Thursday, August 20, 2009


I can hardly believe it! Just one train, plane and automobile between me and Bel-Air Cruguel. Just one hop, skip and jump and I'll be there!

I hope those who follow this blog have a good month. Thank you for keeping track. I've enjoyed your comments very much. I'll miss you but I'll be back on-line Monday the 21st September (not too long really).

With luck, I'll be able to visit an internet cafe and check what's happening with you all.

Here is a photo or two of the wall. No, it isn't very big (it's mostly underground) and no, it isn't finished and yes, I've still got the other side to do. We're looking forward to deciding on the style of wrought iron and whether we should have metal or wooden gates. Anyway, all that's in the future. The only jobs I have in mind at the moment are French.

The beginning...

One tired, old beaten 7 year-old fence...
All cleared and ready to go...

That was quick! A fresh and sturdy 100 year-old wall... just the tops of the pillars to do...
The crinckly shaped sandwiched rosemary tiles (which you can't see very well here) form the base for the blue bricks on top...
It's going to look really good when finished. We're pleased.

Just had an emotional hug and a kiss with a tearful Bev.
Right, I'ts time to get the bathroom in France ready for her arrival. That'll be a happy time, and something else to look forward to.
I'm off!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Countdown last day at work

Oh, it feels so good.

Is everything done on my list?

1. Lay the blue bricks.
2.Revised H/T lists onto the computer.
3.Fix Jo Wilkins coat hook.
Dropped by but everywhere was in darkness. Oh well, I tried!
4. Cut the grass.
I tried to cut the grass and the mower spluttered and started smoking. Result...1/2 the lawn is cut. We need a new mower.
5. Trim the's taking over.
Step-ladders still over at A&A's. He'll drop them off tonight and I'll do it tomorrow before catching the train.
6. Tidy up the building site and put all tools away.
7. All emails, blog and phone calls up to date.
Almost there.
8. Return the grinder to Tom.
Bev is taking her mum over to visit and will take the grinder with her.
9. Get everything together that I need to take with me to France.
10.Currency...euros to take.
11. Haircut.
12. Dentist.
They have re-scheduled me again. Next appointment is 2nd October.

I'm really enjoying my last day at work. Why can't it always be like this?

After I've put the revised H/T lists on the computer tonight, Bev and I will go for a romantic meal at 'The Goose at Gamston'.

Just a couple of hours to go and that's me all finished. No more sitting at my desk for a whole month. I'm excited now and feel like I did as a kid on Christmas morning.

Tomorrow will be my last post for a month.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Countdown 2...a man's world?

They say it is, but I have my doubts.

Sitting opposite me is Maureen. To my left is Christine. To my right is Charlie who is replacing Karen who is on holiday. Karen has food poisoning incidentally...just what you need on your holiday! Charlie fell off her bike yesterday and was surrounded by paramedics but has hobbled into work with her toes strapped together and her nail hanging off. Kirsty is opposite to the right and DAVE is opposite to my left. Dave is a Sky Sports football commentator every Tuesday evening and Saturday. I just thought I'd mention that for no particular reason other than it took me by surprise when I found out. He's very quiet and hardly ever speaks.

My doctor and dentist are women. My French teachers at school and FE College were women and I guess they still are.

My team leader is a woman as is my overall boss. I was interviewed by women and given the job by another woman. Most of the people working here are women. My boss at home is a woman. I only ever get told off by women (Bev, Eileen, Juli, MIL etc!)

Ask me why I'm looking forward to going to France for a month, two weeks of which will be devoid of women?

Actually, I admire them. They are there just for you the very second you are born and never miss your arrival even though they would rather be somewhere else, and they wiill no doubt be there the second you die.

They talk about everything and know everything. They are more observant and have a greater capacity to remember things than we men do. They create, educate and look after the population of the world. They seem to have patience, understanding, empathy and love that far exceeds that of their male counterparts. They really know about sacrifice. More often than not, if you want a job doing, ask a woman. They just get on and do things. They are lateral thinkers. they can multi-task. They are so often the unsung heroes. They are thoughtful, open, friendly and sensible. I can't imagine a great man without a greater woman behind him.

I only wish they can understand football.

Yes, they are often stubborn, infuriating and unfathomable, but would we be without them? I think not!

I'm not going to France to esape them really. I wish Bev could come straight away. We are nothing without our women.

On Sunday David Bourne introduced us to this poem which really impressed me about women and sacrifices they make...especially for their loved ones.

You are the trip I did not take
You are the pearls I cannot buy
You are my blue Italian lake
You are my piece of foreign sky

Yes, all of these and more could have been theirs had they not sacrificed everything for us.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Countdown 3...loose ends...

Loose ends are always there, aren't they? Things you just have to do before you can feel at peace. None of them are life threatening but I feel compelled to do them. I always feel compelled to do them. It's a matter of conscience. I like to have a clear conscience.

Three evenings left...

