As I write this on a dull Sunday afternoon the party is over and I for one could not be happier. What party you may well ask? The Open golf championship event here at Royal Birkdale. Don’t misunderstand me here, many people love the game of golf but I am just not one of them.
The picture above was taken through the window in a lounge at home at around five o’clock on the last day of the golf event. Up until then the day had been mostly sunny. On Saturday there had been much rain but the previous days had been fine and sunny. I am not sure how that affected the play though I have a feeling it made little difference. For the last few days the whole town of Southport but especially Birkdale had been geared up for the event with many local restrictions having been imposed upon us all. It is something we all have had to put up with whether we like the sport or not. I can live with that. I steered well clear of the course which is very close to where I live and spent my time away from the house in the opposite direction! However during the time I was at home we had to put up with a light aircraft circling above every two to three minutes for hours on end which really was annoying. When I say circling it was doing just that, flying in a circle around the course and our house was under the flight path. On Sunday morning I went for a walk and on my return I emptied out most of the things in my van. E and I were to go and collect some bricks from her nephew which were stored at a place less than a mile from home. He had graciously allowed us to take what we wanted which was around fifty bricks. They had been dumped with other rubbish and needed to be separated but it didn’t take long to do that and we were soon back home for lunch. I stored them behind one of the garages and under cover to keep them dry until I wanted to use them.
Later E received a text message from her nephew who was asking where we were and why we hadn’t called to collect the bricks! E had thought he meant for us to collect the ones we had but it appeared he meant those stored at his own house a few hundred metres away. Those bricks had already been sorted and separated whereas the ones we took we had to glean from a general pile of other material. Although the ones we took were not stored at his house they still belonged to him. The reason he has so many bricks is that he is a builder. He asked if we wanted more as he was trying to rid himself of some of them. We accepted his offer and he said he would drop them off later. Now I won’t have to worry about buying bricks for the projects I have in mind to do. The first one is to put a gate at the end of this passage where it meets the main part of the garden.
That is at the end of the side wall of the house on the right. Now I am not planning to begin that work during the summer though anything is possible with me.
These beautiful, famous words of the prophet Micah outline God’s simple expectations of his people: “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Mic 6:8). These qualities of the heart that lead to a God-pleasing life have stood the test of time because they reflect the heart of God himself. Throughout the history of his interaction with his people, God has longed for them to remember his goodness and generosity to his people and to live in response to all they know about the Lord.
Jesus confronted the religious leaders of his day, the teachers of the law and Pharisees, for turning worship into drudgery and for outwardly doing all the right things but inwardly neglecting to show justice and mercy. He harshly criticized them, calling them “hypocrites” and “blind guides” (Mt 23:23–24). God desires that his people walk humbly with him, for as they walk with him, they become more like him. Jesus is the way (Jn 14:6). He is the One who came to serve, not to be served (Mk 10:45). When a crowd asked him what kind of works God requires, he simply answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (Jn 6:28–29). When Jesus’ people follow him with their whole hearts, they develop hearts like his—hearts that are compassionate and swift to do justice.
Jesus, thank you for making some things simple. Please help me to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with you. I want a heart like yours. Amen.
Taken from NIV The Jesus Bible
So I ask those who don’t believe in God, just what do you believe? Self? Another god? Humanism? None of these will draw you close to God, you have to come to Him through Jesus. He is the only way. I am often accused of being narrow-minded in thinking that all other religions are false or that there are many ways to know God. God says in His word that there is only one way. By rejecting His word you are rejecting Him and guess what? Jesus is The Word. Before the Creation of all things Jesus was with God, He was with God from the beginning. Nothing that has been made was brought into being other than through Jesus. He is part of the Godhead and came to dwell among us. God came to live with us and was rejected. He was nailed to a cross to pay the penalty for all of our sins and all He wants is for each of us to know Him personally. Nothing we can do can wipe away our sins and we have all sinned. Let Jesus be your Salvation for He is the only Saviour. If you want a heart like Jesus then ask Him into your life.
We humans can be addicted to many things though many of the things we can be addicted to are not good for us, there is no benefit from them. I refer of course to drugs both hard and soft in the normal acceptance of the term.
Tea and coffee are drugs like so many other everyday foods and drinks but they are far from harmful unless huge amounts are consumed, something we are very unlikely to do in the great scheme of things. Aside from these things we can be addicted to watching movies, watching television, gardening, sports activities and so on. With me it was running, I would run for many miles each week, it was an addiction but a beneficial one. Too much of anything isn’t good for us and running can be overdone to our detriment. It is a question of balance.
