Tuesday 30 September 2003

I've had to pull comments.

Sorry about that - I hope you've not been affected. I had the following message from the guy tha runs 'blogspeak':

"I'll make this quick. Something bad is happening witht the comments where a virus has somehow attached itself in one way or another to the comments on your sites. I urge you to take the code down for now until I get the problem figured out. This will prevent you from infecting yourself and other people. Believe me, you don't want this on your machine. A reinstall is in order for myself tonight. I'll let you know what I have found today or tonight."


"I've found the problem, but won't be able to fix it until later tonight. In the meantime, I've taken BlogSpeak so no one else gets infected. Someone was dropping scripts in the comments multiple times which were running when the comment window would load. This would then take you to another page, which would in turn install bad stuff on your machine. I urge anyone who has had this infection to run some spyware checker (SpyBot works good) and scan for viruses. Thank you for your patience while I work to get this fixed.

- Harry "

When I hear it's been sorted I'll reinstate comments.

This evening I enjoyed a little rustic industry.

I’ve been making this year’s batch of sloe gin. Thanks to the long hot summer the wild plants round here have been unusually fruitful. In addition, with the clear skies at night we’ve had a couple of frosts (sloes should only be picked after the first frost of the autumn. Sunday evening after church we went down by the river here and picked sloes. I’ve never seen so many in the 13 years we’ve been here. Thanks to the abundance of fruit this year the birds have ignored this otherwise bitter food supply. So instead of scrabbling around trying to find enough berries, after 30 mins we had plenty and to spare.

After work tonight I popped into the local Tesco and grabbed 3 bottles of their cheap gin and a couple of bags of sugar (and some DVDs for Sarah to watch when she’s bored, but don’t tell her I told you ;-). After dinner I dug out the sloes from the fridge and set to work. Now we’ve got 6 bottles sat on the worktop, gently turning to various shades of pink as the alcohol extracts red pigment from the fruits skins.

In order to free up enough bottles for this batch I had to pool together one or two of the previous batches (each year has it’s own flavour and subtleties, hence several bottles on the go). And of course the mix HAD to be checked. Just to make sure it’s OK still.

Breathe easy. I can assure you it’s fine :-)

Anyway, if you fancy making your own, here’s my recipe:

You will need
2 X 70cl bottles of Gin
1 empty wine/spirits bottle of similar capacity to the gin bottles.
1lb of sugar
about 1.5lb of sloes.

Wash the sloes, removing all stalks, leaves and anything else apart from sloe berries.
Make holes in the berries. Lore has it that you should use a silver bodkin, but a stainless steel knife cut works fine. Put about 7 oz sloes and 5oz of sugar in the wine bottle. Pour gin in almost to the brim, making sure there are no trapped air bubbles. Then seal tightly. Repeat, putting sloes and sugar in one of the almost empty gin bottle, and top up from the second. Remove some of the remaining gin from the 3rd bottle and add sloes and sugar to this, topping to the brim with the gin removed earlier.

Now the patient bit. Put the bottles out of direct sunlight and invert, mixing the contents at least once per day for the next 6 weeks. The sugar will dissolve and the gin become a bright ruby red. Allow the gin to stand for 2 weeks, then decant the clear liquor, holding back the lees. If desired, a second lot of gin can be added and the run repeated, although this second run will be inferior in colour and flavour.

Set the gin aside to mature. At this stage it will still be quite rough and fiery, without the smooth fruitiness that develops later. By Christmas it will be drinkable, although it will be better by *next* Christmas (or the one after that). Keep the bottle topped up to prevent oxidation until it’s ready to drink.

A word of warning. This is the drink that the bible refers to as ‘sparkling in the glass’. It looks and tastes wonderful – it’s so smooth, warming and easy on the palate. It can also give hangovers of skull-busting proportions. I’d reckon 3 ‘doubles’ over the course of an evening should be fine. Necking half a bottle might make one a little more respectful in future.

Monday 29 September 2003

I have a problem...

and it's me.

I live in an old stone cottage in the countryside. On one side we have a garden with parking etc at the end. On the other side is an old orchard (that used to belong to the rectory) that has been allowed to deteriorate.

