Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Joikuspot - a brilliant application

For the last 3 phones that I've had, I've spent some time working out how to connect my laptop to it over bluetooth, and then use the phone as a GPRS modem so that I can access the Internet while travelling. This hasn't always been easy, and I can only use my laptop - not multiple devices - as the connection can't be shared.

Yesterday, I met the guys from Joikuspot. I don't often endorse products on this blog, but I have no hesitation in telling you that if your phone has wifi (802.11a/b/g) support, then you just must get this free software.

What it does is turn your phone into a wifi access point. Simple as that. You get to choose what connection the phone uses to get Internet access, the AP name (ESSID) - which is prefixed with "Joiku_", which I think is fair enough - and WEP (64 bit or 128 bit), shared or open. I'm really, really impressed. There are further refinements coming, and a premium (paid-for) version on its way, but this is quality software, and it's free. I really can't recommend it enough.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I hate London

Had a meeting/event thingy there. Dull London. The weather was gorgeous when I left, horrid when I got there, and horrid when I got back, so I blame London.


Monday, April 28, 2008



(backposting) Which is what I did to a kerb in Castle Hedingham, which was a pain. I called out the RAC, as my jack wasn't up to the job, but a friendly person stopped who happened to have a proper compressor jack, and he helped me. I changed the tyre to the spare, then headed to Kwikfit in Sudbury, who did me a new one. And another to match it. In fact, they were getting a bit worn, so probably a good thing, but it never happens when you want it to, does it?

In the evening, I had my last tutorial with Alan, over a meal to which I treated him. I'm really going to miss our discussions, and I think he will, too. I've invited him and his wife to my ordination. Hopefully he'll wear his Salvation Army uniform, but I don't want to pressurise him into it if he's not comfortable.

Went to the doctor's for a nurse to check out my blood pressure. Quite good for me, so we don't need to up the dose of head-exploding pills. Seems that the reason I'm feeling so tired is that I'm just so tired...

And Miri's walking again. Properly, no help.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008


A busy day

Muffins for breakfast (freshly made by Moo), Disney princesses game (Wii - Jo and (mainly) me), hoovering, church (girls and me), scootering (Jo), lunch, bottle runs (recycling - me and Jo), drive to Braintree Freeport swimming pool (closed for a gala), drive to Halstead swimming pool - fantastic jumping in and even swimming by Jo, and swimming underwater, completely unfazed, by Miri - home, walk to the chippy for supper, only to discover that it's closed, drive with Jo to Sible Hedingham, fill up Moo's car with diesel, get some cash out, go to kebab/chicken takeaway, home, supper (chicken and chips and scampi for Moo), a few minutes of Mama Mirabelle's home movies (gotta love Floella Benjamin), bath (girls and Moo), bed.

Since then, I've put my phone back together (software, that it: it crashed and I had to hard boot it), and done an hour and a half of ironing. Now sitting down, watching Midsommer Murders.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008


Kentwell Hall

Those fish are scary. There's a moat full of them, and when they realise that you're going to feed them, they swarm. Very scary. Jo didn't mind. Moo did.

The little lambs were nice, and Jo loved them, as did Miri.

The lawn got its first cut today. As usual, I had to do a major dog poo clearance first. And as usual, as I'd left it so late, the first cut wasn't with the lawn-mower, but with the strimmer.


Friday, April 25, 2008


Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen

(backposting) Up at 0500. Flight at 0710 from Stansted.

Only we started taxiing, and turned back. Apparently all the lights were on except the last one. The one they needed to have on before they could take off. They found another plane. We left 3 hours and approximately 5 minutes late. I had an hour's meeting in the Copenhagen Hilton, over lunch. Useful meeting, but still.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008


Working agreement

(backposting) I had a meeting with the local SSM (NSM) coordinator and my incumbent, John, this evening. We discussed my working agreement. This is really important, as it's what governs what I do in terms of ministry for the next 3-4 years. Lots of discussion. The main issue is how I fit family (and work, but mainly family) around the ministry commitments. Given the amount of work that both Moo and I are doing at the moment, the fact that Moo's not generally a church-goer and the age of the girls, this is difficult. Hilary (the local SSM coordinator) was very helpful and creative, and we've got some ideas. But it's difficult.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008


New phone

Yesterday I got a new phone: the Nokia N82. Liking it, I have to say. Also wrote up an internal report and tried to work through some other stuff.

