Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Nearly meeting Jimmy Saville

I've had a nice bank holiday weekend. On saturday I went to scarborough for the day with v, who lives in a suburb of toronto called scarborough. The weather held out, and though it was mostly cloudy, it was quite warm. We walked around the town, and were saddened to see BNP activists selling some paper entitled freedom, however, all the other stalls were promoting anti-fascism as well as their own propoganda. It is frustrating to see that the BNP are getting such popular support using tactics that prey on the vulnerable and those who fear their own place in society is being trampled on.

The past few weeks I had been describing Jimmy Saville to v, so that she may in some way appreciate the 'Jimmy Saville seat' in scarborough, however, I was disappointed to find that some vandals had removed the small plaque that distinguished it as Sir Jimmy's. Walking along the sea front later in the day, I popped into the tourist info to ask where, and which one of the Bronte sisters was buried here. She informed me that it was Anne, I thought I'd enquire about Jimmy's seat too, and she told me that they were aware and were due to get it replaced soon. Then the following conversation occurred:
'Actually he was in here earlier today'
'What? Jimmy Saville was in here?'
'Oh yes, he quite often pops in for a chat when he's around'
'Jimmy Saville was in here today?'
'Yes, he's probably still around on the sea front somewhere'

Well, I was really excited about this news and the prospect of meeting Sir Jim, but alas, despite keeping a keen lookout, I didn't spy him. I wanted to ask him if he would fix it for me to have a photo with him (i bet no-one has asked him that!)

Enjoyed sitting on the beach and watching the sea come in, me and v then pretended to be King Canutecommanding the waves. Though at one point it seemed that we had control over the elements as the sea came in and surrounded us, still on a patch of dry land, it soon covered the slight sand bank on which we were stood, and a quick leap was required to save wet toes.

Update - photo set on flickr

On sunday and monday evenings I went to cliff college for their festival, and once again enjoyed the tranquil surroundings. I must admit I didn't find the sunday evening talk inspiring, but I got a lot out of a seminar looking at how to relate to our muslim neighbours. It was done in a really good way, though some of the comments from the audience showed a distinct lack of knowledge of the faith, and generalisations, which i thought the speaker handled really well. Monday evening I enjoyed the comedian, joe fisher, not that he was super funny, but I enjoyed watching people laughing a lot.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Pray without ceasing

Friday evening and me and andrew went along to the start of the sheffield district leg of the methodist church year of prayer, pray without ceasing. It was a really nice service, and pretty well attended considering it was a district event. The meeting commenced with the singing of a hymn, unaccompanied, followed by a time of extempolary prayer for people and situations. During this time, I felt a real connection with God, as the prayers were being said, interspersed with the singing of the taize song 'o lord hear our prayer'. There was a real sense of engagement with god and a peace over the proceedings. A time was then spent praying at various stations around the chapel, and although there was little creative input, I still found the time rewarding. There are so few times when I actually set aside time to commune with god these days, which is not a good thing. The meeting closed with the distribution of candles to all the various circuits, which reminded me of the great diversity and large geographical size of the district, and comforting to know that for the next couple of weeks, people from all around my locality will be exploring and joining in prayer in all manner of ways.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Eurovision clips

There have been some eurovision clips added to you tube for your amusement.

LT United with their brilliant 'we are the winners', watch the bald headed guy, he looks like he isn't taking part in any of the actions, and then he bursts into life, how the other guys managed to keep straight faces during his dance I just don't know.

And Lordi had the backing of the Finnish public who actually contributed money to allow them to put on the most OTT pyrotechnic display ever! Check out his bat wings too.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Ordinands' testimony service

