Reykjavik


Reykjavik Holiday Dairy

Day One: Arrival Day

Unpacked our stuff at the Airbnb, then went to find a supermarket. Everything is very expensive, and as we speak no Icelandic, it was quite an adventure. A man overheard us debating the milk, and kindly showed us which one was semi-skimmed (yellow top). I later overheard some Americans trying to find ‘half-and-half’ and mistakenly picking up baby-milk. “That’s breast-milk!” one exclaimed, which made me laugh.

Wandered round the waterfront. The air is cool and clear. There seem to be a lot of tourists, a lot of gay couples, lots of Viking stuff, a lot of pink hair. The painted houses are rather cheerful. They have big blank windows, which I don’t understand in a country that has constant summer daylight (when I would want thick curtains) followed by almost constant winter darkness (when I would still want thick curtains). I find it confusing; the houses and shops look the same. Sometimes I think I’m looking into a café window, and I realise I’m watching a bloke cut his toenails in his lounge!

Viking Stuff

We ate lamb burgers in Fjallkonan, a buzzing restaurant full of chatty people. Excellent food, comfortable chairs (it matters!) It cost £60 for two burgers, one beer, and a sparkling water. Not a cheap city.

Day Two: Drive from Reykjavik

Terrible night’s sleep due to constant daylight. Need to invest in some eye-masks. Got up 6am, read Bible and had coffee, dragged Husband out for a run.

Showered—it stinks of sulphur. The hot water is pumped straight from the ground, which makes incredibly cheap heating/hot water systems. But it’s smelly. Hoping I get used to it; holding my breath for the length of the shower was a near-death experience. Maybe will buy an oxygen tank and mask when I buy the eye-mask (though Husband is bound to make comments). However, the cold water in Iceland is good, very pure, and perfect for drinking straight from the tap. Don’t waste money on bottled water in Iceland.

Decided to go for a drive as the weather forecast is wet. Driving here is fairly easy as long as you remember which side of the road to be on. Good quality wide roads (not like the warrens of Madeira). There are several gravel/unmade roads, but our hire car agreement doesn’t allow us to use those (for which I am grateful). We drove towards Glymur Waterfall, stopping to eat a picnic lunch on the way. Husband made comments about the bread knife (I don’t like making sandwiches, easier to do it at the time). Ate looking at black mountains with white patches of snow.

Drove NorthWest to Kolbeinsstadhir. (Icelandic is a bit like Welsh, every word is crammed full of consonants.) Stopped to look at some thermal water. It was shut, due to Covid, but we ignored the sign and walked up anyway. There was a hot spring, which was piped, so looked a bit like someone had randomly put a tap in the middle of wasteland. There was steam. Husband was more impressed than me.

We saw several herds of horses. Icelandic horses are a thing. They are classified as horses (though I’m pretty sure they are ponies really) and they’re very pretty. If you remove one from Iceland, it’s not allowed back, which keeps the line pure. Some restaurants serve horse meat, but I like to think the beauties I saw were kept for riding.

Beautiful Icelandic Horses

We got home about 4:30pm. I saw lots of very flat plains, black mountains, spectacular waterfalls, and thousands of blue lupins. But not many trees. There’s a saying: “If you see three trees in Iceland, you’re in a forest.” Or a joke: “If you’re lost in a forest in Iceland, stand up!” I guess repeated lava flows doesn’t encourage long life for trees, and the earth below the surface is too hot for deep roots. There were trees, but not many, and none were ancient. I still prefer Scotland for scenery.

Dinner at Messinn. I started with a dirty plate, and was then given a sticky menu, so not a great start. But they served traditional fish stew, with potatoes and vegetables and hunks of lava bread. Lava bread is good. It’s rye bread, and the dough is cooked in a pot in the hot ground. I thought it tasted a bit like malt loaf but without the fruit, and it was nice with butter and a cup of tea. But they also chuck lumps of it into their fish stews.

