Friday 29 July 2005

Good time last night

With 'Kita, Rachel, Livi and Dan (not to mention Ben).

I'm glad we were able to talk through things and share about where we'd been and what we'd experienced. It feels like I know everyone so much better, and that's a good thing.

Wednesday 27 July 2005

We've been and bought puddings!

Tiramisu and Lemon cheesecake, if you want to know.

For tomorrow (Thursday) night.

Seems like a good way to start things off.

Tuesday 26 July 2005

I believe we're prepared now

although quite what we're prepared for, I'm still not entirely sure.

And the 1970s Celestion loudspeaker (a genuine rarity) in my marvellous home-built amp now has a large tear in the cone.

Sorry to be so cryptic last night.

I had to go into Sarah's room to find something amongst her school books, and it just brought everything back again. You can be without someone for a while and not really be aware of them not being there. Then WHAM, it all come flooding back.

So in so many ways last night wasn't good.

But we did talk through some of the things we might talk about on Thursday, and that WAS a good thing to do.

I'm not going to be online today, so that's it for me this morning. I may check back between work and church body meeting this evening, but probably won't have time. TTFN.

Monday 25 July 2005

When I got home tonight.

When I got home tonight, there she was cooking.

Me : "Hello you, you, you."

Her: "Hello me, me, me."

Me : "I love you, you, you."

Me : "I do, do, do."

What's the point of being in love if you can't be happy and silly sometimes?

Maybe there's a tip in there for worshippers too?

I've been in a bit of a scrap....

.....of the virtual kind.

I don't want to link to it here, but it's to do with how people worship, their attitudes and what they sing.

What I DO want to say about it is that with worship, the most important thing is to be focussing on God, offering Him thanksgiving, praise, love without regard to how we feel, rather than because of how we feel. It doesn't really matter what we sing (if we sing - worship is wider than singing) provided God is the focus of it and the system we use doesn't get in the way for us.

There is this concept tied up in historical church, that if we do certain things, everything is OK. I find it strange that a church meeting is called a 'service' - as if we can do something for God (the idea comes from doing our service to God) like He needs us. It's not what we do on the outside that makes a difference, so much as what happens on the outside needs to reflect whats on the inside.

It's this which causes problems.

See, the inside isn't easy to manage. You can't easily tell it what to do, and you certainly can't tell other people how they are going to be inside. So historically speaking, people have found ways around this 'need' to be changed on the inside. At one time if you were rich, large donations could be made to the church in order to be 'forgiven'. More recently, attending church every Sunday and wearing a nice suit was enough to be 'respectable' and a 'good christian' (provided you didn't beat your wife in public/get caught having an affair). If you belonged to certain streams of the church you might go to 'confession' and be given a list of things to do in order to be forgiven. I'm sure that's one of the reasons people dress up in funny clothes - it's a way of hiding reality while going through the ritual.

It's all an illusion.

Accepting Jesus and letting God's spirit change us is the only way we can be different inside. That's it. It's only as we receive him, allow Him to move in us that we can be different, get the inside to start looking the way we'd like the outside to be.

Why the rant?

Well, this is the kind of thing I used to do here, until a couple of months ago. But I've read and re-read the article that caused the scrap in the first place, and the more I read it, the more convinced I am that I want to see Jesus ruling in my life and less of my greed and anger and selfishness.

Liv, Rachel, Kita, Dan - hope this isn't too strange for you. Just a (not so) gently aging chap letting off steam.

Sunday 24 July 2005

We're back!

Had a great weekend - thanks to Victoria and Sebastian, who were really kind to let us stay in their flat in Westminster. It was so great not to have to clear out by 11.00 or 12.00 as one normally does with a hotel, and the position was just amazing too. Great to be able to walk everywhere.

Tonight we're back rested, having taken time out to talk and just enjoy each other's company. Sometimes you've just got to get away, and I'm glad we were able to go this w/e.

Thanks again - if you read this - for making it possible.

Friday 22 July 2005

Posting is a little difficult today.

