Friday, June 30, 2006


End of year, new car, The Road to Hell

Well, I don't think I made enough of it the other day, but I've really finished the ERMC year, now that I've written my end-of-year review. I just need to send it off, and that's it: done. I'm finished until August, and I'm a third of the way through the course, and only two years off being ordained. I've got a couple of friends being ordained on Sunday, so prayers for them please.

Got my new car today, after the insurance finally came through. New Clio diesel 106 bhp: very pleased with it so far, and it should average over 60mpg, which is fantastic.

Something I forgot to blog about for yesterday, which is that there are some severe temptations when you're away from home, away from family, with many things to lead you astray. And I nearly succumbed. I was truly on the road to Hell. Luckily, the taxi driver took the turning to the airport at Trondheim, instead, and I was spared the trials and tribulations associated with such a trip.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


And ... home!

Got up at 0500 Norway time (0400 UK), and got on a flight from Trondheim to Stansted, landing at 0820, 11 hours and 55 minutes earliyer than I'd originally expected to be home, which was a huge relief (it's that direct flight that helps, obviously). Went to work, finished the report, sent it for review, and went home.

Si and D's Frontera's clutch has gone, and the insurance hasn't yet arrived for my new car, which is due tomorrow. Could be a problem if it doesn't. Hmmm.

Mowed the lawn, had a lovely time with Jo and her friend Bailey ("Blailey! Blailey!"), who Carolyn had brought round, put Jo to bed after a bath (the former took some time), had a lovely barbecue which Moo and I ate out in the garden.

My parents are due tomorrow, and so is my sister-in-law Nina, but in a different way.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Flying back (part-way)

Finished the audit, caught an early plane from Mo I Rana to Trondheim, so I was installed in my hotel room by mid afternoon. Did lots of work on the report, and finished off the end of year review: I'm done! Sudoku, reading crappy fiction, early to bed. Moo's nana's broken her wrist, and isn't great. Spoke to Jo on the phone, and she finally gets that it's me, said "Hello, Daddy", and "bye-bye", and when asked where I was, said "at work".

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Audit, day one

(backposting) I'm in Mo I Rana doing an audit. Very interesting, good folks. Two motorboats and two snow-mobiles in the facility, and an anti-aircraft gun in the carpark, which is a bit odd, but hey. We finished fairly early, as the next stuff I needed to do required someone who wasn't there, so I started the report, and did quite a lot of work on my end of year review, which is my last task for ERMC for the year. Had supper with a couple of the guys, and then watched the second half of the France-Spain game.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Off to Norway

(backposting) Off to Stansted by 0645, to fly to Oslo, then to Trondheim, then to Mo I Rana. In the queue at Stansted, noticed that there was a direct flight to Trondheim, so managed to change my booking, and got to Mo I Rana about 5 hours before I'd expected to. A lovely flight from Trondheim to Mo I Rana over some beautiful, beautiful scenery - pity we were above clouds for quite a lot of the time. Had smoked ptarmigan followed by roast reindeer, for supper, which was lovely.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


1-0 isn't really good enough

Took Jo to Holy Communion at Stambourne this morning at 0930. Richard was presiding and preached as well - we took John the Baptist from yesterday, and he preached on the need to speak out, but to try to make sure that you're being true to the Spirit - not an easy thing to do.

We had Sophie (who's 27 weeks pregnant) and Steve (who isn't) over for lunch and the footy. We had a lovely time, despite the generally useless performance by England. What are they thinking? How long can we keep playing as if we haven't got a clue how to make game-play, but still winning? I just don't know.

