Thursday, May 31, 2007


Suffolk Show

Today was the day of the Suffolk Show. Not the only day, and it's not as if we were all going. But Jo was going with Mel, and she (Mel) arrived around 0700 to pick up Jo: they were gone by 0730. And it was quiet. Yes, Miriam was around, but she was quite sleepy. We had a sleep, I did some work, had a bath, those sorts of things. It was fantastic.

Around lunchtime, Moo and I took Buster for a walk with Miri again. We're trying to make it a bit of a feature, as it's good for all of us, and we had a lovely time again. Moo did some more work, and the health visitor came around. She's happy with Moo, and happy with Miri (57cm long, 5.38kg heavy - just under 12lb).

This evening in front of the TV, I finally got round to writing part of one of my "Life and Service" module assignments. We were supposed to create a liturgy for a major festival (I chose Good Friday) for a congregation that we knew. The second half of the assignment is to discuss the decisions made, and I know where I'm going with that.

I wrote a liturgy for a service with Jo, for Good Friday. I'd constructed a little one off the cuff for Palm Sunday, after we missed the benefice service, and it worked very well, so I thought I'd try it again. Jo had just turned 2, for reference, and Miri hadn't yet been born.

Good Friday

A liturgy for Josephine

Instructions are in italics. All other words are to be spoken by the adult. It is important to be ready to adapt the liturgy to accommodate Josephine's reactions, or to follow up on questions.

Preparation: tell Josephine that we're going to have our own special service, walk up to the church together.

Enter the church with Josephine. Pick up a hymnbook.

Walk with Jo to the front of the church.

Sing “Lord of the Dance”.

Go to the altar rail, and sit down.

Kneel down on the altar rail cushion or a nearby hassock, and help Jo to do the same if she wants to.

Hold hands.

Give Jo a hug.

Stand up.

Pick up Jo, walk to the lectern.

One day, Jesus went with his friends to a garden near Jerusalem, but one of his friends was feeling very nasty, and when some soldiers and other men came, he told them that they should take Jesus away. His friends tried to stop them, and one of his best friends, Peter, even hit one of the men. But it's not good to hit people, and Jesus told him to stop.

So the soldiers took Jesus away, and they were horrid to him. In the end, a man called Pontius Pilate talked to Jesus, and asked him lots of questions, but didn't really understand what Jesus said. So he asked the people who lived in Jerusalem, and they didn't like Jesus either.

So Pontius Pilate made Jesus go on a cross. And Mary, Jesus' mummy, came to see him with one of his friends, and she was very sad because Jesus hurt lots and lots. And in the end Jesus died, and all of his friends were scared, and they went away.

Give Jo a big cuddle.

Let Jo down, lead her back to the altar rail, sit down on the cushion.

Include any suggestions from Jo.

Sit Jojo on your knee, give her a big cuddle.

Our Father, which art in heaven,

hallowed be they name;

thy kingdom come;

thy will be done;

in earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive them that trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation;

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

the power, and the glory

for ever and ever.


Stand up.

Kiss Jojo, hold hands and walk down the aisle together out of the church.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Reaching (and pooing)

Over the past few days, Miri's started reaching for things - and sometimes getting them, too. She's very smiley and interactive at the moment (when she's not asleep, feeding or crying, obviously), which is great for me, as I get some good non-asleep, non-feeding action - and some crying. She also had a poo in the bath today. With Jo. We played it down somewhat, and I don't think Jo realised, but it turned all of a sudden into a "why don't we have a shower?" experience.

Had a lovely walk with Moo, Miri and Buster over lunch. Lovely until it started raining, obviously, but hey - who cares?

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007



An odd thing today. I took Buster for a lovely walk in the evening and as we came up over the hill in the beautiful countryside, it suddenly began to sink in that in just over year's time, I'm going to be ordained as a deacon, and everything will change. I've known this for ages, of course, but in a week and a bit's time, it's the last ERMC weekend of the year, and after that, I'll be a 3rd year, and in the final stretch. I'll take responsibility with the other 3rd years in our group for the working of the gropu sessions. People will look to me for advice: I'll be one of the people who knows what's going on, and who's on the home straight.

