Archive for January, 2009

Well, I haven’t written for a few days or is it weeks?  And now I am here to have a rant as I am rather fed up.

I have a rare illness called Ocular Cicatricial Pemphigoid and have been on DLA and Incapacity Benefit since I finished work over 2 years ago.  Them who have the powers decided I must have a medical to prove that I am actually unfit for work.

I have had the result, which I had to phone up for because the letter has got lost somewhere between being posted and being delivered.  The person I spoke to just said “YOU HAVE FAILED” in a tone of voice where actually she didn’t give a monkeys about how I would feel.  She did very kindly inform me that I could appeal if I felt it was worth it. Just in case you are wondering I will be appealing!

I have scored 10 and to pass I needed 15 or more.  So I am supposedly fit for work.  The next thought is if I don’t win the appeal I’ll have to get a job – bit of a good one that as we are in an economic crisis with hardly any jobs available. Then if I do get an interview I will have to tell them that if I do a full day I will need a sleep half way through, I have lots of hospital appointments, if it is a bad day I’ll not be able to come in to work – urrm which employer would like to employ me do we think? That of course doesn’t take into account that actually I’m not qualified to do anything but work with children but I’m not fit enough for that and to be honest 10 years of running after little ones was enough. Oh I have my ECDL too. Other than that not qualified for much else. 

I am now bordering on seeing the doc to restart the anti-depressants as it has really knocked me over the edge. I can and will appeal but whether it’ll make a difference who knows.

The people in the benefit office don’t seem to realise that it is human beings with feelings that they are dealing with – we are just a statistic that they have to get back to work to save the government some money.

As you can tell I am now in a rather angry phase of coming to terms with life – I did the weepy stage already.

Mr Church Mouse has been so supportive and understanding so I’ll take this opportunity to say thank-you again but he has also shared with me some thoughts:

Firstly some words of a hymn – “Trust in the Lord and don’t despair, He is a friend so true.  No matter what your troubles are, Jesus will see you through!”

Secondly – “When God leads you to the edge of a cliff, trust Him fully because only one of two things will happen, either He will catch you when you fall or He will teach you how to fly.”


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Going for a walk the other day with my lady-friend, we chose to explore the Southern end of the Lancaster canal.  On the opposite bank to the towpath a long row of terraced houses had back gardens which came to the edge of the canal bank. The land on which the houses were built was on a gentle incline and at the lower end the gardens were below the level of the canal bank.  This made it difficult to see what was in them.  As my girlfriend and I walked along, the houses and gardens began to rise until at one point the houses were some 25 feet above the canal.  It was fascinating to see what had been made of the various plots of land.  On the level the gardens were, in the main quite attractive with attempts to make an attractive edge where it met the water.  These varied in success from timber decking and  flags to clumps of rushes and weeds.  As the gardens became more sloped the variety of solutions became more interesting.  One was nothing more than a single expanse of sloping lawn.  Rather neat and tidy and I imaging fairly easy to maintain.  Another had been terraced with low walls dividing the levels.  Again quite neat but a little more work to maintain and not as user friendly.  Then we came to one which had been abandoned.  Overgrown with shrubs and bushes and just the vestiges of some long forgotten attempt to tame it.  The next few looked as if they might be “work in progress” although it was difficult to say when they were last visited.  Next we had a rather untidy bit of garden but a very well made timber landing stage against which was tied a pleasure boat.  Obviously their interest was in boating rather than gardening.  The angle of slope was getting much greater by now and sloping lawns seemed out of the question.  Long flights of stone steps with small areas of level terrace became the typical view with assorted concrete ornaments, plastic ducks, garden chairs and the occasional plant. Then a totally different solution. Just tip a vast quantity of rubble and debris down the slope and see what happens.  Well at least there would be no point in worrying about the bottom of the garden because it made it totally impossible to reach the bottom without sliding into the canal.  Now we have an attempt to create some woodland.  Or maybe it wasn’t created – it just grew.  Some very substantial trees growing from the slope and making a dense canopy to hide whatever might be lurking beneath.  At last we come to one which has had a considerable amount of money spent on it.  No sign of any garden but a vast expanse of new decking, stepped down at regular intervals with wooden steps and wrought iron infill to the balustrades.  A few thousand pounds must have been spent here.  By now the angle of slope has reached almost forty-five degrees and the attempts to make anything at all of the land get more and more futile.  Then we come to a very creative idea.  A large garden shed has been built out from the house level on wooden stilts, with decking around it.  Then a flight of steps to a much lower level which again has been built on stilts to achieve a usable area.  Then a few more steps down to a small decked area by the waters edge.  Hanging from two poles near the canal bank is a projection screen.  Some barbecue equipment  is standing around along with chairs and tables.  I can just imagine that on a warm summers evening the owners and their friends might be found having a meal by the canal side with the football being projected from the garden shed onto the screen and perhaps a few more people sat on the pleasure boat which was tied up nearby. 