Took Buster for a (very wet) walk at lunchtime, which he enjoyed.

And upgraded my laptop to Hardy Heron.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Last seminar

Today was my last ERMC seminar. It was on ethics, including deontology (we follow do what's right, no matter what) vs consequentialism (the end always justifies the means). Obviously it's rarely as cut and dried as that, but many entrenched ethical arguments often boil down to these two approaches. Also the question of whether we can be told to love, and what laws and commandments are for, came up. Weird that it's the last seminar.

Went to Infosec 2008 during the day in Olympia, one of th emost difficult places in London to get to for an exhibition in my experience. Some leads, but not very much.

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Monday, April 21, 2008


All's well

Jo didn't go to pre-school, but was fine other than that, and so we're relieved. Did lots of work on a document that's due on Wednesday, meaning that I should be able to make it to Infosec Europe tomorrow.

Miri went to sleep nice and quickly: not so Jo...


Sunday, April 20, 2008



(backposting) The main part of the day - broadly, daylight - was fantastic today. We finished the cleaning and then I took Jo to church, where she behaved beautifully. On the way back she talked about how she'll be able to marry people when she's a priest, and how she'll be a mummy and a priest. It was really sweet, particularly "I don't think Mummy wants to be a priest". All this while skipping back home to see her godfather Matty.

Matty lives in Shanghai, and we've not seen him since Jo's christening nearly 3 years ago, so it was a real treat to see him and his parents, John and Shan, who drove him up. I met Matty just before my 21st birthday, which we spent in Paris together - it was the middle of the summer vacation, and I had nothing better to do - he happened to turn up (cycled from London to Cambridge!) the night after I asked Moo to marry me, and he was my best man. We get on really well, all of us, and it's sad that the distance means we rarely meet face-to-face these days. His parents are also great, and perfect grandparents, so went down very well with the girls. Having 5 adults around also meant that we all got a chance to chat to each other at different times, which was lots of fun and gave us a chance to catch up. Jo loved Matty, and enjoyed his use of my scooter while she cycled round Clare Country Park.

They left at 1700, we put the girls to bed (took a while), I went up around 2030 to get Miri down again - in our bed - and we were just gathering ourselves to go upstairs when we heard a "thump". Both of us assumed that it was Miri falling out of bed, and raced upstairs, but it was actually Jo. She was in a real state, and making a horrible barking coughing noise. Even when she calmed down, she was wheezing badly, and as it had come on so quickly, we phoned NHS Direct for help. They weren't sure, so called an ambulance to us. They took 20 minutes or so, but Jo was responsive and calm, if wheezy, so there was no immediate emergency. It didn't take them long to decide it was probably croup, and they left us around 2300, to much relief. Jo slept with Moo in the spare room, and I took a long time to get to sleep next to Miri, mainly just listening to her breathing happily to my side.

We're very luckly people.

Saturday, April 19, 2008



(backposting) Well, we'd not met little Frankie - Jim and Nina's new little one, and Florence's little brother - until now, but we drove to just the other side of Bedford and had a lovely time with them. Not the most welcoming pub in the world for kids, though I suspect it would have been better if the weather had improved, but it was great to see them all. Frank shares Jo's birthday, so it should at least be easy for us to remember when it's coming.

I was supposed to have a ministry meeting for SecondLife tonight, but was absolutely shattered, so we both went to bed early.

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Friday, April 18, 2008



I went into London again today to try to make sure that a deal we're trying to make happens will happen. Wasn't sure whether I'd be able to meet who I needed to meet, but went in anyway. Luckily, the person was available, and we had a very useful discussion. Got some other work done in a café on Waterloo station, and finished it off after the girls had bone to bed. So, quite productive, to be honest.