The orchard is owned by the Barnes family trust (some of whom live in Canada, curiously enough). Behind the orchard is a barn that has been recently converted to a house by our ex-next door neighbours. They spent a lot of time negotiating the purchase of the barn and some of the other land, but the way in which we first found out about it was when the local council put planning application notices up about it. Communication has always tended to be like this from them to us.

Anyway, zip ahead to the present. Saturday I was out cutting down the herbage at the back, as I have done for the last 12 years or so, when up raced the ex-neighbour and started 'wondering' what I was doing and explaining that he was planning to do it all tomorrow. Cut a long story short, the ENs now rent this land and are responsible for it. And they don't want us out there, even when we don't interfere with them.

My problem? I don't particularly care for land or property, but I'm not happy about this arrangement. In the previous set up the people responsible more-or-less let us get on with it (on one occasion when they DID get difficult the nettles reached over our ground floor windows). But these people want to put sheep out there, and based on our experience with their chickens when they were neighbours, this doesn't bode well. There are other aspects that I don't have space to go into here.

They're within their rights to do this. I want to live in peace with them, but I have a problem with it.

Managed to get out on the bike again.

And someone caught me on camera. There were about 20 of us altogether. Ben and I are on the right of the pic, both in Fox tops (I'm wearing a yellow helmet).

Friday 26 September 2003

Just how British are you?

Reckon you fit in well here, or fancy coming over to "the old country"? Find out how well you'd fit in - take the test.


She's back.

Brought Sarah home this morning. She was rather weak, and lost her breakfast on the way, but she's there now and getting better.

*sighs with relief*

Thursday 25 September 2003


Sarah had her tonsils out this morning.

Ever since I can remember they've been large, and in the past have nearly closed her throat when she's had colds etc. It was always expected that they would shrink as she matured, but they never really did, so a couple of months back it was decided that they could come out.

I dropped Sarah and Chris off at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford at about 7.40am this morning, and Sarah had the op around 10.30. Anaesthetics apparently don't agree with her, and neither does substantial quantities of swallowed blood! However when I saw her this evening she was relatively happy, able to eat (we made a tuna sandwich in the kitchen on the ward) and quite happy. Earlier she'd apparently been a sort of pale green colour most of the time..... Felt sorry for the lass in the next bed. P had a tumour out today, and has a scar almost a foot long down the side of her neck. Makes me very grateful that God has given us all goodbasic health.

Chris has stayed in tonight, so it's a male dominated houshold for a change. It was therefore imperative that we had Pizza, alcohol and dodgy videos* while they were away, just to make the most of the opportunity! Thanks everyone that prayed for Sarah - we really appreciate it, especially Nigel, who dropped by tonight. Hope Liz is better soon too (yep, she's had tonsilitis too!).

* Ben watched 'Friends', which in my eyes is WAY dodgy. And I had a tin of cider with my dinner. We really did have pepperoni pizza.

New images.

I've put the images from Newcastle up in my fotopic gallery. The majority of the images were taken after I'd finished working, Tuesday between 5.30pm and 7.00pm. I also took some Wednesday morning - it started out overcast and wet, with the sun coming out after about 20 mins. The final pics are of a statue called 'Angel of the North' that stands high above the city - sorry for the quality, but I had to concentrate on driving ;-) I suspect there is a deeper meaning to this than mere art, but who knows.

Wednesday 24 September 2003

I'm back.

Survived the trip, although I'm back later than planned (suffered GBH of the ear'ole for it too). The trip was finally successful, and the lab people up there seem happy now.

Pics tomorrow if poss of Newkie, when I've ssen how they came out.

Monday 22 September 2003

And I'm off again.

Back to Newcastle tomorrow. Their machine didn't quite make it after all, so I have to replace a module in there.

I'm driving up (about 250 miles each way) and I've managed to pick up a digital camera this time, so I hope to get some decent shots, if the weather isn't too bad. If it's been raining at least the streets will be a bit cleaner ;-)

I've been away......

