Archive for the ‘this and that’ Category

the actress

Friday, January 17th, 2014

She staggered across the stage, double vodka in one hand, the other steadying herself as best she could. Disheveled is the best word I can find to describe her – yet everything about her spoke of class.  She was wearing an elegant white dress – one that would have suited Jacqueline Kennedy – and her pearl necklace showed off her long, aristocratic neck. Her bag, earlier across her – for security more than anything I presumed – had somehow got twisted, and now hung, oddly, down the her back. It was that more than anything that caught my eye, that made me want to discover her story. But instinct caused me to hold back, to drop my gaze and pick up the crossword, surreptitiously keeping her under observation.

Although unsteady on her feet, she walked across the foyer as if she belonged – no owned – it, and slammed her palm onto the bell demanding attention.


Sunday, January 13th, 2013

You learn something new everyday! This weekend it was that the people from Blackpool are known as Sandgrown’uns.  When you look at the geography it’s clear why. Blackpool has grown up on a 7 mile (10km) stretch of sandy beaches, and just south of Blackpool there are amazing sand dunes  as well.

Also new to me is the fact that

Much of Blackpool’s growth and character from the 1870s on was predicated on the town’s pioneering use of electrical power. In 1879, it became the first municipality in the world to have electric street lighting, as large parts of the promenade were wired. The lighting and its accompanying pageants reinforced Blackpool’s status as the North of England’s most prominent holiday resort, and its specifically working class character. It was the forerunner of the present-day Blackpool Illuminations. (information from wikipedia!)

From my own observations here this weekend Sandgrown’uns are incredibly friendly people. I had the privilege of worshipping with New Central Methodist Church this morning  (‘the church by the tower’) which had a lovely lunch (roast beef) after the Covenant service led by my friend over at eternal echoes and yesterday she and I had fabulous fish and chips over at Fleetwood after hours walking on the beach and then going back again to witness an amazing sunset. Photos here. We met some lovely dog-owners, fishermen and other folk walking and taking photos.

This afternoon it’s snowing … hoping that doesn’t cause problems getting back to Chesterfield. Let’s see – life is always an adventure but I do like smooth travelling.

Islands …poetry sung

Friday, August 17th, 2012

I returned from a five day adventure (3 day wedding) in the outer archipelago two days ago. It was a marvellous time away. I came home physically exhausted (sailing is hard work) but mentally and spiritually rested.

There were so many highlights of the wedding … but perhaps the highest highlight was an impromptu sharing of music on the night of the wedding. We were supposed to have had a dance but this happened instead.  And it was wonderful. The highlight for me in it was my friend (and the matron of honour) Minna playing and singing. I had heard her earlier this summer at a gig – but her singing her own composition of a song about small islands and then getting us all to harmonise in …in the setting of this wedding between two of the most wonderful people you can imagine -  well words fail me. I had to leave the party then and go back to the boat to process …

one of the reasons I think I was touched so deeply was a prophetic word given several years ago by a Christian from Pakistan. She talked about Christians in Finland being like small islands and what we needed was some bridges. The wedding I went to in Utö – well it was proof that many of those links and bridges had been formed and were alive and well. My heart broke with joy!

Tonight, Turku had its annual Night of the Arts which is also a lot of fun. Again Minna – Minna Twice – had a gig. This time in a fantastic yoga (?) studio with fabulous light and mirrors and feminine artwork.  You can check out Minna Twice here.

rather than songs, i’m interested in creating sculptures of sound

It’s also possible to contribute to her work by paying a small fee to download the music.  (The songs are in English)

fluctuating thoughts

Friday, May 18th, 2012

It’s the end of yet another phase in my life … another chance at a ‘new’ beginning or a returning depending on your viewpoint. At the end of June I’m heading back home to Finland after an academic year here in the UK. I have mixed feelings. Transition isn’t bad – but the not knowing what next is.

I get an automatic update from MINemergent every now and then. Today’s was entitled Going home. Totally out of context of course, but here’s the chorus. It spoke to me.