Last year I went to the ordinands' testimonial service, as one of the probationary ministers in our circuit was giving her testimony. I really enjoyed it, so went along to this years, not just because I knew one of the candidates, but because these personal stories of following a call into full time ministry are wonderfully engaging. Picked up brian and peter and we made it to greenhill methodist in plenty of time. It's a while since i've been there and I couldn't quite remember it's exact location, the district website was of no help, and it appeared that the church does not have it's own site. Anyway, I followed my nose and came across it without any major problems. The stories were again very interesting, how people from varied backgrounds suddenly find the call to ministry in the methodist church. A story that sticks in my mind was one told by the last candidate who was previously an MD for a factory near Toronto, on his way to work he heard a story on the news about someone winning $180 million on the lottery. At work people discussed how they would spend such a fortune, he just said that he would never have the opportunity as he never plays the lottery. However, on the journey into work the next day he thought about the question, and decided that if he had so much money he would pay off his mortgage and then work for the church. Then a thought entered his head that he described as not his own, saying 'you can work for the church and it will be like owning $180 million'. From this seed, he eventually handed in his resignation, and during the period of working out his notice he said not a day went by when he didn't have a conversation about jesus with someone at work, and he never started the conversation. I also have some more thoughts that I will probably put on the bible study blog which i suggest you visit from time to time if you feel like discussing matters biblical.
Also at the service there was a time of prayer that was led using a power point presentation, images to help us in the prayer. However, I found it less than helpful because I thought the quality of the presentation was poor, bad font style/colour so difficult to read, non-aligned pictures, poor quality pictures and images that were barely associated with the topic of prayer. Now is this me not being gracious, or do I have a point? If you are going to use technology to help us engage, surely it's better to be done well?...

Also I must let you know that Siobhan's blog about her time in Kenya has been updated.

Monday, May 22, 2006


As we were out in London on saturday, I recorded the eurovision song contest and watched it with v on sunday afternoon. This was purely to introduce v to this european cultural experience, I had of course, no interest in the proceedings whatsoever. Nope, not at all.
It is actually really good watching it recorded as it is possible to skip through the many dull songs, LT United. LT Unitedhowever you do miss out on watching with subtitles that translate the songs for your understanding pleasure. I wonder if understanding the Latvian song would help reveal why they had this strange puppet thing that they put together on the stage. It was hilarius, it looked completely ridiculous, though did save a really terrible song. In addition to Terry Wogan's dry wit as he commentated on the event, other stand out moments included the Lithuanian tune "we are the winners" by This tune was great, so bad it was actually good, but the real standout moment was when some bald headed guy did this crazy air punching dance. LordiThey were clearly not taking the event seriously and came about third or fourth. So much better than the poor uk effort. I was really pleased to see Lordi, the finnish entry, triumph and win the event. It was cracking, microphone masking taped to a plastic axe, crazy costumes, over the top pyrotechnics and giant bat wings appearing outstretched from the lead singer, had me in stiches. Quality. My faith in the british public was restored in hearing that we voted for these two acts in first and second place.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Made in Deptford

On saturday me and v went to London for the day and had a really great time. We started our day browsing some of the shops in Knightsbridge where I tried to contain my shock at the price of the items on sale. Whilst walking around Harrods I realised that the coat I was wearing had a piece of gaffa tape on the sleeve, holding together a hole, hardly chic wear! Despite the prices, there were some very nice items for sale, and I was very tempted with the sausages on offer in Harrods. For lunch we met up with an ex-colleague of mine who worked in the same lab as me some years ago. It has been quite some time since I last saw Xinyu, so there was plenty to talk about, not least her rapidly growing children. She took us to see the Cutty Sark and also to browse round the Grenwich observatory, which I found incredibly interesting, there was some fine examples of precision engineering on display. Time, what a fascinating thing, and how we now take measuring it for granted these days. We took some really nice pictures too, including this one of me and v near the observatory. Next we met up with chris c and headed into Deptford for the made in deptford festival. As I mentioned earlier, the main attraction for us was 2-4 Brew. This was an exhibition of both video and paintings juxtaposed with each other, hosted in the artists own home, their living space turned into a gallery, it was a great idea. There is a picture of me next to one of the pieces in the hallway, sporting a pair of glasses which are part of the exhibition too. We then wandered around coming across a fashion show of many weird and wonderful outfits, making me think this place is full of crazy people and I like it! Meeting up with Helen to discuss her installation and generally catch up, we spent time in a cafe that was giving free knitting lessons. Suffice to say I was poor at this, getting all in a tangle that was the result of knitting with the loose end instead of the wool attached to the ball, it was a mess. Helen and v were pretty good at it, and chris was equally as inept as me. Another gallery/studio we went in actually belongs to steve pippin a turner nominated artist. He had converted this old shop into a piece of art in its own right, a sign on the outside states that it is called "mr pippin's opticians". The first floor has an undulating floor fitted, and you are led upstairs to various rooms, another room shows exposed ceiling struts with strips of wood woven inside giving the appearance of a flake or twirl chololate bar. It really was an interesting building, which also doubles as his studio. It was also great to see that a number of the churches in the area were getting involved in the festival, hosting some of the events. After a browse around some more studios, where I was tempted to purchase some of the work on offer, we all went to a pub called the Dog and Bell, which I must promote as being the best pub in London. Not only did it serve great beer and have a bar-billiard table (which I have no idea how you play) they also serve great food. However, we were cutting it fine for time and browsing the timetable we discovered that there was very little time to catch the train from Deptford to London bridge. The staff at the Dog and Bell very kindly packed my and v's meal into take away cartons, and we had 10 min to get to the station, which we made with about 90 seconds to spare. Finally getting in to St Pancras about 10 min before the train left, leaving us a little flustered, but the food really was delicious. There will be some photos upladed to my flickr sets shortly.