I have one more piece of work to do this term, which is an end-of-term review, and I hope to get it done this week. Then that's it until the end of August.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Jo's language

Made a list of the words that Moo and I can remember Jo having said over the past few weeks. We've not spent long on it, and we've not included words that she's only said once, plurals or possessives of other words (e.g. "daddy's").

again, and, apple, atchoo, baa, baby, Bailey [a friend of hers], ball, balloon, banana, bang, bath, bear, bed, bee, bib, bike, bin, bird, biscuit, blueberry, boing, boo, book, bottom, bowl, boy, bubble, bus, bye-bye, camel, car, cat, chair, cheese, clap, clock, cuddle, daddy, dear, dog, door, down, duck, ear, eye, flower, gate, girl, got, hair, ham, hanger, hat, hello, hot, Jojo, keys, knee, lady, latch, leaf, light, loo, lovely, man, me, milk, mirror, mole, moo, more, mouth, mummy, music, nana, neck, no, note, off, oh [as in "oh dear"], orange, over, pear, plane, plate, play, please, poo, pop, potty, rain, raspberry, roar, round, run, shoes, sleep, socks, spider, splash, spoon, stairs, star, steps, stick, stone, stool, tea, thankyou, the, there, tiger, toast, toe, tree, tummy, Turtle [her cousin], two, up, upstairs, walk, wash, watch, water, wee-wee, whoops, work, wow, wrist, yellow, yes, yoghurt, yum

That's 134 words. She's 16 months and 3 days. I think she's a bit of a star.

We had good time today - Moo had an optician's appointment, we bought some phonics books for Jo, we went and signed the paperwork ordering my new car for next week, and then we went to the Leigh-on-sea folk festival. Not very big, but some good music. Jo had a good time, and had her face painted with some flowers on her cheek.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Taking personal responsibility

I was rather moved by this story of a man who discovered that one of his ancestors was personally responsibility for the beginnings of British slavery. He went to Africa and apologised: an excellent gesture.

Of course, is was a gesture: how much else can you do? But showing that you care, and that you realise that there's a personal issue at stake here, shows real love. Note the comment about God.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


George Herbert poems

Here are a couple of poems for Sally. The first reminds us that calling can be - and probably should be - a two-way process. I tend to sing it at weddings quite a lot. The second reminds us that however much we rail against our lot, and what we're called to do, that God's just there, waiting, biding his time for us to listen and be ready. The "collar" is a pun on "choler", meaning "anger"...

The Call

Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life:
Such a Way, as gives us breath:
Such a Truth, as ends all strife:
Such a Life, as killeth death. Come, my Light, my Feast, my Strength: Such a Light, as shows a feast: Such a Feast, as mends in length: Such a Strength, as makes his guest. Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart: Such a Joy, as none can move: Such a Love, as none can part: Such a Heart, as joyes in love.

The Collar

    I STRUCK the board, and cry'd, No more.  
                        I will abroad.  
    What? shall I ever sigh and pine?  
My lines and life are free; free as the rode,  
    Loose as the winde, as large as store.          
          Shall I be still in suit?  
    Have I no harvest but a thorn  
    To let me bloud, and not restore  
What I have lost with cordiall fruit?  
                        Sure there was wine   
      Before my sighs did drie it: there was corn  
          Before my tears did drown it.  
    Is the yeare onely lost to me?  
          Have I no bayes to crown it?  
No flowers, no garlands gay? all blasted?   
                        All wasted?  
    Not so, my heart: but there is fruit,  
                        And thou hast hands.  
          Recover all thy sigh-blown age  
On double pleasures: leave thy cold dispute   
Of what is fit, and not; forsake thy cage,  
                        Thy rope of sands,  
Which pettie thoughts have made, and made to thee  
    Good cable, to enforce and draw,  
                        And be thy law,   
    While thou didst wink and wouldst not see.  
                        Away; take heed:  
                        I will abroad.  
Call in thy deaths head there: tie up thy fears.  
                        He that forbears   
          To suit and serve his need,  
                        Deserves his load.  
But as I rav'd and grew more fierce and wilde  
                        At every word,  
    Me thoughts I heard one calling, Childe:   
              And I reply'd, My Lord.


Some bits and pieces

A few things that I've been meaning to put in...