Going home

Without my sorrow

Going home

Sometime tomorrow

To where it’s better

Than before

Going home

Without my burden

Going home

Behind the curtain

Going home

Without the costume

That I wore

PS the time on Linsfarne was wonderful. Photos here

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

another weekend away

- not so good for my PhD but welcome respite and recouperation. Not sure I’m much of a houseguest I’ve been though, as I’ve slept away a lot of today, but as I said very much needed.

The highlight of the weekend so far has been going to see Calandar Girls (live theatre) here in Leicester (at the DeMontford Hall, Leics university). It was excellent. We had front row seats … and what was most wonderful to see was how much the actresses enjoyed performing!

The real calander girls have been a real inspiration in not only fighting cancer here in the UK, but also at women finding their voice. I’m sure the WI will never be the same again either.

More on the calander girls later I’m sure


Monday, January 2nd, 2012

A friend and colleague of mine, Sharon Prior, is one of the founders of Sophia Network : although their tagline is wisdom of women in youth work, I see the netwok more about empowering women and girls, particularly – but not exclusively – in the church.

The Sophia Network exists to connect women in youth work and ministry, to access training, develop skills and share wisdom.

We focus our energy in four areas:

  • partnership – through everything we do we encourage women and men to work together in ways that reflect the heart of God.
  • relationships – facilitating enhanced working relationships between youth workers; creating environments in which female youth workers can build relationships with each other; emphasising the importance of mentoring for youth workers and young people.
  • voice – advocacy on behalf of women in youth work; raising awareness of how gender affects youth work and ministry.
  • training – providing excellent training to develop confidence, skills and professional expertise.

Our ultimate aim is to encourage women and men to work together more closely in a way that reflects the heart of God, but we recognize that sometimes issues need to be addressed before women can contribute on a level playing field.

This month the Sophia Network is running a series of articles called Empowering Women in 2012. Women, interviewed so far, Helen Tomblin, and Tania Bright-Cook.  Go check it out – I think you’ll be hooked.

As if this wasn’t enough … I was also encouraged today to read over in the Guardian of how a charity is sponsoring a project in Tower Hamlets, (London) where the barriers between schoolgirls and older women are being broken down, and the local community is being brought closer together by this mix of old and young women. Just like the good old days? …maybe!


11 highlights for 2011

Friday, December 30th, 2011

A friend from Cliff College challenged us to think of the best of 2011. Thanks Bx!

Here’s what I came up with – in random order

* DD’s graduation from HighSchool. So proud of her.

* Finnish summer. Summertime when the living is easy … I love the long days, and in June the weather was hot! Sailing is always a highlight of any summer.

* Turku – capital of culture 2011. I missed the secondhalf of the year but it was wonderful to have so many random encounters with art and culture. The rocking chairs by the River Aura (though awful weather) was a real highlight of the year.  Photo here

*Godly play. Seeing junior church really take off last spring and getting involved much more than I meant to. This Saturday was definitely a highlight for me!

*Photoblogging. I’ve loved shooting pictures and seeing God at work more or less on a daily basis. In London I had a go at portraits snapped at random. Here’s one that I love. It reminded me that everyone has a story to tell .. watching part of this one unfold was special.

*Autumn 2011 meant a new chapter in our family. DD skipped over to Italy for a year (au pair in Torino) while I began -gulp -a PhD progamme at Cliff College.

The Plan
(Hubby never far from my heart)

* My prayer closet in England. Amazing testimony to how this came about!

* puppies! This was the C litter (3rd set) – firstborns to Misty.

* angel week at Cliff College. Such a lot of fun and what a blessing too!

* trip to Liverpool. Albert Docks. Beatles’ Museum. Tate Liverpool. Cocktails. Music. Fish and Chips.

*coming home, being with family, new hair cut and earring from DD for my (belated) birthday.

Life is good


Above all thankful for God and His faithfulness throughout 2011.