Wedding photos

My dad sent me his photos from Sal's wedding, but it's still disappointing that I don't have mine. I really did have some good photos. However, some of these are ok, despite the lack of any interesting shots. There are a few of me dancing with Sal, so i am pleased that at least there is a record of that. The whole set can be viewed in my flickr set.
Had a great time in London yesterday, and I shall blog more extensively about my time once I've got some photos to go with the text. They are still on v's camera at the moment.

Friday, May 19, 2006


This weekend me and v are off down to London again. One of the main reasons is to attend my friends gallery which is advertised here. I really recommend going along if you live in the deptford area. I've also signed up for a pro account on flickr which means I can now order all my photos into sets which will aid your viewing pleasure. Also for newsreader type peeps just to let you know that my post last night was unfinished when it was first published, so you may have missed a whole load of interesting information, or not. You'll just have to pop over and have a look at my blog!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Teletext reviews, and other stories

Originally uploaded by me.
How exciting, today I got two of my gig reviews on teletext on the same day. I wonder if that is some kind of record? They are my reviews for the Adem gig and Radiohead gig. They have been uploaded to flickr, and you can read them more clearly by clicking on them.
So what else have I been doing, well I have ordered a couple of road maps in preparation for driving through france and germany on my world cup expedition. I turned to amazon to find some cheap ones, but I obviously did not pay much attention to what I was buying, being lead in fact by the picture and price. So on monday I received the worlds smallest raod atlas for france, that could probably fit in my pocket. Although it does show all the major roads, when they congregate upon a city they become hidden amongst some yellow blob donating the city, so hard to see how one circumnavigates said city and continues in the desired direction. The next day I get home and my housemate presents me with a huge box that thankfully arrived when he was in to sign for it. What's this I thought, well the most comprehensive german road map available in the world.....ever!

Originally uploaded by me.
It's so large I reckon it almost logs each blade of grass. So I now have a couple of contrasting maps for my road trip. I also went to donate some blood. I was a little disappointed that the guy next to me filled his bag in considerably less time then me, and that i was a few minutes slower than my previous donations. No records beaten there. Due in part, said the nurse, that although my veins are very prominant, they are also very thin (like me - I thought) and as such were hard to get the needle in, and if the angle was not at the optimum it would slow the delivery. Still it was good to go, and in the waiting time I had chance to browse thru the independent that Bono had edited to highlight HIV in Africa.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Last night I went to see Adem with v and andrew at the boardwalk. I really like Adem, who I first saw supporting the delgados at Leicester Charlotte a few years ago. He's also a very nice chap and had this photo with me and the rest of his band, so it looks like I have a rock star friend! It was a really good evening, and it has been quite some time since I was last at the Boardwalk, it's a wonderful venue and allows you to get really close to the band. Support from local band the gentlemen, was quite good. Some of the tunes had me tapping my foot, but I found the lead singer quite annoying and didn't much like his voice either. Adem had also brought along a guitarist support act who was quite superb, playing some really delicate tunes. Unfortunately the start of Adem's set was marred with chatting from supporters of the local act, a common and annoying occurence at such gigs. Adem nicely alleviated the situation some what by asking, "can you hear me at the back? Cos I can hear you". He really is wonderful to watch playing the guitar and then also his odd assortment of intruments. An old organ powered by pedals, some kind of plucking instrument and loads of weird percussion instruments played by his band. I really enjoyed it. There are more photos on flickr which I must thank v for. She brought her camera which I used to take some pictures, and she has gone out of her way to email them to me before heading off to ireland for a few days.

