Wednesday, 17 September 2014

my ten favourite books

Over the last few weeks a number of my friends have posted their ten favourite books on facebook.  Some nominate friends to do likewise, usually stating that they should not think too hard.  I have not been nominated but thought it would be a good exercise.
I did have to think hard because didn't really start reading books until I was 38!
As a child I could not accept stories about animals who wore clothes and talked, but I did have a copy of 'Milly Molly Mandy'. Even so I much preferred pictures to words. I managed to go through school without reading a novel from cover to cover where, fortunately, English Literature was not a compulsory subject! My life was full of doing and making; as a child I knitted jumpers and made clothes for my dolls and for my friend's dolls. By the age of 9/10 I was knitting jumpers for myself and sewing my own clothes along with going to dancing lessons five times a week - no time for homework let alone reading!
My list of books:
1: However, I did have a copy of the Bible, given to me by my parents when aged six, when my Christmas list consisted of a Bible, hymnbook and gun! The gun was so I could play cowboys and indians with the two boys who lived up the road - this was much more fun than reading stories - we were acting them out! I later progressed from the Authorised Version to JB Phillips New Testament, then the Good News Bible (described by a tutor at college as the Mickey Mouse version!) and now I prefer the New Living Bible for my personal use.
2: The novel that got me reading was recommended by a friend who was lodging with us - 'The Magus' by John Fowles. I liken it to learning to swim by jumping in the deep end! (I still can't swim!)
3: 'Life and how to survive it' by John Cleese and Robin Skynner was published when I was a Marriage Guidance Counsellor. It is very easy to read, very helpful and is illustrated with many humorous cartoons.
4: When my faith took on a deeper understanding I read 'God of Surprises' by Gerard W Hughes.
5: 'My utmost for His highest' by Oswald Chambers - a book of daily devotions written in the early 20th century which still bring me up sharp. 
6: 'Holiness' by JC Ryle, written over a hundred years ago but I found it easy to read especially as he accepted women as equal.
7: At college a friend recommended 'The other side of silence' by Morton Kelsey.

And that's where my list ends although I have read all of Gerard W Hughes' books and many of Oswald Chambers' and Morton Kelsey's books but none have had such an impact as those seven. 
However, during the late 80s and 90s I avidly awaited the next novel by Susan Howatch with her 'Starbridge Cronicles' and 'Wonder Worker' trilogy. Today, I am devouring Robert Harris' latest; 'An officer and a spy', having read all but one of his previous novels.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

surprise, surprise!

We were invited to a surprise 50th birthday party at the weekend of someone who was in the youth group when I was one of the leaders. We have stayed in contact over the last 30 years, mainly by Christmas cards but more recently we meet regularly at a cafe halfway between our homes, having both moved to Wales; her shortly after her marriage and us more recently
I know her parents and both her brothers and sisters-in-law but wasn't expecting to know anyone else. However, when I looked at the table plan, I recognised the names of others on our table; two of which were also in the youth group and the two other ladies were school friends whom I didn't recognise at first but realised that they were school friends of the birthday girl  who occasionally came to the larger youth group events.
Between the four ladies on our table, I had made two wedding dresses and a total of five bridesmaids dresses! with another wedding dress and three bridesmaids dresses in the room! and some still had their dresses all these years later.
It was lovely to reminisce and also to catch up on each other's news.