Sunday, 19 June 2011

Luxuries from Rochdale.

Rochdale travels!
Luxuries from Rochdale
Back again, bearing gifts (illustr)! Wonderful veg stall on Rochdale market, you see here beautifully packaged mangoes from India, white aubergines, chillies, garlic, all of which can be bought cheaply there in quantity. Not that we can't get such things here; but I applaud all fresh veg stalls everywhere that manage to keep going despite the nation's turn towards all things pre-cooked and packaged. This is one of the benefits of having a flourishing Asian community in Rochdale. I once passed a shop  on a road out of Rochdale that proclaimed in scrawly white paint the availability of 'Luxuries from Bradford'; but I found there were luxuries in Rochdale too.

There's a nice little art gallery in Rochdale, Touchstones, and here I sat under a beautiful domed skylight contemplating my life, like you do (that's the Yorkshire 'you', pron. 'yer' and meaning 'one'). It's funny how many things seem to become clear when one sits in such a place; perhaps those of us who 'work' in the church need non-church spaces in which to contemplate. There was an exhibition of art by Asian artists, including Sri Lankan Chandraguptha Thenuwara, who wrote:

'I believe that to be an artist you have to have a skill, you have to develop that skill, that physicality. You have to develop your hand and cultivate your eye - at the same time you have to involve the mind.'

I liked his invention of 'barrelism'. I don't know whether I am any kind of artist, but his words certainly resonated with me, and I thought of Ecclesiastes 9:10 'Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might'. I like the idea of the hand 'finding' things to do. It's like that though, isn't it? You're wondering what to do next, and then you see that your hand has actually strayed towards the things that you really WANT to do! Picked up the book or whatever that interests, as though it has a mind of its own which isn't the same as the one in your head.

As I couldn't be bothered to go and find a Bible, I Googled to find the reference for this, and in doing so I saw this blog come up on the list , but when I logged on to it, it all looked exhausting, and no way am I ever going to take notice of anything like that. Such science-of-housework boffins always quickly get to recommending 'Make a regular schedule for cleaning/maintenance' and there was summat about a weekly prayer and planning event for housework. Oh-oh! In your dreams, Viv! Having said that, it was the kind of thing that my hand keeps going back to, as though I am fascinated by the idea of all that regular and diligent this and that; most of the headings tell me to do things that I'll never be able to do, and yet would like to think I could! I can only ever really do proper housework by getting into a lather about the state of things, which creates the energy to sort things out a bit.
I tackled many jobs that were bearing down on me

But the other day, I found a revolutionary new way to get the garden done! Like this: Idly sniffing fragrant plants in the front garden last Thursday, twiddling my front door key on a string, (no ordinary string though - it was bright yellow-green just like plant stalks, made by a Japanese braiding method called Kumihimo I twiddled a bit hard and the thing flew off my finger and into the bright blue yonder and landed I knew not where. Poking in the undergrowth yielded no key, so I thought I might as well use the day to get the garden overhauled, and it was sure to turn up. But several hours and 5 barrowloads of trimmings later - I sculpted rather than weeded - still no key. I was a bit worried - who wants to leave a front door key somewhere in the garden? But I went upstairs and looked out of the landing, and there, as I hoped, was the key on the roof of the porch below! Brill! I shall start a gardening/housework site with such tips 'Throw your door key into the garden and then you will have the incentive to get the garden overhalued in double-quick time'! Send in any similar hints to me that you have found to work.

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