Yesterday, Jo went swimming with a bunch of friends and Carolyn, our nanny (as they do most weeks), and apparently Jo was explaining to the other children that Mummy and Daddy were at work. This shows understanding of what we're doing, a willingness to explain and the ability to do so. Wow. We're getting to the stage where maybe 60-80% of what she says clearly means something, and, with some probing, you can usually find out what she's trying to say. It may be that more than that is actual content, but she's learning words so quickly that often she'll use a word that we didn't know she knew, and as her pronunciation still leaves quite a lot to be desired (!), it's often difficult to decipher. One of her most-used words at the moment is "luddle" for "cuddle". It means, for instance, that if she wakes up in the middle of the night, she can at least tell us what she wants (it might be that she's thirsty or has tooth-ache instead, for instance).

Gary posted a comment a couple of days ago about possible formations for the footy. One thing that I don't understand is, when there's a corner, or when we really, really want to defend a lead, why we don't move from, for instance, 4-1-4-1 to 10. Can anyone explain?

Word of the day: aibohphobia. Fear of palindromes...

Random music update

I used to blog what I was listening to during the day, but haven't done that for a while (I'll restart if people would like). Particularly enjoying today:

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Gary's blogging...

...and I hadn't even realised! Should have paid more attention, really, but you can find him at Gary's rather sad blog.

Pretty much decided on buying a new Clio diesel. It does over 60mpg, has a bit of poke, and should be good and reliable (I get a car allowance with my new job, so I need to make sure that I've got a car which will always be available). I really struggled with the "new/secondhand" thing, but in the end, the model I wanted's quite new, and wasn't available second hand, I need the reliablity, and 0% finance were all factors.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006



A bit of a shocker, really, but at least we topped the group.

Today, Jo said "I've got the keys: Mummy's". But then again, she often _does_ have them.

Car not well. Have decided not to have all the work done I could do on it, and to order a new one.

Monday, June 19, 2006


What a shitty day

Car broke. Tried to fix it. Broke more. Blood pressure still up, so need to double prescription. Boss' attitude to car being broken really didn't help [Ed: third edit, in an attempt not to offend too badly].

One of the few good things about the day was a lovely, touching and humbling end-of-year report from my tutor Alan.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Father's Day

Lovely day. Walk with Jo - four miles or so - church (I read the OT lesson and did intercessions, and Jo was very good), then to the Crown in Little Walden (can't find a website) for a great meal. Good food, friendly staff, etc. Then to Audley End, where we had a walk around, etc., though Jo started getting a bit frantic, mainly because she's got pain from her teeth (more coming through, we think). At least she can tell us, these days.

Even got Skype working with Dad, which is part of his Father's Day present (I gave him the webcam last weekend, but forgot the drivers, so sent the CD in the post on Friday).

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Godly come lately

We had a lovely day today. We took a day to be just the three of us, and, once Jo had gone to bed, just the two of us. It's been a while. Moo came in with Jo at around 0700, and I really, really hoped that she'd take her downstairs. This, apparently, was fairly obvious. In the end, after Moo had changed Jo, I called out, and decided to be awake. We were discussing this later on, this evening (while talking about theology - I'll get there), and I said that I thought this decision to be awake, and spend time with Moo and Jo, was actually quite godly. Moo's immediate riposte was "yes, but rather Godly come lately". I think that's brilliant, and I need to hold on to it.

So, what then? We decided that it would be good to get some breakfast at Dick's Cafe in Halstead. Moo thought that it probably wasn't open until 1000, but it took one hell of a time to find out, as there doesn't seem to be a website (no, really!). We had some toast, and then I took Jo out for a walk from 0835 to 0935 (or so), with her on my back. A good walk, and decent speed, and it was getting fairly hot by the end. We saw horses (one in a stable, which I stroked, and which nuzzled Jo: "lovely" she said, without any prompting), pigeons, a pheasant, a hare, rabbits, chickens, sheep, cows, partridges, skylarks, and more. It's fantastic living in the country, and Jo loved it. I only got stung once by nettles, and found a dock leaf fairly soon afterwards, which eased it pretty well.

We then went into Halstead, and had both had the full English breakfast. Well, Jo had some, too. Library, wander around a bit, Sudbury, new Waitrose (excellent!), Rafi's for curries, nice toyshop, passport photos, ice-cream, then home. Cleared the garden a bit, put out Jo's paddling pool, did some more garden clearance, got bitter that Moo wasn't, spent some time with Jo (her in the paddling pool), put out the garden furniture and barbecue, put Jo to bed.

