Monday, 30 March 2009

Dykes To Watch Out For

I have had the immeasurable pleasure of discovering this political feminist comic strip - sadly after it has entered a sabbatical without obvious end. Despite (or maybe because of its title) it is so much more than a voyeurs eye view of lesbian acrobatics or the between the sheets lives of its characters. I have found it one of the funniest, thought provoking and stimulating reads of my life. Even reading it out of its real time political context it analyses political ideas, conduct and morality in an incredibly balanced way by juxtaposing different characters viewpoints and experiences. I, a politics graduate, feel like something has come alive in my brain again - oh yes that questioning and thinking for yourself and speaking out about attitudes and actions that are wrong matter. All this amidst Martha Stewart fetishes, Sex Toys R Us and hatches, matches and dispatches. But much much more than that it is hilarious - who'da thought you could be a political feminist and funny!!??!! So this is my Tip o' the nib to Alison Bechdel - God Bless her and all who sail in her! Follow Alison's Blog here:
View archive strips here: and here:

Thursday, 26 March 2009

John Lewis, Friends and Honesty

I have a good friend, she is training to be a vicar in the pioneering arm of the Church of England. No one talks sense like her - honest but caring. I feel a poor friend by comparison but am thankful she feels I am worth being friends with. Today ( as you may have guessed from the previous posting) I hit a black patch and even a trip to John Lewis with its cultured staff and customers, its pristene products that stand at a kind of moral attention, its reliability and commitment to customer service and quality - even this eden within the high street could not raise me out of my gloom. And then on the way home - dreading coming back to a grumpy husband (albeit separated) and screaming children - I thought of having a chat and a cup of tea with Heather. And she reached me. Thank you.


I am what would be technically termed not good. Losing myself somewhere in the uncertanties. Feeling that I am drifiting on an unfriendly sea. I want to anchor, tie on, be held on to; but still I drift. Ocassionally sighting the promise of safe haven, only to find rocks and sharp coral reefs in my path -lurking beneath.

Faithful one so unchanging.
Ageless one you're my rock of peace.
Lord of all I depend on you
I call out to you again and again.
I call out to you again and again.

You are my rock in times of trouble
You lift me up when I fall down.
All through the storm your love is the anchor
My hope is in you alone.

It is not what I feel. But is what I choose to believe- to hold onto. Where there is no human to depend on trust in there is God. Shame he can't come round for a cup of tea now and then.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009


Today I sent my Dad an email telling him about Hebe and that I treasure her. On Sunday whilst taking communion in my church flooded with golden morning light, a butterfly newly emerged from hibernating sunned itself on the altar. A coincidence? Just Nature? Or a gift? However you want to see it. That Tortoiseshell symbolised hope, re-emergence and peace to me. Sunning itself tired and battered in God's light. I a newly emerging butterfly of homosexuality hope and pray for the same warmth to greet me. Afterall who could not understand loving Hebe!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

The Uncertainties of Being a Lesbian

I follow a blog called Closeted Pastor about, believe it or not, a pastor in a small town who is a a lesbian and is closeted. She has had much angst over several years wether to come out to her congregation in a church organisation that is against using the gifts of gay people in leadership. She loves them wants to share her life with them but has waited all her life to find love with another woman, and rightly or wrongly, feels she has to choose between coming out and continuing to serve God as a pastor in her church organisation. This is changing - she feels God's proding - is less and less comfortable to keep a secret about the one she loves from the ones she loves.
And where am I ? I am not all that closeted - infact without curtains or blinds downstairs due to redecoration - I am far from closeted - but I have uncertainities, rightly or wrongly, I feel there is a cost I must count and I am not sure what it is or will be. I am not uncertain about Hebe - although she is habitually uncertain about me, about ending a 16 year marriage, about doing the wrong thing either way " Should I stay or should I go? If I go there will be trouble, if I stay it will be double!"
I didn't realise until yesterday, when the reality hit that her husband was looking at getting a new job elsewhere, that she considered going back. That infact the sand on which I stood was quick sand. I know that morally this is a very grey area, but I have discussed elsewhere the ins and outs; the failure of marriages badly - for myself foolishly- chosen; the relationships broken down beyond repair before we met. But children put a different slant on things - a greater fear of getting it wrong - of consequence. But I, from a "family" that stayed together "for the children", know that to grow up in a home of unhappiness and dysfunctional relationships is a poisonous pill for a child to swallow. But even straight uncomplicated parents will get it wrong on a ginormous scale -we are human - we are fallible - we are limited, tired and weighed down with expectations. Perfection is what a child expects of a parent - they settle for so much less, forgive so much - but subconsciously when younger and then glaringly consciously when teenage - they want infallibility, no embarrassment, no disappointments. And we do and will disappoint; embarrass; fall short; get it wrong.

This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

I, unlike Phillip Larkin, do not think the defacto that we are fucked up by our parents and in turn will fuck up our own, means that the joy and love and fun and bizarre that comes from having children is pointless. The great plus side that Larkin never experienced, is that when in turn our children become parents, they will realise, as have we, that it is a hard job and making mistakes is part of the journey, but most are not deliberate and we like them are just trying to do our best for the children we love to an inexplicable depth.

