The man at the door

 

 

stocksnap_62cbb24bee

 

Once again I was listening to the radio, when some lines from a song caught my attention:

…  “A drawing of a man standin’ outside the door

He said, ‘I see him in my dreams

He comforts me when I can’t sleep'”

I had to go and look the lyrics up. They come from a song by TobyMac, featuring Nirva Ready called This Christmas (Father of the Fatherless), found on the album Christmas in Diversecity.

So who is this man at the door? It reminded me of the man in the bible mentioned in Revelation 3.20. You know, the one who says,

“Here I am, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person and they with me.”

So many have dreamt of him, let him in and had their lives changed by him. At the end of a year of so many surprises and changes, some of which have left us sleepless, here is someone who is constant and reliable. Sleepless? Let him comfort you today.

Wiggle

The grandkids were in the car, listening to the radio. I was miles away when suddenly a song came to the foreground of my thinking:

“You know what to do with that big fat butt

Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle

Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle

Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle”

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/jasonderulo/wiggle.html

There was silence: and then a fit of giggling from the back. The song continued. More wiggling and more giggles. So yes, on one level, it is extremely funny, but on another …

A boy sees a girl with a big bum (yes, it does look big in that) that has been stuffed into the tightest pair of jeans she can find . “I got one question. How do you fit all that … in them jeans?” She is desirable. He talks about what he would like to do to her, offering fame on Instagram in return. It’s not nice. I was surprised that such explicit lyrics, albeit inferred, were allowed to be played on the radio. And this is the song some kids have been singing in the playground.

Anthony from Canterbury

Anthony. Anthony from Canterbury. He has a lot to answer for.

The boys met Anthony last summer when we went to church in Deal. He was one of the people they played with while the grown ups listened to the sermon.

He doesn’t come from Canterbury. Really. He goes to school in Canterbury, which is almost the same thing.

In our family, his name has been used as a chant, usually as some sort of war cry to annoy the adults. Then the other day, oldest grandson experimented with the stresses and rhythms of the chant to produce some very clever choral speaking. He assigned different parts to his siblings and what had been a raucous war cry became a very pleasing sound experiment.

So Anthony, you may never know the fun we have had with your name, but know this; you will always be remembered with great affection in our family.

The best beach barbecue ever

I have fond memories of being on holiday with friends. We would go to the beach and as everyone else went home for their evening meal, Alan would light a barbecue. It was warm, sunny and quiet after the fun and games of the day. Time to open a few beers as we waited for the charcoal to be the right temperature for cooking. Time to enjoy the special glow of the early evening and and the specialness of the occasion.

We’ve had beach barbecues at our little seaside getaway before, but not a planned birthday celebration. I invited the family, shopped for the food and ordered the meat from the village butcher.

After a morning swim, we were ready for the beach. There was a lot to take: picnic blankets, chairs, the barbecue, not forgetting charcoal, matches and a bucket to carry water to put the fire out. I packed the shopping trolley with food and drink.

Last year the grandkids and I had found the perfect barbecue site. Set back from the sea, but far enough away from the road to be hidden by the trees: an open space that was regularly used for fires. The day was warm and sunny. We stowed the food under the shade of the trees.

IMG_0315.JPG

We lit the barbecue. In the time it took to walk back into the village to collect the meat, the fire was ready for cooking. And it was a sumptuous feast: burgers and sausages, onions, sweetcorn and asparagus – and we did remember the tomato ketchup for those who like it.

IMG_0320-0.JPG</a

Son appeared on his bike. He had taken a train to Maidstone and cycled the rest of the way!

IMG_0283-0.JPG

As the embers died, we toasted marshmallows, the way every good barbecue should end. Full of food, we lazed in the sun and watched the children play. Later, it was time for son to cycle back. Reluctantly we put out the fire, packed up and made our way back up the hill. It had been the best beach barbecue ever.

IMG_0369.JPG

Half way through the year already!

It’s all been quiet at our little seaside getaway this year. We had to wait for ages for the builder to be free to make some major alterations to our  chalet. Now we have two bedrooms upstairs and a new toilet.

The work was promised for before the new season, so we half unpacked the chalet at Easter and enjoyed the holiday. We left the polythene bags on the mattresses and slipped and slid in our sleep!

Granny packed everything up again. This time the builder came and did the work. Granny crept one evening after the work was finished. It was perfect. She didn’t dare say out loud that it was perfect, in case she found something that wasn’t. But it was.

The new double bedroom at the back of the chalet had hardly changed. Now it was possible to put up a mirror and cost hooks.

