Wednesday, 29 December 2010

We've just seen Tron 3D

And, to be honest, it was a bit disappointing.

The original did well be using simple graphics, clean lines that were almost cartoon-like. This version is incredibly detailed, and as a result it loses so much impact as to be a much weaker film. I can't fault the effects, some of which were extremely clever, but because there is so much detail it stops becoming immersive, which is a real shame. The big, wide shots are too big and wide.

And there's a distinct feeling that they picked up a bunch of ex-Matrix programmers.

The next 'must-see' film is probably 'Voyage of the dawn treader', also in 3D. I understand the story has been changed substantially, which in this case may not be a bad thing at all.

Friday, 24 December 2010

'Twas the day before Christmas.

As in the day time before we start our Christmas festivities - being 'funny foreigners' we do stuff Christmas eve. This time we're paying someone else to feed us all (and do the washing up) eating at The Dashwood, which sould be nice.

All the pressies are wrapped, food's in, fire lit, cell sub-cultured or in liquid Nitrogen storage and Ben is out digging snow off a parking space, so my brother and his family can park here.

So why do I feel so bushed?

Thursday, 23 December 2010

One day

My sense of humour will get me in trouble on facebook.

Actually it already has.

Several times.

Still, someone can only de-friend me, and only once at that.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

The outside thermometer said -10'C this morning.

The temperature's been doing funny things - it looks like the snow has compacted overnight and there's signs of melting, with icicles hanging off the shed, yet the temperature is really low outside now. There was ice inside the windows when I got up, and we had ice falling down the chimney into the stove too.

A snow plough went through last night, and the road doesn't seem so bad now (when I was dropped off yesterday afternoon by our friend, Mark, the snow was rubbing on the bottom of his truck) so I'm wondering whether it's worth digging out the (one remaining) car. At the moment we've plenty of food, but I'd prefer not to push our luck too hard. I also feel really achy this morning, and woke bunged up and struggling to breathe. Could be that Chris's cold has taken the opportunity of me being stressed and tired yesterday to work it's way in.

There's supposed to be a communal meal happening at the chapel tonight, but it's not at all likely that our guests will be able to make it. Also Ben was in another village Friday night, and although he's managed to walk to Woodstock, there's only a moderate chance of him making it home in the next couple of days.

I'm really glad I went in yesterday though - it gave me a chance to set the cells up to last a couple of days without attention, and so they are fine today. Monday I'll probably get the mountain bike out and ride in, since that's likely to have better grip than a car, and provided I don't hurry it should be fine.

We both feel quite sorry for the birds, as almost all the food is now buried. We put bread out Sat breakfast time, but of course that got buried in an hour.

From snowy Somerton.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

I can hardly believe the snow this morning

-4'C and snowing hard - and getting harder! I drove to work (where I am now) and the car has a couple of inches on it in 45min. Driving home may be 'interesting'.

Driving home was impossible. I walked a mile or so down camp road in the snow to a friend's house, and he kindly gave me a lift back to the village.

We've now had well over 12" and it's still falling hard, though I understand the skies should clear later this evening so the temperature can drop. I'm supposed to be preaching tomorrow, but really not sure that we'll make it (Dear God, you could have just told me you didn't want me to talk - you really didn't need to go to all this trouble for me to get the hint!).

Monday it looks like I'll be walking to work again. At least I was able to deal with my cells today, so they should be alright for a couple of days without attention. Pretty sure we've got enough food to take us through to Tuesday/Wednesday, so we'll be OK for a while.

Looks like this is about to become a regular occurrence.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Just looked at the BBC weather forecast

And I reckon they've got ours mixed up with Prague. If it hits -9 in Bicester it'll probably be -12'C in the valley, and it's at that point that pipes freeze, waste pipes block and we have to turn the heating up.


According to Chris

I now sneeze like an old man.

This is NOT encouraging, especially since my allergy seems to have been progressing and I sneeze quite a bit at the moment.

As the younger ones seem to say a lot, meh.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Frustrated by mediocrity.

Everything I do, I seem to do tolerably well, but nothing is ever REALLY good. I have an over-optimistic view of my abilities, and frequently view myself as better than I really am.

Do I keep doing things only tolerably well or do I just decide someone else is always going to do it better and just leave them to get on with it.

That is not a question, despite any appearances to the contrary..

Monday, 13 December 2010

This afternoon I was mostly

doing cell culture.

And very pleased to be doing it I am too.

My shoulders and neck are likely to be a fair bit stiffer by the time I get home tonight, from being hunched over a microscope, sucking little balls of cells out of jelly. It's funny how we look forward to doing something, only to realise the effort involved when we actually get to do it.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

what would you think if wikileaks.....

.....showed that someone we all vilified was actually right all along?

Like Dubya?

I don't know that the information in the linked article is actually correct, but it's definitely worth considering.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

We have a tree.

And it's staying outside for 1 week minimum!

Thursday, 9 December 2010


       "Are you being like Superman?"

Me  "Would you like to be Wonderwoman?"

Her "We're more like the incredibles.....


        Does this make my bum look big?"

Me  "No, but it feels nice."

Kinda Randall & Laura stylee.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Just one of those days.

Had a really thick head this morning by the time I arrived.

Trying to establish a new technique: baseline method involves centrifugation, and after the first run I managed to kill the C'fuge. Backup method did not work. 1 day at work + lots of driving and nothing to show for it is not impressive.

-8'C at 6.38am this morning

Freezing fog all the way down the A34. However +1'C here in (grey) Hampshire.

Monday, 6 December 2010

I wonder how the guys in Canada cope with the cold, dry air?

2 weeks of dry, frosty weather and the skin on my hands is terrible, despite hand lotion use. This morning there was blood on my towel, and despite checking carefully, I could find no cuts on my body, only to realise it had come from a finger which had (painlessly) split.

Overall my fingers are really sore though, and having them in sterilising alcohol frequently isn't helping (and it quickly makes you realise how many cuts you have!). To trump it all, I've just acquired a paper cut on a knuckle that's taken ages to stop bleeding.

Winter is traditionally a time for hardship and suffering - guess I'm being close to nature, in this area at least.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Looks like the thaw is here.

About 4" snow got dumped last night, but temps are up to around 5'C, and it's pretty much all melted now!

Wonder whether it'll get cold again next week?

So here I am at work on Saturday morning.

It's a reminder that what I do involves the living and not the dead.

I have some cells growing that were acquired on Wednesday morning - they are a cancer cell line, and are growing like the proverbial weeds. It is important they don't get over-grown, so here I am, blogging while the culture medium warms up so I can passage them on.

It's likely I'll be here tomorrow too. Being entirely responsible for everything you do for work gives an entirely different perspective, especially when you pay from everything you use too. It would be 'reasonable' as a salaried technician to stretch the cells a long way, risk them doing badly, then take another week or 2 to recover them with all the extra culture medium, flasks etc required to support that. Or I can send a few hours over the weekend getting it right first time.

Messages about 'good shepherds' also spring to mind. I wonder how often I've left someone I could care for to 'stew over the weekend' when a little timely care might have helped them grow strong and healthy?

That's it for my Prague pictures now.

So here's another example - click on the image to visit the album.

Have to start on Chris's next. I'm glad she took a few this time: very often she'll see something and I'll take a picture of it, which discourages her from doing so too. This time I deliberately tried not to take pix of things she saw and pointed out, and she responded by doing it for herself.


Just uploaded Chris's pics from the camera to PC. I really DO need to find her a better camera, because this one can't cope with being used to just P&S.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

And tonight

we got Ben back. He seems good, but is pleased to be here despite the weather. Glad to have him too.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Home from snowy Prague

to a snowy Somerton.

Just a few pics for now.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Hitting the cooking brandy

Times are tough in our household.

Well, maybe not *quite* that tough.

Last Saturday we had some friends over, and for various reasons had a substantial body of time to plan and shop for dinner with them, which was really nice. I knew she was vegetarian, so plumped for Fondue Savoy with a nice sweet salad, a good bottle of reisling and baked apples to follow. In order to perk the apples up a little I bought some cheap Tesco brandy to pour into the centres and around them to add flavour. I didn't know she was also teetotal, but ho hum, alcohol evaporates while cooking and no-one was any the wiser.

Tonight I had a 'wonder just how bad it is' moment and go the bottle out.

BAM! straight back to childhood.

My mother used to keep cognac for cooking, and occasionally I'd get the bottle down and take a tiny amount. This was when I was small - somewhere between 5 and 9 - but the flavour and general alcoholic overtones where just like that cognac for me. I guess that may be why I developed a taste for Whisky in my teenage years.

I've just tried a couple of new distros.

PCLinuxOS and Linux Mint KDE (9, not 10, unfortunately).

PCLOS is looking likely to become my next OS. From the CD it was fast, generally clean and is running KDE 4.5.3, Digikam 1.50. It felt as snappy as openSUSE, which was a good thing.

Mint is interesting in KDE 4.4 (possibly better in 4.5) with better font display than the gnome variant (which is pretty stinky, nearly as bad a Unbuntu, and similar to Fedora). It also came with Wine ready to run direct from the CD, which will be interesting as I'd like to start trying Windows apps on Linux. They even had the windows style font down pretty well, which was surprising.

Why look at other distros?

