Wednesday, February 28, 2007


39 weeks

We had a hospital appointment this morning at Colchester, because Mum's tummy is rather big. We were a bit late being seen, but the consultant was very nice, and very unconcerned by Moo's size, given her history. But the plan is now definitely a C-section at 39 weeks. So, we've got a likely date - a week earlier than expected - and we know the method of delivery. That's fine, and it means we can plan a little more. We've got another appointment on the 21st March, and we should get a definite date then. All's well.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Work, work, work

(backposting) Which is good. Pleased that I'm able to.

I was reading the nativity story to Jo today (yes, I know it's Lent). We got to the birth, and she said: "I love baby Jesus." "That's nice," I replied, thinking how well she's got got the point. Then she said, "I _love_ angels." "Hmm, I thought - fair enough - but not _quite_ as theologically positive." It was when we turned the page and she said, "I _LOVE_ camels," that I began to realise that the theological wasn't top of her list.

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Monday, February 26, 2007



"He hath showed strength with his arm..." - thank you, Herbert Howells (St Paul's service). Just doing my 10 minutes in front of the (muted) TV. Mary really had some things to say - not that Simeon didn't, of course.

I was back at work today, and got lots done, although my voice still isn't entirely sorted. I was supposed to have a supervision with Keith today, but he's not well either, so we've postponed for a while.

Forgot to post yesterday that we had a midwife visit yesterday. Yet another midwife - we've had very little continuity this time, but it doesn't bother us particularly. On her advice, we're off for a check-up at Colchester Hospital on Wednesday. They're not particularly worried, but the deal is that if you're measuring more than 3 weeks off what your expected size is, you're supposed to go and have a check-up. Jo was big, too, but not as big as this one. Moo's 32 weeks now, and measuring 39. No wonder people are asking her how long she'll be at work for - and that she's beginning to get more uncomfortable.

A good friend of mine from school emailed me today to catch up. We've talked a few times over the past couple of years. She suffers from mental illness (there are more people around who do than you might expect), and not all of her family know. She has a supportive husband, though. I'm really pleased that she keeps in touch - she was such a good friend at school, and one of those people it would be a shame to lose touch with.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007


A tortured soul

No, not mine, I'm pleased to say. I thought I'd try to do my 10 minutes of devotional music today (as per my Lenten resolutions), and decided to listen to a little Gesualdo. He was a fascinating man - and, indeed, a tortured soul - and his music is at times heart-breaking. Just the stuff for Lent, so I'm sitting here with the Antiques Roadshow on mute in the background, typing and listening to "Ave Regina Coelorum" at the moment. I may have problems with some of the theology behind much of the Marian devotional music from the Roman Catholic church, but fewer problems than I did, and it doesn't stop the music from moving me.

I had a chat with Edward from ERMC tonight, about placements. It seems that things have gone rather quiet, so he's picking up the baton. There's a problem with finding anything on the mental health side, where I'd been thinking about spending my non-ecclesial (or social) placement, and we've decided to look instead at a placement to do with death and dying - an area where I have very little experience, and which I'd already identified as needing work. We're going to see if we can find a suitable funeral directors or hospice who might take me on. I'm very happy about this, and look forward to seeing what we can sort out.

Went to church (Communion) today for the first time in weeks - I've been away, or ill, or both, and missed out, which I've not been happy about. Dad, Kate and I all went to the 0800 BCP service at Great Yeldham, which I was very pleased to have made. All in all, it's been a more theological weekend than I'd expected. Partly because my Dad, my Mum and Kate all read the draft of my personal assessement - which I'll also be discussing with Keith tomorrow, hopefully. They asked some interesting questions, and I feel that I've managed to make pretty much all the points I'd wanted to make in it. We also spent some time over supper and before discussing who we'd have on our "5 people for Lent" list (which I blogged on yesterday). This led to some interesting suggestions, including Judas (!), Luther, Pope John-Paul I (not the second), Bill Shankley, Rafa Benitez, Kevin Keegan (the last three from Mac, my father-in-law), Gerald Manley Hopkins (yeuch!), John Donne, Shakespeare and Johnny Cash. I urge you to try it with your family and friends - it was quite an interesting exercise to find out what people think that they _should_ be doing, and what they ought to saying!

