Tuesday, 30 June 2009

More reflections on 25 years

It's strange how different the passage of 25 years seems from subjective and objective viewpoints.

When I was 11 and a bit, my parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Then, and now, looking back at the photographs of their wedding day in May 1939 it seems like a different world, which of course it was.

Pre-war, but with clouds thundering on the horizon, the society that enjoyed those last few weeks of peace was soon to be swept away, and daily life changed out of all recognition. To me it was history, the past, something I read about in books or saw in the flickering black and white images of the old two minutes-worth of movie film taken as the bride and groom exited the church. I had no appreciation of the continuity of their lives from that moment up to the anniversary. I was an objective observer.

Now, subjectively, I look back on my own 25 years, and it seems like the blink of an eye. Yet the early 1980's were also a different world. The Iron Curtain had yet to fall. We worried about IRA bombs rather than those of Muslim extremists. European travel involved border crossings, passport stamps and wonderful currencies. Roads were less congested. Convenience foods were few and far between.

I've been trying to recall how I washed my clothes whilst at Theological College in Salisbury. The College had its own Utility Room, but I don't think I used it more than once. I have faint memories of sitting in a Laudrette in Fisherton Street, and I know I washed some stuff by hand in the bathroom of the "digs" that four of us occupied, but the details are a blank.

Some clergy celebrate their 25th anniversary with a special service or a parish party. That's not for me. Today is a marker on the journey, and gives a certain sense of satisfaction that I've made it this far, but I don't intend to wave flags or inflate balloons.

25 years ago today I first put on a clerical collar. These days I hardly ever wear it. "O tempora o mores!"

Monday, 29 June 2009

Sunday, 28 June 2009

25 years ago ...

... on June 30th, I was ordained Deacon in the Cathedral church of Salisbury. It's been an interesting journey from there to here. I certainly have less hair - and that cassock has long since gone to dust!

(And before you ask - I'm on the extreme left of the photo - though I can't recall my hair ever looking THAT ginger!)

Friday, 26 June 2009

Just a few details required ...

Attn: Beneficiary!

Courage my dear, I know you will be waiting for the arrival of your Consignment contain the total amount of your ( $ 4.5million ) cash payment compensation which I was to sent to you and letter return back due to wrong address provided, but I thank God that it return back safely. The only things now is your urgent contact directly to ( FedEx Service Courier Company) this company are in charge of delivering your consignment box contain the ($ 4.5million )

For the purpose of clarification, It is advice that the entire fee has been paid for your delivery so it's probably $125 dollar that remains that you will sent to their security office for the safe keeping fee of your returning box so far. don't be misconceived by anybody, and be advised to reconfirm.
HOME NUMBER;;;;;;;; AGE;;;;; SEX;;;;;;;;.
In addition to what i said earlier please don't dispose the content of the box to them, avoid delay and finally endeavor to indicate this CODE N°(GL-14160) this code shows that you are the rightful owner of the box deposited in their company, use it as your subject when contacting them, thanks and have a nice day.

Best Regards Mr Chimma John

Thankfully my "Mailwasher" program filters these phising attacks - but I can scan the text of them without opening them on my computer. I find the contents and the attempt to con me quite amusing, especially the bad English!

(And sorry Erica - you've failed again!)

Thursday, 25 June 2009

System running ...

... and running ... and running ...

At least I'm back to a working Desktop, but the anti-virus program has insisted on doing a full scan before it will put a tick in the appropriate box, despite the fact that I scan regularly every day at 1.00 p.m. So far it's been running 1 hour and 5 minutes .....

It seems to be working this time

Now I must dash to a baptism visit!

Oh bu**er

Here we go again ..... I've been using an anti-virus program with no problems for about 5 years. I have updated it successfully before. This afternoon I downloaded a new version and went through the installation process and rebooted. Aaaaaaagh! Screen blank! Then it's continually busy! After much effing and blinding I have managed to restore the system to an earlier point today and it's up and running again. I am now trying for a second time to install the new version of the anti-virus program.

I am not looking at the main computer. It is behind me. It has just gone "ding". Dare I turn round?

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Cooking again

Haven't posted any meal shots for a long time, so tonight's supper is revealed: chicken breast pieces with button mushrooms and dried apricots in a cream sauce, served with new potatoes and carrots, and fresh-cut spinach.

Absolutely wonderful!

Friday, 19 June 2009

And this ...

