Monday, August 31, 2009


Beach time!

(backposting) Despite being up to nearly 2100, the girls still woke up around 0610. Moo and I slept really badly, and Moo kindly kept the girls quiet for a while so that I could get more sleep. Moo's lovely.

And breakfast started at 0800. Again, the girls did well. We headed off to Walberswick beach. Jumping in and out of waves, getting soaked, flying kites, all that. I love being a dad, I really, really do.

We watched the rest of The Wizard of Oz, the girls did really well at supper again, and we slept somewhat better. Oh: let me say it again: being a dad's great.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009


Services, and holiday

(backposting) I presided at two services today: an 0800 at Halstead, and a 1000 team service at Greenstead Green. I preached on the what the basics of Christianity might be at the 0800, and was just presiding at the 1000. Every time presiding is different, and that's still really exciting.

Then, after lunch, we headed off towards Diss. On the way, we stopped off at Bressingham Steam and Gardens, which Malcolm, Halstead PCC treasurer, had suggested as a good day out. The girls loved the Galloper (a carousel), and some of the steam exhibits. They also loved going round the gardens on a narrow gauge (or mini-something) steam train. As we were headed off, we found a big warehouse with lots of trains and carriages in it. Jo's first reaction was "boring, boring, boring" (spot the aspiring teenager), but she almost immediately got really into it. Of particular interest was a royal carriage with a bath in it.

We got to the hotel, whose main attraction for us was that they had one room with an adjoining side room which the girls could sleep in. We watched some of The Wizard of Oz, which Jo really got into, and then we headed down to supper. A proper, grown-up supper. With both girls. They did really well, and we were proud of them.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009


Windows and a party

(backposting) Not Microsoft Windows, obviously. But our windows. John, a window guy, came around to look at what we can do about the fact that some of the windows in the front of our house a) don't close properly, b) are broken (in that the glass is broken) c) will not, in their current configuration, allow for secondary glazing and d) are part of our house, which is Grade II listed. He had some good suggestions, and thinks that he can sort everything out. Hopefully it won't be _too_ expensive.

The afternoon was mainly given over to a party with one of Jo's friends. Jo was accused (by said child) of holding the egg during the egg and spoon race. I have video evidence that shows her doing very well until she drops the egg, at which point she picks it up, puts it back on the spoon and runs the last couple of meters whilst _sort_ of holding the egg on. But only because she'd just dropped it. I kept quiet.


Friday, August 28, 2009



(backposting) Moo doesn't know that I've bought the entirety of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD to arrive tomorrow. Oh, and we decided that we should try to stay overnight somewhere this Bank Holiday - Sunday night. Pity it's a) two days away & b) the Bank Holiday. I also decided to ask for Tuesday off as well, which would give us two nights.

However, Moo's found somewhere near Diss, and it's sorted. And my boss gave me Tuesday, as requested.


Thursday, August 27, 2009



A day of scary LDAP stuff. It went pretty well, though there's further to go. A long day, anyway, but at least it was at home, so I got to see the girls and Moo.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Getting interesting

Started playing with LDAP today, for work. Not something I've really been involved with before, and the set-up for OpenLDAP is _not_ simple, particularly with the "new style" configuration, but I've got it working, I can now connect to it, and I'm going to start seeing if I can connect it to our product. Good stuff, and interesting to be learning new things. As I did yesterday, actually - new architectural insights on the Appian product, which I'll be spending lots of time on in the future.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Baptism preparation

(backposting) As well as spending some time with John working on weddings and how I'll do them in Halstead, I had a couple of baptism preparation, too. They're planning to get married next year, and both she and their children are going to get baptised. I went through the service, and the more we talked, the more I realised that they didn't know much about Christianity, but also that they were keen to find out more. When, at the end of the discussion of the service, they asked if I had a Bible they could take away, I was really pleased. And I then took them round the church, explaining about some of the saints, and also about why Jesus was crucified: the basics of the atonement. It was fantastic to have the opportunity, and they both - the husband, too - seemed keen to find out more. It taught me that we mustn't make assumptions about how much people know about Christianity.

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Monday, August 24, 2009


In the office

I've been with the company for 4 whole weeks, now, and it was my first trip to the office in London. Busy, and I only managed to leave after 1830, but I got lots done, and met some of the other folks. Had a good chat with my boss over a pint before heading home, too. Things are looking good. The only sad thing is that I didn't see Miri today, as she didn't get up until after 0650 (when I left), and was in bed well before I got back. But I'll be working at home tomorrow, which will make up for it somewhat.