Friday, December 30th, 2011

Over on the other blog I posted this picture it’s of a partially made jigsaw puzzle we’ve been doing over Christmas. I saw we. Hubby and DD started -then abandoned it – I’ve been picking up (looking and then putting down again) pieces eversince.

We almost always do a puzzle at Christmas. I guess it’s a sort of Koskela tradition, one I inherited from my own family. I remember eating Christmas dinner (usually at about 3pm) and then pushing back the tablecloth and starting the puzzle. We still ate at the table for every meal – but put a board and then new tablecloth over the puzzle. It worked. Mother would never have counternanced tv dinners. And actually we didn’t have a tv as the reception in that part of North London was so bad in those days no-one would allow us to rent one.  Mother never had us eating more than Sunday tea (horrible sandwiches and limp lettuce and cucumber, followed by ghastly angel cake most weeks) on our knees. That’s another tradition I’ve brought with me – not the limp lettuce and angel cake (God forbid!) but in this house almost all our meals are eaten together, around the table.

Back to the puzzle ..
I was challenged earlier this week to pick up my camera again and continue to look for God in our midst.
It’s not that I haven’t been taking photos – I do – if not everyday, almost everyday, but in recent weeks my focus has shifted. The photos have become more about me, about what I’m up to, where I am – a sort of photographic journal if you like. Nothing wrong in that, God is in me and with me, but nonetheless the whole idea of eyesoffaith was to see the world through His eyes, and note what He was /is up to in my neck of the woods. Hence the challenge to get back to basics.

The trouble was yesterday was wet grey and dull, dull, dull. I did walk I did have my camera but it stayed in my pocket – so I was reduced to indoor shots – and the puzzle.

We’re usually quite good at puzzles. Most years we have a 1000 or 1500 piece puzzle. This year I didn’t buy one. DD is only home from Italy for a week – and plenty of places to go and friends to see during that time – so I  didn’t think we’d have time to do one.

But tradition wins. Again. And DD found a small – 400 piece- puzzle we’d given hubby for his birthday last year. Undone. Time to do it.

It’s proving quite a challenge. There are 11 (eleven!) golden retriever pups on a shelf. They all have similar colourings … and to make it even worse, the picture on the box is printed the opposite way to the puzzle itself!

Yes life is a puzzle, but sometimes things are even more puzzling than they ought to be.



Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

another year older …  but nonetheless a good day

My ‘party’ was in my new-flat-to-be … still missing furniture but we’ll get there eventually. The skies blackened at about 3pm though … and the wind picked up and the rain lashed down … a very scary moment!

I felt supported by new friends here at college today… but missing older friends and of course family. I go back to Finland in 2.5 weeks, and for that I am really grateful.

We raised £14 towards sponsoring a £25 hamper today… part of a project called Christmas Meal on Jesus. Check it out here

Perhaps you too could sponsor a hamper? Hampers can be purchased online (£25 each) at the Serve the City website:


Friday, October 28th, 2011

Life suddenly gained speed here at Cliff College. That’s not all bad but it’s meant a) making more effective use of my time and b)being careful with boundaries especially those which infringe on my personal time and time with God.

I think it’s the latter which suffers, and so I am doubly grateful of the time set aside to swim each weekday morning. I hate getting up at 6am but it is worth it.

I enjoy the communal times of prayer too. Each morning we have prayers in the chapel before we start the academic bit of the day. On Thursdays we celebrate Holy Communion and because we are not from one tradition there is a lot of variety. This year the prayers are following a liturgy part of which contains the Cliff College motto All for Christ and Christ for all. I really like that. That said today a first year threw away the liturgy sheet and messed up the order of the chapel too. It was great. She’d put several prayer stations up and as we entered were given a paper encouraging us to pray the Lord’s prayer as we went around. It was wonderful and not just because it wes creative and different. A good start to the day!

Respite care this weekend over at Ashbourne. Really happy about that as the next two weeks will be crazily busy here.