There seem to be so many things happening. The attempted bombings in London, a warm 'debate' about worship at the Eagle and child, memories coming back from a trip to Bicester this lunchtime.

I'll leave today as a quiet day.

Thursday 21 July 2005

Starting to wonder?

Should I start a chat room for ex-Marlborough Girls and a certain Mr. Hazell to engage in dubious conversations?

Nah - I'll keep it here, where I can keep an eye on things.

Tuesday 19 July 2005

Speed cameras

might actually be causing accidents.

From my own observation, it's not speed that kills, provided it's in an appropriate place. Much more, it's lack of either concentration or ability with occasionally an un-predictable hazard that does it. People need speed limits to use as a guide for how fast they should go, quite reasonably, especially for 'enthusiastic' drivers, but they shouldn't be the main index of safety.

So it's no real surprise that the distraction of a speed camera, together with a number of people panicking and slowing excessively, cause more accidents rather than less.

How much are mood and concentration linked to diet?

I had lunch around 12.15

By 1.00pm I was feeling confused, down and couldn't remember a thing.

By 1.30 my head was clearing again.


This has been noticed before. There seems to be a link between intake and cranial activity. We discussed that a little here. For some it seems that there is a certain sleepiness that prevails around lunchtime. I get that too, but in this instance all I really wanted to do was hide from work, disappear to the lab and hold my head in my hands for a bit.

It's odd the way things have gone. I've always been a little absent minded, but since Sarah's death, my mind won't hold useful facts, just free-wheeling through time and space. Re-focussing can be done, but is usually brief and un-satisfactory.

Daft old git.

Is what I'm becoming.

Monday 18 July 2005

Just came across the world's best emoticon

For when you've been banging on about something way too long, and everyone's given up except you.

Well - it worked for me.

And talking of beating deceased quadrupeds (family equus) we're wondering about maybe doing something social 'round here soon, depending. Rachel, Kita, Liv - anyone up for it?

Some of us never stop being teenagers

I just suppress it for a while, during which time the outside has tried to convince the inside that it's wrong.

It doesn't work.

Sunday 17 July 2005

Pooh, yuk!

Sat down at the PC this evening and wondered what the smell was?

Looked under the desk - there was a bloated, discoloured looking mouse, feet pointing skyward.


Anybody want a cat - free to any other home (well, it would be if I had my way).

Off to the outlaws this morning

Chris's mum's birthday last week.

See (some) of you in church this afternoon, and at Poundon this evening.

Au revoir.

Friday 15 July 2005

I'm very glad you're all here

but it was easier in the 'old days' if I wanted to post my feelings.

We've always been honest and open - everything posted here has been real. But there are many things that can't be said to protect individuals (or protect us from the wrath of individuals :-)

So I am careful what I write.

Tonight I'm feeling down - weary of the bucket being half empty and there being a downside to every positive outcome. I'll bounce back (typing about it seems to help, strangely) - I have to. And I've got a worship team practice tomorrow that I need to be prepared for.

Maybe I'll start an anonymous blog somewhere that I can publish my secret, most unseemly and slanderous thoughts to..... Or maybe I won't.

Thanks for (not) listening.

Thursday 14 July 2005

Is this a dog-house I see before me?

Just spent the evening swapping pickups in my Dean V.

HAD to try it out.

After Chris had gone to bed.

Not very cool.

My little valve amp doesn't really sound decent until it's wound up a bit.

Double not cool.

And I didn't hear her until she got downstairs.


Thank goodness for forgiveness.


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Wednesday 13 July 2005

I'm sitting here gently stiffening.

It has NOTHING to do with the 'other use' of the internet, and is the result of Catriona's fartlek training this evening.

Nice evening out there, though.

Thanks for your time tonight, C.

Today is different.

I’m fasting the internet at work today.

Been spending too much time on the net: get home, open a browser and that’s it for the evening, despite occasionally planning to do other stuff. I’m not going to ‘bad’ sites, but too much time is being invested in being entertained.

There’s a flip side too.