1. Lay the blue bricks.
2.Revised H/T lists onto the computer.
3.Fix Jo Wilkins coat hook.
4. Cut the grass.
5. Trim the's taking over.
6. Tidy up the building site and put all tools away.
7. All emails, blog and phone calls up to date.
8. Return the grinder to Tom.
9. Get everything together that I need to take with me to France.
10.Currency...euros to take,
11. Haircut.
12. Dentist.

Plus the unexpected things that always surface,

Hey, that's not too bad now that I've written them down. I was feeling there was a lot more to sort out.

I feel a lot better already.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Countdown 4...trying to chill

The talk went very well...according to the feedback! I'm just relieved that I won't be speaking again for at least six months.
Late afternoon we had a walk to the castle and sat in the gardens with the sound of the band ringing in our ears from the bandstand. I could just lie down on the grass and doze but we made a detour through the town square on our way back home to meet Martin and Sarah who were joining us for a few hours.
Enjoyed their company and he booked on-line for my boarding pass for Thursday's flight.
David rang from France. and Marie-Jose emailed with a photo of the happy couple in Vannes.
I'm trying to chill, but there are still too many loose ends to tie up.

Bandstand in the castle grounds...
Market fair...This busker was just hanging around...In this steeple there is a hole from a canon ball in the civil war...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Countdown 5...compromise

What's more important than a brick wall?

Being with family...even though I feel dull and the worse for wear. I think it's because I've stopped working and started relaxing.

Last night we spent a precious hour or so with the family before they took off to spend the night with Ash & Amber. We then had a couple of hours with friends at Ray & Sue's place eating, chatting and playing games. It was hilarious!.

This morning I worked on my talk before meeting up with the family at Rufford Abbey and Country Park.
Here are some of the pics of last night and today...including those old photographs of me that were supposed to have been on Countdown 6.

Isn't she beautiful...Juli, not the car...Amber feeling the strain of pregnancy with Juli and the gang in front...Me and Danny...The Dakota fly-over...Anna-Belle and me +Aimee...War games...I'm the one with glasses, and hair...

These were taken about 1980. I wonder where Tony is now? The strange thing is that he lived in Newark and we used to sing at a pub here.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Countdown 6... Six Hands in Tempo

I stole a moment while Bev was in the bathroom this morning (can be more than a moment) and gazed at my hand looking along the length of my arm. It takes the form of so many unusual shapes and, depending on the right positioning, I can make it look like I have no hand at all. Then I tried to imagined clenching a fist if the grasp was opposite to what it normally is. I just couldn't imagine it. God got it right.

Yes, it was a weird thought and fortunately Bev wasn't too long in the bathroom.

I did have a flash-back however of some friends who used to sing and play in the 70's. They were called Six Hands in Tempo. The sounds they created on their guitars with six hands were incredible. We would often bump into each other as they...and we to a certain extent, toured the clubs, pubs and universities.

I came across a photo of our little duo 'Witchwood' in a box from the attic and I've decided to scan and post it. I have hair!

Hands are incredible things aren't they? They do so much together. Where would we be without them?

When you think of famous pairs you consider the likes of Laurel and Hardy or salt and pepper, but hands are just called hands even though there are two. Neither one is more important than the other and they never fall out , point an accusing finger or get jealous because one is used more than the other. Well, perhaps they do point an accusing finger, but not at each other.

They carry out the menial as well as historic and can be so creative, lazy, masterly, destructive, informative, inspirational, industrious, therapeutic, cruel or loving. They get my vote for being the most versatile and helpful twosome of the planet body.

Anyway, my versatile twosome are off to touch bricks and finish what they started or it'll be a clip round the ear from Bev's twosome this afternoon when she sees how little work they've done.

Well, the wall still isn't done. Cutting and placing those rosemary tiles took a lot longer than I thought. I forgot that they are layered so that there are twice as many to do.

PANIC!! I forgot about my talk on Sunday and I'm at Ray & Sue's tonight. I've only got tomorrow to prepare a twenty minute talk in front of about 170 people.

I'll scan and post the photo tomorrow. No time right now.

Oh my word, Juli, Chris and the grandkids have just arrived from Sunderland. They want to see me before going to France. What a pleasant surprise! We've just written Emmaleigh's name in the concrete at the top of the brick pillar infill. It stays there forever. Cool!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Countdown 7...Ah so...

Ah! I've just noticed French Fancy is keeping an eye on my blog. Welcome FF. If you get just half the pleasure out of following this blog as I get out of following yours, you'll be very happy

So, here we are. It's another cerulean blue sky (mixed with dioxazine purple and french ultramarine), and I'll be chained to a wall rather than a desk. I think it'll be so hot that I'll have to dip my bricks in water to stop the mortar from being sucked dry.

I've decided to go with the chipped bricks to add to the authenticity of antiquity. Actually, I've no choice.

Ah so, reminds me of a pre-rap rap that Nigel Grainger and me made up in the early '60's on a day not unlike today. I say it perhaps twice a year and our kids have caught a word here and there but have never managed to catch it all. Every time I say it-and I say it very fast-they plead with me to say it again so they can get another word in place.