Thought I’d get down a few thoughts for the blog while I’m sat in Edinburgh airport waiting for the plane back to London Luton. This is a bit long, so if you get bored I don't blame you.

Wednesday 17th

Well I *think* the trip was successful, although it started off with a bit of a struggle. Being cautious, I set the alarm for 4.35, allowing myself 50 mins before I had to leave. My bod apparently had other ideas, and I turned alarm off, promptly falling back to sleep, I woke just over an hour later, showered and left the house in about 15’ and made it to the airport in just under an hour. Unfortunately I then spent 15’ in the carpark waiting for the bus to appear. So that was my first experience of missing a plane! Not surprisingly, I didn’t pick up the digital camera.

3 hours late, I made it to Edinburgh.

The place I was going is situated outside the city, and despite having a map, it wasn’t easy to find. While trying to read a map and driving through slightly narrow streets, I managed to clip a curb with the front wheel of the hired ‘people carrier’. Instant flat. Notified the hire company, who passed me to their recovery people who passed me to the Kia importer, who said that they’d set things up with a recovery company, and that someone should be there within the hour, and they’d call me. Being the practical impatient type I just went ahead and changed the wheel. I was a mile up the road by the time the recovery people called. Finally arrived at my destination at 2.00.

Things went ‘OK’ thereafter. The instrument I was to collect tested OK, and with minimal hassle, was loaded into the bus. Looking at the map, the drive didn’t seem too bad – a guessed 80 or so miles. The truth was that it’s actually about 130 miles on twisty roads, and on the Scottish side of the border there are speed cameras every few miles. Made it just after 8.00pm.

The hotel was reputed to be in the ‘gay area’. I’d assumed this was a wind up, but walking from the bus to the hotel, I was passed by a guy telling some women what he was expecting to do later, after he’d pulled another guy. Yuk! The hotel was grand enough, with a chandelier suspended from the ceiling 4 floors up - looking down the stairwell gave me a major dose of vertigo. The room was OK once the windows had been open for a couple of hours. Finally got to sleep about 12.30am.

Thursday 18th

Nothing exciting happened during the day, with installation etc going as planned, customers being trained etc. By the end of the day I’m bushed, and when we went for coffee (at about 6.00pm with the head of the lab) I’m nodding off. We (UK sales manager and I) managed to slope off shortly after, and went back to the hotel to change and go out for dinner.

Newcastle is a curious mixture. Northern cities in the UK have a character all their own, and reflect the tough character of people that have had to survive harsh conditions and poverty. Thus architecture varied between grand and ‘quaint’. Restaurants varied from the exotic looking to the kind where you’re sure they serve rat burgers. I could happily spend a couple of days with a decent camera loaded with fine black and white film and a tripod, just taking atmospheric photos of interesting nooks and crannies.

You could also tell that it hadn’t rained that way for a long time. I was on the way through a ‘poor’ area, and on the mobile phone to Chris at the time. The pavement was most unpleasantly stained, and I remember commenting “you know how the streets of London were reputed to be paved with gold? Well the streets of Newcastle are paved with puke”. Earlier in the day I’d seen casings from used needles in the street, and later we passed a ‘cartoon-drunk’, staggering from side to side of the pavement. There were also groups of both men and women, all out for a ‘good time’.

To balance this up, there seemed to be a lot of church groups in the city. It was almost like God had said “where sin abounds, let grace abound all the more”. I reckon you can tell a fair bit by the name a group chooses, and many of these seemed quite reasonable – the sort of places you’d go if you were looking for a church in a city like that. Certainly not just traditional works that were planted 150 years ago, and have long since gone to sleep. It’s encouraging to see that God is doing something there too.

After dinner we passed the evening seated in a bar attached to the hotel (it seemed safest – lots of the pubs in that area were altogether too full of single males, and I also passed a topless bar – quite unusual in the UK). The hotel bar had a section outside, below ground level, and gave us an opportunity for people watching. There were a number of predatory groups around, and I must have seen ‘Jessica Rabbit’ at least 3 times that evening ;-) I was also quite amazed at the sheer volume of liquid people could consume. A group behind us went through 4 additional rounds (having drinks already when we got there) in the space of about an hour, and some were drinking pints.