Monday, May 15, 2006

What was that you tried to say?

Despite the wonderfully warm weather giving way to grey skies and rain for the weekend, I still had a great time. On saturday me and v went to Lancaster to meet up with my cousin, after a meal and a drink around the town we went back to their house to watch a quite superb FA cup final. From the comedic west ham goals giving them the advantage to the sublime strike from a hobbling gerrard, it was incredibly enjoyable for the neutral. The extra time period provided amusement watching player after player succomb to their physical limitations and fall to the ground, or even hopping! A shame it had to end in penalties, but the result was inevitable as the advantage swung right into liverpools grasp after that wonderful strike from gerrard.

After the match we headed into Blackpool, a journey which saw us pass a group of jubilant boys stood at the bottom of their garden, bare-chested, waving aloft their liverpool shirts. They looked so happy, and I honked my horn and gave a jubilant punch of the air as we went past. The reason we had gone to blackpool was to see radiohead live. I was quite excited to see them perform live for the first time, and was particularly pleased that the set was heavily weighted to the kid a and amnesiac sessions. Before the performance began we managed to find a good vantage point near the wheelchair viewing platform. V was able to stand on the lower regions of the slope to enable her to see, I noted the presence of 10 video projectors on the lighting rig and was very impressed when the back curtain fell to reveal 10 screens arranged in various keystone formations. These were used to project visuals and also live footage of the band from various angles. The music sounded great, and it was interesting to see the way such sounds are made, viewing jonny greenwood amidst a bank of sequencers and effects pedals.
Both jonny and thom played drums, guitars and keys, just highlighting their musical adeptity. New material on the whole sounded good, apart from one I found quite boring. Ranging from piano led anthemic melencholia to a track that saw thom playing drums, that sounded quite punky. I've submitted a review to teletext, but i guess they'll have many such reviews, and without a digital camera I may not be able to record the review should it make the teletext grade. So just or you, I shall include it here!

The anticipation of seeing radiohead live, came to an end as a curtain fell revealing 10 screens in varying keystone formations. These provided a visually stunning backdrop with live projections of band members. Playing a mix of material from all but their earliest album, radiohead displayed their musical diversity moving seamlessly between guitars, keys, percussion and banks of sequencers highlighting their musical genius. New material was well received, ranging from anthemic melancholy to injections of a guitar heavy vitriolic objurgate. As Thom dances, you realise that this isn’t just music to make you feel miserable, but contains a hope within.

Also I must let you know that siobhan has updated her blog about her time in Kenya.

Update - I have got some photos from the radiohead gig from v and have uploaded some of them to flickr.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Chrysanthemum tea

V has been bringing me a few bits of chinese fare for me to try recently. I've tried Chrysanthemum tea (or 'guk fa' which is how i phonetically spell what it sounds like in cantonese) which was quite interesting, like a sweet tea. Then yesterday she cooked me some really nice pork and chive dumplings. These were really tasty, and I think I may invest in some more in the future, they were relatively cheap. Also got chance to try and improve my chop stick technique - i'm still pretty rubbish at it.

World Cup

The tickets have arrived, and i've completed the itinery for our stay in germany. I'm really looking forward to it, especially the opportunity to see a live match, even though it is tunisia vs saudi arabia. At least the stadium will be magnificent!