There was a Sabayon update last week, and my Sabayon drive is now inaccessible. Apparently because it's a logical volume, rather than partitioned conventionally I cannot see the small number of unique files I had on there (just a few images and emails). It might be possible to rescue the OS by editing the PAM file but I don't know enough command line stuff to do it and no-one on the Sabayon forum appears interested in helping. I could try to learn CLI and then attempt it, but frankly life is too short, and that OS is going to be toast shortly.

I really liked it while I used it: the best, crispest fonts this side of Microsoft, generally quick and responsive. It wasn't flawless, with an odd diminished volume issue forcing me to turn the amp up really high to hear DVDs, and printing was a bit skanky, though reliable once I'd sorted out HPLIP. I also had to reinstall VLC to get DVDs to play.

So another day, another OS by the look of things.

I'm posting from Mint 9 now - the fonts ARE too fuzzy, and this OS won't make it onto my hard drive.

Monday, 22 November 2010

My age has become apparent

And my changing tastes.

The Register has produced a list of the 'top 10 arcade games of all time'. While I recognise and remember playing happily the first few, everything from 'Outrun' onward never caught my imagination or drew me in. Maybe it was because they were so generic (and heralded the early 1st person shooters, like Wolfenstein) but maybe also it was because I was married by then and 'had a life'.

There's a couple missing too:
Firebird Phoenix (IIRC) was highly addictive and a stage on from Space invaders and Galaxian.

Vanguard was another that we spent many happy hours feeding 10p pieces into.

Finally, whatever happened to Asteroids - a contemporary of Space Invaders, and one that saw at least as much play.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Charles was a ZX81

And William is an iPad.

It's deeply cynical

But I do quite like this version of the engagement. I can think of at least one wedding I'd prefer to see televised, but the individuals concerned are a little less wealthy and well known.

Bearing in mind the country of origin, perhaps it's not so surprising that it's so cynical.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

I've just signed up for sugarsync

But now I wonder if it would be my nightmare scenario?

The video linked above left me rather mentally gasping, feeling like I was being bombarded from my worst nightmare: never being able to escape. I've been careful to compartmentalise work and home, so the idea of seamlessly smearing the 2 together (and guess which one will win?) really is the stuff of bad dreams.

The idea of a log cabin somewhere remote or vows of silence in a monastery could become very appealing after a year of life like that.

Friday, 12 November 2010


I have a working install of Sabayon 5.4 on my new replacement HDD.

And it's good.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Well that was a fine semi-waste of time.

I've given up and re-built the Macbook with OSX 10.5. However because I backed it up in the new configuration I cannot restore all settings backward, so have to manually restore. But at least I can use an external monitor.

I will not willingly buy another apple product in the future.

Monday, 8 November 2010

I just hate OSX so much now.

Printing is now a lottery - sometimes my computer will deign to let me print.... and sometimes not. I still cannot connect to an external monitor. And the dropping letters when you type 'undocumented feature' is back sometimes. Emails with embedded images no longer have an option to display the images either.

I really, really wish I'd never decided to try the snow leper upgrade (and it's no longer new-install fast either). No one else to blame but Apple marketing and my own darn gullibility.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

More pictures!

I've not had time until now to post the pix from when Randall, Laura and we went to Stratford, so here's an example, plus the gallery link (click the image).

Hi, my name's Toni and I do stuff in church.

Tonight I was introduced to someone by a friend as 'A Worship leader', a title that was haltingly whittled away at by myself over the next few minutes.

I'm not sure where this post is going, but something that's concerned me for some time now is 'who we are' in relation to the way we get introduced (or introduce ourselves - sometimes we're asked to say 'what we do' as a way of identifying ourselves).

The truth is, I do stuff in church, but I'm not the stuff I do. I do pastoral stuff sometimes (not much right now - trying to get my own life straight). I have lead worship in the past (what I'm doing now isn't really worship leading, but that's another discussion) and may even do so again. I sometimes teach, but not enough to really be a 'teacher'. I sometimes clear up cups and saucers, move chairs and sweep floors but I'm not really a janitor either.

Often we like to have a title, I think, because it can make us look good, and also because it gives us something to hide behind. This isn't something that my marvellous maturity and sense of self-worth has carried me beyond, but I have reached the stage where I don't really want to be known by whatever title makes me look good or a success. I just want to be know as me, with my weaknesses (they'll show up soon enough) and strengths (which are real enough too).

So.... My name is Toni, and I do stuff in church.

open SUSE is back.

After the tram-smash that is font display in Fedora I had to revert back. O'Suzy (as some call it) isn't *perfect* but it is quite usable. I still can't get Sabayon to install, but I think I know the reason now, and will take steps to sort that when the replacement HD arrives.

I don't know what the reason is: it's not KDE vs Gnome, because I did a full KDE dual desktop install, switching back and forth (you acquire a HUGE range of different applications that way - more than any Windows user could possible have and keep their machine running happily). It's also not the graphics driver, because both Fedora and SUSE are running the Noveaux OSS driver. And it's not the fonts themselves, because I changed the system fonts around from their default settings in Fed, and what worked at one size would then bleed yellow or blue in a different size.

I'm done with pUbuntu and related OSs for now. It's a real shame, but they just cannot seem to get that one fundamental requirement right.

Wonder when Sabayon 5.5 is out.....

Thursday, 4 November 2010

I can feel another Mac rebuild approaching rapidly.

And reverting back to 10.5 Leopard.

Trying to get it to print is like playing eeny meeny miny moe. Sometimes it will and sometimes it won't.

The FAT32 partition on my external drive is now invisible. I asked it to save a file there >4Gb (4Gb is the limit for FAT32) but puh-lees, the drive doesn't have to become inaccessible because you couldn't store more data there!

Back to intensive spreadsheet work today.

I am absolutely not going to buy another apple computer for as long as their operating system cannot manage windows in a manner that does not interrupt and spoil workflow. Working with multiple excel windows open on a 13" screen is just a frustrating mess. Not for the first time do I regret the decision to buy a Mac.

As a toy for self gratification and entertainment the apple ethos works well - sales of the iPad and feedback from owners I've talked to confirm this. But as a serious work tool for handling data in tables this thing is just terrible. Every Linux mainstream distro uses a similar approach to windows, so why oh why can't Apple?

It's not so bad on a 20+" monitor, because one can size folders up and move them around more easily, but on a tiny screen it's just a nightmare. But of course I can't use my big screen because snow leper will not work with my apple adapter. In terms of productivity the windows approach is simply very much better at real world work tasks, and enormously less frustrating. When this machine is 3 years old and I can write it off - assuming I have enough income to do so - then it is going to be replaced, and good riddance!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Fedora 14

has been downloaded, but not installed yet - apparently it's not a live disc like the CD-size versions. Having said that, it was listed as 3.1Gb and actually arrived as 3.4Gb - weird because the 64bit AMD version is only 3.3Gb (and they ALWAYS come up larger).

I like the look and feel of Fed 13, but some fonts are REALLY bad, with colour bleeding either side and smudgy patches. Some are fine, but not all applications can be instructed to use them, and this may be the deciding factor in the end. It would be nice to combine the best features of Fedora and SUSE, KDE and Gnome too, but then I'd probably end up with something very like Windows.

The dud Western Digital drive has got an RMA number and should be going tomorrow, so when it returns I'll do the install.

Still kind of wishing I'd bought a Solid State Drive instead of the Scorpio black, just to reduce the noise and heat a little more. The Scorpio is a great *performing* drive, but I wish it was quieter. Live & learn.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

I've been trying Fedora 13 Gnome on the main 'puter'.

Installed it yesterday, updated, installed various updates, codecs, DigiKam, VLC etc. I like the desktop icons better than KDE's, but screen fonts are less crisp and there's noticeably less control through the GUI (unless I've not found the right apps yet). The jury is out on whether it'll stick around, but they're releasing Fedora 14 on Tuesday next week with a KDE 4.5 option that might swing it.

The Fedora/Gnome mix has more of the clean of combining Opera and Windows XP classic desktop (i.e. NOT the toys R us icons that appear as standard) but lacks all the crispness of XP. That's compared to openSUSE 11.3 which has the slightly muddlier but softer firefox-style appearance. I like the Fedora look, but so far it's not crisp enough to make me want to keep it, and the lack of easy GUI control is disappointing. Getting the libdvdcss libraries to install was also quite a hassle, as Fedora is determinedly 'free' and eschews all non-public software.

Fedora also refused to open the folders containing my email and browser data because of permissions issues, so I've had to boot off my old Samsung HDD into SUSE (what I'm using now) to download my emails etc onto a memory stick for transfer to the new OS.

I think that if SUSE 11.3 had been completely stable and bug-free I'd have stuck with it, and I may yet go back to it. We'll have to see.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

You drive me round the bend!

In this case, the bend in the blocked drain outside our house this morning.

Why is it that drains seem to always block when the weather is cold? The only solution is to plunge one's bare arm into chilly, foul and smelly water, digging out lumps of congealed greasy material (almost certainly hair conditioner). Success was had within a reasonable time frame, but there's a very large amount of YEUCH attached to the process.

I'm sure a little hardship and discomfort is good for the soul.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Replacement MoBo arrived today

And it's a better one than expected (Gigabyte durable series, compatible with AM2 and AM3 processors). Looks a really nice board.

