Thursday, 27 May 2010

Hell and Earth

Something is rotten in the state of ....hmm...well let's start with the Vatican. Although, amusingly so. The mistresses of forty Italian priests, have written to the Pope, calling for celibacy to be no longer required. About bloody time. Still, I won't hold my breath and nor, I'm sure, will they. El Papa would rather risk the continued sexual abuse by his foot soldiers, than allow what God ordained.
Pope Pillock the many?

Meanwhile, Elton John is being a cheeky little bugger (sic). He is stirring things up with his concert in Muslim Morocco. Nice one Sir Elton.

Yesterday, my friend told me that her partner had been on a plane, returning to YVR from New York. An Hacidic Jew made a fuss, refusing to sit next to a woman. No-one seemed at all sympathetic, and presumably, had a woman (or man) refused to sit next to an Hacidic Jew, all hell would have broken loose. Eventually, another woman went and sat next to the first woman, leaving a space next to a man.

Today was full of the warm kind of Judaism and this afternoon, the weather mirrored that. It was perfection. Warm, in a just-the-right-temperature kind of way, bright, but not blazingly sunny, a gentle breeze whispering through the trees, and an edge of sultriness.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Happy Birthday Alex

Happy Birthday to my darling daughter. So wonderful to be able to share it with you. Sorry I had to steal the photo.
Bandits are everywhere.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Hope and Politics

Britain swelters under a heatwave. I smile because we're not. Then the sun beats down again and it becomes ridiculously hot here too. D'oh.

Kev and I went down to Washington State at the weekend. There the weather was teasing, cold, hot, cold, hot, hmmm...sounds more like a fever. We swanned past the queues with our Nexus passes, but soon I will have to get another visa waiver. It was definitely worth the minor effort of getting Nexus, to cross the border when the weekend contains a bank holiday.

On Friday, my general ennui with the new government in Britain, suddenly fell away as I learnt that Diane Abbott was to enter the Labour party's leadership race. Holy Carp! I thought, not only is she a woman, but she truly is a dyed-in-the-wool socialist. I immediately wrote to her office expressing my support. Not that it helps them, since I long since let my membership of the Labour Party lapse, so I can't even vote for her, but I'll be cheering from the sidelines. Go Diane, go!

I was also greatly cheered to learn that some subversive Catholics have ordained a woman. Sorry, rebel Catholics. Glad tidings indeed, as Maria Vittoria Longhitano herself says,

""I have opened the way. Catholicism means universality, and without women it is mutilated." " Well said your priestliness, well said.

On a rather distasteful note, a pensioner in Britain has been gaoled for having sex with a donkey and a horse. And in my opinion, that's all it is, distasteful, why the bloody hell should the British taxpayer have to shell out to have a man imprisoned for sex with animals when actual rapists roam free? Personally, I find many sexual things distasteful, for example, the idea that Jeremy Clarkson might be allowed to freely have sex with another human being, but I don't think he should be sent down for it. Oh wait,, no, really, no.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Mitchell and Webcams

Isn't Madonna queen of Malawi or something? So why isn't she doing something about this outrage? Why is the British government not intending to stop sending aid? Holy carp, it's not two years since I sat in the dolphin tank room at Van Aq and listened while two gentlemen from Malawi droned on about how men in their country force all the young girls in their village to have sex with them, and the bloody judge in this case has the fecking brass neck to call the perfectly normal and consensual sex between two adults as 'gross indecency'? Aaargh!!!!

However, almost as important, is the unveiling of the London Olympic mascots. I understand they have been reviled by the whole planet. They are, apparently, gender neutral webcam-based lifeforms. Not too inspiring, I must admit, but then the mascots we had were just cheesy and unappealing. I'm not entirely sure why we need mascots at all. I also don't know why we need Sebastian Coe, but there you go.

Whatever, David Mitchell cheered me up. Our advertising industry here is doing its best to break the English language, they have given us such gems as 'Live Healthy!', 'Much more cleaning ingredients' and 'less tissues'. I now add to that, 'two pair glasses'.

Incidentally, after I had had this picture taken yesterday, someone came along and said, 'oh, good old WC Fields!', hopefully they were talking about Winnie and not me.

Sunday, 16 May 2010


So much, so much.
Saturday. The day started early, really early.
At 5.30 the sprayer plane was strafing the area again against Gypsy Moths.

At 7.00, we had to get up, had to be downtown by 8.30. Synod.
Someone joked that we are no longer the Conservative party at prayer. I think it was a joke. But of course we are, of course we bloody are, oh, for sure not one of us is a card-carrying Tory, many might even be card-carrying socialists, but we're the righteous wing of the Tories. When we pray, God fidgets from boredom.

