Sunday, January 21, 2007

Zac plays

Sister Sahara was monopolising some of the toys so Zac amused himself with an empty bottle. He is into everything, still crawling but pulling himself up to stand.

Sahara plays

Sahara plays in our home just before they went to see here other grandparents in Sri Lanka. It was great to have them with us for five days prior to their holiday. Sahara was not keen to share these toys with her brother.

On TV Arsenal are about to beat Man U 2-1. Great. I am not an Arsenal fan. Not one British player in their team today. But I loath Man U with a perfect loathing. What Leeds fan doesn't?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Return, return to Ealing

I have previously found two poetic references to the place I live, Perivale from JB but now I have found this. How times have changed!

Return, return to Ealing,
Worn poet of the farm!
Regain your boyhood feeling
Of uninvaded calm!
For there the leafy avenues
Of lime and chestnut mix'd
Do widely wind, by art designed,
The costly houses 'twixt.

No early morning tractors
The thrush and blackbird drown,
No nuclear reactors
Bulge huge below the down,
No youth upon his motor-bike
His lust for power fulfils,
With dentist's drill intent to kill
The silence of the hills.

In Ealing on a Sunday
Bell-haunted quiet falls,I
n Ealing on a Monday
'Milk-o!' the milkman calls;
No lorries grind in bottom gear
Up steep and narrow lanes,
Nor constant here offend the ear
Low-flying aeroplanes.

Return, return to Ealing,
Worn poet of the farm!
Regain your boyhood feeling
Of uninvaded calm!
Where smoothly glides the bicycle
And softly flows the Brent
And a gentle gale from Perivale
Sends up the hayfield scent.

John Betjeman - Lines written to Martyn Skinner before his Departure from Oxfordshire in Search of Quiet {---} 1961

Happy birthday United Kingdom!

This day is the tercentenary of the union of the kingdoms of England and Scotland. The crowns had been united for over a century before from the crowing of James VI of Scotland as James I of England. I remain unconvinced that importing Stuart monarchs was "a good thing". The divine right of kings had to be denied and kings taught they had a joint in their necks. But I have more sympathy with uniting the countries. I think it has been mutually beneficial and a splendid diversity has been maintained ecclesiastically, educationally and legally.

However, with devolution and the restoration of a Scottish parliament, I am now critical of the Union because of new inequities. The Scots get all the fiscal breaks for which the English pay. (And do not tell me it's Scotland's oil financing this. Whose navy gives oil rigs security?) Scottish elderly people do not have to pay for residential care. The English and Welsh do. Scottish undergraduates pay no tuition fees, nor do E.U. students in Scotland, unless they come from England of Wales where fees are paid. Then there is the matter of M.P.s who represent Scottish constituencies voting on matters like health legislation for England. There people do not represent England and should have no part in out local legislature when their own parliament in which they do not sit is devolved.

I love Scotland. I am a whisky drinking Presbyterian with a Scottish forename. But I do not think Scotland can continue to have it both ways. Let us revert to an equitable Union or go our separate ways.

Deathly hypocrisy

What irony! Three mass murderers are judicially executed in Iraq and many of the world's leaders start expressing grave concern. What hypocrisy. They don't express grave concern about sticking a fork into the brain of a well developed but yet unborn baby - and without anaesthetic either! - Peter J Naylor, on Genevanet mailing list

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Books read in January 2007 (10)

1. A New England? Peace and war 1886-1918 (New Oxford History of England)by G.R. Searle

This is the third book I have read in this series and the high standard is maintained. Once again it is not an easy read but it is a comprehensive one and very informative about all aspects of England and its life in the years covered.This is of course the period of the transition from the old to the modern world. The First World War changed everything and its course and impact are well detailed. On the way some modern myths are demolished and one understands how such a huge loss of life could occur from a mainly volunteer army. Between 1909 and 1915 Winchester school had 5439 boys leaving the school. 5431 volunteered for service. One also learns how the upper classes suffered the greater losses proportionately. 21% of Old Etonians in the forces were killed, 26% wounded. Contrast this with 12% of all British combatants killed.

2. Little Book of Cricket Legends by Ralph

Reading this while we were losing the Ashes reminded me of the glory days of cricket. Here are one's heroes of old though of course one has a grumble at who is in and who is left out. Why no Rhodes or Boycott? Why include Flintoff? He is too contemporary for legend status, especially now the debacle down under. But it is an enjoyable read evoking lovely memories of many international cricketers.

3. Big bear and the Blue Button by Stephanie Laylor

Good to teach children colours and shapes.

4. Daisy's First Sunflower by Emma Damon

Fun to read to my granddaughter. Comes complete with a chart to measure children and sunflowers.

