Photo credits

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

Tuesday, September 29

Child trust fund

Actually set one up for my daughter, since the government cheque was about to time out.

What am I up to?

Things are beginning to settle down on the paper work front, and I am actually beginnning to have some time to spare as an unemployed man. It's taken 6 months!

So I have actually managed to do some serious weeding in the front patio/garden, and I have equally attacked the back patio/garden. It had 3-year-old weeds, waist high and more. Not the prettiest picture from our window. But I have weeded the flags, shovelled up well-decayed apples, scraped the long-dead bird out of the back-doormat, thrown away the contents of loads of old derelict planters and pots, diposed of a broken aqaurium, emptied bins full with years' worth of stagnant rainwater and debris, and generally reclaimed what was a wilderness.

There's still quite a lot to do. Algae-ridden plastic chairs to be tipped, much sweeping, and then the task of re-planting and putting stuff in instead of ripping it out.

I'm not a gardner by nature, but its time to have a go.

Tuesday, September 22

Facebook girls

I am an anti-facebook man.

I did sign up once, in connection with work, but deleted my account straightaway because it made me feel naked. Strange, when I say all sorts of private stuff in this blog. But then this is more or less anonymous, and nobody close to me socially or professionally reads it.

(Now there's another objection - you can't actually 'delete' a facebook account - it is still there in acse you want to resurrect it. And if you can't fully delete it, then it's bad in my opinion)

By my daughters are obsessed with Facebook. All their friends have it, and they use it as a genuine legitimate social networking tool. Some of theor friends Mums are also on it, so that they can supervise their daughters, and this is a good thing. Except that my daughters can then see all of the adult stuff on theor account - fortunatley they are decent people and I have no worries.

But a lady from church, with no daughters that age, is also on it, and came to to my daughters pages as a 'friend'.

Fair enough. She is. But isn't it a bit creepy? If a man did that you'd call the police. It's not like she's the youth leader or anyone with a real reason to be talking to them.

But then, my girl wrote a piece about my baby allegedly talking in sentances already. There may be some truth in it, but it's very much unconfirmed.

Next thing we know half the church is talking about our baby's remarkable speech.

So we have asked the said lady to withdraw from my daughters' facebooks.

And she has been very agreeable about it and has already complied. But in the interests of equality, wants the other adults - the genuine supervisors - off as well. It's a bit awkward.

Vehicles (I am a criminal)

Last week we decided that we are fed up of making three trips in a Ford KA every time we take the family anywhere, and decided to re-insure and tax our minibus and get it back on the road and take the ford KA off the road.

While waiting for the quotes to come in, the kind local constabulary did a quick check on their database as I was passing and then stopped me to let me know that my MOT expired in July, when Iwas in the heat of my unemployment financial troubles with much bigger fish to fry than my MOT, which got forgotten.

The kind bobbies also gave me a £60 fine. (Funny how with British law you have to pay the fine even if it was a genuine oversight, wheras people expect God to let them off scott free with really pathetic excuses.) At least I can pay by installments.

Wouldn't it have been nice if the insurance quotes had come in earlier, then I would not have been in that car, which would have been off the road and not needing an MOT.

Now to get an MOT, I am fairly sure I would have to get that power steering leak fixed. So this compounds our decision to swap to the minibus.

Today, I have managed to get the minibus taxed and insured, and cancelled the insurance on the small car. Tomorrow, we're off!

Ford KA power steering fluid leak IV

Final quote for replacing the steering rack ... £450! Time for a SORN.

[Edit 10 July 2012 ...

The leak was on the steering rack, not just the pump. I bought a new (ie refurbished) steering rack, but never got round to putting it on (long story) and have no scrapped the car but still have a spare steering rack.

So: if you need a Ford KA power steering rack, I am open to offers if you are willing to collect. Leave a comment with your email address and I will contact you to giving approximate location (this is supposed to be an anonymous blog) and we'll take it form there.]

Funny Safety Video

Safety tips from my PI insurance company.

Well, made me giggle!

Saturday, September 12

Band leader

Someone has told my third son he should be the next leader of the church's youth band, which leads worship in church once a month.