Friday 19th

Everything went more or less OK, and I escaped about 1.20pm, having to drive back to Edinburgh for the 6.10 flight. Apparently much later in the evening there was a mechanical problem, but I returned blissfully ignorant, believing that everything had worked OK. Finally got home at 8.55 pm, tired but glad to be back.

Tuesday 16 September 2003

Well I finally uploaded the pics from Sunday's ride.

Now fotopic is working again.

Off to bonnie Scotland tomorrow at 5.30am :-( Guess this'll be the last post for a while then. Get home at about 8.30 Friday night.

If I'm feeling heroic and have lots of time I'll drop back to work for the digital camera (theirs is soooo much better than mine). Grab some piccies of Edinburgh and Newcastle (almost Scottish ;-)

More images posted

Or there would be. Fotopic doesn't seem to be accepting images at the moment. Maybe tomorrow night.

Ben and I went for a ride on Sunday afternoon. I've posted a few images in the gallery again.

Note the misting round the lens on the photo of Ben riding toward me. The camera was in a pocket at the back of my jersey, and the lens got misted with persperation. Authenticates my claim to have been working hard ;-)

Well, that was a grand finale.

The kind of worship time where you want to go down on your knees. The prophetic brought directly, specifically and with accuracy and the word preached clearly

I think the OCC King’s centre is well and truly opened.

Interesting too, someone I’d never met before came up to me with a ‘word’ after the meeting. I know the man’s face, but since he’s Oxford based and I’m 20 miles away in Bicester, we tend not to have much to do with each other. The word was unusual too, in that at the time it made no particular sense, yet felt right in my spirit. It was only as I drove to the supermarket for a late night shop that God started revealing where it fitted.

I seem to be in a state of change too, and others have noticed. For years I’ve been playing guitar in worship, yet unable to sing. When I’ve had to put the guitar down I’ve really struggled, yet God now seems to be gradually releasing me of the need to play. At the same time I’m starting to be able to sing and lead worship that way. Other things are changing too. I’ve always tended toward the pastoral care/teaching side of things, yet that seems to be ebbing and I can feel prophetic stirrings coming to the surface.

It’s curious, because it seems that after having been a consistent, reliable and controlled character for so long, I’m about to metamorphose into a different shape. And few people will be any more surprised than me.

Monday 15 September 2003

More pics up in the gallery

On Saturday Chris and I went for a local ride. Well, I rode and she fell off lot. She's very brave - didn't learn to ride until she was in her 30s, and wasn't brought up to develop a sense of balance. And I took my crappy camera along too.

There will be some more shortly, from when Boy-Wonder and I did our local loop (a fast-ish 18 miles) on Sunday afternoon. It gave me a chance to try a recently updated Sharon (single speed saracen) and the results were quite pleasing. Mind you, riding a mountain bike of road with only one gear is still hard, whatever kit you hang on the frame. I didn't have time to upload last night, so I'll try to post them this evening after I've been to the final meeting in Oxford and gone shopping afterward.

Saturday 13 September 2003

A little snippet

from Bryn Franklin.

He was sharing insights God had given him recently. God showed him the passage where Jesus has been to visit Jerusalem aged 12, and remained there after his parents left. They were a day in the train before realising.

The insight was that "presumption is doing what worked before".

The heart of worship? Two cultures collide.

I’ve been reading in blogs by those I respect recently about different people’s versions of worship, making it a lifestyle thing etc. and some of these have caused conflict for me. For this reason, rather than comment, I’ve tried to hold back until thoughts had distilled. That now seems to have happened, so here goes.

I struggle with the idea of acts of service being an act of worship. Through everything that I’ve read in the bible (filtered through my understanding, granted) and in my experience, worship involves closeness, intimacy, waiting on God. And it’s in this area that I see the main conflict – specifically, external activity needs to be excluded.

