Saturday, 28 April 2007


I put together a new test yesterday.

I measured something that's never been measured this way before.

The test could tell the difference between 1 picogram per milliliter and nothing.

1 pg/ml was actually 0.1pg in the well of the plate.

That's 1 X 10 to the power of -13 grams.

Take a gram. Cut it into a thousand bits. Then cut one of those into a thousand bits. Then cut one of those into a thousand bits. Then cut one of THOSE into a thousand bits.

Then cut one of those bits into 10.

That's how much it measured.

Even I'm impressed. I've been doing this *kind* of thing nearly 30 years and measuring almost homeopathic (that's a joke BTW) quantities never ceases to amaze me.,br.

Ben's off at a bug meet

And we're going to see friends later today.

Life is (relatively) quiet right now - externally. We're working at moving my mum up, and that'll take some effort that'll be mostly invisible on the blog (Chris has already put quite a lot in. Ditto Alison, my SiL.

There's a certain something about May that makes this an emotional and difficult time of year.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007


I have a rehearsal tomorrow night for the celebration on Sunday in Oxford. About half the songs on the list are well known to me, some I never heard before and some I've just sung. Gaynor was kind enough to send some audio clips through for some of them, and I've spent time working through. Fine.


What gear to take!

I have it down to 4 guitars and 2 amps. Life was never *quite* this complicated when all I could afford was a strat and an amp that was too big to turn up loud enough to sound good!

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Another favourite smilie.

Just love the sheer range of expressions it goes through.

I have a new guitar.

It's a solid body electric with an acoustic pickup in the bridge.

Here's a demo - Summertime Switch.

*edit* I actually like this clip, clams, naff showband cliches and all. I keep playing it back - this is the first time I've done that with all the junk I've recorded. I really need to practice a lot more as my left hand is getting distinctly stiff, although I've been getting sore knuckles recently. Maybe a bit of recording and listening is what I need to play more and get creative.

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Y'know there's one blogger I missed while they were on holiday.

Fern - your blog is frequently hard work (in a good way) and about things I'm not interested in (like films, jazz and Kevball) but I really appreciate it.

Thanks for taking the time.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Blogpost 18 April 2007

I'm a day late - c'est la vie.

I wish thoughts wouldn’t just swim out of my head so quickly.

I’ve been wondering about the nature of sin and the nature of worship a lot recently, especially after my earlier post.

For me, it has become a real problem to do one of the things I enjoy – staying up late after everyone has gone to bed. After our stay in France with Martin and Jenny I really felt God start talking to me about it. I kind of set this on one side (ignore is too strong a word) as it was less than entirely easy to see why it was a problem and it had always been my ‘own’ time when I had some space for myself. So God gave me another poke through Chris (God with skin on, as Steve B would call it) together with what felt like a near total withdrawal of the grace/ability I’d had for the last 9 years to function well on 3 or less hours sleep the following day.

Last week was HARD.

2 late nights in a row plus late-ish Friday. I think I’m getting the message.

Monday night we had a worship team get together followed by a shopping trip to Tesco. I was in bed by 1am (pretty good for me) yet had burning eyes most of yesterday and really struggled to stay awake (through something I admittedly found un-exciting) during housegroup.

So the plan for me is that I’m not going to do frequent late nights – not ruling them out EVER – but they are to stop being a routine feature of my life. They just mess with my memory, perception, thought processes and general usefulness. Chris’s point, that I can’t work well, is quite valid and a key factor behind this. How I’m going to cope when I’ve had too much sleep/can’t sleep/ache from being in bed we’ll have to wait and see. I also need to start re-training my mind to think through thinks in longer, detailed progressions instead of quick mental ‘sound bytes’ as it’s been doing for the last couple of years. This certainly connected, together with my increased use of the internet.

Fair is fair.

Luther had his diet of worms – I have my can.

Monday, 16 April 2007


is why I struggled for so many years.

(youtube content).

Oh the fun

That is derived from moving office.

Plus we have a building wide power shut-down with emergency cabling only.

