoyment today, something I’ve not done on a Saturday for months. Saturdays have been devoted to sleeping off the exhaustion and resentments that had built up all through the previous week.

So, when my travel routine was thrown yesterday, I wasn’t. When my tasks for the week were changed at very short notice several times, I just got on with it all.

I’ve got a lovely pile of new books to read, several music projects on the go, and all is well.

For the curious, and Ian!

It would appear I really do possess a lot of hymn books.

  1. As One Voice (Australian RC)
  2. Baptist Hymn Book (UK – 1963)
  3. Baptist Praise and Worship (UK – 1991)
  4. Scottish Psalter and Church Hymnary (1920 – Tonic Solfa, split pages version)
  5. Church Hymnary 3rd Edition (1973)
  6. Church Hymnary 4th Edition (2005)
  7. Come and Praise (BBC Children’s Hymn/Song Book)
  8. Come and Praise 2
  9. Common Ground (Scottish Ecumenical book – 1998)
  10. Common Praise (Hymns Ancient and Modern successor – 2000)
  11. Complete Celebration Hymnal with New Songs of Celebration (1990)
  12. English Hymnal (1906)
  13. New English Hymnal (1985)
  14. Hymns Ancient and Modern Revised (1950)
  15. Hymns Ancient and Modern New Standard (1983)
  16. 100 Hymns for Today
  17. More Hundred Hymns for Today
  18. Hymns Old and New Anglican (1996)
  19. Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New (2000)
  20. One Church, One Faith, One Lord (A Hymns Old and New book – )
  21. Hymns and Psalms (Methodist UK 1983)
  22. Irish Church Praise (1990)
  23. Junior Praise 1
  24. Combined Junior Praise (but not the most recent!)
  25. Laudate (1999)
  26. Mission Praise (1984)
  27. Mission Praise 2 (1987)
  28. Mission Praise Combined Edition (1991)
  29. Combined Mission Praise (2005)
  30. New Hymns and Worship Songs (1996)
  31. Sing to God (Scripture Union Children’s book 1971)
  32. Songs of Fellowship 1
  33. Songs of Fellowship 2
  34. Songs of Fellowship 4
  35. Songs of God’s People (Church of Scotland supplement to Church Hymnary 3 – 1988))
  36. The Source
  37. The Source 2
  38. The Source 3
  39. The Source 4
  40. Spring Harvest 1993
  41. Spring Harvest 1998
  42. Spring Harvest 2004/2005
  43. Spring Harvest 07/08
  44. Songs of the Spirit
  45. More Songs of the Spirit
  46. Songs of the Spirit 3
  47. Taize Chant book
  48. With One Voice (Australian 1977)
  49. Youth Praise 1
  50. Youth Praise 2 (Books of my Youth in the 1970s!)
  51. Numerous odd small collections of strange provenance!!

And in the Christmas Department

  1. Carols for Choirs
  2. Carols for Choirs 2
  3. Carols for Choirs 4
  4. Carol our Christmas
  5. The Christmas Source
  6. The Oxford Book of Carols
  7. Bethlehem Carol Sheet full music book (Don’t ask which one, I can’t remember!!)

It can be disputed I don’t need all the Mission Praises, but they did mess around with the music arrangements from the originals to the Combined editions, and the Combined editions are just too big for sensible use!

It could also be disputed that I don’t need the 100 Hymns and More 100 Hymns for Today, as they are in the Ancient and Modern New Standard (Which is an abridged version of Ancient and Modern Revised, + the two 100 Hymns supplements. Common Praise is a completely new book…) but, keys have been altered… and I like to keep them all!!!!!!!!


I think the phase of crying in church at any hymn with any significant memory attached to it may be over! I was singing most enthusiastically  one that only a month or so back would’ve reduced me to tears, and was also moved to stop being an anti-social whatsit and stayed for coffee. I merely smiled at those who thought I was visiting for the first time.. and just pointed out I’d been coming regularly since Christmas.

I have a new High Score in the BBC Proms Quiz. Given I’m appallingly bad at identifying conductors and performers, which make up a higher proportion of the questions than I like, I do seem to be averaging at least 7/10 on most attempts. But, getting my answers clicked to get me at least 900 per question (you have to answer in under a second for that!) is beyond my capabilities, methinks. I shall be content if I get a High Score of 8000 before the end of the Proms Season. (7283 is my current score, for the curious).

The sun has been shining.

Proper butter on my toast.

E-mails sent round those who might have copies of the books I’m after!

Time for a snooze…

Tired, but content

So ends that phase of my life.