God seems to have copied many of the things from heaven for our use on Earth. Symbolically worship has been linked to acts of human physical intimacy. The bible uses VERY unambiguous language about those that worship other Gods. At the same time the church is repeatedly called ‘the bride of Christ’. For me there is a clear symbolic link between worship and physical love. When we are with our partners in this way then nothing else should intrude: we are there for the time between us, and externals that draw from that are an intrusion and distraction. To combine acts of service with worship would be like saying “would you mind if we made love in the car, because I have to get the kids to school”.

So where does the issue of collision come in? I believe that human religious culture and practice still plays a major role in modern thinking. It replaces the awe of God with ‘reverence for the sanctuary, the mystery of God moving us with a spiritual sounding liturgy and a suggestion that we are unable to see God at work because he’s too mysterious. This religious culture sanctifies things, using the concept of “this activity is so good/holy/sacrificial/whatever that it must be valid”.

Now please don’t misunderstand me. I am very much in favour of the body serving people both within and without. I can see that by giving ourselves “first to God, then to each other” we are honouring God in our bodies. I also firmly believe that worship is a 24/7 attitude and not something restricted to a Sunday morning. I DO have a major problem with the idea that acts of service can be substituted for corporate worship, and time of drawing close to God.

Finally, bringing up a point from a recent blog by Randall, I’d just like to comment on the role of songs and music in worship. I have a place where I know I’m in God’s presence – a place where I feel I’m prostrate before him, laying there in awe, yet at the same time being held with loving arms. Very often songs and music can help me reach that place. Sometimes God just calls me there alone. But by singing the songs and getting involved in the music I can often find that place more easily, however they’re just tools to help get me there. That’s my place of worship.

We went to a variety show tonight.

It was the first part of the opening 'celebrations' for the king's centre. Steve Thomas spoke for some time about where Oxfordshire community churches had come from, detailing some of the groups, churches and churches they'd been thrown out of. After a time of worship designed to be 'dignitary-friendly' we were addressed by a variety of people. Highlights:

Charlie Cleverly, Rector of st. Aldates mentioned that when he was in Oxford to take up his post he visited a Vineyard meeting. In conversation with the leaders after the meeting (who didn't know who he was) he expressed that he'd hoped for a more conventional meeting (it was the summer and they were in small groups). They suggested he might prefer St. Aldates!

Gerald Coates mentioned a number of things but recommended everyone watch BBC2 at 8.50 on Wednesday. Apparently they're covering a major evangelistic event organised by Mike Pilavachi in Manchester. He said it was interesting how the major evangelistic works seemed to be originating in the anglican church at the present.

Franscois van Niekerk from Hatfield Christian Church in Pretoria said all sorts of pertinent things, none of which have stuck in my mind. Good man though. We'll hear more of him tomorrow at the leaders day.

Barney Coombes spoke about the sanctity of the person as a building block in the church, and how buildings were nothing more than a tool. He related a line from a hymn about how the author loved a particular place where God was honoured. He observed that he had never once found anywhere of any significance in that fashion, and how God was far better represented in his creation that in any of man's works. He also fitted in a straight gospel message, complete with explanations about how to pray for salvation.

Final funny bit was a clipping from Todays (Fridays) paper talking about the area centre. It quoted Reverend Steve Thomas and Reverend Mike Beaumont. We know these guys, and they're friends. It's really funny to see them quotes like this - they're usually Mike and Steve. Weird, the things that people that don't understand try to hang on people.

Friday 12 September 2003

Are virtual words virtually meaningless?

Leighton posted about the assumption that 'virtual words' are in some subtle way different from other communications.

In my opinion the 'virtual' tag is escapism. People (well some, anyway) want a fantasy world, just like they see in films, where they can throw off all restraint. Do what ever they like; the net appears to offer that. Remember how everyone was saying about 3 or 4 years ago how the net couldn't be regulated? Suddenly it turns out that 'meatspace' laws apply where ever you happen to be sat typing.

There's another aspect too. People like to assume that whatever is 'said' in 'cyberspace' isn't real. We were all told we can be 'whoever we want'. As he pointed out, it's almost all text, and text is writing. And writing is just words in visual form. The medium actually makes zip difference. They are still the words that have been 'spoken', albeit through a keyboard.

