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Showing posts from December, 2015

'Fear not,' said the Angel...

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It was a beautiful night with a New Moon in South Tawton, Devon, England. And the world was about to change forever…


An angel stood outside the magnificent 15th century granite and thatch, Church House, which has been at the heart of the South Tawton community for more than 500 years.
Okay, she was there a bit earlier than the moon because it's still daylight, but that was a lovely picture to start off with. And, anyway, she was deep in prayer before our story started, wondering exactly what words to use when she spoke to a young lady later that evening. Did you know that the most common phrase in the Bible is 'fear not?' There are 365 mentions of the phrase — one for every day of the year. So, the angel thought to herself, 'let's go with the flow. "Fear not" is as good as it gets.'

Now this was not just any old angel, it was the Archangel Gabriel, the messenger between God and humanity. Wisely, she went up the steps so she could be seen properly and…

"About as Much Use as a Chocolate Teapot" — Exeter Christmas Market no. 2

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Being a chocoholic, I've never quite understood that phrase. It might not do as a teapot but it's still chocolate and that's always useful.

Of course, it's the time of year for chocolate Santas, snowmen and reindeer — although the latter look rather worryingly like ear-amputated leftover chocolate bunny rabbits at Easter with different wrapping. We're fairly used to chocolate in odd shapes and sizes by now.

But a chocolate monkey wrench? A chocolate paintbrush? A chocolate slice of mousetrap cheese? A chocolate salami? Why? Why? Why?

I don't know why, but I know this stall from The Amazing Chocolate Workshop  stopped me in my tracks at Exeter Christmas market. It was almost impossible to believe that they were selling chocolate. Luckily, one of them gave me a morsel to prove it and it was delicious chocolate. Gluten-free, 65% delicious chocolate.

Oh, and if you look carefully at the picture above, you'll see they actually do sell chocolate teapots. Dammit,…

Exeter Christmas Market (1)

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I only went into Exeter to get a late Advent calendar and some Christmas cards from the cathedral. Shopping per se wasn't on my mind but hanging out in St. Peter's is one of my favourite pastimes and any excuse will do. I've always loved their Christmas cards.

Not this year, however. Three really dull designs and not one Advent calendar left by 3rd December. But there was St. Gabriel's chapel to sit and pray in, as well as the lovely lady chapel and no visit to the cathedral is ever other than a delight.

Even better, a school choir was rehearsing I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day which, oddly, I'd never heard before and which took my breath away. You can listen to it here. Particularly apposite with the government's decision to bomb Syria.

And, all around the Cathedral, Exeter's Christmas Market glittered and assailed my senses. That was something else I'd not come across before, simply because we've only been here for three years and I managed to…

Weirdest — and Sweetest — Car Park Ever.

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There was a time, and not so long ago either, when, if you were a vegan, you couldn't have the treats that the rest of us take for granted. Maybe that's what made so many vegans so cross with the rest of the world?

It's always interested me why those who care so much for the planet and its creatures are often willing to psychologically attack humans who don't share their beliefs. Obviously, they believe that we are all wrong but there are good ways and means of educating us and blaming and shaming isn't one of them.

I once had a former student tell me I was the personification of evil and she was recycling all my books because she had found out that I ate meat. She added that she would have burnt them but she was a good woman and wasn't going to add that pollution to the planet.

She may well have been a good woman although I'm always suspicious of those who actually tell me that, just as I'm suspicious of those who say 'I'm coming from the hear…