Photo credits

The Embalse de Riano in northern Spain. The picture was taken by .... me!

Sunday, December 31

Quick update

Pregnancy: Mrs is having strong morning sickness - not at all fun, but it makes her happy to know she is still pregnant. we will soon get a date for the first scan, at which we will find out of she is getting her hearts desire of twin girls. Lets not get over-optimistic, lets keep our feet on the ground, lets remember that many faithful Christians have asked God for twins (or any baby) and not received it. But we do have a good God and we keep asking.

Training: Finished my placement project. This was quite hard, as it had to be signed by the Vicar of the placement church, so I hd to be more diplomatic than I felt. However, he seemed quite pleased with my 7000 word report. I then discovered the guidance note which said I should only have writrten 1500 words. Oh well...

Prayer Request: I can't give details but there is a fly in the ointment which may prevent me from becoming a Reader all. I can't imagine God has brought me this far for nothing, but he does occasionally bring us down just to remind us who is in charge, before lifting us up again with even greater blessing (like Job). But please pray that He will take me along the easy path!

Work: Having a great holiday. Would have been better if I had submitted my timesheet last week so that I would have got paid this Friday. Getting ready for the lunchtime Alpha course. I was supposed to be printing the posters over the holiday, but I'm not clear about the details, and it is all going wrong. Please pray for this too. please pray also for a friend who is not allowed to advertise her work place christian fellowship in case it upsets the muslims in her company and its clients.

Car Tax: well I got all the paper work through at last, but not before I got fined £40.

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 13

Carol Service Report


Despite having our original venue cancelled and moving to another room 1/2 mile away! Our minibus shuttle service between offices worked very well.

A decent number of people attended – my estimate is 70-80. There were many others who could not or would not attend, but still talked to me about it, and it all provides opportunities to raise the profile of Christ in our workplace.

The musicians were good.

The readers were good.

The Carols were loud enough and [mostly] in tune.

The soloist was very good.

The Bishop attended – but only just. He arrived 2 anxious minutes after we had started because instead of relying on the maps I had given him he relied on his new sat nav. I rest my case!

The Bishop’s talk was easy to listen to and very entertaining and certainly challenging. It was probably about 5% religion, and 95% Stern Report (the government-commissioned report into climate change). I’m not absolutely convinced that it fulfilled my brief to him that the service was to be ‘evangelistic without scaring them off’, but I suppose in theory at least the bishop should be open to divine inspiration without reference to my stipulations, and maybe my ideal sermon would indeed have scared them off.

Afterwards the bishop and our chief executive had a long conversation, so at least one objective of the occasion was achieved.

More importantly, when I had finished running the minibus shuttle, there was still one last mince pie left for me.

The only negative was that the envelope containing our collected gift for he bishop got left in my desk drawer, and will have to be posted on. Oops!

All in all, I was happy with the outcome. I can only recommend that any Christian in a workplace should use all means to communicate the faith to his/her colleagues.

Tuesday, December 12


I have too much going on at present, and need to cut out unimportant stuff. This measns I shall have to resist blogging - either writing mine or reading yours - for a while. So until things lighten up - God bless and have a Happy Christmas.

Except Kyle, to whom I wish a blessed Feast of the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Oh, yes, I will also up date you tomorrow about how our carol service went.

Kittens and Christmas Trees

Not a good mixture

Friday, December 8

Long post


Just managed to persuade the process engineer that his plant does actually contain water, and that if there is a power failure this will dribble out the bottom. Managed to persuade the Project Manager that we need to provide a storage area for this contaminated water. It’s only 2500 cubic meters!

75% of British Employers have banned Christmas decorations for fear of offending minorities. In contrast, our workplace fellowship has organised a Carol Service, with our Chief Executive doing a reading and the local Bishop doing the sermon. Looks very promising – please pray that the change of venue does not dissuade people from coming.


Back after my placement. Seems chaotic in comparison to the sterile formality of the placement – but it’s fantastic to be in a church where you struggle to find a seat. It was particularly crowded on Sunday, with three families dedicating children. The placement church would baptise anybody on request – at my normal church we spend some time trying to assess if the family does have any real intention of bringing the child up in the faith. And so, before they baptise them, they have a dedication service as a first step. I think this is a nonsense – if you have infant baptism, then baptise them. If not, then don’t. This half-way house doesn’t make sense. Personally, I only find evidence of believers baptism in the Scriptures. I know Luther came up with the idea of baby-belief to overcome this problem, but I think really he was just scratching to find justification for the unjustifiable. Even in the case of the Philippians Jailer, usually quoted on the basis that ‘there must have been infants in the household who would have been baptised too’ – even in this story it states at the end that ‘they all believed’. There is one other household baptism story, but there is no reason to suppose that it was done on a different basis to the Philippians Jailer – i.e. belief. But in te Church of England we have this rubbish that a baby once sprinkled, is part of the family of God’. No, you are only in the family of God when you have been born of God, and that takes place when you believe. So what of babies that die? I don’t know –we’ll find out when we get there. But I do know that no one is in hell undeservedly, and that no one is in heaven except for the grace of God. End of Rant.