Guess that's this evening spoken for then.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

It may be a few days before I get the home PC up again.

So contact me through facebook or by telephone if you need me - email won't be up for a while.

The upside and the downside of the Macbook rebuild

An unexpected benefit of the rebuild has been that my keyboard now seems to work properly.


Yup. Both the built in keyboard and (especially) the external USB apple keyboard repeatedly missed letters when I was typing. It still happens a little, but it had got to the point where I thought it would be necessary to replace it, and this certainly added to my frustration with the machine. It is nice to have that aspect working again.

However not *all* is rosy in the garden.

Firstly, just a minor issue, but iStat - the hardware monitoring software I used - no longer works. No idea why, but it simply cannot be enabled. The developer's website has no warning messages about incompatibility with snow leper, so it remains a mystery.

Now, much more serious, the wretched mini display port no longer works. This gave problems from the beginning, only really being fixed around April or May of that first year with a flashed firmware update, but even so, image quality was lacking compared to a Windows machine using the same monitor and it frequently crashed on startup. Now, after the update, it simply refuses to connect to an external display properly, repeatedly powering up and shutting off the adapter. When the adapter alone is plugged in the display switches to an extended desktop view, just as if there were another display connected. It also does not recognise the presence of the adapter, despite the display switching when asked to update it.

I did try the 'full-fat' update today. The Snow Leper disc version was 10.6.3, and to migrate to the current 10.6.4 I had to first download 876Mb followed by a further 270Mb directly afterward. I'd say that 10.6.4 has slowed the machine noticeably, but not intrusively - it's lost the snappy feel it first had but it's not enough to be a problem.

I've been out of the Windows loop for so long that I'm not sure how well 7 works, but I wonder if it really could be worse. Very tempted to downgrade to 10.5 and stick with it right now.

Ho and indeed hum.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Not happy

My main PC motherboard appears to have croaked.


Swapped HDDs around this morning, Installed Sabayon Linux first go (KDE 4.5 looks clean, if a little dark. Fonts are great). Uploaded data from the old drive and half way through the system crashed unrecoverably. Went to reinstall and had repeated failures, including trying XP (always works, whenever Linux can't hack it). Disc now no longer recognised.

Swapped HDDs back, and when trying to remove the SATA cable from a socket on the MoBo, the socket pulled off the board. The old drive was briefly recognised, but isn't now it's back in the case.

If ebuyer had a good bundle offer I'd be seriously tempted, but don't want to buy yet MORE PC bits for the moment.

Well by this time.....

Randall and Lauralea should be pretty much by Victoria, if the traffic's not been too bad. A short walk back up Buckingham Palace road & round the corner will find them at their hotel. The house isn't empty, as Chris has a card workshop happening this afternoon, but it's certainly lacking something we've enjoyed the last few days.

The sunshine looks good, and the fire is burning away. I'll eventually try to get some images up, as a reminder.

Have I done the right thing?

If Moore's law applies to computer development, so do the natural laws of entropy.

Last week I ordered a Western Digital Scorpio black hard drive for the Macbook, and tonight actually did the transplant and install: took a couple of hours. Lets just say that I'd forgotten that an Apple computer can actually feel crisp and responsive instead of dull and difficult to use. I'm sure some of the improved functionality was a result of the new HDD being much faster, but most of it, I'm sure, was down to the fresh install.

Then came the step about which I still have questions: upgrading to Snow Leper.

Well, for one thing it was darn time consuming, and actually took longer than the original install. There's a new appearance to certain file types and the dock seems to move more crisply than before. However also quite worrying was the way the system fans started within a couple of minutes, and were then on and off every couple of minutes. I'd read about this issue, but though it had been sorted: apparently not so in 10.6.3 (the version on the install disc).

It was backing up a few minutes ago, but I'm hoping that upgrading to 10.6.4 and a restart will solve these issues. Maybe I'm being foolish.

FWIW the drive is clearly running all the time by the vibration through the case: the old slow drive could not be felt in normal use. There does not seem to be a difference in noise level that I can detect.

I also received a 1TB Western Digital HDD to go in this Linux box and replace the 1.5Tb Samsung drive (which will become my general backup drive once all the data has been copied from it). Why replace and rebuild already? Because SUSE isn't stable and several OSs have struggled with the Samsung 1.5TB drive unit to create a working install. It's a big (not necessarily fast) drive and ideal for backup use in a USB caddy.

Night for now.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

I'd better go turn the heating on


I've no idea why I wrote this last night, except that I was both tired and in a hurry. Sometimes I worry about the stuff my head comes up with.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Ever read Ecclesiastes

......and wondered if Solomon was the first blogger? It reads for all the world like someone who's watched life and learned by seeing what happens, rather than by faith.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Am I becoming what I've despised?

It's a good question.

On Facebook my profile describes me as Christian, conservative, orthodox, fundamentalist and charismatic and so I am.



Saturday Mornings we have a men's bible study with breakfast afterward. This morning I described the account of creation as more of a cartoon than a photograph, which caused a certain amount of consternation, although I'd stand by that description.

The thing is, I've been reading the bible seriously for nearly 35 years, more than that if you take the pre-christian phase of my life, where it was all just a collection of words without a particular meaning. I've had some teaching on hermeneutics and exegesis, but have carefully stayed away from books and characters that try to tell me how to think and view reality.

What's all this about?

Maybe it's the legalistic child in me, but I want to take the easy way out and just 'follow the rules so everything will be all right'. The fundamentalist in me recognises that the bible is The Word Of God but it also recognises that people wrote it, with their own views and outlook. So you read about storehouses full of snow and lightning bolts, recognising pictorial language. Are the windows of heaven sash opening or uPVC double glazed etc. An interesting take is when the bible talks about angels appearing with swords (that MUST be for the benefit of the humans viewing the situation - how is a sword an effective weapon in a spiritual realm? Paul talks about not using the 'weapons of this world' when dealing with spiritual issues).

The thing is, I want to understand. I want to know what's real, what's made up.

When I was a new Christian I despised the attitudes of theologians who carefully put all of what the bible said - all the outrageous bits - into carefully constructed boxes of interpretation so that they didn't have to worry about the lack of God moving in the church (and their own lives?). So I'm asking the question of myself "am I doing this over stuff like healings, miracles, God breaking in tangibly". Because when it does apparently happen, it's happening with other people, in other countries - yet here we pray, fast, seek and all apparently in line with the words in the bible, and nada.

Yet I know God IS there.

Chris and I have talked about some of this, and for her, even in the worst times, she's never been able to walk away, deny the truth. For me, it's been the same and we have even been able to accept God at work during some of the worst things that can happen. But it's those 'if-then' passages. If God is real (check) but doing the 'if-then' stuff doesn't work (check) what does the 'if-then' stuff (and a whole lot of other, much less clear passages) really mean?

My observation is that theology can just become a system for explaining how great our God is and then providing reasons why He doesn't actually do all that 'great' stuff here and now. I have now done some of this from a public platform.

And I think I despise it.

There's a great truth that I'm grappling for and not finding. It has to be here somewhere, and no amount of books or clever teaching are going to uncover it. If it doesn't turn up then I guess there's always mediocrity to sink into - maybe we moved church streams at the right time?

Wonder if Ian reads this stuff still?

Batman alive and well

A living in Japan.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Looks Like Luminous Lion Looming

In a shock move today, Apple Computer* announced a deal with Canonical, the software house supplying the Ubuntu linux operating system, to jointly develop the new Apple OS. The new software will be named Luminous Lion, merging both Apple and Ubuntu naming conventions. There were subtle hints with the last release of Ubuntu 10.04, when window controls swapped from the 'Windows' side to the 'Macintosh' side. A spokesman said this would create exciting opportunities for both companies, enabling Apple to charge people for open source software and Canonical to actually make some money. A release date has been scheduled for early April 2011.

*Not really. It seems 10.7 Lion won't be released for some time. I was disappointed and made up the above story because now I will have to buy Snow Leper. As far as I know Canonical and Apple Computer have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

About that new copy of OSX

I hadn't ordered yesterday, and was going to in the next couple of days.

Until I saw this.

It's only another week. If they're releasing something shortly then it may be worth the wait. If not, then I'll buy Snow Leper.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Just bitten the bullet

And ordered a (suprisingly) cheap Western Digital Black 320Gb drive for the Macbook, rather than SSD. The WD has a reputation for still being the fastest conventional drive available in real world productivity tests, and because it has a long history I know it's well sorted (and cheap!).

The bullet will also be bitten and Snow Leopard acquired. This is less risky than it might be because having 2 drives (and a conventional backup) I can quickly ditch SN if it proves to be the beach-ball inducing pile of cack that it's been for some people (and sell it on the 'bay). Though I seriously hope it won't come to that, and that it will provide both an increase in performance and an increase in usefulness and productivity.

If not, there's a darn strong chance that the MB really will get dual-booted and run on a flavour of Linux instead of OSX. It's amazing how much it's like a Linux flavour, with some aspects extremely well thought through, while others are astonishingly poor.

We'll see.

Monday, 11 October 2010



I've been using - and mostly enjoying, it has to be said - openSUSE 11.3 since August, and as my main OS for the last 6 weeks or so. To begin with there was the excitement and novelty one experiences, discovering new ways of doing stuff and new stuff that can be done. Speed was excellent to begin with, and every application I tried just worked like this was a windows install (i.e. everything worked just like it should).

