Scarifying! May 2016

In April we scarified the lawn.  We even bought a new machine to do it.  Out came so much dead grass and moss and weeds, and in flew the blackbirds to peck the disturbed earth and fly off with beaks full of worms.  I think we wanted to keep the worms.  All I can say is that the lawn now looks AWFUL.  Which is why I have shown you a picture of tulips instead.  The tulips are wonderful.  It always surprises me.  You take these dead looking bulbs - all dry skin and withered roots - in the autumn and then push them into the earth and make sure they are buried deeply.  Completely covered.  Gone.  For months I had pots standing in the garden with nothing in them.  So I covered them with a layer of gravel.  They looked completely barren. 

The green shoots started to appear in Winter (well it was Winter here!) and I was sure that they would be frosted off and shrivel up.  Then suddenly there is this amazing show of beauty and colour.  The tulips have certainly been the star of the garden this May.  You can see why, once upon a time, they had a weight for weight value higher than gold.

The tulips are looking glorious - unlike the lawn.  So why the scarifying?  Why do something so destructive and disturbing - even to a lawn? 

Because it has to be done if you want to keep the grass growing and healthy.  The lawn will look bedraggled for a bit, but with a good application of “weed and feed” it will soon be growing green and strong again.  If you leave the dead grass it smothers the new growth and if you leave the small weeds they just grow bigger and stronger and take over as much earth as they can.  I once did that.  Happy with the effect of “green” even if it was mostly moss and weeds I left the lawn for some years.  Then concerned about the weeds I applied the patent “weed and feed.”  Result?  A landscape of bare earth and true barrenness with the odd wispy patch of grass.  Whoops! The lawn had disappeared and now needed really major work - a thorough digging over and re-seeding was in order – months or years to full recovery.  Or maybe the only solution was digging the whole thing up and bringing in new turf.

That’s why they call God the Gardener (John 15:1).  When He scrapes the mess and dead stuff out of our lives and throws it away we don’t like it.  It’s disturbing, and makes us look worse than we did before.  But He knows what He’s doing.  He does it to bring new life and health and growth – the end result will be even better than the beginning.  

And when we feel dry and dead and lifeless why does he make it worse by burying us alone somewhere dark and cold?  Because he knows what He’s doing.  It’s the only way to bring out the full potential of the life hidden deep within.  Come the spring the tulips will be glorious.  As you can see.



Photo Gallery: 

What the readers say... April 2016

Any of you out there who write or speak – books, blogs, magazines, radio, preaching and speaking - will know that it’s a strange thing to send words out in the air and not know what effect, if any, they are having.  The usual response is a massive silence, leaving you thinking “I wonder if I did the right thing?”

So its been a real joy of this website that some people, male and female, religious and non-religious, from the UK and from abroad, have contacted me directly to say how much they have been helped by “Missing Being Mrs.” I will let them speak for themselves:

The men say:

“I read the book immediately – almost at one go - but have since often re-read sections as I make my own chaotic way through what can never be anything more that a very individual and chaotic process – as you know and have described so well.”

“A massive thank-you for the help that your book has given to me and continues to give.  A friend handed it to me two years ago and I can see light at the end of the tunnel.”

“You so well, so painfully well, described much of what I was feeling and provided the comfort of knowing that someone else had felt this desolate once but had come through it”

The women say:

“Going through my break-up of a nine year relationship was one of the biggest tragedies of my life, your book was one of the many stepping stones during the beginning of my healing process.”

“My husband left me 6 months ago.  I am a Christian woman and your book has been incredible.  I can now see God in my situation…”

“My experience is widowhood, but so many of your comments rang true, like not seeing it coming, being left out, people not knowing what to do…”

“Just finished reading, for the second time, your incredible book: Missing being Mrs...Inspirational and totally honest... Loved it.”


Thank-you to all for your responses.

For more information or to buy the book via Amazon click here: Missing being Mrs


Unity March 2016

A while ago whilst cruising knitting blogs and sites (what else?) I came across a super project called “Flowers for Memories” which was exhibited at Yarndale 2015 to raise money for the Alzheimers Society.  People from all over the world contributed flowers they’d knitted and the idea was to sell them and so raise money for the charity.  A great idea which proved to be very successful and you can read all about it on Attic24’s blog.  (Click on the red colour to go straight there.)

But it wasn’t just the fundraising idea that struck me it was two of the pictures.  Two pictures that started suddenly speaking more than a thousand words to me.  The two pictures you can see at the side here.

O.K. they are just pictures of crocheted flowers.  Actually what I thought when I saw them was that the flowers at the top were the rejects – they looked a bit naff and amateurish- and I thought the flowers in the bottom picture were the best ones, which had been especially picked out and chosen for the event.  In the first picture the flowers seem to clash and compete with each other.  In the second each flower sets off the one next to it making them all seem even more beautiful.  The first is just a load of old crotched flowers flung together.  The second is a beautiful display of crocheted flowers you want to look at.  Then I read that they were in fact two pictures of the same collection of flowers. 