Once you're ordained, you're never off-duty. There are responsibilities not only to God, but also to the whole body of Christ. All Christians have responsibilities, but once you've stepped up to the plate and accepted the vocation of priesthood - and the diaconate as well - you have a visibility, and have accepted that responsibility explicitly. I'm not sure how that's going to feel.

The other thing is that it looks like Anne, one of the members of group at ERMC, won't be coming back to us. It's not 100% sure yet, but she's a Methodist who's been refused further funding. The Methodist system is really hard, and we're praying very hard for her.

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Monday, May 28, 2007



I had a stroke of genius yesterday afternoon when we were trying to work out what to do today, knowing that it was going to rain. A lot. I suggested that we go to visit Jen, Turtle and Mouse - particularly as Kate and Mac would be there (helping out as Jake's in Hong Kong for work). We had to arrange cover for Buster, of course, but Justin was able to take him out for an hour at lunchtime, and Kim to let him out later in the afternoon, so that was OK. So, we set off when we were all up.

But we didn't wake up until - wait for it, wait for it... 0730. OK, so I was up with Jo for 45 minutes around 0300, and she ended up sleeping in the spare room with me, but still - 0730! And Buster didn't wake up till then, either, _and_ Moo did OK with little Miri, the smiler.

So, the day started well, and as Miri slept for almost all of the journey there, we arrived pretty fresh. Jo had a lovely time playing with Turtle all day, there was lots of sharing, and no pushing of Mouse, who's turning into a lovely, lovely child. It was lovely to see everyone, and the journey back was good, too. It did rain all day, as expected, but that didn't stop the girls going outside for half an hour or so in the late afternoon to play (and reduce the hysteria levels a little bit). Our girls are brilliant (as are Jen's actually). And we scored some watches, too - Jen works for Timex, is pretty high up in marketing, and gets lots of samples, so... And she doesn't need to feel guilty about it, either, as every watch worn is marketing.

Moo starts back at work tomorrow - working the equivalent of one day a week.She's looking forward to it, I think, and there are no hard hours, so she can fit it in as required.


Sunday, May 27, 2007


Renewal of baptismal vows

Went with Jo (who slept through past 0600 today, as did the dog!) to a service at Long Melford today which including a renewal of baptismal vows. Ian, the Rector, had worked very hard not only on the liturgy, but on the numbers. He told me that he'd personally invited at least 300 people, and there must have been around that number there. The service was very good, and even though, at an hour and a half, it was long for the younger members of the congregation, it all went very well, and there were things for them all to do. We all trooped past the font - and a mini-font for children - signing with the cross ourselves with the water that was there, and after communion, we were all given a candle, and they were lit from a flame which started at the Easter candle. We sang a hymn, and finished off the service with a blessing. It was a very good service, and I was very impressed.

After that, I picked up Moo and Miri and went went to Freeport, via The King's Head at Gosfield, where we enjoyed a very good meal (particularly the puddings!), despite some rather weird company on neighbouring tables... Only bought a pair of sunglasses at Freeport, and Moo spent most of the time feeding Miri in Starbucks. It was beginning to rain harder and harder, Moo lost it a bit with Jo (who was playing up), and we went home. Jo watched a little TV (CBeebies), and then, despite the rain, came outside to play on her new bike.

Once Jo finally went to sleep, I took Buster out for 50+ minutes. It rained very, very hard. No, really. My Akubra (hat), Drizabone (coat), Brashers and moleskins (trousers) did stirling service, but by the time the dog went into the lake, it was unclear whether it was making him wetter, or the other way round.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007


Got a bit pissy

Yup - was a in a bad mood some of today. We went to the seaside, and it didn't go well, though I was really looking forward to it. Miriam needed feeding, then cried, Jo asked if we could go home, I hurt my finger trying to stop Buster running off to play with another dog, and then I stormed out of the pub we were planning to eat in because they were being unreasonable.

So, don't feel very proud of myself, to be honest, but there you go. We also bought Jo's first bike today - with stabilisers and a helmet - and she's very excited about it.

We really, really need to sort out coordinated sleep patterns. This morning: dog, 0500. Jo, 0620. We're sleep deprived, and it's not doing anybody, or any relationships, any good at all.

