Wednesday, November 30, 2005


The Wrestlers - and the Canon

Mike Bond came round to the office today, and we went out to lunch at the Wrestlers. We met Mark and Andy, and I had the red chicken curry. The canonical curry is actually beef (red, I think), but I was trying hard to be good diet-wise (particularly as I knew that Moo and I were due to have a beef curry tonight). It was good to see mark and Andy - it's been a while since we last got together. There's a vague plan to meet up for poker (and drinks, obviously) (and probably food, too) around Christmas.

Speaking of canonical issues (did you see the way I did that? Smooth, huh?), the Aichele book that I ordered (Control of Biblical Meaning: Canon as Semiotic Mechanism) arrived today, and it's brilliant. It's the book I've been looking for all term, and I'm definitely going to write about authority and the Canon for one of my assignments. The book is strongly based on the entire Christian Canon (with an accent on the Protestant Canon), which includes the Old Testament, of course, but this means that there should be a good chance for me to do some thinking of my own on the OT side. Good quote:

I like this book, and I feel like I've got the hook I was looking for this term, the intellectual focus that gives me a starting point to make the topics work within my discourse or - if you'll pardon the term - ideology.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005



Yes, that's the correct spelling. I set the alarm for 0630. Thought it was 0700. Jo woke up at 0500. Moo got her back to sleep in the other room. And then I woke us up half an hour earlier than required. Luckily we were all able to laugh about it.

A bitty day at work today - bits and pieces. Good stuff, though. And this even, with a bit of help from an outside source on a mailing list, I got something to compile that I want to play with for work, which I'm pleased about. Should get to start messing with it tomorrow.

Music today

Monday, November 28, 2005



Did some work on this week's Old Testament topic of the canon, including a piece by Child, which was very interesting. I'd like to see if the topic can be taken further, and have, at Holger's suggestion, ordered up a book by George Aichele called "The Control of Biblical Meaning: Canon as Semiotic Mechanism", which looks fascinating. I think that Aichele was one of the authors of "The Postmodern Bible" which I enjoyed a couple of months ago, and I'm looking forward to reading it. I doubt it'll arrive in time for me to read it before my tutorial on Thursday, but I'm expecting to write an essay on the topic, so I hope to use it to prepare for that.

Though Jo is sleeping through, she's now waking consistently between 0530 and 0615. This is much better for Moo, as she doesn't need to get up. However, I was beginning to sleep through the night-time feeds/wakings again, so sleeping in was good for me (Jo sometimes slept quite late when she was waking up). Heigh-ho - can't really complain. We just need to start going to be earlier again.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


Hi, Fi!

Fi, my godmother, has just started reading this blog. She hadn't realised before that you can go to one page, and it'll update with the latest each time you visit. And you can backtrack, too. I'm really pleased that she's reading it, so "Hi, Fi!". (Oh, and feel free to add comments!)

Went for a lovely walk today with Jo: around an hour and three quarters, so something a little over 6 and a half miles, probably. I walked to Ridgewell and back via Tilbury (plus a little extra detour), which actually has some up and down bits. It's one of the things about this part of Essex that I like: I used to find the lack of almost any hills around Cambridge rather oppressive, but we have rolling hills here. Jo slept for about three quarters of an hour, and then woke up a little before we got to some cows. We walked through the field they were in, and she got just so excited: "ba, ba, ba!" I noticed as we past some other animals along the way (squirrels, sheep, horses, dogs, etc.) that "ba" is her generic word for any kind of animal. In fact, she saw a horse before I did, and told me about it with a "ba" or two. I'd noticed her saying "ba" to the cats before, but it was interesting to see her being quite consistent about it.

Even more than that, over the past couple of days she seems to be using "mama" and "dada" in a more targeted way. Moo gets "mama", and I get "dada". Not all the time, and she uses the syllables in general conversation, but she rarely says "mama" to me, or "dada" to Moo. For instance, I popped out to the shop to get some milk, and when I came back, Moo said that she'd crawled to the door that I'd just left through, saying "da-da-da". Until she found a leaf to eat, of course.

So, the beginnings of language? I do hope so. I so want to be able to understand a little of what she wants to express. She tells us so much without words already, and I'm sure we'll get even more when she can begin to talk.

