Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Jojo and Miri

Originally uploaded by MikeCamel

Dressed up and ready for New Year. Hopefully they'll in to bed at some point...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008



I'm still engaged in a very interesting discussion with a friend of mine who's an atheist. I'm not trying to convert her to my faith - nor she to hers, if it is one - I think she's trying to understand how someone she knew at school as a scientist (and therefore fairly sensible) is engaged in something which she doesn't get at all. She's given me permission to blog the discussion at some point, but I'd like to get further into it before doing so. I'm keen to give an honest explanation to her about my faith, too, and it's very good to have a chance to talk to someone from a very different place in terms of faith, but who's willing to listen and debate and try to understand.

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Monday, December 29, 2008


Time with friends

We met Kirsty and Matt in Cambridge today, at the giraffe restaurant in Cambridge. It's very family-friendly, and gave us all a chance to chat to each other while we took turns playing with the kids, reading them a book, or just eating. We don't spend enough time with grown-up friends (not that Kirsty or Matt are _too_ grown-up, you understand), but this was good. Very good.


Sunday, December 28, 2008



I ended up preaching at the 1000 team service in Gosfield today. I wasn't down to do it, but my incumbent was ill, and it was lucky that we even had a priest to preside over communion, but Viv had called the fantastic Clifford, and he stood in. I made an absolute hash of serving for him, but the fact that we needed to consecrate some more wafers wasn't down to me: although the sidesman told us how many were there, we had no idea how many wafers were already prepared.

The sermon went down well, though: at John's suggestion, I re-used one I'd preached in November about the death penalty, and how opposed I am to it (see blogs passim in November 2008), even for those who kill children. This in the context of Holy Innocents' day, of course.

So, it all went well, and Moo (who's not feeling well today), the girls and I headed out for lunch in a nice pub-restaurant.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008


Isaiah 6:8

I was going to provide a very short entry on how Miri managed to sleep for 2 and a half hours during the day, and then still went to sleep pretty fast tonight, but I was reading the daily evening office this evening, and the Old Testament reading was Isaiah 6:1-8. One translation reads:
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Who shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"*
As I was reading in an excellent book recently (which I'll review when I've finished it), few of the Old Testament prophets chose their jobs. Isaiah did, or, at least, he accepted the call. What a brave, scary thing to do. Today was the saint's day of St John the Evangelist. Yesterday of St Stephen, first martyr. They both chose, too, and things didn't end that well for either of them (well, apart from the sainthood, obviously).

One last thing: I was explaining the basic premises of the Disney film Dumbo to Jo, and telling her that one of my favourite Disney songs is "When I see an elephant fly". "It's sung by some crows," I said. "Talking crows?" said Jo, in absolute incredulity. As if, compared to flying elephants, talking crows were just a step too far.

*Actually, this is the NIV translation, with correction. The original reads "Whom shall I send", but "whom" is correct only for the dative, so I've correct it to "who". Or should that be to "whom"?

Friday, December 26, 2008


Jen, the sister-in-law

Originally uploaded by MikeCamel

With hand on chest, and antlers (plush antlers) on head.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Christmas Day

Merry Christmas everyone! We managed to sleep through to 0545, which isn't bad, and Miri had to be woken up 30 minutes or later, as we really couldn't keep Jo from the presents any longer. Father Christmas had left presents in the summer house, and they went down very well. Again, Kate and I took the girls to church - this time the 1000 - and after that we had some nibbles and opened the champagne. Presents, then, of course. Lots of lovely things: I think we've done really well. Things got a little loony by the end of the afternoon - despite Miri and I catching an hour and a quarter's sleep around 1400 - but the girls went to bed fine.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Christmas Eve

(backposting) Well, it's all very exciting, obviously. Though Jo, when asked whether she was excited this morning, replied that she was because she's going to see Turtle and Mouse on Boxing Day, and only mentioned presents and Christmas Day after that.