Then it was the time for the barbecue. Officially the second of the year (as I barbecued with Mac a couple of months ago - see blogs passim. We both read over a (very nice) sherry for a bit while the barbecue warmed up: it was fantastic, and felt like the first free time we'd had with each other for nearly two years. Maybe that's unfair, but there's something about being outside of a summer evening in England which is enchanting.

Over supper, we talked theology. It's really difficult. Moo pushes me really hard, which I really enjoy, but she finds the church (particularly the CofE) very, very difficult to deal with her. She hates - and finds very wrong - the fudging that goes on over issues such as women priests (and bishops) and homosexuality. I don't like it, either, but I need to live through it and hopefully change it: I don't know how else to proceed.

I've alluded to this before, but it's easy to stand up and say "I believe very strongly that we should should have women bishops: it's an insult to women and to God that we don't." It'll make you very unpopular with some people, but it's fine.

But you can't say "Of course we should welcome homosexual priests, of course we should encourage them to live with their partners". I've been warned off expressing views like this, very strongly, until I'm ordained. So, I'd better keep quiet, hadn't I?

We're now inside, in front of the Best of Parkinson, and Moo says that the Guardian's full of articles about how the CofE fudges everything. I'd better read it, then.

Just discovered that the Guardian has a "Civil Partnerships" space near to the "Marriages" section: we approve.

Friday, June 16, 2006


Monitor, laptop woes, and perspective

My new monitor arrived today - a lovely, lovely, lovely 1600x1200 TFT from my new work. It's so, so nice (sorry, Sally). On the other hand, I'm getting a bit annoyed about my laptop: it came with a Canadian (US?) keyboard, and without bluetooth. I'm trying to sort this, along with IMAP access for my new work, which is a whole other story.

Today for lunch we went to a pub by the river and watched the Bumps. A good tradition at Cryptomathic, and one I'd like to get going at Certicom when (if!) we have some people over here.

Putting things in perspective, I was reading one of Sally's recent posts. I realise, sometimes, how easy I - and we - have had life. Sally - you're in my prayers.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Tutorial, footy, duet

Did lots of work on my profile at LinkedIn. Haven't done much with this recently, but discovered that the headhunter who contacted me for the Certicom job had found me via LinkedIn, so decided it was worth a little investment in my time.

In the evening, I had a tutorial with Alan. I'd not had a chance to do the exegesis - though I'd read the reading - but I had 15 minutes before the tutorial, and intermittent 3G, so managed to do a little preparation during halftime. Oh, the other thing was that the second half of England game was due to begin around the same time as my tutorial. I went in, lamenting the bad play in the first half, only to find that Alan had already decided to put the score on teletext. So, we watched out of the corner of our eyes whilst doing the evening's work. Alan popped upstairs to get a book, and when he came back down, the picture was put on (though muted). And that's the way it stayed, so we saw the two goals - or at least the replays. What a good tutor.

And then we played duets - very badly - on the piano.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Not well

Went into work this morning to move out of my office :-(. The colleague who's been on sabbatical is coming back tomorrow, and as we've hired someone since then, and I'm leaving in a month or so's time, it makes sense for me to move out. After that, I went home (pausing only to drop off my assignment at the new ERMC offices - yay!), cos I felt just awful. Last night (as the past few), I woke up very early, and generally slept badly, partly due to having a bad throat, so I was just feeling terrible. Slept for three hours at home, and felt at least vaguely human again (though the throat's still nasty).

Checked email, etc.: Peter's asked me to do an audit next week, but I'm not sure it's going to happen. I need clear days to write them up, and I don't think I'm going to be able to find them: the only possibility is really to go out on Tuesday night, audit on Wednesday and Thursday, fly back Thursday night, and write up on Friday. This leaves very little time for writing up, though, as I fly off to Norway on Monday. I'm not desperately keen anyway, given how much time I'm going to be away, but we'll have to see.