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Saturday, February 24, 2007


Journey through Lent

From Sally's blog: "As we take the beginning steps of our journey through Lent, who would we take as a companion? Name five people, real or imaginary, you might like to have with you as guide or guardian or simply good friend."

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Jo's birthday party

We had a lovely time. Kate and Mac turned up in time for lunch, and we were raring to go for 1400 (despite Jo announcing, dead on the hour, that she wanted to go up to her bedroom for a sleep). Milly (+ Kate and Graham), Digi and Kalila (+ Nik and Tosha), Ruby and George (+ Jason), Max (+ Elizabeth) and Sennen (+ Victoria) all turned up, as did Mel. Everyone got on pretty well (helped, for the adults, by some beer and wine - important that it was the policeman father who brought some of the former and started things off), and we had very few tears (none from the adults, as far as I could tell). The food was good, as was the company, so a good time was had all round.

Wish I could say the same about the rugby. We're 57 minutes in, and it doesn't look like we're going to win. In fact, a white-wash is still a distinct possibility.

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Friday, February 23, 2007


Parents here

Mine arrived yesterday afternoon, so were around today. I went to the doctor's again today. The appointment was to check my blood pressure - which is down to 120/80 (a huge improvement), and I also asked for help as to what to do about my throat and voice. Nothing other than a throat spray, and rest, so I'll do what I can.

Had a sleep in the afternoon, and then helped Moo a bit preparing for Jo's party tomorrow. Oh, and there's the rugby, tomorrow as well...

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Thursday, February 22, 2007



It's gone again. B*gger.

Had a cup of tea with Dorothy, Keith's wife, and whispered at her. Then went for a drive and visited the churches of Belchamp Otten (darling little cheery organ) and Belchamp St Paul (a jewel of a high Anglican parish church). In the former, played "My Song is Love Unknown", "Sleepers Wake" (Wachet Auf) and "The Day Thou Gavest", which cheered me up no end.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Bits and pieces - 2 and Lent

(backposting) The big news of the day is that today is Jo's 2nd birthday. Moo had to spend 5 minutes convincing her of this when she woke up, as we seem to have been saying for ages that it was coming soon. She finally got into it, however, and had lots of presents and cards to open, so she's been a very happy girl today. She was very good at saying "thank you" on the phone to various people, as well, which made us very proud.

I did some work today, as I've been feeling better, and had some voice. A few calls with a customer, and a few emails. I'm still not 100%, but definitely feeling better than I was. Let's hope this continues. I also got close to finishing my personal assessment for the year. This is important, as it goes to the bishop to check that all's on course for ordination, and to help in the selection of my title post (where I'll spend 3-4 years after I'm ordained, which is planned for Spring - well Petertide, actually - next year). I've printed off a copy for Keith to look at to see if he's got any comments or other thoughts.

Lent starts today. Moo asked me if I'm planning to give anything up. I'm not. I've got two resolutions, which are quite timely: to look after myself a little better, and to try to listen to some devotional music (whether classical or not, whether "officially" devotional, or just devotional for me) every day. That's what I need in terms of formation at the moment, I think.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007


"So poorly based" - reflections on Christianity and homosexuality

Adam commented on my post the other day on Dar Es Salaam, saying:

I'm not Anglican, but it troubles me deeply that the Episcopal Church in the U.S. is taking this stand against the entire Communion on a matter so poorly based in Scripture and tradition.

I take a different view, as I think is probably clear from other posts. I think there are a few points here. All of this post is, of course, my opinion. I could be wrong on points of fact, and you may disagree with my theology.