Thursday, April 17, 2008



Isn't it nice when you find that you've got rather more expenses due to you than you expected? Several hundred pounds more, for instance? I think so.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Synchroblog - Christianity and Social Justice

Anyone who wonders whether social justice should be on the agenda has, for me, to read the Gospel according to Luke. The Jesus - the Christ - we see there is intimately concerned with social justice of all types. But it's not that simple. There are some - particularly those labelled in North America as the "Christian Right" who don't have much time for social issues, or environmental issues. This is a generalisation, of course, but there is a movement which takes the view that the Kingdom of God is promised to us, and that it will come whatever we do, so we need to herald that, rather than work for it in terms of what we do. We are - in these terms - the Elect, and we just need to witness to that. This is the sort of theology which comes up with the seriously confused reading of the Bible leading to the "Rapture".

I disagree strongly with this sort of theology. The problem I have is that it's a completely future view of eschatology. Eschatology is sometimes called "the theology of the final things", and traditionally deals with resurrection, judgement, heaven and hell. Another way of looking at it is what is the Kingdom of God? Is it fully realised? That is - is it now, complete, but just restricted to God's chosen few? Are only those who profess the _right_ creed the ones who are enjoying the Kingdom of God here on Earth? I just can't stomach that.

The opposite view is the one that I've outlined. And both of them can lead to a refusal to engage with issues of social justice - and other issues around God's Creation. This seems so wrong to me. Just following Jesus' example means that we have to engage. We have to listen and to love.

I know that I've not really addressed any particular issues, but I think it's important to make the case for Christians having a responsibility to engage.


Synchroblog Synchroblog Today is a "synchroblog" on the subject of "Christianity and social justice". 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, April 15, 2008



Moo's spent the day on a course talking (among other things, I think) about work-life balance, and we've just spent half an hour on the phone trying to find some time with each other in the next two months. Not helped by the fact that the trip to Singapore that I'd tentatively booked ends up being over the second of the two Bank Holiday Mondays in May that I'll be travelling for.


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Monday, April 14, 2008


Lovely kids

The girls were just lovely today. Mel gave Miri some stacking cups, and she spent ages and ages putting them up, knocking them down, putting them inside each other, pulling them out: you get the idea. Jo was just lovely, and they were a joy to be with. Sometimes it's just great being a dad.


Sunday, April 13, 2008


Miri's 1st birthday

Lots of presents, and Jo even managed to let her open some of them herself. Well, when I say "some of them", what I actually mean is "she allowed Miri to assist in the opening of some of them".

At 0930 I took my last "coffee and worship" service/discussion at Little Yeldham. 13 people, including a few from Great Yeldham, which was a good turn-out. We talked about "vocation", the various forms it can take, and the various ways in which it can come.

After that, zoo. Some tears from Jo. Not helped by the fact that she managed to bite her tongue very badly over lunch. We fed the elephants, which was good: Jo even managed to do it herself. Just about to bottle out when the elephant decided that _she_ was committed to the process. Still, she enjoyed having "elephant snot" on her hands.

Miri seemed to have a good day, except for the teething. Enjoyed the books she got given (quite a few). And she does love her sister so much. Walking, talking, playing, crawling, hugging, kissing, she's a proper person and knows what she likes. Which is often food.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008


Pastoral work

Sometimes you need to reach out, and I offered someone on SecondLife my phone number to talk. She called, and we spent nearly 1 hour on the phone. Mainly, she just needed to chat, and that's fine. I actually can listen...

The girls have been away today with Moo at her parents. Mostly, I've been studying for my (last!) ERMC essay, doing lots of reading around the family and marriage, but I've also walked the dog, put the washing through, hoovered and general stuff. It's been lonely without Moo and the girls around.

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Friday, April 11, 2008



Check out the Ulfilas project. Good stuff going on, and it's interesting.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008


Catching up

Not just on sleep (though I did have a sneaky sleep: I was very tired, and only got home around 2330 last night), but also on a variety of work things. Yesterday's fun, another project I'm involved in, a contract we're hoping to sign, and a possible trip to Singapore which I'm probably going to have to arrange. I'm _really_ hoping that I can get a business class flight this time. Last time, I was very ill _lots_ of times, and in economy. Not much fun.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008


What a day!