My work is distributed around the 'new' (created by partitioning the old) office. My desk has been rotated 180 degrees and moved 'forward' around 2m. I've been drilling holes (so we can share 1 of 2 operating data ports) and running extension leads so that most people in the office can still work. This afternoon I shall get more keys cut to fit the door (only 1 available right now) and buy some desk lights, filler (to patch the drilled wall) etc.

The new (stud) wall is very effective in it's sound deadening properties, considering it's only about 3" thick. It almost totally kills voice transmission (what it was wanted for) but does allow the beeping of a marooned UPS through.

Cleaning up here has been annoying. Everything on my desk was covered in a fine layer of grit. However much I wipe there seems to be another patch that was either missed or mysteriously materialised from another dimension. Unlike space invaders, maybe if I keep wiping them out eventually they'll stop appearing.

Friday, 13 April 2007

Guests in the house.

Some old friends have come to stay for a couple of days: David and Jill Munby. David is here for a gaudy at Pembroke college, and is showing his wife around his old student haunts in Oxford.

Good to see them both again.

Last weekend we had Ben's friend, Bridget, staying. She was interesting, bright, articulate and strong.

What with the barbie on Monday we seem to have got some good people through our doors this week.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Blogpost 12 April 2007

You would think that after all I’ve been through, holding the same job for 9 years, being a mature and well balanced individual that I would be personally secure.

You might be wrong.

We’re partitioning the shared office here at work, to give the MD some privacy for dealing with ‘personnel’ issues, making confidential phone calls etc. People with a history of creating bad working environments are discussing what they are going to do with the new working environment. Trying to negotiate once they’ve decided something is like eating poo-flavoured nougat – hard work and leaves a bad taste afterward. Someone has also grumbled about where I leave my bike (wherever I leave it *someone* grumbles) but instead of talking to me they went direct to the MD, and I really hate it when that happens.

And I feel tired/achey this morning, probably a combination of 2 late nights in a row, cycling too hard (but fitness/strength have improved) and the fallout of a good church ‘body meeting’ last night.

I guess insecurity is just a part of me. There are things I’ve got to confront elsewhere too, and personal security is going to get challenged again, both for me and someone else. Hope we manage to deal with it well, rather than going all defensive. Both of us.

Blogpost 11 April 2007 - 1 day late.

I’ve been finding it difficult to write anything either lucid or even faintly useful recently, and this has shown up in the paltry junk that’s not been so much posted as dumped here. Sometimes words just flow, while at others, no amount of clever thoughts or deep insight at various times of the day will enable meaningful words to find their way out.

I have had quite a lot of thoughts about the emerging church and how it is only relevant in the context of a traditional church from which to emerge. I keep thinking about the role of women in governmental roles and the de-masculinisation of society: God using those who are willing and able, rather than those that have to be dragged screaming and kicking into service. I keep thinking about what Christian leadership means, including pastoring in the workplace and it’s effect on my behaviour toward others (it must mean more than an encouraging word now and again). I keep thinking about the need for obedience and personal holiness – and how I fall short. I keep thinking about hearing God and the need for obedience, listening to hear the odd little things AND acting on them, rather than wondering how some guys get amazing words from God and others don’t. I keep thinking about emails and letters I should write and haven’t.

And I keep wondering what I can do with the music team in Bicester - the need to find new material, how to balance the team and how to work with the other people. How can I bring the young guys on – push them out into leading worship with their playing and presence, rather than just strumming a guitar. I really appreciate having not one, but 3 guitarists to work with (but I wouldn’t mind if one would learn to play bass ;-) ).

Leading the worship team always feels like a bit of a wrestling match too – wrestling with trivial worship, kiddie songs, Hymns (where people are focussing on the OHP instead of worshipping) having short worship times, having worship times that are cut short when people are just pushing into God. Our church life is in our housegroups and the times we are together in the week – Sunday is only a minor part – but it IS a key opportunity worship everyone to worship together in a way that is much more difficult with only a small number of people. Sometimes worship seems just a minor detail to be worked through before we move on to the next item. Mind you, sometimes it IS brilliant.

A little tension in church isn’t always a bad thing either.

