Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Wishing I had more money on my credit card

Along with lots of others I have been checking my details on-line to see if we had been successful in getting Olympic tickets. Applied for a couple of days tennis, some men's football, and some basketball. So far, zilch. Unless it happens in the next three and a half hours it looks like we were unsuccessful.

Shooting in the RAW

Not what you think, way too cold for that on Saturday. Basically (and I don't understand it in any more detail than this), RAW is a mode that proper photographers talk about the rest of us needing to shot pictures in rather than the JPEG format. RAW produces bigger files with less thrown away in the camera so the picture quality is better. Proper photographers could explain it better and in more detail.

So, anyway, I tried it for the first time on Saturday. I went along to a village game down the road and I think I can see what they mean. I think the quality is better in this, although I am aware that the boundary was a lot shorter here than at Taunton (itself one of the smaller grounds). You need to double click on the image to see it bigger.

Somerset v Yorkshire, May 2011

Had a great day out with my Dad watching cricket last week. We always try (weather permitting) to see a game or two each season, a good excuse to overeat and catch up on the latest news. Putting the world to rights a speciality!

This time I took my camera along and took way too many photgraphs. But you have to take a lot in the hope that something photo-worthy will take place!

We were there for the first day of four and were well entertained. The final day saw a thrilling finish and Somerset go marching on! Looking forward to our next fixture, which is at the Cheltenham festival as Gloucestershire host Kent.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Eating Together

We had a fab lunch last week after the church service. Slow cookers were dusted down, salads tossed and puddings provided by the plateful. And a great time was had by all. This is the second time we have done this as a church and this time 59 people stayed to eat - about 60% of those there.

There really is something good about something as easy and as basic as eating together. Sitting and talking with people you sort of know but sort of don't. Even conversations over the washing up - and there was a lot of that!

People get to know each other better.

Single people get to eat with others, a rare treat so some of them say.

Church is supposed to be a family - and functional families eat together.

I've blogged before here - http://amiddleagedmanblogs.blogspot.com/2011/03/make-meal-of-it.html about how few families still eat together around a table. Recently my favourite parishoner has been reading the Bible with some teenage girls in the church and one remarked last night that her family all choose different ready meals and eat them whenever and wherever. She also said that what she had never had what I cooked before but that it was "lush", so she's always welcome! I think the girls are sometimes a bit bemused by the conversation and joking that takes place around the table amongst us but they learn to join in. It seems like they like it.

Seriously, the combination of bible reading and being with a family close up has great potential. We could really help or really hinder them! It's an exciting opportunity to help. I just mustn't give them food poisoning.

Picture posed by models!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Africa United

We had a great time watching this film together at the latest Reel Issues film night. And due to the generosity of the cinema owner, all the proceeds went to The Grace School and Orphanage in South Africa. So we raised just over £220 as well as enjoying ourselves.

A lovely film, about a group of children who travel from Rwanda to try to get to the start of the World Cup. More road movie than football movie, so don't be too alarmed if you aren't a soccer fan. It skilfully and subtly brings out some of the issues facing kids in Africa today. One to both laugh and cry at.

The playlist for the evening:

Taking Islands In Africa - Japan
It's Nearly Africa - XTC
Waka Waka (This Time For Africa) - Shakira
Radio Africa - Latin Quarter
South African National Anthem - Abaligani Brothers
Akehlulek Ubaba - Ladysmith Black Mambazo & Charlie Peacock

Reel Issues will take a break now until the autumn.

Reasons to be cheerful - 1,2,3

Sorry to be silent for a while. Have a whole host of things to catch up on, starting with three reasons to be cheerful that I had today.

1) The new dates and venue for New Word Alive next year and the excellent line up of speakers that they have announced. http://newwordalive.org/news/src/archive/05-2011/title/New-Word-Alive-May-2011-Update Already trying to decide whether I go to hear Rebecca Manley-Pippert or Richard Pratt when it comes to choosing seminars. Both are awesome.

