Monthly Archives: May 2006

On my way……

Well, I’m about to set off to Luton to pick up my supervisor and research group after their conference trip to Portugal….. very nice indeed. Hopefully they’ll be bringing me back a bottle of port, which’ll be nice. I have only one small worry….. as they don’t land till 17.05 it means we’re going to have to get round the M25 at rush hour…. last time I was there it took me three hours to get round last time.

I would ask if anyone knows any good routes for getting from Luton to the A34 so I can join the M4 and avoid using the M25 completly, but I may have left that a bit late!!!

Most of the way through……..

Having put my car back in for another MOT (it failed, but on different stuff, not he stuff we hadn’t fixed, but cheaper stuff) and having to get back to Swasnea to pick up a minibus tomo I got to travel on National Express. I should appologise to the guy who was sitting next to me until we left him at Leigh Delameir services. I did go tell the bus driver you hadn’t turned up and he waited, then got bored and drove off.

However, a long bus journey meant I was able to read a fair old chunk of The Da Vinci Code. While I’ve not finished it yet I’m going to sy that there have been no surprises yet. Somethign I’ve been able to work out faster than our “heros”.

But there is one problem I’ve had with this book, and that’s the fact it suffers from Dumb Cop Syndrome. They are unable to chase a bright red Smart Car on the deserted streets of Paris, despite the fact that Smart cars aren’t known for their power.

Another cop knows the people he was sent to detain were on the plane that’s just gone into the hanger. He searches the plane and can’t find them. Does he look in the car that’s the only other thing there??? Nope.

Always one step behind……

Well, it could be true…………..

Which is something that a lot of people have been saying about a certain book. This book is of course Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’. A book that I have not read.

Yet.

I have taken advantage of being home for the weekend (I’ve got my ticket back to Swansea for Tuesday) and have borrowed my dad’s copy of the book. Afterall, I wouldn’t want to give even more money to Mr Brown if I could help it!!! Of course, with all the attention from both print and broadcast media I have a fair idea what the general idea behind the book. I’m not too sure how he makes a book so thick, but I’m sure I shall find out what else there is.

There was a tv programme repeated thi evening called ‘The Grail Trail: In Pursuit of The Da Vinci Code’, which took three “regular” people who had read the book and took them to all the locations in the book that are involved with the idea behind the Grail being the bloodline of Christ. There were also experts at these locations whom our “investigators” were able to question. I’m was quite sad to admit that it was the American student that I was cheering on, as opposed to the two British people on the grounds that he reconised that this is in fact a book, a story. Unlike the woman who said that after reading the book she’d lost all respect for the Catholic Church.

Yes, because they’re use of Albino Monk Assassins just isn’t on. In fact, it wasn’t until they got to speak to the expert on the grail histories and he got so wound up that he basically called anyone who actually believed that ‘the Grail was true’ was jut like “one of those sad bastards who send birthday cards to charactors in soaps!!

Which I laughed at.

So I shall read The Da Vinci Code and I’m sure I shan’t be moved. Afterall, I read Holy Blood and the Holy Grail or whatever that book the the Da Vinci Code isn’t based on, and I thought that was a rubbish book. But first I shall finish reading Alan Dean Foster’s Alien and then possibly Aliens and Alien3 as it’s an omnibus book……

At home……..

Well, of all the things I’d expected myself to be doing this weekend it wasn’t being at home. Possibly doing my mini-tour of competition in Leicester, Manchester and Coventry…. or maybe in Swansea, but no. I’m here as we’ve decided that the work on my car isn’t as bad as the garage was suggesting.

This has meant that I spent some time this afternoon under the car attacking the rusty parts of the chassie with an axle-grinder…… which was a lot of fun in all fairness!!!

We probably won’t get all the work done and the car MOT’d before I have to get back to Swansea (I need to pick up the minibus on Wedneday to get my upervisor from Luton), so I’ll have to come back to pick it up. But that’s ok.

Grumpy old men……….

I’ve been reading a couple ‘grumpy old men’ books recently. The first is a diary tie-in to the BBC2 tv programme, written by the executive producer (Stuart Prebble) no less…. it is a terrible book, do not buy it. Do not hand over cash. Not only is it a cynical attempt to cash-in on the popularity of the programme but it is also badly written and has infact taken me five months to get the will to get to the end. I managed ‘War and Peace’ in only three months!!

