Photo credits

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

Wednesday, September 29

Struggling at work

The usual thing - the project manager wants to issue the drawing before the design has been done.

I cannot get the CSO to work AND pass the right flow to the WwTW. Today's attempt will probably involve a complete redesign of the inlet works configuration, feeding the storm tank from the CSO rather than a local storm weir. All the drawings that are being presented to the HAZOP and ALM meetings tomorrow will therefore be wrong.

Heigh Ho.

Proud of my son

My sixteen year old has gone for the first stage of his RAF selection procedure - the fitness test. Sit ups, followed by press ups, followed immediatley by the bleep test. As the youngest there, his target was less than for the six other candidates (aged 18-24), but he beat the lot of them.

He still has to go for his main interview and also to the officer and aircrew selection centre. At the OASC they monitor them continuously for 4 days, at the end of each day sending home any that have not made the grade. It is tough - apparently out of one recent batch of 273 only 2 made it through. But I think my lad has it!

That job

Mrs didn't get that job. It went to the internal candidate, who was already doing bits of the job. With hindsight, we can see that she (the internal candidate) knew before the interviews that she would get the job, and that the whole inetrview procedure was just a sham for appearance sake.

Thursday, September 16

Mrs' Job Interview

Mrs has a job interview next Monday, for the 'Children and Families' worker at a nearby Methodist church. It's basically doing what she does for fun at our church, only she would be paid.

The good:
  • It's just her kind of thing.
  • It's just at the end of our road.
  • the description says 'no driving required'.

The bad:

  • It might draw her away from our own church
  • It might conflict with duties at our church
  • It includes the Youth Worker role - not really her thing. She does babies and parents.
  • It might be one of those jobs where they already have someone in mind and have advertised externally only because they have to.
  • The church is less Evangelical than ours, with a greater emphasis on infant baptism which is generally regarded as 'not what God intended' at our Anglican church. Mrs would be the liaison for families on the baptism register - a hard role when she doesn't believe the theology behind it.
  • Childcare issues (but they are less with this job than others she has considered)

Anyway - she is in a good place - happy to take on the job, but faintly relieved if it doesn't come her way. So she is a winner either way.

Wednesday, September 15

Parenting Course

First session on Monday.

Went very well, despite some candidates not turning up. Most were there.

I set out the room in a really nice way, with a central table for the snacks, looking very much like the courses I go to for work. I wanted people to know it's a serious course, not just a chat with friends. 10 minutes before its due to start, the wife comes in, and makes me change the whole format to low tables net to low sofas, for an 'informal' atmosphere. When it comes to these things, she's in charge!

Link to course

I'm in trouble again

On Friday morning I was dropping my daughter off at school (she was late back from her paper round). The road outside is narrow and quite busy, with cars parked on both sides of the road and traffic weaving in and out. I stopped to give way to a wide box van coming fast towards me between two parked cars in front, and as soon as it had passed I moved into the gap. Except that some lunatic cyclist had flown through the tiny gap between me and the fast-moving box van, so just as I pulled out to go round the parked car he was there and my front offside wing pushed him sideways off his bike.

He fell quite heavily, but got up quite quickly and I picked up his bike. Back on the footway, he was still groaning but professed to be OK. He declined to take my details. We exchanged apologies, and went our separate ways.

Turns out he is in my daughter's registration class.

On Tuesday I had to drop off my daughter at the school again (she didn't want rain on her art homework). I was met by a policeman looking for a car like mine. "Excuse me sir, but please don't be offended if I ask if you were involved in an incident with a cylcist last Friday?"

It turns out that in the evening he went to hospital, and was told he had a broken arm and a broken leg.

So I face probably two years of hassle and paperwork and increased insurance premiums.

In terms of responsibility:

He should not have been flying through that gap
I should have checked my mirrors.

So I suppose it's 50/50 and one for the powers that be to resolve.

But when I am thrown into the deepst dungeon and they throw away the key, please come and get me out!

Wednesday, September 8

Unemployment prayer group II

Only one person came last night - the new woman from last week.