Running puts a lot of pressure on the knee joints and the spine to some extent which is why the correct footwear for running was designed and should be worn. They are designed to lessen the effect of impact with the ground as we run. Nowadays I only run on the treadmill at home but have turned to walking outdoors. Now I am finding that walking is becoming an addiction, I just love the exercise. Each day I go out I am wanting to go further and slowly I am doing so. I might intend to go for a short walk but end up going twice the distance. It has been many years since I stopped going for a run and since then my walking has always been limited to one or two miles that is until earlier this year when I began to take my walking more seriously. When I was working full or even part-time and also working on projects at home there was little time for going for a walk unless it was short. Now that I have more time to myself there is nothing to hold me back so I can go out each day as I please. I went for a short walk on Friday which turned out to be far longer than I had intended for as I walk my body is asking for more. I give in because it is pleasurable…..I’m addicted!
By the time you are reading this it will all be over and done with. What? The Open Golf Tournament at Royal Birkdale and I will be most grateful. I do not like golf but I know many people do and many flock to the courses to witness these events in person. Personally I think it is all ridiculous following on foot watching others having a good time playing the game. Many years ago it was unthinkable to allow crowds of people to shadow the players save for a few. In the end it is all about money of course. Everything about the professional game and not just golf is about money. The players don’t see it that way though, for them it is all about trying to win. Anyhow what goes on at the venue is their affair. What objections I have, and many others have too no doubt, is what happens in the surrounding area, the town in my case. I have never seen so many traffic cones on our streets and signs posted on lamp posts all around Birkdale where I live. Speed limits around the course have been lowered to 20 mph on the main routes, traffic consequently is forced to crawling pace. Parking restrictions are everywhere and parking lots have suddenly appeared in and around the area, all charging a fee of course. Police vehicles cruise up and down the roads every couple of minutes whilst stretch limousines and luxury vehicles together with coaches, and buses ferry golfers and golfing enthusiasts here there and everywhere all day long. Added to all this there have been helicopters roaming the skies and one particular light aircraft capable of carrying several passengers and probably was, circling the course at low altitude. All very well but that aircraft was going round in circles around the course, which included my property, every three minutes for at least five maybe six hours a day! Why do local residents have to put up with such things all in the name of golf? I haven’t been at home for much of the time which is fortunate, I spent an hour or two out on the patio a few times and that was enough to annoy me. No, have your tournaments but spare a thought for those who take no interest. Trouble with Society is most of the time it doesn’t really care.
I woke up on Thursday to a very cool day with a wind blowing. It had been raining overnight but when I arose around seven o’clock it had but almost stopped. The evening before and on through the night for a few hours it had been very humid and quite warm. I slept on top of the bed linen again because it was so uncomfortably ‘sticky’ and awoke at three-twenty after fours hours of sound sleep. I had the window open of course but by the middle of the night conditions turned a lot cooler. I had to slip beneath the bed sheets for warmth. A little less than a further four hours of sound sleep I was up and about. I have noticed my sleep patterns are gradually getting better and I am getting more sleep than I have been used to in recent years. I was going for a walk after breakfast and was in two minds as to what I should wear because of the coolness of the day. Any sort of coat would keep me too warm so I elected not to wear one. When I finally got outside and on my walk many folk I saw were wearing coats and carrying umbrellas. It wasn’t going to rain, I had faith in the forecast and it didn’t rain throughout the day. I seemed to be under dressed compared to what others were wearing as I wore only a lightweight sleeveless top and a skirt but I was comfortable despite that. I so much prefer it being cool and I am more used to that than I am with hot and humid weather. It stayed cool throughout the morning and only got warmer after lunch. In fact the minimum temperature had been about fifteen degrees Celsius when I went out on the walk and rose to eighteen later in the day. The wind made it feel that bit cooler. E had gone for her hospital appointment to have her hearing checked. Of all the other complaints she suffers with she was diagnosed with Tinnitus on her last visit too. Her mom had an appointment with the physiotherapist at the same time so they went together. E doesn’t like cool or cold weather at all whereas I don’t mind it too much. Whilst on the walk I received a call for my electrical services but I declined the work……it was to change a light bulb in a cooker extract hood! I get offered some silly jobs at times and that isn’t cool. I told her I had retired anyway.