So what's wrong then?

It's lost its sparkle, pzazz, speed and reliability a little. I was reading on a forum about which OSs people had switched from before using Sabayon, and he most common comment from SUSE users was it lacked stability.

Well, I'm starting to think my experience backs that up. Gone is the amazing speed, but worse, recently everything sometimes apparently hangs before recovering a few minutes later when I'm using Firefox. having spent a LOT of time in DigiKam recently, that would sometimes suddenly become terribly slow, before recovering after a bit. I'd treated it like a windows PC running Lotus notes and restarting it when things got really bad a couple of weeks back before I realised it would speed back up spontaneously, but neither solution is really satisfactory.

So here I am, fickle as anything, seriously considering the pain of switching OS yet again. I don't really want to, but I'm concerned that this will go belly-up at some stage and lock me out of my system. Maybe I should just suck it up for a bit longer and see how we do. The macbook wasn't exactly perfect in it's behaviour in the beginning either, and it's survived 21 months now, albeit with increasingly turgid performance so maybe I'm worrying about nothing.

Or maybe it's just that slightly suicidal itch that I want to scratch where I just like trying new things. Seeing that there's a new version of Ubuntu available prompted this post, although I would not choose that OS anyway (but Sabayon 5.4 is rather lovely).

Internet branding.

I've been contacted recently by 'Bob' from an internet company in Hong Kong about the 'internet brand' of my company, and how a client of theirs wants to register a bunch of web domains (.asia, .cn, .eu, with the same name as my .com. Knowing that my company brand name is a much longer name than my .com - and already having the .com anyway I politely declined and said that his client was welcome to them. This produced another email and another declination, then a 3rd email.

OK, this guy's persistent to the point where he's trying to make money from me.

A little searching and it turns out that companies from Hong Kong have been trying to do this for the last 3 years or so, with enough plausibility and success to encourage them to continue. Basically there is no such thing as an internet brand - just as there's no such thing as 'cyberspace'. Trademarks and company names are just what they are in the real world, covered by all the same laws and regulations. It's easy to forget that sometimes, and think of the internet as being somewhere 'else', when it's really just a bunch of computers all connected to each other.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

We went out picking sloes.

So of course I ended up taking pictures.

If there are still berries around when our next lot of guests arrive then we really should pick some more so they can take the liqueur home (if they want to).

Friday, 8 October 2010

The doctrine of the trinity - have we misunderstood something? (amended)

*Penny - we've got a long one for you!

This is not a rant, nor am I emotionally motivated: this is a rather clumsy way of trying to describe a complex piece of theology where my thoughts seem to differ from mainstream custom.

Linea posted recently about the doctrine of the Trinity, and it's got me thinking a bit more.

An issue that was raised was that of authority and hierarchy: if the 3 persons of God are all equal then how can there be a hierarchy, and if that's the case, then surely the 'traditional' order of patriarchy must be wrong, since in Christ there is no male or female (etc).

As Linea described it, the doctrine of the trinity was developed in an extra-biblical context, to combat certain heresies, and it is a natural extension of scripture, even if it doesn't appear anywhere. Sofa so good, but for me it's become a piece of extrapolated theology over the centuries, and I think, built on in the way that some institutions like to, until it's become a little bloated and wobbly.

In Genesis 1 God is recorded as saying 26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

So the question one has to then ask is: does God have arms and legs, head (bald) torso, nipples, and knobbly knees?


To make us in His image, I would suggest that he made us like Himself: with a mind to understand and direct, with a physical form to interact with the world and with a spirit that would be a part of us, and yet unbounded by our physical selves.

In a sense, talking of God in three persons is understandable, but I would suggest it's carrying a concept too far. We can refer to the person of the Holy Spirit because that's God. We can talk of Jesus because He's God in a physical, tangible sense. We can consider the Father because He's God. But as far as I can see, God isn't 3 equal persons, all separate, but instead is ONE God whose attributes (like those he gave us) have different aspects.

What's this got to do with authority?

Our bodies should be in perfect unity, and when they aren't, things go bad VERY fast. So when we stand up our mind instructs our bodies to move and it happens. The body doesn't say "I'm equal to you, and have a choice about this". It just does it because it's in union with, yet subservient to, the mind. We have seemingly little control over our spirits (some wouldn't even recognise a spirit if it passed a hand rapidly through their face!) but Paul talks about the spirits of prophets being subject to their will, so we must assume that our spirits are under some measure of our own control.

So it is with God. There IS a natural order of direction with God, but because He is one there is no issue of either obedience or equality. By separating God into 3 persons we've given Him a slightly schizophrenic appearance, when in fact that couldn't be further from the truth. There is no issue of equality over submission because He is one God.

I wonder if we've actually missed the mark, by focussing on the trinity. This is not heresy, because it wouldn't cause us to lose our salvation, but is bad theology made acceptable by countless generations all reciting the teaching until it's 'true'. When you talk to me in the street and look into my face, I know you're not talking to my body or my spirit, but you're talking to me. I know that sometimes we men talk to women's breasts, but really we do mean to talk to the person too, and not just their bodies.

So it is with God.

Worshipping Jesus WAS worshipping God. Jesus even said that 'he who has seen me has seen the Father' and that was true in a more literal sense than we really think so very often.

Some years back we were entreated to engage in trinitarian worship. I do quite seriously wonder now if this was actually a mistake in the sense of worshiping God as 3 separate individuals. A 'good idea' but not one founded on truth or reality.

It's a little off topic, but while on the subject of authority and unity I'm tempted to compare the state of Man, pre and post fall, for the light it sheds on the unity and oneness of God. I have a little reluctance because, while creationist in outlook, I suspect the creation story in Genesis to be more like a drawing - an artist's impression - than a photograph. Right at the beginning of when Adam was created he was alone, and it was his task to rule, to name the animals and birds and to work in the land. God recognises the size of the task and Adam's weakness, who being like God in form, was not like God in power, and so created a helper to work with him in the task.

Would she have been equal to him in value? I'm sure the answer is yes - she came from his own body and was truly one with him.

Did she have the same role as Adam? From his reaction on meeting God after the fall, I don't think so because there was a hierarchy of blame formed.

What was the result of the fall? That amazing unity, which we sometimes experience in our marriages, was broken. A part of the curse of sin was that, instead of there being a perfect harmony and order between equals, the man would rule over his wife. It's also interesting that in verse 16 of Genesis 3 in the NLT version the woman's desire would be to control her husband. And so we see men and women today, one wishing to rule, while the other seeks to control.

And maybe this is at the root of our failure to understand the true nature of the trinity. We see God in our image, as 3 separate persons, divided. Yet we must make them all equal and no-one in charge, because to have an authority structure would make them fallen and broken like us, because we cannot see the image of perfect unity, working together as a single being.

Comments/discussion/disagreement is very welcome provided it's not wrapped up in long words I don't understand or obscure references I can't check. If I don't answer it may just be that I simply haven't got the spare time and energy to research and write back - this has taken more than 90min to type, even though it (and more) was swimming around in my head this evening.

*Name that puppet series.

OK, here's one that didn't make it.

I still like this, but it wasn't quite good enough to make it into my competition entry* (closing date was officially today, but I've heard it may get extended).

Typically, today when walking around at lunchtime, in the gentle hazy sunlight I saw some wonderful images just waiting to be seized. Alas I had no camera, and in any case I need to stop thinking about picture now. I've been far too absorbed by the need to create images, and would like a chance for the head to relax and forget about such things for a bit.

One of the curious things has been how much we take image quality and size for granted. The original of this image, when re-processed onto lossless .tif format, weighs in at around 23Mb. I submitted a total of 28 main entry images and 32 supporting pictures: the original plan had been to burn them on CD, until I found that they came to 1.7Gb in total.

That's a big old bucketload of space for a few snaps.

Many serious photographers would only recommend shooting in RAW format (un-compressed, without loss of detail and without processing), but that's a lot of space for *almost* the same image quality.having said that, as I've been using DigiKam for processing I started wishing for higher quality images to work with, and doing a bit more processing in GIMP today (to resize downward for easy viewing - pulling 23Mb images from a DVD is slow) I again started wishing for higher quality tools.

Overall I've been really pleased with this camera. 500 shots (without flash) on a single set of rechargables isn't to be sniffed at either.

* These hydrants are everywhere around Heyford Park. They were made originally by Kennedy Valve in New York, and are one of the common threads throughout Heyford Park, reminding you that this isn't just another 60s council estate or industrial site.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Well 2010 IS the year of the Canadians.

In August we had very great pleasure in seeing Leo and Linea and then Marc and Dixie.

Well last week we also had an old friend visit. Phil lives in Montreal with his wife, Helen, and 2 children. The 'children' are grown up now, and Helen was staying with her parents in Hastings, but it was really good to see Phil again for the first time in 23 years. We last visited them in Huntingdon when we still had the Triumph Spitfire, the year before Chris conceived Ben!

Phil hasn't changed a bit, combining amazingly insightful clear thinking and utter zaniness. It's good when you meet friends and it feels like no time has passed.

And talking of which, in just 2 1/2 weeks we should see our final set of Canadians* this year, with Randall and Lauralea, and I have to say, we're really looking forward to seeing them again too. No plans for the visit - just ideas to see how things pan out at the time.

