Tuesday, January 22, 2019


Unable, unwilling, a game of Quaker nominations
I have written here before about my experience of Quaker nominations from the point of view of someone on a nominations committee. I am returning to the subject because something I was told recently has made me think about nominations from the other side of the fence and also about the vexed question of 'qualification' for a post.

A while ago I was asked to take on a Quaker role which seemed to me to fit my 'qualifications' perfectly. I thought that both my professional qualifications and my personal and professional experience were likely to be useful to the body on which I was being asked to serve. I was also convinced of that body's importance and hoped that my enthusiasm might be useful. In the end though, as I have written here, I was proved wrong and had to accept that others had a different view.

Having let go of that commitment I was at first a bit wary when asked if I might be willing to serve in another way here in Yorkshire. I hesitated but again I felt qualified by experience in both my professional and personal life and it seemed to me that I might fit and be of some use. I said yes and have just been appointed so I have yet to find out whether this is the case.

After the meeting at which my appointment was accepted one of the nominations committee thanked me for taking on the task. I replied that in the end I did not feel able to refuse as it felt as though the job had my name written on it. Perhaps I came across as too self-satisfied because he hastened to assure me that my name had in fact been at the bottom of the list and I was only asked when everyone else had refused! I had not in fact given a thought to who else had been asked but it was a salutary reminder that Quakers have to take what they can get!

I hope that I will find that I can fulfil my new role and that my qualifications of all kinds will be useful. I hope too that I will continue to learn and grow and become more qualified for whatever task (if any) I am asked to undertake in the future.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

New Year, Old Blog or Here I Go Again

Yet again I return to this blog after a long gap. In fact I see that I only wrote three posts last year when I had meant to write monthly. I do not want to castigate myself for this however but instead want to look at ways in which I can go forward into the new year.

This blog has had several different strands. First and foremost it has been a way of continuing to write my spiritual autobiography - a project I have been engaged in for many years. I am looking at different approaches and hope that I can share some of that work here.

I have also used this blog to share my passion for Quaker history - and especially for the eighteenth century and particular Quaker characters - with others. The Quaker alphabet structure helped me with that but it also limited my choice of subject, although without it I only managed one Quaker history post last year so something needs to be done.

As well as writing here I have other outlets for my thoughts. I write a diary, also irregularly, in a series of A5 blank books using a rollerball pen. This is just for my consumption but sometimes what I write in my diary can feed into what I write here and in fact for the last few weeks I have been considering with pen and paper how I can continue this blog.

There is something else that I do regularly elsewhere. As well as reading and writing the visual arts are also important to me. I am a devoted fan of Pinterest and use my 'boards' to collect images for my eighteenth century research but I have created many others for art that I love. Some are devoted to a particular artist - for example Eric Ravilious, Emily Carr, Felix Vallotton and Giovanni Boldini - while others cover subjects that attract me - trees, the sea, windows, landscapes, abstraction and still life to name but a few.

Eric Ravilious. Cuckmere Haven 1939

Nearly two years ago I decided to share some of this art on Facebook as an antidote to all the doom and gloom about the world appearing there. So every day, usually when I first open up my computer, I share a piece of art from my Pinterest boards. At first I wrote a bit about the chosen image from my perspective but after a while I decided to leave each image open to whatever interpretation my friends wanted to give it. I now just give the title, the name and nationality of the artist and the date it was made if I can find it. I think this is right for Facebook but for a while now I have been wondering about finding a way to expand this description, to give more background or to explain why it appeals to me. So I have decided to add this to my possible subjects for this blog.

So I am expanding my subject matter but realistically I know that actually sitting down to write is likely to remain a problem for me! I need a prompt but I also need to be flexible. Aiming to write once a month, as I did last year, is obviously not enough but weekly writing feels like too much pressure, so in 2019 I will aim to post something every two weeks and allow myself to do more if I can. I will also set a reminder on my phone for every other Sunday and see how that works!

Blogging is a personal thing for me but, unlike my diary, this blog is written for an audience. I welcome dialogue and hope that I will hear from some of my readers in 2019 - if only to act as another sort of prompt!