Saturday, August 22, 2009


Services - and hoovering

(backposting) I took two services today - both Holy Communion - one in Greenstead Green, and one in Gosfield. I preached the same sermon in both churches - or, more accurately, the same two sermons in each. I was preaching on the Gospel, John 6:56-69, where some of Jesus' disciples start to leave him, saying that his teaching is too hard. I first preached about how we have it pretty easy, and surely we have little excuse for finding living as a Christian hard. What one thing can we point to over the past week that we've done which we think is worthy of being Christian? And, after all, Peter said "to whom else can we turn?" And then I remembered that Peter was the same one who denied Jesus three times, and was then crucified. And then I thought how presumptious it was for me to tell people that they have it easy. There are many people in the world, maybe even in our pews, where people struggle not only with being Christian, but even with what it means to be human. And it's presumptious of me to suggest that I have answers for them. But Christ can help, and maybe doing one thing a week that we can point to, even when things are bad, is good in this instance, too. I've not explained it very well, but people responded well to it on both occasions, so I'm pleased.

Oh, and the hoovering. I started doing it, and then the hoover broke. How sad.



Home alone

The girls are away at Kate and Mac's this weekend, so I'm home alone. We started off the day driving to Sainsbury's, planning a lovely fry-up. We got there at 0735 - the shop opening time being 0730 - but the café wasn't open yet, so we did some shopping. And _then_ we went to the caf&ecacute;. No fry-ups. And no clue about anything else either, it seems. But I bought a pair of trousers and a shirt for work. And some food for the weekend.

Got home, had a sleep, did all of the ironing whilst listening to the cricket. We've set them a good target, but, well, the pitch is holding up better than expected.

I've also updated my home laptop to karmic alpha 4, had an Indian take-away, and am watching Chain Reaction. Amusing and moderately diverting, but not High Art[tm].

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Friday, August 21, 2009



A big day today, as we needed to migrate to a production server. Despite some set-backs, we got it sorted, which means that I should be in the office for the first time on Monday. Despite having worked for Appian for four weeks now, I've not made it into the office, and wasn't even interviewed there, so it'll be weird. There should even be some other folks from Appian EMEA in, which would also be good, as I've only met 3 of the others so far.

Moo's off to Kate & Mac's tomorrow, but I can't go, as I'm taking services on Sunday. But it'll give me time to get some rest, which I really need.

Oh, and I now have Windows working under Linux. What a huge relief. Needs some tweaking, but getting there.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009


Hands free

(backposting) I'm having to make a number of calls in the car at the moment, but even with a bluetooth handset, I'm not so happy about it. My current phone doesn't do voice dialling, which means having to touch the screen to sort it, which is bad. So today I bought and got fitted an integrated handsfree kit for my car. Much nicer.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009



(backposting) I really, really don't like Windows. It's partly that I've not used it for upwards of 10 years, so I'm not used to it, so I'm really not enjoying very much the fact that I'm having to use it for work. It was installed on my laptop, but more importantly, I need to use IE (Internet Explorer) as part of work. But I hope to have a way forward. I'm hoping that I'm going to be able to run it within Linux using VirtualBox. Possibly even seamlessly. We'll see.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Very tired

My boss was up in Huntingdon today. It was good to see him - he was away on honeymoon for the past two weeks - and to have a good chat. I'm tired, tired, though, particularly as the drive home was quite long. I had planned to go to a wedding rehearsal in St Andrew's, Halstead, but was just too tired, so stayed at home and did some geekery - some work, some not.

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Monday, August 17, 2009


Planning migration

Work today working on system migration and deployment. Did some work on the Wii Fitness, and really enjoy the Zazen balance game. I'm pretty good at it, too: breathe, and breathe...

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Sunday, August 16, 2009



(backposting) Oh, the other thing that I really, really should have blogged about yesterday was that we went over to Mark and Jen's for a lovely barbecue last night. Andy, Zae, Si and D were all there, and we were joined by Andi Chandler, though he took some time to arrive. We tracked him with Google Latitude, though, so had a good idea of where he was. We're sad. Maybe even more sad was my exclamation "I don't have a backtick!" when I tried to put Mark's auto-generated WPA key into my phone. We had a good time, and a good deal of alcohol was consumed, though luckily not by Moo (who got a bit bored of my driving "suggestions" on the way home).

More work in the garden today, and I also took the girls to the 1000 at Halstead. In the evening, I went to my training incumbent John's installation to a non-residential canonry in Chelmsford Cathedral. I wasn't very impressed with the sermon, which took the title of the book "If you meet George Herbert on the road, kill him." It's a reference to a story about the Buddha, and is supposed to deal with the unreal expectations that are put on clergy by his "The Country Parson". I take the book to be written not in the spirit of expectation, but of aspiration, particularly given his poems such as "Aaron" and "The Collar". My bishop, who I happened to mention it to, agreed...