Whichever of them reads this will be the first to have all the words.

Why now? That wall might see me off and it'll be lost forever!

So, after 46 years, here it is written down...

Ah,so liza tiza riza sliza onna bonna donna bowie rowie Ah bista damma wamma slamma biffi ticky micky monga zala boofis.

There you go! You have to say it under 8 seconds.

I'm off to do some work now. The very next sentence will be about 8 hours away.

Old brickwork completed. There's just the rosemary tiles and blue bricks to do.

Bev not feeling very well. She thinks she has a bog-standard cold. Definitely not swine flu she says. Mmmm, I wonder if she's just trying to make me feel good?

Two cars crashed right outside our house as Bev and I were looking at the wall. The first car swerved to miss our visitor's stationary car as it was hit and shunted along by the second car. Our were inside talking to MIL and came running out when they heard the screech of brakes. Had the crash happened five minutes earlier, Bev would have been involved with it all.

Later, Bev gave me a description of colour, make, how many people, who got out first, what they were wearing, their approximate age, sex, eye colour, bank details etc! Okay, so I made the bank details bit up, but how on earth can she remember all that? All I could remember was that it was two cars.

Time to relax. Just had a little conversation with Juli who recited the rap and said she learned it ages ago. I think she's having me on!

I've enjoyed today and will add it to my other treasure days thanks to this quote by Robert.

"Why be saddled with this thing called life expectancy? Of what relevance to an individual is such a statistic? Am I to concern myself with an allotment of days I never had and was never promised? Must I check off each day of my life as if I am subtracting from this imaginary hoard? No, on the contrary, I will add each day of my life to my treasure of days lived. And with each day, my treasure will grow, not diminish."~ Robert Brault

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Countdown just never can tell

I dropped Bev and her friend off at work and set off in the rain to persuade the owner of Kirk&Bills to part with some old bricks. I've been passing this place for years, but could I find it? No! I drove up an down the Farndon road for 45 minutes without success. It was so frustrating.

I eventually looked them up in yellow pages and rang them. "No", he said. In fact he said it several times as I pleaded with him. I guess he means no!

When I dropped the car off at Bev's work, I merely said he wasn't willing to sell any bricks to me. I didn't really want to tell her I couldn't find the place for fear of ridicule.

I must do a post soon on little white lies and the sin of omission.

Well... when I arrived at work I was ready to tuck into my secret pick-me-up stash of chocolate-so placed to make me feel better when everything seems to be going against me- when I suddenly had a thought. I still have holiday time owing.

I emailed my boss...yes, the inflexible, loud, inconsiderate, intollerant one-eyed googly monster, the very same person I had a run-in with just a short while ago. I'd like two days off Tracy(I kept it short and uncomplicated and didn't want to give the impression I was grovelling). The reply came back..."No worries!"

She can be such a sweet person and do you know what, I don't believe half of the bad things said about her.


Let's hope I can find some bricks and finish the job.

Hey, it's only a little bit of chocolate, and I don't often get to eat any of it!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Countdown 9...Politicians missing

Yes, I know I shoudn't talk about them while they are gone, but it helps with my therapy.

As you know, our misunderstood and unloved elected spend virtually half the year recovering from the effects of what they've put in place during the first half of the year. You'll find them wandering aimlessly on beaches throughout the world, muttering to themselves.

The Times today suggest that they are not mad or bad, but just as flawed as the rest of us. Surely they aren't suggesting they are normal? They can't seriously believe they are like the rest of us? Perhaps they are! I mean, I have been known to mutter to myself.

Lord Mandelson said recently that most politicians have psychological issues. He's never met a perfect politician...including himself. Well, you and me both, Mandy!

Abraham Lincoln had violent mood swings and Churchill had severe depression. Everyone before, in-between and after has something they can blame their actions on. It's said that childhood traumas drive them to politics. The problem is that politics equates to power and, when in power, they seem to change from being an authority, in authority to being authoritarian. Power is that heady drug that turns mild ordinary well-meaning individuals into ruthless, narcissistic compulsive risk-takers. Have you seen the film 'Gremlins'?

Anyway, I'm beginning to sound disaffected. I don't mean to be, and I'm not. It's just a friendy jab at easy targets. I have great respect for...okay stop!! I don't think I can go that far. However, I do like Patrick Mercer.

Last night I repaired the wall someone dislodged. If the weather holds, I should make good progress tonight.

I've noticed that no one who passes me can do so without making comment. "It's coming on", or "Better than wood 'innit?" . "Yer doin' a grand job me'duck". "I can tell you've done it before".

I even get people shouting to get my attention from several hundred yards. Once they have my attention they'd stick a thumb in the air of approval. I don't know these people from Adam. What is so unifying about a wall? I'm building it to keep them out! Anyway, for the sake of harmony I respond with a smile and a wave. I also acknowledge those who pip their hooters...again, I don't know them.

