Annie and Mary think about Christmas

Mary and her much loved next door neighbour Annie were discussing what to do for Christmas .They had both lost their husbands on their journey through life. I have to inform you here ear Annie who was the mistress of Mary’s husband Stanley for the years at the end of his life and ironically it made her closer to Mary

In fact Mary believed that Annie had killed her own husband because she needed the insurance money. Mary had not said anything because it would never happen. Furthermore she did not have any proof inl but it was a gut reaction as the husband disappeared very suddenly. But she had been a big help to Mary when Stan was ill. She even took 0 their cat Emile out t in her shopping trolley so he could enjoy local scene without danger of getting lost or attacked on route.

And the doctor had never been called.

She will believe what she says because she is so polite

Even if you call the doctor now they don’t come but a few years ago they did especially to old people.

But why had Annie not called 999 and left Dave to have a look at her husband it she was worried about him? That is very suspicious. perhaps her husband never felt ill until she hit him on the head with a cast iron saucepan.

Annie had told her that her husband ran away with his sister-in-law and they had gone to New Zealand but Mary knows she has a lot more money now than she did before. And she did not have a job Perhaps an unknown relative left her some money in their will.

Could Annie have murdered one of her relatives without Mary getting a hint of this crime?

Is your daughter Lyra coming home for Christmas Annie said to Mary. We have not seen her for a very long time. What pity she never had any children. Are you sorry about it? Oh I’m so sorry I should not have said that because it’s not my right to pry into your affairs.

it’s odd that you say that because I got a letter from her this morning or should I say an email from her, she said she’s going to go to Morocco because she doesn’t like the weather in England in December and January and she’s got a cheap holiday for 4 weeks in Morocco for only £69.69.

That’s very cheap replied Annie Do you think we should go to Morocco? Somewhere similar?

No said Mary I don’t like being in a hotel at Christmas.and do they have Turkeys in Morocco?

No they probably have Turkish people but not turkeys

Well we can’t have a roasted Turkish person for Christmas dinner because we are no longer man eating people Annie joked. Well we might have been eating Boris Johnson. Descended from a Turk so I read in the New York Times

They wouldn’t know how to cook Turkeys properly over there.Mary told her .

What I’m proposing is that we will stay here in your house Mary for Christmas morning so I can help too with the cooking and since you have got a big dining room we can invite a couple of local people who have nowhere to go to come and eat a Christmas dinner with us 

But what about Dave our favourite paramedic? Shall we invite him to have Christmas dinner with us?

No we won’t invite him. But we can ring 999 and get him to come round if the leg falls off the table. I hope the leg doesn’t fall off while we are eating the dinner though

Well for goodness sake get a man to look at the table before Christmas.

Alright I will get someone to come and look at my leg as well. I can get that nice man Tom who came last year.

You are a total nutcase. He’s a carpenter your leg is not made of wood

I see I made the wrong kind of logical conclusions

A carpenter can mend the table leg or the chair leg. But we need a doctor for our painful human legs

We could listen to the King making his speech at 3pm on ChristmS Day and we must watch because it will be a historic occasion it will be his first time as the King at Christmas. He must have spent a long time preparing for this moment and deciding what to put into a speech but he’s got to be careful with the present government 

Yes that’s alright by me, if I make the Christmas pudding will you make the mince pies?

Oh yes I will said Annie I quite like making pastry., I might put some brandy in

Then at 4 pm we’ll have a cup of our favourite Earl Grey tea and we can send the visitors back to their own home or whatever else they want to go go and then we will go to your house or should we do the washing up first?

We can gossip about the neighbours moan about the government and wonder how we will keep warm in the very cold weather We will find out what’s on the television or we could even get a DVD of something like Ben-Hur. You see it’s a very long film and the leading actor Charlton Heston is extremely handsome so it will give us someone to fantasise about. And the chariot ride is very exciting even if you’ve seen it before

But you won’t relax when you see the main character’s mother and his sister being sent to prison then a leper colony.

Well you know what I mean. It’s very well made unlike the more recent ones and you know that good will prevail in the end athough later Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. They killed almost everyone in Jerusalem and set the temple on fire.

It’s only a provisional arrangement because who knows you might meet some charming man between now and Christmas but let’s promise each other that we won’t let each other down by going off with a stranger for the Christmas weekend. Even if he looks like Charlton Heston. You should know by now appearances can be very deceptive.

I don’t really mind said Mary. I could even rewrite my thesis as they want me to make it 50% shorter.

