Photo credits

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

Friday, October 29

Racists are the new liberals.

According to the BBC's Radio 4 comedy.

The argument goes like this.

Liberals say there are 195 or so nationalities.

Standard racists say there is just white, black, chinese and asian. 4 races. So they are 191 steps ahead of us. India and Pakistan are on the brink of nuclear war, but these racists unite them under one race. Brilliant!

Exteme racists recognise only two races: black and white. So they are only 1 step from the goal of a single humanity, and 194 steps ahead of us.

Well I thought it was funny, anyway.

Foaming at the ... air release chamber.

Found out yesterday that one of my favourite projects didn't work very well in practice. I had designed a fantastic combined diversion/bypass/air release chamber downstream of a new BAFF plant in a sewage works. One of my best bits of work.

When used in practice, it generated a huge quantity of foam (foam gets worse as you pass through a sewage works: there is less muck for detergents in the flow to work on so it just foams). Being an air release chamber, that was where the bubbles came up. And stayed!

So the commisioning team added a penstock to restict the flow so that it would back up and submerge the drop at which I had correctly interpreted that air entrainment woudl occur, and succesfully stopped the foaming. They also removed a very expensive perforated baffle plate taht I had designed. But now they had a supercritical flow shooting under the penstock, which blasted through the air release chamber and made a huge wave against the opposite wall, which of course entrained air here instead.

I said 'Why didn't you put the baffle plate back in?'

The reply 'Oh, that had already been weighed in [at the scrap yard]'.

So the dropped a lump of concrete in instead.

Also, although we had looked at the theoretical Dry weather Flow, nobody had checked the lowest diurnal flow (in the middle of the night), which wasn't enough to keep the pumps running continuously so the UV plant downstream (which needs a steady flow because you can't keep switching the bulbs on and off) failed. Now they have had to introduce a new recirculation flow at these times.

Thieves break in and steal?

Went to the church late last night to help Mrs set up for one of her toddler groups.

Could not switch the burlar alarm off to save my life. Sure I was typing in the right number. Visions of blue flashing lights and an embarrassing arrest. Gave up trying, and went into the church office to phone the warden. Then the alarm stopped. And there were spooky noises coming up the corridor......

It turned out that while I was busy trying to go in at the front door and switch the alarm off, the Vicar was going out the back door trying to switch it on. The alarm didn't know whetehr to listen to him or me. So it just threw its toys out of the pram. All sorted now.

Thursday, October 21

Hygienic dentist

Sitting with my daughter in the dentists today, with my head in my hands and looking sideways at the asian dentists name on the wall. H - a -n - d - w - a -s - h - s - i - n - k. Bit of a mouthful..... oh, hang on, its not his name at all - it says "Hand Wash Sink".

Monday, October 18

Criminal Me

About a month ago I knocked a cyclist off his bike.

I was dropping my daughter off at school, and paused briefly to let some cars and a box van come through a gap between parked cars towards me. The box van was quite scary as it passed- seemed like mere inches from my mirror, and filled up the whoe width of road. As soon as it had passed, I set off into the gap between the parked cars - no need to check mirrirs becasue the bax van was blocking off the whole road. Wrong! A schoolboy cyclist - either very courageous or completely oblivious - had squeezed through the gap and was no trying to occupy the same patch of tarmac as me.

I stopped, picked his bike up, and walked with him to the side of the road. After a few minutes of groaning and rubbing himself he seemed to be getting over it. I offered him my adress - he said 'no'. He now seemed to be over it and walked on to the school with his friends who had gathered around. I drove off and thought nothing more of it.

Till the following Tuesday.

At roughly the same place a police man stopped me " Were you involved in an incident...?" "Yes" etc. Apparently the boy wen tot hospital laetr in the day and had a broken wrist and ligament damage to his leg.

So this Saturday I was interviewed by the Police under caution, with a solicitor present.

I am accused of Careless Driving, of failing to give details, and of failing to report an injury accident.

Careless Driving (Because I didn't check my mirrors).
  1. Surely that's 'Driving without due care and attention' (a lesser sin than 'Careless driving')?
  2. I was not careless. The mirror check is to see if something is coming - in lieu of that check I had assessed that it was impossible for something to be coming because of the van filling the road. That was a mistake, an error of judgement, but making a mistake is not the same as 'careless'.