Thanks for reading. In my next blog I’ll describe the most difficult walk of my life, going to see a puffin colony. Hope you have a good week.
Love, Anne x

The verse I tried to learn in Iceland was 2 Chronicles 7:14. Have you managed to remember any? Read it again to refresh your memory:

(NIV)

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

(OHB)

וְיִכָּנְעוּ עַמִּי אֲשֶׁר נִֽקְרָא־שְׁמִי עֲלֵיהֶם וְיִֽתְפַּֽלְלוּ וִֽיבַקְשׁוּ פָנַי וְיָשֻׁבוּ מִדַּרְכֵיהֶם הָרָעִים וַאֲנִי אֶשְׁמַע 

מִן־הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶסְלַח לְחַטָּאתָם וְאֶרְפָּא אֶת־אַרְצָֽם׃

(CCB) 

而这些被称为我名下的子民若谦卑下来,祈祷、寻求我的面,离开恶道,我必从天上垂听,赦免他们的罪,医治他们的土地。

Anne E. Thompson
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Running in Reykjavík


While we were in Iceland, we tried to run each morning. I never changed my watch (Iceland is an hour behind of English time) so it was easy to get up early. Iceland is a country of flat plains and steep mountains. The city is built on a hill, and I don’t run on hills. Luckily, our Airbnb was near Hijomskalagardur Park, which was flat, so we could could walk down the hill, do a lap of the lake, and run/stagger home. The park had ducks (always good) and swans, lots of interesting statues, and a view back up the hill of the city. In the distance were black mountains with patches of white snow. Wherever we went in Iceland, there were always black mountains with patches of white snow. Panda mountains.

I loved the statues, and made up stories about them as I ran. I took photos to show you:

I loved this one. Make of it what you will, but to me it spoke of the burden of having to work in an office.
Woman uses toilet while wishing her husband would go away! (Reminds me of ‘Out by Ten’. Better read a copy if you don’t understand.)
Big hero with big hammer needs to rest on the strength of a gentle woman.
Man with big shield slays the dragon with his sword and rescues the naked woman (not sure why she needs to be naked) while she keeps hold of her friendly ghost. (I don’t understand the ghost either, maybe the spirit of the slain dragon? Perhaps they were friends and the man misunderstood the situation.)

There was also a lovely view of the city, though you can’t see the black mountains in this photo. They’re off to the right.

Reykjavík

While running, I tried to learn some more of 2 Chronicles 7:14. How much can you remember now?

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

וְיִכָּנְעוּ עַמִּי אֲשֶׁר נִֽקְרָא־שְׁמִי עֲלֵיהֶם וְיִֽתְפַּֽלְלוּ וִֽיבַקְשׁוּ פָנַי וְיָשֻׁבוּ מִדַּרְכֵיהֶם הָרָעִים וַאֲנִי אֶשְׁמַע מִן־הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶסְלַח לְחַטָּאתָם וְאֶרְפָּא אֶת־אַרְצָֽם׃

Thanks for reading.

anneethompson.com
*****

‘Iceland is Beautiful,’ they said…


‘Iceland is beautiful,’ they said… ‘Iceland is my favourite country in the world,’ they said… ‘You’ve never been?’ they said, ‘You should plan to visit.’ So we did.

I prepared for our trip by watching Icelandic films, hoping to learn the odd phrase and perhaps see a little of the culture. This was a mistake, as I mostly watched crime films. I therefore stepped off the flight, entered the arrivals hall and was confronted by a line of serial killers holding name placards. Luckily we had rented a car, so avoided all the psychopaths and edged our way to the Avis desk. Avis had queues of people, very little space, and lots of signs about wind (the weather version). Wind is a thing in Iceland.

Known as the land of ice and fire, it should also be called the land of blue lupins. They were everywhere, lining the roads, growing on ancient mounds of lava, covering every hill and plain. Iceland in June is blue. Blue and grey. People told me that Iceland is beautiful, and it’s true that many parts were, but there’s an awful lot of grey. As we drove from the airport the landscape reminded me mostly of the groundwork when a new motorway is being built —mounds of grey rubble. Volcanoes are not tidy, and Iceland was produced by a string of eruptions. I guess there’s no point in clearing up the lava flow, so it sits there, pretending to be builder’s rubble, until the lupins move in to cover it in blue.

We rented an Airbnb in Reykjavik. This turned out to be wonderful, a converted printing works that consisted of one huge room filled with plants and nicknacks, with separate bedrooms and bathroom. It was used in the Netflix series Sense8, though most of the furniture was different.

Reykjavik is more town than city, with mostly wooden houses covered in colourful corrugated iron. It has clean streets, happy people in weird clothes (though to be honest, I think the clothes of most people younger than me are weird) and high prices. Iceland is expensive. The city also has a harbour, and a huge church (which looks like a cathedral) high on a hill, seen above the city. 

A cool church building, towering over Reykjavík.
Pretending to be a Viking, outside the big church.