I've had a day of computer stuff, as it turns out that Kate's desktop (5+ years old?) died during a software upgrade last night. So, we went to PC World to buy her a laptop, via Maplin to buy an IDE->USB cable, and bought her an Acer in their clearance section. It's a lovely little machine, and the Ubuntu 8.10 ("Intrepid Ibex") install is so easy - I've only done upgrades before. I've so far been unable to get anything at all off her old drive: I suspect that it was that dying which killed the machine. Anyway, all working very well, and now Kate can work around the house if she wants to.

We (Kate and I) took the girls to a crib service at East Leake, which was packed, and which the girls enjoyed immensely. Glynis, the incumbent, very kindly allowed me to take part robed in the Midnight Mass, and I not only did the intercessions, but also served, which was a real honour, particularly as they have a deacon, Claire, who very graciously let me do lots of things which are, by right, her territory. I enjoyed myself so much, and would have been so sad if I'd not had the chance to take part in a service. Thanks to both of them. In bed by 0100...

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008



(backposting) Lots of work today. Lots of it. Yes, I'm still working. Everyone else went to Steam with Santa, which they enjoyed, and I didn't, but that was fine. Had a call at 1600 where I discovered that the project's on hold till we have an update next week, so that's that for now!

Speaking of updates, started an update of Kate's computer around 1700. It's _slow_, and I had to go back to it a few times for prompts, but around 2330, I decided it had really hung, and turned it off.


Monday, December 22, 2008


To the in-laws

(backposting) After breakfast, we headed off to Kate and Mac's. In the afternoon, they all went out shopping, etc., and I worked. Hmm. Not a big fan of all of this work around Christmas, but didn't take the holiday, so hey.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008


Celebratory service

(backposting) Today was the 40th anniversary of my father's ordination to the diaconate, and he officiated at a Eucharist at Cheddar, where he's a been a curate for the past 18 years. I deaconed for him for the first time, which was lovely, and all of the family came apart from Jo (who'd thrown up in before the service) and Moo (who stayed back to look after her). Miri came up and slept in my arms before I handed her back to Jim when I went up to serve Dad at the altar. It was just brilliant, and she was very well behaved. Some of my happiest earliest memories are of going up to be with Dad when he was assisting at services, so I'm glad that the girls are getting the chance to do it as well.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008


Christmas, early

(backposting) As we're going to be with Kate and Mac for Christmas, and we're down for Dad's 40th anniversary of his ordination, we decided to do presents and have a big meal. All the family were there, and lots of presents were exchanged. The nightmare was that I'd not removed the Flip camera from my Amazon wishlist after Kate and Mac had given it to us, so when I got it out to video proceedings (Kate and Mac had told us to open it early), Mum and Dad were a _little_ surprised. So, Jim and Nina got the one that had been bought for us. Whoops...

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Friday, December 19, 2008


To the West Country

(backposting) I _hate_ packing the car. Why do we need to pack so many things? Why so many presents? My criterion for a good Christmas is that we come back with presents that take up less volume than the ones we gave. I don't care whether they're more expensive, more exciting or the rest: it's all about volume.

We left after Jo's pre-school, and made it to my parents' by 1600. Jim and Nina arrived after Moo had gone to bed, with their kids, but as Moo went up around 2030, that wasn't difficult.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008



Today I've mostly been working on init ram disks, or initrd. This is how you boot up Linux machines, and usually you get it all sorted from whoever makes your distribution. Why would you want to make your own? Well, if you wanted to use capabilities of a system which aren't usually available at boot time, like some of the clever crypto stuff.

It turns out to be more difficult to get it all sorted than you might think. And then you think you have, and you haven't. It has, however, been a voyage of discovery, and worth a _great_ deal of geek points, particularly given what I'm trying to do with it, so I'm pleased. It's been slow steps throughout the day, but I got to the stage around 9pm when I was beginning to delete important files by accident, so decided that I'd better stop.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008


New York

So, it looks like I may be going back to New York next month. And possibly twice. The customer thinks I might be helpful, and is willing to pay, so... Moo seems happy enough, so that's probably what I'll do.