I think we misunderstand the changeless quality of God.
We think that because we change and God doesn't, that what that means is that God has always been as we have always perceived God.
What it really means is that our perceptions of God need to change, because actually, we didn't get it right before. We saw God in our own image, but as out own image changed, we forgot to update.

A Rabbi came to Synod. He gave up his Sabbath to spend it with a bunch of Anglicans. And he was an interesting speaker. He is working on interfaith with the Vancouver School of Theology, who are top bananas on inclusive language, which he used and it sounded so natural.
Since he wasn't observing the Sabbath in his normal way, he forgot to turn his phone off, and thus received a call from a Muslim colleague, whilst hanging with the Proddies.
He chided us gently and deservedly on a bit of Jew blaming that we maybe hadn't noticed.
And this is what I like about us. Despite our blandness, we understand enough to know that Christianity isn't the only answer. The Jews fight amongst themselves, the Muslims fight amongst themselves and the Christians fight amongst themselves. And yet there is at least a layer of each that can find the common ground, or enough shared ground to make it work, and to realise that any way of being spiritual is good and that the important questions like equality and social justice shouldn't be sheltered by nor the purlieu of religions.

At lunchtime, we go and eat at an Italian place, but Italian food is not designed to be eaten quickly, my soup burns me, my sandwich has to be taken away in a polystyrene box. I hate this, but I can't leave food to be thrown away, too cavalier by half.

There was a really good film about how the Anglican church in our diocese had treated Japanese Anglicans during the war. It had sold their churches, so that when they were finally allowed back from internment, four years after the war, not only had their homes and livelihoods been taken from them by the government, but so had their churches.
The bishop apologised formally to them.
This whole apologising for stuff that other people have done leaves me cold. How does it close that wound? How does it address what was done? It feels as though it is supposed to draw a line under the episode, but it doesn't.
Still, I look forward with eager anticipation to the bishop's apology to women for the ongoing discrimination and misogyny within the church, and for the misrepresentation of God as male.

Afterwards, I wander down to Coal Harbour and sit and have coffee outside a café. A young Japanese man tries to get his boxer dog to sit outside the café, but the dog keeps wandering inside. The man never succeeds with the dog, but eventually gets an ice-cream despite the protestations of the server. They wander off and the Boxer attacks a long-haired dachsie, The owner is not amused.

I make my way along the waterfront until I get to the cruise ship terminal. The ships are so big they are frightening. I wonder if this is like the one Dawn and I will go on this summer.

I meet up with Kevin and later with our friends who are moving to Toronto in a couple of weeks.
Kevin and I are passed by Sikhs on motorbikes. Hard Sikhs, allowed to wear turbans instead of motorcycle helmets. It makes sense I suppose, the warriors.
We go past a restaurant soon to be opened. It will be called 'L'Abattoir'. Seriously. I'm guessing it won't be a vegetarian restaurant, but even so, grim name for somewhere to eat.
In the restaurant where we are to eat, the server recognises Steve from a play he was in. That's weird. He's our friend, but he's in TV, films and plays and gets recognised.

We arrive home around 23.00 and there is an e-mail from someone in my writers' group. She is the exact same age as me, and her daughter has died, suddenly. I can't get my head around this. It has shaken me. Then today, an 80s number on the radio makes me lose it because she and I, in different countries on different continents, must have danced to this number as young women, everything ahead of us, and now I think of her on a plane, going back to deal with what awaits her there, the worst thing a mother can imagine.
Sitting in the cathedral yesterday, I looked at the stained glass window. A well-fed, modestly dressed, white Jesus, looks down from the cross, not in agony, but with an expression of resignation. Equally well-fed, white followers crowd around him. Only his mother kneels at his feet, her pose one of agony for the suffering of her son.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Ups and Downs

Today, the local rag reported that the girls from the Little Flower Academy - the school from which a music teacher was 'sent home' to sit out her contract, on account of her being heterosexually challenged - have been themselves experiencing a bit of ostracism. Apparently, bus drivers have been not letting them onto buses. For the love of Marmite, what is the world coming to when actual rich people are being singled out and treated as though they were different.

Meanwhile, over in one of the lesser Provinces, a Bill is being drawn up which, if enacted, would allow Marriage Commissioners to opt out of marrying same sex couple if they have religious objections. Frankly, the Law has been in place for a number of years now, if you object to marrying any particular set of people, then you shouldn't be a marriage commissioner in Canada.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

11th May 2010

Oh dear. I suppose it had to happen. DeCameron as Head Prefect. What a big pile of stinking poo.