We were told that in June, it would only be dark for a few hours each night, between midnight and 2 am. This was a lie. I got up in the night to check, and it was never dark. Slightly gloomy perhaps, like a grey day at home, but never dark. I took a photo for evidence…

No streetlights needed: 2am and definitely NOT dark.

The June weather was cold, but not freezing. I needed a warm sweater and a coat, but not a ski jacket (which is lucky, as I don’t own one!) A woolly hat is fairly essential, not so much for warmth but more for hair control. Husband declined repeated offers to borrow a hat, and the hair style wasn’t good. As I said, wind is a thing in Iceland. 

We saw some amazing stuff while we were there, but I’ll tell you about our trips in another blog. Is Iceland beautiful? Beauty is very subjective, and I never really saw past the grey rocks, the black mountains, and the lack of trees. Especially the trees. Most other people have a different view, so I’ll leave you with some pictures and you can decide for yourself.

Thanks for reading. Take care.

Love, Anne x

I try to learn a little more Hebrew whenever I run (it helps take my mind off the pain!) In Iceland I began to learn 2 Chronicles 7: 14. You could try to learn it too?
*Note to Mother: Please learn the English version and we can make another Facebook video!
I will add it to the end of each Iceland blog:

If my people, who are called by my name, humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 

2 Chronicles 7:14

וְיִכָּנְעוּ עַמִּי אֲשֶׁר נִֽקְרָא־שְׁמִי עֲלֵיהֶם וְיִֽתְפַּֽלְלוּ וִֽיבַקְשׁוּ פָנַי וְיָשֻׁבוּ מִדַּרְכֵיהֶם הָרָעִים וַאֲנִי אֶשְׁמַע מִן־הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶסְלַח
 לְחַטָּאתָם וְאֶרְפָּא אֶת־אַרְצָֽם׃

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Which One Is You?


Part of my course has involved looking at the different ways people view the Bible. I found it quite challenging, as looking at various definitions makes me notice things about my religion in a whole new way. The way that people use the Bible says a lot about their beliefs. I’m going to give you three brief definitions—though there are lots of variations in-between. Which one do you think best suits you?

  1. “The Bible is the infallible Word of God”

This is often said, but it can mean several different things so you need to decide: Firstly, what is ‘the Bible’? In Scripture itself, there was no word for ‘Bible’ or ‘Scripture,’ they only referred to ‘writings’ which is slightly vague. It can either mean the selection of books that you have, gathered together into a single book, called the ‘Holy Bible.’ Or it can refer to the original texts, written in ancient Hebrew and Koine Greek on individual parchments, long-since lost. We now only have copies of copies of copies, and the Hebrew has been ‘translated’ into biblical Hebrew (it was probably a much earlier form of the language—like Chaucer’s English compared to today’s).

The books we now call ‘Scripture’ themselves refer to other books, which are not included in our Bible—so are they also infallible, or only the bits that are actually quoted? (Eg. Jude 1:6.) And do you mean the whole selection of books we currently have, which means their position within the Bible are important, or the individual books? Does infallibility extend to the actual book (which is probably English) that you read today? Even though versions and translations are different?

Next to decide is what you mean by ‘infallible.’ Do you mean that the authors were like automatons, so none of their own views were included? Though their bad grammar was, and so were some mistakes when they quoted other parts of the Bible. (Check out Matt 27:9-10, when he says he’s quoting Jeremiah, but actually he quotes Zechariah 11:12-13. An easy mistake, we’ve all done it, and it doesn’t affect his point at all. But would you say a mistake was ‘infallible’?) Plus, some of the ‘facts’ are a bit questionable—like the sun going round the world, and the order of some events in the gospels are different. And if you believe the Bible is infallible, does that mean it all has equal status, so you give as much emphasis to some of the Old Testament laws as you do to the teachings of Christ?

Now, an interesting question if you hold this view—do you go to great lengths to justify it? Are you comfortable saying, ‘That bit doesn’t seem to make sense.’? Or do you produce reasons to explain why it does make sense, even if it isn’t obvious at first look? Is the emphasis of your worship teaching, or reading the Bible?

In my experience, the sermon (which is the speaker’s interpretation) is usually longer than the reading of Scripture. Which might imply we don’t think God can speak to individuals through the Bible—which is not what we state. If someone disagrees, do you spend time explaining your view, and are you unhappy unless everyone believes much the same thing?