I’m part of several online communities. Last night we were discussing (amongst other things) that a person’s community has changed from being those living in the same village to those one talks with. Communication is the driving force behind relationships, rather than proximity. People talk about things they’re interested in, and by talking develop friendship (or enmity, sometimes).

I’ve just thought: it would be interesting to hear who Jesus would use to illustrate the good Samaritan to the online community?

So the time spent isn’t all wasted. We’ve made some great friends online, although I often wonder if we’d feel the same about each other in meatspace. Actually, calling it meatspace is a fallacy – there is only one reality, and it’s all here and now. I guess this form of communication is really the modern version of penfriends (sounds SOOO unexciting put like that) so there’s a strong historical precedent for it to work.

BTW I’m typing this in ‘word’ for upload this evening.

Monday 11 July 2005

Not Good

Chris writes,

Today I woke up thinking of Sarah.

Today I feel angry.

Today I don't feel in the least accepting of God's will.

Today it just feels so unfair.

I guess it just shows that the normal grieving process has resumed. I know feeling this way is 'normal' but that doesn't help much.


Went to London yesterday.

I can confirm it's still there.

Overall a good weekend, if a little busy.

As we didn't have a church meeting this week (the church was involved with the Bicester carnival) we took the opportunity to go and spend some time with my mother. She is no longer a well woman, and there's no way of knowing whether we'll have her company for another decade or another year. Knowing this, it seems best to make the most of every opportunity.

London was a little quieter than usual, but not enormously so. This morning on the radio, one of the presenters discussed how everything was quiet in Covent Gardent and at the West End theatre she attended. That may have been so, but traffic was just as heavy overall as usual - took an hour and 25 min to get from Crystal Palace to the A40 at White city, which is pretty typical.

Saturday we went punting in Cambridge with Pete and Alison - my brother and his wife. Popped over there on motorcycles (that was half the fun of it) and then played dodge 'em boats up the backs. Thanks you two - it was a good day out.

Saturday 9 July 2005

Where are we now?

Well, the crisis of the last 2 weeks is over, sorted and done from our end. We've breathed a sigh of relief and seem to be getting back to normal.

Normal for where we were, that is.

Both of us are catching up on missing Sarah again. We're not going all suddenly weepy or anything like that, so don't worry. But in the shower this morning it all came back again. Face in car. Face at morgue. Getting her out of bed. The last time shopping for breakfast at Tesco. Cool, soft fingers holding my hand from the rear seat while driving.

Life continues.

Thursday 7 July 2005

We have a visitor here at work.

Someone was watching a trailer for 'Fantastic Four' in their lunchbreak.

We'd all been talking about the events in London this morning. The visitor then noticed the video clip playing and suddenly exclaimed aloud "Oh my goodness - look how far he jumped".

There was a brief interlude during which a certain amount of re-orientation was experienced, LOL.

Tears of relief in the office

London has been hit by a series of terrorist bombs this morning. Fortunately someone's husband went in early, and missed it all.

Morning fresh air

There's a smell that's familiar to me - I smelt it this morning between the car and the lab. Anyone that's camped in the UK and been up before the sun brings it's warmth to bear.

The smell of cold damp countryside.
Randall prompted this thought.

Wednesday 6 July 2005

It's not often

I quote bible verses on here, but today I feel I should.

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (New International Version)

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.


2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (New International Version)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

Just felt like those were dropped into my 'lap' this morning. Seemed quite appropriate considering everything that's been going on here recently. I'd like to think we will have grown through this time.

Tuesday 5 July 2005

The incredible and amazing grace of God

Once again in a desperate situation He came through for us. We know we don't deserve it, but regardless, He's not let us down. I can't describe our feelings right now, but gratitude is certainly one of them.

Dang'd PCs

I've just had to deal with a DELL PC that died as a direct result of Windows XP automatic update - it appeared to kill the hard drive. This was the 4th machine I'd heard this happen to, and discussing on the CM forum, it appears this is quite common. If you're lucky you can wipe the HDD and start again.

If you're lucky.