The other is ‘The World According to Clarkson‘ and is a series of his columns from the Sunday Times (I think). While I have not yet finished this book it is great. If you love the programme Top Gear you will love this book. It is irrevelent, self-rightous and very, very funny.

Go to the library and borrow it (afterall, why buy a book when you don’t have to??)

MOT – miserable over troubles………..

Never a good start to the day, taking your car into the MOT center, especially not a good day when you get the form back and they have to go onto two pages to get it all the failed parts on…. so we’d be looking at around £600 to repair which is more than the car is worth.

On the other hand, apart from the repairs it’s a good car. It works well and goes. Could I get a car that’s works just as well for £600, well….. maybe, if I was lucky.

I’m going to have to get a newer car sometime soon as mine is slowly falling to pieces, but maybe just not yet.

Top of the pops…………….

I am well known for being behind the times when it comes to such things like music. I take the ideal that if it can’t stay popular for, oh let’s say fifteen years or so then it can’t be any good. Amongs some of the stuff that I regularly listen to are Bob Segar, Gerry Rafferty, Al Stewart, Enya…. you get the picture.

So going into HMV this afternoon and buying a CD single that has only just come out is a slight change in charactor. But I think it’s worth it. You see, after being delayed three times, Sandi Thom’s first single, ‘i wish i was a punk rocker (with flowers in my hair)’ has finally come out.

The album ‘smile, it confuses people’ is coming out fifth of June. If anyone wants to buy it for my birthday I shall certainly not complain….. assuming that I haven’t bought it already!!!!

Can you……………….????

question someone’s faith….??? The answer is no, at least according to the conversation I was on the fringe of last week. I will admit I was readin the paper at the time and the fact that everyone in the room imediately said ‘no’ meant that I didn’t really want to be the one who spoke up and say ‘yes’.

I know I wrote about this last month, but while I could say that general faith you couldn’t question, something like Christian faith I think you can.

Afterall, if you are a Christian there are rules that you have to follow. Rules that thankfully can be boiled down to two, as found in Mark 12: 28-31…..

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments [is], “Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength”: this [is] the first commandment. And the second [is] like, [namely] this, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” There is none other commandment greater than these.’

To love God and to love your neighbour.

Ok, it’s not as simple as that. We are afterall human and so we’re going to fail, and fail miserably. But it’s what we do with our failings that’s important. If we reconise that we’ve failed, if we try to do better, that is important. I know that there are times when I fail with the ‘love your neighbour’ part, there are some people in this world that I’m nasty to, though I try not to be. I ask for forgiveness, I pray to be made a better man, someone who doesn’t have to make the snide comments. I care that I’ve failed.

But if someone doesn’t care that they’ve failed, if they are happy to carry on not concerning themselves with what can only be described as fairly important stuff, can they really claim to be a Christian??

It’s a toughie certainly. It’s not like having a membership card or a certain attendance level to services are a real indication to someone’s faith, but they are still important. (well, maybe not the membership card bit!!!) Being a Christian is about being part of a family, we are in the Family of Christ. One of the reasons we come together in churches, is so we can come together. We share the one body at Holy Communion, we drink from the same cup (even if we drink from those separate shot glasses some places use). We are one.

A church service is not only a gathering of people, a sit through a sermon, but it is also glorifying God. We go to worship Him. When we pray, when we sing, when we go there in His glorious name.

If someone is happy to cut themselves off from church they must be in some way cutting themselves off from God. Not entirely, because God isn’t like that, but to shun the institutions, the family that makes up the church (and btw, I’m mean all churches here) cannot be a good thing.

nb – I’ve also decided that if the question is asked again, even if everyone says no I will say yes, because it is the right answer.

Far too much driving…….

I’ve been clocking up the miles over the last couple of days.

Yesterday I drove my supervisor and research group off to Standsted as they go to a conference in Portugal. This is, I should point out, a proper trip and not a holiday in anyway shape or form…… but it did involve me having to drive nearly five hundred miles there and back….. which is a long way indeed!!!

That in itself isn’t too bad, but tomorrow I’m setting off at 5.30am to get to Evesham for a competition…. I’m going to be knocked out by the quarter finals (or earlier if I finish lower than eighth in the qualifing!!!).

So I think it’s going to be an early night for me, if only so I don’t collapse along the way….. Eurovision while in bed!!!