Saturday, November 26, 2005



As I was away at ERMC last weekend, I didn't get the chance for a decent walk. Luckily the weather cleared this afternoon and I took Jo for a good hour and half. I must remember to pack a map in her carrier, as I got the wrong path, and ended up further from home than I'd hoped. Moo came and picked me up, which was very kind, particularly as she'd been asleep when I phoned. We've got Si and D round for supper tonight. It's been a while, and we're looking forward to seeing them and hopefuly having a good natter.

Well, we did have a good (and very amusing) natter, which is good. Si and I (in geek mode) had a look at how long my walks have been. Today I did a little over 5.6 miles. The other weekend I did a little over 5.7 miles. I am, indeed, doing a little under 4 miles an hour, which suggests that I'm pushing it, which is, in turn, the plan.

I have to say again that Moo is a complete star for picking me an Jo up. Si and D are also stars, and we had such a lovely grown-up (un-child centred) evening tonight. They're so not allowed to move...

Friday, November 25, 2005



Our friends Si and D lost a friend this week to a traffic accident. And the father of one of my mother-in-law's best friends also died in tragic circumstances. And death, as you'll see from Si's blog, is a difficult thing to deal with. I really don't want to use this blog to try to counsel anyone (we hope to see Si, D and Morgan tomorrow, and although blogs are good for lots of stuff, this isn't one of them), but on the other hand, I want to endorse Si's view: things just move out of our control. He's also right in that he's a giver. And if God allows us to take joy in giving, then that's not selfish: it's living His will, which is the best we can hope for.

We'd met Si's friends a few times, and although we certainly didn't know them well, we knew how fond of them Si and D are. All we can do is support - as in the case of Moo's mum's friend - and I'd like to emphasise how strange - truly strange - grief is. It's out of our control, and that's fine, too.

It's feeling like I'm writing unhelpful nothingness, so I'm going to leave it there. We're off to my work Christmas party in Cambridge tonight, and leaving Jo for our first night out without her since she was born. The snow's not materialised (well, we had a few flurries, but that's all), so there's no problem in getting there, and we expect Carolyn (our nanny and tonight's baby-sitter) a little before we head off. I'm driving: partly because Moo did last time (she was very pregnant with Jo last year and though she could just about get behind the steering wheel, had no interest in drinking), partly because I'm on support duty, and partly just because.

Jo's being a star today: listening to Elvis (which she likes a lot), babbling lots and being mystified at why Moo's taken her outside into the cold air a couple of times to look at small amounts of white stuff falling from the sky.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


History of Israel - tutorial

That's what we're supposed to be talking about - not sure how long we'll spend on it, as we really need to discuss what I'm going to do in terms of assignments (of which I have two to write).

The weather seems to have changed, as promised, and we had a bit of a rainstorm come over around 1430, all in preparation for the snow that's supposed to arrive tomorrow. We have the office Christmas party tomorrow (yes, I know it's a bit early), and it's due to start around 1900, but if there's been lots of snow already - or it looks like it's on its way - I doubt we'll end up going, which would be a pity. I've already warned Peter, but we do hope to make it if we can.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


History of Israel

So, is it possible to write a history of Israel, or (like the US) is the dominant culture of the invading (and re-invading) people (the children of Abraham) so pervading that it's impossible to have a "true" view of all of the people of the area. Can there be a history of the area of Palestine? This is a question heavily influenced by Edward Said's "Orientalism" which certainly has a degree of merit.

On a rather different topic, we (Moo and I) were incensed by this story of a woman who was asked to stop breast-feeding her 28 day-old daughter on a public bench by a police officer. Apparently the police had received a complaint. What - that she wasn't being bottle-fed? That a breast was "on display"? It's disgusting that anyone should complain, and even worse that the police should follow up. The health service is trying to convince more women to breastfeed, and this sort of thing happens. Disgusting, disgusting, disgusting.


Music today

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Less fog

Pretty much says it all, doesn't it? The drive home took me nearly an hour and a half - double the usual time - and visibility was down to around 20-30 metres at time. There was a little fog on the way in this morning, but not much. I'm not sure what's up with Newmarket Road at the moment, but the A1303 was a nightmare today - and yesterday. Today I went up the A1303 a bit towards Bottisham, and then doubled back onto the A14, which was fine. Tomorrow I've got to take my car in for an MoT. Yet more expense.

