Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Words of wisdom

You've got to do what you've got to do – so you might as well enjoy it :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


So it's that time of the year again - exams; which means travelling up to Wales. On the day I was set to travel, I managed to faff to such a degree that even I was astounded. Some things weren't my fault. Such as discovering someone had knocked my wing mirror off (why today of all days?). Reattaching a mirror is, well, tricky. But that done and the car finally loaded up, I set off - just as it was thinking about getting dark. The journey was fine until I approached Wales, then it began to rain. And it was dark. And the combination meant I couldn't see very well. I have to confess there were a few moments, when large trucks were passing that the spray was so intense that I really couldn't see anything. Very scary and stressful.

The hail outside my window at WEST
Having arrived safely and had a good night sleep at WEST, I awoke to the sound of rain. But you know, it's not true what they say about Wales - it doesn't rain all the time. It stopped. But this was only so that it could hail, which it did with outstanding efficiency. But this only lasted for awhile and so I braved the weather to go and explore my now customary study spot. It was cold, but at least it wasn't overgrown (got lost in a field of ferns last time). The weather decided that now would be a good time for a bit of variation and so brought out it's finest high-powered wind. Now you have to understand, I like a good bit of wind as much as the next guy - you know extreme weather etc etc. But this? Hello? I was actually scared that my car was going to be flipped over. And I had to get out and stand in it just for the sheer joy of walking at such an absurd angle.

Anyway, have now taken two exams. I think they have gone okay, but then again, I thought I had produced a stonker of an essay - but only got a 'C' for it, so who knows!

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I know there's many a blogger who simply use their blog to moan, whinge and complain. I like to think that this blog isn't like that. I had planned to write a witty piece on the launch of the new iphone 4s, the death of Steve Jobs and the embarrassing failure of blackberry this week. It was going to be great.

However, I have run out of time and feel most subdued at the moment – so let me just share this with you. This week, I came down with what can only be described as 'man-flu'. Just as this totally time-wasting virus was nearly overcome, my back has decided to get in on the action by dishing out lashings of pain whenever I move.

Life, huh, it certainly let's you know it's there. Is there anything good about this? Well, I think it is good to every now and again have a reminder about how fortunate we are if we are fit and healthy – there are many people that have to live with pain on a day-to-day basis. So I had a cold and have a bad back – these will pass – how fortunate I am.

Monday, August 22, 2011


I never liked the idea and thought it was full of over-the-top American cheese. And it is. But it's official, I can't help it, I have become a Gleek! Ahhh – I love it.

Friday, July 29, 2011

I can't believe...

John Stott has gone to be with the Lord! Better for him, but sad for us. For details see visit the the The Christian Institue or for a more personal reflection visit Desiring God.

Friday, July 22, 2011


Just in case any avid readers of this blog are interested, I passed all the first year exams. I would like to say 'with flying colours', but it was a mixed bag. Still, the main thing is that I can carry on at WEST for the second year... but September is coming round all too quickly for my liking.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Left behind.

Before I took up my studies at Bible college, for many years I worked at an advertising and marketing company. In order to help pay the bills I regularly freelance at my old company and so get to see all my old colleagues and basically do what I was doing before.

Today is the day of their summer party – which involves a light-hearted sports afternoon and then drinks and a BBQ on a boat on the Thames. I was asked if I would 'hold the fort' in case of any artwork related emergencies. I have to say it's surprisingly lonely – knowing that everyone else is out having fun and I am not. I had held out a hope that I would be invited to the evening festivities, but alas, it has become apparent that this is strictly for those in the company. But why am I sharing all this with you?

As I sat in front of my computer, feeling pretty lethargic and unmotivated, I considered that merely being associated with a people or a company, still doesn't actually make you a part of the company - no matter how closely you may have worked with them. And in many ways, that is the same with heaven. A person may go to church, have tons of Christian friends and even do many of the same things that Christians do, but unless they are trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation and are seeking to follow Him, one day, there will be a great eternal party to which they are invited. Regret, good works or any other plea or offer will not be enough, for when the time comes, if you are not found in the Lord, then that is how you shall remain – outcast, lonely and regretful. Depressing? No, there's hope.

Unlike the parallel with my old company, the good news is that it doesn't have to be that way. The Lord is holding open his arms and is even now inviting you to join him. Because of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, God can forgive all the mess-ups you've ever made and welcomes you to a restored relationship with himself. This offer is open to all: that we should turn from our sin, to love and follow Jesus and so enjoy forgiveness, reconciliation and eternal life in him. But like all good offers, this offer has an expiry date. The offer is closed whenever you might die or whenever Jesus returns – whichever comes first. So think about it. Do you want to be welcomed to the greatest party in history as a child of God, or do you want to be turned away into everlasting darkness, with God saying, 'Depart from me, I never knew you'? Right now, I know where I would rather be.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The wasps – it's them or me...

Over a period of time I noticed that there seemed to be more and more wasps gathering in my garage. Convinced that this wasn't because my garage was simply a cool place to be if you're a wasp, I investigated. And yes, apparently, it wasn't simply a good chill-out zone, but more of a good place to make your home. I found the offending wasps nest hanging from the asbestos roof, nice.

