Saturday, 29 April 2006

Whoever though recording could be such hard work?

I've been trying to record something to use for some non-singing worship, and it's taken all day. Had a great idea this morning, only for it to get increasingly fuzzy as the day's worn on.

Will get there eventually I guess.

Friday, 28 April 2006

Calling All of Sarah's Friends

Just to let you know that Sarah's ashes are now buried in Somerton Churchyard should you want to visit the site.
If you go out the back of the church & into the new part of the churchyard, then turn left, the plot is the last in the row on your left.
The memorial stone is not yet in place but there is a slate slab with her name on it.
Please pass this on to any-one who might want to know.

Just heard in the office

"We're having a finger buffet on Wednesday. I have asked the caterers to make sure they cut the nails first".

Thursday, 27 April 2006

Sunday afternoon

We're having church here. 3.30pm on.

Dinner helps.

Which you'll no doubt be pleased to hear. Should have Liv with us tonight, which is great.

Could we be?

Over the worst part of a long and draggy week.

We've just come back from interring Sarah's and Chris's dad's ashes.

It's funny, but in theory I find the whole Christian religious formulas fine. But when I get face-to-face with them, especially in these circumstances, I start wanting to get away and find God for me. There's a whole pile of things going offright now and I seem to be switching from wanting to run and hide to wishing I could go and hit someone. *edit below*

Not good really.

Probably normal though.

Chris did really well, and made sure she was there for her mum. Maybe I felt like a bit of a spare rib because I've been used to being there for her, and suddenly I was a bit surplus? I dunno.

We've got the extended family coming over later. I think that will probably be a good thing. Chris's mum is with us right now, and I've just about finished cooking dinner (Korma, if anyone cares?). Crap - just got cross with Chris :-(

*Heather Parbury, the local vicar was actually very sensitive and really tried to help. I just would have much rather done what my mother did with my dad's ashes, and simply gone to the family plot, dug a hole and popped them in. Just them and God really.

Wednesday, 26 April 2006

Thursday night

We're still on, but please don't come before 8ish.


Monday, 24 April 2006

I went for a ride tonight.

Maybe I can reduce the tum a little? Won't improve my personal beauty any though.

On a quite different note, we have a lot to be thankful to God for, but I can't really share that in a public forum. Prayers being answered.

God IS good to us.

Saturday, 22 April 2006

Deja vu anyone?

Billy Bob was late for a very important meeting.

When he arrived at the building the meeting was being held, there were no parking places to be found ... he looked & looked & then out of desperation he prayed "God if you will just provide me with a parking place i will stop drinking jack daniels & stop chasing wild women ... oh yeah i will also attend church every sunday from now on"

As the words were leaving his mouth he saw a parking place and immediately followed through "never mind after all God, I've found one".

Courtesy of 'Catfish'.

Friday, 21 April 2006

Calling Bob, calling Bob. Is Bob in the house?

As you've guessed, I'm trying to get hold of someone called Bob.

Bob what I hear you ask? Good question I reply.

The Bob I'm after plays Sax, Harmonica and sang, had dark curly hair and glasses. Last time we had anything to do with each other he was living around Quainton or Aylesbury and was gigging regularly with a rock'n'roll band. He came and sang/played with us at an open air bash we put on in Keble road park, Bicester.

Any information on his whereabouts, please post below.


Thursday, 20 April 2006

I need a new shaver

The transforner for my braun rechargeable has just stopped working - annoying as it's only about 14 months old.

Had a quick look at the dixons website and noticed they had a Remington Bikini Trimmer at a really low price. My first thought was that they had to be cheap because hairy bikinis are very unusual.

Wednesday, 19 April 2006

I won't be online here today

If you need me, send an email.


Tuesday, 18 April 2006

Ebay is useful

and throws up interesting things sometimes. Like this. I already have 2 this shape, although both of them are vintage - 1 US made and 1 from the original Japanese run. This is effectively a copy of a copy.

Self control will win out - well, and the price has gone beyond what I'm willing to pay, which helps quite a bit.

