Tuesday, 26 January 2021

What a range.

I have the BBC weather app monitoring a range of different places. Wetaskiwin in Canada is presently at -20 degrees, while Anjuna in Goa is at 32 degrees. Somehow Britain manages to sit somewhere in between, like it does in so many ways: from where I'm sat in the lab I can see melt water dripping from a partially snow covered roof.

It makes me think of the quote about being neither hot nor cold and being spat out, which of course has nothing to do with temperature or weather, and was entirely specific to that location.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

There is a sense of futility

That recalcitrant computer systems generate. We come to rely on their behaving in a consistent manner, when experience tells us they are rather less reliable than the laws of gravity. It's like your desk eating pages from documents and books or rearranging piles of papers.

I'm not referring to my own computer at home but rather to those for work, where drive letters frequently change, access to folders on a virtual desktop is revoked or the folder content disappears. I'm reminded of a biblical expression, likening Egypt to a reed, splintering and wounding the user when they lean on it. Hard to know if it's a testimony to man's endurance or stupidity, refusing to learn.

Monday, 11 January 2021

Life, it seems, goes on.

 And having written that, it's hard to know what to say next, other than "I'm still here".

We seem to have remained covid-free, although we both know some individuals who've had it. Chris has been working from home, and while I've been going in as normal, we're all masked up, distanced, have perspex shields in the office areas etc. In the latest form of lockdown Chris and I don't drive distances for walks, but we have still been managing to get out into the waterlogged landscape.

The tiny cluster of churches we're involved in are having a 'review' with the idea of seeing what needs strengthening, what needs fixing and what's healthy. I don't want to talk about that specifically, other than it has helped crystalise my thoughts that, more than almost anything, a church needs someone who is able to lead well in charge. So many churches shrink, crumble, fail through inadequate leadership that it now seems to be an almost un-predictable lottery in the type of church to which I am accustomed. At one time I'd have said that all the training given in seminary was to enable someone to lead a church when the Holy Spirit wasn't around, but now I seriously wonder if it's both to equip the able and weed out the unsuitable. Having shed quite a few tears over my failure to lead a church well, I hope I've a little better understanding now.

In a lighter frame of mind, we've been considering trying to buy a house in Europe - UK house prices are quite ridiculously high, while in several European countries they're relatively depressed. Plus it would provide a little toe hold on the continent for this Austrian to have a reason to remain one.

It's definitely been an interesting exploration, seeing how different nations and even different sections of nations are when they're at home! At the 'poor' end of the market, the Spanish tend to be both fussy and slightly austere at the same time, the Italians inclined to make stylistically bold and unfortunate choices (and houses built 1950s to 1990s are generally unattractive). The Greeks value their ruins quite highly, and the place is generally more expensive than one would expect, though we have slightly fallen in love with one house up in the mountains north of Kalamata. Of all the races, the French seem to be the best, with the tidiest, most practical and generally attractive houses even when they're of modern construction. 

A factor influencing any choices is, quelle surprise, language. I can manage a bit of Greek (and read the alphabet) a smidge of German and a touch of French (no Spanish or Italian, though I'd learn). Chris is French only (much better than me) but not really happy to live somewhere that would be outside either that or English, though the Greeks would probably be fine with that!

Another factor, as we creak around the place these days, is how many floors is acceptable. I've seen some FANTASTIC places in France and Italy on 4 levels, but the thought of all those stairs is somewhat unappealing. Spain seemed to be best off for bungalows, but they all looked like they were breeze-block and whitewash construction. 

The reality is we almost certainly won't buy another house anywhere else, one being enough trouble on its own, but the research has been very informative.