A day when things took a long time to go well. When I tell you that I was ringing colleagues in Canada at 0400 their time, you might get an idea of how things went. But we got there in the end: all was working by the time I walked out of the door around 1745, and the customer was very happy.

Finished reading Marriage after Modernity by Adrian Thatcher. Very interesting. He makes a case for marriage being special - or different, maybe - because it's child-centred. He's very positive about other models, but suggests that this is the over-riding difference. What I like is that he's ontological about it, rather than teleological: you don't _have_ to have reproduction as the aim of a marriage, but that's more than often what it ends up being about, and it's the relationship type where it's most central. Interesting.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Off to Basle/Basel again

Never quite sure how to spell this, but caught a plane there anyway, in the afternoon/evening. EasyJet did me proud, and we were only a few minutes late, despite the fact that they had to do a serious clean-up of some passenger's vomit from the previous flight before they let us in. First on, first off, I was: the way it should be.

Picked up a hire car. Haven't driven in continental Europe for quite a while, but it was fine: no problems, and I'd slept a little on the plane, so I wasn't too knackered. Got the satnav working (after a while), and made it to the hotel in Freiburg im Breisnau.

Only snag was going via France: I trusted the satnav to take me on a non-toll road, though I already knew it wouldn't be a problem. Couldn't be bothered to reprogram it once it routed me through Mulhouse. So, 4 countries in one day. Again.


Monday, April 07, 2008


Good idea

Jo in the bath: Mummy, will you sing me the song about the dead people?
Moo (also in the bath): what?
Jo: the one with with the dead people.
Moo: what do you mean?
Jo: about going to sleep.
Moo: do you mean a lullaby?
Jo: yes. About the dead people.
Moo: ah. It's not _really_ about dead people.

It turns out she meant Kate Rusby's beautiful Who will sing me lullabies. I probably didn't need to explain about the subject matter when it came on the CD in the car the other day.

Jo came through with Moo as I was putting Miri to bed, singing quietly to her. "Good idea," said Jo.

On the subject of music, I thought that Jo was fond of music, but it's nothing to how Miri feels about it. She'll sing along to anything: dance, play, clap, everything. In fact, if you want to make her happy, put some music on your mobile phone, change it to loudspeaker, and let her hold it. You'll be handed it back from time to time, but not for long. Favourites range from Finzi's "God is gone up" to Messiaen's "Dieu Parmi Nous" via some bluegrass and the Benny Hill chase music "Yakety Sax".

If you don't know Kate Rusby, take the time to listen to some of her music. Here's another beautiful but devastating song: My Young Man. It's got a brass band on it, so it pretty much _has_ to be great.


Sunday, April 06, 2008


Man cold

Not very well this morning. Not helped by the fact that I was up late last night. Suddenly realised that we're supposed to be up with Kate and Mac next weekend for Miri's birthday, but I'm supposed to be preaching at 0930 on the Sunday morning. Whoops.

And I had a thought about work as well, so was emailing around 2300. Not perfect, but there you go. Got back to sleep again, much thanks to Moo, and a bit of paracetamol helped. A bit shaky during the day. Man cold, you see.


Saturday, April 05, 2008


Unexpected break

After a day filled with work calls, a children's party, a dog walk and a frankly disastrous attempt at potato waffles (not by me...), I was planning to attend a meeting in SecondLife, but it's cancelled (I guess), as the grid is down, and no logons are enabled.

A chance to read Ecclesiastes again, which I promised my spiritual director I'd do before our next meeting (which is next week). A chance to put my feet up which is all the more welcome for being unexpected. And I _do_ like Ecclesiastes.

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Friday, April 04, 2008


A hard day

A really, really hard work day. I'm not sure it's going to work out, but I really think I've done all I can. And I'm proud of what I've done: I've worked really hard.

