Saturday 25th December - Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you

As tradition goes in our household Christmas began with Midnight Mass. For various reasons, it was the first time in many years I was not going to MC (Master of Ceremonies). It was strange being on the other side of the altar rails, but still, I was glad to be there.

The church looked beautiful as usual; but there was something different about it. It was glowing, radiating even with all the Christmas decorations and the crib waiting to be blessed. There were many people sitting in the pews, recognisable faces - both old and new. I love Midnight Mass simply because it reminds us that our parish is a family, a community. Not five mins in and I was embraced by one of the parish sisters. Perhaps my priest is right. Perhaps I will still attend this church when I'm married and have children. Perhaps I'll even still be altar serving.

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Christmas morning and I'm better! I remember when I was younger I could not wait to get up, or more precisely, was adamant in not sleeping after Midnight Mass. But now I'm a bit older I'm quite happy to indulge in a lie-in. To the frustrated moans of my brother getting impatient I trundled down the stairs for the ritual present-opening ceremony.



After we had offered up our torn wrapping-paper sacrifice to the recycling gods we started on Christmas lunch.


*chink*

(Yet to play, just looking at the pencils I knew I would love this game)


Every family should own Cranium. It is such a barrel of laughs. Playing with two people who were not born in this country nor privy to the idioms and musical tastes of 'the noughties' - it was so much fun. Highly recommended.

(The answer to the charades game was supposed to be Sacha Baron Cohen, but somehow the other team member guessed - from actions including a mankini (leotard was the word actually used) - the Pope)

Then Doctor Who (which was a let down I'm sad to say), and more Christmas dinner before we all retired to our rooms to sleep off our newly-bloated bellies.

(The winner of Cranium)

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas.

Friday 24th December - Pope Benedict XVI on Thought for the Day

I wouldn't be much of an aspiring religious journalist (or a Catholic one either) if I did not blog about Pope Benedict XVI's historical 'Thought for the Day' (TftD) on Radio 4 this Christmas Eve morning.


Just as 'Israel were waiting in intense expectation' so were many people this morning to hear his broadcast. The Pope's message was a simple and gentle one. It did not attempt to answer abstract theological questions (it was not supposed to), but expressed themes of preparation and thanksgiving, precisely what Advent is about.

It was a message delivered from the heart and was both personal and inclusive. A lovely way to start the morning.

The full transcript is featured below:

Recalling with great fondness my four-day visit to the United Kingdom last September, I am glad to have the opportunity to greet you once again, and indeed to greet listeners everywhere as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ. Our thoughts turn back to a moment in history when God's chosen people, the children of Israel, were living in intense expectation. They were waiting for the Messiah that God had promised to send, and they pictured him as a great leader who would rescue them from foreign domination and restore their freedom.

God is always faithful to his promises, but he often surprises us in the way he fulfils them. The child that was born in Bethlehem did indeed bring liberation, but not only for the people of that time and place - he was to be the Saviour of all people throughout the world and throughout history. And it was not a political liberation that he brought, achieved through military means: rather, Christ destroyed death for ever and restored life by means of his shameful death on the Cross. And while he was born in poverty and obscurity, far from the centres of earthly power, he was none other than the Son of God. Out of love for us he took upon himself our human condition, our fragility, our vulnerability, and he opened up for us the path that leads to the fullness of life, to a share in the life of God himself. As we ponder this great mystery in our hearts this Christmas, let us give thanks to God for his goodness to us, and let us joyfully proclaim to those around us the good news that God offers us freedom from whatever weighs us down: he gives us hope, he brings us life.

Dear Friends from Scotland, England, Wales and indeed every part of the English-speaking world, I want you to know that I keep all of you very much in my prayers during this Holy Season. I pray for your families, for your children, for those who are sick, and for those who are going through any form of hardship at this time. I pray especially for the elderly and for those who are approaching the end of their days. I ask Christ, the light of the nations, to dispel whatever darkness there may be in your lives and to grant to every one of you the grace of a peaceful joyful Christmas. May God bless all of you!

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It's not new news to find that the Pope's TftD has caused the National Secular Society (NSS) to throw a strop.


On the BBC, president of the NSS Terry Sanderson said 'After the overkill from the BBC during the Pope's visit, this indicates the corporation's obsession with religion, whereas the nation is largely indifferent to it'. So allowing a religious leader to talk on TftD is a reflection of 'the corporation's obsession with religion'? Has he ever listened to TftD before? Does he know what it's about?

