24 December 2008

What day is it?

There's something about this time of the year which leads to confusion in my mind about what day it is. I know it's Christmas Eve today, and that it is therefore Christmas Day tomorrow, but I struggle to work out which day of the week it is!

17 December 2008

Great Mac software

Partly as a result of my preparations for training for priesthood, I have acquired a massive number of books on a range of subjects. I have got so many now that I have no hope of remembering what I do and don't have. This makes it tricky when (as recently happened) I am offered more books. As I have no idea what I already have, I don't know which books to accept.
Thanks to a quick google search, I stumbled across a $40 piece of software (Delicious Library) which allows mac users easily to catalogue all their books (and other items too), and when I say easily, I mean easily! To add a book to my library, I simply hold up the book's barcode to the macbook's built in webcam. The software uses Amazon's database to find the details for the book - including the covershot. Of course, for books without barcodes it's a manual entry job, and for some more obscure titles, the information may be partial or unavailable, but it's recognised everything I've shown it so far.
This is going to be a great thing for me to keep track of which books I do and don't have!

16 December 2008

I throw my shoes at you!

I saw this on the BBC website yesterday, and Bishop Alan has reminded me about it.
I have to say that I was amazed that the Secret Service weren't quicker to respond. I know it was only a split second before they were on the case, but he managed to launch both shoes before the men with earpieces appeared. There was certainly no-one who was able to take the impact of the shoes if 'W' hadn't ducked!

Don't blame it on Monty!

Monty Panesar
I agree with the
assessment given by Northants coach, David Capel, that Monty Panesar doesn't have the match practice to be expected to knock over the whole Indian batting lineup in half an hour.
Don't get me wrong! He's a great bowler, and he's amazing to watch live. I just think there's something slightly wrong with the English system of central contracts which deprives people like Monty of the valuable match practice they need and deserve.

13 December 2008


You know you must be ill when your wife tells you she thinks you have flu (not man-flu)! I thought I was feeling better on Thursday, but then yesterday I remembered what it's like to have real flu (as opposed to man-flu). Everything ached, I couldn't breath through my nose, I had no appetite, I couldn't control my temperature, and the drugs didn't seem to work!
A full box of Kleenex balsam tissues, several toilet rolls and two days worth of (ibuprofen-aided) rest seem to have helped, and I now feel human again.
The most frustrating thing I find about being ill is taking time off work. I know I need the time to rest and recover, but I have a lot to do and I don't want to come across as a slacker. As always, it seems to be a matter of getting the balance right. Anyway, I'm not looking forward to Monday morning when I'll have to try to catch up.

9 December 2008

Oliver Postgate - RIP

The creator of some of the most wonderful children's TV characters has died. My favourite Postgate creations were Bagpuss and Ivor the Engine; some of the others were a bit before my time. Enjoy this blast from the past!

Merry Xmas

Thanks to Dave Keen for this:

8 December 2008

I've been recommended for training

Now that's a bit spooky! Having just posted about the BAP experience, I have just discovered a small heap of post (mainly junkmail), and in the pile was a letter from Bishop's House. The letter says that the BAP have recommended me for training for ordained ministry in the Church of England.
I was fairly confident coming out of the BAP that all had gone as well as it could have gone, and I've been fairly chilled whilst waiting for the news, but it is nice to have it in writing. 
Now I've got to think carefully about training, and fill in some college application forms!

Reflections on BAP - part two

On Wednesday this week, it will be 2 weeks since the end of my BAP, and we were told that this was the latest we would hear the outcome from our Bishops.
I said I'd post again with some further reflections on the process, so here we go!
There were 12 candidates on the panel (there are usually 16). Some had been to a BAP before, but most were there for the first time. For all of us, it was quite strange.
I've applied for many 'regular' jobs, and been through many interview processes (on both sides of the table), so the whole notion of a 3 day selection event seems very thorough! My current job was offered to me on the basis of a 12 minute presentation and a 40 minute interview, and my current salary is a lot more than a stipend!
It does give me confidence in the process though. The church is clearly concerned about getting the right people into training, and although there are criteria for selection, the biggest priority for a BAP seems to be for the panel to get to know the candidates. Once they've done this, they have the difficult job of working out whether the candidate is truly called to the priesthood, and whether they have the skills and abilities to do the job well.
I'm used to the context of a retreat, and the whole thing felt a bit like one. The main difference was that we all felt we were being watched, and we were being watched! Not in a 'Big Brother' way, but the panel members used the time at the meal table to observe how we interacted, and to ask questions about each of us. They used the interviews and the presentations to help them to understand who we were.
As I've said before, I found the whole process to be supportive and overwhelmingly positive. Let's hope I don't have the opportunity to experience another one though, at least not as a candidate!

5 December 2008

Blogger help please

Can any other blogger users help me with the task of adding tags to posts sent in from emails???


testing, testing, 1, 2, 3...

I’m just trying out the mail-to-blog function. I would have been handy when I was in deepest darkest Ely the other week, with no wifi and not enough time to explore the blogger site on my smartphone.


By the way, I still haven’t heard the outcome of the panel. I’ve been told to expect a call by next Wednesday.

4 December 2008


I see that interest rates have taken another dive. We have no savings to speak of, and no mortgage. The only interest I have in interest concerns the rates for personal loans and credit cards. Disappointingly, these have not budged one bit. Typical! Maybe instead of cutting a whopping 2.5% off the VAT rate (which I'm not sure will have the desired effect), Mr Darling could have a chat with the banks about their rates for unsecured borrowing.

3 December 2008

Dullness prevails

It seems Dave Walker is enjoying some delayed notoriety for his 'dullest blog'. Congratulations to Dave - a triumph for dullness!

Astronomical phenomenon

There are some great photos on the BBC website of the heavens smiling down on us.

2 December 2008

Reflections on BAP - part one

I said I'd post something about my recent experience of a Bishops' Advisory Panel (BAP), and this is the first opportunity I've had since we returned home. I did try to post whilst I was away, but the lack of wireless network and the frailty of Windows mobile, I failed in my aim. Anyway, better late than never.
I must make it clear that I do not yet know the recommendation of the panel (we were told that we would hear from our own bishop (or DDO) within 2 weeks of the end of the panel), so my opinions are free from the bitterness/relief that I may soon feel.
Having spoken to friends who have been through the process themselves, I was anticipating a supportive and friendly environment, and this is exactly what I found. I have to say, though, that even in a friendly and supportive environment, the process is very daunting. 
Part two to follow soon...

Good news for photographers

Finally, the police have got around to publishing clarification about the 'stop and search' powers relating to photography in public places. Amateur Photographer have details here, but the essence is as follows (my emphasis added in bold):
'The Terrorism Act 2000 does not prohibit people from taking photographs or digital images in an area where an authority under section 44 is in place. Officers should not prevent people taking photographs unless they are in an area where photography is prevented by other legislation.'

'If officers reasonably suspect that photographs are being taken as part of hostile terrorist reconnaissance, a search under section 43 of the Terrorism Act 2000 or an arrest should be considered.

'Film and memory cards may be seized as part of the search, but officers do not have a legal power to delete images or destroy film.
As a person who has been asked to delete images in the past, I'm glad to see the clarification, and I hope it gets down to the PCSOs and Security Guards across the nation! I think I'll print a copy off for my camera bag.

1 December 2008

Christmas Cards

Advent has started and we're just beginning to think about Christmas cards. Dave Walker's thoughtful study made me smile...