... for a friend in Norwich, is how it's done!

Another offer

This morning an e-mail offered me

"Heal for your woody tralucent phasma symphonizing vertebration."


Suggestions on a postcard please.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

This is clever!

If I'd known this some years ago I could have impressed my mother! At least now I shall have decently folded T-shirts in my capacious drawers!

Monday, 8 June 2009

Not losing it

There are times when I feel as if the administration of these 11 parishes is slipping slowly out of my grasp, but this morning has reassured me that I do still know what's going on.

In the post I received a Memorial Application Form from an stonemason we deal with quite regularly to place a stone vase memorial in one of our churchyards. Usually it's a simple process to review what is being submitted, see if it meets the Diocesan regulations, note the payment details in our records and send back the approval. However, this time, the name of the deceased didn't seem familiar. The date of death was August 2005, so I backtracked through our Benefice funeral details to that date to try and locate the service for the person concerned, but without any luck. I then contacted the Stonemasons and they said they would investigate the details from their end of things.

I have just got back in from a house visit to find a message from them saying that the deceased's ashes were in fact interred in our nearby municipal cemetery and not in this particular churchyard, and that the application was made to me in error. I have therefore put a line through all the details and the cheque and returned it all to them in the post.

So I'm glad that I didn't just "sign off" on this request, but followed my instincts this wasn't someone with whose remains we had dealt. The "leetle grey cells" are still working!

Monday Morning

Back to the real world ....

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Earth at last

Well, that was a scorcher! Finished the season and series. Wrapped up well, though a lot left unanswered.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Fleeing the Cylon menace ...

I have just sat and watched the first four episodes of the final season of Battlestar Galactica back-to-back, and I'm exhausted!

The only element of this whole series that annoys me is the macho-American style of the military, and the way they reach for the endless supply of alcohol at every crisis. They seem incapable of handling the events without a glass or bottle in their hand, and with the amount they consume it's amazing that they can walk, let alone be fit to carry out their duties.

That aside, the story line continues to twist and turn, with major characters being disposed of along the way. These concluding episodes are really shifting along at high speed. Though I remain very fond of the original series, especially the music, the new has developed the idea way beyond those standard science-fiction boundaries.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Now the FBI is involved!

Though I'm really disappointed that it's not from Mulder or Scully ...

Anti-Terrorist and Monitory Crimes Division.
Federal Bureau Of Investigation.
J. Edgar. Hoover Building Washington D.C
Tel: 1-206-666-6052 or 206-350-2807
Fax: Tel: 1-206-666-6052 or 206-350-2807

Attn: Beneficiary,

This is to Officially Inform you that it has come to our notice and we have thoroughly Investigated by the help of our Intelligence Monitoring Network System that you are having a Legal Transaction with one Barrister Robert Scheels of the Federal Ministry Of Finance Nigeria. During our Investigation, it came to our notice that the reason why you have not received your payment is because you have not fulfill your Financial Obligation giving to you in respect of your Contract/Inheritance Payment.

So therefore, we have contacted the Federal Ministry Of Finance on your behalf and they have brought a solution to your problem by arranging your payment in total of US$800,000.00 in an ATM CARD which you will use to withdraw money in anywhere of the world. You now have the lawful right to claim your fund in the ATM CARD by contacting the ATM CARD CENTER.

Also, we have being informed by Mr. Robert Scheels that he gave you instructions on how to proceed and contact the ATM CARD CENTER for their requirements to procure your Approval Slip which contains details of your PERSONAL IDENTIFICATION NUMBER (PIN) which you would use in activating and operating your ATM CARD in any ATM Machine closer to you and note that to procure your Approval Slip it would cost you $350.00. Since the Federal Bureau of Investigation is involved in this transaction, all you did have to do is to be rest assured for this is 100% risk free so do contact the ATM CARD CENTRE so they could let you know on how to make payment for the
procurement of your Approval Slip which is the only payment needed before the delivery of your ATM CARD is being effected.

Below are the contact details of the ATM CARD CENTRE which you are to proceed and contact them for their requirements to proceed and procure your Approval Slip after making payment of $350.00

Name: Mr. Paul Smith

We do await your response so we can move on with our Investigation and make sure your ATM SWIFT CARD gets to you.

Thanks and hope to read from you soon.

