Monthly Archives: December 2005

Raspberry

Today was a very bad day.

No, the world has not ended. Pontypool were beaten by Ebbw Vale. Boxing Day entertainment has taken a very bad turn.

Sport is, above all else, a form of entertainment. It is there to be enjoyed by the participants and the viewer. Yes, some of us do take it a little more seriously than we should. There are some things that are more important, but not much.

However, when you pay X pounds to watch, you do expect that what you see will be entertaining and played with a certain amount of skill and passion. Congratulations to Vale as they did this. Unfortunately Pooler did not appear to have fielded a team that had played together before.

They couldn’t throw the ball into the line-out correctly; their decision making was wrong on so many levels and in at least 57 varities; their passing was of beginner’s standard; their positional play was almost non existent, and I’ve seen fish with more tackiling ability.

However I will carry on supporting them as I believe that you stick with your choices through good and bad times. As a West Ham supporter as well I’m very aware that ou take the rough with the smooth. The other thing is that poor performances help you appreciate the good ones all the more.

As our national team showed last year, winning a competition is all the more rewarding and enjoyable if you’ve had to wait a long time for it to happen.

Something Ain’t Right

Our first Christmas together was our first Christmas apart. I must admit that it was a very surreal day.

My youngest nephew made me angry when he opened one present and said “I don’t like that anymore!” and through down his crane for the new model railway I’d bought for them. Then he got upset when he saw that the big present for him andhis brother was a complete train set. A little later he got even more annoyed when he found that, after opening everything, he didn’t have the Power Rangers he’d wanted.

His elder brother, who can be equally annoying when he wants to be, made up for everything by asking FW how her mum was, without any prompting from anyone. In fact, we didn’t know he’d asked until I spoke to FW late last night. A 7 year old helps save the day’s meaning.

Yet, throughout the day, it was evident that someone was missing. For the second year in a row Christmas didn’t fell complete. I just have to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

The good news is that English dragon is improving every day. With luck, and prayer, she’ll soon be breathing fire again. You can see that the boiler is just waiting to be stoked…

Another highlight was finding a birthday greeting from a fellow Christmas baby. He’s very advanced for his age. Do you know any other 1 year old that can type? Cheers Baby Blonde. We have your present here and, when we finally get the chance to come down, will be glad to pass it on.

Now I have to prepare to go to the folks for my Boxing day lunch. Tongue & chips anyone??

The Parable of the Car

While I was away for the last few days, visiting the English Dragon, my thoughts turned to one of those great unanaswered questions in life – Why does God allow bad things to happen?

I was reminded of the Parable that Jesus would have told:

There was a man who owned an autochariot. It was a Romanus Octavian, witheth the go faster stripes and twin turbos. He hath possessed the car for several years withouteth major problems. Verily, it was regularly servicethed by the recommended seller, Pollo and Cacofonix.

One day he was on the road from Tiberias to Eilat. Suddenly there was the sound of much grinding of metal and spraying of oily smoke. The temperature guage wenteth to hot and verily steam was rising forth from the engine.

He pulleth over and calleth the man from the Roman Autocarriage Club. The man cometh and scratcheth his head muchly. Then he saith unto him, “Your head gasket hath gone, citizen”. So he toweth it to the shed of the repaireth man and it was brought once more unto life.

The lesson I giveth you is that it was not the maker who was at fault. The car was of an age where things will begin to go wrong. Though the maker has made many similar cars all are unique. Not all will develop the same fault and many will never have any.

So is your Maker any less perfect? Had we not turned away would He not have created us all as unto perfection? Yet, through our sin, we are kept from Him and so have imperfections that He designeth not. Yet I say unto, there will come the day when we will be part of the Great Product Recall. Then we will be made perfect as per His prototype.

And then Jesus went out and caught the no. 53A with his disciples.

No matter what we think, God has not forgotten us but equally He is not the cause of things that happen in the world. When we disobeyed Him we were cast into a world without His intervention in every little matter. He still watches over us but, like any parent, leaves us to make our choices and mistakes.

Like a car we are made in the image of the designer’s creation but, as we are made imperfectly, we have to manage with what we have. It is not God’s fault that the imperfections are there.

Merry Christmas to you all. May the love of Jesus be with you all at this time and into the future.

What do you call this?

The thing that has come to my mind over the last 2 days is how hard this marriage business can be.