In the evening, Steve, a Financial Advisor, came to talk to us about our finances. We've been meaning to sort them out for ages, and the new job coming up seemed like a good excuse, so he spent some very good time with us, and should have some suggestions for us in a couple weeks.

Still trying to sort out decent email access for Certicom: it's taking a while. On the other hand, my new boss seems very happy with how keen I'm being in setting up my early weeks of the new job.

Jo language update

More on Jo. First, it's interesting to see when and how she pronounces certain words. For instance: why do we always seem to have "'at" for "hat", but she's quite able (and happy) to say "hat". Odd.

Second, she's getting very good at answering questions. Tonight, she's been waking up quite a lot, and, finally, woke up to the extent that we needed to go up. She's been putting her fingers in her mouth today, and we've wondered whether she's been teething. So, when I went up, I asked her if her teeth were hurting, and got a "yes", which I really think she meant. Also, this morning, I came upstairs with tea (for me and Moo) and milk (for Jo), and we sat in bed for a bit. Jo got up to wander round, and Moo asked me whether I'd locked the stairgate. I was pretty sure we had, so I said to Moo, who was on the landing: "Jo, could you see if the gate's closed, please?" I know she knows what the gate is, and, sure enough, she went out to the gate, we could hear her say "stairs", so she knew what was going on, and then she came back. "Is the gate closed, Jo?" I asked, and got the answer "yes". I think it's amazing. And she's still a week off being 16 months old.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Consider my cat Jeoffrey

For I will consider my Cat Jeoffry.
For he is the servant of the Living God duly and daily serving him.

I woke sometime before 0430, and failed to get back to sleep, largely due to the fact that Willum, one of the cats, kept clawing at the door. In the end, I decided that if God had decided to keep me awake by the agency of the cat, then he probably wanted me to do something, so I got up and wrote the project for the first year Theological Reflection. Nearly got it finished, and actually completed it this evening, and got everything printed out. That's pretty much everything, now, with the exception of the end of year report, which is due out for the some time at the beginning of July. What an enormous relief.

Monday, June 12, 2006



Spent the day doing bits and pieces at work, and the evening sorting Certicom things. Looks like I'll be heading off to San Francisco for a couple of days, and then going to Canada before heading home: a little under a week away from home. But I need to start off with a big block, I think. Also have been told to buy a monitor and keyboard for work: I know just what I want...

A good supervision with Keith: honest, dealt with lots of issues, including the lack of fellowship. Keith was supportive and pragmatic, and had lots of helpful things to say about ministry and his experience of it, which is exactly what I needed. He's also very understanding about what I can fit in, and what I can't.


Trinity Sunday

(backposting) Up pretty early, and managed to find a church nearby, the Good Shepherd C of E church, on Bishop Road, where I attended the 8 o'clock communion. A nice, friendly, quiet BCP communion, which I really enjoyed, though I couldn't say why, particularly. Nothing special about the service, the sermon, the congregation or the church: I just felt very calm.

A quiet start to the morning, and Jo was starting to get tired (having been to bed late last night), so Jim, Moo, Jo and I drove to the Downs for a walk. Jo walked a bit, then got in our baby rucksack on my back, and we walked a bit further. She then fell asleep - which was the point - and being unwilling to wake her, I decided to walk back to Jim and Nina's with Jo on my back, while Jim and Moo drove back. A nice walk - though some of it through town - and Jo slept all the way, even failing to wake up when we got home. So, I took the rucksack off, and left her in it, propped up against me while I read the paper, so she got another 20-25 minutes extra. A good walk: I always forget how much I really enjoy walking, particularly with the Jo on my back.

From about 1215, family started arriving: Hayley (sp?) (Nina's sister) and Giles, her husband (only recently back from honeymoon), Alan and Jill (?) her parents, my Mum and Dad and Polly and Lee, who'd not seen Jo for ages. We all piled off in 3 cars to the Delmonico Restaurant, where we had a good meal. The only real problem was the heat, and Jo kept having to get up to go outside as she was very wriggly and hot. But that's all part of the fun, and we had a good time.