In another BBC article the NSS accused the BBC of 'failing to interrogate him as they would any other world leader.' Surely it's clear that it's not the BBC's duty to interrogate the Pope or any other person who features on TftD, world leader or not.

Also, I'm beginning to think I shouldn't encourage people who accuse the Pope of 'pontificating' (Yes I'm looking at you Mr Keith Porteous Wood).

But, before I get accused of only reading one side of the story, or only getting the news through hearsay, I visited the NSS's site. Here's the full text of 'Why has the BBC become the official propaganda arm of the Vatican?'

The Vatican is desperate to rehabilitate its reputation. And well it might be. The past two years has seen one scandal after another come knocking on Benedict’s door.

The child abuse crisis is, of course, the worst of them. Tens of thousands of children have been casually used and abused by Catholic priests around the world. The scale of this horrific sexual exploitation is only now becoming apparent. There are few checks and balances in the developing world, so there is little knowledge yet of the scale of abuse there.

Last week, the chapter of the Ryan Report that had been suppressed pending a court case was published. It revealed yet again a catalogue of deliberate and carefully orchestrated cover ups by the Church, both locally and in the Vatican. Children who might have been spared the trauma of sexual abuse were sacrificed in order that the Church could spare itself further criticism.

Yet another report about abuse in the diocese of Cloyne has been presented to the Irish Government, and soon there will be another extensive list of victims and another account of the Vatican’s contempt for them.

But it is not only child abuse that the Pope should be made to answer for. The Vatican bank is under investigation (again) for money laundering. It is a bank that is excused the regulation that any other bank is bound to observe. But there are strong suspicions that it is hand in glove with the mafia. [Hmm, I wonder where this bit of hearsay has come from? Has someone been reading too many Dan Brown books? *tut tut tut*]

Last week we revealed that the Vatican is in negotiation with Belarus over the signing of a pact that will give the Catholic Church numerous privileges in that country. A country that is, at present, ruled with an iron fist by “Europe’s last dictator”, the despotic Alexander Lukashenka who has now gained the nickname “Europe’s Mugabe”.

He fixes elections, jails opponents and suppresses dissent with ruthless violence. Just the sort of man the Vatican likes to do business with. Just as it did with Hitler. [This is just uncalled for. There's arguing your point, there's poking fun, and then there's making sweeping generalisations and going too far.] And it is still enjoying the fruits of that concordat, with millions of euros flowing into the Vatican’s coffers from the German taxpayer. Similarly with the concordats it signed with Mussolini in Italy, with the tyrannical Franco in Spain and his counterpart Salazar in Portugal. And with just about every foul dictator that has infested South America.

Why is this never questioned?

And now we have to ask about the Vatican’s relationship with the BBC. What is going on here?

In September the BBC committed huge resources and much air time to covering the Pope’s visit to Britain. Opinion polls showed the British public to be massively indifferent [So?] to the visit and yet a huge, fawning, over-the-top propaganda exercise was mounted by the Corporation to ensure that the Pope had a clear run. No difficult questions were asked, no awkward commentators were allowed to appear and a completely skewed and, when looked at objectively, ridiculous, exercise in whitewashing was achieved. [I don't think so. Did they read the papers? Did they not hear that the Pope visited abuse victims? Said he was saddened by the child abuse cases? I'm not the BBC's protector, but why point the finger at them?]

Now the Pope follows up this little coup with another as he gains access [Yes, it's not like Radio 4 wanted him on the show....] to the unquestioned, unchallengeable Thought for the Day slot. Who knows what he will say – whether he will renew his attack on secularism (with no opportunity for secularists to answer back) [If the Pope was to 'attack' secularism I'm sure you'll find a way ... oh wait, you have!] or whether his target will be gay people or the equality laws or the rights of women to control their own fertility. [Oh behave yourselves.]

Why is the BBC doing this? [Because they want to?] Could it possibly be the work of the Director General Mark Thompson who personally negotiated the coverage of the Pope’s visit while at the Vatican? [And if so, why does it matter?] Mr Thompson is a high-ranking Catholic. [Again, so?] He would be a very useful feather in the Pope’s hat. [Ah, you don't miss a thing do you NSS?] Let us hope that is not what Mr Thompson is.