* Unless Hilary drops by or Johanna wants to see a wet London at Christmas again.

Good work Ben*

My son apparently managed to get his car noticed by fast car magazine.

*title of the thread linked on

Friday, 1 October 2010

It would be rude not to.

The people that run Heyford park are offering a photo competition. It's fairly unlikely that I'd actually win anything, but nothing ventured etc. There's no limits etc on the size of the portfolio entered, with the sole requirement that it's of 'interesting' bits of the base.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Has it really been a whole year?

I was looking through Fernando's blog archive when I realised it's been a while year since Snow Leopard was released. This is pertinent because at the time I was a little dissatisfied with the performance of this Macbook, and the new OS was supposed to speed things up. So here I sit, 13 months later, having not upgraded and becoming even more disappointed as performance has been degrading further since that time.

There are several reason that might be the case, but it's likely I've been a victim of software updates. One upgrade I've really fancied was an SSD replacement for the hard drive: several offer quite astonishing data transfer rates, with users describing startup times as astonishingly quick, applications opening 'instantly'. However investigating the murky world of upgrading an Apple leaves one seriously wishing that a) Apple wouldn't 'upgrade' their software and b) that one hadn't bought an Apple to begin with.

It seems that Apple's OS isn't really ready for handling SSD properly (for technical reasons to do with how data is written, erased and then written to the same place again). It seems that the SS drives they supply are only capable of slow data throughput. The hardware on which Macbooks are based was capable of SATA 2 speeds, but were crippled down to SATA 1 speeds for a variety of reasons. Many users found that SSD drives capable of SATA 2 simply would not work at all in Macbooks (especially Macbook pros from mid 2009). Apple did eventually send out an 'upgrade' to the EFI chip, but the effect this had was than many people saw the spinning beachball (a sign that the OS is waiting for the hardware to do something) much more frequently than they did before. Some users even found a way of 'downgrading' to the previous version of the EFI software to fix the problem. It seems there were also issues down to a poor quality SATA connector, but that's another story.

Why do I grumble? I see that darn beachball far too often these days, even when the external HDD is not attached, and I'd *like* to upgrade to a super-fast SSD but there's every likelihood that it won't help much. I'm still tempted by the idea of upgrading to Snow Leopard, but wonder if I'd just be opening an even larger can of worms than is already sat in front of me.

To be honest, I can't see why this company seems so determined to do silly things to make life less sweet than it might be for its users. The thing is that they didn't have to place artificial restrictions on their hardware, but they chose to. It makes no sense, other than to try to shorten the useful life of a brand that had a reputation for longevity and a great customer experience.

In some ways I'm grateful for my Mac experience, in that it helped me to feel more comfy with non-microsoft operating systems. I've been running openSUSE 11.3 on my main home machine for several weeks now, and it seems mostly stable, reasonably fast and a decent user experience. However I'm finding that the more I use it, the more it highlights the shortcomings of OSX's weak window management and file handling. What's curious is that in some ways it's like OSX but yet does it better: combining the best of Apple and microsoft.

If I can learn how to use the WINE windows emulation package to run M$ office then I'd seriously consider rebuilding the Macbook with Linux and ditch OSX altogether. Now that's a thought and a seriously geeky one at that!

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

It's Apple wot made me do it!

This isn't my usual whinge about the Jobbsian flavour of Big Brother. Also, can you spot the film reference?

One of the (genuinely) attractive - though terribly time wasting - features of OSX is the ability to display images from a chosen folder as a moving screensaver. It shows sections of the image gradually sliding across the screen.

The full height and width of the screen.

This means that I have become familiar with the way many of my images look at the equivalent size of at least 20"X28" and probably larger even than that, since this is a 20" widescreen monitor and the image has to be made larger so that it may be 'moved' across the screen. Many of them look glorious, with tiny details too small to easily see at my 'standard 1024X768' resolution size being clear and catching the eye.

Maybe I was a little slow on the uptake, but this is why I can't see the point to 450X600 images any more - they are now my thumbnails - and the truly postage-stamp sized images shown on some sites as thumbs are too small to be worth paying attention.

A part of this issue is also monitor resolutions and sizes. When I started out on my own system we had a 17" CRT monitor (large for the time) with a resolution of 1024X768. Images at 600X800 were both large enough to look very full, detailed and satisfying, and large enough to take forever to download across a 33K (later 56K) modem. But as resolutions have crept up, we seem to be cramming more pixels into a proportionately smaller space - at least visually so - with images that were once striking and detailed appearing small, weak and over-busy.

My solution has been to post 'outrageously' large images. Outrageous, that is, for a relatively slow (512K max at this end, frequently slower) broadband and utterly unacceptable for anyone on dialup. I should not be surprised if it becomes necessary within the next 5 years to raise the size of images again to keep up with ever finer resolutions, or maybe to start scaling images by screen-inches instead at higher underlying res.

One further observation. This size issue is also driving me to try to simplify my images. The less detail calling for attention, the better an image survives being miniaturised. I have always liked simple, striking images (although I like them to have fine detail that becomes apparent when they are enlarged - like the temperature gauge below) but this is forcing me to try to find ways of reducing images to simple light/dark constructions with fewer lead lines. It's good for some things, but makes landscapes much harder to capture since so much of the glory is in the fine detail and texture - at least for local stuff.

There are times I wish I could arrange a feed direct from my optic nerve to the hard drive, but that's just wishful thinking, and I'd still not be satisfied. And I'd then want to upgrade the eyeballs - but that's just a memo about a small proportion of the population.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Today I felt like that ethnic minor in the lignacious fuel supply.

Earlier in the week we had a delivery of wood, ready for the winter, and so today I stacked about a ton of it in the shed (we already have a small wood store in the garden). The back has probably survived, but is occasionally reminding me of it's presence, though Ibuprofen helps!

Here is is, stacked and safe.

But now I've got to get this lot back in!

Done it!

Have a look here, here and here for some 'woody' shots.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Since this IS becoming more photographic

I'm going to try to be a little more organised about it (goes against the grain, but hey, that's life).

So I'll try to reduce the numbers/sizes of images I post up and will attempt to create more galleries on Photobucket with hotlinks off the images themselves to the galleries. If you see an image that you like then click on it to see more. FWIW I've noticed that in opera hovering over a linked image doesn't always produce a change in cursor in the way that hovering over linked text does.

One thing I promise - that I won't inflict flikr on you. Every time I visit a flikr based gallery it makes me grit my teeth at the obstructiveness of the site design from the viewer's point of view. Maybe it's great for gallery owners, but the slowness, small image size and relatively linear way it displays images just doesn't work for me.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

This is rapidly becoming a photoblog

So maybe I should find somewhere else to host images (of buy a pro subscription to photobucket?).

Pictures taken wandering round the now disused airbase where I rent lab space.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

I had a good ride last night

About 14 miles, on and off road. It's interesting having music playing with the MP3 player set on alphabetical: one moment there'll be a worship piece and the next some Def Leppard or Fleetwood Mac. As I was riding past some farms on the way back, Johnny Winter was playing through some country-blues, it it really fitted well. I'm tempted to pick up a small DV cam and put together sections of rides with suitable backing music.

Anyway, pix of the countryside before me:

Monday, 20 September 2010

Life is nothing if not an adventure

It seems we're off to Prague in a couple of months. Sleazy jet and Laterooms both offering deals that seemed to good to refuse. Do they take euros in the Czech republic?

How would you say 'Aeaea'

Greek pronunciation and spelling is fascinating (if you're funny like that).

I'm just over half way through Robert Fagles' translation of The Odyssey, and the names of places and peoples require a little care, even when saying them in your own head:

Phaeacians (fee-ay-shuns)
Oechalia (ee-kay-li-a)
Onetor (o-nee-tor)
Aegae (ee-gee)

and of course

Aeaea (ee-ee-a)

It caused a certain amount of amusement yesterday when we heard the name Onesimus pronounced 'wun-si-mus' and Philemon as 'fil-a-mon' (if that means nothing to you, look here). It just goes to show how much we take for granted and how lucky we may have been to have a bit of Greek or Latin tucked away from when we were growing up. I can remember my grandmother reading from a childrens book of Greek mythology, telling me stories about Perseus, Hercules (Heracles) and Jason. The illustrations were all pretty 1900s-style impressions of a 'nice' Greek mythology, but I guess they whet my appetite.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Church leadership is odd.

When you're a 'wee nipper' of a Christian you look at church leaders and think "wow, what amazing people! Wish I could be living in what Bryn Jones/Terry Virgo/Bob Mumford/Arthur Wallace/Steve Thomas/Arthur Mullard* et al were living in! They must be such men of God".

And then you live a little with them - well, not most of that list, but other, more local MoG and although they still seem pretty amazing, you start to realise they aren't *completely* perfect.

Then there comes a time after you've been in the church a long while, and you look at those in leadership - please note this is NOT specifically about churches we've been in, but in a more general context - and you realise there are some real character flaws in there. Some of them are relatively minor, causing rows & hurt with some people they can't get on with. Some are more serious, where the teaching is twisted a bit to suit the preacher/teacher's purpose, rather than the truth. Some are very serious indeed, like the guys that have affairs or kiddy-fiddle.