Also attended a cell group meeting for the first time in a while. It was great to feel the warmth of fellowship that goes deeper than a simple common interest. We were laying hands on each other and praying: particularly for the woman whose children are being taken from her by social services following allegations by her manipulative former husband, and for members of the group being sent out as seeds to another struggling smaller group. Real, deep, caring prayers. My placement church doesn’t have cell groups, but they did exhibit the signs of that kind of deeper fellowship expressed in their own style.

Some mix up about the cell groups though – My Vicar approached me to ask if I would assist in leadership of the dividing cell group. I got the wrong end of the stick, and thought he was asking us as a couple to lead a new cell group, since Mrs has been on the cell group leader’s training course and I haven’t. So we said yes and started making arrangements for a venue etc, but then found out it was all a big mistake. It culminated in Mrs being told (by her least favourite person in the church) “We had no intention of inviting YOU into cell leadership”. This was true, and it was our mistake, but it was still hurtful to be told again that she is not what they want, despite her efforts to serve God in the Church. So although I am most comfortable in my own church, it is far from perfect.


Kids growing up fast and busy with preparation for exams. Mrs is going to bed early every night with strong morning sickness. Hard work – but good confirmation that the pregnancy is going well.

Monday, December 4


I hereby formally announce that Mrs is pregnant, and will give birth in July 2007.

It's a bit earlier than we would normally say, but we had to tell the Vicar so he could plan my future work as a reader, and then this meant having to tell a housegroup leader, who we also met picking up kids at the school gate, and so soon the whole playgroud knew. I then had to tell my brother, before the news got to him via the grapevine.

So now we are telling everyone that our seventh child is on the way.

If you have followed this blog in detail you will know that it has not been a straightforward path to get to this point.

Owing to Mrs' arthritis after our sixth child, and the medication she was on being harmful to unborn children, and owing to 6 being enough really, I had a vasectomy. BUt it was done prayerfully, acknowledging that despite our actions it is God that opens and closes the womb and since vasectomies can fail it wouldn't take too much miracle for him to have his way with us.

After some years, Mrs was prayed for (again) and anointed with oil, and this we believe accelerated a trend of the arthritis easing off until she was able to give up the medication.

She was also going trough a mid-life crisis, trying various things such as Subnday School work, going abck to teaching, and fostering, non of which really worked. But if you look here you will see that we had a phantom pregnancy in January, that set us thinking of another child. I had to have my vasectomy reveresed, and the Lord intervened to make that happen quickly to confirm our plans.

But, again as you have followed the blog, you will know it has been a roller coaster of emotions, trying each month to conceive, knowing that fertilisation has occurred but not implantation. In summer it did implant, but miscarried at 8 weeks.

And so, in having a seventh child, we are not boasting like Peninah, but the Lord has used it to teach us just a bit of what people go through hen they struggle to conceive.

And so now we thank God, and pray for his continued protection of this pregnancy, and hope that he doesn't have any more tough lessons for us for a while!

The next hardest part was telling my parents without giving them a heart attack - and they are still talking to me, just about!

Frustrations - the criminality of incompetance

So - I am a criminal. Not yet prosecuted or anything, but still a law breaker. I have not yet paid the tax on my minibus.

It was due at the end of September, but you get 15 days grace to sort it out.

Unfortunately I got in a muddle, and thought that it was the end of October and I would be able to pay with my first paycheck of my new job.

Come the day I am supposed to pay I look for the supporting documents:
  1. The vehicle registration document
  2. The MOT certificate
  3. The insurance certificate.
I can't find the first, but never mind I can use the reminder note that they sent me. I have got the insurance certificate, but where is the MOT? Oh dear, I have found it, and it ran out in March. Since hen i have been driving illegally.

I am now 7 weeks late. I put the minibus in for its MOT test - it fails - it takes a week to get it put right.

Try to pay the tax again....I look for the supporting documents:
  1. The vehicle registration document
  2. The MOT certificate
  3. The insurance certificate.
1 is still missing but i can use the reminder note - oh no, that can't be used after the original 15 days grace, long spent.

Also the insurance certificate, which i had found, has been replaced by the one from the previous year.

I phone the department, at least to let hem know I am trying. I only get voices reading irrelvant options, all of whihc refer me to the website. I try the website - it recomends a phone number, on which I only get voices reading irrelvant options, all of whihc refer me to the website. I try the website - it recomends a phone number, on which ... stuck in loop.. abort.

Finally manage to speak to a human being.. who operates a computer which recomends i look at the website...AAAAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

Eventually download two forms - one is an application form to pay the tax, the other is for a new vehicle registration document which will cost an additional £19 on top of the £165 tax. I will try to print these out tonight, fill them in, and hopefully post them in the morning.

Until then, by non-payment of the tax, I am still a criminal, just becasue I am incompetant and can't organise my filing better.

I don't believe in ghosts but..........

The whole family hears the distinctive sound of our kitten running down the stairs. But the kitten is asleep on my lap.......... Spooookeeeey!