Well that was the weekend that was.

I seem to have spent most of my weekend lifting and sorting and clearing and shifting. Almost all the old cycle bits have gone, with more due to go shortly. I've retained enough to build a rigid singlespeeder based on a very old Marin frame and some steel forks that are laying around, and there' still a badly bent Marinoni roadbike waiting to be harvested of it's parts. But apart from that we're nearly clear.

Chris has only been waiting 15 years for some space in the shed to call her own.

We had a good time with my mother and bro's family yesterday in London. She's one of those people that keeps going even when she shouldn't really, as long as her body is able and knowing that she'll pay the price later. Despite all offers of help, she insisted in cooking for 7, and did it well too.

So here I am, back at work, trying to generate a little determination. I know what I need to do (one of those things involves writing a procedure - that makes a change) so when I've finished coffee I'll crack on.

Monday, 17 April 2006

The best laid mice of plans and men.

We were planning to leave for my mothers sharpish.

we had no hot water (immersion heater AND rayburn stopped working)

Rayburn coaxed to life, provided a little in the last few minutes.

Ho hum.

Sunday, 16 April 2006

He is risen indeed, Hallelujah!

Chris writes:
The title refers to the comments made by Marc & Toni a couple of blog posts ago. As Toni mentioned, we discussed this & I said the words how I think they ought to be said (joyfully & with enthusiasm, whilst punching the air with my fist!). Well we said these very words today in our village church & whilst I have to admit I did not have the guts to punch the air (I would have embarassed myself enormously) I am glad to say that with a little prompting from the Vicar, those words were said with real enthusiasm, & joy on the part of some at least.

Unfortunately not everything about the service was quite as positive. There was a relevant story for the kids, and the service finished with an Easter Egg hunt for them too,& there was a good community atmosphere, which was great. However much of the Eucharist was sung which would have been fine except that almost no-one knew the tunes, including some people who regularly attend that church!

This effectively excuded about 95% of those there from joining in, until about two thirds of the way through someone went & had a quiet word with the Vicar & from then on we spoke the words.

There were a lot of complaints about this afterwards with feelings being expressed of how this is one of the few occasions in the year that we can encourage people into their local church, & then we exclude them from joining in. (The tunes were not the sort you coiuld pick up easily either.) Such a pity & such a waste of an opportunity. Not only does it put people off coming, but what does it say about the Church? That we are an exclusive club that you can only join if you know the rituals? I certainly felt excuded, so how must others with a less vibrant faith feel?

I sat with a friend who said she would love to sing the sort of songs we sang at Sarah's memorial sevice, which are of course the sort of things that we sing every week at our church. I pointed her in the direction of The Chapel at Upper Heyford, the next village. This is the church on the air base built to serve the USAF, where the CofE church is vibrant & full of life, reaching the community in a way many churches could aspire to. She responded that she said she wanted it here, in her village church, the community in which she lives, & I can sympathise with that.

There was some suggestion, after the memorial service, that the worship team from our Church took a service here, but that sort of fizzled out. Toni was put in contact with the leader of the Chapel but nothing came of it, but any way that defeated the point. What people had asked for was that we have our worship team lead something here, in our village.

The fact is though, that even if we did manage to organise something, as many people as were blessed by it would be offended by it.

Oh Lord, just how do we reach this community you have put us in?

Sarah's death touched many in our community, but my Dad's death & the aftermath of that, stole any energy we had for following up the advantage. I feel so frustrated by it all.


A little too introspective?

This is turning into a busy weekend.

In the village this morning there is an easter egg hunt/easter day service at the local church (happening as I type this from the office). Chris wanted to go along, I have a tranche of things that needed doing, including something here at work - I'm in a period where I have to wait - hence why I'm blogging now.

What has this to do with introspection? My grandfather was a cantankerous and difficult chap, especially when he got older. He had one right way of doing things (the way they were done when he was young) and everything else wasn't quite right or plain wrong. There is a certain sense of deja vu, especially as I take strongly personality wise from his side, even though I have my father's sense of humour (take note, Sarah).

