Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Close every door to me

No, not a song from "Joseph" and his amazing technicolour underpants, but an instruction for home this evening.

Someone, nearby, has been spreading something abominable on his fields. The smell is vile, and all the windows are closed despite it being warm. Even so, the occasional stench wafts through the living room.

Those who proclaim the perfection of vegetarianism conveniently forget that their cereal and root crops get their nutrients from animal crap. Highly organic, but hardly meat-free! (And that's to say nothing of those vegans who are now refusing to kiss meat-eaters, saying they couldn't possibly touch lips that have chewed meat!)

Ah, the joys of rural life.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

A blessing?

There are some days when you just shouldn't get out of bed in the morning.

I was up today at 6.30 a.m. as for the first time I had put an 8.00 a.m. service down on the rota. Being a 5th Sunday of the month, it's our "Benefice Sunday" when we usually only have a single morning service and an evening service, but for a change I had put in an extra early morning event at one of the smaller villages. Even though I organise the rotas, up until 7.30 a.m. I was convinced it was an 8.00 a.m. Holy Communion from the BCP. Then I did a final check, and realised that in fact it was publicised as a Said Morning Prayer. A qick change of robes and off I went.

I arrived back home at 8.35 a.m. and knew I had a bit of time before going off to the main Eucharist, so I had a coffee and put some baking potatoes in a slow oven. Then I was out by 9.10 a.m. arriving at the village church at 9.27 a.m. where I was greeted by the churchwarden asking "Is it that time already?" I then remembered that instead of the service being at our usual time of 9.45 a.m., on a Benefice Sunday it's at 10.30 a.m. A cup of coffee in her kitchen followed.

As the service neared its close I knew that there was a baptism anniversary to mention for a little girl, so after the final hymn I invited her to come out and light a candle and take it back to her seat. Then I said the Dismissal sentence and walked down the back. As people gathered for the refreshments someone remarked to me that I had forgotten the Blessing. So all left the church un-blessed.

It can only get better.

Friday, 27 July 2007

Release valve

Since I took the decision two days ago not to submit my final essay for the short OU Course on "Writing Family History" I have felt less pressured. As I explained to the tutor, I'm not studying for a degree, so the loss of the miniscule 10 points by not completing the course is of no importance. What has been good is the course content itself. I have learnt quite a bit about interpreting the bare Census data, and about how to put it into context with what was going on in society in general at the time. I also thoroughly enjoyed the Block about looking at old photographs and reading the information they contain. So doing the course has been valuable in that it has increased my knowledge. What my daily work did not leave time for was the creation of a 5000 word essay. No big deal. I have all the course papers, I can always reprise the study.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Re-creating virtuality

I have had to spend the better part of the day re-creating the Benefice website since the Site Host failed to inform me that the domain name was due for renewal. The first I learnt of it was when the papers arrived from Nominet telling me I had 10 days to renew at a cost of over £90 or else lose the domain name. Looking on the Host site I was unable to renew the domain there as it kept telling me it was "unavailable". A quick check of the site showed it was down and replaced by a "holding" page.

So I signed us up for another domain, paid the two year fee, and paid the hosting fee, all for an initial cost of £24. A bit cheaper than £90!

So our churches can now be found on
which is a far better name than .org.uk

All things work together for the good ......

Clarity of vision

My goodness - films are wonderful on the new screen, and even TV programmes have an extra pzazz. Mind you, I'm not so sure about the BBC News ..... I could see every pimple on the presenter's neck and forehead. Quite put me off my tuna bap.

I hate spending money

I have just had to transfer several hundred pounds from my savings to my cheque account to cover the purchase of a new television. The old one had never been right from the beginning, and I should have done something about it when it was still under warranty, but I never got round to it. The screen had developed two large kidney-shaped colour distortions, one on either side, which made watching it something of a kaleidoscopic experience. People with purple faces on one side speaking to puce-green ones opposite. Landscapes with brown patches of grass, and skies that would not have looked out of place in the 1950's film "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" when the Van Allen radiation belt around the earth caught fire.

Over the years these patches on the tube had gradually become worse, and then, in the last couple of weeks the set had developed the annoying habit of turning itself off. At first I thought that I had accidentally touched the remote control "Off" button, but then it started happening more frequently until, three nights ago, I attempted to watch a film, and managed only four and a half minutes of it with the set turning itself off every 40 seconds or so. I then had to wait about two minutes before the power would re-connect and the "stand-by" light come on.