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Friday, May 25, 2007


Back from Sweden

...where I've been for a couple of days. Helen, from ERMC, sent me a good "Make Music to Our God: how we sing the psalms" by Reginald Box SSF. Quite interesting - not many sections about how we listen, and the transcendence of the experience, though some. Box is very much interested in how to get congregations singing the psalms - my background is more in the tradition of having only a choir singing, but he had some points, and some good ways to encourage this that I really liked.

Theologically, I can see good reasons for congregational involvement in music in worship, but I think there are also times when just listening allows for the highest quality of music to be offered to God, by a trained choir. And although lots of people find this style of worship hard to take, for many others it's a way that helps them to reach closer to God.


Thursday, May 24, 2007


Spoke too soon

We lost. B*gger.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007



Milan 1 - Liverpool 0

Freak goal by Inzaghi. We're still in it.



Champion's League Final

This starts at 1945 BST. Liverpool vs Milan. Let's hope that they don't take us to penalties, as they seem to keep doing.

"Go 'pool!" as Jo and Turtle say.



Getting rained on

Today has been a beautiful hot day, with temperatures at least above 20 degrees Celsius. I took Buster for a walk at lunchtime, and as we'd been moving rather fast, and he was pretty hot, I let him have a swim in a lake nearby. I stood under a large willow tree - around 20m tall - and was somewhat surprised to find that I was being rained on.

There was a gentle, but steady, fall of drops from the tree under which I was standing - I've never come across anything like it. I went out of the shade of the tree, and it stopped: it was definitely coming from the tree. I wondered if it was respiration (which produces water) or some condensation from the air (though it didn't feel that humid). In the end, I sent this SMS to AQA (Any Question Answered):

I was just standing under a large (20m+) willow tree by a small lake. Although the temperature is in the high 20s Celsius under a clear blue sky, and it's nearly 2pm, the tree was dripping water on me, like light rain. Why? Condensation, respiration, or other reason?
I got the following helpful answer back a few minutes later:
AQA: The tree was losing water by the process of "transpiration" through it's (sic) leaves. On a hot day a large willow tree can lose up to 5,000 gallons of water.
That's nearly 19,000 litres of water, folks! I suspect that I knew about this when I did biology at school, but it was good to learn something nearly new.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007



While I remember, I said that I'd blog about a very nice place that we've been going to recently for coffee, brunch, lunch, etc.. If you're ever in the area, I heartily recommend Café Clare. Lovely people, lovely food, lovely atmosphere.

I had a supervision today with Keith. It was to cover topics that we were down to deal with in late February:

We went out for lunch, and had a very pleasant meal at a pub in Finchingfield.

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It's not all bad here. Today's been a fantastic day: Miri (and therefore Moo) slept much better, and although Jo had me up in the night - and at 0500 - I got some sleep later on. It's been a beautiful, sunny day, and Moo and I went for a walk with Buster and Miri during the middle of the day. It all seems _so_ much more manageable with a bit of sleep.

The other thing is something that I meant to mention a few days ago: Miriam is now smiling. I'd forgotten what fun it is when babies start smiling at you, and the joy it brings to one and all.

Last, but far from least, Jo is very funny at the moment. She's asking lots of questions, remembering pretty complicated things from quite a time ago, telling stories and playing lots of imaginary games. And sometimes getting things a bit wrong. I took her for a walk a couple of days ago, and we were going past a barn. In the barn we saw several scarecrows, and Jo piped up: "look, Jesus on a cross!". Well, not really. But she knows about scarecrows - they're in fields. And she knows about Jesus on the cross - that's indoors, so...

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Monday, May 21, 2007



I've just got back from the vet, where I took Meg. On their advice - which we'd anticipated - they put her down as she lay cuddled and peaceful in my arms, where she died. We'd had her since she was a kitten, in the year we got married - 1995 - and she was a lovely - if sometimes standoffish - cat. We're very glad that she came home, but she wasn't getting better, and we decided that any further intervention wouldn't have been fair. You have a responsibility to your animals throughout their life, and we believe that we've fulfilled that. I've now had two pets die in my arms, and feel very privileged to have had that chance: I wouldn't have it another way.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007


Church x 2

First time, with Jo to Long Melford. Walk with Jo and Buster, swimming with Jo after that. Second time to this evensong I mentioned yesterday. Bedtime apparently went pretty well, but Miri just keeps and keeps feeding.