I was astounded.  I mean look at that first picture.  Can you see the kaleidoscopic orange, blue and pink one with the yellow centre?  Quite OTT. How is that ever going to fit in with the small, beaded lime green one - or that very plain sage doily shaped one?  And talking of shape there are singles, doubles and small posies in this picture.  How do they ever work together? It just shows the results you can get when you let a skilled eye look at the problem and allow a skilled hand to arrange things.  Isn’t it amazing?

Then the pictures started speaking to me of the church.  The first picture shows church as I often see it  - so many different types of people flung together in one place, loosely connected, very different and not all that attractive as a body together.  There are the quiet ones and the outrageous ones, the complicated ones and the plain and simple ones.  There is every colour and every pattern under the sun.  How can so may diverse people work together in unity?  At first sight it looks impossible.  But how amazing might it be if we let the skilled mind and hand of God put us into the arrangement He wants?  God has given so many different natural and supernatural gifts, talents, and ministries to all of us. (1 Cor. 12:4) How different might the church look if we let Him re-arrange us?  What a picture of unity we could be.


The Radiator February 2016

Sun! Rain! Wind! Snow! More rain! Sleet!  Thunder!  And that was just yesterday. They tell me it's something to do with Gertie or Henry, not sure which, but I wish they's stop squabbling.  I started my walk in the sun yesterday, admiring the spring bulbs courageously coming up through the cold earth and ten minutes later I was leaning into the wind watching incredulously as the snow built up on the front of my jacket!  Mind you the cold weather certainly helps you appreciate a new, well insulated, centrally heated home.  Which is what got me thinking about radiators.

The radiator

Verb: radiate

1.  emit (energy, especially light or heat) in the form of rays or waves.

e.g."the hot stars radiate energy"

synonyms: emit, give off, send out, discharge, diffuse

  2.  diverge or spread from or as if from a central point.

    e.g. "he ran down one of the passages that radiated from the room"

synonyms:  spread out, fan (out), ray (out), branch (out/off), extend, issue


Being a Christian.  It’s like being a radiator.  To radiate a radiator must be full.  A radiator is cold unless full of hot water.  It needs to be connected to the Boiler that produces the hot water.  It can’t get hot on its own.


If the hot water is not reaching the radiator the Plumber will check the pipework and make sure the connections are secure.  He’ll repair any holes or leaks.  Firm connections are essential.


He’ll also clear the bits of rust and debris that build up over the years and clog the pipes.

Lukewarm radiator?  It’s full of hot air.  Bleed out the radiator and allow room for the hot water again.


A hot radiator! Ahhh!  What a comfort.


January 2016 Happy New Year

Twenty sixteen!  Its a strange feeling for one who spent her childhood thinking 1984 was a science fiction book about the far future and that 2000 was a date I might never see.  Time marches on, we're still here but the he landscape around us continually changes.  Especially this year.

We spent our Boxing Day walk this year marvelling at the river (see August 2015 entry) which had, like so many this Autumn burst its banks and flooded.  My daughter and I stood and looked as it reclaimed the whole of the valley.  Instead of meandering quietly down the middle of the wide valley it spread to the limits of its valley, reclaimed the whole of its course so patiently washed out over the millennia.  I hadn’t realise how high the far banks were until I saw two farms perched on high ground on opposite sides of the river seperated by a mile or so of water. Local people had never seen anything like it. The only way to tell where the main course of the river lay was by a very confused grebe in mid channel speeding along at about 30 knots - without paddling!  Riding the current and wondering, I swear, why the scenery was passing by so quickly.

In our area there was little damage.  Local laws don’t allow building on the flood plain - and now we know why.   Stock was already moved to higher ground and the only casualties seem to be the odd field of barley – looking for a day or two like a paddy field of rice. Those living in Victorian houses were looking quite smug and never had a moment's worry as the water level rose, knowing that the generations before us always built above the high water line.  And so it has proved.  Despite the "once in a lifetime" river levels.

Even the swans were confused. (Bewicks I think, they always congregate in large numbers at this time of year) Their Swan Field had become a Swan Lake! For a while it was funny as they lined up along the crowded hedge ridges, obviously loathe to give up their traditional field. Eventually, (and it took a while) they started to colonise the still grassy field on the other side of the river.  How hard it is for all of us to adapt when the river floods!

Adapt we have though, smart high heeled shoes or warm leather boots have been exchanged for wellies, even for a walk to the shop. The dog-walkers have taken to the roads and the hills as all their favourite routes are under water.  Canoes have become more useful than cars in some places.  On the main roads the rushing cars drive more circumspectly.  Route planning precedes even the simplest journeys.  Diversions are in place all over.  Some country houses sit marooned for a while on their islands of isolation.  Much ditch digging and clearing is suddenly in evidence as neglected debris is cleared out and dumped in advance of the rising waters.  

Already the waters are receding.  Things change, and then recede back again to normality, or become a new normality.  This year will bring all its own changes so whether you choose to ride the current like the grebe, move to a different place like the swans, whether you choose to clear out the old or rebuild stronger may you be blessed in all this year brings.