Monthly Archives: August 2009

End of An Era / A New Dawn?

Today saw the end of an era with the death of Senator Edward Kennedy. He was the last direct link with the powerful Kennedy clan that, at the start of the 60’s, had looked to be the future of American politics. Their father, Joseph, had hopes that all three brothers could rise to the ultimate position in US politics.

Edward entered the Senate as the replacement for JFK, assuming his seat after JFK became President. Yet, within 10 years, 2 brothers would be dead and Edward faced with a career limiting scandal. The Chappaquiddick accident left a stain that would follow him for the rest of his political career and destroy his hope of becoming President or Vice President.

Yet he managed to become a “big hitter” in the Democratic party and helped to bring about many major changes in American society in the next 35 years. This included working with the Republicans where it was necessary in order to get a piece of legislation through both Houses.

With the death of younger members of the family he is the last real link between the Camelot and hope of his brother’s Presidency, the promise of Bobby’s candidacy and the modern Democratic Party.

The New Dawn?

Well today Network Rail announced the preferred route for High Speed 2 – the hoped for new dawn for rail travel. If it goes ahead we could see rail journeys from London to Glasgow being cut to 2.5 hours or London to Birmingham in 45 minutes.

Of course that means spending £34bn+ for the full line and no one knows whether or not we can afford this. It would be easy enough for the current government to say that they will give the go ahead, knowing full well that they are likely to be out of power next year.

The Conservatives have stated that they will definitely commit to building HS2 from London to Manchester and then onto Leeds, at least. Personally I think that the whole thing should be built to Glasgow/Edinburgh plus the extension to Leeds and then Newcastle.

Doing this would reduce the need for short haul flights and congestion on the motorways. Yet it must, more than anything, allow affordable travel to all. Not the way things are now with very high fares for a poor service.

Hopefully the present, and future, government will commit to the project and that we’ll see the great leap forward in public transport that this country needs.

We also need to look at the future and High Speed 3. Maybe we could see a link into Wales and the South West to allow a truly national High Speed network. This would give us a far more enivronmentally friendly way to travel across the country.

Yet I think we all know what is likely to happen though….

Work It Out

Things are as busy as ever at work. So much so that I’ll be working on Saturday afternoon so that I can get on top of things.

My colleague has been off all week and I have had to cover his work as well. Really it shouldn’t make much difference as I do the majority of the work anyway. Yet, when he is away, I realise that we have enough work for 1.5 people but not 2. In addition he does his work and nothing else. For example, we have filing that needs to be done but he would rather look at holiday brochures or the trade paper.

This week I have been chasing my tail and, just as I catch up, things happen – like our printer being out of action for 3 days.

Today I have finished reading The Gladiator, the new Simon Scarrow book. This is the ninth book in his Macro & Cato series. Now I have to wait another year for the story to continue. Ho, Hum!!!!

It is an official lazy day today as I have a surprise for FW this evening. She has been unable to get any information from me as to what we are doing – just that it is the next stage in our anniversary celebration.

So I need to nip out quickly and then come home to watch a film or two before this evening.

It is also the return of the Premier Season. West Ham are away to Wolves. Mark Lawrenson has predicted an away defeat – we’ll see.

Thinks What I Did

The reasons I didn’t go out in the sun on the weekend:

1. I felt like crap all day Saturday
2. I hate daylight – especially bright sunshine
3. It’s not the rugby season
4. I gave the bathroom its second coat of paint – surprise for FW for when she came back from her folks
5. I went to see my folks on Sunday afternoon

Today I have had a slightly different Saturday.

I had a lie in. I have watched about 40 minutes of football and, so far, only one film – Big Jim McLain starring John Wayne. This is a 1952 effort about an investigator for the House UnAmerican Investigations Committee and is very much of its time – today we would describe it as jingoistic and portrays Communists as evil, world conquering wannabes. There are several speeches about how people turned away from the Party as they discovered its true purpose was to enslave mankind.

After tea I will be watching The Medusa Touch starring Richard Burton and Lee Remick.

FW is currently visiting her family in Dorset. I have a surprise ready for her return that took a few hours to prepare this afternoon. Ssssshhh!!! Don’t tell her…


This morning’s sermon was at a little chapel up the road from our own. It is another of those Victorian wonders that are a symbol of the welsh vallies. We have several of them up and down our valley. Like many other the congregation is small, there were 8 today excluding me, and advancing in years but they have a desire to grow.

This afternoon I have watched a little of Assignment to Kill and have settled down to watch Heavens Knows, Mr Allison – with Robert Mitchum & Deborah Kerr. The story of a marine and a nun stranded on a Pacific island in WWII.

I also managed to fit in 3/4 of Black Sunday with Robert Shaw and Bruce Dern. This was the first Thomas Harris book and film adaption. It is a little of its time but good – he effects leave a little to be desired.

I also finished reading Public Enemies and have now started reading Sovereign by C J Sansom, the third in the Shardlake series.


The Crimson Pirate is a cheesey but very enjoyable film from 1952. Very enjoyable – even FW was surprised at how enjoyable she found it. Lawman is from 1970 and was directed by Michael Winner (director of Death Wish and current Sunday Times restaurant critic). It has a great cast – including Robert Ryan, Lee J Cobb and Robert Duvall – and is well worth watching but it can be annoying with some of the repeated, unnecessary camera close-ups and zoom ins.


The Last Crusade is definitely my fave Indi movie. The Crystal Skull was only just better than the Temple of Doom.

Here Comes The Weekend

This afternoon I have watched The Crimson Pirate, Lawman and Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. We’re now watching another episode (or two) of Desparate Housewives.

In addition I have been writing my sermon for tomorrow’s services; it is actually a follow on to the one I gave at both chapels last time.

Farli we in the Free Church do not have a lectionary – I’m glad as I’m no good at playing those drawing games anyway. We do however have something called commentaries 🙂 On this occasion though I haven’t used one, as everything seems to be going rather smoothly.