It makes me stand back and wonder. There are some who should know better than to pedestal leaders like they are something special** ( a little flashback to Harry Enfield's Kevin & Perry characters, talking about their prospective girlfriends, suggesting that they were so perfect they didn't go to the toilet!). While it's right that leaders are honoured and respected, and at the same time given room to carry out their responsibilities, things get crazy when we lift those people out of the ordinary, and anyone self-pedestalling needs a little reality brought.

One of the things I've tried to deal with when I've heard the phrase used is the concept of 'full time ministry'. I'm called to do what I do full time. Chris is also in full time ministry (sometimes it feels like 2 lots of full time ministry to her!). But that's another topic.....

What am I saying?

Good question. There's an expectation that we have to reach a certain peak of 'Godliness' before we can see ourselves as worthy (ha ha, like we ever can be) of leading people, of serving God. Looking around I see leaders who on one side love God and want to serve Him with all they are, but sometimes all they are includes them being manipulative, insecure, domineering, disobedient and religious. It makes me realise that there is no bar to reach in order to hear and respond to the calling of God. And also, that accidentally making a mistake is not the worst thing you can do.

* Maybe not this one, but you get the idea.

** Some are something special, but they are usually the ones who are naturally humble, telling you how ordinary they are.

Ever have 'an idea' and then want to justify it?

I was reading a couple of weeks ago about the harp & bowl concept (coming before God with worship and petition - it's a revelation-style image) and the 24/7 style worship that some organisations in the US mostly (international house of praise - not the restaurant chain IHOP) are starting to develop.

The desire was for a day or a weekend of 24 hour worship, effectively non-stop worshiping before God, involving musicians and churches from across the whole of Bicester. Sounds great?

Sounds like a 'good idea'. :P

'Good Ideas' are almost always 'bad ideas', and I don't want to just do something because I've had a great idea, energy and enthusiasm has given it legs and suddenly there's an event that's actually based on little more than hype and wishful thinking. Too many times in churches we've embarked on things that were 'good ideas' and I've wondered why on earth we were doing such and such.

But it's also not gone away.

Now I suspect that I can justify this with a bit of 'made up' theology that might even be based on something real, if I need to sell the idea to others (as I would do if it were to happen). But part of the reason for popping it up on here is to see if, having talked about it, the idea will now just fade into the background or remain. If it does, I'm going to have to get other people to buy in and feel it for themselves.

There are also some inklings about touching the villages with worship events, but that's another story.

That's me it seems: too many 'good ideas' and not enough trousers.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Is 'brain swell' normal?

because I felt like my brain was swollen and a bit livid when I got home tonight, and it's not a sensation I enjoy.

I'm getting so I want to punch the screen on this Macbook.

OSX windows management is SO badly implemented that it's driving me mad.

Why, Steve Jobs please tell me, when I close a window in an application, should all the other windows also from that application have to pop up, one after the other. I'd give up that tool that spreads all open windows at reduced size across the screen in exchange to that feature being turned off. You only need that tool anyway because the Dock is crappy, and takes up too much screen space compared to the windows taskbar (and minimised windows are too hard to find when you reduce the dock AND that 'magnify' feature becomes incredibly faffy after a few minutes real world use).

I'm seriously thinking again about dual booting this thing - if only it didn't require expensive software I think I'd have done it by now. No Mac love here.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Waiting, just outside our door.

Which is better than inside, where another 3 have been found and killed.

This was a hornet, dozy from the cold and unable to fly on Friday morning last week. It was clearly afraid (with good reason) lifting it's front legs at me, snapping it's jaws and finally, trying to bring the sting round to face forward just after I took a couple of pictures. When these things fly past your head they don't buzz, so much as emit a low droning rumble that sends chills to your spine and thoughts of running to your legs. It's about as menacing as an insect gets in this country.

There are few insects that can look one in the eye as if to say "come and try it, if you think you're hard enough".

Looking at that hornet's face makes me think of a furious and completely mad jester.

An editor of the Oxford English dictionary

was making love to his secretary when his wife walked in unexpectedly. "Well, I am surprised!" was all the poor woman could manage to say at first. Her husband, however, was keen to correct her. "No, my dear; we are surprised; you are astonished"

I'm a fundamentalist - - - I'm a liberal

Well, by many standards I'm not either, but there was a time when I was most definitely a fundamentalist, and in some ways my outlook hasn't really changed.

Except that I see screwed up people.

The natural fundamentalist approach is to make rules for everyone to live by - I suppose in some ways fundamentalism is a Hebrew approach, truer to the old testament. At the same time, making rules for some people will just alienate them, while not helping them move forward or change. However agreeing with them and telling them "it's OK - you're fine as you are" like a liberal leaves them to sink deeper in their own excrement.

So I'm trying not to make rules for people to follow, but I can't help thinking that if they DID do the right thing for the right reasons they would be so much healthier and happier.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

So I get an email at lunchtime

It has links to web pages about visa waivers and requirements for entry into New Zealand by UK residents. This is *slightly* my fault, as I was supposed to look at this info LAST NIGHT. OTOH having more than 24hr notice might not have done any harm.

It's not surprising that there shouldn't be a problem, but it's also not surprising that this caused a mild ruffling to the usual feathers of urbanity and calmness.

On the website that the links took me to there was an image that invited me to 'register an interest in living and working in new Zealand'. I confess to being seriously tempted to explore, although I may be a little too old to be of interest to the Kiwis now.

Monday, 6 September 2010

This is a little foolish.

I've been looking at Christmas markets and looking up hotels 'with a view'. Suddenly I'd really rather like to visit Stockholm in winter again, walk along the Stadtsgardsleden and Stadtsgardshamnen, cross over into Gamla Stan or wander up up into the Sodermalm district. It would be good to see Gunvor and Bo, who I got to know a little better on my last visit, and (if I had the gall) go visit the lab I worked in and ask them why they don't buy my stuff!

Y'know the old adage

"If something looks too good to be true then it is"?

I've just booked us a night in a hotel with steam rooms, swimming pool etc for 40 quid including breakfast. For 2 people. It had a lot of good reviews too.

It looks like have just supplanted expedia for bargain accommodation, although they do lack the extra-ordinarily useful travel arrangement facility of the older company. I still have this nagging feeling about not paying enough, but I'm hoping that by saving here we can afford to have a weekend in Bruges before Christmas.

Workflow and photographic packages

I've just started using a new package on the Linux box - DigiKam, which was bundled with open SuSE 11.3. Seems versatile but very slow handling after Irfanview's nimble simplicity and familiar interface - I cannot recommend Irfanview highly enough for those without complex image manipulation needs, and it's still my benchmark for easy high-throughput preparation.

While I've only spent a couple of evenings using it, I like the interface over GIMP for relative clarity and simplicity. However it is also quite complex under the skin, offering quite a lot of options and advanced tools for sophisticated image manipulation.

The biggest downside is that it does seem terribly slow, taking 20sec+ to process some 8MPix images and even to acquire the images from the camera. The other issue is that workflow seems a bit lumpy, despite all the care that's gone in to providing thumbnails etc to help. We'll see if things become easier as familiarity increases - I do hope so, as it seems to do almost everything I could want (though I've not tried using layers with it yet).

It's also free and open source, and apparently available for the Mac. I shall have to try it here soon (when I've worked out how to install it!).

Jet planes, leaving: what words do you associate with those?

Ben is off to New Zealand tomorrow night.

In a way it will make just a little difference, because he's been living his own life for pretty much a year now, just eating and sleeping here (mostly). And yet knowing he's across the world will make all the difference. I've spoken to a friend there, and I know she'll be a contact point for him if there's issues, but even so, it's a long way.

Looks like we're finding out what an empty nest is like for real.

Sad? A little. Concerned? Ditto. Hoping he'll come back a bigger, stronger, wiser person? Absolutely. Hoping he'll not stay? Mostly that too. Nothing stays the same forever.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

For those who are interested in the Anglican church in the village community.

I took some pictures at the Christening of our friends daughter, Melissa.

And for those who read the comments on this blog, that's Eddie on the far right.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Beware anyone who says to you "I'm a bit of a control freak".

I'd like to quote a friend's post from an online forum, on her experiences elsewhere. It was in a thread about leaders that micro-manage:

We've experienced being micro-managed by a church leader. It was painful, frustrating, humiliating, dis-empowering, controlling and eventually crossed the line into bullying. We ended up having to leave that church for a season. The whole episode (lasting over a year) was one of the most difficult times of our lives.

The ideal is to equip and release people into their own ministires, not to hold on to power for no good reason. The first multiplies workers for the Kingdom, the second depletes those numbers. I think it's a 'Christendom' versus 'Kingdom' issue. The Christendom model is very much about control, heirarchy, top down 'management' of believers in churches. The Kingdom model is more about flat-line ministry, a genuine priesthood of all believers, a missional approach, seeking to build God's Kingdom by telling people about Jesus and making disciples.

This is not to say that I don't believe in leaders. I do. Some are gifted at drawing out the best in people. Others are useless and even toxic. It can take years for a church to recover from a leader like that and begin to grow by conversion again.

When we found ourselves leading a worship team again after that episode, we strove to encourage people in their walk with the Lord, discover individual gifts, to help train people, give them opportunities to test their giftings, equip them with a foundation in Bible knowledge and build up their confidence so that they could each take over from us sooner rather than later. We've been trying to do ourselves out of a job. LOL!