On Sunday we had a more open type of meeting, and one of these guys, aged 11, played and sang a song he’d written. Afterward he told me he just keeps writing at the moment. And both musically and lyrically it was more mature than quite a few songs I’ve seen guys in their 20s, 30s and 40s write, better than most of the rubbish I've wrtten. In the next 5 to 10 years look out for Luke Woodley, because if he keeps on like that he’s going to be something quite amazing. I can see the musical influences in there, but a key difference between him and most is that the music is coming from inside, rather than outside. Being seriously bright doesn’t do any harm either.

And I’m struggling with GAS again, both for gear and playing rock. Sounds odd, but I really want to get involved with something and start playing out (even though I don’t have time right now). And I’m struggling with the amount of time I spend on the net uselessly: not an area of great obedience.

So there you go – 3 weeks worth of blogposts sicked up in one large lump. I would like to expand many of those topics, and given the drive for it then I probably will. Otherwise, you’ll be waiting a long time.

Monday, 9 April 2007

Well the barbie was good.

After dark we sat and talked around the chimenea. Although the days are warm, the last few days we've had frost on the floor each morning.

Thanks for coming everyone.

Calling people that know us

BBQ here this evening, about 5.00pm onward.

Be here or be somewhere else less interesting.

Saturday, 7 April 2007

On the Plane back from Marseille

Chris writes:

Toni mentioned a while ago that I had something to blog about our return journey, so here it is at last:

On the way back from Marseilles Toni & I were unable to sit together on the plane & I ended up sitting between 2 women who were both traveling alone. Shortly after take off we went through a very bumpy patch & it became clear that the young woman on my left was feeling rather nervous. I spoke reassuringly to her but things didn’t improve so I closed my book & turned to her to initiate a conversation in the hope of distracting her from her anxiety.

I initially asked her why she had been in Marseille & after a while she asked me the same thing so I told her about visiting Martin & Jenny. We chatted for a while then there was a lull in the conversation during which the woman on my right turned to me & said ‘Excuse me, I couldn’t help hearing what you were saying, I think I know those people!’

Amazingly it turned out that she did! Her children were about the same age as Amy & had been at the same school as Martin & Jenny’s children when they first moved out there. After M & J’s children moved school’s she had lost touch with Jenny. She had expected to run into her sometime but never had.

This woman was English married to a Frenchman & had lived in France for 15 years. She actually lives in L’Estaque, quite close to the church building. She was traveling back to England to be with her parents because her dad was dying. She was obviously pretty upset so I told her very briefly about Sarah so that she could see that I was able to sympathise as one who has experienced grief. Over a period of time I told her I was a Christian & we talked a bit about the ‘afterlife’. I asked how she would feel about Jennie getting in contact with her & she said she would be happy for that, so she gave me her ‘phone number.

By the end of the plane journey all 3 of us were chatting like old friends!

This all feels far too much of a co-incidence not to have had God’s hand involved. It seems to me amazing that there should be anyone on the plane at all who knew Martin & Jenny, & the odds of me sitting next to them can’t have been very high. Even then I could have sat next to her all the way home without finding out she knew M&J if I hadn’t initiated the conversation with the other woman in order to distract her from her fear!

I pray that God will continue to work in this woman’s life to reveal himself to her, & that Jenny will be guided by the Holy Spirit as she reaches out to her.


Tuesday, 3 April 2007

13 things.

See here

Seem to be have been head-aching a bit today.

Partly my own fault, staying up a bit. Whizzed into Bicester to take the corporate charabanc in for new tyres, and tried to get a few things done while I was there.

Haircut? No chance: 1 shop shut, the other full.
Shopping – Tesco don’t have the right rolls.
Wandered past Thomas cook, but Kita had a day off to meet Dan.
I DID manage to book an appointment with the optician.

Went back to Kwik Fit after 45 mins, to find they’d not started yet. Finally at 4pm the car was done. Nuts.

Felt lousy by 5.45 pm, rode home, took pills and by the grace of God was fine for this evening.

Please forgive the utter drivel. When I have pithy, useful and intersting thoughts I have no time or access to a computer. When the computer is here in front of me then my brain seems to be like jelly.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Oh how I hate

.......... having to be self-controlled.

Euphemism tennis is the game I just stopped myself playing.