Popped into Cambridge today to visit the Div Fac (Divinity Faculty) and get some books out (on the history of Israel in the Old Testament Period). They've now increased my borrowing rights from 7 days to 10 weeks, which should be an improvement. Interesting meeting this afternoon. Jo continues lovely, as does Moo. Not much else.

Monday, November 21, 2005



Lots of fog on the way to work today, and very cold (-2 degrees Celsius): the first ice on the roads today, on a little road across to Brinkley. It's the standard place for it, so I wasn't surprised. The fog's come down tonight, as well, so the drive home will be interesting (yes, I'm writing this at work today).

Never thought it would happen, but I ended up explaining some of the theories of atonement to somebody today! A friend who works in the company next door, had asked me this morning what I'd done over the weekend, and I'd told her that I'd spent lots of time learning about theories of atonement. She asked me what atonement is, and it went from there. We spent 10 minutes or so chatting, and I she said that for her, the most attractive model is the exemplar one (well, she said what she found most likely/attractive, and we agreed that it was that), maybe with a bit of solidarity thrown in. As she's agnostic, that doesn't surprise me. We also agreed a solidarity/exemplar mix is good management practice: you motivate people by showing them what you want done (exemplar), and also mucking in and showing that you're not afraid to do your bit, even when it gets hard (solidarity). This is clearly a gross simplification of two sophisticated theories of atonement, but it hit a chord with someone who was interested, and allowed her to think about an important theological issue in a way that made sense for her.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


ERMC day 3

Worship in groups, followed by breakfast (cooked breakfast - yum! - but I didn't have very much, as I decided to try not to break all semblance of sensible diet over the weekend), and then a session on use of atonement models in a pastoral context. Given my lack of pastoral experience, I was looking forward to this, and it was, indeed, very useful. We split the group of 11 into 3, and the subgroup of which I was a part discussed the use of different models in different situations: growing in faith, bereavement and dying among others. Before embarking, we discussed how to separate the different models, and we came up with 7 or 8 in the end!
  1. Christus Victor - trickery
  2. Christus Victor - defeat
  3. solidarity
  4. sacrificial lamb (Latin)
  5. exemplary
  6. forgiveness
  7. aquittal (penal model)
  8. ransom
Obviously, there's a high degree of overlap, but we felt that there were enough differences for them all to be useful. All in all, it was a very helpful session.

We finished off with a communion service, and then I headed home to see the (absolutely knackered) Jo and (not dissimilarly knackered) Moo. Took a little over an hour, which was great, and had a lovely time with Jo before she went to bed.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


ERMC day 2

A very interesting day on atonement today. First a double act by Mike and Holger, the former on the OT, the latter on the NT. There was rather too much overlap, and I suspect that with a little more communication between them, Holger might have been able to cut some material, and have had more time. I tried to follow his references in the Greek, which was interesting, and I had a side conversation with Ricarhd via paper notes. After that, a more detailed seminar with Richard on doctrine (the previous one was on the theory). I've found the weekend very stimulating intellectually, in particular the pieces with Richard, and I feel that I have a much better understanding of what's going on. Maree in particular gave me a new perspective on the exemplary model and how important it is in a pastoral context, and I made sure that I tracked her down to thank her.

A good walk in the lovely and chilly surroundings of the Pastoral Centre which, while I think of it, is that imposing building with a large chapel-shaped edifice attached that you always wonder about as you drive past junctions 12 and 22 of the M25. The walk was with Andy, who's training for URC ministry, and it was interesting to find out how it all works in his world.

After supper, and "Community Matters" (a catch-up on bits and pieces for the course and community), there was an "Alternative Worship" session, with a music group and contemporary songs/choruses. I stuck it out for quite a long time, but felt both uncomfortable and that I was getting nothing from it, so left. I was pleased at one level, however, because I was able to see a number of people who I have high regard for as ordinands, theologians and Christians really getting into it. This suggests to me that any suspicions I might have had that this style of worship is, basically, empty, were completely ill-founded: it's just that it doesn't work for me at all. It's just something that isn't me, and that's good.

Friday, November 18, 2005


ERMC at London Colney

After a lovely morning with the darling who is Jo, a good meeting in London with a customer, which raised lots of fascinating questions. That finished just after 2pm, and once I was back at Witham station, I started off to the ERMC weekend. I wisely avoided the M25, and arrived a little before 1730. Met my tutor Alan for supper before he departed (and a service), then into our first session on atonement. We were looking at different models of atonement in hymns, and were somewhat stymied by the multitude of different models and names for them. Angela, who's on seconded to our group for now, was very helpful, and straightened a number of issues out. We had some group worship, then some wine and cheese, then, against my better judgement, to the bar. Only had a pint, but good conversation. Although, being tired, I wasn't looking forward to this weekend, it's great to be with these friends again.

