28 Mar

Got My Number

Some kind soul drove into the front of our car this last week. Like all minor incidents it’s more of a nuisance than anything else. For the first time I had to buy new number plates. The shop had to follow government regulations for such things, of course, so I needed to prove first that I was legitimately buying the plates and second that I am me. The first trip was not successful in that I took an old V5 form, not the new one. About five years ago I just stuck the new V5 form in a file and didn’t destroy the old. A V5 is the certificate of registration for a car in UK and names the registered owner and keeper. I did take my driver’s licence and passport, the former being sufficient for the second proof. All this regulation is, presumably, to minimise illegal activity by a minority in this country. For the rest of us it’s just another layer of rules and regulations that crop up after kind souls do the damage.

28 March, 2009

25 Mar

A Familiar Circuit

My home is close to the South Downs; just to the north of us are two golf courses, one privately owned and the other formerly run by the town council and now in private hands. When the weather is good and it’s light I love jogging around the second one, up a path on its western side, across its northern boundary and then home on another path that emerges by some water works, leads to a huge recreation ground, then back to the A27 and west to home. This morning it was raining a little at dawn; as I emerged the clouds were breaking up and the low light made newly wet brickwork glow; forsythia intensified the light, contrasting with the sky’s greyness. Spring flowers must be designed to be visible to the insects they need. On the northern edge of the course I have to pause, for breath and to enjoy the calm, clean, fresh day. God’s grace is like the rain and light, cleaning and freshening me up for the day.

25 March, 2009

22 Mar

Is Rugby War?

  • Yesterday was odd; Marian was at a colleague’s wedding and the final three matches of the Six Nations Rugby Championship were showing on BBC1 in succession from 1.30 to around 7.00 p.m. Yielding to temptation like that was easy, especially as the final game was Wales v Ireland. Wales needed to win by 13+ points to win the championship, while Ireland needed a straight win for the championship and the grand slam, which they’d last achieved 61 years ago. At half time Wales was 6 points ahead and Ireland needed the talking to they must have got, because the second half was a high tension game. Finally, in the dying minutes a penalty kick by Wales could have given them a one point lead, denying Ireland glory. The ball fell short and Ireland got the championship and grand slam. What a finish! Hopping channels before the wedding guest returned led me to ITV4’s documentary on D-Day in 1944, which made me wonder whether the battered rugby champs were vicarious warriors for the six nations. We have had generations of relative peace in Europe, at least between nations. Today in Sydney airport two motor cycle gangs clashed, leaving one man dead. Aggression is deep in human nature, so thank the Lord if rugby has a safety valve effect. For me, though I am Welsh, I was able to cheer Ireland’s victory; just as well, as I have an Irish daughter-in-law.

22 March, 2009

20 Mar

I Still Miss NEO

On leaving paid work I decided to move into the world of Apple and leave the frustrations of Windows and PCs behind, but I still miss one program that is fantastically helpful. It only works with Outlook and it’s the Nelson Email Organizer, or NEO. At heart NEO is a set of instantly updated indexes of email messages; in reality it speeds the retrieval of any email instantly. And that’s what I miss. Apple’s Mailemail client is good and has many strengths, but I still struggle to find that email I know I had from old Jones… The trouble is Outlook is such a greedy space gobbler I am glad to have left it behind, with its proprietary file structures and arrogant remoteness from other worthy email clients with whom it refuses to speak nicely. But NEO…

20 March, 2009

07 Mar


Just had an email from a web-site that holds thousands of sermons, the vast majority of which I have never listened to, nor will I imagine. There’s a little graphic from a church in South Carolina, called Faith Free Presbyterian Church, a name that is crying out for a clarifying hyphen to eliminate the ambiguity. Or, are they just being honest?

7 March, 2009

05 Mar

A Discovery

Since retiring from Feba my only journey has been to Derbyshire for a holiday with my wife, Marian, last November (2008). We noticed how beauty, hills and proximity to wealth in cities made the proportion of 4x4s higher than in other places. Steep hills and a wintery imagination made Imagine this in the snow! a holiday catch phrase. The snow in February justified these beasts’ existence, though. A different journey this morning: Exploring the word outwith. Grace Community Church, my home church, will welcome a new pastor in April. He’s Scottish and has lived in France for 15 years, giving him challenges to begin to think again in English and get used to southern English ways. Erwin usedoutwith in one sermon at GCC. Another GCC member, also a Scot, usedoutwith since, whetting my curiosity. A Google search reveals this to be a word in current use in Scotland, even in a government web site about home schooling–children being educated outwith school, as it reads.Outwith means beyond or outside, just like the older meaning ofwithout. In the Victorian hymn There Is a Green Hill Far Away Without a City Wall, the hill is outside the city wall, as later editions of the hymn have it, not a plot subject to possible enclosure. It’s good to be on the journey still.

5 March, 2009