But if we next hear that he has been awarded a papal medal for services to the Vatican, we will know precisely what it is for. [I'm sure you will....]

[Also they think the BBC has become 'the official propaganda arm of the Vatican?' Did they see Sky News' coverage of the papal visit to the UK? It was better than the BBC's (no offence, I watched both you see)].

BBC One's The Nativity, Episode Four


Thoughts:
  • 'I wish I had enough faith to believe you.' I think everyone wishes they had enough faith.
  • 'I was scared of something I didn't understand.' Typical: fear of the unknown. And yet, God can be known. It is our lack of understanding that is to be feared, not God.
  • 'It's all that lying down in the sand last night. It's inside my clothes.' I'm still laughing.
  • Gosh word spreads fast doesn't it?
  • 'Do you hate them more than you love me?' What a way of putting things into perspective.
  • Wow Gabriel. Just wow. Powerful stuff.
  • I admit it, I nearly shed a tear. Nearly.

Thursday 23rd December - Lying in Bed

I've been lying in bed for a couple of days now, so I thought to myself 'What's more fitting than G.K. Chesterton's 'On Lying in Bed'?' Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did:

Lying in bed would be an altogether perfect and supreme experience
if only one had a coloured pencil long enough to draw on the ceiling.This, however, is not generally a part of the domestic
apparatus on the premises. I think myself that the thing
might be managed with several pails of Aspinall and a broom.
Only if one worked in a really sweeping and masterly way,
and laid on the colour in great washes, it might drip down again
on one's face in floods of rich and mingled colour like some
strange fairy rain; and that would have its disadvantages.
I am afraid it would be necessary to stick to black and white
in this form of artistic composition. To that purpose, indeed,
the white ceiling would be of the greatest possible use; in fact,
it is the only use I think of a white ceiling being put to.

But for the beautiful experiment of lying in bed I might never havediscovered it. For years I have been looking for some blank spaces
in a modern house to draw on. Paper is much too small for any really
allegorical design; as Cyrano de Bergerac says, "Il me faut des géants."
But when I tried to find these fine clear spaces in the modern
rooms such as we all live in I was continually disappointed.
I found an endless pattern and complication of small objects
hung like a curtain of fine links between me and my desire.
I examined the walls; I found them to my surprise to be
already covered with wallpaper, and I found the wallpaper
to be already covered with uninteresting images, all bearing
a ridiculous resemblance to each other. I could not understand
why one arbitrary symbol (a symbol apparently entirelydevoid of any religious or philosophical significance)
should thus be sprinkled all over my nice walls like a sort
of small-pox. The Bible must be referring to wallpapers, I think,
when it says, "Use not vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do."
I found the Turkey carpet a mass of unmeaning colours,
rather like the Turkish Empire, or like the sweetmeat called
Turkish Delight. I do not exactly know what Turkish Delightreally is; but I suppose it is Macedonian Massacres.
Everywhere that I went forlornly, with my pencil or my paint brush,
I found that others had unaccountably been before me,
spoiling the walls, the curtains, and the furniture with their
childish and barbaric designs.

. . . . .

Nowhere did I find a really clear space for sketching until this occasion
when I prolonged beyond the proper limit the process of lying on my backin bed. Then the light of that white heaven broke upon my vision,
that breadth of mere white which is indeed almost the definition
of Paradise, since it means purity and also means freedom.
But alas! like all heavens, now that it is seen it is found
to be unattainable; it looks more austere and more distant
than the blue sky outside the window. For my proposal to paint
on it with the bristly end of a broom has been discouraged--
never mind by whom; by a person debarred from all political rights--
and even my minor proposal to put the other end of the broom into
the kitchen fire and turn it to charcoal has not been conceded.
Yet I am certain that it was from persons in my position that all
the original inspiration came for covering the ceilings of palaces
and cathedrals with a riot of fallen angels or victorious gods.I am sure that it was only because Michael Angelo was engaged
in the ancient and honourable occupation of lying in bed that
he ever realized how the roof of the Sistine Chapel might be made
into an awful imitation of a divine drama that could only be acted
in the heavens.