Bev was standing for a while talking to me and two girls walked by and said something in gruff voices before bursting into giggles. Bev told then to keep practicing and I wondered why on earth she should say that to them. Apparently, they were dressed as teenage boys and were walking and talking to see if they can attract a girl's attention. They'll probably grow up to be politicians.

Disaster! The bricks I have left are damaged and not good enough for anything other than the back of the wall. I would have bet that out of 150 I would have got the 50 I need. They are chipped just in all the wrong places. The problem is that they are very old and difficult to come by.

We've just got back from a scout around various reclamation sites without success. There's only one place left to try. I'm feeling as though I'm up against a wall here, or should that be half a wall?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Countdown 10...Disappointment

We can't avoid disappointment can we?

If it isn't with the news, our government, tutors, employers or football team (they haven't even started the season yet), it's with ourselves, family, friends or fashion.

French Fancy was disappointed last week at getting a 2-2 in her exams. This week she's over it and is excited about plans for the future.

My disappointments are that I'm not two inches taller, not weighing less than I should, not being fitter and more intelligent. On top of these, I knocked Bev's signed photo of Donny off the landing wall two days running.

It'll take more than a week to get over these you might venture, but in reality I came to terms with them many years ago and have moved on...apart from Donny. I got over knocking him off the wall almost immediately! I'll have to sound sorry though when Bev confronts me.

The reality of having too much to do in too short a space of time, is the current disappointment. I never seem to learn. It now means cutting adrift anything that isn't absolutely necessary.

So it's bye-bye to that London trip to the RA Summer exhibition on Saturday.

I know I'm a grown man and shouldn't cry, but I was really looking forward to going.

I'm now on count-down to France starting at 10. Yes, just ten days to go and this week is crucial to my overall well-being.

This evening is working on the wall and preparing a talk which I've been assigned to give on Sunday at Church. Tuesday will be the same. Wednesday is doing something for someone else. Thursday is back to the wall and preparing that talk. Friday is at Ray and Sue's for a social evening and Saturday is the wall again, tidying up and finishing touches to my talk.
I won't even have time to listen to Sunderland's first game of the season.

If I can achieve all this along with the demands of a full-time job with half the team on holiday, I'll be on top of the world. It would leave me with Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to work on our bedroom, visits to Church families (H/T), packing for the flight on Thursday morning, ordering our Apple Mac, getting to the dentist, enjoying an hour or two with Bev, emails, blog and last minute things that always but always crop up at the last minute.

Next time I promise not to have such a busy calendar (didn't I say that last time).

David and Wendy made a surprise visit last night. They've cut their holiday short by a few days and were back to see all the changes to their house. They were very pleased with the panels I painted to such an extent that the thank-you card is possibly the nicest and most thoughtful card I've ever had.

They certainly weren't disappointed.

Life is good!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Wentworth Letter

I had a narrow victory playing scrabble this afternoon with my eleven year old nephew and I celebrated as though I'd beaten the worlds' best. Well, a win is a win, is it not? I have to claim victory where I can as these days I rarely win... at anything!

It's been a good day and, although I'm still a little tired and just a little annoyed that someone has knocked some of my wall loose, I feel fine.

As it's Sunday, I've decided to post just one of the things I've leaned today... The Wentworth Letter, written by Joseph Smith. In fact I'm posting the entire letter as it was written in 1842.

I know in detail all about the implications regarding it's content, but in all my years as a member of this church, I've never once read it.

Although this will make it my longest post to date, today I'm sharing it.

March 1, 1842.—At the request of Mr. John Wentworth, editor and proprietor of the Chicago Democrat, I have written the following sketch of the rise, progress, persecution, and faith of the Latter-day Saints, of which I have the honor, under God, of being the founder. Mr. Wentworth says that he wishes to furnish Mr. Bastow [Barstow], a friend of his, who is writing the history of New Hampshire, with this document. As Mr. Bastow has taken the proper steps to obtain correct information, all that I shall ask at his hands is that he publish the account entire, ungarnished, and without misrepresentation.