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Saturday, August 15, 2009


My first wedding

(backposting) Did some gardening, and for brunch, we had bacon and egg sarnies, with the bacon done on the barbecue (healthier, as no added oil, obviously). And we had it early so that I could be ready in loads and loads of time for my first wedding. I was glad because I wanted to make sure that everything was ready, I was clear as to what was to happen when, and that I was on hand to calm people down if required.

To be honest, I didn't get that nervous, mainly because I was aware that the bride and groom were both more anxious about things than I could ever be, and my job was to shepherd them through the service. I had to write out an extra copy of their marriage certificate, but I think I got it right.

Anyway, it was a lovely service, and I really enjoyed it. Congratulations to Kelly and Darren, and blessings on their family, too.


Friday, August 14, 2009


A week down

It's been a hard, challenging and interesting week. I'm not sure I feel a huge need to blog about it, and I'm aware that I've not done a good job of blogging church stuff recently. That said, I'm not sure what I want to blog about, so it seems clear that I'm going to be just wittering for a while. Heigh-ho.

The one major thing coming up churchwise is that I'm taking my first wedding tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it very much. Darren and Kelly have been together for quite a few years, and have three children. The elder two will be ring-bearers (so I've started referring to them as "Sam" and "Frodo", for obvious reasons), and will also read out a prayer which they wrote, and which they've been practising. I think it's going to be a really good wedding, and should be lots of fun.


Thursday, August 13, 2009


Go out for a walk...

... end up having a haircut. Really needed to get my haircut, noticed that the hairdresser was open, walked in. They were just closing up, but I offered them extra money, and so they agreed. I needed a haircut before we headed off on holiday three and a half weeks ago.

And then a Chinese take-away. Yum.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009



(backposting) John and I got together tonight in the pub for a supervision. We had lots to catch up on, and worked on the coming year's training and working agreements. Partly due to the fact that the last few months of my previous job being rather quiet, I had the opportunity to do rather more than I - or he - had expected, and I'm looking forward to the next year. I'm still learning lots - and I'm taking my first wedding on Saturday - but I'm beginning to settle into being a deacon and a priest.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009



There was an interesting programme Radio 4 this afternoon which I caught - some of it, anyway. It was a discussion, led by Matthew Parris, about the white South African anti-apartheid campaigner Joe Slovo. One of his daughters, and a British cabinet minister, David Milliband, were discussing his life.

One of the issues that they raised was whether the ANC had used terrorism to achieve their aims. Slovo's daughter thought not, and queried Parris' use of the word "terrorism" to describe what she would have called an "armed struggle". He responded that he didn't think that terrorism was necessarily wrong, and Milliband attempted to apply the dual tests of "justifiability" and "effectiveness" to the action. None of these works, for me, and neither did Parris' definition of terrorism as "the use of violence in an attempt to achieve political aims."

For me, this is missing the point of terrorism. There will always be the difficult subjective test of "my freedom fighter is your terrorist", but for me, the mark of terrorism, as opposed to other forms of violent protest, is that terrorism uses violence, or the threat of violence, in an attempt to impose political change through terror and fear. I might go further and talk about targeting non-military targets and personnel, but I'm wary of that, particularly thinking of Northern Ireland. Slovo's daughter made a good point that the ANC attempted to target not people but structures/installations, such as oil depots, and I think that there's a good point to be made here. Anyway, that's my tuppence, and I hope it's interesting to somebody.

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Monday, August 10, 2009


First day

My first day in the new job, and I was in Huntingdon. It all went very well indeed, and I even got home in time for the girls' bath and bedtime. A good start.


Sunday, August 09, 2009



Just don't mention it. Thankyou. _Not_ a good birthday present

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39 today!

Yes, it's my birthday today, and I'm 39 years old. I woke up too late to make it to the 8 o'clock service, and decided that spending time with family was more important that the canon law requirement to receive Communion every Sunday. So, we headed off for brunch (I'd had pirate cake for breakfast, and had a knickerbocker glory. We then headed off to Freeport where I bought more shirts and a pair of trousers for work. The girls started to lose it, and Miri slept all the way home, and for 20-30 minutes even after we got back.

And then, a birthday party. It turns ot that one of Jojo's pre-school friends, Amber, shares my birthday, so we went there for a children's party. I took the pirate cake (I'd just have ended up eating it all over the week), and everyone had a great time. However, towards the end, Miri put her elbow out again. It was pretty obvious, and _this_ time, I managed to put it back in, which was an enormous relief.

The girls just about managed to stay awake until bedtime, and then Moo and I did more Wii Fit work. It's really impressive, I have to say, and I'm really getting into it. I did some ironing as Moo did her work-out, and then barbecued some lovely steak with a lovely bottle of red wine from James and Ruth (thanks!).