Failing to give details

I stopped, I spoke to the boy, I offered him my details, he said 'no'. It's not like I wa trying to run away form my responibilities - I was acting in good faith. The boy's assessment was that he didn't need the details. Was I supposed to staple them to his head?

Failing to report an injury accident

What injury? I knew nothing about the injuries until four days later. I was presented with a boy who was rubbing himself and groaning, but getting over it, telling me he was OK, and walking off. And he was rubbing himslef with the hand they say was broken. The polic man says I should have rung the school to find out how he was, but I don't think that is a requiremnt of the relevant law.

So. In Summary - If I was charged with Driving Without Due care and attention, I would take the hit. BUt I can't accept 'Careless driving' or the other accusations.

The file will go to the CPS, who may get round to looking at it some time next year.

If they decide to prosecute, I will have my day in court!

Holiday in Spain

Silly taxman. Gave us some money back as a lump sum.

Silly me - booked a holiday with it!

I very rarely travel abroad- costs are prohibitive with a large family on my income, generous though it is. SO I have always nursed a dream of going back to the city in Spain where I lived as a child - to see the old haunts and meet some of the old people.

Now that dream is coming true, and will be fulfilled next easter.

I am REALLY looking forward to it - more than anything I have desired for many years. I want it like water after a long trek in the desert. I want it more than my wife's embrace ... if you get my drift.

I realsie much will have chaged - they have built a dual carriageway over the riverbank where a a child I hunted lizards and snakes among the rocks. But much will remain the same. I am going to be a very emotional chap the whole time I am there. I loved that city deeply, I have not been there for 25 years, now I am going again. I will drink deep! Cannot stress how happy I am!

Wednesday, October 6

Feeling unspiritual

I'm frantically busy at work.
I'm frantically busy at home.
I'm not really in tune with Mrs - she winds me up a lot of the time and I think she's peeved with me too. Our parenting course includes a lot of relationship stuff and I feel very hypocritical.
I haven't had a proper Bible reading time or prayer time for ages.
I really don't feel in touch with God at all.

Fortunately, he chose me without reference to my merit. Romans 9:11-12

The Jews did not have to obey the law in order to be included in the covenent. They were included in it by their birth into the people God had chosen. Their obedience to the law was the lifestyle required of people already IN the covenent. Likewise our salvation derives from God's choice, his mercy, his grace. Our good works are the fruit of that choice, not the cause of it.

But in terms of that lifestyle, which is primarily about relationship rather than behaviour (the behaviour being the symptom of the relationship) I fall short. I have not related to God. My behaviour has gone downhill. My mind is fixed on earth, not heaven.

So please pray that I will get a break - that work will cool down and the kids' bikes will stop breaking so I can actually rest for once at home, then maybe I will be able to pick up the scripture and read, ponder, and pray.

Mrs - childrens work

Church is setting up heads of ministries, part of moving towards a 'purpose driven church' model.

The person put in charge of children's work is of course a man, who runs one sunday school class, one of the Vicar's pets, while Mrs who does loads of work with kids in the church has been overlooked/ignored/rejected as usual. (I don't mean any disrespect to the man - he is very good at everything he does - its just that he hasn't got much history with the kids work)

But once she had got over that hurt, she has seized the opportunity to have a meeting with the said boss, in the presence of the Vicar, where she will make her case for the work she has been doing and for a major extension to it, moving into other age groups. This will all be subserviently under the supervision of the new man, but somehow the message will get across that she is the one with the ideas, skills, passion, drive, and time to do the job.

Alternatively, she could go and grab the Vicar, slap him round the head several times and shout "HELLO! I EXIST!!!" into his face - so I think the above is the better option.

Next sermon

Next sermon (Novemeber) will be on Acts 16 - "Paul at Troas". Hmm. Lacking inspiration!

Sad sight

Commuting to work down the motorway - passed a place on the opposite carriageway where emergency vehicles were clustered around a burnt-out car on its roof in the middle lane. Witnesses awaited their interviews patiently on the hard shoulder. The motorway was close, of course.

About half a mile further on, there was a woman on the hard shoulder next to her broken down car, waiting for her breakdown van to arrive, with only the three empty lanes on the closed motorway to look at. She would have to wait a long time!