Talking of the world cup, sven certainly pulled a huge surprise by including Theo Walcott. It is certainly strange to include such an inexperienced youngster, however highly rated he may be. I don't think he's even played in the premiership yet. I guess proven strikers like Marcus Bent and Defoe must be very annoyed with the choice. I think one of the reasons he is chosen is that it will cause such a media furore, in fact just look at increase in blog references. This has taken the interest away from rooney, allowing him some more space for recovery. Also, any potential opposition will have almost no information on the teenager, and will possibly cause them some tactical worries.

Posts that contain Theo Walcott per day for the last 30 days.
Technorati Chart
Get your own chart!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Normal service resumed

There has been server problems at work (not of course that I blog from there) and then blogger seems to have been playing up too. But I'm back, and the wedding blog is up. Though still rueing the loss of my camera - if you happen to see it lying around cambridge, let me know.

Monday, May 08, 2006


So this weekend my cousin sal got married.

Me and my sis were staying with some of our other cousins in a cottage to the south of cambridge, we headed down on friday night and arrived just before 10pm. It was great to see them all again, as it is not often these days that we meet up. Amelie had grown considerably and was now sporting a full head of hair.

After a wonderful continental breakfast and a relaxing morning, we all got ready and left for cambridge via the park and ride. Once in the town it was necessary to find a route to Selwyn College, where the ceremony would be taking place. Being a tourist town there was no shortage of public maps and we were soon on our way to the destination. We hadn't eaten, and time was pressing, however we came across a great noodle bar, dojo who readily obliged in bringing our food within minutes of our order. It tasted great and was enough to satisy our apetite during the wedding ceremony. We made it to the college in plenty of time, and the setting was truely beautiful. The college chapel is such an incredible venue for such a ceremony, and the building really did have a sense of the prescence of god about it, whether that was due to the magnificent arcitecture and ornamentation or the accumulation of years of fervent prayer within its walls, i don't know.

As Sal arrived and came down the aisle, she looked radiant, and her face was glowing, I've never seen such a large smile! Then as we began singing the first hymn, the sound was fantastic. So many people singing with gusto, and this accompanied by wonderful harmonies from the choir. I really enjoyed the ceremony in all it's high anglican formality. There was a real sense that this ceremony was not just celebrating the relationship of matthew and sal, but also their continuing relationship with god.

The wedding was then followed by photos and a wonderful meal, during which the rain began to come down heavily. The meal was proceeded with a ceilidh in cambridge guild hall. Dan, ben, sarah and myself decided to walk there, despite the rain, calling into a cocktail bar on the way. Once inside we got some drinks, including a very nice ale from the cask, and then my m&d arrived by taxi! It took them longer than us, and we'd walked and stopped for a drink. I really enjoyed the evening, and I was quite privilaged to have a dance with the bride.

Now where are the photos you may be wondering, well where indeed. Due to some drunken foolishness I appear to have misplaced my camera, somewhere between the guildhall and returning to our cottage, presumably in the back of the taxi. How annoying, and not the loss of the camera, but those few photos amongst the ones I took that I was really pleased with, including one of me and sal.

There are some photos on other blogs here or here.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Yesterday I was mostly a spoke in the wheel of democracy

Yesterday I was up super early to help the democratic process flow. You see I was enlisted to help as a polling clerk again, a job that requires me to tick off voters as they vote and ensure no-one tries to vote fraudulently. It's quite boring, but I quite enjoy it, you get to see all sorts of people, and I feel like I'm helping them utilise their democratic right to vote. I was stationed at a polling station in stannington, amidst a council estate of a mostly aged population. It was interesting to hear some of their grumbles, particularly that they had not seen or heard anything from the people standing, nor had they received any literature. So it just goes to show that a lot of people really do want to identify with the candidates and get a sense that the candidates are interested in helping them. There was of course a few people annoyed with the polling station, some posh guy from one of the larger houses (outside the council estate) moaning that it has taken him 30 minutes to find the polling station. "How is anyone supposed to find this station if they are not familiar with the area"

Errrm, you live here, I found it ok and I live in another part of sheffield. Just goes to show that a lot of people take no interest in their surrounding neighbourhood, especially, i guess, when it is a council estate!