First of all, I believe that one of the interesting things about the Episcopal Church in the U.S. is that it is run along much more democratic lines than most of the other provinces of the Anglican Communion. For instance, it is committees who choose bishops, rather than other bishops, and so it's difficult to "impose" solutions on a set of people who are not all ordained, and not "under the discipline" of the church. There are arguments here that lay people may be more prone to being over-influenced by secular society. But the other side of the coin is that if the Holy Spirit _is_ moving through society, then people who are more free of the strictures of a fairly rigid hierarchy (the church), and will be better able to reflect God's revelation as expressed through the wider world.

The second point is that I disagree that they are taking a stand against the entire Communion. There are other provinces - the Church of England, for instance - where the issue of homosexual priests, bishops and lay people is becoming an vexed one.

Third, I don't agree with the suggestion that this is an issue "poorly based in Scripture and tradition". I would say that the view _against_ homosexuality is much less strongly based in Scripture than has generally been presented. And the tradition is fairly modern - there was a much greater acceptance of a variety of homosexual expressions certainly up to the Reformation than there has been until very recently.

Fourth, we should bear in mind that the church is splitting largely down what we could call "interpretational" lines. Those who are of a fundamentalist - or at least literalist - bent tend to interpret the Bible in one way, and those of a more liberal theological background (broadly of the "historical-critical" school) tend to be less literal. Of course, there are issues around tradition, as well: some of those who take a view which foregrounds tradition will tend to take an "anti-homosexual" view. That's the standard Roman Catholic view. But we should be aware that a number of the fundamentalist parties - often evangelical - are seeking to use the homosexual (which tends to be very emotive) debate as a point of contention. It's sometimes less about this particular issue, but more about how the Bible is read. We should remember that there is a broader political agenda (sometimes) at work here.

Last of all, one thing that ECUSA are doing is treating homosexuals with respect and love. Not just clergy, but laity as well. The rest of the Anglican Communion (with a few exceptions) have agreed that they should listen to homosexuals and treat them with love and respect. I don't see that happening. With rare (but heroic) exceptions, the message to gay people - lay and clergy - is that they are _not_ listened to, not respected, and not loved.

And I _know_ what Jesus Christ would have said about the last point, if nothing else.

A declaration

I'm fairly safe. Maybe I should keep my mouth shut until I'm ordained - I've certainly been counselled to do that - but I'm from a "safe" church background, I've got an solid, safe academic theological background, I'm (very happily) married with a child (and one on the way), and I don't even have a family axe to grind. But I care about this, and I hate the fact that Christ's love is not being shown. And I need to stand up.

And there are more important issues. Violence against women, povery, global warming, persecution of Christians, persecution of non-Christians, despair, mental illness - where do you start? Not, for Christ's sake, with what people do in bed.

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A church, and some music

Just when you think you're getting better, your body shows you that you might be wrong. I went back to bed this morning and slept for 3 straight hours. My voice is still wrong, and the coughing's still there, too. In the afternoon, I escaped to Sudbury and went to a little cafe run by a charity for people with learning disabilities. Popped into a couple of shops, and then headed back home. I found a church on the way, and sat and listened to music on my MP3 player. Tallis, Vivaldi, Whitacre. Don't know how long I stayed there, but it gave me some peace, which is what I wanted. There was a good Green Man carved into the font.

green man on font

Monday, February 19, 2007


Another week

The doctors have given me another week off. Hopefully that'll be enough to get me fighting fit again. I've got some voice back, but still don't feel great, and have a pretty terrible barking cough. I've agreed to be available for the odd conference call here or there if required, as the guys really need some support, but I'm going to try to be careful. On top of everything else, I've now got a bad shoulder, too, which is seriously annoying. I suspect it'l go as soon as I'm well enough to spend some time walking around and taking some light exercise.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007


Dar Es Salaam

At the moment, the Primates of the Anglican communion are meeting in Dar Es Salaam to consider what to do about the fact that ECUSA (the Episcopal Church of the USA - US Anglicans) have appointed an openly gay bishop and have sanctioned blessings of gay partnerships in churches. Lots of the other parts of the Anglican church (which doesn't have a central power-base, or legal authority, unlike the Roman Catholic church) are very upset about this, and have threatened schism (a break in the church). In particular, a part of the Anglican church calling itself "the Global South" has set itself up against ECUSA, although there are groups within the US (e.g. CANA) who are also against the steps taken by ECUSA.