With what’s going on at the moment its hard to believe that one can still support your partner in such difficult circumstances when you’re 130 miles apart.

My life still has to continue but I’m able to wind things down thanks to the understanding of my customer and employer. Having my family around is a support for me but the flat feels so empty now I’m alone.

I can’t wait to go down and Thursday and help my wife and her family in anyway I can. It might not be much but maybe just helping them grimace will be enough!

The last year has been a complete rollercoaster. There has been so many good things but there have been so many things that have gone wrong. On the whole life is so much better and happier but there have also been moments of trial and sadness. Then again, as I said to the wife, that’s how life is for everyone.

Brings A Smile

Amongst the bad things in life there’s always something to raise a smile.

I received an e-mail from my boss today that the 2005 christmas cards have arrived. They are late but look superb.

It has been decided by the management to hold them until next year. There is one slight drawback…..

They have 2005 writen all over them.

The unfortunate thing is that this happens every year without fail. Not once in 5 years have they managed to get the cards to us before the 20th Christmas. Says a lot about our capabilities as a logistics company.

Update

There has been no great change today. The English Dragon is still responsive and looking a little stronger. She is responding to communication. She still has her sense of humour, which is a very good thing.

Mixed Weekend

This has been a very mixed weekend.

The charity ball was a great evening. First Wife was looking stunning in her new dress. The evening was fun and an eye opener. Never have been to an event like this we were both pleased with how enjoyable it was.

First Wife walked past Graham Cole, PC Stamp in The Bill, we saw Eric Hall, Ron Atkinson and Andrew Sachs. I actually got to talk to Pete Murray and Graham Cole after winning an HDTV DVD palyer in the raffle. At £20 a book, it was an expensive investment, but was the first time in years that I’d won anything.

Wife was very surprised when even I cut some shapes on the dance floor. The view from the expensive hotel room was wonderful. You could see the city of London on oe side and the new Wembley stadium on the other.

Sunday morning saw things go downhill rather quickly. We received a call from FW’s sister to tell us that her mum had gone into hospital on Saturday after a stroke. Other news was vague. FW decided that she’d head home to see the family later in the week.

As we headed home we received another call to say that the doctors had advised that the entire should be there ASAP. FW decided that as soon as we hit home she’d get the next train down.

I decided that it would be way quicker for me to drive down and then back up ready for work on Monday. So, 20 minutes after getting home we headed back out.

On the way down her dad rang to say that things were a little better than reported and that we weren’t to worry. When we got there we found that her mum had come round and, though unable to speak, was able to communicate and recognise people.

The latest up date I had is as follows:

1. She good get better quickly or slowly;
2. She could get worse quickly or slowly;
3. She could stay the same.

As soon as I hear more I’ll update.

I know that some of you are already aware of this. To those friends, I’d like to thank them for their thoughts and prayers. We know that you’ll be thinking of the family and hold them in your hearts.

An Inspiration

In our chapel we have someone who brings happiness and inspiration wherever he goes. No, its not me…..

Whenever we have a visiting preacher return they always remember Andrew. He is a special member of our congregation who helps prove what the love and peace of Jesus brings. He isn’t rich in material things and has a lot to be angry about but you never hear him say a bad word about anyone or grumble about his lot in life.

Every Sunday he leads the Sunday School musical slot and chooses the choruses that we’ll sing. No matter what happens he is there in the same spot with Gran, Grandad and mother week in week out.

When you see Andrew and hear him speak you can see someone who knows the love and joy that Jesus brings. You can see the light shine through him.

When you feel down or upset and annoyed with what life brings you I would like you to think how lucky you are. No matter what you think makes your life tough; no matter how unhappy you feel; think of Andrew’s example.

Why???

This young lad has a hard life every day. Yet he rarely allows it to get him down. He’s always there with an encouraging smile and word. He always things of others before himself. He is our chapel “Happy Shopper”, running around shopping for others. He fdesigns posters for our church events and is our unofficial press officer.

So what makes him special?

Well he does all this while confined to a wheelchair. He was born with Cerebral Palsey and has MS. He needs constant care and attention. He cannot feed himself or do many other things we take for granted. He was not supposed to make it to 30 but did that this year.

If he can get through life using his faith as his strength then why shouldn’t we be as blessed?