I was born in the town of Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, on the 23rd of December, a.d. 1805. When [I was] ten years old, my parents removed to Palmyra, New York, where we resided about four years, and from thence we removed to the town of Manchester. My father was a farmer and taught me the art of husbandry. When about fourteen years of age, I began to reflect upon the importance of being prepared for a future state, and upon inquiring [about] the plan of salvation, I [found] that there was a great clash in religious sentiment. If I went to one society they referred me to one plan, and another to another, each one pointing to his own particular creed as the summum bonum of perfection. Considering that all could not be right, and that God could not be the author of so much confusion, I determined to investigate the subject more fully, believing that if God had a church it would not be split up into factions, and that if He taught one society to worship one way, and administer in one set of ordinances, He would not teach another, principles which were diametrically opposed.
Believing the word of God, I had confidence in the declaration of James—“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” [James 1:5]. I retired to a secret place in a grove and began to call upon the Lord. While fervently engaged in supplication, my mind was taken away from the objects with which I was surrounded, and I was enwrapped in a heavenly vision and saw two glorious personages, who exactly resembled each other in features and likeness, surrounded with a brilliant light which eclipsed the sun at noonday. They told me that all religious denominations were believing in incorrect doctrines and that none of them was acknowledged of God as His Church and kingdom; and I was expressly commanded “to go not after them,” at the same time receiving a promise that the fullness of the gospel should at some future time be made known unto me.
On the evening [of] the 21st of September, a.d. 1823, while I was praying unto God and endeavoring to exercise faith in the precious promises of scripture, on a sudden a light like that of day, only of a far purer and more glorious appearance and brightness, burst into the room. Indeed the first sight was as though the house was filled with consuming fire. The appearance produced a shock that affected the whole body. In a moment a personage stood before me, surrounded with a glory yet greater than that with which I was already surrounded. This messenger proclaimed himself to be an angel of God, sent to bring the joyful tidings that the covenant which God made with ancient Israel was at hand to be fulfilled; that the preparatory work for the second coming of the Messiah was speedily to commence; that the time was at hand for the gospel in all its fulness to be preached in power unto all nations, that a people might be prepared for the millennial reign. I was informed that I was chosen to be an instrument in the hands of God to bring about some of His purposes in this glorious dispensation.
I was also informed concerning the aboriginal inhabitants of this country [America] and shown who they were, and from whence they came; a brief sketch of their origin, progress, civilization, laws, governments, of their righteousness and iniquity, and the blessings of God being finally withdrawn from them as a people, was [also] made known unto me; I was also told where were deposited some plates on which were engraven an abridgment of the records of the ancient prophets that had existed on this continent. The angel appeared to me three times the same night and unfolded the same things. After having received many visits from the angels of God, unfolding the majesty and glory of the events that should transpire in the last days, on the morning of the 22nd of September, a.d. 1827, the angel of the Lord delivered the records into my hands.
These records were engraven on plates which had the appearance of gold. Each plate was six inches wide and eight inches long, and not quite so thick as common tin. They were filled with engravings, in Egyptian characters, and bound together in a volume as the leaves of a book, with three rings running through the whole. The volume was something near six inches in thickness, a part of which was sealed. The characters on the unsealed part were small, and beautifully engraved. The whole book exhibited many marks of antiquity in its construction and much skill in the art of engraving. With the records was found a curious instrument, which the ancients called “Urim and Thummim,” which consisted of two transparent stones set in the rims of a bow fastened to a breastplate. Through the medium of the Urim and Thummim I translated the record by the gift and power of God.
In this important and interesting book the history of ancient America is unfolded, from its first settlement by a colony that came from the Tower of Babel at the confusion of languages to the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian era. We are informed by these records that America in ancient times has been inhabited by two distinct races of people. The first were called Jaredites and came directly from the Tower of Babel. The second race came directly from the city of Jerusalem about six hundred years before Christ. They were principally Israelites of the descendants of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed about the time that the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them in the inheritance of the country. The principal nation of the second race fell in battle towards the close of the fourth century. The remnant are the Indians that now inhabit this country. This book also tells us that our Savior made His appearance upon this continent after His Resurrection; that He planted the gospel here in all its fulness, and richness, and power, and blessing; that they had apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, and evangelists—the same order, the same priesthood, the same ordinances, gifts, powers, and blessings, as were enjoyed on the eastern continent; that the people were cut off in consequence of their transgressions; that the last of their prophets who existed among them was commanded to write an abridgment of their prophecies, history, etc., and to hide it up in the earth; and that it should come forth and be united with the Bible for the accomplishment of the purposes of God in the last days. For a more particular account I would refer to the Book of Mormon, which can be purchased at Nauvoo, or from any of our traveling elders.
As soon as the news of this discovery was made known, false reports, misrepresentation, and slander flew, as on the wings of the wind, in every direction; the house was frequently beset by mobs and evil designing people. Several times I was shot at, and very narrowly escaped, and every device was made use of to get the plates away from me; but the power and blessing of God attended me, and several began to believe my testimony.