Jo was up a 0500 this morning, which is somewhat better, but far from perfect. I'm very tired at the moment, and think I need to accept that I'm still not very well, and that it's not just the remains of the cold. Glandular fever 14 years ago still seems to hit me very hard when I get properly ill, and slows my recovery, and I'm so tired so much of the time. St John's Wort and walks in the country-side help, but I need to look after myself.

Not that Moo's not tired as well, but she's being lovely and supportive

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Nativity play

Today was Jo's first nativity play, and she was the Angel Gabriel. None of the kids had anything to say: one of the teachers read out the story, and they sang along to / did actions to a bunch of Christmas songs and carols. But it was lovely, and she was so happy.

She was, however, yawning through most of it, and so were we. This could have been something to do with the fact that we were (all, including Miri) up at 0210 this morning, and none of us got a whole bunch more sleep, though Moo, bless her, let me get back to sleep for an hour or so after we all got up. Jo was in with me, Miri with Moo. Miri would burst into tears every time Moo told her it was still night-time. Jo came up with the line "But Daddy, angels don't sleep..." (and wouldn't be convinced that little girls who were going to be playing angels not only do sleep, but also _need_ sleep).

So, they're both knackered, and so are we.

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Monday, December 15, 2008


Back to morning

(backposting) I was looking forward to getting back into work, and a particular project I'm working on. Why, oh why does it takes so long to go through all the old email and get it sorted?

Went for a much needed walk in the afternoon.


Sunday, December 14, 2008


More gems from Jo

Jo: Daddy: what's a pedant?
(My job here is done)

Jo (tying an orange dressing-gown cord around the ear of one of her bears, who's allegedly been suffering from a sick bug for several weeks now): I'm tying the orange ribbon to her ear to stop her being sick.
Moo: will that make her feel better?
Me: is it an anti-emetic?
Jo: no, it's mine. It doesn't belong to anyone else.
(We suspect that she believes that she has an aunt about whom she didn't know before today, called "Emetic"...)

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Saturday, December 13, 2008


Quotes from the girls

Jo (part-quoting a poem she's learnt): If you may, if you might, stay up deep into the night. Asking God for gold and silver fishes. And if you're good, Miri, I'll give Daddy some of them.

Me: Jo, do you think it's better to ask God for money, or for happiness?
Jo: Happiness. And money.
Miri: 'ney! 'ney!

Jo ("reading" her Bible to Miri): A hundred years ago, God was born, then Jesus died.

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Friday, December 12, 2008


Just because



Christmas tree

It was nearly dark by the time Jo and I went to the (2nd) Christmas tree place, but we bought one and got it home. I put it up and didn't lose my right thumb. Did hurt though, and bled lots. The line "Oh, so you actually did hurt yourself," from Moo was _meant_ in good faith, I'm sure...

Sally asked about my PhD plans. They're not really plans yet, but I'm missing doing some academic work, and I have some thoughts that I'd like to be following up. They're on authority within Anglicanism: historical, present and future. How we form it, understand it, and negotiate it, and the sources: Bible, tradition, revelation, culture, etc.. I want to start doing some reading, so that's what I'm going to do.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008


Originally uploaded by MikeCamel

I went to Cambridge today, as I had a day off. I went to talk to someone about a possible PhD, which went well, and just because I like Cambridge: it feels like home. And it looked gorgeous today.

I also went to see my godson's carol concert today, which was fun. I'm a lucky, happy man.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Back at work

Just for the day. I've taken Thursday and Friday off, as I've got some holiday to use up and could use some time off. What to do, though? Might move my office across the landing. Oh, the excitement.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Off sick

Today I took the day off sick, which I really needed. 3 hours+ of sleep this morning and a quiet afternoon in front of the TV were just what I needed. The antibiotics are still making me a bit tearful ("It's a miracle" TV shows seem to be good tear-fodder, as do random moments in West Wing re-runs), but I'm feeling much better than I was.

I've been enjoying some good banter with a good friend, Nick Harkaway, on Facebook. I know I keep saying it, but you should really read his book, The Gone-Away World. You'll like it.

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Monday, December 08, 2008


Looking after the girls ...