Meg seems a little bit more lively.


Saturday, May 19, 2007


And really home, and Buster, and Meg

(backposting) We headed home in the morning, and had a pretty good drive home - Miri slept all the way. Meg's home, but not well at all, and although she's not eating, she's tolerating being given food via a syringe. We'll be taking her back to the vet's on Monday to see what's next.

Buster, on the other hand, is very well, and pleased to see us all. We suspected that he might play up a bit, but he really hasn't.

There was a message on the voicemail saying that I'm expected at a deanery evensong tomorrow night, to talk to people at vocation. This is terrible, terrible timing, as it's over Jo's bedtime, and as Jo's just not sleeping for long periods, that means that Moo will have to juggle them both. There was little getting out of it, and as Moo's likely to need to have to do this at some point next week anyway, she very kindly told me to do it.

Spent some time on SecondLife tonight with Lee, who seems to be big into it, and to have plans for making money.

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Friday, May 18, 2007


And back... (part 2)

(backposting) Got in to Manchester International Airport around 0900 GMT, had a car booked (with driver) and slept part of the way back. Jo was _very_ pleased to see me - as was I her. Little Miri's now back exclusively on breastmilk, but feeding very frequently (and long). She's also got a cough, and keeps waking up, so Moo is absolutely exhausted.

So, as Kate was out, I took Mac, and Moo, and Jo and Miri out to the pub. We had a good meal, and as we were about to go, Jo started playing up. I held her lower arm, she sat down and twisted. And was clearly immediately in lots of pain. And it didn't seem to go away, and I was pretty sure she wasn't faking it. We let her have a sleep, but it was still there when she woke up after an hour. Off to Queen's Med. They have a great paediatric A&E department, it must be said. Not, I'm very, very pleased to say, a fracture, but a "pulled elbow": a ligament which has twisted out of place. Common, it seems, and it was very, very easily fixed. So, the doctor fixed it, and we're all happy now. Poor Jo.

Miri has started tracking people and objects around. It's just a bit more interaction, and makes it all more real.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007


And back... (part 1)

(backposting) After a few last goes on the water slide last night, and a fairly early night (I'm not that stupid), got up after a fair amount of sleep and we had the last part of the Sales and Marketing Bash. It was pretty good - certainly very useful, anyway. The flight was at 1455. And long, like last time. Watched Happy Feet.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Christianity at the Movies

Because I'm a soft, bleeding-heart liberal with no backbone, I'm uncomfortable with blanket condemnations of anything. And films ("movies", for non-British readers) are one of those things that we Christians sometimes leap to condemn very quickly: when it suits us, anyway. It's difficult not to think about condemnation when the papers here in the US are full of the death of Jerry Falwell - a founder member of the so-called Moral Majority over here.

I feel that, like many texts - by which I mean pretty much any type of interpreted object - films are very slippery. They move, and change, and - for some reason I'm not quite sure - they seem to morph into different things more often than books, for instance, do. A film seen twice or three times is a different kind of thing to a book read twice of three times, it seems to me. I tend to react differently to viewings - more than I would to multiple readings - possibly because of the immersive quality of films, and probably also because of the use of music. So, films change their meaning - in as much as anything has meaning, of course - their referents are more difficult to pin down. This means that a film may "mean" one thing to one person, and quite a different thing to another - and that this significations are quite liable - and likely - to change between viewings.

I'm not going to try to suggest that some films - like some books - are not morally compromised: this is a particular danger and power of any medium which is so immersive. Nor is the opposite danger to condemnation not something against which we should guard: March of the Penguins is _not_ an advert for creationism. But we should be careful.

Sorry for a rather random post, but that's just what came to mind.