Thursday, November 17, 2005



Went to the doctor's today (Bill, who's great) to see if there's anything he can do about this sore throat that won't go away. He's come up with some ideas, which is good. He was impressed with how much weight I've lost (whilst agreeing that I could lose some more), and took my blood pressure. When I'd gone to the nurse for my last check, about a month ago, it was 130/90, which is _bad_ (it's the second number they worry about). Today, it was 140/80, which is _good_. Well done me. Losing weight, getting fitter and keeping taking ACE inhibitors (Zestril/Lisinopril, in case anyone wonders) seems to be helping. So, good news, all in all.

Still feeling cotton woolly and sinused up, but hopefully that'll go away soon. At least it's masking the sore throat.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Feeling sinusoidal

Yup, my sinuses are all bunged up, and it feels like my head might explode. However, apart from that, I've feeling relatively human. Still off to the doctor's tomorrow, as my throat's still not better, but could be much worse. I'm pleased to note that Morgan seems to be getting better.

Kate and Mac are around today, and are staying till Sunday. I'm off Friday evening to Sunday lunchtime at London Colney, for my latest ERMC weekend. I've done all the required reading, and am now looking at some other bits and pieces, though I'm not sure how much extended reading I'm going to get done. Not much else going on, really: Jo woke at 1130 and 0400, but just wanted a quick feed, and was straight back to sleep, so it wasn't too bad. I woke around 0630, and properly surfaced out of sleep around 0645, and spent the next 30 minutes just lying in bed next to a sleepy Moo, thinking about how happy and lucky I am, and thanking God for it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Feeling yeuch

Well, Jo slept much better in a warm room, and if I'd not started to come down with a cotton-wool head, I expect that I would have done, too. I feel pretty horrible today, and my mood wasn't helped when I moved out of the way of an oncoming car in a village on the way to work this morning and hit a kerb, puncturing my tyre. This required two new tyres, as the other front tyre was worn enough that there would have been a significant detail. We just don't need to be spending money like this, we really don't.

Had a good supervision (different to a tutorial, in that it's not academic) with Keith last night. I was knackered, and had completely forgotten that he was coming, but we opened a bottle of red, and had a good chat. We covered a variety of topics, including my favourite theologian (Calvin, which surprised him more than a little bit!), Atonement, and how things are going generally. He's not yet got round to reading this blog, but says that he'll try soon (hi, Keith!).

Music today

Monday, November 14, 2005


Cold sleep

Well, Jo was up to her old "waking several times in the middle of the night" last night. We think it was because we had the first cold snap of the year last night: it was still -2 degrees (Celsius) when I went to my car at 0845 this morning. The radiator in her room really doesn't seem to be working very well, so we're going to take a portable one in there and put it on a timer, which should help things. Really don't know if this is the issue, but if I were sleeping in a chilly room, I'd probably wake up a few times and have a good cry about it until someone came to fix matters.

Seems that Morgan and Si aren't well: hope you get better soon, chaps, and that D manages to steer clear of it all. Apparently she's got an assessment of her teaching today, so good luck with that too, darling. Oh - here's a thought: what does my godson want for Christmas? [You know that things have got really, really bad when you're asking these sorts of questions via your blog: Ed.].

Jo's latest? Pointing at things, holding things out to you that she wants you to take (she actually lets go), playing "hide the small object and be very excited when she finds it and pulls it out", and turning pages on books. She just loves this: I really don't know why, but if there's a page to be turned, she's well up for it.

Dentist today: 1 small filling (didn't need an injection), and a clean & polish. Fifteen quid forty. We love the NHS.

Music today

Just spotted this in our work loos. Lotus _really_ need to work on their brand reputation...

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Remembrance Sunday

Today is Remembrance Sunday, when we remember all those who fell - and served - in the two World Wars, and other conflicts. In our church, we start the service at 1045, with the "uniformed organisations" - Scouts, Guides, etc. - bringing flags. We then go outside with wreaths, which representatives of the organisations, the parish and the British Legion lay on the war memorial in the churchyard. We then have brief prayer, the priest reads out the names on the war memorial (1914-1918 and 1939-1945), and as 1100 approaches, a trumpeter plays the Last Post. We observe 2 minutes of silence, and then the trumpeter plays the Reveille. We then all process back into the church, and continue with the service of Remembrance.