After ordering some Rentokil wasp nest destroyer from Amazon the time had come. Early in the morning, protected by a long-sleeved shirt, I crept into the garage – armed with my tin of wasp eradicating foam. Taking aim, I unleashed a torrent of white foam – it quickly covered the nest and formed a secure seal. But taking no chances, I dashed from the scene – only to creep back to observe the response. There was none. They must have all been asleep.

I returned that evening to check on the progress. I opened the door, very carefully. The nest had literally melted – it was amazing. Although in a curious kind of way I felt a little sorry for them. But I had succeeded, overcome the beasts within, I felt triumphant.

Unfortunately, as it happens they were not the only wasps that had decided my garage would make a good home. Yes, there is indeed another nest. But this one is proving a little tricky. It's at the back of the garage and upon investigation is in the middle of a rolled up piece of carpet. After struggling to open the double rear doors these wasps were alerted to their impending doom. They buzzed around furiously and I ended up dancing around in a most unmanly manner. There was nothing for it, but for me to don my trusted can of wasp killer and block their exit. This proved easy, and I certainly won the battle, but not the war. Over the next few days their numbers dwindled massively. But they have been working hard, rebuilding, fortifying, guarding and producing more troops... it's going to end in a showdown, it's them or me...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Milk theft.

Yes, it's true – apparently some people are so financially challenged, that they can't even afford to purchase their own milk. The dastardly event happened yesterday morning, but it wasn't so much the theft of the milk that was annoying – it was the loss of the accompanying milk minder that really stung. The milk minder was equipped with insulation and so protected the milk from the sun – but alas, no more. What is even more peeving is the fact that I had spent no little time in completely taking apart and washing the milk minder the previous day. Can I not just replace it? You would think so, but it seems the dairy no longer sell them, so now thanks to these thoughtless thieves we'll be enjoying warm milk on our breakfast. So thanks, whoever you are.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Near car crash experience.

Last Sunday, a friend of ours had a thanksgiving service for their daughter. There was the customary 'bit of a do' afterwards. It was raining when we left and so I was dispatched to bring the car back from the car park. Having loaded the children and wife into the car, along with all sorts of leftover culinary delights we set off. Trying to turn right onto the busy main road was proving a little tricky, when fortunately someone pressed the button on the pedestrian crossing. As the lights turned amber, I thought the oncoming car was stopping and so began to trundle out, checking as I went that the other way was clear. Unfortunately, the car I thought was stopping, wasn't. It appeared instead to have sped up in order to get through the lights and was now speeding towards us. There was a shriek from my wife, I promptly stalled the car and watched helplessly as the oncoming car's brakes locked and it glided on the wet road towards us. As happens on these occasions, everything seemed to slow down. The skidding car was coming closer, I tried to reverse, but couldn't get the car started in time. I remember thinking that the other car was not going to stop and by the look on the other driver's face he didn't either.

With about a foot to spare, his car finally stopped. We all paused. He was looking at me and he didn't appear to be in the mood for pleasantries. My wife noted that his wife was holding a young child on her lap in the back and neither seemed to be wearing a seatbelt. I was urged to wind down the window and apologise – which I duly did, and then finally managed to reverse our car out of the way. It was very close, and I have to confess it was my fault – although I did want to enquire from the other driver if he had in fact driven through a red light and how fast he was going and why his family was breaking the law in regards to their restraints. However, it hardly seemed to be the time or place. I am very thankful to God for preserving us that day – just another foot and the day and our new car would have turned out very differently.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Something eerie is going on.

As I am sure many others have done, I checked out what my neighbourhood looks like from above by using the google maps satellite view. Apart from noticing that I need a new roof, I couldn't help but notice that a strange feature seems to be quietly spreading throughout the landscape of suburbia. Is this another phenomenon akin to crop circles? Indeed, could these be the foundational pads for some mysterious infiltration of our world by life-forms unknown? Is this a danger to civilisation as we know it? I have ringed the strange apparitions in red, but I know for a fact that since this picture was taken, two additional 'urban landing pads' have appeared. Firstly, one in my very own back garden about a month ago. Secondly, in our neighbours garden only yesterday! Whatever these things are, they are appearing under our very noses. Who knows where the next one will appear and what their real purpose is. Could there be at this very moment one being manifested in your back garden? Have you looked out of your window this morning... the end could be coming.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It is finished.

Well, the exams are anyway! It's difficult to say how they went – I don't think I will be getting any A's – let's put it like that. Now I am sat at home, finishing the coursework that I never did, keeping the Greek ticking over and enjoying a bit of free reading. I've just started Timothy Keller's Counterfeit Gods. I've only read the introduction, but it seems promising.

I'm also hoping that the Good Agency will be in need of some freelance help... but we'll see :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Escape from WEST!

