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Saturday 8th May. Emergency! It is 11:30 p.m. and I am suffering from an incredibly intense chocolate craving that will not leave me in spite of prayer, distraction activities and half a loaf of bread and butter. Got out of bed and searched the flat. No luck. Not even a bourbon biscuit. Not even a cream egg left from Easter. All the shops are closed so no nipping out to replenish supplies. Nothing else for it. I'm reduced to the chocoholic's equivalent of meths?cooking chocolate. It's been one of those days for ...
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Saturday 8th May. Emergency! It is 11:30 p.m. and I am suffering from an incredibly intense chocolate craving that will not leave me in spite of prayer, distraction activities and half a loaf of bread and butter. Got out of bed and searched the flat. No luck. Not even a bourbon biscuit. Not even a cream egg left from Easter. All the shops are closed so no nipping out to replenish supplies. Nothing else for it. I'm reduced to the chocoholic's equivalent of meths—cooking chocolate. It's been one of those days for Theodora. Her mother has become the Greek equivalent of Delia Smith, her boyfriend would rather watch 22 men kick a ball around a field than go shopping with her, and chintzy Charity Hubble wants to pray for her. And of course, the crowning insult is her utter lack of chocolate. Join in her daily life with all of its challenges and joys, tears and laughter. 'Theodora's Diary is a hilarious and realistic peek into the life of a sprightly Christian sister living 'across the pond.' I found myself laughing out loud and thinking, 'Yes, life is just like this!' Penny Culliford is a welcome new voice in inspirational fiction.' —Angela Hunt, author of The Debt.
Monday 29 June
Chickenpox! How can a grown woman, who spends her whole life avoiding children, have contracted chickenpox? It must have been one of that hideous brood of Hubbles. They always look as if they're harbouring some disease or other. Anyway, the doctor says it will mean at least four weeks off work, two of them in isolation, so it does have its benefits.
Tuesday 30 June
This chickenpox is a blessing in disguise. I am determined to use the time to grow spiritually by reading all the latest Christian books, listening to proper Christian music (not just Cliff Richard) and by keeping a journal. It will be a record of events at St Norbert's and will document my journey through the year. I know it's a bit unusual to start a diary at the end of June, but I've never been one to pander to convention. I'll try it for a couple of weeks - I don't think I've ever stuck to anything for longer than that. Then I can look back at how I've rocketed spiritually upwards in this time of enforced solitude.
St Norbert's is a funny sort of church. Perched on top of the hill, squinting down at the village like a benign, geriatric vulture, its solid grey bulk veers more towards cuddly than sinister. It's not quite Norman (more Nigel, really), not quite Victorian, and definitely not quite modern. I've been going there for as long as I can remember. I sometimes think it's easier than finding anything else to do on a Sunday morning. Practically everyone else I know goes there too. I suppose our outlook is basically evangelical, as long as it doesn't involve actually talking to anyone. Our major concessions to the twenty-first century are the overhead projector and the tea urn.
St Norbert's itself would probably be all right, but for the fact that it seems to attract the strangest people - an assorted assemblage of 70 or so, as diverse in age and temperament as it is possible to get. Kevin, who hardly ever sets foot in the place, says that it's no stranger than any other collection of deranged cranks, psychopaths and simpletons. That's rich, coming from a man who thinks nothing of spending the entire weekend at a draughty football ground watching 22 grown men kick a ball up and down a field. Sometimes I wonder why I go out with him. I think he must be spiritually degenerate!
Ariadne persuaded me to keep this diary. She said it would stop me sitting here feeling sorry for myself and worrying about things like why there's only one Monopolies Commission, how the person who wrote the first dictionary knew how to spell the words, and who owns the copyright to the copyright symbol. 'That, and scratching your spots, then phoning up to whinge at me,' she said.
Honestly - sisters! Does she think I'm completely neurotic? No, this journal is going to be a record of dynamic living and a fascinating insight into the mind of a modern Christian woman. I would list as my major influences the Acts of the Apostles, the diaries of Samuel Pepys and Adrian Plass's Sacred Diary; probably in reverse order.
Wednesday 1 July
Kevin was rather short with me last night, when I rang him in the middle of the televised match to ask him to call into the Christian bookshop for some spiritually uplifting material for me. I must still have been in bed when he called round this morning, because I found a package on the doormat with a scribbled note:
Sorry I didn't have time to call into the bookshop. Hope these will do.
Inside the package were a 1982-1983 Goal of the Month video and a book entitled Astro-Turf - A Guide to Players and their Star Signs. The latter lists the zodiac signs of all the premier league footballers. I really think he is spiritually degenerate. Still, his heart's in the right place.
Friday 3 July
I read two famous and very elderly books today - The Screwtape Letters and The Cross and the Switchblade. Some would describe them as classics, but I think it just goes to show that it's been a very long time since I last bought a Christian book.