I was asked to play the organ this year, and we had some good hymns, including "Jerusalem", "He who would valiant be", "Immortal, Invisible, God only Wise", and the first verse of the National Anthem. Although it's felt a little too jingoistic to sing, I played "I Vow to Thee My Country" as the processional at the end. It's just a great tune, and I wanted to play it (as I did last year), and Keith (our rector) didn't mind, so I did. I also saved his bacon a little, as I realised that he'd forgotten the National Anthem, so I launched in before he could finish the service. He seemed quite relieved at the end.

I've got my monthly supervision with Keith tomorrow, and we've agreed to talk about Atonement. I guess I'd better recheck what I wrote the other day at some point.

Another good walk today with Jo - maybe 6 miles, at a seriously good pace. Walked to Stambourne and Toppesfield, and around the village a little. Met Claudia (and little Stella) and Claudia's friend Sophie at the end of the walk, and we popped back to the farm to grab some of Claudia and James' beef. Must remember that we owe them seventeen quid.

Other things to remember:

Oh, but my life's exciting. Hope Morgan's better.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


The Vatican - and not

Two stories make a couple of inches in the Guardian today:

I've talked before in this blog about my views on Creationism (dressed up as pseudo-science with the term "Intelligent Design"), but I'm not sure how forthright I've been about the issues around Christianity and homosexuality. Today's not going to be the day that I go into this area in detail, but suffice it to say that even an extremely "robust" reading of the Bible doesn't seem to me to preclude from the Body of Christ - the church - someone who has "gay tendencies". Nor to bar them from leadership. It's not clear from the report above, but it may be that celibate gay men will not be barred from ordination, and there's a section which says that:

I'd certainly agree that no-one has such a right, and I note that, in selecting candidates for ordination in the Church of England, one of the criteria states something like "you should be able to respect the teachings of the Church on sexuality". If the Roman Catholic Church requires priests to be celibate - whether gay or not - then I'd say that this sits within that framework. To be fair, I have other problems with the Roman Catholic Church above and beyond this.

Friday, November 11, 2005


An alb

I now have my own alb, and, in fact, a girdle (or, it appears, cincture). It's my own, and Moo's birthday and Christmas present to me. It was tailored for me, and fits really well, unlike the one that I've been borrowing from my Dad, which is a little tight round the shoulders. I've been a bit worried that I'll be administering the chalice or gesturing during a sermon at some point, and that there'll be an enormous "rip" sound from the back of my alb. This should not, now, be a problem.

Had a meeting in London this afternoon, which at least meant that I got to spend the morning at home. Though I was working for much of it, I had some time with the Jo, and she's lovely. She's very, very close to walking now (big moves forward over the past couple of days), and has just got into pointing at things that she wants to let you know about. It's not just stuff that she wants: it's more that she wants to tell you about them. She'll point at something, and then chat for a bit about it.

Tomorrow we hope that the weather will be good enough to go to the seaside, but then again, it would have to be pretty bad not to. We were hoping to go with Si, D. and Morgan, but if Morgan's still got the 'flu, then it wouldn't be fair on the Plants.

Thursday, November 10, 2005



Jo continues to remember how to sleep. This is a Good Thing [tm]. Last night, she went to sleep at around 1845, and, apart from one waking for a feed at around 0345, slept through to 0745, when I woke her up by going downstairs to get some tea and feed the cats. This is the third night in a row where she's slept for a sensible amount of time, and I think her having got over her cold must have coincided with a new phase where she's ready to sleep.

Now, if only we could learn to sleep properly as well! We seem to have forgotten: partly because we're still tuned in to hearing every little snuffle on the monitor, to be able to dash into her room and comfort her before she wakes up properly, and partly because we've, well, just got used to waking in the middle of the night. And then early in the morning. I, for one, am waking around 0600 in the mornings at the moment - and taking a while to get back to sleep. If we can all learn to sleep properly, things will be fantastic.