The view as I studied
 whilst on my little adventure.
So 9.30am came and I turned over the Greek exam paper. Oh dear. It was as I had feared - full of stuff that I can only describe as Greek. Three brain-watering hours later, I was the last to leave the exam. Some parts of the exam I didn't complete, others I know I got wrong. On the upside - I'm pretty sure I got my name right at the top of the page ;)

I had a bite to eat before packing the rest of my lunch into a rucksack, along with my books for revision. Off I went exploring. I had heard about a nearby beach that sounded interesting... although I never made it. I got side-tracked by a little discrete location that I drove past. I stopped there and did some work, enjoyed the sun and finished my lunch. It was great. But then it got cold and rained (Don't you just love Wales?). So I'm now back at WEST - my great escape over. Time to continue my revision for the Biblical Theology exam tomorrow. Whoppppeeeeeee.

Monday, May 9, 2011


So it's finally arrived. Exam time. I travelled to Bridgend, Wales by car, hauling a ton of books with me. Had a microwave curry (Tesco's finest, don't you know) and then settled down to revise for my 3 hour Greek exam tomorrow. I then fancied a cup of tea and so nipped downstairs to pop the kettle on. Neglecting to wear any shoes proved to be a significant error. By the time I had entered the kitchen my socks were augmented by a number of new accessories - what's is that sticking to my sock? A piece of cereal? Rogue pea? A new life-form perhaps? Grim. Anyway, have managed to dust off the soles and return to the relative safety of my room. It's not all bad though - did have a nice little chat with a brother called Hue - he is going to be an assistant pastor at a church (somewhere). Good for him, I hope it all goes well for him. Now back to my Greek. Ahhh.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Laziness can be a great motivator

There are a number of things that men feel obliged to fulfil in order to feel as though they are being a Real Man: protecting and providing for their family; being funny and/or respected; to be able to barbecue; being able to operate technology without instructions... and being able to fix things. This last requirement, in particular, can be a cause of some concern, especially among the younger generation. For, gone are the days when men seemed to be born with an intrinsic knowledge of mechanics, house maintenance and general handiness. Instead, not all, but many modern professional men seem more inclined to 'call in the expert', than to get their hands dirty. Unfortunately, I myself, fall into this bracket. Some may see this as laziness, others as a simple consequence of the need to specialise, and so therefore to be accomplished in their field, but hopeless in others.

However, there are a number of factors that can sway even the most 'specialised' of men to dust off his toolkit, role up his sleeves and get stuck in. In my recent case, these were money and washing-up.

It all started when the dishwasher decided that enough was enough and that it had been faithfully washing our dishes for quite long enough and that it was time for a break. This minor rebellion manifested itself in the fact that the dishes no longer came out sparkling and dry, but wet and smeary. The thought of the cost of calling out a repair man plus the cost of parts was too much to bare, and so it was I found myself scouring the internet for answers. After a little investigation it became apparent that the problem was due to the water not being heated, which could be caused by either a faulty heating element or a fault with the PCB (printed circuit board). What also became apparent was that my particular model of dishwasher was prone to suffering from a dry-joint on the PCB where the relay was soldered on. This all sounded a bit too complicated for my liking.
The wiring loom attached to the PCB,
contained within it's plastic case
Now, my dear wife had been baking and the kitchen was a mess and it became apparent that it was my job to clear up. However, I reasoned that if I could fix the dishwasher, my task would be achieved much quicker. And so it was, that out of sheer laziness and a fear of the washing up mountain, I recalled the instructions and set about the rather daunting task of taking apart my dishwasher. This involved a lot of head-scratching, sweating and procrastinating, but upon investigation, the suspected fault was found, the dry-joint re-soldered and the dishwasher reassembled.

Having fixed the dishwasher, it called for a trial run, and so I loaded everything I could lay my hands on into the dishwasher and set it going – hence I have time to sit and right this blog. But did it work? I've just this moment run downstairs and opened the door mid-cycle and... was engulfed by a cloud of steam. So it appears the dishwasher has been recalled from it's brief holiday and is now merrily heating up the water again. And I feel a tremendous sense of satisfaction – I feel like a Real Man. Who said being lazy was all bad?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Greek principal parts.

Sorry about the lack of updates recently; life has been hectic. The exam season is fast approaching and I'm bogged down in second semester Greek. John Kendall, my lecturer in Greek, feels that it would be beneficial for us to learn the principal parts for a good number of Greek verbs. Good stuff, but... to say it's doing my head in would be an understatement. Oh well, it'll all be worth it in the end :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New life for the humble Shoe Horn

I don't usually have much use for that rather quaint little tool known as a shoe horn. However, the other day I was preaching at a church in London. A good friend was picking me up on his motorbike and brought along all the necessary gear – including a helmet. Unfortunately, I have been blessed with a rather ample set of ears. And so it was, early one Sunday morning, I found myself trying to squeeze my head and it's accompanying appendages into a rather snug helmet. Let me assure you, undertaking a 45 minute journey on the back of a bike with one's ears folded in half is not to be recommended.

When I thought about this I came upon the solution – a shoe horn. Yes, the humble shoe horn could be used to keep one's ears flat and allow the helmet to be slid on neatly and thus avoid the unpleasant problem of ear folding. Although admittedly whizzing about on a super-bike with a shoe horn stuck in your belt doesn't seem to fit with the biker image, it does make for more comfortable riding!