The fact that he can't sing and has no musical ability, and existing abnd members are way ahead of him in ability and spirituality, doesn't seem to have enetered the equation.

However: he has bought himself a guitar and practised non-stop and has made far more progress than I would have done. So maybe I am being unkind in denouncing his lack of talent, and maybe it is from God that someone else has given him the encouragemnt that I have failed to do.

Daughter trouble

My eldest daughter has had a brace in her mouth for the last yer and was hoping to have it removed. But the orthodontist said the brace had done all it could, now she needs surgery to re-align the jaw.

So we went for our first appointment at the hospital. We got the wrong day, and had to go back again the next day.

The woman we saw was very good. But the news wasn't:
  • We will have to wait until she is 17 for the surgery, when her growth has stabilised
  • She will have to take the brace off to let the teeth spring back to natural positions before the surgery
  • Next she will have to have another brace to position the teeth for the surgery
  • As well as cutting and realigning the bottom jaw, they will cut and re-align the top jaw, raising the back and lowering the front.
  • This is a major operation, requiring general anasthetic (and all associated risks)
  • She will be off school for a week for the surgery and a week at least for recovery
  • There will be much swelling
  • there is a risk of nerve damage, meaning she may had a loss of sensation in her whole lower face for months, and some localised oss of sensation may be permanent.
  • After the surgery, she will still have bars and screws in her jaw
  • After the surgery, she will have her jaw kept shut with elastic bands for a while, needing a liquid diet.
  • After the surfery, she will need a brace for a while to stabilise teeth in the new positions.

My daughter burst into tears in the dentist's chair. Mainly because she wants it now, not in three yeasr's time

THe only moment of comedy was seeing the shocked and fearful faces as I escorted my crying daughter out of the treatment room through the waiting room and out the door.

Back home, Mum was opposed to the operation proceding at all. Cosmetically, the girl is beautiful anyway, she lisps, but not so anyone would notice, and OK she can't bite properly but she's managed OK for the last 14 years.

Then my other daughter talked about how SHE gets teased for having a sister that lisps. Daughter one bursts into tears again. Daughter two is sent out of the room for insensitivity. But at least Mum now accepts that there si a genuine need for the operation, and quickly drops her opposition and becomes a strong supporter instead.

Looking at youtube, we find a lot of people that describe the operation as extremely unpeasant, but something they are very glad to have had done, well worthwhile.

So it looks like we will have four years of anxiety and trauma before it is al over.

And in the UK, it is all free on the National Health Service. So I guess that makes me an Obama supporter?

possible work?

I was called by a former colleague yesterday, who is now working as a contractor (like me) for a firm that claims to be very busy, and asked him if he knew anyone who could help.

This would be flood management work requirig knowledge of ISIS software, but my friend says they would train me.

This is the best news yet. Other times I have tried to get into this field my lack of ISIS experience has counted against me.

The office is 1.5 hours drive away: an awkward distance too far for commuting but too close to warrant getting digs.

My friend, having confirmed my availability, says he will ask the boss to call me next week.

This is my greatest hope for months, so please pray that it wil come to pass.

Ford KA power steering fluid leak IV

Man at garage says it's the actual steering rack that is leaking. First price for part £168, then add labour and VAT, but he thinks he can get it cheaper from someone else next week.

He says don't drive it becasue I will burn out the pump.

[Edit 10 July 2012 ...

The leak was on the steering rack, not just the pump. I bought a new (ie refurbished) steering rack, but never got round to putting it on (long story) and have no scrapped the car but still have a spare steering rack.

So: if you need a Ford KA power steering rack, I am open to offers if you are willing to collect. Leave a comment with your email address and I will contact you to giving approximate location (this is supposed to be an anonymous blog) and we'll take it form there.]

Frustrating morning

  1. Forgot to set alarm - woke up reacting to day not in control of it
  2. baby woke early
  3. Baby woke with dirty nappy
  4. cats sick on kitchen floor
  5. trod in it
  6. made baby's cereal with wrong milk (semi not full)
  7. second attempt - made baby's cereal with apple juice.
  8. None of the right milk available, have to use semi after all. Bowl nr 1 would have been OK, but has now been tipped into sink.