Back to Jim and Nina's, where I had a brief sleep, and, around 1545, we left to go home. I started driving (which is why I'd had a sleep beforehand), and Moo slept while I listened to the football on Radio 5 Live. We hit some very slow traffic on the M25, and by the time we got to the M11, Jo was begining to lose it. Some classical music helped (Eric Whitacre, about whom I must blog soon - good, good stuff), but not enough, so we stopped at the Bishop Stortford services. After a nappy change, we sat down outside for a few minutes ("lorries!", "rabbits!", "cars!" - you get the picture), and then headed home. After getting our heads round things a bit, Moo took Jo to bed with her in the spare room, and I resolved to go to bed soon after.

Up messing with my new laptop till nearly midnight. Silly, silly. How time flies.

Jo language update

On a different topic, Jo's language is progressing so quickly at the moment. As well as understanding lots of words - and sentences - she now frequently asks what something is, and will then start using the word (stone, bus, step, flower, etc.). She now knows that all men aren't daddy ("man"), and that all women aren't mummy ("lady"), talks about boys and girls, and says please thankyou. She's getting very good at asking for things, and it's not going to be long before we're having rudimentary conversations. Most exciting at the moment is that she's started stringing words together, as I mentioned a few days ago, and has also started to use verbs: her favourite being "play".

I was astounded today over lunch when one of us said to her "do you want the spoon?" and she answered "no, don't want the spoon". Leaving out the fact that she didn't use a pronoun this is amazing! She understood what was asked, made a relevant, well-formed reply, used the definite article, and a verb. Cool!

Saturday, June 10, 2006


England *fizzle*

(backposting) Slept very badly, so got up and did some work on the laptop, which now dual boots XP Pro and Ubuntu. Oh, and yesterday I went to the nurse, and she gave me some anti-biotics for my eye, which need to be kept in the fridge. How dull is that?

Up fairly early with Jo, and left home around 0815 to drive to Bristol to see Jim and Nina (whose 30th birthday it was earlier in the week). Made fairly good time, and Jo didn't completely implode, so we were there around 1215. Their new house is lovely, and will be even better once they get the painting finished and some other bits and pieces done, and is in a good part of Bristol, by all accounts. We had lunch, and then Mum and Dad turned up.

Mum and Dad had suggested, earlier in the week, that we take Jo to Bristol Zoo in the afternoon, before, it appears, they'd realised that the first England game was on at 1400. Going after the match was a non-starter, as Jo would be winding down (or up?) for bed, so there was some suggestion that the women go to the zoo, while the men stayed. This didn't go down too well, for a bunch of reasons, including Nina's inability to walk very far (she's 37 weeks pregnant), and Moo's interest in the game. In the end, Moo and I had both independently decided to go to the zoo with my parents, taking the view that they don't see us or Jo very much, and so if they're up for quality grandparent time, we should make the most of it. So, sorted, then? Well, it would have been if Dad hadn't assumed that he was going to stay and watch the footy. I'm afraid that I applied some pressure, and in the end he agreed to come as well. We watched enough of the match to see the goal (after some 7 minutes), and then headed off, in a somewhat forced good humour (from the men, at least). Jim and Nina stayed to watch the footy.

Maybe we're spoilt with Colchester Zoo, but Bristol Zoo was fairly crap. Small, very few big animals (a couple of lovely lions, some gorillas and okapis seemed about the limit), and not much to do. The place was littered with men clutching radios, trying to find the latest score, and Jo had a nice time running around, but the fact that they're rebuilding the monkey enclosure (what have they done with them in the meantime - put them on ice?) meant that there really wasn't much to do. Maybe when Jo's a bit older and can enjoy bugs, snakes, etc., she'll get more from it, but not really yet.

We got home to discover that the match had been pretty crap, too, despite the initial promise, so both the zoo-goers and the stay-at-homes felt that they'd not had a very fulfilling afternoon. Jo, at least, had a good time.

