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Hello and welcome

Some introductory text to go here. Probably. Maybe soon now that I have FTP access again.

The Blog of Life

Nearly there...

After just over three weeks Dr K and the little guy are on their way home. When I checked first thing this morning there were over Mongolia; now it's somewhere in Russia west of the Ural Mountains. It's been a packed few weeks with bike maintenance, film watching, some Lego building, friend visiting and more DIY than I could have imagined: plastering, painting, filling, cutting, insulating, shelving, moving, mounting, fixing, tweaking and the odd bit of safety-proofing. I'm nearly finished now with just over two hours to go and plenty of cleaning up to accomplish before it's fit to welcome my family back home.

Heading Home. © Nick Bailey
Dr K and little guy on their way home


New Year's Day

Migraine still sucks.


New year's eve

Migraine sucks.[2016-12-31]

The Blog of Photos - past 30 days

New Year's Day Walk (a day late)

I would like to have had a little traditional walk on New Year's Day but the weather was not on my side yesterday. Even less on my side was my entire body and brain which was crashing and throwing up for a second day running. It was a pretty disastrous New Year for me. However, today was much improved - I finally woke without pain (though my knose and sinuses are still clogged) and the weather was stunning, crisp and sunny. I started slowly with some general cleaning and sorting and removal of the various vomit receptacle I'd appropriated over the previous couple of days. This cleaning was also a sort of pre-emptive DIY procrastination which I find myself doing when I have more than one project to achieve. It results in me only just starting various tasks in the hope that having started them I'll have broken the back of the effort and the rest is simply finishing off. (For example, two of the kitchen cupboard doors are now without their failing wood-effect skin).

After lunch I finally mustered enough motivation to get outside into the glorious day - yet another warm new year, warm enough to eat al fresco as it happens. I took the car out north to to hunt for a source of horse manure that I'd caught wind of - the Bridge Farm Riding School. I found it north of Cottenham and, after helping the owner locate a rogue chicken, I was shown a veritable quagmire of horse poo. "Take as much as you want, come morning, noon and night, tell all your friends" was the rather encouraging instructions. I loaded two bags of the driest materials into my boot and headed north again to a potential walk I'd seen on the map.

So here we are at the walk. Starting from the Twentypence Marina I walked East atop the levy on the north bank of the Great Ouse. I'd suggest the 'Great' is debatable - more a disappointing Cam. It was only about two kilometres to the A10 which I used to cross over the river to the South bank's levy and back along another public footpath. It was a nice walk, reminiscent of those along the River Severn, and in glorious winter sun which thankfully stayed aloft all the way back.
PS. Something went funny with my phone camera as I took the first photo, which has turned out rather like an historical artefact.

River Oose. © Nick Bailey
The levy along the Great Ouse, C. 1900

River Oose. © Nick Bailey
The Ouse, not as great as the Severn, only just about flowing

River Oose. © Nick Bailey
In a flat landscape you can't see for miles - those trees on the horizon are Wilburton only 3 km away.

River Oose. © Nick Bailey
I came across an scattering of these shells, I assume fresh water shellfish collected by birds.

River Oose. © Nick Bailey
Self portrait against the levy (which was dry)

River Oose. © Nick Bailey
Much of the local architecture can best be described as "demoralising"

River Oose. © Nick Bailey
These pony/donkey/horses were somewhere between friendly and incredibly menacing


Sunday Fellowship: Church without the church, but also mostly just church.

When we went down to Southampton a couple of weeks ago we joined our friends for the Monthly Quaker "youth" outing to the Southampton Sunday Assembly. For those of you who don't know, the Sunday Assembly was started in 2013 as an idea to take the best bits of church such as communal singing and gathering together, but without any of the crappy religious bits that obviously makes actual Church rubbish. Here are their four point summary (see, they even shirk the three point sermon):

  • We are a secular congregation that celebrates life.
  • We have an awesome motto: Live Better, Help Often and Wonder More.
  • A super mission: A Sunday Assembly in every town, city and village that wants one.
  • An awesome vision: To help everyone live life as fully as possible.

So we went along and it was just like church. Actually, it was closer to some of the funkier churches in Southampton such as New Life or Vineyard, perhaps even a little CU at a push. There were the funky folk, the quirky outsiders, the poets and the rebels. After an initial slightly awkward meet and greet time with coffee and tea the service got under way with some singing of traditional pop songs (Cold Play's "Fix You" was rather enjoyable) followed an excellent poem on apathy by an American member of the congregation. The main sermon was also good, by local poet come song writer Grant Sharkey about maintaining a line between love and anger (and included the term 'binge thinking' which I rather liked). This was followed by the short five minute talk (which went on for nearer 30) and tried to get us to share nice things that had happened in the past week. We then prayed together. No, I mean we thought together. There was even a collection!

It was good. Nice people and a friendly atmosphere, just like a good church should be and quite often are. It was markedly young, as seen by their twitter banner and I suspect most of my church would feed out of place and not as a result of the lack of God. Indeed I barely felt there was a lack of God, just that no one mentioned him or tried to avoid mentioning him (actually Grant accidentally did). This was simply church re-imagined by young people who failed to be taken along to a CU while at university. Or perhaps they were taken along to a CU, or similar funky modern church where they were prayed at or otherwise intimidated into being saved, resisted but secretly enjoyed the whole thing.

Perhaps I'm being a little facetious. I'm sure there are plenty of reasons why people were there, but I certainly wouldn't be surprised if a number were ex-evangelicals, some of them had that look. Either way there is something other actual churches could learn: people like to sing together, and do pretty much everything else that Church does. It's not even the preaching that puts people off, though no doubt some of the older traditional stuff has. We just need to loosen up a little and funk it up. But at the same time I certainly don't want to loose all the lovely silver backs we have in my local Church - they bring such warmth, love, vision and stability that should be treasured. Also they are most certainly not all stuck-in-the-mud bores who don't want change. Lets all sit together and learn from each other. It is hard to be a cohesive living church of all ages, but God really can help, even if some have to pretend not to have heard about him.

PS. The idea of giving new people different coloured mugs so everyone knows who's new and who's not is a wizard idea.


Listening to: OK Go
Upside Down & Inside Out
From: Hungry Ghosts

23 knife wounds
Recently:Slipped while sharpening cleaver and sliced deep right across the proximal interphalangeal joint

£ 3.20
Change from our first outing with baby

I love ecover

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