It'll be obvious to anyone that's read this blog much that I don't like 'religious' activities. After dropping Chris off at the church I began to wonder whether I should have been there with her, especially seeing other friends from the village heading toward the church, waving at me as I drove past.

This morning I was reading about serving. I sometimes wonder if I just simply need to get on and serve somewhere with my head down and mouth shut, rather than stand up and be counted while expressing my opinion? Might this be a little character-redeeming bit of salvation that would keep me from becoming like my grandfather in the awkwardness of old age (he had many great qualities too, especially when younger).

Food for thought.

Centrifuge has stopped now. Back to the lab.

Saturday, 15 April 2006

Right, I've had a long day clearing the shed

So we're out for a Pizza.

See you later.

Good Friday march of witness

We both went this year, taking Chris's mum with us for the first time.

I find this a slightly bizarre thing: parading the image of those mourning a dead Jesus before the people of Bicester. Of course we need to remember the suffering in our place that he went through, but it's not like rememberance day (with which this bears a VERY striking similarity) where all those soldiers are dead and gone for us. Instead it seems to me we should be happy - by His stripes I am healed - etc.

Anyway, the good side - this is something that almost all the churches of Bicester take part in and support, but it does bring you up against the odder side of things.

We started from the Roman Catholic church, where we were delivered a most peculiar message (about the status of Judas, including mention of the newly found 'gospel', Judas sainthood in the Eastern Orthodox church and the concept that he might have been acting righteously in his betrayal). It didn't seem to match scripture to me. In Acts Peter is recorded as quoting Psalm 69 v25 in relation to Judas. However if the whole section that verse comes from is taken together, it specifically says in v28 'wipe their names from the book of life and do not list them with those who do what is right. There is much in this area that could be discussed, but it's not actually that important - I just hate it when people stand at the front and say things that aren't right.

Anyway, eventually everyone managed to file out of the church, down the causeway and along the high street. We stopped in 3 places where sections of the bible were read relating to the trial and crucifixion, then on to the Methodist church at the opposite end of town for a little more hymn singing ('Servant King' sounds like a hymn - bet if it was played on guitar it would get called a 'chorus'). Then cold cross buns and escape into the sunshine.

Yesterday was like the first day of spring, with warmth and light, after being indoors all winter.

What has this post to do with easter? Not a lot really. I guess pretty much all my Christian life I've carried round an awareness that Jesus died for me. Easter season, like the eggs, always feels hollow: a show of mourning, a show of celebration, a little taste in the mouth and then it's gone. I wish the the reality of all of it would be more evident: in me as well as what we do as churches together. I just don't want the theatre.

Catholic church interior


Stop 1

Stop 2

Stop 3

The methodist church

Waiting to get in.

sometimes it's just hard finding the energy to blog.

Hence why its been so quiet here, even though there's been plenty of very blog-able thoughts running round.

Do you ever consider the way you appear to other people? That DVD of the baptisms reminded me just how odd I am: the mannerisms, sense of humour, nervous tics etc. I always known that I was a little different, although in more recent years I've felt more ordinary. Chris and I were in the bath a couple of days ago (baths are really good places to talk with your other half - it's quiet, comfy and you're face to face about 4 feet apart) talking about the DVD. I use my hands a lot when I talk, and I have a particular way of moving my hands when going into detail. I'll extend my arms a short way forward. elbows bent, palms upward but turned outward slightly and hands a little cupped. I've named this movement "reaching for the breast of emphasis".

Wonder what else I do?

Friday, 14 April 2006

Just came across a photo

From when Chris and I went out for a walk around Christmas time. The eyes say a lot about what I see on the inside.

Tuesday, 11 April 2006

I don't need this.

Swore off double entendres for lent, and there's been a near continuous game of euphemism tennis going on in the office.


Maxine has been spelling it out in 10ft high letters of fire, which made it all the worse.

It involved......

Well, no. I'll just stop there.

It's not breaking my fast to *think* double entendres.

A little prayer request

Don't think he reads this.