So this morning it has gone to the waste centre, and in its place, courtesy of Mr Tesco, stands a flat-screen, HD ready, Freeview incorporated, black beauty. It took some time, with assistance, to set up, but the image is wonderfully clear, and it's quite exciting to see people with normal-coloured flesh tones.

I should have known better when I bought the previous set. I went to a well-known (in the UK) electronics chain whose name I won't mention - (but if I say Madras, Korma and Tandoori and ask for the word that describes these types of food - let the reader understand) - and bought their own brand as it was cheaper than the others. I've had this brand before and in my experience the quality has always been lacking. So, no-one to blame but myself. Hopefully, Mr. Tesco will prove to be more reliable.

Friday, 20 July 2007


Now I like that ....

And all done with washable paint. The Cerne Abbas giant has never looked so good.

I pinched this image from "Mad Priest's" blog. There's great stuff there.

The back's fine, but ....

This is absolutely the last medical entry .....

There's nothing worse than someone bleating on about their ailments.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Lammas or Llamas?

With just one mis-matched letter, a search on the Internet for an appropriate picture to grace the cover of next month's Benefice magazine can throw up suprising results.

I put in a Google Image search for "Lammas" since the August issue covers this agricultural feastival marking the start of the harvest and the baking of a communion loaf from the new wheat.

The results show hundreds of pagan and celtic images of the Green man and the sun-god Lugh, but only a few Christian pictures, mostly of choral record covers. However, Google also showed lots of pictures of llamas, including this one:

Now I don't think I can put that on the cover of next month's magazine.

Then again .....

Monday, 16 July 2007


First there's the humidity ..... which has meant three changes of tops in one afternoon .....

Then I finally made it to the local swimming pool to start doing something about the "spare tyre". (I bought the book of Entry tickets in October 2005 and I've used 3 since then!)

And lastly, another thunderstorm has just passed over. Last year we had a total of 9 thunder days. Today's brought this year's total to 9 so far, and there's still the remainder of the summer to go! I think 2007 is going to be a noisy one!

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Improving mobility

Well, at least I can now reach my feet to wash them, pull on my socks, and tie my own shoelaces! (Have you ever tried putting on a sock with one hand? It's not easy!)

Monday, 9 July 2007

Proper 9 - Year C

This is not a Sunday for congregants of a delicate nature.

They have to cope with Isaiah's "consoling breast" and "glorious bosom", and bodies flourishing like the grass.

And then Paul delights in talking about "corruption from the flesh" and "circumcision" and "uncircumcision" at some length.

It's enough to make a maiden aunt blush!

Sunday, 8 July 2007

1000 words

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so instead of writing another 985 words, here's the picture ....
... and it's been that way since last Thursday.

Which made an interment of ashes on Friday quite interesting. Since it was a "no funeral director" event, I had to ask one of mourners to put the casket into the hole. They didn't look happy at doing it, but it was that, or watch me throw it in from 6 foot above. They chose the more dignified option.

And the doctor's advice? .... "Lie flat on the bed and get your leg over."

I don't think the Bishop would approve somehow .... Or am I misunderstanding the directions?

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Separating memories

I wonder why certain words, sights, sounds or smells trigger memories, especially when there seems no connection. There I was, officiating at the altar, and I caught the edge of the paten as I picked up the chalice. The paten tipped and brown bread flirted across the corporal. For some unknown reason, into my mind came an image of a bottle of Seager's Egg Flip. I lost concentration and started to administer the wine with the words, "The body of our Lord Jesus Christ ...."

I ought to explain the significance of the product.

In the 1970's I worked in a small independant Off-licence in Brighton. A staple of the shelves was "Egg Flip" - a poor man's advocaat. It looked fine, but unless the bottle was shaken every couple of weeks it started to separate into a yellow mass at the bottom and a thinnish grey liquid at the top. It stood next to a very slow seller - three bottles of Sloe Gin that never moved in the 11 years I worked there. We had just one regular customer for the Egg Flip who had a bottle every couple of weeks. Unfortunately, they became irregular, and we received a telephone call: "Could we cancel our order for the wife's Egg Flip? It's binding her up!"