Friday, 26 March 2010

Taking the proverbial

Now here's a great way to deal with those scamming phone calls ....

if you have the time and patience .....

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The one to beat

Annual Meeting No.2 held this afternoon, after the final Lent Lunch ........ 17 minutes, start to finish! Following PCC, 10 minutes.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Rhetorical question of the Day

Is there any integrity left amongst Members of Parliament?

Answer: Was there any to begin with?

Monday, 22 March 2010

Hidden Treasures

I have just completed the first of my 11 AGM's, and had the opportunity to take a look in the deep dark recesses of that particular church's safe. I thought that I had gone through all our church safes and sorted them out, but this was clearly one I'd missed.

Inside, and going slightly mouldy, were four small painted linen shields that had fallen from the roof bosses at some time in the past. They need storing and conserving. There was a very nice silver-plated paten - bigger than the one usually used for the communion services, so that will now be put out on a Sunday. There was also a small Charles Farris cream-coloured tin, and inside it a single mouldering communion wafer. There was a pew copy of Common Worship - something I knew this church had but could never find. And there was also a rather superb wooden collection plate. Now I've sen a lot of these, but never one with a detachable cover to stop people taking coins out as it was passed around. That also is going to come back into use - purely for aesthetic reasons, rather than not trusting the congregation!

All in all, a rather good end to the evening.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Papering over the cracks

For the last couple of months I've been delving into the state of property in rural France. There is lots available simply because the aim of the common man and woman in France is to move out of the country and into a new-build unit in a town.

Amongst the wide variety of size and shape, one aspect of style remains constant, and that is the compulsion to wallpaper everything in sight. Not just the walls, but ceilings, fireplaces, cupboards, and, I suspect, the occasional sleeping cat!

These two images are of the same house!

Of course, the practical reason may be that it is only the wallpaper that is stopping the plaster from falling off ... but it is hardly the epitome of French chic. In fact, it makes me want to throw up.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

And after all that soup ....

... there's really only one thing that satisfies ....

If it's Wednesday, it must be soup

Another Lent Lunch looms. The tables are set, the soup keeping hot in the kettles, cheese out on the boards, oven warming the bowls and ready for the rolls to go in, and the large flask is full of hot water for drinks. Today it's a choice of Chicken & Leek or Spring Vegetable. The Chicken was popular last week, so we'll see what happens today.

And I should still have time to get to the regular Village Coffee Morning before the customers strat to arrive.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Waiting ....

... for a heating oil delivery ..... and for the arrival of a small package from a Catering Supplies company of a 79p thermostat so I can try and repair my large coffee percolator (used at monthly Coffee Mornings and sometimes at Lent Lunches), along with a dozen soup spoons (for Lent Lunches as I don't have enough), and a dozen napkins that I want to use in the churches as corporals on the altars. The last is because most of the Benefice churches are desperately ill-equipped in the altar linen department. Unfortunately these are only cheap linen, and I was unable to order "one double dozen double-damask dinner napkins" - and if you don't recognise that reference, it is the title of an old comedy sketch written for Cicely Courtneidge, in which a lady gets increasingly flustered as she tries to place an order for the said items in a department store. It was made famous by Beatrice Lillie in Frank Tuttles 1938 movie, "Dr. Rhythm" which starred Bing Crosby and Mary Carlisle.

Monday, 8 March 2010

I'm sticking my neck out here ....

The mother of James Bulger has said she has a right to know why his killer is back in prison, but is getting "no answers" from the government.
(BBC News)

Whilst I fully recognise the emotive nature of this particular case, and the depth of feeling it arouses, I don't think that Denise Fergus does have the right to know why Jon Venables has been sent back to prison.

No matter the reasons behind the action, it would set a very worrying precedent if this information was passed on to her. Then every other victim of crime, or relative of a victim of crime, would be able to make the same request if and when the person convicted of the crime is re-arrested. Where would the line be drawn? Would someone who has been mugged be given the information if and when their convited mugger is re-arrested? Would a householder be given the information if and when the convicted burglar is re-arrested?

The emotional intensity of this particular crime should not be a deciding factor. A veritable "Pandora's Box" will be opened if her demand is met.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

The days are getting shorter

From Sky News
The powerful earthquake that killed hundreds of people in Chile on Saturday probably shifted the Earth's axis and made days slightly shorter, a NASA scientist has said. Richard Gross, a research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, calculated how much the axis may have changed in position following the disaster. The quake, the most powerful to hit the nation in 50 years, sent shockwaves out from the epicentre 70 miles from Chile's second city, Concepcion. If the planet's axis did shift by 8cm during the quake, days would have shortened by 1.26 microseconds, Mr Gross calculated. A microsecond is one-millionth of a second.

The quake shifted the Earth's axis by even more than the 9.1-magnitude tremor off Indonesia that started the deadly tsunami in Asia in 2004, according to Mr Gross. This was partly because the fault line responsible for the quake in Chile "dips into Earth at a slightly steeper angle than does the fault responsible for the 2004 Sumatran earthquake", he said. The different angle made Saturday's tremor more effective at moving Earth's mass vertically and shifting the planet's axis, Mr Gross continued.

The 2004 quake in Asia, which killed hundreds of thousands of people, caused the Earth to move by around 7cm. It chopped an estimated 6.8 microseconds off the length of a day, NASA said.

Lent Lunch Wednesday No.2

8 pints of soup made and hot in the Soup Kettles. Cheeseboards filled. Hot water flasks filled. Biscuits, sweet pickle, condiments, teaspoons, sugar and milk all set out on the tables with plates, spoons, knives and napkins. Bread rolls ready to go into the oven to be warmed. Soup bowls in oven as well. Seating extended to host 19 people. Now all I need are the customers.

When I trained I was never told that I would end up running a Lent cafe!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Getting the full picture

Over the Winter, on days that were particularly wet and windy, I found my evening television viewing interrupted by a break-up of the digital signal. Roundly cursing the quality of digital broadcasting, I would turn off the box and listen to a CD and read a book instead.

This last Sunday it happened again, and every channel I tried to watch was jumping, spitting and breaking up into static coloured blocks. Moving over to the TV I leant over the top of the set, as I usually do to access the On/Off button, and noticed some drops of water behind the unit on the shelf. They appeared to be underneath where the aerial cable entered the set, so I pulled out the aerial plug and found that there was rain water running down the inner core of the cable. Water is certainly not conducive to a good picture, and not safe either, so the set got turned off and the cable left lying in the fireplace.

Today an engineer called and fitted a new aerial on the roof - the old one was falling off the chimney anyway, and was very rusty - and a new cable right the way through, branching off to give two new points in two of the upstairs bedrooms. Guests will now be happy, and so am I, for although it wasn't particularly inexpensive to have done, the signal is now at full strength instead of the quarter strength is was before, and I have been able to put away the small indoor aerials that were up in the bedrooms, and which were not particularly effective anyway.

And I shall now be able to relax in the sitting room and view in safety when it's raining!