Religion without God

By February 15, 2012 Blog

What does religion look like without Jesus?   That’s the question Alain de Botton tries to answer in his latest book, ‘Religion for Atheists’.   Chapter One starts by dismissing God (‘Let us state that of course no religions are true in any God-given sense’). What’s left, argues de Botton, are useful and  practical guidelines for living. Guidelines like these: – erecting ‘temples’ to secular aspirations, e.g;  perspective, (the aim being to make us feel small and thus put our …Read More

Tainted Love

By February 14, 2012 Blog

Valentine’s Day AND half-term.  Too rich for my blood. I’m not a romantic person.  In fact, I’d say I was anti-romance – (gospel excepted – but even that’s hard to take in.  All this grace when I just want to earn my stripes). So, in honour of the slushfest, here are my top ten romantic moments. 1. Chundering (vomiting)  on the beach  when Glen proposed. (I knew it was coming, so to maintain an element of surprise, he kept foisting …Read More

Meanness and Mercy

By February 12, 2012 Blog, identity

Here’s the problem. Whether it’s a couple of pence or a billion pounds, it’s in my heart to defraud, steal and lie.  There are a million ways to do it.  A million opportunities. Not pointing out the cashier’s mistake. Taking home the office stapler.  Keeping the change. No-one will know. It’s not like I’d be shoplifting.  I’m not one of those people. And what’s to stop me? Well, a couple of things actually. the threat of the security camera. the embarrassment …Read More

Does Blogging Matter?

By February 10, 2012 Blog, identity

I guess the same question could be asked of any writing .  The brevity and immediacy of a blog often requires much less of a reader than say, a novel. In a blog, you can dip in and out of topical or temporary issues.  This can be like eating too much sugar – addictive, but unsatisfying too. On the other hand, blogging feels democratic: anyone can write and readers get a right of reply.  Nor is it a one-way street: …Read More

Spots of Brilliance

By February 9, 2012 Blog

A few months ago, I painted our gate – red, with blue polka dots.  I was inspired in part by a woman called Yayoi Kusama – perhaps the world’s most celebrated mental patient. Kusama has been hailed as one of the most important female artists in the world. In 2008, one of her paintings was sold for $5.8 million – the record at that time, for any living female artist. Kusama’s battle with mental illness has shaped her art and …Read More

Diary Date

By February 8, 2012 Blog

Forget Valentine’s Day. National Eating Disorders Awareness Week runs this year from Feb 20 to Feb 26.  The aim is to  prevent eating disorders and body image issues, reduce  the stigma surrounding them and improve access to treatment. This year, NEDA is once again asking everyone to do just one thing to help raise awareness and provide accurate information about eating disorders. Possibilities include: distributing info pamphlets or putting up posters, writing to MPs,  posting information on Facebook, panel discussions, fashion …Read More


By February 7, 2012 Blog, identity

I’m still thinking about what it means to change – and how that comes about. I don’t like change – whether it’s a new environment or a different brand of tea. I like to know where I stand – or at least, that’s one of the ways I justify staying in the same place.  Here’s another: I’m just born this way. Or this: I can’t change the habits of a lifetime. Sometimes these act as smokescreens for  less palatable truths. …Read More


By February 6, 2012 Blog, identity

Changed lifestyle                                                      vs                                                 Changed life working harder                                               …Read More

Colour Me Pink

By February 3, 2012 Blog, identity

I do love a good word.  This week’s  is sclerotic.  (It’s not sexy, even though it’s been thunking through my head to a similar tune by Madonna.  ‘Sclerotic, sclerotic, put your hands all over my’..Ahem ).  It’s also personally appropriate: ‘tending to rigidity and resistant to change’. I’ve been a bit sick this week and as you can tell, it’s decimated parts of my brain.  But a lot rides on how we word things.  If for example, I tell you …Read More


By February 1, 2012 Blog

I’ve been thinking a little bit about the significance of food. It is after all, is a sacrament of every society.  It is its own language – a metaphor for everything from authority to love. It’s an act of defiance, a past-time, a comfort, a marker of status and identity. All the major passages of our lives – from weddings to wakes, are punctuated by feasting and fasting. For our ancestors, life was shaped and determined by the search for …Read More