Book choices: Paws for Thought

Can you judge a book by its cover? I am not going to attempt to answer that question directly, but instead will tell you how I came by my dog.  I have always wanted a dog, although as a child I was petrified of them.  All that changed when I found myself sitting next to a …

Beware anonymous notes

The day I received an anonymous note scrawled on a job advert was the day that was to change my life.  I wasn’t actively looking for another job because I was gainfully employed at a community media project in Hammersmith working with young media wannabes.  But there it was, scribbled on a Guardian job ad looking for …

Lent: Out with the old and in with the new?

 “Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn, have pity and leave behind a blessing. (Joel 2 …

Smush Alert: Keep a Happy File

“It wasn’t what some would call a perfect day, but to her it was special. We had spent the day together just hanging out around the house. Simple things like eating lunch on the deck, soaking up the sunshine and giggling over funny memories. That’s when she whispered a few words as if she were …

Travelling mercies: But only if you follow the rules

Travelling has always been a love/hate experience for me, providing both delight and frustration in equal measures. I love exploring a new and different culture.  Those in my own country, but more so, those of a distant land. After all that is why I decided on a career in overseas development. However, getting to my …

If you can’t choose your family, then who do you choose?

This week I was asked to prepare a talk for a group of disability and development students on the subject of “Disability within the Family” (or there abouts). The Professor, a friend of mine, said she thought of me because she had read my book “Road to Damascus”, and figured a personal account would be just the ticket. “Hum, …

Recapturing the Homeland

Last week I watched with sadness a programme on BBC2 called “Kill the Christians”, a ‘This Wold’ documentary looking at Christianity’s greatest threat to its existence in the very place where it was born. The programme featured the ancient settlement of Maaloula, one of a handful of villages in the mountains northeast of Damascus where Aramaic, …

Book reviews: Who needs them?

“I do. Because without them no one knows if the book I spent four years of my life writing is worth a few days reading.” So imagine my delight, and panic, when someone offered to write a professional review of my book in exchange for me doing the same for them.  “Of course, no problem!” I …

Legacy of the “Sister Irene Tree”

Sitting at the boundary wall in the centre of a garden where Wiltshire meets Somerset is a “Sister Irene Tree”.  It has long, silvery green leaves that comes into bud every Spring which then glisten in the sunshine all summer until they fall in the Autumn.  At its base grow purple flowers of Lavender, Rosemary and Grape Hyacinth.  I …