The tone now commonly taken toward the practice of lying in bed
is hypocritical and unhealthy. Of all the marks of modernity
that seem to mean a kind of decadence, there is none more menacing
and dangerous than the exultation of very small and secondarymatters of conduct at the expense of very great and primary ones,
at the expense of eternal ties and tragic human morality.
If there is one thing worse than the modern weakening of major morals,
it is the modern strengthening of minor morals. Thus it is considered
more withering to accuse a man of bad taste than of bad ethics.
Cleanliness is not next to godliness nowadays, for cleanliness
is made essential and godliness is regarded as an offence.
A playwright can attack the institution of marriage so long
as he does not misrepresent the manners of society, and I have met
Ibsenite pessimists who thought it wrong to take beer but right
to take prussic acid. Especially this is so in matters of hygiene;notably such matters as lying in bed. Instead of being regarded,
as it ought to be, as a matter of personal convenience
and adjustment, it has come to be regarded by many as if it
were a part of essential morals to get up early in the morning.
It is upon the whole part of practical wisdom; but there is nothing
good about it or bad about its opposite.

. . . . .

Misers get up early in the morning; and burglars, I am informed,
get up the night before. It is the great peril of our societythat all its mechanisms may grow more fixed while its spirit grows
more fickle. A man's minor actions and arrangements ought to
be free, flexible, creative; the things that should be unchangeable
are his principles, his ideals. But with us the reverse is true;
our views change constantly; but our lunch does not change.
Now, I should like men to have strong and rooted conceptions,
but as for their lunch, let them have it sometimes in the garden,
sometimes in bed, sometimes on the roof, sometimes in the top
of a tree. Let them argue from the same first principles,
but let them do it in a bed, or a boat, or a balloon.This alarming growth of good habits really means a too great emphasis
on those virtues which mere custom can ensure, it means too little
emphasis on those virtues which custom can never quite ensure,
sudden and splendid virtues of inspired pity or of inspired candour.
If ever that abrupt appeal is made to us we may fail.
A man can get use to getting up at five o'clock in the morning.
A man cannot very well get used to being burnt for his opinions;
the first experiment is commonly fatal. Let us pay a little more
attention to these possibilities of the heroic and unexpected.
I dare say that when I get out of this bed I shall do some deed
of an almost terrible virtue.

For those who study the great art of lying in bed there is one emphatic
caution to be added. Even for those who can do their work in bed
(like journalists), still more for those whose work cannot be done
in bed (as, for example, the professional harpooners of whales),
it is obvious that the indulgence must be very occasional.
But that is not the caution I mean. The caution is this:if you do lie in bed, be sure you do it without any reason or
justification at all. I do not speak, of course, of the seriously sick.
But if a healthy man lies in bed, let him do it without a rag of excuse;
then he will get up a healthy man. If he does it for some secondary
hygienic reason, if he has some scientific explanation, he may getup a hypochondriac.

Photo credit to kaaaaayla.

*cough cough*

I'm deathly ill. I didn't get much sleep once more and woke up with a temperature, so looks like I'll be ill for Christmas. Woo!...

I'm staying in bed all day, popping pills and downing cough medicine, so I've updated the blog with a few things:



I came across a post on School Gate (The Times - subscription required). Written by Jennifer Lipman and titled 'Why it's not the end of the world if you don't get into Oxford or Cambridge...' it caught my attention because I had applied to Oxbridge only to be rejected. It's fine though, save your sympathy for someone who needs it more. I wasn't suicidal, quite relieved to be honest, and am better off now as a proud matriculated student of 'Hogwarts' (St Andrews basically IS Hogwarts, there's no point denying it).

Here are a few reasons, quoting the article, why Hogwarts is better than Oxbridge:

"You will only have to wear a gown at graduation. The hat may look cool but, I promise you, this is a good thing." - Due to my job I wear my gown nearly every week. If you happen to own the red gown you're probably wearing it every day to keep you warm from the Scottish weather. If you're not wearing it every day you're at least wearing it to the pier walk, to church services, to exams ... The list is endless. If you want to wear a gown, you can at Hogwarts.

"Your accommodation will probably have been built some time after the 17th c
entury, vastly reducing the likelihood of university-inflicted hypothermia." - We have halls of residence that were built before the 17th century. They're beautifully old with grand pianos, high ceilings and bay windows. Hypothermia is unlikely though and is more probable in privately-owned accommodation. That said, we have modern halls too: en-suite rooms with double beds and underfloor heating. Ah, the life of a student.