Well that’s not difficult said her friend.

You could just cut it in half with a pair of kitchen scissors.

I don’t think statisticians would like that, Mary informed her. 

Well in that case you could apply to become a student at the school of art and you can present that as 2 halves of a thesis glued to a breadboard with a pair of kitchen scissors glued in the middle and some red paint splashed on the things. Or even some tar

Alternatively you could simply have your dissertation retyped and leave out the last two chapters then you would have to write a new conclusion of course but that wouldn’t be tremendous lot of effort effort

But the last option will give me more to think about,Mary cried.Who wants to think about numbers on Christmas Day.

Sometimes we need to think about numbers like the number of guests who are coming for Christmas dinner. Few people want to calculate the standard deviation from the average wage and it’s a median average you can’t calculate the standard deviation. No it’s not a ratio scale.

You’ve lost me cried Annie. What on earth is a ratio? You could start giving tutorials on statistics to the retired population of Knittingham.

So say all of us

Love’s victory

Turn back, live again, he asked of me
Do not wander in this darkness anymore
One false step might give death victory

We are each connected to that tree
The sunlit top, the roots hid in earth’s floor
Come back, live again, he asked of me

While we live, we’ll live with dignity
Not scrabbling for the gold in blood and gore
One false step will give death victory

The kindness of the golden light was clear
And left an image in my mind’s deep core
Come back, live your life, he then soothed me

Do not wonder now why you are here
We’re here to live and living shall restore
What our suffering self has found so dear

I had never seen the Light before
Only Christ the Tyger with his roar
Come back, live through pain, he asked of me
One right step will give love victory

Daddy’s coming home

At three o’clock, we ran across the park
Then up the Wigan Road, we children roamed
Past the houses and along the fields
Looking for our daddy coming home
Looking for our daddy coming home.

I was only  two or three  at most
We passed our church and saw the Pope in Rome
We climbed a fence and walked by fields of wheat
Looking for our daddy coming home
Looking for our daddy coming home.

From the distance came a tall thin man
A ladder on his shoulder, hair well combed
A bucket full of paints and all his tools
Look, Paul, is that daddy coming home?
Bernard, I think daddy’s coming home!

A look of shock, a smile, a cry, my loves!
He rushed towards us, happy and transformed
What about your mammy does she know?
Yes, yes, yes it’s daddy coming home
Yes, yes, yes, it’s daddy coming home.

Oh,Mammy had no idea   of  it at all
She thought we were just playing by the wall
Children were much bolder and more free
 But Daddy  went to Heaven after that

Annie and Mary think about Christmas

Mary and her much loved next door neighbour Annie were discussing what to do for Christmas .They had both lost their husbands on their journey through life. I have to inform you here ear Annie who was the mistress of Mary’s husband Stanley for the years at the end of his life and ironically it made her closer to Mary

In fact Mary believed that Annie had killed her own husband because she needed the insurance money. Mary had not said anything because it would never happen. Furthermore she did not have any proof inl but it was a gut reaction as the husband disappeared very suddenly. But she had been a big help to Mary when Stan was ill. She even took 0 their cat Emile out t in her shopping trolley so he could enjoy local scene without danger of getting lost or attacked on route.

And the doctor had never been called.

She will believe what she says because she is so polite

Even if you call the doctor now they don’t come but a few years ago they did especially to old people.

But why had Annie not called 999 and left Dave to have a look at her husband it she was worried about him? That is very suspicious. perhaps her husband never felt ill until she hit him on the head with a cast iron saucepan.

Annie had told her that her husband ran away with his sister-in-law and they had gone to New Zealand but Mary knows she has a lot more money now than she did before. And she did not have a job Perhaps an unknown relative left her some money in their will.

Could Annie have murdered one of her relatives without Mary getting a hint of this crime?

Is your daughter Lyra coming home for Christmas Annie said to Mary. We have not seen her for a very long time. What pity she never had any children. Are you sorry about it? Oh I’m so sorry I should not have said that because it’s not my right to pry into your affairs.

it’s odd that you say that because I got a letter from her this morning or should I say an email from her, she said she’s going to go to Morocco because she doesn’t like the weather in England in December and January and she’s got a cheap holiday for 4 weeks in Morocco for only £69.69.

That’s very cheap replied Annie Do you think we should go to Morocco? Somewhere similar?

No said Mary I don’t like being in a hotel at Christmas.and do they have Turkeys in Morocco?