His name is Jared, and he's 18. He walked with God for a while, but isn't doing so on a voluntary basis right now. He's also feeling all the things that go with being told he's a failure and a problem by the world in general and his (divorced, apparently churched) parents specifically.

Pray that he chooses the right path: I really think he has a choice before him, and what he selects right now will set the pattern for a long time.


Monday, 10 April 2006

Baptism vid caps - at last!

Big thankyou to Alex for driving the camera and Clive & Carolyn for getting the DVD to us. Since we're all pretty much on broadband these days I'm posting a reasonable selection here. Quality ain't great, but that's just how this stuff is.

It's been quite interesting watching the video, seeing all those people. Dan - give your mum a hug from us - she found it really quite a difficult time, I think.

Darn, it's cold this morning!

Bright sunshine deceives the eye. It was -2'C in the sun just now, and I had to use warm water to get the ice off the windows.

Roll on summer.

Sunday, 9 April 2006


I've just re-watched Dan and Kita's baptism on DVD.

Makes me want to dance all over again!

I'll see if I can do some vid-caps tomorrow night, for those who wanted to see photos.

I was thinking about the need to post this morning.

Then I read Randall's comment.


No, we're OK really. Thanks for being so concerned.

I've always been determined to not post here just to post. Putting up that clustrmap has made me start to think "would this help the hit level" and I've had to deal with that very firmly. So although that post says it was posted Wednesday, really it was finished Thurday morning, and I've only been 2 days without posting.

There'll be more later. TTFN.

Wednesday, 5 April 2006

Time to do something I've been avoiding.

Does anyone else remember the old Flash Gordon movies? Buster Crabbe running round in a pair of trunks, all slicked up with oil to look like he was sweating while Ming the merciless cackled in the background?

He (Flash) would always be sent to shovel fuel into a furnace that emitted some kind of terrible rays. Dale would look on aprehensively while strong guards forced flash into position. Then the seal would be broken and the door to the furnace would be wound gradually open by perspiring slaves and everyone would cower and wince under the horror of those terrible emanations that would make them sick and weak. At this point Dale would naturally dissolve in tears.

This feels a little like that.

The door being winched up is the cover I keep over how I feel. I just want to crank it open enough so that people know what's going on.

Basically Chris and I still find things very difficult. I am far more reluctant now to talk about Sarah than I was in the first couple of months after her death. Chris is quite often in tears and so am I occasionally. We're starting to face the anniversary of her death, and we're really not happy about that. When we talk about things it stirs everything up inside, and when people press on discussing stuff our family, mother (and fathers) day and all the stuff that reminds us that we've lost her then it simply tears us apart.

There are times I wish I could run until I simply died from exhaustion. There are certainly times I wish I could just run away from work, because I can't face doing anything, and feel guilty because I don't work well or efficiently and I'm being carried. Today I managed to get something done that's been hanging over me for more than a year to complete, and all the time I did it I just wanted to run away and sleep. My memory doesn't work properly, often I can't concentrate and have to constantly try to guess what people have said because my attention has wandered or I've forgotten what they said at the start by the time they've finished their sentence. I'm frequently tired, but never want to go to bed, and don't often sleep well when I do.

Where's the grace of God in all this? It's hard to answer that, but we're still here (there has been strong temptation for us not to be!!) and in the times we need to, we can help and support other people. We aren't down all the time, but we are some of the time. We've certainly had much happiness from our extended family, and they've been a factor in keeping us going.

Isn't there growth in pain? We'll see.

So please. If you're not really that close to us, you're welcome to ask if we're OK, and we'll probably say something like "yes" or "we're still alive". But don't press on to discuss with us how difficult it must be and isn't the anniversary close and what are we doing for it and how will we cope. So please don't be too offended if I just seem to go quiet and walk away while you keep blundering blythly on without a worry in the world. If you've been through it with us then that's quite different and it just simply doesn't seem to hurt as much with you who are close.

Not picking on anyone specific, although a number of people we'd call friends might wear the guilty cap. If you can look back and think "Oh goodness, I said something like that to them" then you're probably one of them! Don't worry - just learn from it. If this has offended you then thanks for reading, as I'm feeling a bit better with that off my chest.

