Thursday, 30 June 2011

Next time I'm taking my camera.....

Things we saw here today:

1) An almost flying, swooping, Jesus, suspended from the ceiling, crucified, on the cross, but arms about to gather, in shiny metal that glinted in the light

2) A carved, wooden Jesus, with a barbed wire crown of thorns

3) An area to light candles and write prayers, where we held Uncle Vic with the broken hip (and Imogen with her bruised hip) up to Jesus

4) The Stations of the Cross, in a series of grey metal sculptures, which we were encouraged to touch, and could view on an upward trajectory as Jesus struggled up the hill with his huge burden

5) A wooden sculpture of Mary holding Jesus - very minimalist - reminded me of African tribal art

6) A carved wooden pulpit, one of the panels containing a traditional English depiction of 'Mary holding Jesus' - Imogen was keen to be lifted up as she wanted to stroke the baby Jesus' head.

7) A corner of stained glass windows by Kempe, who also has windows in our Parish church ("I knew it was by the same person, because they are the same" said Imogen.)

8) An altar tapestry of sheaves and grapes, meeting a wafer and chalice in the middle.

That wasn't all we saw - we definitely missed the (carved wooden) mice this time, as I forgot, and the guide asked on the way out if we had seen the statue of the person scratching their behind (!), plus I didn't want to jostle the buggy down the stairs into the Chapterhouse which has famous 'leaves' on the celing - there is a multitude of iconography, light, ancient objects like wooden pews, new artwork, as well as a feeling of holiness. The Minster is definitely God's sacred space - and of course can also provide an education - a variety of ways to absorb Jesus.

I thought with a 5 year old and a baby I would struggle to use it, but it would have been possible - so I just wish I'd taken my camera!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Daybooking in the Month of June

A June Kind of Day Book*

Outside my window: It's blue and dark. I rarely write when it's late evening - for the first time in a long time I can see silhouettes and street lamps.

Thoughts: What time will I be awake tomorrow, how will things be at our visit to Southwell Minster (Church of the Blessed Virgin) in the morning.

Thanksgiving: For the sunlight on fields, husbands who help out incessantly, and a way to see miracles amongst the mud.

Kitchen goings-on: Not so much. I have to cake bake next week for a couple of days away with friends, so I've been taking it easy and besides, it's been the end of the month so we've been living out of the freezer. Pasta tonight, curry tomorrow.

Reading: 1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp.

Listening: Electric dreams of my laptop. Shuffling children in their beds.

Wearing: Pyjamas and robe. Glad to be snuggly; it's been too hot to be snuggly lately.

Around the house: I HAVE A NEW PURPLE KETTLE!!! My excitement knows no bounds. Seriously.

A Favourite Thing: Besides the kettle? Music. This week - Bach and Handel. And Atomic Kitten ! - great memory of driving back from strawberry picking with all 3 girls singing it in the back of the car :-)

* Thanks to Peggy for hosting

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Our Imogen

Oh, Imogen. I said on Sunday (after a particularly hilarious time involving your distended reflection in a mirror that it is difficult to convey in words) that God sent you to me to make me laugh. Other things besides, obviously. But how you make me laugh. Not through being the class clown. Through silliness, yes, but mainly through seeing the happiness and joy in life, and laughing at things with your big chuckly laugh. Not (yet) for you the existential angst of your elder sister. Although you are, as your teacher concurs, a drama queen. You see things in extremes. If someone is experiencing pain or sadness on a TV show, you will cry for them.

You also have that extreme-sense-of-smell-thing going on - the peculiarity that makes you hide from people eating stinky blue cheese and that probably contributes to your ridiculously bland taste in food (macaroni cheese and margherita pizza are your favourite foods.) You can tell when a parcel arrives from somebody, because you can smell the scent of them or their household on it. You know when someone has been in a room because you can smell their perfume. Goodness knows how you will experience a visit to the chocolate factory!

You are five now, and learning to read and write. Initially reluctant, and preferring to run around in a pack with the boys, you are now coming into your own and discovering a new world opening up to you. I think you've had a hard time these past few months, as the boys bunch together in the playground, finding your feet in a gendered world. You've swung between independently striding into the classroom, and needing me to come in with you holding your hand. You are reluctant to play alone and find it difficult to entertain yourself (again in complete contrast to your elder sister who loves to sit by herself and read or draw - the fights this causes!), often calling on us to play, to socialise, to give you the attention on which you thrive.

You love a party, love to be around people and take pleasure in handing out cakes on plates so people get enough to eat. In company you may be initially shy, which people find at odds with your noisy personality - but you are wary, especially with people you don't know, or are asking you questions. You don't yet get that this comes across as rude - a big part of you doesn't care, and will be chatting away ten minutes later without needing any encouragement.

You love to dance, and seem to have quite a talent for it - it ties in with your love of music, and the chance to express those feelings you possess. One of our favourite family videos is a version of your younger self singing 'Squash It' to Salt n Pepa;s 'Push It'. It has me in stitches just thinking about it. You weren't being intentionally funny, but somehow you were striving to entertain. In this year's dance recital, you stood stock still on stage, but soon recovered and loved dancing and dressing up.

You love like it has no end. You are fiercely loyal, and would hurt your baby sister with the power of your kisses and cuddles if we let you. You love to snuggle, and for months slept, winter and summer both, in your fleecy Tweenies dressing gown. You are tactile and huggy; you are also boisterous, noisy, shouty, screamy, tearful and prone to those bursts of laughter I mention.

I've been looking back on early photos recently - from when we were in Disneyland, Paris, or at your Aunty and Uncle's Spanish wedding where you were a flower girl - and you look so *little*! There are glimpses of how you look today in the pictures, but so much of the baby. Now you are so grown up - a proper girl - loving glitter and pink and nail polish and princesses. As well as Peter Pan, Ben 10, green, play fighting, running and climbing trees. I think you have the best of both worlds there.

I don't know why I woke up inspired to write this, but I'm glad I did. It's a treat to capture the early memories and reflect on the person you have become and the one you are going to be. You fill our days with laughter (and frustration!). There are many more aspects to you, but these are the ones that spring to mind, now that you are five years old. Our Imogen, our Modger Moo, our Immy, our Idger Pidge, our classic second child but your own distinctive self - we love you!