What a difference a day makes. How different a day was Wednesday to those preceding it! Dull and overcast yet still warm and humid with little or no wind but actually I liked it. I could sit outside and not be afraid of getting burned to a crisp if I had forgotten the sunscreen lotion. Thunder and lightning with plenty of rain had been predicted yet there was no hint of any of that until late in the afternoon. As I write this the rain has not yet arrived and neither has the thunder and lightning but that could change in an instant. I didn’t go for my morning walk though not for any particular reason. I spent the whole day at home with E instead. After lunch we sat outside but E returned indoors after a half-hour because at that time she felt the rain was about to fall. I remained outside just sitting in contemplation and admiring my surroundings. I often spend time alone doing that, even when it isn’t so warm. I just like being outdoors. The danger in doing that is that I almost always end up doing something in the garden or my thoughts meander to thinking about possible projects I could begin, not that I mind the prospect. I need to occupy my spare time doing something constructive and what better way than to immerse myself in some small project or another? Wednesday was a day for relaxing, something I tend not to do as often as perhaps I should. Maybe I am just not the relaxing type as some evidently are though when I absolutely need to rest I am the first to admit it and take it. The golf tournament at Royal Birkdale is in its second day as I write this but unless I am out walking I wouldn’t know it. I live pretty close to it too! There have been however more helicopters and small aircraft flying about than is usual around here, one small aircraft has been circling the course (and our house) several times prior to my writing this. So despite the goings on in the neighbourhood it is pretty much a quiet place most of the time.
Tuesday was another hot and humid day with wall to wall sunshine until seven in the evening when clouds began to appear. Evidently we were to have thunderstorms during Wednesday with some much-needed rain. I deliberately rose early knowing the day would be hot so that I could go for a long walk. I managed to leave the house at seven o’clock having forgone eating breakfast. I had a little water and nothing else. I carry water with me anyway should I get thirsty. Even at that early hour the warm sunshine could be felt. I arrived back home over two hours later but still not hungry. E had wanted to buy a couple of items of clothing, a lightweight summer top and matching loose-fitting pants and she suggested we go shopping for them whilst reminding me that I had wanted some walking boots and a waterproof coat. She obviously wanted me to purchase her items too but I was always going to do that anyway as she has little in the way of spare funds. By the time she had gotten ready it was eleven o’clock when we drove off to town. Just prior to leaving I received a call to do a small electrical job at an apartment close to home. I told the caller I would do it but it would have to be later in the afternoon as I was about to go shopping. I seldom go shopping with E because she is hard to please and my suggestions are not always appreciated. It takes a very long time to get around the shops because of her disability which over the previous two days had been aggravated by her left foot becoming swollen too. That put her on crutches until it would heal. Normally she has to use a walking stick to get around but this added problem had slowed her down considerably. She insisted we visit the store to buy the boots and the coat and I purchased both in minutes…
I got them both at half-price for a total of £95. We moved on to the next store to purchase her items but unfortunately only one was available, the top. Although we searched and asked staff the pants were not in stock. She looked for a substitute but gave up on the idea of finding something she liked. In the meantime I found a lovely ankle-length summer dress which I purchased for £50…
E’s top cost £32. She’d had enough of shopping so wanted to go home but I suggested we go for a meal instead. We went to a pub/restaurant we have come to like just out-of-town and it was lovely. Finally we returned home where I tried on the dress to check the fit but E reminded me of the job I had promised to do so I had to quickly change back into my day-wear clothes. I drove to the apartment and soon had the work done before returning home again to join E on the patio. Most of the time on the patio I spent in the shade. I’d had enough of the sun for one day.
For a few days we had warm, hot, humid and sunny weather beginning on Sunday last week and for the first time since I can remember I was glad I wasn’t working in my capacity as an electrician. It always seemed to me that when the weather was like this I would be doing work of a heavier nature and sweating profusely in the process which made me feel very uncomfortable. When people asked me if I didn’t like the hot weather I would tell them that I am an Anglo-Saxon and not used to it! I was joking of course but I had a point, I wasn’t raised in a hot climate and whenever I visit hot countries I spend a lot of the time in the water! I do prefer it to be cooler, always have but hot weather is fine for a little while especially if I can spend time in the shade with a cooling breeze blowing. When I go out walking I try to do it as early as I can if it is too hot and sticky. As for work, well I try to avoid doing anything that will make me break out in a sweat when the weather is too oppressive. Now that I am (more or less) retired I can please myself. Some things need doing though like mowing the lawn which I did on Monday morning. As the mower is petrol-driven it is not that difficult to push about but even so, if it is very warm and humid it can be uncomfortable. I went for another walk but stayed within the confines of the town, it was too warm to wander where I might like to in case I needed to refresh myself or pay a visit to the little girl’s room too. I have discovered that under certain circumstances regarding the weather I tend to need the bathroom more often. It is a humidity thing…. work it out for yourself. So in the afternoon E and I spent much of the time on the patio once more. It was too warm and humid to do anything else. The weekend was forecast to be much cooler and I couldn’t wait. E however would like it to be hot all of the time. I think she would soon tire of it though despite what she says.