The explaining/justifying is even reflected in some Bible translations: Isaiah 7:14 uses a Hebrew word, עלמה , which in that context probably means ‘young woman’ but the NIV translates it as ‘virgin.’ It’s quoted in Matt 1:23, and the Greek uses the word ‘virgin.’ However, I don’t think Matthew is using the quote to describe Mary, he is using it to describe the son, Jesus, the Messiah. Therefore, by changing the Isaiah meaning, the NIV has added its own view to Scripture (rather than allowing Scripture to speak as it will).

2.God Speaks Through the Bible (But the Bible is not equal with God)

This view means you believe God uses the Bible to guide people, to reveal himself and to provide a standard of right-and-wrong. But the writings are not ‘infallible.’ It is a theological book, the words have meaning and it’s the meaning that’s important, not the actual words. So for example, the parable of the ‘Prodigal Son’ explains something about God’s love. But the words are not necessarily a direct quotation of what Jesus said, and the situation surrounding the parable may have been changed, to help the reader understand the point. The writers were inspired by God, they were listening to his Spirit as they wrote, but they were still human, they may have made mistakes about timing or science—things that don’t affect the theology.

People who believe this are usually comfortable admitting that some bits of the Bible are difficult to understand, or don’t seem to make sense, or were part of the culture of the ancient world and therefore the theology still applies but not the literal words. However, you need to decide which bits should be taken literally, and which parts are less important. If God allowed mistakes in the Bible, how do you know which are the right texts, and which should be ignored? If God speaks to individuals through the Bible, then how do you stop people finding support for their own views, and misunderstanding passages? Is it okay if everyone in a church believes something different and there is no uniformity?

Churches who hold this view usually ensure that both Old and New Testaments are read at each service, and the emphasis is on the Bible, not the teaching/interpretation, so the sermons are less important.

3. Logic and Reason are Most Important, the Bible Contains Some Useful Teaching

If this is your view, then you acknowledge that there is some good teaching in the Bible, and that God can use it to speak to people, but unless the narration is logical, you doubt if it’s true. You like everything to be ‘proved.’ This means the miracles in the Bible were either misunderstood ‘tricks’ or made-up by the authors to explain a theological point. You believe the Bible is pure theology, and not at all historically reliable. Reading it can point to good behaviours and an understanding of God, but it shouldn’t be taken literally, and the events described might, or might not, be true.

People who believe this tend to focus on discussion, listening to a range of views and beliefs. They are open to being persuaded, and give more emphasis to what other people say and write than to the Bible itself.

As I said, there are a whole range of views between these, but they give a basic framework. Which one is you? The thing I find interesting, having spoken to various people, is that whatever view they hold, they all say that God speaks to them through the Bible. I believe them, which is rather marvellous don’t you think?

Thanks for reading.

My next blog is about our trip to Iceland. I kept hearing that it is a beautiful place, but I wasn’t so sure. Is lava beautiful? We booked a trip and went to see. I will tell you about it next week.

Take care.

Love, Anne x

Anne E. Thompson
Thank you for reading anneethompson.com Why not sign up to follow my blog?

anneethompson.com
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Trip to London


I met a friend for brunch in London, which felt very grown-up. It was raining, so I took my umbrella. As I walked along Victoria Street, there was a woman hurrying in the rain, dressed for an occasion, gradually getting soggy. I caught her up, and suggested she shared my umbrella. I spotted other people, some with umbrellas, some getting wet, but no one else was sharing. I mentioned this later to my daughter. Apparently sharing your umbrella is not a thing, especially in London. This seems wrong, I shall start a campaign.

I was slightly late for brunch due to barricades outside Buckingham Palace ready for the Jubilee celebrations. I hadn’t allowed time for detours. When I arrived, my friend messaged to say she too was delayed. This proved a problem for the staff, who came to the table several times to tell me the kitchen would soon be shut (which was a lie, because they serve lunch there). Felt generally uncomfortable. Then I ordered the wrong food—egg florentine—because I thought it was egg benedict but with salmon. It isn’t, it’s with spinach, which is not at all the same. Such a shame.

I hope you had a fun time celebrating the Jubilee. We had the extended family round, for a walk to the pigs and then tea and cake. I invited everyone, envisioning a cosy chat afterwards in the kitchen. Husband saw the sunshine, and set up chairs outside and organised a croquet competition. Son muttered about it being typical that his parents were planning opposing events. I don’t think anyone else noticed.

Large ducklings and their fed-up-with-childcare mother. You can just about spot the new chick.