Tomorrow, I start my first day in the new job on a customer site - in Huntingdon, as it happens. Exciting, with some trepidation. It'll be good, I think.

I've had a good birthday, even if Moo's not finished knitting my present (a pair of lovely socks)...

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Saturday, August 08, 2009


And ... home

(backposting) And I slept for around 4 and half hours on the flight - maybe more. This made a huge difference, and I didn't do at all badly during the day, though I had a few minutes over lunchtime, I was pretty much OK all day.

It was so, so brilliant to see Moo and the girls, and as I called ahead a few minutes before I arrived, they were waiting, waving from the sitting room window. I got home in time for late breakfast, and then we played on the new Wii Fit (lots of fun, and the girls can manage some of it), and then we headed off to a café for coffee, cake, some shopping and some time out.

During the afternoon, I had to attend a wedding in order to prepare for my very first (as celebrant/president), next Saturday, and the preparation for it, which I did after it.

But I was back in time for the girls' bedtime, and a proper introduction to the Wii Fit from Moo. She wept with laughter at my attempts to do the "Hula" game. I can't blame her.

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Friday, August 07, 2009


Project, and off home

The day of the great project presentation. We'd been asked to present to the company, and anyone who wanted to do so could turn up. This included some pretty senior people, some very bright technical folks, some sales folks with serious experience, and one of the founders of the company. And it went really, really well. We rocked: we really, really did. And this despite our team song ending up being MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This."

Lunch - another milkshake! - and then to the airport. I'm sitting in an airport lounge, finally getting up to date with the blog, and looking forward to heading home. The only concern is that I'm so tired that I might fall asleep here, and miss my flight, so that's why I'm keeping myself busy and typing away. I feel that I've made the right move, that I known what I'm doing, that I'm going to enjoy my job, and that this is a goer. Thank God.

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Thursday, August 06, 2009


We'll be ready

(backposting) The project presentation is due tomorrow, and we _will_ be ready. I left the office before 1830 today, which is pretty much unheard of, and had a good meal before heading back to the hotel bar, where I met an interesting guy and had a good chat. Dan - one of the other guys on the course, and a Brit like me - turned up after a while, and we had a beer. And then to bed. I'm off home tomorrow.


Wednesday, August 05, 2009


Time sheet

(backposting) Given that I'm working as a consultant, we keep track of all our work hours. Over the past five days, I've logged 51 hours: and two of those days were the weekend. And I'm not even the one working the longest hours on the project. I don't think I could sensibly do more, however: I'm getting to be really shattered.

I'd rather hoped to be able to spend a few days next week at home, but it seems that I'm going to be thrown in at the deep end, and will be with a customer in Huntingdon for 0900 on Monday morning. And probably for the rest of the month. But that's kind of fine, and I'm glad that they're happy to use me immediately.


Tuesday, August 04, 2009


No let-up

(backposting) Other than to say that it's still "go, go, go", there's not much else to say. Work, work, work.


Monday, August 03, 2009


Finding focus

(backposting) I've spent too much time looking at issues around installation, and have fallen out of the project groove, so today I took some advice from the trainer, and after spending some time with our PM, Christine, settled down to do some more relevant tasks. The trainer suggested that I settle down on my own, and try to filter out all the things going on: she'd noticed that I like to know what's going on in all the conversations around - either to learn, or to offer to help - and that this was distracting me. Good advice, and from now on, I'll try to ensure that I've got some space. Headphones are very useful for this, too.

Things are beginning to come together, and I'm feeling much, much happier than I was in the middle of last week, when I was honestly beginning to wonder if I'd made a terrible move.


Sunday, August 02, 2009


Church (and work)

(backposting) Well, it's Sunday. I went back to the lovely St Anne's, Reston, for their fantastic 1000 service. Great welcome, fun music, lots of people, and a baptism to boot. One thing that I really enjoyed was that once Jim (who was presiding) had baptised the baby, he walked around the church, telling him how this was his new family, and showing him all the people. It felt like an excellent introduction, and I think I'll emulate the practice. A few of the congregation invited me out to brunch in a restaurant nearby, which was really kind and, well, Christian. What a lovely church.

I had an idea about how to sort a sort out a problem that we'd been having at work, so went round to try to sort it out quickly. Unluckily, there were emails from a senior person that I ended up responding to, and so he came out to the office and I spent rather more time their than I'd intended: 5 hours...

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Saturday, August 01, 2009


Saturday - a day off, right?

(backposting) Wrong. Slept in to 0845 or so, but still did 7 hours on the project. Not so good.


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