Revelation Friday 5

Sally's turn to set the Revgals Friday 5 this week:
With this Sunday's gospel reading in mind, that wonderful revelation of Christ to the companions on the Emmaus road. I wonder where you might have been surprised by God's revelation recently.

So with no further waffle I offer you this weeks Friday 5:

How has God revealed him/herself to you in a:

1. Book
Recently? No Future: Queer Theory And The Death Drive - Lee Edelman. Just because I disagree with lots of it. There's some great theory, but it ignores the promise of Christ, and I'm looking forward to a writing a response.

2. Film

Check out Pangea day

3. Song
"I know that my Redeemer Liveth" - Handel's Messiah. A close call against "The trumpet shall sound", which, after all, has "and we shall be changed" in it. But the joy of the former is fantastic.

4. Another person
Miri. Just the pure, unadulaterated joy of the littlest things, even listening to "Yakety Sax" (the Benny Hill chase theme tune) on my mobile phone.

5. Creation
I went for a walk with Buster (our dog) the other day, and you could just hear spring being sprung. Nothing could keep itself still

Bonus answer: your choice- share something encouraging/ amazing/ humbling that has happened to you recently:
"And we shall be saved."


Thursday, April 03, 2008


Daughters round-up

(backposting) Well, we've still got two, but here are a few of the things that they've been up to.



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Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Poetry Party

A nod to Sally for this link to Christine's picture.

It’s heavy, heavy,
This Word.
I’m not sure I envy
the poor girl.
She’ll have to bear the birth
And the life
And the suffering
And the dying.
But He’ll rise again,
and that’s when
those earthbound
creatures can
know what we

And they will be changed.

Oh my God.
The wonder.
Oh. My God.


Christ is my business

Someone said this to me recently, and it struck a cord. I'm involved in business, and I think that the work I do isn't anti-Christian, or unethical, and the colleagues with whom I work closely actually have a very strong ethical stance on many issues. In fact, I think that the work we do can do a great deal of good. But it's about generating profit, and wealth, and is that bad? This is a long, hard question, and a big question. Surely wealth creation allows society to pull itself up into a better (more technological?) position? The problem is that this is rather a second or third order derivative: where can we find a close action which is good, and clearly Christian?

Well, I'm employed, and I can keep my family in relative luxury. We (our company - but we, our family, in fact) employ other people. We allow them to create wealth (and keep their families in relative luxury, too). And our products keep other people employed. And they keep yet more people's data and money safer, too.

Those are all good things, but how do they sit alongside Christ's commandments on money and wealth? It's been pointed out (by Richard Harries and John Atherton among others) that the Old Testament is a lot more positive about profit and wealth creation than the New Testament is often read as being. I just don't know. I find myself worrying, often, whether I'm making excuses for making money and being rich. I don't love money, I really think I don't. And, over the last few years, have less and less interest in goods for their own sake. And that's despite being a gadget freak.

So, I guess part of the question is whether we're willing to accept those second and third order derivative Christian outcomes. And how much are we willing to stand up for the first order effects damage that our work can cause? I really believe that the first order damage for my work is minimal. But then there are issues such as power consumption, environmental effects, etc.

It never stops: you can keep chasing the guilt. One of the things that Alan (who said "Christ is my business", and didn't mean it in this way) said was that we can't allow guilt to rule our lives. We have to live out the good, and make the most of that. Wise words from a wise man.

Burn them

On a lighter note, I took a quiz on Facebook today, to find out how Calvinist I am: "How Reformed are you?". It turns out that I'm "Truly Reformed". The outcome of this seems that I should be out burning Arminians, which mainly means my Methodist friends. Oh, well.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Moo and work

(backposting) Well, I wish Moo hadn't had to go to work, but she did. I know it was important, but still: she's really not well. Interviewing people, and if they find the right person, then it'll make her life much easier.

I had a long meeting with John, my training incumbent elect tonight: till nearly 2230. We got through lots and lots of things that we need to sort out, from how many services I'll be taking, what books and vestments I'll need, how often we'll meet: all those sorts of issues. It's good to have meetings like that: it's actually quite a good way to bond and create a team.

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