We had bit of a disaster in the garden this week, as Husband spotted two moorhen chicks wandering across the lawn. Every year the moorhen hatches eggs on the island, and none ever survive. I don’t like interfering with wild animals (it rarely turns out well) but these were cute black balls of fluff, tottering away from the pond in search of their mother, oblivious to the cats and crows. We decided I would pick them up and put them in with the ducklings. As I walked towards them, Husband was shouting: ‘Be careful of your bad back,’ which changed to ‘Quick! There’s a crow! Run faster!’ I caught them (and hurt my back) and put them in with the ducks. Mother Duck gave me a look as if to say, ‘These are tiny babies, I have finished that phase and am looking after big ducklings now.’ The ducklings all ran away scared, despite being twice the size.

A tiny ball of black fluff stumbling across the lawn.

As predicted, it didn’t turn out well. I found one the following morning, it had died. I suspect it got cold because it didn’t stay in the huddle of ducklings. At least its final moments weren’t being eaten though. The other two managed to reunite with the mother, and we catch sight of them near the pond, though thankfully they seem to have learnt not to venture across the garden.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Hope you have a lovely week.
Take care.
Love, Anne x

Thank you for reading anneethompson.com Why not sign up to follow my blog?

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“It’s better to go to a funeral than a feast…”


I write this the day after Uncle Frank’s funeral. Funerals in my family tend to be long, emotional, and loving. Uncle Frank’s funeral was longer, and more loving, than most because there was a lot to say about my Uncle Frank. He was a one-off. I cannot possibly describe for you the magic of his stories, the exaggerated tales of his past, the way his face creased into smiles when he saw you, his mischievous giggle when something tickled him. My earliest memories are of him on the beach, digging a massive hole and turning it into a car, so I could sit and ‘drive’ sheltered from the cold Norfolk wind. I have later memories of him with my own children, letting them camp at the end of his garden and slipping them shiny coins when he thought I wasn’t looking.

Yesterday was a day of laughter and tears. Lots of tears. I am a cry-er, always have been, though it’s worse since surgery when controlling any emotion is difficult. As we waited outside the crematorium, I tried to decide how to behave—should I ‘live inside my head’ and not properly listen to what was being said, force myself to notice the sounds and smells and sights around me, ‘tell myself a story’ as events unfolded and thus remove my emotions. If I didn’t ‘think,’ I wouldn’t cry. But then, what was the point of being there? Surely the point of a funeral is to cry, to let the emotion, the pain of loss, come to the surface. To share the hurt and love with other people who are hurt and loving.

But, could I keep it in check? Would my not-easy-to-control emotions spiral out of control, embarrassing me and being no use to anyone else? I decided that I would allow myself to cry at the thanksgiving service in the church after the crematorium, but at the crematorium I would remove my thoughts and control my emotions and not cry.

My resolve lasted about one minute, as when the coffin arrived it was carried in by my cousins, and I wasn’t expecting that. The sight of the ‘boys’ (they will always be ‘the boys’ to me) and their sons, carrying the coffin was too beautiful, too poignant. How lovely, to be carried for the last time by people who love you.

So that was it. I spent the entire day with a swollen red nose and puffy eyes and damp cheeks. I am not one of those women who look beautiful when they cry, I resemble a sunburnt frog. But it didn’t matter. By the time the thanksgiving service was finished, I think everyone else had cried too. Unlike some funerals, when you sit there not recognising the saintly person described and you wonder if everyone else knew a different person to you, Uncle Frank’s funeral was about the Uncle Frank who I love. A real, not-perfect, easy to love person who enjoyed giving to others. So many stories, so many memories; laughter and tears chasing each other round the church. It was a special day.

The thing is, like the quote above, I think it really is better to go to a funeral than a feast. A funeral is real. You see a person’s life spread out before you, and it reminds you that life is short. We only get one life. It’s up to us how we spend it. Do I want to spend it ‘scoring points’ when someone messes up? Do I want to spend it indignant because other people make mistakes or behave badly? Do I want to shelter from all possible hurt and embarrassment and in consequence never join anything, never initiate a conversation, never take a risk? Am I forever delaying the things I want to do, waiting for that perfect time that might never come?

We only get one life. Life is short. Live it well.

Thanks for reading.
Take care.
Love, Anne x

“It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting,
for this is the end of all mankind,
and the living will lay it to heart.”