Today is a "synchroblog" on the subject of Christianity and movies. 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:

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007



This has felt quite a long way away recently, but it's resurfacing. Tomorrow is a Synchroblog. Also, today we went out for a meal just off the Strip in Las Vegas. On the way back, I sat next to someone who works for us as a contractor, rather than full-time, and mentioned that I'm training to be a priest. He asked which denomination, and when I replied episcopalian/Anglican, he mentioned that this is where he'd been brought up, though he currently goes to a presbyterian church. He immediately asked me for my views on the homosexual question (pro-, in case anyone's missed it), and we had a very interesting conversation about honesty and integrity.

Meg is a little better today, but it's still touch and go.

Please pray for a colleague of mine, Paul, who's been off for several months, but who I've only just discovered has had a lung transplant.

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Monday, May 14, 2007



Had nigh on 12 hours of sleep last night, which is fantastic. Got up to a text from Moo asking me not to ring her until past 1700 her time, as she would be asleep, so went and had a very leisurely breakfast with my European colleagues. They tried to convince me to go with them to the Grand Canyon Skywalk, but driving 2 hours each way for a chance to scare myself for a minute or so didn't seem like a good idea. I'm even happier with the decision now that I've seen what it looks like!

The main news, however, is Meg. When I phoned Moo, she told me that things really aren't looking good for her. She still won't eat, and unless they can turn things around over the next 24 hours, we're probably going to have to make a decision tomorrow. That may mean Moo having to make a call, depending on the timing, as I'm 8 hours behind UK time at the moment. Happily, Meg seems happy in herself - very purry and affectionate - but it will be very hard to have her put down, particularly as neither of us will be able to be there for her at the time.


Sunday, May 13, 2007


In Vegas

Well, just outside, in fact, at the Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort. 10 and a half hour flight, next to some at times rather rowdy Mancs, but not too bad. Watched the OK The Good German, and various bits and bobs, and listened to music on my phone.

The hotel's pretty nice, and there's lovely pool area with seating and drinks service, etc., which I've been taking advantage of. I'd assumed that noone else would be here yet, but there are lots of folks already, which is good. First purchases: factor 20 suncream (though I ended up using someone else's factor 30) and a "this is my lucky hat" baseball cap. The wife of one of the senior guys who's already here thought that it said "this is my funky hat", but I misheard her, thinking she said "this is my f*cky hat", so much hilarity all round.

Phoned Moo when I got in, and she's doing well, though tired. No formula - only breastmilk - for a day and a half now, which is brilliant. I'm trying to be encouraging whilst still giving her a let-out clause if she really needs it.

About to go and do some supper soon, then an early bed. I hope to stay up past 1900 local (0300 home), maybe even 2000, but I think that'll be my lot.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007


Off to Las Vegas

Well, tomorrow, actually, but we drove up to Moo's parents, and then I picked up a hire car from East Midlands Airport, and drove to Manchester Airport (when a direct flight to Vegas tomorrow am). First, Buster to kennels (he was very good) and Meg back to the vet. She's not really eaten for two days. They've taken her back, and will try to make her somewhat stronger. I asked if "we need to make a decision today", and was told "absolutely not today". So, we hope that she gets better soon.

Food at the Manchester SAS Radisson: rather disappointing, though it bigged itself up rather.


Friday, May 11, 2007



(backposting) I did some serious scripting today: it was difficult, partly because there's rather less API documentation available than I'd like, but I got a script done that I was rather pleased with.

Also today - Moo lost it a bit. She's really stressed about the amount of formula that Miriam's taken, particularly as she can't yet give her enough breastmilk. Surely there's something wrong with an hour and a half of feeding from the breast? Under duress (from me), she phoned a helpline, and ended up speaking to Jackie, one of the breastfeeding counsellors who she'd spoken to last week. Lots of support - but I still needed to take Miriam out for an hour this evening to allow Moo a bit of time to herself this evening for some packing.

I'm getting used to walking Buster in the rain - listening to music on headphones (renaissance sacred music is a _great_ counterpoint to the hilarious Goldie Looking Chain (not for the faint of heart or language).

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Thursday, May 10, 2007


Placement, miaow

(backposting) I had an _excellent_ meeting with Ian, the incumbent at Long Melford, today. I got a really good idea of what he's doing, and some good ideas about what I might have the chance to do with him. I've not mentioned the possibility of doing my title post there yet (maybe Ian will read this blog...), but it's all looking great.