By this time we need to turn round and retrace our steps back to the car but it made me think that with a little imagination something useful could be made out of the most difficult situation if the will was there.  But I think that my personal choice would be to live somewhere else – like where I live now.

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A good turn

The other day I was passing through our village and noticed some electricity workers attaching a new cable to the top of an electricity pole near to our Church.  Some time later I passed again and they were still hard at work.  By this time it was snowing quite hard and the man in the cherry picker working at the top of the pole looked rather festive in his thick covering of snow.  A luncheon club was about to finish at our Church and it occurred to me that the workmen might appreciate the use of the toilet and perhaps a cup of hot tea. I went across to them and invited them to use our premises if they wanted to.  They took up my offer and enjoyed sitting in the warmth for a few minutes with a hot drink.  The man who appeared to be the foreman explained that whenever they worked in a town or village they received the same kindness and offers of drinks and shelter but not in the countryside.  He said that they are usually met with hostility by farmers, who resent them even crossing their fields to gain access to the equipment.  It struck me as strange that there should be such a clear divide in this way but encouraging that the majority of people are willing to offer help and support when needed.

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You will have to excuse me when reading this thought but it was something that occured to me the other day.   So here goes:

If you have a bag of sweets and have to share them you end up only having half the amount you started with, however if you share your germs with someone you don’t have any less germs than when you started.  Now why is that?  To me it just seems a little unfair…..

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God has a way of working through the things we did unintentionally as well as through the deeds we do through our faithfulness to His Word.  A Church not far from us wanted to create a new website and found a volunteer webmaster who, although he did not attend the Church, was quite willing to have a go.  The website has grown into an excellent form of outreach but the interesting fact is that the webmaster now attends Church every Sunday.  Just recently I noticed that a Bible had been left on the window bottom in the Church kitchen. By rights “they” should have put it away but as usual “they” hadn’t got round to doing anything about it.  I went into the kitchen after the coffee morning and found one of the ladies who attends regularly reading the Bible.  She is not a Methodist but had the Bible open at Corinthians and as I walked in said, “this is a wonderful story isn’t it.”  It makes me realise that even when we have failed in our duty God is still able to use our failings to reach others.  In the words of the hymn “Jesus, take me as I am, I can come no other way”

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Israel war

It is impossible to imagine what it must be like living in either Israel or Palestine at the moment.  Perhaps without first hand knowledge of the situation one should reserve judgement on who is right and wrong.  What does seem apparent is that we are living in the end times and these wars are happening as prophesied in the Bible.  The most important thing is that we are prepared and in a right relationship with God and leave the rest to Him.

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As Methodists we make a promise (a covenant) each new year to offer our lives to following Jesus.  We do this by saying the following prayer:

“I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing,
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you,
or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.”

I guess some people may find this prayer difficult to say – certainly some parts make you really think – but then I guess nobody said that being a Christian would be an easy ride.

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