Photo credits

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

Wednesday, October 30


I've been at work again.  The DWI wants improvements to this water treatment works. (its not a fault with the accelator in the photo, which I just happen to like as a photo. The problem is that a pump downstream gets bypassed when theres a power failure)

Tuesday, October 29

Political prayers

I found it hard to say amen this sunday.

The person doing the prayers is a member of the christian lawyers association.  He took the opportunity to highlight the kind of cases they deal with, ie fighting the 2013 marriage act (gay marriage), abortion, etc.  To be fair to him, the format he used was to identify the issue and let the people make their own prayers, and he acknowledged that there would be a range of views, but it was very clear where he stood on these issues.

No wonder or church finds itself unable to retain its gay members, with even some long standing members leaving recently.

Moments of self doubt

I am an engineer.  But not really a very good one.  (I don't really understand the Colebrook-White equation on which all the hydraulic calculations I do are based)

I have applied to be a vicar, but don't feel that I will be a very good one. (I have a goldfish memory and frequently doubt the existence of God)

So, which career shall I choose, feeling that I will be at best mediocre in either role?

Monday, October 28

Manic weekend II

..... And on a lighter note:

Went to the safari park.  there were three lions up in a tree, ask on the same branch.

I didn't know lions could climb trees! 

they seemed stuck, so I was worried they would jump down onto the roof of the car as I passed below.

Manic weekend

My wifes pastoral contact came to the morning service very drunk and had to be taken out.  Her new boyfriend came to church for the first time.  While I was trying to welcome him properly a church member butted in wanting assurance that her ten minute item that the vicar had promised she could do next week as part of my service was going ahead.  She has to do this to avoid letting down someone in a pastorally sensitive situation.  Of chose the vicar hadn't told me about this item.  What he had told me is not to go over time, and my programme was timed to the minute and includes a number of people I can't let down for pastorally.  Awkward!  I told her I would communicate later in the day.  She went off to the vicar while I went back to my 'client'.  Then mrs came over to tell me we had to leave now to go to her friends house, mainly to get her out of the building.  We were to go in our car and she with the boyfriend.  We went first, foolishly it turns out, because the drunk was intercepted by another pastoral case who managed to extract cash from her and by another pastoral worker who told her off for giving cash to the other one.  She then dragged a random teenage boy who happened to be paying into the church and demanded that the church provide him with the help he needed, and slandering the church for its hypocrisy in not helping.  (so if you were a teenage boy and a drunk woman dragged you into a church how would you feel?)

Eventually she came to the house.  I finally had my chat with the boyfriend.  But the lady was too drunk to be able to help her much.

She is a recently baptised christian who has a lot of learning to do.  And I think that part of the church's help will be a referral to alcoholics anonymous.

Friday, October 25


My project to report for the XYZ site has now been knocked back three times by my reviewer.  He accepts that I have dealt with everything that the client wants, but he now wants me to tresh out a side issue that I have discovered.  it is a UV plant with three channels that are supposed to carry the same flow but I have found records showing up to 780% variation between them.  The sure staff deny that there is any sensor present to measure this, and yet the record is there so something must be measuring it.  And a variation greater than 10% falls outside of the specification.

Personally I think that these are momentary blips that we should ignore, but the boss seems determined to overspend the budget investigating them.

Thursday, October 24

Shall we work less, that grace may abound?

The evangelical doctrine of salvation by faith alone gives rise to a cynical attitude towards those who do charity.

It makes adherents of the doctrine feel that charity workers are doing it just to earn a place in heaven, no mayer how sincere and altruistic they are.

Is this just a minor misinterpretation of a sound doctrine, or is it a sign that the doctrine itself is fundamentally flawed?


Rheumatoid arthritis, science and faith

Mrs RA has bern generally deteriorating, and was particularly bad over the summer when she could barely manage to walk 100 yards and even that was an endurance test.  Of course she is not allowed to claim disability living allowance because she can walk ando it is 'not unreasonable'.  I disagree.

Mrs has received prayer on many occasions, and to be honestI have not seen any changes that could be attributed directly to the prayer.  So she went for a steroid injection into the knee, which didn't work last time.  And this time one has to admit there has been an improvement.

Mrs says this is an answer to prayer.  On the other hand, nothing happened when she was prayed for but there was a big improvement when she went to the doctor and had a jab.  To make that into an answer to prayer you have to say either that God sent get for the jab or that God made the jab work.  Both those answers may satisfy a person predisposed to faith, but I don't think they will persuade many atheists.

Meanwhile, there have been rumblings about her having knee replacement operations in both legs and ankle repairs on at least one.

At a recent visit to the surgeon, he said her knees were severely arthritic, and that he could see from the x ray that it was very painful.  (perhaps we should get him to sort out the DLA for us!)  He does not normally encourage such young people to rush into surgery, but saw out as a necessity for my wife within the next three years, preferably sooner.  In fact next summer would be good, which works our conveniently for our hopeful progress through the ordination discernment process.  So maybe God is involved after all.

Meanwhile mrs has talked to an old lady at the church; one of the sprightly ones who overtake her.  Apparently this lady also had RA, but read a book by a christian medical person advocating a specific diet.  She implemented it, and her fingers which she says used to be as badly deformed as my wifes straightened out.  I can testify she looks fine now.

So mrs is borrowing the book.  I have to day I am sceptical of diets for RA, and most things take the months to take effect anyway so our is hard to know with certainty what is going on.