On the 6th of April 1830, the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” was first organized in the town of Fayette, Seneca County, state of New York. Some few were called and ordained by the spirit of revelation and prophecy and began to preach as the Spirit gave them utterance. And though weak, yet were they strengthened by the power of God; and many were brought to repentance, were immersed in the water, and were filled with the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. They saw visions and prophesied, devils were cast out, and the sick healed by the laying on of hands. From that time the work rolled forth with astonishing rapidity, and churches were formed in the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. In the last-named state a considerable settlement was formed in Jackson County. Numbers joined the Church, and we were increasing rapidly. We made large purchases of land; our farms teemed with plenty; and peace and happiness were enjoyed in our domestic circle and throughout our neighborhood. But as we could not associate with our neighbors (who were, many of them, of the basest of men, and had fled from the face of civilized society to the frontier country to escape the hand of justice) in their midnight revels, their Sabbath breaking, horse racing, and gambling, they commenced at first to ridicule, then to persecute, and finally an organized mob assembled and burned our houses, tarred and feathered and whipped many of our brethren, and finally, contrary to law, justice, and humanity, drove them from their habitations, who, houseless and homeless, had to wander on the bleak prairies till the children left the tracks of their blood on the prairie. This took place in the month of November, and they had no other covering but the canopy of heaven. In this inclement season of the year this proceeding was winked at by the government, and although we had warranty deeds for our land, and had violated no law, we could obtain no redress.
There were many sick who were thus inhumanly driven from their houses, and had to endure all this abuse and to seek homes where they could be found. The result was that a great many of them, being deprived of the comforts of life and the necessary attendances, died; many children were left orphans, wives [were left] widows, and husbands, widowers; our farms were taken possession of by the mob; many thousands of cattle, sheep, horses, and hogs were taken; and our household goods, store goods, and printing press and type were broken, taken, or otherwise destroyed.
Many of our brethren removed to Clay County, where they continued until 1836, three years; there was no violence offered but there were threatenings of violence. But in the summer of 1836 these threatenings began to assume a more serious form. From threats, public meetings were called, resolutions were passed, vengeance and destruction were threatened, and affairs again assumed a fearful attitude. Jackson County was a sufficient precedent, and as the authorities in that county did not interfere, they [the Clay County authorities] boasted that they would not [interfere] in this, which on application to the authorities, we found to be too true; and after much privation and loss of property, we were again driven from our homes.
We next settled in Caldwell and Daviess Counties, where we made large and extensive settlements, thinking to free ourselves from the power of oppression by settling in new counties with very few inhabitants in them. But here we were [also] not allowed to live in peace, but in 1838 we were again attacked by mobs, an exterminating order was issued by Governor Boggs, and under the sanction of law an organized banditti ranged through the country, robbed us of our cattle, sheep, hogs, etc., many of our people were murdered in cold blood, the chastity of our women was violated, and we were forced to sign away our property at the point of the sword. And after enduring every indignity that could be heaped upon us by an inhuman, ungodly band of marauders, from twelve to fifteen thousand souls, men, women, and children were driven from their own firesides, and from lands to which they had warrantee deeds—houseless, friendless, and homeless (in the depths of winter) to wander as exiles on the earth, or to seek an asylum in a more genial clime, and among a less barbarous people. Many sickened and died in consequence of the cold and hardships they had to endure. Many wives were left widows, and children [were left] orphans and destitute. It would take more time than is allotted me here to describe the injustice, the wrongs, the murders, the bloodshed, the theft, misery, and woe that have been caused by the barbarous, inhuman, and lawless proceedings of the state of Missouri.
In the situation before alluded to, we arrived in the state of Illinois in 1839, where we found a hospitable people and a friendly home, a people who were willing to be governed by the principles of law and humanity. We have commenced to build a city called “Nauvoo” in Hancock County. We number from six to eight thousand here, besides vast numbers in the county around and in almost every county of the state. We have a city charter granted us and [a] charter for a [military] legion, the troops of which now number 1,500. We have also a charter for a university, for an agricultural and manufacturing society; [we] have our own laws and administrators and possess all the privileges that other free and enlightened citizens enjoy.
Persecution has not stopped the progress of truth, but has only added fuel to the flame. It has spread with increasing rapidity. Proud of the cause which they have espoused and conscious of our innocence and of the truth of their system, amidst calumny and reproach, have the elders of this Church gone forth and planted the gospel in almost every state in the Union. It has penetrated our cities; it has spread over our villages and has caused thousands of our intelligent, noble, and patriotic citizens to obey its divine mandates and be governed by its sacred truths. It has also spread into England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, where, in the year 1840, a few of our missionaries were sent, and over five thousand joined the Standard of Truth; there are numbers now joining in every land.
Our missionaries are going forth to different nations, and in Germany, Palestine, New Holland, Australia, the East Indies, and other places, the Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear; till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.
[The Articles of Faith]
We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on [of] hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