There are a number of blogs around on this, including a good videoblog and recordings of press conferences at AnglicanTV. You might also want to check out Thinking Anglicans, which has lots of links, and Changing Attitude blog. The last, by the way, assumes quite a lot of existing knowledge about the people and positions - it's worth reading back.

One of the really hard things that's happened this time round is that a group of 7 Primates have refused to participate in Holy Communion with the others. This is down from 14 on a meeting at Dromantine 2 years ago, but is a shocking, shocking move: it's hard to think of a stronger statement that people could make as Christians.

You might also want to look at the Anglican Communion Official Website.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007


Yet again, sleep

Slept all morning. No, really - got up for breakfast, went back to bed, slept all morning. Feeling better in some ways, but it's scary stuff.


Friday, February 16, 2007


Shocking, shocking result

You know the Bible 100%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

Thanks to Sally for this one. I wonder how Ted would do...?


Thursday, February 15, 2007


A bit about Jo

I've been concentrating on myself a little too much, so here's some fun stuff about Jo over the past few weeks. Random facts, mainly.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007


More recovery

(backposting) Still with the temperature, but no hallucinations today. Which was nice.

Oh - yesterday was Moo and my 14 year engagement anniversary. I gave her some very random books and bits and pieces, including this book, which is hilarious (and not what you may think):

picture of book cover

Moo gave me three DVDs

I'm being very good, and only checking work email once a day. How's about that?

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007



I really don't like hallucinating, which is something that happens quite regularly to me when I have a temperature. So, the last couple of nights/days have been interesting. I don't tend to see things, just know that all's not quite right: for instance, all I wanted to do last night was sleep. But no - the "helpful Christian voices" wouldn't let me. Sounds lame or scary, but it's just a bother, to be honest: I know what's going on, and I'm not ill enough to be taken in.

Having been awake most of the night, this came along. Don't know whether I should really be posting it, but hey...

The Conversion of Saint Raul, or "reclaiming a poster boy"

(Coming to us in the near future, if we're not careful...)

Raul sat on the train, feeling rather pleased with himself. They'd got 6 new ones in London - of which 4 were down to him, and 1 of which he'd claim as an "assist" - and he had a good lead in Bristol, which is where he was going now. He'd got the relevant bishops' emails (sometimes, it seemed, provided somewhat unwillingly, but OAfJ knew how to pull the relevant strings), and he had some good contacts in the local media. In fact, the national - and even international - media were beginning to take notice of the work of Outing Anglicans for Jesus, and there'd been quite a scrum when Raul had thrown the last incumbent's vestments onto the muddy street outside the church and ritually burnt them, before handing him over to his bishop. Of course, it wasn't all high-church Anglo-Catholics, so you had to pick your desecration carefully, and one of Raul's favourites had been a nasty piece of work called Stephen, who'd finally confessed when the OAfJ had thrown his copy of "The Message" onto a bonfire in the church hall car park.

Just then, as the train passed through a tunnel, there was a flash of light. Raul was blinded, and ducked down onto the floor, sure that the train had hit something, and that the carriage would at any moment start to buckle. However, nothing of the kind happened, and he was about to get up, when suddenly he heard a voice.

"Oi, Raul. Why are you picking on me?"
"Jesus Christ," blasphemed Raul, "who the hell's that?"
"Right first time," said the voice, "it's Jesus, who you're persecuting. Now, get up, get off at the next station, and you'll get your instructions."
The other OAfJ officers with Raul were flabbergasted - they'd heard the sound, but couldn't see anyone. Raul, trying to rescue something of his dignity, got up from the floor of the carriage, but when he opened his eyes, he couldn't see anything. So they helped him off at the next stop, which was Bristol Temple Meads, the city station. They found a hotel, but he was completely blind for three days, and didn't touch a morsel of food or a drop of drink.