FBI Director

Robert S. Mueller

Note: Do disregard any email you get from any imposter or office claiming to be in possession of your ATM CARD, you are advised only to be in contact with Mr. Paul Smith of the ATM CARD CENTRE who is the rightful person you are suppose to deal with in regards your ATM CARD PAYMENT and forward any email you get from imposters to this office so we could act upon and commence investigation.

They get better!

In my Inbox this morning ....


How are you today?

This email was not sent to you by error please get back to me immediately.

On the debt liquidation file of the United Nations, I saw your email for UNPAID SUM OF $5MILLION that has been approved and endorsed by the Federal Minister Of Finance on the ongoing debt settlement scheme. I am very courageous to inform you about this because I believe you have no idea of this fund.

I will assist you in claiming this money. However, you will pay me 30% for the services rendered on conclusion of this transaction. I am a legal attorney to the Post Bank Plc and I will help you to file in a payment application and process your papers until the fund hits your account but you will write an agreement with me that you will pay me 30% on completion of this claim.

If you are ready to claim your fund, please get back to me and I will give you more details and how we can proceed. I assure you, your fund will get to your acount in no distant time as the British Government is in charge of your payment now.


Mr. Edward Godspeed
Second Floor 47 Fleet Street.

Isn't that wonderful? It made me chuckle.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

D-Day landings

As the 65th anniversary of the Normandy landings is being celebrated, I'm reminded that I was in Normandy for the 50th celebrations 15 years ago. I was in the town of St. James which lies at the foot of the Cherbourg peninsular and inland a short way from Mont St Michel. I can't locate the photographs I took then, but we attended the ceremonies at the American War Cemetery, and then, as now, there were veterens walking around the town, many in uniform, along with classic military vehicles decked out in 1944 livery. I still have the bottle of wine I bought with its special printed decoration marking the parachute landings. It's probably not drinkable now! It was good to be there and be part of the event.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009


It would have been my mother's 96th birthday today. This photo was taken in 1953. She made it to age 94. I'm glad I remembered before the day was out.

Political Correctness Police strike again

I have just learned of someone who, when she referred to herself on a self-assessment form as the "black sheep" of the family, was given a very hard time by the panel and told that her use of such a racist phrase raised questions about her suitability for the post she was seeking.

What utter crap. Every Spring there are black lambs to be seen in our fields gambolling with the more numerous white ones. It signifies the member of the family who is perhaps "out of step" with the rest, who maybe makes an unexpected choice of career or partner which the rest of the family find difficult. It's a phrase of long-standing and part of our language. It's not a racist statement. Are we also to do away with words like "black humour" and "blacklist"?

She was also told not to ask for a black coffee. It had to be coffee without milk.


These CP police wouldn't care for my front door. It's painted a very dark shade of no milk. I also wear no milk coloured shirts as part of my uniform.

This is getting ridiculous.

Monday, 1 June 2009

New exercise regime

In-between my regular visits to the gym, I've been developing another exercise routine at home which I though I might share with you.

Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side. With a 5-lb potato sack in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides, and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, and then relax. Each day you'll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer.

After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-lb potato sacks.

Then try 50-lb potato sacks, and then eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100-lb potato sack in each hand, and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute. (I'm at this level.)

After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each sack.

Appearances can be deceptive

I've just had an plastic envelope through my door asking for donations of unwanted clothes. This isn't a rare occurance here in the UK. Many charities do this, asking for either clothes or bric-a-brac for their cause. The Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children is one.

To all intents and purposes, this looks like another charity appeal, but if you read closer you find that in fact it is anything but.

The artwork is similar to that used by Great Ormond Street, and the initial reading seems to imply that clothes that are donated will be taken to Third World countries for the benefit of the people there. But then the hidden message starts to come through.

This is a Company, and as such is there to make a profit. It is registered at Companies House as one that deals in second-hand clothing. Therefore it will be selling all that is given to them. The first sentence does hint at this ... "provide people in third world countries with clothes they can afford." (emphasis mine)

There are also several dire spelling mistakes: "really" instead of "rely", and "shemes" instead of "schemes".

Whilst this may not be a scam, the design of the envelope is such that it could well mislead people into thinking this is a charity appeal instead of a profit-making company. The use of the phrase "donation" in the first paragraph also implies this is a charitable work.

Note also that their proper name is as on the e-mail, shc collections, and not as in the first line of the main text, "SHS Collection".

Waveney Trading Standards are already aware of this and similar scams and have posted information on their website.

One in the Back stalls please

Damn. I was hoping for "Brief Encounter".