Respectfully, etc.,Joseph Smith

Saturday, August 08, 2009


The weathermen got it right! What a beautiful day!

We've loaded the van and and it's on it's way to Blidworth with help at the other end to unload.

I've actually got a full day to concentrate on my wall. I can scarce believe it.

As it happened, I didn't have a full day on the wall. I broke off to help clear up the flat in Newark. I'm pleased with the progress though. Its been a good 'jobs' day.

After an absolutely luxurious bath...I had difficulty dragging myself out of it, I enjoyed a take-away with Bev.

David rang from France to give an update on what happened during the week and , as I sat listening to him, I could feel myself siezing up.

My brain is now begining to malfunction. I really wanted to check out the art website featured on RB's blog, but I think the best thing to do is go to bed and drift into a long, long sleep.

I'll check the website tomorrow evening when I have my brain back.

Friday, August 07, 2009


It was nice to have a surprise visit from my brother Tom and Lesley last night. He dropped off the blue bricks and rosemary tiles for me and stayed a few hours.

I'm sure he could write a book about his experiences with the Duke and Duchess of Rutland. It was so funny to hear some of the stories. I'd love to mention them here, but I don't suppose it would be appropriate.

He has a meeting with them this morning to learn of his fate.

Most of the workers have already lost their jobs...including Tom after twenty-five years service, but the interview is for a different job. It's exclusively to work in the castle, not the estate.

Previously he'd been both inside and out. He's not sure if he really wants it, but he has no choice other than attend. He retires in two years and needs to be doing something in the meantime. These are tough and uncertain times.

So, this is the week-end that Ash and Amber move house and Tom finds out if he still has employment.

Here we are, another sentence and eight hours have passed by.

I've done some brick-laying straight after work, helped load a van with A&A's things, painted four walls of their living room, cleared up and phoned Tom.

Tom looks like being employed as a contractor to carry out specific tasks around the estate. The Duke will also pay him to drive him around Europe in his vintage car. He no longer has a nine to five job and he's not sure how he feels about it all. It's a lot of change at a time of life when change is difficult to embrace.

I guess he'll settle on the idea as time goes by. Personally, I love change. I hate standing still for too long.

I'm totally tired out but feel good.

Tomorrow I'll be up early to help with another load into the van, then the rest of the day is mine to work on the front wall.

The weather forecast is good for the week-end. The rain apparently is all cried out. It'll make a very pleasant change to have cloudless skies. Can't wait.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Can't buy me time...

I bought a week of holiday time at work. Wouldn't it be great to actually buy time as in prolonging life...or would it?

We'd probably still have most Kings and Queens around to clutter the place up. I'm sure Tina Turner and Cliff Richard has already sussed it.

Naw!! forget it! I don't like the idea of being at the funerals of all my 'poor' family and friends. The world will be full of materialistic idiots who have passed the peak of effectiveness or popularity (has-beens) and are here just because they are wealthy.

I'll settle with what I've got and forever how long.

I'll stick with the 'bought' week which doesn't prolong my life in the least, but gives me five working days away from here...priceless!

Hang on! let's just take another look at this. This quote by Robert Brault has made me think...

"Sometimes we regret more than any words spoken, a silence not broken."

They say that silence is golden, but it isn't always the case. If I could buy real time, I'd perhaps go back to times that I currently regret...times where I should have said something instead of staying silent. Yes, I'd buy that time again for sure.

There are some specific times when, if I had them back, I would have said sorry or "I'm a fool" or "I love you". Then I think of the people who are no longer with mother in particular! What I wouldn't give for just a few precious minutes with her.

There are the times when I coulda, shoulda and woulda said a quiet word of encouragement or shared an insight, but didn't. I'll never get that chance again.

So for anyone who still have friends and family around, blurt it out! Go for it! Don't live to regret not saying it.

Oh yes, the more I think about it, the more I wish I hadn't read Robert's quote today.

I've finished work now and yes, it's raining. AAAGH!! No Brolly, no coat, no car!

Thanks to good 'ol English weather, I'm running out of time to finish all my jobs before going to France.

Can't buy me time! No, definitely not!

I'm going to walk down the road to get a lift from Bev. I'll be singing in the rain.

Thanks for the lift Bev. She dropped me off at the lights and will be carrying on to book the van for the move tomorrow evening.

I walked in front of a stationary bus to cross the road and the driver called out at me.

I could have stayed silent but decided not to. "Shut up!", I shouted back. I wasn't in the mood for him and it just came out. I've been known to do this sort of thing before, with unfavourable consequences.

Sometimes I think it might be possible to regret more than words spoken, a silence broken.

In other words, I should bite my tongue and keep my trap shut more often.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

It's a blog 'innit?

So I'll be bloggin' it.

Isn't the English language funny?

We have similar sounding words that have different meanings, like there and their, here and hear, bred and bread, wait and weight, and brake and break just to name a few.

We also have rite, write and right and tu-tu, too, to and two.

How on earth are people supposed to understand the following? "The bandage was wound around the wound". Or "The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert". My favourite is "There was a row amongst the oarsmen about how to row".

I came across the following on the internet... How can SLIM chance and FAT chance mean exactly the same? If we fill IN a form and fill OUT a form, it means the same thing.
You can make ammends, but not ONE amend. The plural of tooth is teeth, but the plural of booth isn't beeth.

My personal favourite is...if vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?

If French is similar, then I'm doomed! Please tell me it's easier to understand and learn French. Please tell me I don't have to spend a lifetime coping with it's inconsistencies. Please give me hope!

I think nibbling at it is the key to success. Enjoy the little snacks and don't get too bamboozled with the banquet.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

RA here we come.

Trying to find the painting by Ken Moroney that inspired me a few years ago is proving to be a big problem. If I'd had £5,000 I would have snapped it up. In retrospect, I should have got a loan as it would have been an investment.

Anyway, it reminded me that I haven't been to the RA Summer Open Exhibition yet.

All set to go now on the 15th. We'll drive to London early and buy a day pass for the tube. So excited! Can't wait! It'll be my last Saturday before going to France.

