Saturday 30 December 2017

Family beware

My Facebook friends will already know that I had a great Christmas by the photo that has collected masses of likes and comments. Of all the photographs that have me in them, this one is officially my favourite. I've posted it below in case you didn't see it on FB.

For over thirty years I've shopped, cooked and entertained all the family over the Bank Holiday period - but not this year! Daughter booked us into a lovely hotel near where she lives. We had a four poster bed and wonderful views of the countryside AND she booked the three of us in for Christmas Day lunch. I know sometimes these kind of lunches can be a bit 'mass-catered' but this was most certainly not. It was delicious. She joined us for Boxing Day breakfast too - perfect.

So from now on - family beware - I'm hanging up my mass-catering apron and tearing up my detailed shopping list and lengthy to-do list. I'm replacing them with a luxurious, feet-up-on-a-stool, gently-dozing type of pamper. Well if I can't do it at my age then when can I?

Happy New Year and here's hoping for a healthy 2018. 
(Yes, we do appear to have caught that coughing/sore throat lurgy! Sigh!)

Tuesday 19 December 2017

A Multi-cultural Week

Tonight I lit all of the Chanukah candles. Adding one each night makes the eighth night feel special, a climax of light. No matter how old I get I will never tire of looking a these nine candles burning (eight Chanukah candles plus the lighter candle).

I'm not going to tell the story of Chanukah again, or go on about miracles and about the magic of a tiny candle flame and how it has the power to light up a whole room. I've said all that before. I just wanted to share with you my multi-cultural week. So here is my fully lit Chanukiah:

The other morning I popped to Marks & Spencers for a few bits and who should be helping out at one of the checkout tills, but Father Christmas himself, in person! I nipped to the front of the queue and asked if he minded me taking a photograph. Well, it seemed only polite to ask even though I'm sure he's quite used to paparazzi media attention. He enthusiastically agreed and flung his arm around my shoulder. Strange, I thought, and then I realised that I was meant to take a selfie. After an embarrassing fumble to work out how my phone takes selfies, I did it. 

Before you glance down any further, 
I must warn you that I was not looking my best that morning! 

This evening, after my Chanukah candles had burned down, I went out for dinner to the Leicester Dialogue Society. This was a true multi-faith event. The Dialogue Society is run by a group of local Turkish Muslims. Their aim is to get people from all faiths to talk to each other - to have a dialogue together. There were talks given by representatives of a range of faiths including the Christian Church, the Islamic Foundation, the Jewish Synagogue, the Secular Society... and then we ate. 

The Dialogue Society call this type of shared meal Abraham's Dining Table. I think I'm right in saying that it's a Turkish Muslim tradition derived from both the Torah and the Koran where it says that Abraham always welcomed people to his dinner table... and we were certainly made welcome with lots of delicious food, all freshly prepared by the group. 

This evening's dinner has given me food for thought. It would solve the problems of the world if we only talked and listened to each other. 

Quote from this evening's meal: 
We have one mouth and two ears - let's use them in the correct proportion 

(In other words we must listen to what others say rather than always try to have our own say.)

Friday 8 December 2017

A book, a talk and one of my poems

Gosh! What happened to November? This year is going too fast. I don't want my time at Uni to end. I'm enjoying my MA Course too much. I'm working on my assignment and starting to plan my dissertation now but thankfully I've another nine months before I hand my dissertation in so I can still wallow in all the library books, seminars and lectures. Did I mention that as an MA student I'm allowed to borrow 40 books!? I did? Oh, I'm becoming a book bore!

As well as my course I've been working on a history book recording the story of the Leicester Progressive Jewish Community. That book, I'm delighted (and relieved) to say is now published. We had a launch last week and so far it has been well received. Mind you, in my launch party speech I did give a dire warning that if anyone spots a mistake they were not to tell me. My old history professor always insists that all books have at least a few typos in them and even the odd historical if it's good enough for him it's certainly good enough for me.

Last Sunday I gave a talk at the local Secular Society about Richard III and how the book was created. I used a power point to illustrate, showing them all the fun we had promoting the book, e.g. Dr Richard Buckley, head of the archaeological dig, with his colleague dressed in full Wars of the Roses armour. I even did my Witch of Daneshill act with silly hat, the lot. It seemed to go down well but the next day a friend told me that he had been to a number of their talks and they were usually very serious affairs. Oh well, it is the season to be jolly...allegedly.

The other week, in one of our poetry seminars, we were looking at iambic pentameter with rhyming couplets. The next day I was in the GP's waiting room and was inspired by events that occurred to write this:
You think the door's an automatic one.
It's not and what is more it weighs a ton.
You take the blow full force right in your face
but people see and so you have to brace
yourself pretending that you've not been hurt,
leap off the floor and brush away the dirt
and as you walk you hold your head up high,
ignore their giggles and the urge to cry.

Finally, I'd like to send special wishes and prayers to our blog friend, Carol Hedges, who is in hospital after an operation for breast cancer. Get well very soon, Carol. We all miss you xxx