טוֹב לָלֶכֶת אֶל־בֵּֽית־אֵבֶל מִלֶּכֶת אֶל־בֵּית מִשְׁתֶּה בַּאֲשֶׁר הוּא סוֹף כָּל־הָאָדָם וְהַחַי יִתֵּן אֶל־לִבּֽוֹ

*****
Thank you for reading
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How Do We Read the Bible?


Learning How to Read the Bible

Reading the Bible

As my college lectures continue, I am beginning to meet some new ideas. One of my subjects this semester is ‘Reading the Bible’ which happily is more complex than it sounds. It’s an issue I’ve been struggling with ever since I learnt that we don’t actually have an original copy of the Bible even though we do have other writings that predate some of the Biblical books. So why did God not preserve an original manuscript of the books in the Bible? Could it be that perhaps we are giving it too much emphasis? Or the wrong sort of emphasis? Are we meant to be completely sure that we have all the answers?

Part of my lecture preparation this week is to read an article by N.T. Wright. Not sure if you’ve come across him? He writes lots of Christian stuff. I tend to think that he writes about interesting issues, but I find his books very difficult to read. Some writers produce work that flows easily into my head, and others are more of an effort. I’m not sure why, maybe it has something to do with speech patterns. If you want to read the whole article by Mr. Wright, the link is here:

Mr Wright begins by questioning what people mean when they talk about ‘the authority of the Bible.’ This intrigues me too—what exactly do they mean? People often tell me: “The Bible is God’s word,” but I’m never quite sure whether they mean the original books (which we don’t have any more) or their own translation, or the essence of the books but not absolutely every word/sentence/paragraph. It does seem that sometimes people treat the Bible as if it is God. I was interested to read that Mr Wright also struggles with this (well, to be fair, he didn’t say that he struggled, so he might be completely sorted on this point). He notes that the Bible itself only gives authority to God. He says that the Bible is one way that God reveals himself.

He then describes (not especially kindly) people who look at the Bible for ‘a daily blessing’ or ‘the answer to a question’ or ‘divine inspiration.’ He thinks this is a misuse of the Bible. Whilst I sort of agree with him (in the same way as I think people often use prayer as if God was a genie in a lamp, waiting to grant their requests) I didn’t much like his tone. In the Bible, people came to God for all sorts of wrong reasons, like they were scared of dying, or they had just watched a miracle and thought following Jesus would be the ancient equivalent of knowing the lottery numbers each week. Mostly, people came for selfish reasons, but God took them anyway, Jesus let them follow, and they learnt the truth along the way. People probably rarely come to God—or read the Bible—for the right reason. Not initially, anyway. However, the next thing Mr Wright wrote was, I thought, rather clever.

An ancient book

He described a pretend situation where a new play by Shakespeare had been discovered, but the last act was missing. Rather than produce the play while incomplete, or ask a modern playwright to write the ending, a group of Shakespearean actors decided to produce the play themselves. They thoroughly learnt the first few acts, so they were familiar with the characters, they knew how they would respond, they knew the situation they were in, and then—following the essence of the original—they finished the play. They didn’t simply regurgitate an earlier scene, nor did they ignore the essence of what was already written; they kept to the ‘authority’ of the first part whilst creating something that finished the drama completely in-keeping with what had gone before. This, says Mr. Wright, is how we should view the Bible. We are ‘making up’ the final act of the play, but it needs to be consistent with what has gone before.

It’s an interesting viewpoint, and I think I probably agree with it. We do need to be immersed in the Bible, so we know the message that it presents, but rather than it being a static, historical work, we can make it something alive, something relevant for today. Which means that the selecting of certain passages to ‘make rules’ is a dangerous game, not really what our purpose is meant to be. They might not apply in ‘the final act.’

I will mull on the idea, and try to think about the wider issues—but so far it looks like a useful analogy. What do you think? Of course, you do need to actually read the Bible. Do you?

Thanks for reading. I’ll give you more updates on what I discover at college as I go. It’s mainly been very interesting so far (one bit isn’t, but I’d better not talk too much about that!) Have a good day. Take care.
Love, Anne x

Anne E. Thompson
Thank you for reading anneethompson.com Why not sign up to follow my blog?
All ten ducklings healthy and happy.

A Good Day


Sometimes you just know a day is going to be good, don’t you? Everything seems to work well together, and even unrelated events turn out well. And sometimes, the opposite is true, and we go to bed wishing we had never got out of it because everything we have attempted has gone wrong.