Matt wasn't. One new drive later, and we still can't restore the PC. Fortunately everything's backed up, but it's inconvenient.

The PC was going to be recovered remotely on Friday night, but that also went wrong. Just as a 'thought experiment' I tried to boot the machine into Knoppix from a CD. If you've never tried Knoppix, it's a 'live' version of Linux that comes on a bootable CD - pop the disc in the drive, boot from it and hey presto, in just a couple of mins you've a fully working PC that doesn't touch the HDD unless you tell it to. You can also recover data from un-bootable drives, as long as they can be read. However 20 mins later it's still loading. Hmmm.

Tried the Knoppix boot on another identical machine, but with less memory (256Mb vs 1024Mb). Took about 1 1/2 min to boot and worked perfectly. Double Hmmm.

Grabbed the PC, whipped out a memory module (down to 512Mb) and slap the knoppix CD back in. Presto, one live PC. Slapped the recovery disc in and it booted and loaded the recovery OS with no trouble.

Now I'm really puzzled. There's no reason for the memory issues. It was all good quality - Kingston, rather than some el bujeeto stuff - and the MOBO is capable of handling that much. So this begs the question, can Windows update damage hardware like memory modules? The machine had been a little slow before the upgrade, but was apparently fine after. I can see no reasonable way that software should be able to damage memory (HDDs are different, presumably the firmware controller gets corrupted) but RAM?


Saturday 2 July 2005

Wow, what a night!

Chris writes,
Last night we attended 'Sarah's Concert', a memorial concert for Sarah put on by the students of Marlborough School.

It was fantastic!

The students organised it themselves with help from two teachers, Claire McCourt & Kate Calnan, and together they did a wonderful job.

There were pianists, soloists, duets & groups. There was a poem & a bible reading. There was even a dancer and some of the female staff sang too. Content varied from 'Amazing Grace' to 'Stairway to Heaven' & just about everything in between.

Abi Spiller sang the song she'd written in memory of Sarah, & I doubt if there was a dry eye in the house.

Such amazing talent from so many young people.

Toni played with a group of friends from church plus Dan's dad, Dave, on drums. They played 'Give Thanks to the Lord' and 'Blessed Be Your Name'. Everyone got involved, standing up & clapping, it was just a shame we hadn't thought to have the words available as I think people would have joined in. (I was singing along of course. The headmistress urged me to go up on stage but I wouldn't inflict my amplified voice on anyone!)

But in the end the show was totally stolen by our very own Queen, played hilariously by three of the teachers, Tony Buckmaster, Julian Easterbrook & Dowie (or is that Douwey?) Holly. Not the most talented (!!!) of the evenings performances, but certainly the funniest. We were all on our feet, singing along, clapping & waving our arms in the air in true Queen style. They had to do it twice of course. Sarah would have loved it! (She would also have made a few comments about jean clad rear ends - if any of you three are reading this you should be blushing)

(Whoops! Perhaps as a parent I'm not meant to say things like that about the teachers!...Oh well!)

Finally the headmistress, Julie Fenn, said some very kind words about Toni & I, & presented me with a beautiful bunch of flowers, & us with a professionally recorded copy of the song Abi wrote.

At this point I must just say that anything that she, or anyone else, has seen in us to impress them just recently is simply a refection of our great God. It is his 'Amazing Grace', that has helped us to cope, & I guess that it is times of testing like this that reveal where your foundations lay. Our's are in God & he hasn't failed us. Anyone reading this who doesn't already know that for themselves should try Him out, He won't fail you either!

OK, preach over! Thanks again to everyone who took part last night (not forgetting those behind the scenes). I hope knowing Sarah & sharing with us in this time of grief will enrich all your lives in some way for ever.


Friday 1 July 2005

Thank you everyone

For the brilliant time we had this evening.

We really enjoyed it, even the emotional moments. You are all a most generous and talented bunch.

Thank you all.

Trying to contact me by email?

I'll be working in the lab quite a bit, but will check back every now and then.

I could get to like the Belgians.

About time someone remembered that Europeans can have a culture too.