2) The new Christianity Explored material came yesterday. I've used the older versions about a dozen times and rate the course very highly. From dipping into the new material, I am struck by the superb production on the new DVD and can't wait for the new course to start (straight after half-term).

3) The pigeons have eaten my brassicas. Admittedly, cheerfulness was not my first reaction but I was able to thank God that it really doesn't matter - we will still eat broccoli whenever we want it.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Woolacoombe to Braunton ~ 15.1 miles

Yesterday was the big day, I joined Natalie Husk on a leg of her 630 mile walk around the South West Coast Path for The Leprosy Mission. A beautiful walk along the coast in great walking conditions, dry, clear, warm but not hot. One of the congregation, a great old boy (early to mid-70s) joined me for it and all credit to him - he made it. Though he did worry me at one point after quite a few steps from beach to the road above us just as we left Croyde Bay.

Given the years I had on him I had to finish and I was surprised that it wasn't harder than it was. Having said that I had very heavy legs at the end of it. Probably longer than I have ever walked before. My favourite parishoner laughed at the way I got up off the floor last night but after a good sleep I was much refreshed this morning. I think I could possibly have done a stage today as well (as it was shorter and dead flat) and it makes me think I would like to do some more walking.

My overwhelming feeling at the end of it though (even more so than fatigue) was one of admiration for Natalie. It's all very well me doing a day and thinking I might have managed one today as well. But she did walk today - perhaps in rain. And she will walk again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day. Each day chipping about a dozen miles off her target of completing the whole thing. So much respect is due! She was a pleasure to walk with and easy company and if you want to sponsor her, there's a link on the Leprosy Mission page.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Fun to funky

Another occasion where I wonder what they teach in schools these days. I have a wonderful woman who has started as my administrator and two months in I was delighted by her great work.

Then today I played her Ashes to Ashes by David Bowie and she said she had never heard of it before. True she is still under forty, but I ask you. No wonder the clown looks sad.

I assured her that I would write a good reference.

Causing Trouble

Yesterday I went into an old people's home, which I do in a couple of places once a month to take a short service. In the course of talking to them I told them about the walk I am doing tomorrow and the reason Natalie is doing it was to raise money and awareness of the problem of leprosy.

All seemed to be going well until just after the end of the service when one old fellow asked if he could say something. Well, of course he could, it was his home after all. he said he wanted to comment on something the vicar (!) had said.

It soon became apparent that he hadn't quite grasped what it was I had been trying to explain because he launched into a pretty long diatribe of about 4 minutes or so (aided by an apparent ability to talk without pausing for breath) in which he told us that people shouldn't waste their time running 600 miles in the underpants but should use their energy to help old people look after their gardens or to do the church flowers or trim hedges instead.

After a while some of the other residents started on at him and I simply smiled at the woman who worked there and said, "Look what I've started. Bye." A fun time had by all?

Tuesday, 3 May 2011


Can I refer you to a blog that I am following? Natalie Husk works for Leprosy Mission and is walking the entire South West Coast Path during May and June. That's 630 miles! I'm so impressed with her for doing this, she is raising awareness and money for those still suffering the effects of leprosy.

Her blog is at http://leprosyvoice.wordpress.com/ should you wish to follow her progress.

She asked for people to join her for a leg of the trip and walk with her and raise some money too. So, rather recklessly, I emailed her to join her for a day. She called my bluff and on Friday I am joining her in walking from Woolacombe to Braunton, 15 miles worth. I chose it because the drive there and back is a little shorter (a three and a half hour round trip all the same though), because it is described as a cross between moderate and easy and because it is breathtakingly beautiful. It won't let me show you an example but follow this link to see what I mean: http://www.flickr.com/photos/southwestcoastpath/5260558410/in/faves-55737292@N06/

I hope to post some pictures of my own afterwards but in the meantime I have frightened myself a little by measuring 15 miles on a car trip. It's a jolly long way!