Put Jo to bed at around her usual bedtime, and she had a lovely half hour nap. This seems to be a bit of a theme when we're away from home: she'll surface under an hour into the night, but will settle herself again if she's in an environment she's used to. If not, up she is. So, she came downstairs while we had supper, and then Moo took her up to bed with her. Nina stayed up a bit, and then went to bed, leaving Jim and me to play CD tracks at each other and drink their raspberry gin (do I never learn?).

To bed at 2330, but remembered evening prayer, so said that, and then to bed.

Friday, June 09, 2006


Two words

New laptop.

Be seeing you. Actually, congratulations to Tosha and Nik. That's about it. Back to the laptop.

Thursday, June 08, 2006



(backposting) Still not feeling great, and headed home early for a sleep. Felt much better afterwards, but still with a sore eye. It had been weeping during the day, and had been gummy last night, and Moo reckons it could be an eye infection which just happened to hit at the same time as a nasty cold. Seems possible, so I'll go and get something for it tomorrow at the Tesco's near work, as they've got a pharmacy counter.

Trying to set up video-conferencing accounts for us and our parents, but it's turning out to be a little challenging finding software that works on both Linux and Windows and is firewall friendly. I've got sipgate accounts, but I think that I'm going to go with the Windows Skype beta and just use that for now. Hopefully a Linux version will come out soon, and we can use that too, but Skype just seems more firewall friendly, and I'd hope that we'll have fewer compatility problems.

Wrote a long email to my new boss at Certicom, David, with options for virtual offices in Cambridge. The two realistic ones are St John's Innovation Centre and Regus, Cambourne. I weighed up the different options, and gave a suggestion, only to get an email back a few minutes later basically saying "you choose", which was nice. I felt that it was important to show that I'd been through the process, though. And the winner is: St John's Innovation Centre.

Sat in front of the TV with sausages, chips and fried mushrooms and watched the Fry and Laurie "Jeeves and Wooster" with a beer. The way it should be.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Well done Sheila

Sheila's got her own blog: well done! We decided at the weekend to get a group together in a blog-ring, and Sheila's the first of the new set to get it working, for which many marks.

I've booked some holiday time - or at least requested it - and so we're trying to book somewhere nice to spend it. We'd quite like somewhere on the coast, probably Norfolk. I'm a pain, though, because I really prefer a kingsize bed, and not everywhere has them.

Also, today I got back in touch with the Newfy people about getting another rescue Newfoundland dog. I really miss having a dog, I'll be at home lots more from next month, and I used to love walking Suzy. It's time.

Oh, and my laptop from the new job's ready, so they're going to send it on. Oh, yes.

Monday, June 05, 2006


Roles and masks

Had an interesting chat with Sally at London Colney yesterday about masks and roles (or vice versa). I said that I'd expand on it, and as she's just prompted me, I thought I'd do it now.

The way I remember it, Sally made a remark that we all have masks, then said that maybe we don't, but then re(re)considered and said that as we present different faces in different situations, we _do_ necessarily have masks. Or something like that. Anyway, I wasn't sure I agreed, and I thought I'd try to explain. I'm coming to this with a fair amount of background in sociology and related management theory, but I don't know that's good or bad! I'm sure there's some good psychological theory to apply here, as well, and although I have an inkling of some of this, and it might show through, but don't take anything I say as gospel 9as it were).

I'd say that a mask is something behind which we hide, and which presents a false - or partly false- view of our presonality to the world. There are times when we all need masks, in particular when we are vulnerable, but most people would say that reduced use of masks is a sign of maturity - though there may well be situations where most of us will find ourselves hiding our true feelings and presenting that falsity I mentioned above.

However, in most situations where we're fairly at home, or at least where we know how to react, we don't need to present a mask. That doesn't mean that we'll react the same in all situations, but just that we adopt different roles. At home, in a family situation, for example, it might be considered appropriate to cry when you receive bad news. In a work situation, this would in many cases be entirely inappropriate. But just because you react differently in different situations doesn't mean that you are adopting a mask - in fact, you're adopting different roles which are both true to your personality, and which are appropriate for different situations.