IMG_0469.JPG

At the front of the chalet is a brand new twin bed room. This will be the girls’ room and the boys will have the bunk bed room downstairs.

IMG_0262.JPG

IMG_0261.JPG

But you should see the toilet floor! Granny found an off cut in the carpet shop that was just right: Paul Smith stripes. Son in law has a fondness for all things Paul Smith. When the family saw the floor, the immediately made the connection.

His life through the eyes of others

20131205-083955.jpg

I was looking for my favourite Christmas poem and this was on the paper I was using as a bookmark.

“It’ll be here in a minute,” said the sage,
“Look, there it is, just to the left of that date palm.”
And the three wise men mounted their camels and rode off,
Following the star to where the baby king lay waiting.

“I’m afraid,” said the boy, “the light is so bright.”
“Look, there are angels, hundreds of them, singing a song of ‘glory to God’.”
So the shepherds set off.
Looking for the place where the saviour lay.

“He’ll do it in a minute,” said the angel, peering over the parapet of heaven.
“Look! God’s glory is shining on him.
He’s proclaiming Jesus as his best loved son.”
And the twelve friends fell down at his feet.

It all happened in a moment.” The high priest reported.
“Look how the curtain to the holy of holies is torn in two,
From top to bottom – revealing the glory of The Lord. ”
But his colleagues scratched their heads and tried to make sense of it all.

“It only took a minute,” the soldiers said. “The ground rumbled,
We looked, and the stone rolled away.
That’s convincing proof that Jesus has risen from the dead.”
So the priests bribed them to keep quiet and deny that Jesus was alive.

“Soon, in the twinkling of an eye, I’ll come back for you.
Look out for me, everyone will see that it is me.
I will come and get you and take you to the place I have prepared for you.”
And those in the know, wait with eager anticipation, for his return.

Logistics and fireworks

It was grandson’s tenth birthday. How better to celebrate it than with a family party culminating with fireworks on the beach?

He sent out his party invitations well in advance, using his newly acquired PowerPoint skills. Twelve people were able to come. How do you get twelve people in four cars to our little seaside getaway? Sounds easy. But it wasn’t.

Car one set off when after school clubs had finished with granny, grandson and granddaughter. We were starving by the time we were nearly there and stopped off at MacDonalds for something to eat before arriving at out little seaside getaway in the dark. We were surprised to see there was hardly anyone in the car park, but half term was really over, and everyone had gone home. Four had arrived safely.

Car two had mummy and middle grandson in. They went to grandad’s and were surprised to see granny’s friend Darren and his motor bike were visiting grandad and gramca. Darren and grandad were talking about a new foodbank. You can read about it here. here

Mummy dropped middle grandson off to spend the night with grandad and gramca. They would take him to a school friend’s party and bring him to his brother’s party the next day, in car four. Mummy continued to our little seaside getaway and arrived at bedtime. Then there were five.

Car three, driven by daddy, collected nanny, uncle and cousin the following day. After a slap up breakfast, they set off for the party. About fifteen miles from their destination, they heard a Big Bang. They stopped the car and got out. The exhaust had well and truly blown. They limped to join the rest of us. Now there were nine.

The breakdown people were called. The best they could offer was a tow back to nanny’s which took daddy home, the following day. (Grandad and gramca left in car four after the fireworks. Granny took uncle, nanny and cousin home in car one, after the party; while mummy took the remaining children home in car two the next day.)

We had lunch. It was cold and wet outside, so we huddled inside and played games while we waited for car four to join us. Just before tea, it stopped raining and we were joined by grandad, gramca and middle grandson. Now we were twelve and the party could really begin.

Grandson opened his presents and we had tea. Our new dining room meant that there was plenty of room for everyone.

By now it was dark and we set out for the fireworks, organised by the local sea scouts with help from local volunteers. The first thing we noticed that it was nothing like the big displays we were used to in London. They had sold 400 tickets, we were told, and maybe less than 1,000 people on a beach is not exactly crowded. We queued up for hot drinks and hot dogs,included in the price of the tickets. It didn’t take long to get to the front of the queue. Everyone gathered round the blazing bonfire.

It was time. Time for the bangs, whizzes, flashes, screams and soaring lights we had been eagerly anticipating all day. They didn’t disappoint. We oohed and aahed with the best of them. The bangs reverberated off the cliffs as only fireworks can.

And then it was all over. People started to make for home. The volunteers began to clear up and put the rubbish on the fire – including a big box that whooshed, and banged and whizzed and fizzed in all directions! A fitting end to a long anticipated evening. Thanks to the 12th Deal & Kingsdown Sea Scouts for a wonderful display.