Today, is a good day. I wasn’t sure it would be, because when I got home yesterday, tired from a day at college and a long drive, my back was hurting. I went to check on the animals, and there was lots of movement in the nest on the pond, and definite sounds of cheeping. Mother duck wasn’t moving, and when she saw me looking, she tried to cover herself with dirt—not sure whether she was trying to hide or was securing a hatchling that wanted to escape.

A duck will stay on the nest until the first hatchlings decide to leave the nest, then she’ll abandon any unhatched eggs (even if they’re nearly hatched) and take the ducklings to water. After they have fed, she’ll relocate to a new place and gather her ducklings under her. Any ducklings that haven’t managed to keep up will drown or be eaten by all the predators that swoop in as soon as they hear the cheeping. Of say, 25 eggs she lays, about half will hatch, and of those 13, maybe one will survive to adulthood. It’s a tough world out there.

Anyway, last night I had a choice: 1. I could leave them to their fate. 2. I could risk drowning and try to catch the mother, put her into the chicken coop and then try to catch the ducklings. Mother would then raise the ducklings in safety. 3. I could leave the mother (because she is the hardest to catch) and remove the ducklings. I would then have to raise the ducklings myself in the garage, which is a lot of work and I have an essay to write. What would you have done?

I decided that my back hurt too much, plus I was tired, so I left them. I would reassess the situation in the morning.

Today, I woke about 6:30 and went straight to the pond. A miracle! It looked as if the mother had only just left the nest. She was on the pond with 10 ducklings, but there were no predators, she was very relaxed, and the ducklings were still full of energy. I went to collect Husband (who muttered about ‘Husband-abuse’ and having to wade into pond before 7 a.m.) We knew the drill: First, secure the area (cats locked into workshop while one of us stayed at the pond to deter flying predators). In the few minutes it took to lock up the cats, the trees filled with crows and magpies. Collect big bucket as dumping place for ducklings. Catch mother. (Unless you have ever caught an angry duck on a big pond, you have no idea how miraculous this was.) Put mother into chicken coop, and turf out grumpy chickens (will have to combine the flocks this evening, which will cause them some angst.) Catch remaining ducklings, reunite ducklings and mother. Make coop safe, put down fresh food and water, leave them to settle. Phew! All achieved before my morning coffee. I put my pyjamas into the wash and made a drink.

When the post arrived, there was a little package. It was a painting that I bought online. I have often seen the artist’s work on twitter, and he does some tiny paintings, the size of a coin, and some slightly bigger. This one was of London (I happen to like his London ones best) and it was being sold on a tiny easel. It’s the perfect size to brighten up a dark corner of my study, and only cost £15 including postage, so I followed the link to Etsy and bought it. I wasn’t sure what to expect, it’s hard to assess a painting online. But it really is perfect, and such good value for an acrylic.

http://www.acmart.co.uk is worth a peek.

As I said, today is going to be a good day. Hope your day is good too.
Thank you for reading.
Take care.
Love, Anne x

Thanks for reading:
anneethompson.com
Anne E. Thompson
Thank you for reading anneethompson.com Why not sign up to follow my blog?
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Losing and Winning


Hello and how was your weekend? Mine was very mixed, with some truly lovely parts clouded by a loss.

Bluebells still beautiful, sheep looking fed-up.

Saturday started with a run down the lane, the bluebells are still holding on and the field was full of some grumpy-looking sheep. Am assuming they’re pregnant and fed-up (I remember that feeling).

The afternoon was spent at Lingfield Races. We were invited to a summer party, and we donned our smart clothes—so hard to walk in heels when you haven’t worn them for a while—and joined some friends at the racecourse. They had booked a private suite, which was rather lovely, with a buffet lunch and a balcony overlooking the course. I scoured the race details, trying to pick the winner for each race, and failing completely.

Enjoying the races. My horse was last.

It’s very hard to predict which horse will win (which I guess is why there are so many bookies). After each race, I compared the age, weight of jockey, distance they had travelled, last time they had run, trying to transpose the information to the next race. It didn’t work, I lost. After a few races I switched strategies, and backed the favourite. That didn’t work either. Nor did choosing the prettiest jockey colours, nor the best named horse. We walked down to the training ring to see if we could spot the winner there, but it was empty except for a man in dirty jeans—and I didn’t think he was likely to be winning any races! In the end I backed whichever horse was grey, which I believe was my grandad’s strategy many years ago. He never won anything either.

Trying to ignore the uncomfortable heels. (If my mother had been there, my hair would look less scruffy.)