So I breached all the churches policies re not being alone with someone of the opposite gender, not praying alone for vulnerable people etc.

Next week we will meet in the foyer, which is a bit more public than the pastoral room we have been in.

I actually reminded all the people I set up the group for, but none came. "I have bought me a cow", "I have married a wife", etc. I originally booked the room for 4 weeks, so I will give them two more goes. If they still don't turn up, I will close the group. The new lady will be happy to go to the ladies 'Finding Your Way' group instead.

What do your kids look like?

I was giving my son the briefest of introductions to ethical methods of selecting the gender of your children, e.g. adjusting diet and the timing of those special hugs. We had tried these, and it worked. But it occurred to me that this may have been more God honouring our wishes (faith seen in actions as per James 2) than any real scientific value in those methods.

This got me thinking about Jacob and Laban - you remember the story of how Jacob was paid in stripy sheep so when the sheep were mating he put stripy things in front of their eyes, and lo and behold out came stripy kids. Probably not scientific, probably God working miracles.

So in my reverie, I started an imaginary sermon on this: "..... if this was a scientific principle, all your kids would look like the back of bike shed....."

Shall I do it next time I'm in the pulpit?

Monday, September 6

Parenting Course

My wife and I have been asked by the church to run a parenting course. That is to say, it is our initiative, but endorsed by the church. Which is nice.

It grew out of discipline issues in the various toddler groups (which my wife runs), with the softy-softly mums and the strict mums both having naughty children fighting each other. One Mum asked for a 'session' on discipline.

We asked the curate for support, and she went of in the wrong direction trying to bring in a child psychologist to do the talk, but in the end we brought her down to earth. But she did delay things a lot and so Mrs quiety did a discipline session with the mums on her own. It went very well.

But the book she used had the details of how to run a parenting course, and we approached the curate and asked if we could do it. She resisted, saying she would prefer us to do the 'New Wine' parenting course. When we got home nd looked at the book again, we found it WAS the New Wine course.

So now everyone is happy, and we are doing our first session of 13th September. Hopefuly at east one parent will turn up!


Read this useful summary in the case of Piper v Wright. (I go with Wright - righteousness is a state of existence, not a measure of sinlessness, and is not a thing that can be imputed)

I'm mean!

For the duration of a recent visit to the supermarket my 2 year old daughter sat in the trolley prodding my belly and saying loudly "you're mean!"

Shall I hand myself in to the NSPCC now?

Wednesday, September 1

Unemployment prayer group

Since there are a few people without work in our church, I did a straw poll and found that they would like a prayer group to pray specifically into their situations, opportunities, etc. They told me Tuesday night is the best.

So, with the Vicar's endorsement, I set up the group, booked the room, etc, and had the first meeting last night. None of my candidates turned up. Except for one who arrived and said 'what uneployment prayerprayer group? I'm here for band practice'.

So it looked bad.

But all was not lost - a lady who has only been coming to the church for tthree weeks came, and turned out to be full of faith. She also brought her friend from another city - another prayer warrior albeit just visiting. And another unexpected attendee - a man who has a job and jsut wants to support any prayer group taht's going, particularly one for the unemployed.

So mixed news. But it was a good night overall - one of those prayer meetings that overruns without anyone being aware of it (expect my wife stuck with baby at home)


You may recall that early in my unemployment I was looking at applying for ordination, only to be knocked back on financial grounds.

Now that I am back in work I can start to look at options to sort out those finances. So who knows what will happen next?

It's never straight forward!

My agent sent my pay check to someone else's account in error. Tey are trying to get a correct payment to me, but it means that I am out of pocket for now, just in that awkward moment between my benefits stopping and pay starting. I have £5.93 in my account, my wife has £20, and we've got to do the week's shopping for our large family as well as pay the gas bill and phone bill. Oh, yes, and the mortgage too.

That's all the agent's fault. BUt then for next week, I forgot to update the date on my timesheet, so by the time I had managed to get a manager to sign the altered version I had technically missed the deadline. So next week looks bleak too! At least the week afetr that should be OK.