Now, in Bristol, there was a rector of a church in the city who was called Andy. The Lord called to him while he was tidying up after youth club, "Andy!". Andy took his mobile out of his pocket. Caller ID showed "THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY", which he was pretty sure he'd never set up in his contact list, so he decided to go with it. "Yes, Lord?" he answered.

The Lord told him "Go to the Hotel Judas on Straight Street and ask for a guy called Raul Tarsus, as he's praying. In a vision, he's seen a man called Andy come and place his hands on him to restore his sight."

"Lord," Andy answered, "you've got to be joking. I've seen this guy in the news, and all the harm he's been doing to the community in London. And he's come here with authority from the bishops to out and defrock anyone who's even remotely queer."

But the Lord said to Andy, "Get off your backside! This guy's my chosen instrument to present me to that post-Christendom society you're always on about, the media, and all those so-called "God-fearing Christians". I'll show him how much he'll have to suffer for me."

So Andy, somewhat against his better judgement, made sure he still had his mobile (in case God changed his mind on the way), put on a rainbow bracelet (might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb) and headed off to the hotel. They showed him up at reception - he had his dog-collar on, after all - and, full of trepidation, he entered Raul's room. He placed his hands on Raul, and said "Brother Raul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the train here, has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit." Immediately, something seemed to fall from Raul's eyes, and he could see again.

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Monday, February 12, 2007


Christians: choosing who to love

I'd hoped to spend some time on this, but as readers of entries passim will realise, I'm not at all well (update below), so I'm going to keep it short.

My intention had been to write from two directions:

  1. as Christians, we don't get to decide who we should love: we're supposed to love everyone (including ourselves). This includes people of whom we may not approve - and I'm thinking in particular of gay, bisexual or lesbian people. And gay, bisexual or lesbian Christians, too.
  2. we should maybe realise that other people don't get to decide who they love, either: and I'm thinking in particular of gay, bisexual or lesbian people. And gay, bisexual or lesbian Christians, too. God made each of us the way we are, and we must remember that Jesus told us to "love your neighbour as yourself", which means that we must realise that people must love the selves that God made them.
I'm not going to be drawn into the "paedophile debate": that's not about love, as it's not reciprocal, and is entirely about abuse. I'm talking about good, honest, human (and, through Christ's incarnation, divine) love.

Sorry to be blunt - I expect comments (though I may delay responding to them all until I'm rather better).


Today is a "synchroblog" on the subject of spiritual warfare. If you've liked what you read here, or, more particularly, if you didn't, and you'd like to read some other opinions, please visit one of the other participating blogs:


For those of you with an interest, I'm definitely still ill. Got around 2 hours of sleep last night, woke up with a temperature and alternate shakes/sweats. Doc gave me antibiotics and the week off.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007


Still ill

(backposting) Title says it all. Moo's being a real stalwart, particularly as she's not 100%, either.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007


No post

I'm only blogging because I do. Feel crap, low ebb, don't want comments, don't want email.

Intend to get anti-biotics, instead.


Friday, February 09, 2007



I've got:


Thursday, February 08, 2007


Homewards bound today

I was a bit worried, given all the snow that there's been, that I might not be able to get home tomorrow (the flight leaves today, gets in tomorrow), but it appears that the thaw is already beginning, and I should be OK. Well, OK to fly, at least. But I've managed to lose my voice again, which isn't particularly useful, as I'm supposed to be the booth host, giving out prizes, talking the talk, etc. Well, we'll see if I have anything voice-wise by 1500 local.

Moo's taken some lovely pictures of Jo in the snow, which I've seen, and I had a little chat about it with her (Jo) on the phone this morning. She told me that she'd made a snowman, which is cool, and then offered me cake, which was a little surreal. But nice, of course. I'm very much looking forward to seeing both of them. I'm supposed to be traveling next week, as well, but at this rate, I'm just not going to be well enough, so we'll see how it goes.

