Sunday, 28 June 2009

Jonesy's last stand...

"Mr Mainwaring!  Mr Mainwaring!  If those Germans don't arrive soon I don't think we're going to get out... they don't like it up 'em, Mr Mainwaring...." 

Belting about

Thu pm - boss off in SW doing a presentation of the new website to important customers.  Leave work 20 past 5, all is well.  Half past - text - just says "Site down".  Oh, the site's down.  And so is all the sites.  And all the internal apps.  And email.  and web access.  In fact everything, it appears the computer has lost all knowledge of what it is.
Fri am - total waste of a morning.  In at 7.30 together with one of my Seniors to check everything out.  It's all still down.  Fri lunch - leave for Peterborough, ordination pre for priesting next week.,
Sat am - drive Hemsby.  On the way me & eldest went down Grimes' Graves.  Very interesting, very thought-provoking.  That site was in flint production for 1000 years!  English Heritage describe Grime's Graves as a "grassy lunar landscape".  Surely the whole point of a lunar landscape is that there's no grass?
Sat lunch - Harry Ramsden's, to spend the voucher I got for complaining about them last time!  Much better this time, possibly because we went to the take-away.  Nice big fish.
Anyway - afternoon on the beach, with the lads spending most of the time flint-knapping.  Obviously the trip to Grime's Graves had an effect.
Sun morning - quite a quiet time, took the lads down to the big slide in Hemsby.  I hadn't been to Hemsby in 35 years, and it's an odd place.  The village is... a village.  The strip down to the beach is the most concentrated English Seaside experience you could imagine - every inch covered in amusement arcades, bits of funfair, pubs, bars, cafes... and then you walk over the dunes to the beach and... it's totally different.  Big, sandy, empty... just lovely, actually.  A very poignant pill box, covered up to the roof in sand.  I bet it was on the dunes last time I was there... 
And then down to Esses for Mike's First Mass.  Very well spoken, I thought.  Just a few more elaborate hand movements - maybe raising the Host higher?  But I thought it was very nice of Mike to wear his Liverpool replica chasuble for the occasion.  All cool.
Home now, just time for a few hours' sleep before I find out what chaos the morning brings.

an Sarai sez lol...

ht to David Keen for his link to the lolcat Bible.  I quite like it.  First Priestly sermon next week, and it's gonna be on; "

Jebus saiz, “oh hai. I iz teh whey n twuf n teh laif. no wun can has walkin da catwalk wif Ceiling Cat wifout me. srsly.”" 

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Iran (and on and on)

Can't actually blog Beaker stuff at the minute. I know I can occasionally be satirical but I seem to have lost interest in anything that's not associated with the Iranian protests and they're not funny. I've been following two Iranian twitterers, and when amongst a list of people who've disappeared or died you get an update from a friend that says "is suffering from hay fever", well I ask you... I guess it's because they use "our" communication methods, blog, twitter, Youtube that it makes their struggle, their suffering, immediate in a way that TV showing say Iraq doesn't. It no doubt also helps that to us in the West it appears more black and white than maybe Iraq or Afghanistan or even Israel.
On the other hand, I bet Gordon Brown wishes he'd thought of announcing that the election results might not be quite right and they'll have another go at counting them...
Normal service will be resumed as soon as people aren't dying in Iran.

Monday, 15 June 2009


I can't believe the bravery of the Iranian people and their tweeters.  Pray for peace, justice and democracy.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Harry Ramsden's

The catering Empire that is Harry Ramsden's have sent me a £20 cheque for the poor quality meal we received while in Yarmouth.  Very fair of them, I thought.  By co-incidence we'll be in the area in a few weeks.  We'll have to get the fish and chips from the take-away part this time, see if they're any bigger and better.

Small things can be very powerful.

Flu virus – 100,000 across my fingernail… yet killed 20 million people in 1919

Uranium atom – 100,000 times smaller than that – and yet if one splits, and splits another two – and that splits another two… can produce the power of a nuclear power station or a nuclear bomb.

A seed – so tiny.  An acorn – can hold it in your hand.  Yet has the instructions coded into it, and the potential, to build an oak tree given the good soil.

A few years ago – pack of Old English cottage seeds.  Produced some lovely flowers – particularly remember Love Lies Bleeding… strange old plant with its red flower.  But one I didn’t notice so much at the time – just a few – Love in a Mist.  Now… all over garden.

Jesus – warning them about big ideas about how the Kingdom of God was going to come in?

-> Army / Messiah / Conquest

No – just a heart changed here; a life fulfilled there – and then the message passed on.

We  get the same big ideas.  Like a mighty army moves the Church of God said an old hymn – in the days when already the Church of God was in retreat.  But continue to think that it’s different.  We hear about the big churches – or the exciting churches – we long for the big name preacher that will make all the difference. 