Out of desperation, I also listened to a cassette I found right at the back of a drawer. I must have bought it at the Greenbelt Festival over 10 years ago, when I first met Kevin. It was by a Christian heavy-metal band called The Ungrateful Lepers. Kevin and I had gone to hear them in a damp field after a veggie burger and two cans of Albatross cider. It was during the song 'Send Down the Plague' that we had our first kiss. Now I remember why I haven't played it for 10 years.
My spots itch. Mustn't scratch.
Saturday 4 July
Kevin came to visit today. It was all rather unsatisfactory, as he was petrified of catching chickenpox and wasn't in full command of his faculties because he's still coping with his grief over his team's relegation at the end of last season. He insisted that I should prop open the letterbox and sit on the opposite side of the hall before he would talk to me.
'How are you feeling?' he bellowed across my flat from a distance of about 30 feet.
'Terrible!' I yelled back.
'Me too!' he screamed.
'Why? You haven't caught it, have you?' I shouted.
'No, haven't you heard the news? We're selling the goalkeeper ... and he was our best scoring player!'
Sunday 5 July
I couldn't go to church today, but someone dropped a copy of St Norbert's newsletter, The Church Organ, through my door. My eye was drawn to one of the notices:
The first notice is an apology relating to an item which appeared in last week's newsletter. The item announced simply as 'Reverend Graves - slides in hall' was in fact referring to the vicar's photographic slides. The PCC apologizes sincerely to those disappointed members of the congregation who turned up hoping to see the shoeless vicar run very fast and slither from one end of the hall to the other.
Monday 6 July
Well, that's it. I've read every Christian book and nearly every other book I own - except, of course, The Complete Works of Shakespeare, which everyone has on their bookshelf but no one has ever read. Ariadne suggested I tried reading the Bible for once. I think she was being facetious. I've watched Kevin's football video forwards and backwards (backwards was vastly more entertaining) and am currently reading a women's magazine from 1972 that I found in the airing cupboard. Aesthetically challenged as I am, I find it hard to believe that people ever really made crocheted toilet-roll covers 'in co-ordinated shades of lilac, tangerine and lime'.
A 'get well soon' card arrived through the letterbox at lunchtime. It was from Jeremiah Wedgwood, whose purpose in life seems to be boring or frightening sick people better. It read:
To comfort you in your time of infirmity and affliction.
How nice, I thought, until I read the Bible verse he'd included:
My body is clothed with worms and scabs, my skin is broken and festering. (Job 7:5)
Please God, don't let him visit me.
Things are getting so bad, I may have to resort to watching one of those daytime DIY shows which tell you how to 'update' a perfectly acceptable wardrobe using zebra-striped paint effects with a 'fashionably kitsch' neon pink silk lining.
Tuesday 7 July
Much to my disappointment, there were no daytime DIY shows on. My wardrobe remains untransformed. Instead, I watched with horrified fascination the American interview show where people with deep-seated emotional and relationship problems come to a television studio to hurl abuse (and occasionally chairs) at each other in front of millions of viewers.
I wonder why they do it?
After several hours of 'entertainment', including repeats of American detective shows from the 1970s and cookery programmes for incompetent or unwilling chefs, I have come to the conclusion that daytime television is a government conspiracy to deter malingerers. If you can endure daytime television, you must be really ill.
Excerpted from Theodora's Diary by Penny Culliford Copyright © 2001 by Zondervan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
I loved this book. First, it made me laugh out loud. Second, Theodora touched my heart from the beginning of the book. I really related to her. She was a believable character and I truly cared what happened to her throughout the story. I liked the writing style. The book's from Theo's perspective, her diary. The book made me feel happy on the inside and all smiles on the outside. I would recommend this book if you're looking for something sweet, funny, and adorable.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 29, 2009
Hilarious book! Theodora is just like me...if I was British. The Bridge Jones formula works well in this book. I laughed at Theo's mom and her Greek tendencies. Imagine having a name like Agemmennon! The portrayal of very conservative and stay at home moms was accurate along with the reaction of those not comfortable with it. I was glad to read Theo's sister's response to Charity chastising her for not staying at home after she has the baby. Theodora is proud that she worked hard to have her job and people like Charity shouldn't put her down for not being like her. The Kevin 'Fever Pitch' storyline was great too. I went out and rented the DVD after reading the book (I had no idea Colin Firth was in it!) This book makes me want to have a British accent.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 15, 2005
Posted May 20, 2004
This is one of the best Christian books that I have read in a long time. This book will truly make you laugh and feel as you can relate to Theodora who is in a path of finding who she is and what her ministry is for that matter. Things are always happening to poor Theodora throughout her journey which are so hilarious. Whoever reads this book will truly enjoy it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 28, 2009
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