The bible makes a big deal of words. Words aren't simply noises: they carry both meaning and power. David prayed that God "won't let my words fall to the ground". There's even a suggestion that we may be judged by every word that we've spoken. People are expressing themselves this way as never before. Wonder where all their words are going?

Thursday 11 September 2003

On a cheerier note.

We were impressed with Ben recently.

He's got some fairly 'interesting' friends in the village, one of whom he often has deep and philosophical conversations with. This boy came up with the idea that a perfect life would be one where you never had to do anything you didn't like. Ben's reply was that a perfect life would be one where you could find pleasure in everything that you did.

Not bad for a 15 year old, really.

Contentment with Godliness is great gain.

Another day deeper

And older in debt. I've just about completed the beastly tax return. Can't imagine why I need to do one, since I'm taxed through 'Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and it comes directly from the employer.

Ours is not to reason why.......

I'm afraid blogging may be a bit sparse for a while. I've got a very packed W/E - we're opening the new facility in Oxford, and it's a chance to get local dignitaries in to hear the word of God. Significant because the city council etc are vehmently opposed to anything that might bring a Christian influence to bear on the city. Things may be a little different if you wish to open a mosque of course (or even convert a church to one) but they would prefer it if we'd just become atheists.

Alternatively if we were mearly an ineffective bunch of traditional church goers then I suspect that would be fine too.

Sorry. Rant over.

Tuesday 9 September 2003

Well that was the day, that was.

We had a visit from The man that owns the company I work for today. He's an incredibly interesting person; I've never known anyone radiate 'fatherhood' the way Gopal does.

The company is based in Houston, with branches in Germany, India, France and the UK. Despite being so diverse, it runs very much like a family business, with all the advantages and disadvantages of that model. Whenever I meet him there is an atmosphere of organised chaos, and it seems to follow him where ever he goes. In some ways it was really great to get together, because he's got loads of interesting ideas for areas of research and new work that we can do, yet at the same time it effectively wrote the entire day off for other work.

It now seems that I'm going to Houston in November, and will be spending the better part of the next 2 working weeks in Scotland (although that was thanks to the guys in sales). And we need to upgrade our ISO accreditation, get registered for radioactive work, kit out a new lab and a pile of other things too.

Anyone ever feel inadequate?

I KNOW God put me in this job (I'd never aspire to this much responibility) but I feel so inadequate most of the time. Yet somehow He always seems to make my mistakes get worked out OK in the end. I don't know how He does it, and I know I'm not always faithful to keep up my side of things, yet He still does.

Monday 8 September 2003

It's not what you do......

it's the why that you do it.

I was talking with my mother last night. She's 71 and suffering the slings and arrows of a body that's rushing ahead, age wise, of her mind. The church she's part of has a long tradition of loud and exuberant worship, and while there's nothing wrong with that, she can no longer cope with the volume level in the way she could when she was younger. A few months back she took it to God, and he basically said "it's OK - you can move on". So the search began.

What she wanted was a church where things were a little quieter, but where there was the same waiting on God, the same taking time in the worship, the same openess to God's moving. Having visited a number of churches in the area, she found an anglican church (rather to her dismay) that nearly fitted the bill. Her problem was..... the worship. While talking to one of the members, she summarised it as moving from a church where they worshipped like Mary to one where they worshipped like Martha. They would 'do' a couple of songs, then someone would bob up with a clevely designed prayer, or read something they had been allocated earlier.

Now, for those of a more 'US' background, this isn't a carefully stage managed meeting. This is, after all, just a little anglican church in a London suburb (you'd need to have seen this type of church to know what I mean). It's much more a place where people want to do all the "right things" but just by adding what's perceived as 'lively' to an existing structure. The result is that the focus is on 'doing worship' rather than the object of the worship.

Why, and indeed what, do we worship?

Sunday 7 September 2003

Ah, the presence of God again.

Today has been a day for being with family - church family. The family group (like a housegroup, but subtly different) had a barbecue this lunchtime in a home, followed by the church getting together to baptise.