"Tourists will not point at you in the streets, take photos outside your window or shriek excitedly when you pass them by on your bicycle." - Tourists point at us on the street, take our photos and shriek excitedly - not because we ride bicycles though, but because we go to Hogwarts; wear gowns; run into the North Sea at dawn on the first of May; and have a wonderful tradition called Raisin.

"You'll save a fortune on books. Nobody outside of Oxbridge needs them." - False. As a humanities student books are my life. Then again, even if I was not buying and reading books for academic purposes I would be spending all my student loan on them anyway. But perhaps that's just me.

To re-emphasise my point, Hogwarts is just Oxbridge but better. Q.E.D.

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I am tired of reading articles on faith and religion in newspapers only to find people denouncing them as 'stories', 'a joke' or 'fairytale'.

Many articles are written with presuppositions that this or that religion is true. If we questioned every grounds for every belief or opinion found in an article we would produce pages and pages, perhaps even more than Karl Barth ever wrote.

It's just infuriating. Everyone's entitled to their opinion (or so I'm told) but please, keep it relevant to the article in question. If you want to debate the existence of God don't try and do so in a little comment box.

Get yourself to the School of Divinity at Hogwarts (or any other reputable university).

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Also for the fourth day running, i'm still living out of my holdall. Damn, my shirts are really going to need ironing now.

Wednesday 22nd December - BBC One's The Nativity, Episode Three


More thoughts:
  • Great characterisation. You really feel like you can empathise with them,regardless of whether you believe in the story of the Nativity or not.
  • A frustrated Joseph; a sceptical one; an angry one; a betrayed one. Completely understandable and well-portrayed.
  • No one believes Mary and it's tough. Being blessed by God is not an easy task. How do you maintain your faith in a God who has turned all your loved ones against you?
  • It's all about testing one's faith. Joseph's faith in Mary. Mary's faith in God. The Magi's faith in the stars. It's about asking those hard questions people of faith ask every time they are faced with a challenge: If God really loved me, why would He do this to me?
  • 'The pursuit of wisdom cannot be measured in miles.'
  • I loved the shot where Melchior strokes his beard in a very Magi way.

BBC One's The Nativity, Episode Two


My random thoughts:
  • The moment Mary is told to close her eyes by Gabriel. Wow. What an emotional moment. If metanoia (Greek for 'transformation of the mind') ever had a television debut, that was it. The Annunciation. I felt the Holy Spirit come to her watching that scene. All those emotions, all those thoughts. One can only imagine what it is like to have God reveal Himself to you in a moment.
  • The Magi: typically wise and humourous.
  • Herod: 'What kind of a king does that make me?' A puppet one my friend.
  • I love the inclusion of Isaiah. Mary: a biblical prophecy come true.
  • Great theological questions being asked: How does God interact with the world? Does he just leave His Creation to continue on its own? Or does he stand by as a parent does, only intervening if need be? Such wise words from Melchior.

Tuesday 21st December - Christmas Shopping

I didn't manage to catch much sleep last night for various reasons, one of them being that I could not stop coughing for the life of me. If that wasn't bad enough I've developed manic sneezing; so much so I'm getting headaches.


Anyway, I had to go to Westfield this morning in order to find myself a Christmas present. I don't usually care much for presents but on family orders it was necessary for me to come home with something, if not only to have something to open on Christmas day.

As usual I'm in and out before you know it. I'm not a fan of faffing about shopping. I know what I want/am looking for, get it and get out. I went to the Sony Vaio store to get a new charger for my beloved laptop (it's been dead since the beginning of November). I was at the counter and had taken out my purse, ready to pay £120, when the guy asked me 'Do you love your laptop?' I thought I heard him wrong, but I politely said 'Sorry?' and he replied with the same question. He suggested holding off buying a charger and just buying a new laptop. That's when it hit me. I was going to buy myself a Macbook.

I wandered over to the Apple store, card in hand when I began to have second thoughts. Do I really need a Mac? If it's the price of the charger that's holding me back I could try my luck at one of those fake ones. At £730 it's still a bit pricey, and I could always find a laptop for cheaper. Anyway, the doubts were enough for me to put my card away and return home empty-handed.

Just when I thought I would be able to rest, I was beckoned to embark on Christmas food shopping down Kensington High Street. You would perhaps think it was to choose what food we were to eat, but no, it was merely to help carry it all.