But if my wife can read a christian book recommended by achristian at church, and if she then improves, then even my doubting thomas mind will have to sit up and notice, and grudgingly accept that maybe miracles do happen.

I will let you know the title when it arrives.

Wednesday, October 23

Blackpool illuminations

Not my favourite outing of the year.  But I have to admit I enjoyed them more than usual, even though some were very tacky. Sorry about the poor photos, taken through my windscreen.

Whiplash claims

it is very laudable for the government to try to reduce fraudulent whiplash claims.


In 1997 an off duty police man slammed into the back of me and shunted me forward taking out the two cars ahead as well.  Later in the day I had a mild stiff neck.  My  insurance company sent me to their doctor.  I stressed to him that I was a christian and did not want to exaggerate my condition, which really didn't feel like much at all at the time.  So I felt guilty accepting the £1000 compensation.

But now, 16 years later, I feel pain in my neck almost constantly.  When I move my head my neck makes squelchy noises. It can be blinding agony to look I under a bed or sofa.  My £1000 seems very inadequate now.

So the thing with whiplash is that it is a permanent injury that may not show itself fully at the time.


Vicar came round tonight to ask questions so he could fill in my reference for ordination.

Mostly straightforward but some tough questions.  Had to list my weaknesses.  Had to explain why I am a good candidate despite our massive falling-out a few years back.  And some similar stuff.  At least we cleared the air somewhat.

I think he will do me a good reference.  Wondering why he didn't have a similar time with my wife for her application.  He did have some written material from her.  I put it to her that he was more confident with hers, but we both know that's not true.

Tuesday, October 22


So my hit counter tells me I keep getting visits from 'ourmeets'.  I made the mistake of looking to see who our what this was.  Turns out its some kind of contact site, with naked ladies.  Well, one, anyway - I clicked swiftly off immediately. 

It disturbs me very much that I get this kind of link.  I want nothing to do with that world.  I have seen the damage it does.  and what is it about my primarily religious blog that attracts them?

But the good thing is that people who are having difficulty in life with an uncontrolled sexuality and who are perhaps people who might not normally think about christianity (sorry about the stereotype) might read my blog and met Jesus.

Because Jesus knows their whole life story: not just what they are doing now but everything that had led to this point.  He loves unconditionally, and calls his children home.  Respond affirmatively to him, with love and gratitude.

Edit January 2014:  I've just read up on this a little more - apparently it is deliberate spam rather than genuine searchers getting lost.  STAY AWAY FROM OURMEETS!

Just to prove I do some work occasionally

..... And also to test the blogger apps facility to post images, which is something I have not bern able to do for a long time.

My screen shot is of a computer model of a water pipe from a reservoir to a treatment works.  Its 12km long, so when someone shuts a valve the water has so much momentum it doesn't want to stop and the resultinguyen pressures burst the pipe.  We are sticking in some break tanks, and looking at a solution to lower the pressure still further in the valley by adding a boater pump with a bypass.

Its all good fun!

Current service plans

I am responsible for our churches next invitational service.  I will be talking about ' hearing from god', especially in the stol small voice.  Because the truth is that you can preach 1000 academic sermons about the doctrine of salvation and no one will respond, but I'd a person hears god speak they usually become christians pdq.  I will involve some drama sketches and a panel to variety.

I am also responsible for this years carol service at work, which we normally get 50 - 60 people coming along to.  We are doing a refugee theme this year.

Returning to the true faith

Ha!  You thought this would be a religious post, when really I'm just dating that I have got rid of my iphone and am back with samsung.

The iphone was my son's, which he kindly have me when my original samsung was stolen.  But I never got on with be fair it was an old one with buttons slow to respond, but fundamentally I didn't get on with itunes, which never acknowledged that it was now my phone and wouldn't let me instal my own apps.and it was just not so intuitive to use. 

Now it was a genuine accident that I poured coke over it, which apparently you are not supposed to do.  It died.

So it was a terrible shame that I had to buy a samsung again.  Its only an old second hand galaxy S, but the difference is amazing.  I don't understand why apple think they are copied when samsung is so much better.

Mobile blogging

So, I can no longer blog from my office desktop.

The slow cog wheels in my brain have finally ground around to the idea of installing the blogger app on my phone.

We'll see if this works!

Monday, October 14

Rustling sheets

My5 year old was very keen to know how much noise travelled between the floors of the house.  She wanted to conduct a series of experiments with me talking form the bottom of the stairs to see if she could hear.  I began to get suspicious when she mentioned crisps (potato chips to you Americans) but then changed the subject quickly.  My suspicions were confirmed when as I was tucking her in the bedclothes rustled.  A quick investigation revealed a packet of crisps, pinched form downstairs. 

She had wanted to know if I would hear her opening the pack in the night. 

One does not have to teach a child to sin!  But it is hard to tell them off while laughing.

General update

Can't post from my office computer anymore, so its only when I chuck the kids off the home machine that I can post, and that doesn't happen often.

Not much happening on my ordination - just waiting for news.

Busy at present preparing for the next time I have to lead a service at Church.  Also busy preparing for the office Carol service, for which the organisation has fallen to me this year since those compete tent to do so have either left or are busy.

I have work until Christmas - who knows after that (the British water industry works on a five year cycle and next year is the quite year for designers like me).

Kids all doing well in their respective educational establishments.