But the kingdom of God is not like some oak tree that someone’s dug up and moved.  Just picked it out of the ground and moved it cross-country and dropped it in a big hole.  Instant spreading oak just where you want it.

Let’s face it, most of us would be pretty grumpy if we had an oak tree in our back gardens anyway.

No – K of God is like a tiny seed – like my Love in a Mist seed.  The first year it grew and we didn’t notice it.  We had Love Lies Bleeding and Canterbury Bells and foxgloves and all sorts and cornflowers.  And the second year there was a couple more  and I thought oh look… Love Lies Bleeding has self set.  And the third year it was in the front garden, and thought- wonder how did that?  And fourth year it was all over the place and I was charging around chopping it down stop it choking everything else.

I’ve never encouraged it.  Never needed to.

Kingdom of God is one seed of the Good News sown in one heart.  Someone hearing about Jesus and thinking – is there something in this man?  In the things he said; in the things he did; in the live he lead – in the death he died…. And is there something in this crazy story that he rose from the dead?  Could a man actually do that?  And if he did – what does it mean for me?  And that seed is sown.  And the seed grows.  And it may grow strong in that one place – or it may drift.  And someone else hears about Jesus from that first person.

10:45 service – we’ve done some advertising.  Not much, didn’t have much effect.  Just enough so people have heard of it.  But the way that something like the 10:45 service succeeds is not when 300 people turn up in response to the advertising and suddenly you have a church that’s full because you’ve bunged leaflets through doors and given them out to the schools and all the rest.  Not least because it doesn’t work.  It succeeds when one person who’s here goes and tells one other person – you know I went to church last week and it was fun?  Or when someone tells their friend – I go to Communion because I know that is where I meet God. 

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Wednesday Bike Ride

Wednesday was the day I'd finally scheduled, after 5 months of Wednesdays off, to really doing what Wednesdays off are really for. After 5 months of trips with kids, holidays, moving Church chairs around, posting leaflets and hanging around in pubs in Wellingborough while my bikes were fixed - I finally got out into the countryside properly.
At the peak of my cycling, 4 years ago, 50 mile rides were a breeze. So surely a 20 mile journey was going to be OK.
And yes it was. After a breeze past Hardwick and through Little Harrowden, my first real challenge was the hill up from Harrowden.  Not yer Pennine or even Chiltern kind of a hill, but still a nice sharp little climb for half a mile or so.  
At the top of the hill is Orlingbury, home of the Queens's Arms pub (not open at that time of the morning) and the rather lovely St Mary's Church.  As well as having quite a high tower, particularly for the spire-world of Northants, it was rebuilt quite well by the Victorians and is a tidy, square-set, really nice church.
It is also the home of Jock of Badsaddle, the wolf- (or possibly boar-)killer.  Jock came from the now-abandoned hamlet of Badsaddle, now the site of an abandoned farm and a slightly spooky wood.

From Orlingbury there's a four mile run to the little village of Hannington.  Hannington is very rural, although only a mile off the A43, very pretty and very quiet.  To me it's the epitome of the trouble with English villages.  The pub (which had been the Red House long enough to have a road named after it) is closed.  The church doesn't give the impression of a huge congregation, and typically has services every other week.
Ss Peter & Paul is a very odd church in one way. It was the home of a group of Gilbertine Monks.  They were coenobitic in the more extended sense that there were both males and females in the community.  But their division is clearly seen in the pillars that run down the middle of the centre aisle, to make it quite clear who was supposed to go where. 

Must be really odd taking Mass at Hannington, as I can't believe you could see the congregation...

From Hannington it's just a mile or two uphill to Holcot.  Hannington's unusual in Northants villages in being in a bit of a dip, whereas Holcot has the more traditional position on top of a hill.  They'd heard of flood plains in Saxon times, and unlike us more "advanced" people they knew they were better off staying out of them.  Either that, or all the villages they built on the plains got washed away.  Holcot is most famous for its ducks, which live in the pond down the hill and waddle across my route to work during the rush hour.  Bless them.  It's also the home of the (resolutely open) White Swan.  Three good ales, serves food (which I've never eaten but it looks good on the blackboard), skittle table, pool table - this is a pub to be respected and kept.

So from Hannington on to Sywell, home of the Airport and shooting range.  And the heavens opened.  So I was forced into the Horseshoe for half an hour while I waited for the deluge to stop. Eventually I gave up and cycled the last four miles home getting progressively heavier as my jeans soaked up the rain.  I wasn't expecting quite that much rain.  And after I got home - the sun came out.

But a good ride, round some of the best cycling country - rolling countryside enough to be interesting, without the long hills that stop it being fun.