In need of a laugh?

I have mixed feelings about reviews in general. Johnny English : Strikes Again was rated two stars by the Radio Times and I read a review slating it. Caveat there was a five star review for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri starring one of my favourite actresses Frances McDormand which I found tedious and couldn’t bring myself to review. Like the Booker Prize few winners are actually popular for those of us who are the real consumers. I should state that I am no great fan of anything by Rowan Atkinson but last Saturday night I needed some light relief and a film that could wash over me and possibly lull me to sleep after a horrendous week suffering  a bad reaction to medication.

So it started like any old Bond movie with Rowan Atkinson up to silly things as a teacher at a boarding school, a crisis erupts and he is called into action as an agent of MI7. We have all the usual tropes, exploding pens, fast cars, chases, magical foreign locations. What took me completely by surprise was my first involuntary belly laugh. They continued to come, I found it tremendously funny as did my wife. I can’t remember the last time I laughed out loud at anything on the TV. It was an utter joy, catching me by surprise with perfect comic timing.

So my best advice it ignore reviews and make your own mind up about all films. I have to give this five stars. It is current,y showing on Sky Cinema.

The Mercy Bus on the go again

The Friends of Divine Mercy Scotland (FODMS) are taking the Mercy Bus back out on the road for the third year this summer thanks to an overwhelming response in the past two years. 

To date they have touched over 2,000 people on the streets of Scotland, over 400 people have boarded the Mercy Bus and over 2,000 Miraculous Medals and Divine Mercy Chaplets and many rosaries were given to the people the team met on the streets of Scotland.

This year, the bus will visit Johnstone, Coatbridge, Greenock, Cumbernauld, Glasgow and Paisley. Mass will be celebrated by Bishop John Keenan, of Paisley on board the bus at on Saturday 3 August 2018 at 2 p.m. in Paisley town centre.

Organiser Helen Border said:

“Pope Francis has urged the church to ‘leave her four walls behind and to go out in search of those who are distant, those essentially on the outskirts of life.’ We are taking up Pope Francis’s invitation in taking the Church to the people. Everyone is welcome to come along and visit our ‘Church on wheels!”  

“Taking the church to the people shows them that the Lord loves, cares and wants them to return to him. People think that they cannot be forgiven for what they have done. No sin is too great for the Lord to forgive as long as there is repentance from the sinner. Stepping on board the bus could be the first step in changing their lives for the better and leaving the guilt on the bus. There will be priests hearing confessions on the top deck of the ‘Mercy Bus’ and the FODMS team will be welcoming visitors with tea, coffee and home baking.” 

Commenting on the initiative, Bishop John Keenan said:  

“Up and down the UK the Mercy Bus has been a great initiative of the New Evangelisation Pope John Paul II hoped for.  Its presence in the heart of town centres is welcomed by shoppers and workers of all faiths and none, as a joyful and hopeful presence of God in their midst. They see the Church coming to be among them with the Good News of God’s mercy very close at hand, so they can reach out and touch it, or simply rejoice in its nearness.  

Bishop Keenan added;

“The Mercy Bus works because so many lay men and women reach out to shoppers in the environment of the Bus and invite them to go in to chat with the priests inside or receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  So, the Mercy Bus is a sign of the essence of the Church where lay faithful go out to their peers to welcome into the pastoral care of priests who teach and heal.”

Shattered Dreams lead to a better place

My hidden world.

The time of reflection has arrived, at least for me anyway. I am reaching the end and I have an opportunity to look back over the decades and reflect on my life. 

The first thing I am aware of is the fact that absolutely nothing I dreamed of up to the age of 21 has remotely come to pass. At that age I knew with certainty where and what I wanted to do with my life, where I wanted to live and how it was all going to work. It seemed so clear, I had finished University (I thought) knew my career path, knew a job was waiting and I was about to get married (that worked out and still does).

Three years later my world had turned upside down and I was on a  completely different trajectory. For a start I was back at a University. 

The second thing I realise as I look back how many terrible things happened to me and yet out of them came great good. Before I had even finished Primary School I had been propelled into secondary education which was to me the worst thing to happen in my young life and then my parents decided to move and I had to leave behind my home and move to a new build. Oh I cried. I withdrew. It was awful. I never did like where we lived. My world was in utter tatters. It was a nightmare. Three years of hell. However without those two incidents I would never have met my wife. The first time I saw her in the school in the year below me I looked at her and thought I’ll marry her. Not that I was going to do anything about it, ever. But circumstances that came out of those two horrible events finally brought us together.

Out of the bad came the good. How foolish we are to think we have a clue what is happening in our lives. We don’t. We may think we do but we don’t.

The Break

I was in too much pain to continue the above and now I have lost both the flow and the thread. But what I am trying to say to all those younger than me is relax, looking back the biggest disasters brought the greater rewards something not obvious for many years sometimes and until now when I can look back and see the rich tapestry of my life. I should have of course trusted a lot more. I should have trusted rather than worried. This is particularly true of my multiple chronic conditions and disabilities out of that path which seemed like such a disaster has come the greatest good in my life.

Planning Ahead

The plan is to continue this blog until I die or become too incapacitated to continue, so that I can chronicle the end of life, the end of the journey, as I wait to start my real life. That was the plan but since I tap this out with a single digit of my left hand and if I recognise the signs my left arm is suffering the first signs of neuropathy. It is most unpleasant even the gentlest touch on the screen is painful. However I trust and will continue.

I used to Blog daily but when deciding to have another go at I decided weekly. That was wise.

Again I had to stop as it was painful. I am sure I had something else to say. But there you go it has all gone. However I have no idea how I would have coped with all that life has thrown at me without an absolutely unshakeable faith. Not in things unseen but real spiritual experiences of the divine. Ask and you will receive said Jesus. Tried and tested.

Augustine x

A black and white photo outside a caravan in the early 1950s. A man and his son (me)
An old Photo