I was ill, had to deal with bright artificial lights, and lots of people. I was not having fun. If you follow me on twitter you will have been bored already with the goings on of the trip, thus I will leave out all the banter here and you can rummage around my timeline if you're that interested.

Baby Photos





Monday 20th December - The Nativity

Watching the first part of the Nativity on BBC One I was sceptical to say the least.


Right from the outset I could tell that this was a little different. Mary's portrayed as a 'pure, gentle woman' but a young and jovial one nonetheless. Joseph is portrayed as humble; a man completely besotted with his future wife and intent on winning her love.

It's interesting that Joseph is depicted as feeling the need to win Mary's love. There's something about Mary (Ha). Is she just hesitant about her feelings towards Joseph or is she marrying for the sake of it?

I was also happy to see that there were more than three wise men. Many people think there were only there, but it's actually suggested that they were merely three of many. [A geeky theological factoid for you there.]

One thing definitely caught my attention though: what a scraggy looking Gabriel! Where's the blonde bombshell I've always imagined?

Anyway, it's definitely different. I'll reserve judgment till I've seen the whole series.

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For any interested there's a lunar eclipse:

Total Lunar Eclipse visible from UK tomorrow morning. Partiality starts 06:32. Totality starts 07:40. Sun rises 08:09. Moon sets 08:17.

Sunday 19th December - You've surprised me London

It's been a whole year since that day. Anyone who's read this blog before knows it's had its dark times. I don't want to go down that path again but I mention it because I'm amazed at how everything can change so drastically within one year.

But anyway, let me tell you about the day I spent with my family.

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As I write this I'm nomming on a piece of my gran's birthday cake and sipping tea from a mug with my name on it.

This morning my family and I braved the London underground and the cold weather. We had attempted to make it to the other side (the east) of London the day before, but due to some unknown white substance most of the tube lines were experiencing 'severe delays'.

After checking TFL we set off. Although it was not rush hour the tube was still as horrible as I remember it. The smell, the nasty plastic flooring and those glass-like panes that have had numerous people lean their greasy heads on them (you can see if you look carefully; perhaps now you'll think twice before resting your head on one). I tried to drown out talk of Coronation Street by reading Kierkegaard, but even the parable of the king and the maiden wasn't enough to block out the screeches of 'So who's the other person who's died?!'


Anyway, two hours later and we had arrived in East London. Trudging through the slush we made it to my gran's. Before going inside I thought it be my duty as granddaughter to clear her path. So I made good use of my mum's boots and scraped it clean. (I had borrowed her boots because I had underestimated the weather down here and had no other footwear apart from slipper boots. Not the same really are they?)

Settling down for lunch we unveiled her birthday cake. Lighting the candle and to the wonderful sound of an out-of-tune 'Happy Birthday' she blew it out, and cut us all slices.


I was surprised to say the least that we did not argue as much as I thought we would.


There were a lot of laughs as we took some photos in the back garden; my gran only wearing slippers and my brother squealing as I told him there were snails on the floor (he was going to make a snow angel). All in all we had a good time.


We watched Annie and The Mummy before dropping gran off to a friend's party. Well, we were supposed to be dropping her off, but against our wishes she dragged us in to say 'hello'. As expected, we exchanged more words than that two-syllabled greeting and even had a few photos taken with people we didn't know.

It wasn't all bad though. I met a friend I had not seen for nearly five years. We used to be the best of friends when we were younger but as it goes with most relationships, things change and people migrate to Scotland. It was nice to see her; I had occasionally seen updates on facebook about how things were going - she was engaged and had a son - but it's always strange to see someone in person after so long.

We finally managed to pry ourselves away, only to leave to the sounds of 'Oh why are you going?', 'It's still early!'. One guy even serenaded us goodbye....

Anywho, I've bored you. I'll try and find something less banal to post for you next time.

Sunday 12th December - Backlog: Raisin Weekend

Nom nom nom nom

The cardboard game

Our amazing assault course. And yes, that is and upside-down armchair on top of another

Impressive

Family photo

(P.S. I'd like to upload more but blogger doesn't like the fact the photos were taken on a 12 million pixel camera ... and I can't be bothered to skew them. Meh)

Tuesday 7th December - Whoops

I realise this blog is looking FAR too empty for it to be acceptable. I tried to post up some photos of Raisin and of the snow but blogger clearly dislikes me right now and is having a hissy fit.