I was wondering if E would eventually make it downstairs before ten o’clock as she was now on crutches for a few days to allow her foot to heal and that made it difficult to get about. Anyway she did manage and was soon eating breakfast though I had to take it to the table for her. An hour later I went out for a late morning walk. It was sunny and warm with a slight breeze as I walked along the seafront. Surprisingly there were not many people about, at least at that place and time. I walked back toward the town centre but only because I needed the bathroom! The town centre was busy as usual, just like any other day of the week. I remember a time when Sundays were held as sacred, a day for resting, a sabbath. It was unheard of for anyone to work on a Sunday except if it was necessary as in the case of police, fire and hospital staff for instance. How times have changed and that because of a non-believing secular society. Anyway a short walk of four miles saw me back home. I found E had taken up residence on the patio to sit in the sun with her feet up. I made a couple of drinks and joined her though I sat in the shade. Eventually it was lunchtime, well one-thirty, and rather than have her struggle back indoors I prepared lunch and we sat outside to eat it. Unfortunately she did have to go indoors to the bathroom after a while whilst I collected a mattress for her to lie upon when she returned. It was pleasant to sit outside and we stayed there for a couple of hours when we had visitors call. It was our eldest son and granddaughter and they stayed for an hour or so until it was time for her bed. As she is only five and a half that means six-thirty. We returned indoors for an evening meal. Monday promised to be even better but I would be doing some work for a change instead of just sitting around on the patio.
For once I was first up on Saturday morning though by the time I had showered, dressed and put on my make-up to go downstairs E had beaten me to it. Our youngest son had stopped overnight but he didn’t get downstairs until much later. The post had been delivered early and strangely there were three letters, one for each of us. I opened mine to find enclosed a cheque for an over payment on an insurance I had made. Although it was my money and not a windfall or prize it was still a nice surprise. It meant however a trip to town in order to bank it. I was going for a walk anyway so it wasn’t an inconvenience. E opened her letter and read it before giving it to me to read also. She had won a cash prize of two hundred pounds ostensibly to spend in a Michelin starred restaurant for two people with a further one hundred and fifty pounds to cover expenses in getting there. A cheque for three hundred and fifty pounds made out to cash. She could spend it as she wished. The third letter turned out only to be a bank statement. I congratulated her on her win, something I have done many times over the last few years as she is always winning prizes of one sort or another. I took the walk into town and after depositing the cheque I stopped at a church café to have a coffee before walking back home. It was after twelve o’clock when I got back and E was eating a couple of items of fruit and she was now dressed to go to her group’s monthly meeting. She had been complaining over the last few days about a pain and the swelling of her left foot. I had advised her a day or two earlier to see the doctor in case it had been broken but she had insisted she hadn’t had an accident to cause it. I suggested she didn’t go to the meeting but rest her foot but she had decided by then to visit the hospital to have it checked. The doctor’s surgery isn’t open on a Saturday afternoon so it had to be the hospital. Naturally I drove her to the hospital but I didn’t wait there. I drove out of the hospital to park elsewhere to avoid paying parking fees and waited for almost two hours. She was to call me when her treatment was over. I drove off to the garden centre to spend an hour there and still she hadn’t called me so I drove back, parked up and walked into the outpatients department to see if her treatment was over. The waiting room was full, the average waiting time for minor problems was three hours and for major problems two and a half hours! More than three hours had passed since I had dropped her off and fortunately her treatment by then was just about over. I walked back to collect the van and she was outside waiting. They had X-rayed the foot and found it wasn’t broken or fractured but couldn’t say with any certainty what the problem was though E had mentioned she had been bitten by an insect. Perhaps it was just the reaction to that but it put her on crutches until it clears up. She is having a bad time of it with her other condition (spina-bifida) without now having to put up with this inconvenience too. I had missed lunch, something I am well used to, so by the time we arrived back home at five-thirty I was rather hungry. We ate our meal and that was the day almost over.