Monday, 10 August 2015

New assistant needed for the most lovely R

Personal Assistant/Carer/Companion

Personal Assistant (female, part-time) needed to support a 34 year-old disabled woman living at home with her family.

We are looking for Personal Assistants to join our small team.
The work involves provision, in a holistic way, for the needs of an intelligent young person (R) with cerebral palsy. She is wheel-chair bound and has no verbal communication. Assistive communication using eye-gaze is just being introduced.
The work requires assistance with every aspect of daily personal care. The PA must also be a companion and facilitator for enjoying a variety of pastimes and outings.
R has a wide range of enthusiasms and interests, including music and theatre, visits to museums and other places of interest.

Experience in care work is welcome but not essential. Support will be given while the PA becomes familiar and competent with the practicalities of the job.

We are looking for someone caring and empathic, enthusiastic, intelligent and creative, who will be fully committed, during the time spent with R, to helping her achieve as much independence and fulfilment in her life as possible.

Location: just outside south Cambridge.
Pay: From £9 per hour, (increments with experience), plus statutory paid holiday
Times: 1 or 2  days per week, typically from 9.30 for 7-9+ hours. Additional days, evening and week-end work may also be available as the need arises. Working times are flexible to cover varied requirements and are arranged according to mutual convenience.

The post complies with all statutory legislation.
References will be required.

Non-smokers only need apply: this is a smoke-free household.

Please respond with a CV to

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The Lark Ascending

On Sunday night I was kindly taken to a concert. There was a slightly shaky start, a lovely rendition of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana with some sections that were outstanding (particularly the baritone), and then there was Hannah Roper playing Vaughan Williams, The Lark Ascending: this was stunning. She is still only in her early twenties, if that, and yet plays with such skill and sensitivity, it was actually breathtaking. I almost held my breath throughout for fear of making any noise and spoiling the performance (I was also terrified that my phone that was on silent might somehow override the command), there was a sense of being inwardly stretched as she played. Incredible.
      Sadly, I don't have a recording of it but there is a link of her playing the same piece five/six years ago here when she must have been in her teens. 

Here is another wonderful rendition: Iona Brown playing with St. Martin in the Fields.

Picture from here

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Letter to a Hostage: friendship beyond difference.

Antoine De Saint-Exupery not only wrote the beautiful book, The Little Prince, but many other works including one named Letter to a Hostage, a small gem of a book which ponders existence. Near to the end of the letter he writes the following words which speak of a rare quality of friendship. The words are both timeless and concrete for his situation and the present troubled days. 

'That is undoubtedly why, my friend, I need your friendship so badly. I long for a companion who, above the disputes of reason, will respect in me the pilgrim of that light. I need to feel sometimes, in advance, the promised warmth, and to rely, beyond myself, upon that rendezvous which will be ours. I am so weary of polemics, exclusiveness and fanaticism. I can come to you without having to wear a uniform, without having to recite the Koran, without denying anything of my inmost world. With you I do not have to justify myself, to plead or to prove; I find peace as I did at Tournus. Beyond awkward words, beyond deceiving statements, you only consider the [person] in me. You honour in me the ambassador of special beliefs, customs, and lore. If I am different from you, far from depriving you, I augment you. You question me as one questions a traveller.
    As like anyone else, I need to be appreciated, I feel pure in you and come to you. I need to go where I am pure. Neither my sayings nor my doings have taught you who I am. But because you have accepted me as I am, you are indulgent, when necessary, towards those doings and sayings. I know that you are prepared to accept me as I am. What could I do with a friend who would judge me? When I welcome a friend, if he is lame, I invite him to sit down and do not ask him to dance.
     My friend, I need you as one needs a space where one can breathe... '

Tuesday, 30 December 2014


To listen, really listen, is an art which few of us cultivate, and to be heard--really heard---is a privilege few encounter, but when we do there is usually an accompanying transformation, if in no other way, then in the manner in which we feel about the one who listens. If I have any resolution for 2015 it is to listen more, at least to those whose words are spoken in generous truth and who aim to nourish by their speech--there is one who does that above all--and, to those are crying out to be heard, not to impress, flatter, deceive, dominate, manipulate, or suffocate with maligning or cloying words, but to be heard: to these I incline my ear.

Again--and without seeking it out--I came across some more art today that captivated. This is called Listening for Divine Instruction, by Shiloh Sophia McCloud, many of her other pieces weren't so much to my taste, but this, in my eyes, is stunning.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

'Christmas' past and Christmas present

Although I have never been a fan of icons, in the last couple of days two religious pictures have caught my attention; they put in art form both the disquiet and the hope that I can only poorly express in words. There is a sense in which they depict 'Christmas' past and Christmas present. 

In the same time period I have also been introduced to a new artist by a lovely friend, somehow the music and the art align with one another. The first track with the former, and the second with the latter.

* "Virgin Mary Consoles Eve", painted by Sister Grace Remington, OCSO, of the Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" by Ain Vares

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Rachel weeping for her children

"A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they are no more." Matthew 2:18

' "Atticus" said Jem bleakly.
He turned in the doorway. What, son?"
"How could they do it? How could they?"
"I don't know but they did it. They've done it before and they did it tonight and they'll do it again. And when they do it--seems that only children weep." ' 
                                                                                                                        To Kill a Mockingbird

What can be said in the face of yet another slaughter of innocents, to yet more who are torn apart by the death of their little ones and left in desolation? May God comfort those who mourn, and have mercy on the rest/the West/the white privileged as we run from Black Friday to Cyber ​​Monday to Christmas sales to buy more for those who have no lack, and who bemoan every little ache and discomfort knowing nothing of the searing and shattering heartache and devastation of much of the world. 

Redeeming the time, for the days are evil...                                                   Ephesians 5:16

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Seal lullaby

Radio 3 came up trumps again this afternoon during one of my enforced listening sessions. They played this beautiful piece, 'The Seal Lullaby' by Eric Whittacre:

and a live performance here with Whittacre conducting:

And, a photo of a seal - for good measure.

Pic from here