On the plus side, it has led Austen to start a blog, writing about the general turmoil leading up to the big pile of stinking poo. I hope he keeps writing, I've been finding it very readable and interesting.

Women bishops are in the news again it seems. Apparently we could have some by as early as 2014! Yes, imagine! What I STILL can't fathom is how they can get away with saying shit that basically amounts to, 'but why isn't there any provision for the bigots?' Boo-hoo. Who cares.

Anyhoo, the most important thing about today, is that it's Sleepy's birthday. A big one. So, once more, Happy Birthday my friend! Good luck with 'The Resolution'.

Saturday, 8 May 2010


I'm trying to make up a word like 'mansplaining', only instead of meaning 'when men explain something in simple terms for the wimminz', I want a word that means 'when people who know someone who knows someone who knows a Brit, who knows better than you, the person who lived there for well over forty years of your life. Maybe 'Britsplaining'.

This happens to me a lot.

Here's an example. Apparently, there is a now (quite rightly) not-to-be-used expression, 'to Jew someone down' and this seems to mean to haggle them down. (I think). I have heard this from a number of sources since I've been here. The other day, this expression was being explained to me again, and I was foolhardy enough to say that I'd never heard the expression before coming to Canada. WRONG!!!! The friend of a friend of a friend, KNEW that it was an English expression from Britain.

I am frequently having to explain how, in spite of having an English accent, I don't drink tea. In fact, coffee drinking is just as usual as tea drinking, particularly in the south. WRONG AGAIN!!!! Someone's grandmother's entire family came from England and everyone drinks tea there.

Then there is the Britsplaining based on TV. This can go hand-in-hand with communication difficulties because of language difference. The other day I had an entire conversation about turnip growing that turned out to be about tulips. But I digress.
Tonight's convo went like this,
'You leave England and come to Canada?'
'Canada better,'
'No, not really, much the same,'
'Weather much better here,'
'Nope, pretty similar, much the same really,'
'No, no, no, no, no, it always fog in England,'
'No, nope, bit in November but not a lot really,'
'Oh yes, it alway fog in England,'
'Nope, really, no.'

And, sigh.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Gypsy Moth

This is the beginning of my frat-free weekend. Kevin has gone on the frat camping weekend, which makes me scuttle around cleaning and tidying. I imagine that drunken hockey listening is happening.
Do bears shit in the woods?
Most assuredly, but drunken engineers have to too.

The city has been spraying the area to combat gypsy moths, not the first world war aeroplanes you understand, the actual moths. They've imposed a ban on pesticides, so they have to spray with some kind of bacterial agent. And they have to spray at five o'clock in the morning. The plane going over sounds unlike any earthly plane, in fact it sounds for all the world like a gigantic insect flying low over the house and strafing it over and over again for an hour. Disturbing.

I have noticed, since being back at work this time, that the children have become more planet smart. Before Christmas, when ever I would ask them what we always should do when leaving a room or building, I hardly ever got a sensible answer. Since Easter, they have all got it almost straight off the bat.
And another thing that has improved has been the inclusive language of the teachers. I wonder if someone has been reminding them that that is what they are supposed to do. I can't see that the two are connected. The energy awareness was heavily pushed on TV during the Olympics, and then there was Earth Day.

Either way, it's all good.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

All Greek to Me

I can simply not get my head round what the hell is happening in Greece. The behaviour of the Greek people seems beyond belief. And yet is it? Faced with having to make even the slightest effort, people bitch and moan, they refuse to change bad habits and would rather the planet died than that they had to drive less, turn off unnecessary lights or curb consumption. The Greeks are merely taking it to an absolutley ridiculous level.

Tomorrow, Great Britain goes to the polls - sadly without me, the Icelandic volcano made it impossible to register to vote from abroad. I'm sure I wouldn't have changed the outcome, but I'd like to have had a voice.

A strange day at work. The same school was due to come in for a programme both morning and afternoon. In the morning, they rang up to say that their bus had broken down and they were having to borrow St. Patrick's. Unfortunately, St. Patrick couldn't lend it in the afternoon. Lucky he was able to lend it all really, he never seemed like a bus owner to me.
We ended up making our own field trip to Iona Beach in the afternoon. Since we had to go to my house to get the car, we also picked up Whisky, who had the most puppylicious time romping through the wet sand. He ended up smelling like sewage and looking like some kind of oil spill victim. I took him straight up to the shower when we got home.