Balls

Saturday sees myself and First Wife attending a Charity Ball in London. Not something that either of us do very often, especially as its dead posh – I even have to rent a Tux and she’s spent dosh on a new dress. However as all proceeds are going to Great Ormond Street Hospital its all in a good cause.

It wouldn’t be my normal evening of choice but they’ve done some great work helping a friend’s nephew so it seems only right to support them. Mind you he also got Halle Berry’s autograph, as he was so ill. I’m not jealous of that. I’m jealous of the fact that my mate has actually met and spoken to her…. Sometimes life just ain’t fair is it.

But then I wouldn’t want to speak to someone because my nephew had leukemia and needed cheering up. Its fair to say that she is a nice person and was only to glad to do such a little thing to help.

Its nice when we see that even the rich and famous have a generous and helpful nature. In this modern world of easy celebrity and publicity reps pushing stories into the press, its sometimes easy to forget that people are people whoever much dosh they have.

Mind you, having said that, Catwoman was still a pile of festering junk. Sorry Halle, I can’t lie about that.

Peace & Death

Its been a strange start to the day.

My morning reading has included an article on the Civil Rights Movement and another on the execution of Stanley Tookie Williams, the founder of the Crips gang in LA.

One of these was a force for good in the world. They united to stand up for equality and the right to be treated as human beings. They led a peaceful campaign to change the laws and people’s perceptions of what is and isn’t acceptable. They won part of the battle but the rest will be an ongoing struggle that will never end.

It is not in the nature of humans to treat people as equals all the time. Every human has perceptions of what category others should fall into and how they should be treated. No one is immune from this. It is a product of our upbringing and history.

We can deny it but never really overcome it. It can be forced down but will occasionally reimerge, usually when least wanted.

It does not effect colour alone but culture and social status. Some look down on others because of where and how they live. They may not own their home but are tarred a certain way because of the estate they live on.

There is no difference in the baseline of any human beings on earth. They all want the same things but may not have the same opportunities to obtain them. This is what breeds resentment more than anything else.

Then we have Tookie Williams. He was executed at 8:35 GMT this morning at St Quentin prision in California. He had been on death row for 17 years for the murder of 4 people. He’d always maintained that he was innocent of the crimes. He failed to get his appeal for a stay of excution backed throughout the legal system and so his sentence was finally carried out.

He had, since his imprisionment, turned his back on his former life and worked to try to negate the things that he had set in motion on the streets. He worked, and wrote, against the lifestyle hat he had followed and endorsed previously. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work.

What struck me about this was not the finality of the sentence but what was said in the governor’s response to his appeal….

“After studying the evidence, searching the history, listening to the arguments and wrestling with the profiund consequences, I could find no justification for clemency. Stanley Williams insists he is innocent and should not apologise or otherwise atone for the murder of the four victims in this case. Without apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings, there can be no redemption. Based on the cumulative weight of the evidence, there is no reason to second-guess the jury’s decision of guilt or raise significant doubts or serious reservations about Williams’ conviction and death sentence”.

Now I don’t know what evidence there was against him. I don’t know what else he had done in his life prior to his imprisonment, and don’t really care.

The only thing that astonishes me is that, if he was innocent, how could he atone or apologise? It is not us who offer redemption, no matter what some people may think. That is God’s sole preserve. We do not know what lies in a man’s heart. He could apologise and atone just to save his neck or admit his guilt. This man did neither.

However the “Governator” had the option to choose to commute the sentence to life without parole but chose not too. He had more facts than anyone else and the chance to review the evidence against Williams. Yet here is where man’s justice differs from God’s.

Williams had reversed his previous lifestyle choices and campaigned for peace and understanding. We do not know if this was sincere or not but assume it was. Yet this counted for nothing in Arnie’s decision. His “good” works did ot save him.

Yet God is now judging Williams’ life. He knows what happened and how sincere the turnaround has been. He will now make the decision that will either truly condemn or save him. Man’s judgements will always be fallible, not matter who you are or what position you hold.

That is where my objection to the death penalty lies. There is never 100% proof of guilt or innocence without a true confession. It is the same with sin. We are all guilty and only a true, heartfelt confession of guilt, remorse and a desire to change can save us.

The good thing is that the one who judges us has the power to see if we are being true to opurselves. He also has the mercy needed to commute our death sentence.