Much of the time, we do this automatically, but there are times when we behave inappropriately for situations. Sometimes we'll do this on purpose - for humorous reasons, or to shock - and sometimes by accident - because we've misread a situation, or when we're disinhibited by tiredness, illness, drugs or alcohol. An understanding of when to use roles - and when to step out of them (a business man or woman in a suit might not hesitate to strip down to underwear in order to save a drowning stranger) - is in fact a very mature skill to have.

I've rather assumed that maturity is a good thing, and in many situations, it is. But there are times maturity is best displayed by acting in an "immature" fashion - but here (I'd argue) we're really arguing semantics. Immature behaviour can be an example of a mature personality. Nor would I pretend that what counts as a mature personality is the same in all cultural settings, or that roles aren't culturally specific (they very definitely are - try adopting a role appropriate for a West Coast software start-up when visiting a German bank to discover this).

And I've taken a rather simplistic view of personalities, with implicit assumptions that our personalities are fixed and coherent, when they are often not. Also, I wouldn't suggest that we can always take a conscious view of role or mask adoption: in fact, I'd generally assume the opposite.

Generally, using a mask suggests that we are out of control, and are worried about presenting what we see as our "true" personality. It's very easy to use masks and not know that we are, and a mask can, presumably turn into a role as our personality morphs into a new configuration: at what point does a mask become absorbed into who we are, and when is that bad? I really don't have answers to these questions - and I feel that I've delved too much into amateur psychology as it is, so it's time to stop there.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Leavers, and home

A good service with Group D, at which we said goodbye to Ray and Janice. I'll miss them both: Janice has been a great friend, and Ray a rock in trouble.

A useful discussion on the new papers for next year (Esther), and spiritual direction (particularly useful: Helen). A communion service at which we said goodbye to all the leavers (and I was cantor for the Peruvian Gloria), and then lunch, then home.

Went to Si and D's for Morgan's birthday party (met Moo there - she had been coming back from her parents, where she'd spent the weekend). Jo had a lovely time, particularly on a grown-up swing, but Morgan was a little naughty. It was so good to see Si and D (and their family, actually): it's been a while, and we really miss seeing, and were beignning to worry that they didn't like us anymore. :-(

About to email Sarah, Andrew and Sheila to talk about setting up a blog.

Lovely to see Moo and the Jo. Jo's come on again: new words include:

Saturday, June 03, 2006


Silence and barn-dancing

(backposting) What a day of contrasts! It started off (as last night had finished) with silence. There was a set of prayer resources - based around the different senses - in the cloister garden, which was excellent. I was up rather earlier than I'd hoped, so spent some time there before breakfast. A silent breakfast was a bit weird, but good, and then a little more time in the garden. and then I decided to sit down and just write one of my assignments: the journal reflection. And I did! didn't quite finish it before the end of the silent period, so got it done that afternoon.

A very good session on practices that might keep one sane as a priest, and a couple of less convincing ones on spirituality and leadership. Then evening worship, then the barn-dance. I'd offered to play the violin - for the first time in maybe 8 years - mainly so I wouldn't need to dance. This worked very well, and we had a great time.

Stayed up a little later than I'd meant to - but not too late - talking to Sally, Sarah and Sheila. Sally, of course, blogs, but we've convinced Sarah and Sheila to blog, too, and we intend to set up a webring.

Friday, June 02, 2006


Karg-Elert, Franck and bluegrass

That's what I downloaded from emusic today, so that's what I'm listening to on my phone on my ERMC weekend. We're now in a silent period, though luckily the bar was exempt. Lovely to see lots of good friends again, and to feel some fellowship (see blogs passim), in particular Janice, Liz, Sarah, Sally and thingy whose name I can't remember. Him. The one who said he hadn't read this in ages. It'll come to me. Went to Balliol Oxford, but nice anyway.

(Remembered later: it's Gary, of course!)

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Life is good

A very productive day at work, Jo apparently went down to sleep almost immediately for Carolyn, and Police Academy is on the TV. How could we lose?

"You are going to learn, Mahoney, that nobody, nobody screws with me"

Oh, and a good tutorial with Alan.

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