We did a lot of soul-searching after the accusations of being 'unteachable'. Eventually, after several months of praying and crying out to the Lord, we began to believe that we had not been at fault. We love to learn. It was rather the leader who had abused his position by calling us that. It's the ultimate weapon, isn't it? It destroys a person's reputation and makes it hard for them to come back from.

Ah well, enough of that personal experience. Just a plea, please equip and release people into ministry rather than seek to control under the guise of leadership.

A mark of a Godly leader is that he'll always be looking for ways to move people up, to grow them, to bring them into a bigger ministry. His own ministry won't be threatened by people of greater ability because he knows his place in God, and is secure in that.

I've been on both sides of that camp, as a 'servant' and as a leader. Being insecure and afraid for one's position is one of the ugliest things that can take place in a leader, and has to be fought tooth and nail. Working for an insecure leader isn't much better, except you can't win by fighting and no-one comes out of it well if it's not dealt with very quickly.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Friday, 27 August 2010

Photoblogs are becoming popular.

But some are much more interesting than others. Melonade (Glenn) apart from being a cat, has a couple of such blogs, including the curiously named "I rub your brog" recording his time in Japan and the Abu Dhabi Photostory blog from where he is now in the UAE.

I found his Japanese blog a couple of years back when looking for a funny pic of a bicycle, but he stopped posting there in 2009 when he moved.

Why bother to look at someone's snaps? Because I feel as though I'm understanding a little of what it's like to visit these places and maybe get a feel for the culture, at least as interpreted through a westerner's eyes. But he doesn't just take pretty tourist pics, instead showing what the rest of the neighbourhood looks like too. And that, for me, validates his photography much more than if he showed nothing but the picture-postcard shots.

If you've never seen Pompei, Herculaneum, Positano or Rome

Then you may want to have a look here.

I'd intended to load these up when we visited in 2008, but then got caught up with other stuff. There's a LOT of images, particularly of Pompei. Many are for reference as well as creative interest, but Pompei is simply huge and incredibly detailed. The paintings (especially when the images are tweaked) are fascinating, and it's surprising to see just how highly decorated their rooms were considering they had only minimal window light or torches/candles/oil lamps. Also interesting are the hand-written shop signs on the walls (it may not be obvious that's what the writing is in the image).

The images should appear in alphabetical order of the places they were taken, thus Naples first, Pompei, Positano, Rome, Seiano, Vesuvio and Vico. I have just realised that there is nothing from Herculaneum included - we'll see about that later.

Most are mine, but some are Chris's, however on this occasion I've not differentiated.

Because of the sheer number (about 200 without Herculaneum images) I'd suggest revisiting, rather than plowing your way through in one sitting - you'll get bored!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

24th August 410 - did you feel the reverberations?

You probably did without realising - apparently that is the date Rome was sacked, for the first time.

It's curious how people fail to see things in perspective though. The reporter asked an expert whether it was like 9/11 for the Roman empire, clearly not understanding it's significance or scale. I'd guess a closer model would be if the Canadians and South Americans joined forces, along with neo-confederates and pillaged Washington DC for a week. Though in fairness, Rome was in far greater disarray by this time than American has been since it's peak of power mid-last century.

Predestination or free will?

I've always struggled to see why, if they have a basic understanding of God's nature, people should see a contradiction between them.

Romans 8, 28-30
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

So first God already knew what we were going to do - He foreknew those who would respond of their own free will. Therefore He determined that they would be changed to be like His son (in the context of the passage we're talking about salvation both as lifestyle and after our earthly bodies are dead). And in order that they might become like that, He called them, knowing that they would respond to that call, justifying them through the blood of Jesus and, ultimately, changing them from being unspeakable into those who are.... I didn't want to use the word glorious because it is of little meaning and value these days ....prepared and suitable to stand full time in front of the God who created the universe and holds all things together by His will.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

I just saw someone use the word "inform"

in the context of information being acquired by themselves from studying something else. There are only a very small number of people who use the word in this way that I know of.

It's a characteristic that, I'm sure, has meaning and significance.

You know it's lunchtime

when your hands start shaking.

I can no longer use my stomach to guide me, as it's always hungry, always wanting more. I wonder if there's a metaphor for appetites generally - maybe. But whatever. Salami in bread coated in sea salt and cracked pepper, along with a stick of Polish kabanosi is a very tasty solution.

While writing this we've just had a downpour of Hollywood proportions.

We're still alive here. A little too tired all the time, and fairly busy, but still around.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Arostotle, Aristotle was a ****** for the bottle

Monty Python has a rhyme about the classical authors and alcohol including the above line.

I've just been reading a small section of Aristotle's Book Of Problems (translation for and by The London Press) published as part of his Masterpiece some time in the Victorian era. It causes a mix of interest, entertainment and incredulity (that men should have thought like that) and is a fascinating insight into the way men really had not the least idea of how biology worked. In some ways it's not so different today, except that we know where we can find people who will understand our bodies and what medication is appropriate.

The Book Of Problems deals with such questions as:

Why are men's heads hairy? The brain is purged in 3 different ways; of superfulous watery humours of the eyes, of cholers by the nose and of phlegm by the hair; which is the opinion of the best physicians. i.e. Your hair is dried snot!

Why are not women bald? Because they are cold and moist, which are the cause that hair remaineth; for moistness doth give nutriment to the hair and nutriment doth bind the pores Women are cold and wet?

Why have women headache oftener than men? By reason of their monthly terms, which men are not troubled with, and by which a moist, unclean and venomous fumeis produced, that seeks passage upwards, and so causes the headache. Nothing to do with a lack of contraception then?

And the gem.

Why has a man two eyes, two ears and but one mouth? Because a man should speak but little, and hear and see much. And by hearing and the light we see the difference of things I can imagine everyone from parents through church leaders to government officials thanking Aristotle now for those words of wisdom.

Amazing what a little classical education can teach you!

Friday, 13 August 2010

Travelling to Lyme Regis

is what Marc and Dixie should be doing this morning.

If they can pry themselves from a post-10th anniversary celebratory bed.


Marc - if you're reading this - take your time driving down there, and relax into it. The roads will be bendy and slowish, possibly with great views from time to time. Stop occasionally, look around, enjoy the scenery and get there stress-free.

As a Mac user there's something I find curious

Those familiar with the Mac will know about Time Machine - one of the things that Apple [i]does[/i] do better than Microsoft - the incremental automatic backup system that works more-or-less in the back ground with minimal overhead.

Well, it works on files and folders but not applications that store data in a particular way. I don't know why, but Entourage (the older Mac version of Outlook) has to be backed up manually. Put Microsoft and Apple in a room together and I'm sure each would blame the other for this lack of compatibility: no idea who's fault it really is, but it's a bit daft. So just like windows, I have to remember to export the data from time to time.

Which is annoying.

The latest version of Office:Mac 2010 (or 2011, can't remember) has Outlook (not Entourage) in the professional spendy version but not the small business/home version. I might well have considered the upgrade otherwise, but right now I can't see the point. We run Office 2003 at home (the pre-ribbon version with sensible menus etc) and it still works well. If I want the ability to handle anything with an unfamiliar interface then I'll use Open Office, as it's without charge.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

The battle of the mind

is what I'm speaking about tonight.

Does anyone else go over their notes, wondering what they've missed out/got wrong?

'Course they do.

This is a good opportunity to practice what I'm preaching.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

It's curious how things follow on.

After my bidet post below, commenting about how God doesn't seem to do things the way He seemed to say He did, friends come back from new wine camp with tales of miracles, healings being video'd so that people could see legs actually getting longer, the Holy Spirit touching people not particularly 'up for it' etc.

Makes me wonder sometimes what we're doing in church, and in our personal lives? Why do we do the miserable stuff? I don't need constant mountain-top experiences, but without seeing the reality you've got to ask, what's the point? Or is it just that God has to move in the ways that we don't want: in the small ways, so that no-one can say "here He is" or "that was God"?

After much stress

Someone here has renamed their mobile communication device a 'poke in the iPhone'.

Google wave. Wut*?

A year ago Google launched 'Wave' as an attempt to take 'market' share from Facebook, integrating IM, email and comments etc in a single package. I remember Randall commenting about how good it could be.

Now bearing in mind that I'm relatively tech-savvy, the whole thing seemed ill-defined and confusing to me. Although it *might* have actually been easy to use, all the promo materials and descriptions from the Google people seemed specious and lacking reality. It is therefore of little surprise that it's been canned after just a year, simply because as they put it 'it couldn't get traction' or as I'd say 'they made us an offer we couldn't understand'.

The way to beat facebook must be obvious, surely? Create a similar site that is fast, solid, easy to use and understand. And especially, one where you don't keep moving the goalposts and annoying the users. Making it look clean and cool won't do any harm and filling it with mindless farming, catering and jewel-gathering games may also help. I guess it's good that Google funds projects like this, creating employment for otherwise out of work programmers and marketing staff.

* I apologise for this. It's become one of those words, like 'teh' and 'powned' that are strictly net-centric, but also seem to fit descriptions of internet goings-on. If you've never seen the pear with the mouth apparently saying 'LOL Wut?' you've not missed much, really. It may even have a real name.

For those enquiring minds....

They're here, they're good and now they've slept.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Randall on birthdays.

From here.