BUT I assure you I will have a post up before Christmas.

(That's the theory anyway....)

Friday 12th November - Miracle

I have a son!

Wednesday 10th November - The City

A few things I tend to forget about the City:

1. Motor vehicles are a lot faster here.
2. Wearing one's hood is no longer socially acceptable as it no longer signifies one's ears are cold.
3. Regardless of how big a city is you are bound to bump into someone you know.
4. After months of open fields, one will develop claustrophobia when riding the tube.
5. It's not possible to breathe in deeply without it being followed by a cough.
6. If it's 11 degrees, it feels like 11 degrees.
6. When it comes to cars, driving and/or traffic, it's war.


Tuesday 26th October - That Feeling

Have you ever had that feeling brought on by a song, a picture, or something offhand someone may have said, that takes you back in time to a place you had long forgotten? You forget where you are and what you are doing. The here and now blends into the past. Senses are confused. All of a sudden you can hear, touch, and smell a situation which took place many years ago. At first the feeling is disorientating, but then your whole being is embraced and enveloped in this memory. Except it doesn't feel like a memory. It's like you are there, again, re-living that moment that brought you utter happiness. That smile, that laughter. So happy, so innocent, so familiar.

But you are brought back to reality just as quickly as you were transported there. The laughter fades, the colours dim, the glowing feeling evaporates around you. You re-enter the conversation as if you had never left, shaking the thought out of your head as if nothing happened. As if it never happened.

Thursday 14th October - Icons? Monothelitism? Gottschalk? Soteriology?

My desk i.e. the dining room table as it has been all day, and will be the next week or so.

Also, you have to love a bit of B.J. Thomas and Marc Cohn. Just saying.

Sunday 10th October - Oh

I had forgotten I have a blog. Don't really know what to say. Probably a waste of a post. Sorry.

Friday 17th September - Papal Visit

If you're interested, follow me on twitter tomorrow for live updates on the scene at Westminster Cathedral and Hyde Park - https://twitter.com/Bordeaux8

Thursday 16th September - I really am rubbish at this

I have so much to share with you, but I just can't find the time. There's the trip to Brighton, Stephen Fry Live, my brother crying on national tv (he will just love me for showing you all this), The Celibacy Debate, and the coverage on the first day of the Pope's visit. It's also not a great time for me to be falling ill ... I need to be well for Saturday! And for university of course....

If only updating this thing was as easy as twitter. By the way, follow me if you feel like hearing some banter about the papal visit. I'll promise to be serious in parts.

Wednesday 8th September - News

I read this story in the paper and it made me chuckle a bit:

'A priest's Sunday service turned into a [M]ass brawl when he attacked one of his congregation. fr Victor Jimeno, of Valencia, slapped a man who spat out a communion wafer [*cough* the Body of Christ], sparking a fight. 'I know we are supposed to turn the other cheek but Fr Victor felt what this man needed most was vengeance, not forgiveness,' said one witness.'

And a Bible passage to suit:

Arise, O Lord! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked ~ Psalms 3:7

Tuesday 7th September - Plans

I've just booked tickets to go to the screening of Conspiracy of Silence and to attend the Celibacy Debate that is to follow - a great way to get into the theological mind-frame I've been avoiding these past few months.

With only two weeks left in London it's going to be a busy time with all these upcoming events. Seeing Stephen Fry on Monday, Celibacy Debate on Tuesday and then hyperactivity all up till Saturday when I make my debut (wait that's a lie ... although The Big Questions on BBC doesn't count) on the big screen ... in your living room.

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And with the tube strike in London, I find this song highly appropriate. Any excuse to listen to the Amateur Transplants

Sunday 5th September - Youth Representatives' Papal Visit Meeting

I'm all hyped up for the Pope's visit. I have my snazzy red top (as shown), my extremely cool gold-yellow stringbag and my PONCHO.

Photo credit to Claz Coms

It's going to be great.

Sunday 15th August - Hello London

Now that I'm back I haven't really found the time to update this thing. The best I can suggest is that you check out my facebook page.

Alternatively, you can wait to see if I come back....

Friday 30th July - Off

Going away again this weekend. Guess where? Baguio and Banaue! Let's hope I make it there this time.