New AP arrived - put it in bridge mode. Only works with less security than I'd like, but I'll fix that later. It'll just make me more careful than usual, which can't be a bad thing.

Something that I've been trying to avoid thinking (and therefore blogging) about is that we've not seen Meg for several weeks now - she only came back in once after being comprehensively chased by Buster. She's not _old_ old (she's nearly 12), but she's no spring chicken, either. She turned up today, out of nowhere, on a cushion at home. I had gone down to let Buster out, and there she was. I went to pick her up, unsure whether she'd still be breathing. She was just skin and bone, but breathing she was (Yoda, again). Moo took her to the vets, who decided to put her on a drip for a while. She's insured, which is good, but we're really worried about her.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Boss, health visitor

Today my boss turned up for a meeting. David and another colleague, Dan (who's no longer a long-haired geek, after a shocking haircut!) came along to a meeting with a customer we'd like to make even more important than they currently are. Dan and David headed off to London and Heathrow respectively after the meeting, and I went to meet Chris, and ex-boss with whom I try to chew the fat every 6 months or so.

Also today, the health visitor turned up, with a breast-feeding counsellor. Moo had to stop feeding on the left after she had more problems, but the counsellor was very helpful, and got her going again.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Back to work - and London

(backposting) One thing I forgot to mention about yesterday was the amount of rain we had. Of course, I walked the dog through it (neither he nor I care, to be honest). But we also lost power for a while, and it seemed to kill one of my Wifi routers. The LAN interface was fine, but not so much the Wifi interface. So, binned it was (Yoda).

I went London today for a work meeting, and managed to find the time to buy a new antenna as well. Good meeting - unluckily I was back after 2100, and didn't manage to walk the (somewhat stressed) dog - but the antenna didn't work well enough to sort things, so I ordered a new router, too. Rather more expensive than planned.

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Monday, May 07, 2007


Bank Holiday Monday

(backposting) There are good things about Bank Holiday Monday: it's a non-working day. Well: one good thing, anyway. The problem is that with our current problems, the bad outweigh the good. It's a day when, between us, we have to look after both the girls, with no help from Mel. And I don't have any excuse to go upstairs and leave Moo to it. This isn't very good, but it's honest.


Sunday, May 06, 2007


Sunday - and church?

(backposting) - no: no church. We managed to surface around 1215 - in that this is when we all left the house. We thought we'd try to catch a Newfoundland dog water skills day. So we drove to Mepal. I got it horribly wrong, and we never found the Newfs, but we had a good drive, and the girls slept, which has got to be a good thing. I accept all responsibility.


Friday, May 04, 2007



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Thursday, May 03, 2007


Things not to say

Said this a couple of days ago, forgot:

"So, did you wash your hair in the shower, or are you just sweating a lot?"


Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Lunch in Clare

Went with Moo and Miriam to a new little cafe in Clare, where we had a lovely lunch. Moo had a bit of a bad time feeding this morning, but we got over it. I also decided that I will be going to Las Vegas for a sales and marketing meeting, assuming that all's well. Moo's happy about it, on the same assumption.

Last night, I had a meeting with Holger from ERMC, and Keith (who's my supervisor for the course) to work on the "penultimate report", which goes to my DDO and bishop, and which is central to decisions about my title post - what happens after I'm ordained next year. No surprises, either in the meeting with Keith, or the one later with just Holger.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007


SecondLife developments

There's now a blog for the Anglican Cathedral in SecondLife. The exciting news is that we've been offered some money to buy an entire island to support the ministry, by a Christian (not an Anglican, as it happens) in New Zealand. Mark Brown (Arkin) is unsurprisingly overjoyed, and at a meeting (which I missed, unluckily), members of the "Anglicans in SecondLife" group agreed that we should go ahead with a purchase.

There is talk of services, more building, theology groups, the works. We're rushing ahead, which is fantastic, and trying to work out how to organise ourselves. It's going to be fascinating, and hard work - how to deal with the logistical, organisational, not to mention political and theological issues. What about a Eucharist, for instance? I'm really looking forward to being involved.

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