  • I now definitely only work in one work place, (two jobs still, but it’s better than three jobs and two workplaces!)
  • I regain weekends, something I’ve not had on a regular basis for over a quarter of a century anyway, but had been hopeful of before the three jobs…. etc!
  • Three weeks of working six days a week has not been good for me!
  • But, I now have fifteen whole days clear of work commitments and no horrendous commuting, apart from a little e-mailing of a report and documents that I’ve been using to record work on, and a small matter to chase up.

Much of the working out of this bit of time has been not pleasant, but has been well done – eventually!!!

As a treat for getting though these few weeks, I had a grand spending of my book tokens today, and indulged my main book buying weakness of hymn/church music books!! It somehow doesn’t seem quite so extravagant to spend £50.00 on two books when it’s with book tokens….

Only five more sleeps…

and today has been reasonably eventful! But, it feels as if my equilibrium is somewhat restored, or rather, as if I’m not going to fight anyone and everyone, and that I might make it to 5.00 pm on Saturday more or less in one piece.

Today? It involved adventures with a circular saw, and architraves.  Oh, and a threat to bring some reins in after the holidays…

It involved remembering that most direct bus route home is probably better now the university term has ended, and the roadworks on the main road are improved – it was the most pleasant bus journey home I’ve had for ages.

It involved getting up early, but doing things in a much, much better order, so the day got off to a calmer start. Long gone are the days when I could hurtle out of bed, and be ready to go in five minutes. (Yes, that involved a thorough wash!)

It involved me finding a book I could read on the bus, as the print size was good.

It’s also going to involve an early (for me) night.


If I write, and send, over 150 letters and e-mails in a short space of time, the chances are I will be inundated with replies – all in a short space of time!

Eating badly, too late in the evening has consequences that I’m not going to describe. I think now there was a bit of a nasty bug as well….

Eating poorly puts me in a bad mood. This I know, but occasionally ignore. Now is not the time to ignore it. So, a mega-huge pan of home-made veggie soup is on the agenda for tomorrow, and fruit and yogurt smoothies are likely to be made. This is soothing stuff after the consequences of yesterday, and makes up for the almost total lack of food over the last 24 hour. The carrot and coriander soup was nice, though.

Tomorrow, I am going to take myself off to collect a long awaited new book, deliver the last three letters, and then have a lazy three days after the cooking session. I might even ignore both phones and e-mails.

Giggling at the lectionary.

I have been in the practice of saying Morning and Evening Prayer for more years than I really want to think about. Mostly with others, sometimes on my own. Sometimes, when I’m having a good sulk I’ll reluctantly read a psalm and a reading, and other times, it’ll be a slow, meditative process. Sometimes, I’ll not do them at all, and rarely last more than a few days! Mostly, however, it’s a normal regular part of my day, I’m used to it, and like it.

For lots of reasons, it’s hard going at the moment, and one of the reasons is I’m saying it with someone who has ideas about how to do it that are very different from mine, and it’s been difficult finding a middle ground that works. One of the main difficulties has been the number of readings per office, and the compromise is we omit one of the two readings at Morning Prayer, but have both at Evening Prayer.

So, I generally have a catchup read of all the readings I’ve missed in the week over the weekend. I had good intentions of doing them each day before I got to Morning Prayer, but… well, let’s just say I should never have good intentions about what I do before I’ve had at least two cups of coffee, and been awake properly for two hours.

Actually, the good thing about it is I do get to read chunks of the Bible in one go, which is something I’ve rarely done, and am now doing more of.

So, what had me giggling this morning? Job. It’s going to take me a while to think just exactly why because it wasn’t just one bit, but it definitely did, and had me thinking yet again how often the right thing emerges at the right time in the lectionary readings.

I feel quite restored and ready for battle tomorrow.

News from the Shredding Department

The job continues… I’m now onto the baker’s dozen of bin-liners filled with shredded paper, two shopping trolley loads of unshredded paper and related material, (for alas, I do have to walk with all this lot along to the recycling bins) and I do believe the end is in sight. For shredding, at least.

There are other delightful chores ahead of me, including dusting and cleaning in places I’ve not visited recently. mainly because now I’ve got rid of so much paper, and recycled so many things I can now, um, see the dust. I also moved the flipchart paper from the top of the wardrobe. That, too, was an error of judgement that revealed layers of dust I prefer not to have known about.

I have saved the pleasant task of sorting out my printed music until this evening.

Today we commemorate Josephine Butler, my favourite commemoration in the Church of England’s calendar, and I will reread the excellent biography by Jane Jordan some time over the next few days.