So back to the uncertainties, but knowing somethings are certain and that those uncertainites... ( as mathematical science puts it) "these uncertainties are important".

Thursday, 19 March 2009

The Safest Place

As I lay with you here
In the safest place I have ever known
Your breast beating in my ear
My cheek brushing the softness of you
I wander, in a half-dream
chasing wisps of ideas as they float all around me.

With my eyes closed
I flirt with the world
Inviting it to partake of me
Know me for who I am
and accept me.
I court the danger of its wicked mind
Its vicious tongue
and its damaging beliefs.

I take its hand
Talking to it as I would a child
And show it a gentler place

A place in my woman’s arms
Where there is no hatred
No pain or worry
The safest place I have ever known

Jo Malone

Copied from

Time Stands Still

Dissolving in warmth,
Melting into liquid honey.
Bathed by the setting sun,
Golden hypnotic ecstasy.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009


Today I spent the day with Hebe at Beth Chatto's gardens in Elmstead Market in Essex. It was a beautiful day, warm and sunny, full of spring flowers - a perfect pallet. Leaving early for the long journey we skipped breakfast and happily brunched on a cozy picnic blanket. Hebe made a wonderful spread of mint, corriander and apricot bulgar wheat, potato salad with fresh dill and gerkhins and tiny cherry tomatoes bursting with flavour. She must have read my blog because she also made spicy lentil soup with lovely fresh rolls. A feast for a queen! I know she made it especially for me and I felt loved and valued and that I really matter to her!
It was bliss!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Pegging out washing on the line

I love to take time to peg out the washing on mild mornings and listen to the birds and insects. The bumblebees newly emerged were sleepily binging on daffodil pollen, once again I marvel at the size and wonder what miracle it is at the best of times, let alone half asleep, that they can take flight. The brimstone butterflies danced through the garden this weekend - they are the most beautiful sulphur yellowy green - true gymnasts of the air. As I pottered a woodpecker was drilling in the distance and the robin sat and watched me - head cocked on one side. Who would tumbledry and miss this eden.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

En Plein Air

The more you follow blog links the more you realise there are circles wihtin circles - the poets link to the politics - the art to the gardeners - the faith to the sexuality and yet I have discovered within them something that pops up in the most unexpected places - food bloggers. Some about packed lunches - even vegan (, one exclusively on veggie burgers and of course so many more on afternoon tea - I wonder why that would attract my interest?!

I love the fact the vegan lunch boxer - loves to eat 'en plein air'. I share that passion - even ordinary food seems special eaten in the fresh air -add sunshine and a view of the sea, woods, streams or fields - and it is a feast that feeds the soul. Waxing lyrical I know, but the risk of a damp bottom (admittedly very high) and sand in the sandwiches -apparently lessened by giving children their own separate box - are so small compared to the enjoyment that bubbles up from a picnic. My friend has a passion for flasks and cake on the beach - one I am hoping to cultivate. How lovely to make the stronghold of seasonal summer sojourns, a retreat for a treat even in winter months - my mind is already thinking of soup in those flasks ( preferrably spicy lentil with the hint of coconut - yum), scarves wrapped round chilled cheeks and ears facing into the biting wind - feeling alive - living not hibernating: a picnic on winter beaches - you can always come home to a roaring fire.

But now we are looking ahead as the sod warms and buds burst forth, a mildness permeates the air - the chance to linger longer -while children paddle in the sea or streams - jars of collected treasures - oh yes!

I think a flask and some biscuits will accompany us on our walk this afternoon - and tomorrow... the hamper gets an airing!

Friday, 13 March 2009


Devotion is a heavy cross,
but you are lovely and direct;
the mystery of your attractions
is powerful as the key to life.

Scuffling of dreams is heard in spring,
rustle of news and truths. And your
family sprang from such beginnings.
Your mind's impartial as the air.

Lightly to waken, see again,
shake from the heart its wordy litter
and live in future days unchoked,
surely all that needs no great cunning.

Boris Paternak (1890-1960)

Thursday, 12 March 2009


Body, remember not only how much you were loved,
not only the beds on which you lay,
but also those desires for you
that glowed plainly in the eyes,
and trembled in the voice - and some
chance obstacle made futile.
Now that all of them belong to the past,
it almost seems as if you had yielded
to those desires - how they glowed,
remember, in the eyes gazing at you;
how they trembled in the voice, for you, remember,

C.P.CAVAFY (1863-1933)

Love is not love

Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixèd mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown,although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come,
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom;
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

William Shakespeare

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

becoming me

Today I saw a beautiful animation of the book Becoming Me. A multifaith creation story of how God created unique individuals out of himself in love and wonder. I am not sure about all the theology, but I do agree with its description of the relationship between people and God. That he constantly loves and watches over us.
Have a look at the video yourself at
I work within the RE world and a book like this that can reach to the spiritual core of so many people, in so many situations, cultures and faiths, is a remarkable thing.