Another tutorial this evening, this time on the Old Testament Apocrypha. I chose to read Judith, Additions to Daniel and 2 Maccabees (I think it was 2, not 1), as well as the supporting literature. I selected Maccabees because it's been used in the past as a theological foundation for praying for the dead, a practice which the Protestant churches (in which category I include the Church of England) reject (as they reject the Old Testament Apocrypha from the Biblical Canon).

Music today

Wednesday, November 09, 2005



I've just finished working on the Reading for the next ERMC weekend at London Colney, in a week and a half's time. The workload's rather high, I'd say, and there's a weird cross-over between the material that Mike Butterworth and Richard Morgan have prepared for us. I found Richard's material easier, as it's more to my liking in terms of how I learn. Mike's work is in the style of worksheets and a self-learning course. Richard's is more classic academic: having said that, there are times when it's a bit note-like. There are also times when he goes a little reflective, and first-person, but I don't mind that particularly, on reflection. :-)

The way that Richard presents the theories of atonement (and we'll come back to the word "theories" in a moment), there are four:

  1. Christus Victor - this sees Christ as victor over the devil, ransoming humankind from the debt owed to the devil by sin.
  2. the Latin theory - espoused by Anselm, this has God the Father sending God the Son to earth to right the injustice of a humankind enslaved to sin. Only by God becoming human (the incarnation) and also dying (though sinless) can humankind be liberated from sin. Justice is important in this theory.
  3. the subjective theory - God does not need to send his Son to redeem us: he is both merciful and all-powerful, and could just forgive. However, (to cite Richard), "...God shares our life and death in Jesus, to show us his love, to inspire us to love and trust, and to set us an example." This provides rather too weak a view of sin for my taste, and actually down-plays Jesus' sacrifice, I'd say.
  4. the solidarity ("recapitulation") theory - Jesus shares our lives (in solidarity with us), and our deaths, and fulfils (through a typological connection with Adam and Eve, and the cross as tree of life) the promise/curse of humankind.
  5. (vicarious (or representative) confession (or penitence) - so there's a fifth, but it combines part of the subjective and Latin theories (in my view, the weaker parts!))
One thing that I really don't like is Richard's associating te different theories with different (alleged) character types (e.g., apparently the Christ Victor theory might apply to the "paranoid", and the subjective to the "healthy-minded"). I'm really, really not convinced: although I know that Richard isn't entirely conviced, I think this is grossly oversimplifying, and I don't like pigeon-holing of "character types", particularly when they're very, very subjective.

So, where do I stand? I'm with the Latin, and Christus Victor views. I like the ransom view, and I like the injustice view. I don't buy the criticism raised against the Latin view, that God is showing inhumanity (not just unhumanity and divinity) and cruelty by causing Jesus to suffer. For me, this downplays the doctrine of the Trinity too much. I don't need the subjective view very much - partly because I'm happy to accept the Holy Spirit's prompting to us to love and trust, through the example of Jesus' death (which I'm also happy to accept as required for justice).

What about the theory issue? I think that Richard maybe holds a humanities concern over how scientists think about theories. At one point, he says: "Some so called theories were proposed in opposition to others. A 'theory' may[be] suggests a whole, a total overall understanding, [however much uncertainty there may be about details] and perhaps an exclusivity. [Compare: If you hold the theory of evolution, you exclude other theories]. Yet most Atonement theories are not mutually exclusive, and it may be that the most opposed are far closer to each other than their proponents imagined." (Richard's square parentheses, not mine). I don't think that if you "hold" the theory of evolution, then you necessarily exclude other theories. To "hold" a theory really suggest that you believe that it's the best fit for the available evidence. That doesn't exlude other theories: and you theories aren't rules, they're attempts for best fit hypothesis-sets for the evidence you have. As someone with a scientific and humanities background (and a post-modern bent), I'm happy to hold a variety of different "theories" in mind at one time, even if they have some contradictory aspects.

Music today


Congrulations to Tosha (and Nik)

Well done! A new baby bro or sis for Digi is on the way. Reading the post below, it seems that something that Tosha's been doing has forced undue pressure on Nik's back, so I feel very sorry for him...

Anyway: you'll have 2 under 2. Good luck, folks.

Jo's latest is sticking her tongue out as far as she can whenever she's concentrating. Usually she chooses the right-hand side of her mouth, and it's all a bit confusing when she wants to concentrate on something and she's tired, because when she's tired she tends to put her thumb into her mouth, and usually the right-hand side, too. We're not quite sure why she's started to do this, or whether it means that she's about to have another developmental jump forward (let's hope she doesn't learn to jump yet, please), but it's quite funny. Poor Jo: we shouldn't laugh at her. But we do.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


coding, coding, coding...