We started off in a school hall that we've never used before, with some of the most 'interesting' acoustics I've ever come across in a building. We only had time to sing 2 songs, and I really struggled to push through into worship, knowing that was all we had. I was playing and leading sans PA and found it really hard to hear what was going on, while trying to guide people through the 'power of mime'. There were also a lot of people from outside the church present, and that added to the tension. God was gracious though, and I could see and feel many people were entering God's presence, despite my struggle.

The girls being baptised then went forward and talked about how God was at work in their lives and what had brought them to that point. Then each was sent to a separate part of the room, and those that had words or prayers for them went with them. God was again gracious to me and gave me words for 2 of them. While delivering the second word, about half way through I just felt the Spirit touch something inside and nearly broke down, having to pause for a minute before continuing.

We then broke up and walked the half mile or so the house of one of our members, who has a small swimming pool in their garden. It was a lovely warm late summer's afternoon, and not at all the wet and windy time that had been forecast. The Girls were baptised in the pool by one of the elders (Steve's just turned 30 ;-) and either a parent or special friend. After emerging from the water, a piece of music that was specially meaningful to them was played (the only one I recognised was 'come, now is the time to worship' chosen by Olivia). Then we all ate together, everyone contributing to the food and drink, and enjoyed each other's company.

My camera deigned to keep it's memory this time, and there's another gallery if you want to see what we all look like. The camera is anything but wonderful, but there is a 'representative likeness' to the images.


Tired now. Had a long day: sorting out things in the garden, getting Ben new school shoes, buying a map (in Banbury - 25 mins drive away) starting to fix the shower (wood to be cut and varnished), organising a bike ride AND having to break down the shed door because my wife hid the keys this afternoon.

Had a good ride, although poor Dan got mildly scuffed.

Looking forward to tomorrow. Baptisms in the afternoon - Some teenagers from the youth group, plus a lass with significant 'learning difficulties' who's been part of the fellowship for a fair while.

Friday 5 September 2003

New images up

I've added a few mountain biking shots of Boy Wonder and myself to the gallery. Rowney Warren in the spring is a lovely place, and even better when you can hammer around it on an MTB. I only posted a couple of minutes ago, so they may take an hour or 2 to make it to the server.

Bloomin' heck

I've been busy. Out Wednesday evening, Kids back to school and spent all day in the lab yesterday, doing tax return in the evening. Who's got time for living?

Wednesday 3 September 2003

2 wrongs?

Just came across this link. At least they described him as 'former' pastor.

How often do we forget that our weapons are "not those of the world, but are for tearing down strongholds" (gospel according to Toni's memory)?

Tuesday 2 September 2003

If we didn't have rough bits.....

we wouldn't appreciate smooth bits.

I'd planned to post here last night, but that 'wonderful' oven that I mentioned needed re-fitting for various reasons (long story). Got halfway through fitting it, cooked dinner (Chris was out doing aerobics) then finished the job. Finally printed the manual (downloaded from the net) at about 11.30ish. Meanwhile, about 10.45 Chris had started looking through the paperwork for the tax return I've got to complete. Now I've not been particularly good about getting with things (I'm like that these days) and we've got 3 weeks to go until it has to be in. Come about 11.40 some fairly 'firm' words were spoken, and then finally a rather chilly bedtime arrived. Not ideal.

On the good side, we did make up this morning (I hate going to bed angry, but you can't say sorry while you're gritting your teeth).

I'm also struggling with the 'war on want'. That is, I want things and have to restrain myself from being a good little consumer and buying them. I have many hobbies, and they are all cash-intensive, meaning that I could spend a couple of incomes quite happily on self gratification. The thing is that by the Grace of God I know this isn't right, and a tussle ensues. There seems to be a point where the desire to buy reaches a crescendo and then falls away. If I can wait out the storm then things are fine, and I can 'take a view' and be rational. I don't wish to be greedy in all this, but the voice of ME shouts quite loudly at times.

I *think* I've just ridden out the storm and the water ahead should be reasonably clear for a few days. Lets just hope there aren't any hidden rocks.