Sunday we went to church. We have joined Holy Trinity, the little anglican church in the village, and I love it. It is full of friendly faces, and I find the words of the liturgy to be beautiful, the building inspiring, and taking the sacrament is being part of something holy. Having been raised a staunch baptist, I am noticing the differences, and revelling in approaching God from a different angle. Perhaps everyone should change denomination mid-life, so they can understand the good parts of both.

After church we always have brunch, which is another new tradition (since Covid) that makes me look forward to Sundays. (I used to dread them—they were all about being uncomfortable and doing my duty and working hard). We had banana and walnut and cinnamon pancakes with orange juice and coffee. Doesn’t that sound good?

Then we did some gardening, with my old dog beside me and the cats pouncing on the weeds I dug up, and the sunshine smiling on us. A peaceful day.

I needed a peaceful day, because a much-loved uncle died recently. He was the sort of uncle who you knew would smile if you turned up unannounced at the door, an uncle who told amazing stories (which you were never entirely sure whether they were true), the sort of uncle who wanted to be part of my life. When my children came along, he wanted to know them too. He was part of the stability of my life. I have been very lucky, my childhood was built on love and family. I will leave you with the wedding photo of my grandparents, which is where that stability and love started. Losing an uncle is sad, but mostly I feel grateful that he was my uncle, because family is precious.

My Granny and Grampy on their wedding day. Those heels look uncomfortable too!

Hold on to what is precious this week, and let things that don’t matter evaporate. Life is too short for anything else.
Thanks for reading. Take care.
Love, Anne x

Thanks for reading

anneethompson.com

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Pendragon Castle and Franks Bridge


Pendragon Castle and Franks Bridge

It was our last day in the Yorkshire Dales, so we made it a good one. We started with a run down the lane (I will miss the lambs in the fields and the stone walls, and the hills surrounding the dale). Then breakfast in Hawes (at Caffe Curlew, which despite the spelling serves excellent food—I had banana loaf with raspberries and yogurt and honey—soo delicious). Later, we went for a drive.

I will never tire of driving through the dales (especially out of season, when the roads are clear, and the views stretch on forever). The roads cling to the side of the hills, rolling up and down with the curves of rock, sometimes with sheep, sometimes mile after mile of nothing but grass. We headed for Kirby Stephen, simply because it looked like a fairly large town not too far away.

In Kirby Stephen we found Franks Bridge, so I took a photo to send to Uncle Frank (as you do). The bridge was hard to find, in a warren of narrow lanes and crooked houses, and absolutely nowhere to park. Later, I learned that it used to be an area owned by the brewery, and all the cottages are converted brewery buildings.

Franks Bridge is a pretty stone bridge crossing the River Eden (not, weirdly, the same River Eden that runs through the Kent town of Edenbridge). It is the starting point for several footpaths, and was built in the 17th century. The bridge is named after one of the brewers (Francis—or Frank to his friends!)

Franks Bridge hidden behind a maze of old brewery buildings.

We wandered up to the centre of town. In the church I found a glass case with a few old objects. They include a tusk which is said to be from the last wild boar in England (before they were all killed by hunters). There is also the ‘breeches Bible’ which is so named because in Genesis, Adam and Eve sewed breeches. The Hebrew word was traditionally translated as ‘aprons.’

Old Bible in a glass case in the church.

Even older than the church or bridge is Pendragon Castle, which sits next to the road on the way to Kirby Stephen. It dates back to the 12th century, and was apparently founded by the father of King Arthur, Uther Pendragon. (I feel those names would have been confusing when Arthur lived at home, but who am I to comment?) Anyway, Uther came to a sticky end when the well was poisoned by the Saxons, so maybe not such a happy place.

A slightly less romantic version has the castle built by Hugh de Morville or Ranulph de Meschines—accounts differ (still in the 12th century though). Hugh de Morville is one of the men who murdered St. Thomas Becket in 1170, so not a nice chap. The castle was nearly destroyed when Scottish raiders tried to burn it down in 1341 (we could never control the Scottish) but was restored and was later owned by Lady Anne Clifford.

Today however, it is beautiful. The walls are crumbling, and aubretia is growing in the cracks, so if you visit be sure to go in April when it’s flowering. It sits on a little hill, the ditch of a moat around it, birds singing in the trees, sheep nestling next to the river below. Definitely a good place to visit to end our holiday.

Hope you have a good day. Thanks for reading.
Take care.
Love, Anne x

anneethompson.com

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