...set them doggies coding! Oh yes, what fun it's been to write some more code today. Having said that I wasn't going to have time to learn any Swing, and I went into town today and bought a book (Java Foundation Classes in a Nutshell - we love you, O'Reilly) for the company library, and that's what I've done. Gotta love it.

Of course, I had to choose my coding music carefully, so here's what I've listened to today.

Music today

Really must put some theology on the blog soon: it's been a while. I'm still reading "The Sacraments in Protestant Practice and Faith", which is interesting, and I've got a tutorial on Thursday, during which we'll talk about the Old Testament Apocrypha. In Borders today, I just managed to stop myself buying a paperback copy of Tyndale's New Testament. Looked very interesting, and it's historically very important. Much of the language he used in his translation (the first into English from the Greek - and, for the parts of the OT that he managed, form the Hebrew) made it into Coverdale's Bible, and then into the Authorised Version (what tends to be called the "King James Bible" in the US), so it's very recognisable.

Monday, November 07, 2005


tired again

Not feeling very well today: partly because I'm rather tired. In fact, though it took Jo a long time to go to sleep properly, Moo took her into the spare room for the night (after she woke around 11pm), and slept very well with her. I should, therefore, have slept very well, too, but don't seem to have done. Weird dreams, which I could half remember on waking.

Spent some of the afternoon at work coding Java, which I enjoy, but having to do GUI work, which I detest. I'll do some more tomorrow, and I'm sure it'll turn out OK, but it's not a good language for GUI work unless you're willing to got to the whole Swing framework, which is very heavy-weight, and which I've never learnt (nor will I have the chance to do so in time!).

Keith, author of the blog under the acacias commented on yesterday's entry, thanking me for my comment on the story "One faith, one baptism...two wives...?". The second part is up, with an explanation of how things were resolved, and it makes for interesting reading. Recommended.

Oy, Plant - what are you doing in Berlin? :-)

Sunday, November 06, 2005


More walkies

Took Jo for another long walk - I think yesterday was probably around 6 miles, and today's around 5. She sleeps, I get some exercise, and Moo can have some time to herself. I try to convince her to sleep, which she did both yesterday and today. She's brilliant (Moo is) at getting up in the middle of the night to deal with Jo, and she needs all the relief from baby-care, and concomitant sleep that she can get over the weekends. I do try to get up from time to time, particularly over the weekends, but Jo seems to need feeding rather often when she wakes up (more than we'd like), and I can't really do much to help with that. And, during the week, it's helpful to get enough sleep that I can at least drive to work safely.

As I write this, there are big, big bangs going off. Although yesterday was Bonfire Night, some people seem to have decided that they might as well let off some rockets and bangers tonight (as well, I think). So far, Jo's sleeping through all the bangs, somewhat to our surprise.

I preached at two churches this morning: Helion's Bumpstead and Steeple Bumpstead (really, folks). They're part of the same benefice, and don't have an incumbent at the moment (translation: they're in the same group of parishes, and don't have a priest attached to them at the moment), and were very grateful to have me come to preach. They even gave me money for expenses (which I certainly wasn't expecting), and, what's more, before I'd even preached, the churchwardens at Helion's asked me to come again to do their Christingle service (3pm, 11th December, if anyone is thinking of coming).

I preached pretty much the same sermon in both parishes, on John 15:9-17 ("Greater love hath no man", etc.), and talked about how the word used for servant is actually "slave" in Greek, and that the word used for commandment has overtones of "behest", rather than just "order". For those of you with an interest, the words are: ἐντολὰς (entolas = commandment) and δοῦλος (doulos = slave).

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Sophie and Steve

Went to see our friends Sophie and Steve in London. We've not seen them for a few months, and although Soph started off as a friend of Moo's from college, and we only met Steve after quite a while, we now all get on very well. We had one of those days where they only realised some 20 minutes before putting lunch on that it required a couple of hours of cooking time, so we ate around 3pm, but that was fine. We had lots of nibbles before then - and champagne and wine for those of us not driving - and it was very good to see them again. It took us less than an hour and half to get to them, and we should make the effort more often (they've been to see us quite a few times). It's good to get out of the house.