Right, that's all.

Rkrkrkrkrkrkrkrkrkrkrkrkrk CLANG!

The cover has been shut again.

Nothing more to see here.

Move along please, normal service will be resumed tomorrow.

Monday, 3 April 2006

On the Same Subject

Chris writes.
Re the PDL, Toni & I have both just read day 21 'Protecting Your Church' so I assume this is what has set him thinking. (And yes, I know we are a little behind!!).

I too have found this whole section on 'God's Family' quite challenging, not because it is anything new, or because I dont agree, because I do, but just because it made me realise how hard it is to be what we are called to be as a church. How do you handle it when some people are not willing to do those things that are necessary if we are all to get along?

I found this bit quite encouraging (since I had felt a bit discouraged by some of what I'd read). Page 162," Be realistic in your expectations. Once you discover what God intends real fellowship to be, it is easy to become discouraged by the gap between the ideal and the real in your church. Yet we must passionately love the church in spite of its imperfections.Longing for the ideal while criticising the real is evidence of immaturity. On the other hand, settling for the real without striving for the ideal is complacency. Maturity is living with the tension."

Don't get me wrong, our church family are really great, very loving & supportive & striving to be what we have been called to be as Christ's body. But still we have had our issues in the past, & people have got hurt (us too on occasion). We all really need God's Grace when it comes to getting along don't we? Because if we don't, as Rick Warren says, we are doing Satan's job for him!

Again on page 162 (I obviously like that page!) he says "Conflict is usually a sign that the focus has shifted to less important things, things the Bible call 'disputable matters'. When we focus on personalities, preferences, interpretations, styles or methods, division always happens."

This really reminds me of an issue that has come up in a church I know of. The previous pastor was a firm creationist & through him the whole creation versus evolution thing became a real issue in the church. Now I know some people enjoy a good debate, & it can be good to stimulate the brain & really think about what we believe. But it is also possible to waste time on useless arguing that creates tensions (2 Tim 2 v23).

Things came to a head recently when a church member took a family service & decided to teach the children about his creationist views in a way that:
1)those who didn't entirely agree with his point of view felt belittled their's, &
2)Was not well argued so that some felt that they were being asked to 'suspend their intellect' in order to take what he said on board.

People were angry & upset, it appears to have hindered the return of someone who had drifted away & was just coming back, & ultimately the person who had lead the service was so hurt & demoralised by the furore that he had foolishly but unwittingly created, that he felt like leaving the church.

Satan is laughing his head off!

By getting the church focussed on a 'disputable' matter he has created tensions, hurt & disunity. All he had to do was sit back & let it happen!

This is a church full of loving, caring people, many with maturity & wisdom, & I am pretty certain that they will work this out together. However so much harm has already been done, & I fear there will be some casualties.

Let it be a lesson to us all, we must pray for & work for unity within the church if we are to glorify God & be the loving, caring family he wants.

PS if anyone involved in said church wishes to correct me on any matters please feel free.


This is unusual

As someone who's been a christian for heading toward 30 years in the more cutting edge of the church, it's relatively unusual for something to appear that challenges me. That sounds egotistical, but it IS realistic. Sure, there's stuff like demands for women in leadership, gay marriage, pan-faith validity etc. etc. that rears it's head, but that doesn't challenge because it's plainly contrary to the bible.

What could I be talking about?

The PDL has been discussing the church and our relation to her as parts of the body of Jesus (sorry if this makes zero sense to anyone). This is actually a little difficult to put into words well, because it's still being worked through and my brain is readjusting.

I'll try to develop this a bit more later, but thoughts won't steady up and clarify enough to post what I want to say right now (I typed a load of stuff, but it wasn't right).

However I can see why Rick Warren takes so much flak. He's got a heart for the church in a way I've not seen elsewhere. In an age when we want to deconstruct the church, his views - and especially the relative size (and in some eyes, success) of his church would inevitably draw criticism.