Panic!! Suddenly realised that the 15th is the day before the exhibition finishes and there may not be tickets available, but no, all is fine, I've just checked. Phew!!

Perhaps I should do a post on procrastination? Maybe,we'll see! (lol)

Monday, August 03, 2009

Getting closer

The lamb was just exquisite yesterday. It took all of my will-power to resist wiping up the gravy with a slice of buttered bread. Next time I'll cave in, I'm sure.

Late in the afternoon as we dropped the wildflower paintings off at the Cuthberts, Bev looked so beautiful as the wind blew her hair. If I was a songwriter or poet, I'd have written something to last a thousand years or more. As it was, I just mumbled a few words which were well received but which will be forgotten by tea-time.

We also dropped by to see Eileen who showed us the up-to-date pictures of what David has been up to in France. Why am I still here, I ask myself??

Only two weeks to go!

How many bed-times is that?

It's also getting closer to Amber finishing work on Friday and moving to Blidworth. I think Ash has longer to work, but he's getting...yes, closer; but also very tired!

We've decided to give them a hand to paint a few rooms tonight so they can get to bed earlier for some well earned rest.

Speaking of which...Wendy's panels. They'll form the base of their new bed. Personally, I'd rather be lying on a bed of roses than dandelions...

A little detail...
The colour is a lot more vivid than shown, but there you go!

Sunday, August 02, 2009


French Fancy confessed to stealing from her employers and justified it by the extra unpaid hours worked and often using her own postage stamps. Okay, so it was only an envelope here and there and yes, she's probably put a lot more in than she's ever taken out.

It made me think about my own activities and, as the challenge was there to confess all...or at least something, I thought I'd do just that, it being Sunday and all!

Between the ages of 5 and 10 when my total gross income was zero, I stole enough to open a shop. If it could be rolled up in a towel after swimming, it was mine. I even sneaked into swimming. I also sneaked into the cinema. In fact, the only place I didn't sneak into was school.

I once scaled a drain-pipe to break into a factory and relieve them of thousands of packets of 'Spangles'. They caught up with me because I had neatly wrote my name and address on the ink jotter with a pen I was considering taking with me from their office. All they had to do was follow the trail anyway...the spangles were everywhere.

From ages 10 to you were, but bigger stuff. The towel was totally inadequate and I couldn't afford most things on the wage I was earning.

Ages 22 to...let me see now, how old am I? Oh yes!, 57...NOT A SINGLE THING unless you have me on camera.

1974 was the year I found out about repentance and joined the LDS Church. I'm squeaky clean and not even the Catholics can get me for nicking their communion wine back in '72 (a good year)!

The Church of England can Protestant all they like, I am not giving back the threppence I took back out of the collection box. Well, if threepenny bits were still around, I might...seeing as it's only about 1.5 pence current money.

Actually, I did try and put things right but only 'Woolies' were still around and it was too big a company to get to the right person. It didn't seem right to walk up to one of the till girls and say "can you please work out how much 40 Mars bars, 200 Dairy Milks and 20 packets of whatever were in 1960, and add it to this packet of chewing gum please"?

Even 'Woolies' have gone now, bless 'em!

Shortly after being baptised, I visited old friends in Leeds. I breezed through the open door and up the stairs into the flat where we all used to hang out. There was no one at home so I waited a while. Then it dawned on my that the decor had changed and the photos had nothing to do with my friends. There was a rent book and a lot of money on the table in the kitchen. I froze.

Not only was I trespassing and the occupants could come back any second, but there was money on the table at a time when church mice were richer than me. My legs felt like jelly, I became very hot, my heart was pumping and I knew I was in a delicate situation.

I ran faster than if it was Potiphar's wife sitting on that table, and down those stairs I tumbled into the refreshing afternoon air.

Since then, I've never been tempted by anything that didn't belong to me.

Bev has just reminded me of the pens I bring home from work. Do they count? I only have a few hundred.

She also reckons that someone from cyberspace will come knocking on my door soon.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Rain stops play

I had a vivid dream of President Obama last night. He was helping me with some jobs in France and was really getting stuck into it. We were on first name terms and I was really glad of his help. He said he'll be back to do some more.

How strange is that? It's the first time I've dreamt of a world leader. I'm looking forwrd to his return. I've already compiled a list of jobs.

It just isn't cricket! No, it really isn't cricket!

I've been really looking forward to building my front wall today, but the thunder and lightning came and the heavens opened.

Instead, I finished the two wildflower panels for Wendy. I was so engrossed and didn't realise the day had passed. It was a job well done.

I've just made myself a meal (Bev has taken her mum to see relatives) and have read the paper.

It's not often the papers are right, but in describing Sir Bobby Robson who passed away yesterday, they were spot on.

Passionate, proud, humble, courageous, inspirational, dignified, honest, patriotic, gentlemanly, modest and witty. This is Sir Bobby to a tee. Eleven words that describe him perfectly.

I'd be satisfied with half of these. To achieve the other half would necesitate immediate action. Actually you know, I think I only need to work on courage...and possibly modesty.