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  • Beating the Blackout?

    I fully understand why Wikipedia is blacked out today, and it is effective, serving to show just how much we (or I) have come to take it for granted.  I googled something and of course up popped the wiki answer... and the black screen.  Then I got cunning - I used the 'cache' option and, lo, I could see the page I wanted from Google's latest cache.  Probably not quite in the right spirit, but it helped me find what I was looking for.

    I guess today students everywhere are having to do their own research... unless they, too, use the 'cache' facility in their search engine?

    As one who contributes small sums to the upkeep opf Wikipedia, I shall be glad when it's properly back  - and hope they don't blacklist me for beating the blackout!

  • Withered Hands, Withered Hearts

    This morning PAYG focussed on the story of the man with the withered hand in Mark 3, and drew attention to the hardness of heart of the people who hoped to trap Jesus. I found myself pondering that it was far easier to restore a shrivelled hand than to melt hard hearts... and then went off on a little sidetrack to contemplate withered hands and withered hearts. I checked the Greek - alas the same word is not used, so the writer missed a trick there perhaps. Shrivelled, withered, dried up, gnarled, hardened ... I sense something of a parallel there between the man's hand and the people's hearts (I also found myself contemplating the poor fig tree that Mark tells us Jesus killed with a withering look). Which is easier - to cure, or at least alleivate, physical suffering or to engender compassion in the hearts of self-righteous people? Seemingly the former. Which gives me, anyway, pause for thought.

  • Most Consumers Don't Have Thimbles

    Let me explain. I was in the coffee shop opposite church picking up my early morning latte on my way in around 7:45.  They have a giant TV screen always tuned to BBC news 24 (or whatever it's called these days) with the sound switched off and subtitles on.  They also have some sort of 'gold' radio station playing so the music is of 'my' era, which is quite pleasant.  On the TV news was an interview about so-called smart meters and how these may, or may not, lead to reduced energy consumption.  I'm not sure how the subtitles are done these days, whether it is some sort of voice recognition software or something with predictive text, but there are regularly some entertaining, if incomprehenisble, howlers to be seen.  And this was one such.... 'most consumers don't have thimbles...'

    It does, I suspect, reflect our 'zap pow' instant lifestyle, whereby the few seconds it would take for someone to type, and check, the subtitles is deemed too long.  Also, by and large, the once valued skills of audio-typing have largely disappeared, so we are left with people who, like me, use half of their fingers, and watch the keyboard, not the screen...

    As a church, we are spending some time thinking about 'active waiting' about the 'meantime' which can seem long, slow and relentless... patience is out of fashion (though listen to any automated telephone answering thing and you will be asked to exercise it!).  Perhaps the subtitles this morning serve as a reminder of the dangers of rushing ahead, that we will inevitably end up with things that make perfect sense at one level but are totally meaningless at another.  Most consumers probably don't have thimbles, decorative or functional, but neither is relevant to their consumption of gas or electricity, so far as I can ascertain. 

    Whilst I wonder what was actually said in the interview, I am challenged in my own typing, thinking and doing to remember that 'more haste, less speed' is as true as it ever was.  Does that mean I'll be making typo-howler free posts from now on?  Probably not - indeed I've been tempted to leave one or two in this one just for authenticity's sake.  But a timely reminder to be in less of a hurry.

  • Good Day

    Perhaps that should be 'good evening' given what time I am typing it?

    It you were hoping for something profound from me today, sorry, it isn't here.  It's been my day off, spent mostly on trivial but necessary tasks, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it... it's been a 'good day'.


    Holly is a happy cat... today whilst in a remainders book shop I spotted they were selling "pet's pad" animal beds for £6 and had some in a colour that matched my decor!  Here she is, happily curled up in her new fleecy bed, which will hopefully mean less "bits of Holly" stuck to the settee itself.

    Today I called into my bank having been summoned for an "account review" something I usually detest.  However, today the guy doing it was cheery and set up the means for me to use internet banking in a matter of moments.  So easy!  Why didn't I do this years ago?  As the RBS fiasco means that my local NWB is scheduled to be sold to Santander, and as my account holding branch is in England so I won't, internet banking seems a good plan.

    This afternoon I had the deep joy of a dentist appointment.  All was fine, and for once the hygienist didn't tell me off!  As I sat there with her scraping away at my teggies, I pondered how much less awful I find these encounters than I did a couple of years back... my fear of dentists, doctors and hairdressers has, just about, been cured!  Took some extreme measures to do it, but hey, I'll take the silver linings when they arise.

    And now I am simply "chillin" as I await the arrival of my groceries by the nice man from the supermarket, and feeling that yes, today has been a good day.

    The old adage of counting blessings is a good one, and today I feel I've been well blessed.

  • Childhood Memories

    Today there's nothing much I want to say, so I'll just share the poem I used as part of the All Age slot where we were thinking about waiting, and how sometimes it gets very frustrating...


    Waiting, waiting, waiting,
    For the party to begin;
    Waiting, waiting, waiting,
    For the laughter and the din;
    Waiting, waiting, waiting,
    With hair jut so,
    And clothes trim and tidy,
    From topknot to toe.
    The floor is all shiny,
    The lights are ablaze;
    There are sweetmeats in plenty
    And cakes beyond praise;
    Oh! The games and the dancing,
    The tricks and the toys,
    The music and the madness,
    The colour and the noise!
    Waiting, waiting, waiting,
    For the first knock on the door,
    Was ever such waiting,
    Such waiting before?

    —James Reeves

    I was six when I first heard this poem, and can still visualise the classroom and hear my teacher's voice...