The case of the phantom hand

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ArmMy Dad has a book of short tales called Stories from the Strand, which I read as a young boy. One story describes a man who survives an attempt to strangle him in his own bed. Upon waking he finds no one, nor any sign that an intruder has entered the house. When the attack is repeated a few nights later, the mystery is solved – he has been strangling himself with his own hand.

I’m mildly concerned I may meet a similar fate, as I’ve had some similar run-ins with my own limbs in the night. Like many people, I sometimes wake up to find my arm is dead from having been slept on. I used to have a good chuckle to myself, flapping the hand around, squeezing the rubbery, lifeless fingers. It is a bit more worrying now though. The other night I turned over in my sleep, and my dead arm flung out of bed. It smashed the coins, pens, glass of water and phone on my bedside table onto the floor. It was only the noise that woke me up – my hand didn’t feel a thing.

One time I did feel it. I woke to find I was holding my arm straight up towards the ceiling, dead fingers curled into a fist.

That’s strange, I thought.

As I watched, my arm began to sway slightly in the air. My efforts to steady it caused it to bend at the elbow, and it fell rapidly towards my face. I made a desperate attempt to dodge out the way, failed, and punched myself in the face.

What awaits me next? I live in fear of my limbs for, when the blood deserts them, the night is theirs and they roam unchecked.

Remember me, dear reader.

 

Photo Credit: Camil Tulcan via Compfight cc

What I learnt from my bench

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Last summer we bought a pine picnic bench for our courtyard. It was really good to have somewhere to sit and eat outside in the warm evenings after work, and we counted it a great success.

picnic_bench_image_1 (Small)

In preparation for the winter months, I put a few coats of preservative on the bench, and we bought a cover. I thought we were all set for the wind and rain.

Wrong.
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Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong

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This morning I was reading a chapter from 1 Corinthians – a letter in the New Testament that the apostle Paul wrote to a Greek church in the 1st Century AD. As I saw the chapter coming to an end I started to read faster and just skimmed the verses (a bad habit of mine). I caught myself when I got to verse 13, where Paul gives some short, simple instructions.

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

I had some time, so I expanded on what each instruction might involve. Most of them I need reminding of myself.

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A little basic (still worth reading)

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I procrastinated writing for so long that I got scared to write in case it was no good. To break me from the delusion that I am Michelangelo preparing to apply the first brush stroke to the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling as the world holds its breath, I needed to write something – anything. I needed to go back to basics. Literally.

Sainsbury’s basics
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Grace in a cage II: The problem of [inflicting] pain

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Welcome back to the Grace in a cage series, sorry for the long break since the last post. At the start of this post it would be useful to clarify what I mean by Mixed Martial Arts, for those unfamiliar with it. Perhaps the concept of MMA conjures up images of the Fight Club basement antics of Brad Pitt  (then so fresh-faced and unsullied by banal perfume ads) or maybe some flailing gypsies on Channel 4. If so go read the first paragraph or so of wikipedia’s entry, then come back. And if you already know your omoplata from your superman punch then stay right here.
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The tools of our fathers

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The other day I asked my Nan whether it would be all right to take some of the tools from the tool shed in her garden. She said that Grandad (Not the one from Stored up) would probably like me to have them, if I looked after them. Aside from a few tools that went to my uncle, the shed is as Grandad left it when he died – a couple of months after I was born, 25 years ago.

Me and Grandad

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Who riding on a what?

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I came up with an icebreaker game for my church small group a few years ago. Everyone writes their name down on a slip of paper and throws it in the middle. Everyone writes an animal/bird/sea creature down and throws that in the middle. Shuffle slips. Everyone picks a name and an animal. They draw the person riding the animal. When the time is up, everyone displays their artwork and receives a picture of themselves mounted on one of God’s good creatures. Continue reading

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