I made myself quite popular with Steve, I think, by fitting and configuring a new graphics card for him. He'd had at least one game that he couldn't play with his old card, and was pleased that it now works. Almost as good, he tried one of his older games, and it now looks absolutely fantastic, so I'm quite the star (I've decided).

Before we headed off, I took Jo for a lovely long walk - around 6 miles, I think. I'm being quite good about this whole exercise thing, and I'm quite proud of myself.

And on the way home (to jump forward a few hours), we watched lots of fireworks all over the place. All the fun of lots of big displays, with no big bangs to upset the babe.

Friday, November 04, 2005


Mozilla search bar

Just discovered that the mozilla search bar isn't just for Google: it's for multiple searches. In fact, my mozilla-firefox comes with searches for google, ebay, amazon, debian, ubuntu and more. I've also discovered that you can add or edit these searches, and have added and eBayUK. In the course of doing this, I thought I'd add one to search my blog. To do this, I looked at the "search this blog" at the top of this page, only to discover that it doesn't work (it strips a "/" out, if anyone's interested). I've told, so hopefully they'll fix it. I've been unable to work out how to get the blogger search facility to work from a firefox search script, but decided not to spend too much time on it, at least until they fix the problem I've reported.

Spent a fair amount of the afternoon using a variety of (completely legal) online tools and social engineering to get in touch with someone from a well-known multinational who doesn't even give out his phone number to the press. As I managed to get through to his voice mail, I feel that I won that one. (Ooh, homophones - they're fun).

Music today

I'm seriously unhappy about this: US decides to control the online world because they no best, no, really they do: they did a great job in Iraq. And Vietnam. And Korea. And at Watergate. And Irangate.

What _are_ they thinking? It's like saying that you shouldn't think about environmental issues now, because it might upset today's economic climate. WHAT ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN? AND YOUR GRANDCHILDREN? Calm, calm.

Doesn't the US realise that the rest of the world's economy has a stake in the Internet? I know that the US doesn't like the UN, but who else is there?

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Not a very exciting day

Got rather more sleep than expected, because although I only got to bed around 0000 (Poll and Lee were a little earlier than we'd predicted), and although I saw them off when they left sometime around 0540, Jo slept most of the night, waking only once, and staying asleep until 0700, which is fantastic.

The rest of the day? Not much.

Music today

Wednesday, November 02, 2005



Polly and Lee are turning up tonight for a very brief visit: they're just staying overnight. We'd expected them around 1700/1800, but it's going to be more like 0000. Moo's gone to bed - did around 2100, actually - so I'm staying up. They're leaving at something like 0515 on their way to Stansted, so we're not going to see much of them, to be honest. I don't think Moo's going to see them at all.

Today? Well, to round off yesterday, the Old Testament Seminar was excellent, and very interesting. Got home around 2240, but didn't get to bed before 2350: computer bits and pieces, including panicking when I rebooted my debian unstable box into a 2.6.14 kernel, only to discover that the raid array had disappeared. Luckily, rebooting into a 2.6.12 fixed it, but it was a real pain.

Had a meeting with some staff from a customer in London today, as they've got another project they want us to look at, and then had lunch with some other people. We ate at the Globe Theatre, which has a restaurant. Food was OK, view was excellent, over the Thames towards St Paul's cathedral.

Just printed off lots of reading for this week, and lots more for the coming weekend in London Colney, as part of the ERMC course. Not quite sure when I'm going to find the time, but needs must.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


under the acacias

Came across this today, and hope to spend some more time reading it: under the acacias (a blog by a missionary and photographer in Burkina Faso).

Music today


Find x

Maybe I ought to put more pictures in this blog. It's easy enough, after all. Here's one, for a start, which made me laugh. It came with the following text in an email around work:
    I attach the illustration I mentioned: to a lawyer, it's a cogent
    demonstration of the fact that the meaning of language depends on its
    context.  To a mathematician, it's no doubt a cogent demonstration of
    something about lawyers.

Made me laugh a lot.

I'm aware that there's a copyright notice on it: I'm happy to link to the original, but don't have it, though I've had a look.

An email discussion within the company about this (revolving around what words mean) led me to one of the great papers, which I've never read: Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences - Jacques Derrida. So, I've printed it off, and will see if I get a few minutes to read it before my OT seminar in Stowmarket this evening. It actually looks fairly approachable, for Derrida.

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