No they probably have Turkish people but not turkeys

Well we can’t have a roasted Turkish person for Christmas dinner because we are no longer man eating people Annie joked. Well we might have been eating Boris Johnson. Descended from a Turk so I read in the New York Times

They wouldn’t know how to cook Turkeys properly over there.Mary told her .

What I’m proposing is that we will stay here in your house Mary for Christmas morning so I can help too with the cooking and since you have got a big dining room we can invite a couple of local people who have nowhere to go to come and eat a Christmas dinner with us 

But what about Dave our favourite paramedic? Shall we invite him to have Christmas dinner with us?

No we won’t invite him. But we can ring 999 and get him to come round if the leg falls off the table. I hope the leg doesn’t fall off while we are eating the dinner though

Well for goodness sake get a man to look at the table before Christmas.

Alright I will get someone to come and look at my leg as well. I can get that nice man Tom who came last year.

You are a total nutcase. He’s a carpenter your leg is not made of wood

I see I made the wrong kind of logical conclusions

A carpenter can mend the table leg or the chair leg. But we need a doctor for our painful human legs

We could listen to the King making his speech at 3pm on ChristmS Day and we must watch because it will be a historic occasion it will be his first time as the King at Christmas. He must have spent a long time preparing for this moment and deciding what to put into a speech but he’s got to be careful with the present government 

Yes that’s alright by me, if I make the Christmas pudding will you make the mince pies?

Oh yes I will said Annie I quite like making pastry., I might put some brandy in

Then at 4 pm we’ll have a cup of our favourite Earl Grey tea and we can send the visitors back to their own home or whatever else they want to go go and then we will go to your house or should we do the washing up first?

We can gossip about the neighbours moan about the government and wonder how we will keep warm in the very cold weather We will find out what’s on the television or we could even get a DVD of something like Ben-Hur. You see it’s a very long film and the leading actor Charlton Heston is extremely handsome so it will give us someone to fantasise about. And the chariot ride is very exciting even if you’ve seen it before

But you won’t relax when you see the main character’s mother and his sister being sent to prison then a leper colony.

Well you know what I mean. It’s very well made unlike the more recent ones and you know that good will prevail in the end athough later Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. They killed almost everyone in Jerusalem and set the temple on fire.

It’s only a provisional arrangement because who knows you might meet some charming man between now and Christmas but let’s promise each other that we won’t let each other down by going off with a stranger for the Christmas weekend. Even if he looks like Charlton Heston. You should know by now appearances can be very deceptive.

I don’t really mind said Mary. I could even rewrite my thesis as they want me to make it 50% shorter.

Well that’s not difficult said her friend.

You could just cut it in half with a pair of kitchen scissors.

I don’t think statisticians would like that, Mary informed her. 

Well in that case you could apply to become a student at the school of art and you can present that as 2 halves of a thesis glued to a breadboard with a pair of kitchen scissors glued in the middle and some red paint splashed on the things. Or even some tar

Alternatively you could simply have your dissertation retyped and leave out the last two chapters then you would have to write a new conclusion of course but that wouldn’t be tremendous lot of effort effort

But the last option will give me more to think about,Mary cried.Who wants to think about numbers on Christmas Day.

Sometimes we need to think about numbers like the number of guests who are coming for Christmas dinner. Few people want to calculate the standard deviation from the average wage and it’s a median average you can’t calculate the standard deviation. No it’s not a ratio scale.

You’ve lost me cried Annie. What on earth is a ratio? You could start giving tutorials on statistics to the retired population of Knittingham.

So say all of us

Why it’s important to study the humanities

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/26/the-guardian-view-on-the-humanities-the-importance-of-being-rounded

S

But besides such practical issues is the larger question of what a good life is. This week, a group spearheaded by the British Academy and including the London School of Economics and Arts Council England offered their answer: a parallel acronym, Shape – social sciences, humanities and the arts for people and the economy. So everything from fine art to psychology to economics: the disciplines that help us govern ourselves, understand how we have developed over time and argue for doing it all better.

The argument for Shape can, if necessary, be economic: last year the arts and culture sector overtook agriculture in terms of its contribution, at £10.8bn a year. The humanities’ supposed lack of obvious vocational pathways is in fact a strength in an economy where flexibility and entrepreneurship are prized, while the perception of lower employability is not borne out by facts – 88% of Shape graduates were employed in 2017 (compared with 89% for Stem).