Perhaps the chap wanted his own polling station at the end of his drive!

Then there was an old chap, who according to our records had requested a postal vote and so could not vote in person, insisted that he should be able to vote. He qualified this belief by saying, not only had he not requested a postal vote, but that he was around before the polling station was even built and had always voted there, so wished to do so again!

The police popped by twice to check that everything was running smoothly, and one of the candidates (the liberal democrat) did actually pop in and thank us for working at the station and to enquire how the voting was going. He seemed quite a nice chap actually.

Starting at 0700 and seeing about 10 votes an hour until lunch, it was certainly quiet, but time used to do some reading. The peak hour was from 1900-2000 with 34 votes cast.

A number of people who came to vote said that they had come to ensure that the bnp didn't get in, but thankfully they had no candidates in this particular ward (though those wards where they did have candidates they actually gained a significant number of votes).

A full round up of the sheffield council results can be found here.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Second best

Was dropped off tonight near cricket inn road and i walked in to town where I met v. She had brought my trainers, which was great, these new shoes I have for work/up coming wedding, need walking in and they were really hurting my feet. We then trundled over to the town hall where a great throng of people had gathered to wave at the jubilant sheffield united team. Because there were already so many people there it would be impossible to make a local tv appearance of anything more substantial than being a mere pixel. However we waited for the open top bus to arrive whilst being deafened by kids blowing these air horn things. Things that amused me about the occasion were the groups of people around the town hall selling all manner of shef utd related 'goods' from celebratory t-shirts to the more bizarre and poorly selling red and white furry snake things on a stick. They looked rubbish! Also there were people selling balloons shaped like the premiership trophy, let's put this in perspective for a moment, chelsea are the premiership champions, shef utd have merely been promoted to that division. The other thing that amused me about the event was the team holding aloft the tiny silver plate that marked their runners-up acheivement in the championship. Took the bus up to crookes and picked up my car, it works again - yay!

The car is fixed

Had to walk up to the garage yesterday and inform them that my car was broke and could they please fix it, then had to work out which construction site I could get to easiest from a train station. What a pain. Got the train again this morning, but am now informed that the car is fixed. Hooray. Just in time, as tomorrow I am working as a poll clerk for the local elections, and without a car the journey to the polling station at such an early hour would've been quite a chore. The annoying thing is that the money i'll earn as a poll clark, which I was aiming to put towards my israel trip, will now be syphoned straight into car repairs. Boooo.

Later today I'm going to attempt to become a tv star again by watching the sheffield utd promotion winning team parading around sheffield city centre. Local news star here I come!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Don't you just love it when your car breaks

Church on sunday was really nice, we had some good discussions over our coffee. In an extra exciting manner we had a new attendee, an elderly lady who was in Sheffield to watch the snooker final at the crucible with her grandson. She wanted to attend church in the morning and her grandson found cv on the internet. How cool is the internet! I'd like to think that she chose our church on the basis of the really neat website that andrew has created for us, alas I think her choice was influenced by our geographical proximity to her grandson's house. Never-the-less an internet searching attendee is good news. It was also good to see hp again, as she was back visiting her parents. However, I did notice that the key was beginning to get stuck in the ignition and I was having increasing difficulty in turning it.

In the evening we held our monthly alternative service, using an interesting visual display. A centre piece of moniters, rather than a big screen, which we sat around in a circle. Used some visual meditative stuff, including this worship trick from Jonny Baker. After the service, I struggled to get the car to start again, and after unloading the sound equip at the community centre the car just would not start. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't get the key to turn in the ignition. Grrrrr, car trouble!!! Had to walk home.

Got up monday morning and walked back up to the car and managed to get it to start, and drove it straight to local garage and parked it up. Walked back home and enjoyed a nice bbq lunch with some friends, followed by watching the wonderful crouching tiger, hidden dragon. Watched a bit of the snooker final too, but it was quite dull. Trying to enthuse v about the greatness of the game was rather difficult when you'd have to wait about 15 min into a frame before a single ball was potted!