Wednesday, September 9

Where to find God

You must read this:

Ford KA power steering fluid leak III

OK - the alleged leak-stop fluid did not work. (I wasn't using the one in my previous link, I was using a much cheaper one from Halfords.)

Anyway - I wasn't surprised.

So I have been putting in a litre of fluid every week, more or less, and two litres on a day when I drove 420 miles.

Therefore I have now booked it in at the garage for an estimate to get it fixed.

[Edit 10 July 2012 ...

The leak was on the steering rack, not just the pump. I bought a new (ie refurbished) steering rack, but never got round to putting it on (long story) and have no scrapped the car but still have a spare steering rack.

So: if you need a Ford KA power steering rack, I am open to offers if you are willing to collect. Leave a comment with your email address and I will contact you to giving approximate location (this is supposed to be an anonymous blog) and we'll take it form there.]


Still no prospect of work, but things are beginning to look up domestically.

Jobseekers allowance - check
Council tax benefit - check
Free school meals - check
School uniform allowance - check
Free prescriptions - check
Child tax credit - check

mortgage relief - pending.

Arrangements with creditors - most in place. As usual the ones to whom we owe the least make the most fuss.

Plus, we got some backpay for some of the above, so for the first time in ages some of our accounts are in the black and our financial statement shows a positive outcome.

Now we have to work out how best to use the money we have:
  • keep for rainy day,
  • clear debt,
  • get the car fixed etc

- difficult prioritisation.

Tuesday, September 8

Simon the Heretic

Apparently I am.

I was preaching on 1 John 4, and went off on a sideline on the atonement (from v 10). Chasing definitions of atonement, expiation and propitiation, I came across this at "The propitiation does not procure his love or make him loving; it only renders it consistent for him to execise his love towards sinners"

That set me thinking. I had always seen it as changing us: dealing with our sin by removing or covering it. But the above definition seems to imply that it does something on God's side as well: it makes him consistent within himself. Now: can God be changed? No. So this "renders it consistent for him to..." must be an eternal thing. So I wrote into my sermon:

"It is only in the eternity of Christ’s moment on the cross that God can be internally whole. God can only be God because of the cross."

And not everyone agrees!

So here's some of the discussion.

I am accused of making the existance of God dependant on a human action. And it is a valid point to make!

But my response goes along these lines.

In eternity:
  • God is just
  • God is loving

Therein lies the issue - his justice requires the punishment of sin, his love requires it's forgiveness. This is where the atonement renders it consistent for him to love sinners, as above.

My opponents say that before creation there was no sin, so there was no conflict between God's love and justice.

But I also say that in eternity:

  • God is eternally creator
  • Therefore I can't imagine a creator God without a creation: I can't imagine this 'before creation' state - even if it wasn't physically present, it was there in the mind of God, in every gory detail. (1 Peter 1:19-21 ...Christ.....was chosen before the creation of the world)(Ephesians 1:4 ... he chose us in him before the creation of the world)
  • His creation eternally includes free will
  • It is eternally inevitable that free will leads eventually to sin. (Murphy's law.)
  • Before creation existed physically God knew that in creating he would also create the problem, so eternally as the creator God he was eternally aware of the love/justice issue and so he also eternally created the atonement. (as per my references above)
  • The eternal nature of the eternal creator means that all of the above stuff in the mind of God is eternal (like the letters in a stick of rock), so the problem of love/justice and atonement is part of his eternal mind.
  • ergo: it is only in the eternity of Christ's moment on the cross that He can be internally whole. He can only be God because of the cross.

Now I think I should turn the second sentance around to read "The cross is an inevitable consequence of the existance of God", but this doesn't convey the eternal nature of the atonement.

I don't think God was surprised by Adam's sin, as some of my opponents suggest. I think he planned for it all along, knowing that his ultimate goal was greater. Which is better: walking beside man in the Garden, or indwelling redeemed man?