I was 49 the day before he was 47. The world was just kind of caving in a bit, really, that day. Mostly it was health and family issues, but for me, I've got to the stage where I don't really feel like celebrating my birthday any more, particularly when they're of relatively minor significance.

However I'm grateful to My brother, Peter and Alison his wife & Andy their son for remembering and sending cards, and for those who remembered me on Facebook (I have birthday notification switched off). I'm especially grateful to Chris, who despite feeling utterly rotten, really wanted to try to help me have a good day.

This isn't me having the miseries, so much as just trying to live in reality.

My mother is trying to understand Psalm 91v12 in the context of what's happened to her. Does God not work that way anymore - she could certainly be forgiven for thinking so. It's intensely frustrating, because God so clearly comes through in some areas, yet when it comes to real, miraculous put-your-hands-out-and-touch-what-God-has-done stuff, it's just not happening. I could almost chuck in and walk away, except that I know He's real and at work despite all the disappointment and apparently wasted prayer and fasting.

If anyone quotes the "my ways are higher than your ways" scripture in comments then consider yourself to have had a digital poke in the eye.


Just after typing this and hitting post Ben came to me with a Joe Bonamassa CD (Live from nowhere in particular) as a birthday present.

Friday, 6 August 2010

They're here.

Spoke with Marc by telephone this evening, and they've had a good day, wandering round Hampton Court. Running one day late, having missed their connection in Denver due to local storms.

From the Basschat forum.

I can't not copy this:

my job is 2nd line support in IT i got told to phone a woman with an urgent problem with a server. convo as follows

Woman: we had a leak and someone moved the server in to the middle of the office. its making a funny noise.

Me: its in the middle of the room?

Woman: yes

Me: what sort of server is it?

woman: a compaq one

Me: compaq? we don't have compaq servers, are the cables coming out the back to the wall?

Woman: yes, one power lead an a tube.

Me: Tube? what does it say on the server, like what model?

Woman: K-O-M-P-A-C-T, D-E-H-U-M-I-D-I-F-I-E-R


Woman:actually it could be a dehumidifier, do you think its a dehumidifier?

Me: probably

No wonder they call it the helldesk.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

When your cat

...repeatedly makes PrrrrppPPP! noises, you know something's going on that it's proud of.

I have just rescued a wren from one* of ours. This was unusual, because by the time I'm close enough to do anything the captive is usually beyond saving. However on this occasion the 'guest' was able to get away through sheer speed when it was put down for playing, and found a corner too small for the cat to access. Fortunately I don't have to stand on my hands, and so could get one either side to extract it. It flew away, emitting 3 cross sounding chirrups, much to the cat's disgust and my pleasure.

*This particular cat is a highly effective hunter, as the daily piles of mouse-guts in the garden demonstrate. The other is mostly too lazy, apart from the rabbit it brought messily in through a window a couple of years back, and dismantled more messily in the bathroom. :P

Just for fun

Life is just a weensie bit more complicated.

Both Chris and I have now enjoyed exploding tummy syndrome, and now to add to the fun I have a streaming head cold, complete with pressurised sinuses and no sleep. I did an hour in bed with Chris snoring gently beside me before arising. Yesterday (Wednesday) day was my 49th birthday. Do you think I could retire on medical grounds yet?

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

I feel like I've been conned.

Last week I came across the movie 2012 on DVD cheap in Tesco. It was surprising such a recent film was cheap, but as I recalled it bombed in the box office, and having not seen it I bought the film. One or 2 things made me suspicious though. On the back was a description, suggesting it was a 'modern Christian epic in the tradition of the Omega Code (never heard of it) and left behind (wish I'd never etc...).

The people marketing this film should be prosecuted for passing off, because it's presented in a way that makes you think of this film, instead of a film like Biggles Adventures In Time.

The theology is 'interesting' and 'creative'. We have Mayans predicting the end of the world and having Roman Catholic-style crucifixes hidden in their temples dating from 300AD. We have a rapture where all the Christians are taken, except the ones that aren't. Then there's the need to place the recovered crucifix in a Mayan temple so that the Earth, which has been stopped by a black hole, can be restarted again. There's hints of another virgin birth and people doing odd drawings a la close encounters.

The special effects would qualify this for any of those 'world's worst movie' shows, with snow that doesn't settle, wind that only blows on actors (and not the film set) people dying when they're not needed any more, props left over from the third tomb raider movie that was never made and embarrassing fake hail. We had shots of menacing leaf-cutter ants and a dialogue scene where the continuously rotating camera left me feeling slightly sick after a little while.

Why is it that Christians cannot make films - at least, films one would actually wish to watch. There is no way I shall ever inflict Fireproof on myself. If I were a non-christian, seeing this would convince me that anyone who believed in Jesus was a total fruit-loop. Hope I got the only copy Tesco had, and saved a non-christian from buying it. The one redeeming feature was the soundtrack, which was at least somewhat appropriate to what was supposed to be happening.

Saw my mum yesterday, post op.

She was in much less pain, though quite sleepy. Everything seems to have gone well for her, and she should be starting physio today to get her walking. Thanks for praying, everyone.

Chris and I are also now having 'interesting' times, with us both having 'exploding tummy syndrome' (really hope we didn't pass it to Leo and Linea yesterday - I was scrupulous with the cooking) and I've also got a nasty head cold. It never rains etc. I should have used up 2010's quota of illness for the year by now, surely? Snot-monster, please vacate my head!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010


I think Leo and Linea may have some better pictures from last night.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Not so good

My mother managed to throw herself at the ground today, and typically she didn't miss! Her femur is broken, requiring surgery urgently to get her out of the worst of the pain and mobile again.

Any prayers very welcome.

Back to work today

Curious that I wrote 'toady' instead of today first time round.

Hopefully it'll be OK - energy levels have been coming up, enough that I could cut the grass yesterday evening and I'm taking less painkillers. The back just feels a bit bruised this morning and the skin is a little itchy and sore, but it's so much better than it has been, and I'm grateful for that. Woke up sweating at 5am, but again, that's much better than it was, so hopefully things will just carry on clearing up now.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Today is a day for posting pictures.

Take that as a sign I'm recovering - which is great.

Yesterday Chris took me on a convalescent trip in the Cotswold sunshine. We ended up at Snowshill lavender farm, and naturally the camera came along too.

There were a lot of insects about too, and some seemed almost intoxicated by the lavender, sitting still for long enough to let me get in close.

The album is here.

If anyone would like an image to use as wallpaper, do let me know.

How do you change this?

From auntie beeb - child prostitution in Brasil.

The Votsala (Lesvos) gallery is ready for your enjoyment

If you've got the time - I've trimmed it to just over 100 images, from about 900. I've kept the size down to between 200-450K, so they shouldn't be too slow.

Some are good photographs, some are just a record of events and some lead to the next images. If anyone has a use for the full sized versions then let me know. I want to tell a story, but I also want to take aesthetically pleasing photographs, and that can sometimes be in conflict, at least to my sensibilities. There's a couple of Chris's in there too - going through her images this morning made me really want to upgrade her camera, as the automation really isn't doing a good enough job.

The album is here.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

It's sometimes good to remember things you've heard.

At a bibleweek camp we went to in 2002 I felt God saying the following things (mildly edited):

Thoughts from Days of Destiny 2002

Derek Brown - On Prophesy –

When God sends a word it is important to look to see how it may be fulfilled, rather than standing back and waiting for it to simply happen. Thus, if God says “you will be a teacher and leader” then you should consider how you can best learn to teach and lead, equipping yourself to fulfil God’s word.

Look for the ‘now’ word of God. You don’t have to discard older ‘unfulfilled’ prophesies, but it is important to NOT keep looking back. Always be looking for the thing that God is doing NOW. What is the ‘sound’ that you can hear from God (Elijah heard the ‘sound’ of rain when talking to Ahab).

For prayer to work you need to hear from God, anointing and faith, all working together.


Reminder of the call to Italy – Agnes Pillonel gave a prophesy about God wanting to touch the Bulgarians, Greeks and Italians (Romans specifically). Internal response again. Dave Richards also picked it up – a call to an anarchic, chaotic nation. Should we be looking to move to Italy at some time or hold off? Logic says wait ‘till the Kids have left home and the Grandparents are no more, but who knows? There was also a word (from Geoff IIRC) saying be ready for the unlooked for – look for the un-expected offers.


Need to talk with them more, draw them into family discussions, pray for and with them more. Try to guide and develop their spiritual adulthood. May need to talk to Steve and Lorraine Thomas again, also (especially) Paul & Adrienne Crockett.


Polish worship style was like coming home. Used a mixture of waiting on God, dynamics and driving rhythms, plus long periods without words. Arrangements more basic than others, but with more feeling and flavour to music. Other worship seemed a bit flat by comparison. Felt strong desire to work with Krystof (writing songs?) in some way.

Felt need to develop leadership more within music, rather than playing facilitating role. Need to raise a replacement? Should be looking to write songs, arrange another musicians day? Songwriting day? Should also try to draw in other Bicester churches. Must contact Simon and Gaynor.

Look to God to develop worship ministry further. Question mark – is guitar playing becoming too much ‘what I do’ – will I need to put it down so I can move on?

Interesting stuff for 8 years ago. Still waiting to see if anything comes of Italy, but then we still have family here that need us.