... but not myself.

I had them for most of the day, Moo got back around 1530. Cough. Ow. Headache. Ow. Cough (again).

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Sunday, December 07, 2008


Back to church

I didn't get to church last Sunday, as I was ill, so it was lovely to be back today. I deaconed at the 0800, at which James presided. We had 3 in the congregation, but "where 2 or 3 are gathered together in my name..." It makes no difference: Christ's there.

After that we took the girls swimming, and in the afternoon we all went to the Christingle service at St Andrew's, Halstead. It's come to my attention that not everyone knows what a Christingle service is, but you can find some resources from the Children's Society by following the link. Basically, there's a service which revolves round the children in the congregation having a lit candle each, with the candle (the Light of the World) placed in an orange (the World), surrounded by a red ribbon or tape (the Blood of Christ) and with four sticks stuck into the orange, with sweets and dried fruit stuck on them (God's gifts to the world/the 4 seasons).

I was preaching, and invited the children to the front: "Sometimes during family services like this we have people moving around. Now, I'm going to be _very_ cross indeed if there are any adults moving around at all. On the other hand, I'm going to need some help, so it would be great if the children could come to the front to do that." I had fun, and I think the kids did, too. And Jo came and sat with me at the front of the church for the end of the service for the first time. I was so happy.

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Saturday, December 06, 2008


How to deal with a headache

(backposting) One way is to take a 3 and a half year old to a Christmas party where there are another 350 (OK, OK, maybe 35) other toddlers, a magic act and amped music. If you thought you had a headache before then, you'll find out whether you really did or not. To be fair, Jo and I had a lovely time, and it was lovely to see her enjoying herself so much.

Moo stayed at home with Miri who watched Enchanted (again) while Moo did work on a major tender for her job. It's due in on Monday by noon, and she's going to stay up tonight working on it.


Friday, December 05, 2008


And ... home

Slept for four hours on the plane, which made all the difference. And we landed about 45 minutes early, which meant that I got home nice and early. And Moo _did_ like the yarn, so I did well.

The other interesting piece of news during the trip to New York is that RIM is looking at buying Certicom, for whom I work. If they manage it, what will it mean to me? I don't know.

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Thursday, December 04, 2008


Another day of meetings

(backposting) More good meetings, and a flight back home. A flying visit (yes, actually), but very much worthwhile. I just wish I'd been feeling better for it.

Had hoped to meet a friend from Facebook/SecondLife in New York (she discovered I was there by looking at my Facebook profile), but she was ill, which was a pity.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Originally uploaded by MikeCamel

(backposting) We had meetings all day in an office in the Woolworth Tower in Manhattan, which had this great view. A good set of meetings, too.

Oh, and I also went and spent rather more than I meant to on some rather nice hand-dyed knitting for Moo, which I'm sure she'll like. There was a "Yarn Riot" in my hotel which people on Ravelry had told her about. Think I'll be popular.

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Originally uploaded by MikeCamel

Note the lack of move star princesses.

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New York, New York

(backposting) Not well today, really not well. Took what drugs I could, took the cats in to the vets for neutering (poor boys), went to pick up a possible new curate from Braintree Freeport station, had a chat and some tea, headed back home and decided that I was just well enough to make the trip.

The decongestants helped. Kuwait Airways was pretty good, and very cheap. Got in a bit late, made it to the hotel, walked to Times Square (to take pictures for Jo to show that Giselle from Enchanted wasn't there), slept for 8 hours.


Monday, December 01, 2008



(backposting) Well, I'm supposed to be going to New York on a 7 hour plane trip tomorrow, and I've got sinus pain. Really bad pain: up the right side of my face, and I'm really worried about what I discover from the doctor is called "barotrauma": pressure changes due to things like the going up and coming down in a plane. So, I went to see the doc (who's great), and he told me that although there are some decongestants that are contra-indicated with my hypertension pills, if I'm only using them briefly (i.e. just before the flight and a little before its end), then it should be OK. This does set my mind a little at rest.

Took the day off - mostly - in an attempt to get a bit better.

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