I'm aware that I've not been very theological recently, but there we are. If you want something that's likely to raise your ire - for one reason or another - you might want to look at this open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury and associated petition.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Yes, cold

(backposting) Except this time, it's about the cold that I've got, and which is re-establishing itself. I'm feeling pretty crappy, and generally streaming. Apart from not feeling very well, things went well today, and I had some good meetings. Bailed on supper - again - as I just couldn't cope with the thought of going out and being with lots of people in my current state.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007



(backposting) Apparently it's quite cold. -6C? Don't know what people are on about: we're forecasted 12C here... However, if there really is snow on Thursday at home, it might make my return journey home rather interesting, which would be bad.

Went to buy a new case today, as mine finally died on the way over. Didn't think to report it, so won't get any money for it, but a new one over here only cost $34.99 + tax (under $38 - around £18-£19), so I'm not complaining too much. I do, however, love to complain about the fact that over here in North America you never know how much something is going to cost you until you take it to the till! Sorry to shout, but this really exercises me. They don't put tax-inclusive prices up, and as taxes vary from state to state, you've basically got little chance to know what you're actually paying. Aaaaaaaaargh!

The show continues busy, and my MC work is winning plaudits (just being loud and myself in front of lots of people isn't _that_ difficult, but hey), so people seem happy. I'm full of snot and not sleeping well, but apart from that...

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Monday, February 05, 2007


RSA 2007

(backposting) I'm at RSA 2007 this week. Started yesterday evening, went well. We've got a great booth, and had lots of visitors: let's hope it continues busy for the rest of the week.

In the morning, I went for a long walk around San Francisco, encompassing the areas of Mission, Castro and some of Market. Castro was very interesting: it's the gay culture centre of San Francisco. Found some good books there, and got some badges, as I'd hoped.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007


If you're going to San Francisco...

... be sure to check with your boss whether he actually _did_ arrange an upgrade for you. Oh well, paid a small fee for some extra legroom, which helped, had a bit of a sleep, read, listened to some music, and watched the excellent film The Queen, in which Helen Mirren really stole the show. Rather a lot funnier than I expected, too.

So, it's 0207 tomorrow (or 1807 here, depending on your view of time), so time for a freshen up, then hopefully meet some colleagues for a beer and some food.

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Saturday, February 03, 2007


Jo's new bed

Si and D came round today, and Si (and Morgan, a bit) and I put together Jo's new bed, the last piece of furniture for her new bedroom. We've been clean to get her into her new room as part of her "turning 2" (soon) celebrations, because we didn't want her to think that she was being turfed out of her current room by the arrival of the new baby. She slept in it for her nap this afternoon, and we made the decision to move her into it today. We went to see our friends Kirsty and Matt in their new (well, in July) house in Cambourne, and Jo had a lovely time, but we got back quite late, and she was therefore very sleepy. It meant that she went down quite quickly - we'd been concerned that she might be a bit over-excited. So, she's now in her first proper bed. She looks so _small_ in it.

The midwife came to visit this morning (coincidentally, arriving just before Si and D had to head off, so we didn't get so say goodbye properly). It was Debbie, who looked after us last time: she's not been around before for any of the appointments, and it was lovely to see her again. Moo's 29 weeks today or tomorrow. And measuring 36 weeks. She was measuring 34 weeks this time last pregnancy, and second babies do measure bigger, apparently, but still...

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Friday, February 02, 2007


Things to think about

Had a very good supervision with Keith today, mainly about the reports that he and my tutor have written for this year, and what I'm planning to write as my personal assessment. He brought up some really interesting points. It's important, because it's as a result of this process that I'll end up in a title post (which I've mentioned before here). Here are some of the things that came up:

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Thursday, February 01, 2007



Dad's operation seems to have gone OK, but we're unlikely to know for sure until a month away or so. Thanks for the prayers.

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