Shape subjects will also be central to answering the most urgent questions we face; science, for instance, is foundational to comprehending the climate emergency, but will not effect the political and behavioural changes needed to achieve net zero. Nor will it necessarily predict or mould the future. Eric Hobsbawm may have found it baffling that “brilliant fashion designers … sometimes succeed in anticipating the shape of things to come better than professional predictors”; the fact remains they sometimes can. The stem of a plant is, after all, sustained and not just decorated by its leaves.

We should not be shy to argue for confidence and curiosity, joy and openness as good in themselves. Along with Stem, Shape subjects have the potential to open up the full extent of our humanity, to help shape a well-rounded, empathetic and resilient body politic. Fighting for equal weighting for these disciplines is not only good but also necessary.

• This article was amended on 29 June 2020 to remove an incorrect reference to Nicky Morgan having been the UK’s education secretary. As education is a devolved matter, Morgan oversaw education policy for England only.

A golden sheet

I saw your soul like that of a wild bird


Someone other guided me to act
Deep inside my voice had been unlocked
I sang the psalms and then a lullaby
Not aware in thought that you would die.


I fed you with a teaspoon the mashed fish
From a plate as good as one might wish
Like a little child you tried your best
You smiled at me and gazed like one who’s blessed


You sat up with a brighter face at last
Then lay back and God knows all the rest

Oh, don’t go yet ,my darling,I am here
The floor of heaven came down amidst my tears
Made of sumptuous satin, gold,revered
For a little moment it hung low
Then it rose and took you in its glow
I saw your soul like that of a wild bird
Taken by the Power who spoke the Word


A sheet of tears fell down from my closed eyes
It’s hard ,so hard when those you love must die

Which way?

My path has been obscured by heavy rain

Tangled ancient brambles bite my flesh.

I am lost, will I get home again?

No one here will help me they all laugh

The rain that fell was not a cleansing wash

My path has been obscured by heavy rain

I did no wrong but still I feel ashamed.

My mind and my emotions sadly crashed

I am lost I can’t get home again

Wandering on my own without a path

Have I become a beggar, poor unwashed?

My path has been obscured by heavy rain.

Life is not a jigsaw nor a game

Did anyone at all ask where I was?

Feeling lost I can’t get home again

I must find a way I have no map.

Take me, take me, take me from this trap

My path was washed away by heavy rain

I’ve come so far, I wish my route was plain.

On a motorbike with God

There were three of us on this motorbike,
Father Dan with me,
And he had Jesus in his bag.
That makes the total three.

Transubstantiation, oh my Lord
I looked at his black bag.
Is Jesus inside there, I thought?
Should it have a tag?

It’s a secret never told
Father Dan gave it me to hold.
So I had Jesus in my lap,
No wonder now I feel a gap.

We zoomed off up an unmade road
As fast as Dan could go.
I felt bewildered and bemused,
I loved my Daddy so.

Father Dan took back his bag,
And went inside our house.
I got my marbles out to roll,
I feared I’d see a mouse.

So Three of had taken a ride
And after that, my Dad had died.
Father Dan said Mass today
Still with Jesus, so I cried.

Reflections

I knew myself in his face when he lived

But now I have no mirror,I’m alone.

I learned myself reflected in his love.

An actual mirror seems like a dull stone

I was alive when mirrored his eyes

For those who hate us do not give us life.

What’s the answer when when the loved one dies?

Without a husband there can be no wife.

All alone my blood seems not to flow.

The wellspring of my heart is arid,dry.

My hands curl up protective on my heart

I have no tears and so I cannot cry.

Yet I bleed inside from every part.

So where is my reflection, where my grace?

I feel I cannot live without his face.

Raspberry canes that chuckle in the wind

The empty canes of raspberries hang low

Red maple leaves are mashed up in the mud

Nature seems to hover by death’s door

Animals and humans drained as whores

No feeling ,no green sap,no flowing blood

The crackling canes of raspberries hang low as

What can we say un-cliched, metaphored?

At dawn the sun will burn despite the Flood

Nature did not force us through death’s door

Can the death of God mean this and more,

Though love and hate are fractured, life is good?

The chuckling canes the berries sang below

Can a life with heart not be restored?

End retaliation, understand

Nature did not wave us through the door

At the edge of Europe are no hordes

Jesus is more small than any bud

The crackling canes stored laughter in their cores

The remnants of the foxgloves in the wood

Wave politely . even seem to nod

The raspberry canes, the honesty know more

Nature ,light and darkness, affect stored