5. Jonathan Edwards: The Holy Spirit in Revival by Michael A.G. Haykin

This has to be the next best thing to reading Edwards and a lot easier. This is a great introduction to the man, his times, and his theology of revival and true spirituality.Edwards is generally recognised as America's greatest theologian . Experiencing revival he was in the best position to examine what of a genuine work of the Holy Spirit in revival and in the life of the individual. We can look with the certainty of history and see there was real revival at this time. living through it, things were not so clear. This uncertainty at the time is well described here. Edwards "Faithful Narrative"s of the revival is examined as is the "Religious Affection" which looks at what is genuine Christian experience. Haykin also explains why Edwards and nearly all his contemporaries believed the extraordinary gifts of the holy Spirit ceased with the days of the apostles. Extraordinary manifestations of the Spirit's power certainly did not. The legacy of Edwards is seen in the account of his "Humble Attempt" to promote concerts of prayer which lead to the modern missionary movement.

6. Whose Nose Feet and Ears? - Jeanette Rowe

More fun reading to my granddaughters

7.The Brave Ones - Tom Kerins


8. I Like Me - Nancy Carlson

Seems to encourage children to put themselves at the centre of their world, a most unnecessary encouragement.

9. The Wild Woods - Simon James

10. The Little House - Virginia Lee Burton

A story of urbanisation for children.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Shame that is England's cricket

Boycott says he is going to give his cat his O.B.E. Don't do it Geoff. You deserved it and more.

In the past, recipients of honours who blotted their copybooks after getting their gongs had the medals taken away. It happened to some VCs even. So H.M. should take back all those England M.B.E.s, all except Vaughan's. He is the only one not in disgrace as he did not play in Oz.

The only anti-smoking piece I like.

One is supposed to be able to click to smoke the cancer stick then when smoked it comes up with, 'Congratulations you have successfully installed cancer'. Unfortunately I have not managed to install the animation. Any advice?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Bad news overnight

We now have Sky Sports so for the first time I have been able to watch the Ashes in Oz. It starts after 11 pm so if one is called by nature in the early hours one can then proceed to see how the game is going. England's abysmal performance has elicited two comments from yours truly.

Until the Ashes I thought one woke up from a nightmare, not to one.

What is worse than a cold, dark, damp English winter morning?
A cold, dark, damp English winter morning with bad news form Oz.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

John Calvin

John Calvin, originally uploaded by maigemu from Reformation Art.

You will see I have a way to go with the beard but I think I have done well with the head gear.

See post below.

The Reformer Look

Rather than going for the new short beard in the New Year, I have decided to join the reformers and try to emulate the sort of beard sported by Calvin or Knox. In a while i will post pictures to show the look I want. My growth in the past year has reached seven and a half inches. Beard that is, not waist.

Not qualifying for the doctoral cap favoured by Big John in Geneva, I decided the nearest I could get was a hat from Afghanistan.

New Year's day 2007

A present from the Christmas tree.

It's ten finger puppets!

New Year's Eve 2006

Lunchtime with family from Canterbury and Greenford.

Sahara helps Grandma with present opening.

Zac has presents too.

Sahara listens to Grandad who apparently has been shorn for the New Year.

Bethany listens to Grandad

Bethany listens to Grandad, originally uploaded by maigemu.

Father Christmas reads

Father Christmas reads, originally uploaded by maigemu.

Father C is evidently a devotee of Dr. Seuss and the girls are quite keen on his writings too.

Still reading on Boxing day

Still reading on Boxing day, originally uploaded by maigemu.

Hannah pays attention

Hannah pays attention, originally uploaded by maigemu.

Bethany's eyes are on a toy.


Chronology, originally uploaded by maigemu.

The crown is for the king of Chronology, a fine simple game received as a Christmas present. Since this was taken Debbie has beaten me twice.

Snow White Bethany

Snow White Bethany, originally uploaded by maigemu.

Though I have a Snow White granddaughter I do not have seven dwarfs. Only one grandson ....... so far.

Pretty Profile

Pretty Profile, originally uploaded by maigemu.

Bethany is Snow White.

Fairy Hannah

Fairy Hannah, originally uploaded by maigemu.

Note the wings.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Boxing Day lunch 2006

Boxing Day lunch 2006, originally uploaded by maigemu.

Going cold turkey.

Christmas Tea 2006

Christmas Tea 2006, originally uploaded by maigemu.

Crackers to be pulled!

Happy Sisters

Happy Sisters, originally uploaded by maigemu.

Train Set

Train Set, originally uploaded by maigemu.

Hannah enjoys the train set she received from Auntie Debbie

Bethany, Hannah and Uncle Adrian

Bethany, Hannah and Uncle Adrian, originally uploaded by maigemu.

Adrian is a person who rarely seems to have photos do him justice. But I think this is a good likeness.

Hannah opens her stocking

, originally uploaded by maigemu.

The first of a number of photos taken by Jonathan and left on my laptop.