Thursday, March 29, 2007

norfolk golf tour (I wish)

It’s felt very strange this week. At this time of year, I used to spend a few days playing golf, with about 20 others, on links courses on the Norfolk coast (Royal Cromer and Sheringham for anyone interested!). Working in a school has obviously put an end to this for me – the tour is arranged in non-school holidays – and 2006 was the first time I’d missed it for about 20 years. Missing it last year wasn’t too bad because many of my best mates weren’t able to make it either…. but, on Tuesday, I received a text message from Steve+Ken to say they were “on their way” (and how strange it will be without me being there too etc).
Feeling very envious!
Photo: (left to right) Steve, me and Ken golfing at Prestwick in 2003

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


It’s taken me some time to put something in writing, but I’ve been hugely challenged by the foundation quarterly service (on 18 March, entitled “Unknowing God”) – hauntingly beautiful and somewhat dark in content. I’m still reflecting on the powerful and stark declarations from Lizzie, Ellen, Dylan and Tim. No easy answers or forced optimism, but rather an honest rawness as they shared aspects of their own spiritual journeys. I don’t yet really know of any of them all that well, but I wanted to hug them all!
Our Bedminster Parish Lent group, meeting at home, has also provided much food for thought (study book: “Source – on prayer for Lent”). We decided we needed an “” equivalent on the parish website – to help answer those tricky questions no one knew the answers to!
Photo: "Breast-feeding Madonna" by Antonia Rolls (one of the artists featured in the foundation quarterly service)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

hands off!

I’m not a huge follower of the England football team (too many disappointments over too many years!) and wasn’t particularly surprised by another woeful display against such world-beaters as Israel yesterday. By the end of the game, fans were chanting “you don’t know what you’re doing” at the current England manager. This didn’t really worry me… but then I suddenly realised that I SHOULD be worried!
Here's the scenario: within the next couple of months, the powers-that-be decide that they’ve made a terrible mistake in appointing McClaren as manager - fine, no worries. BUT then they decide to make Martin O’Neil (the Villa manager) their target for the England vacancy!
No way/hands off (you heard it here first!)!

Friday, March 23, 2007

adoption day

Received really great news yesterday afternoon: Mikey has now been formally adopted by Alice+Dave! In Alice’s words: “It was the least official-feeling official thing EVER. The judge asked me ‘so, is he continent?’ I thought it was such a stupid question I must have misunderstood him so just meekly said ’he's doing very well’!” Nevermind, he was apparently a very nice man.
As you might imagine, this crucial question will go down in the archive of family stories – at the least appropriate moment, Dave will turn to his wife and whisper those immortal words: “so, Alice, is he continent?”!
Photo: Dave+Alice+Mikey with Judge Gee (great name!) and social workers Chris+Kath.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

joni (again)

More words about Joni Mitchell on this blog I’m afraid! I received e-mails from Alan and Sarah yesterday telling me that there was the first of two documentaries on her last night on Radio2 (good to have people looking out for you!)(this comes hard on the heels of Paul Robert’s recent blog). Wonderfully evocative programme – I’m sure you’ll be able to hear it on the “listen again” BBC link (although I think I could have done a better job at interviewing her!). The BBC website includes a messageboard with lists of people’s favourite songs. For me, “Blue” is the definitive album (and being featured on next week’s programme) – with my top songs: “The Last Time I saw Richard”, “A Case of You” and “Little Green”, although “Both Sides Now” from the “Clouds” album brings back most memories!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

rat pack

Went to a great charity concert at school last night featuring Toby Marsh (an ex-pupil) and his sister Charlotte. Charlotte danced (she was recently selected to perform with the English Youth Ballet) and Toby sang a selection of “Rat Pack” songs (plus some of his own) quite brilliantly.
I love seeing young people blossom!
Really enjoyable evening and lots of money raised for Cancer Research.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

desert island discs

About 25 years ago, I came up with this cunning business plan (actually it never got anywhere near becoming any such thing!): it was all about producing personalised cassettes(!) for people consisting of their favourite pieces of music - everybody's "desert island discs", as it were. Since then, of course, someone's invented the internet, the iPod and iTunes and rather put a dent in my scheme! At long last, I actually started to download some music from iTunes at the weekend and, after clumsily trying to ensure that it was compatible with the music I already had on the computer, have now managed to compile my very own set of songs to keep me happy on my desert island (which, thanks to iTunes, now includes such rather pathetic oldies as "Go Now" by the Moody Blues, "Heard it through the Grapevine" by Marvin Gaye, "Clowns" by Judy Collins and the theme to the film "Un Homme et une Femme").
As you might imagine, it's somewhat more than the eight records they allow on the radio programme!

Thursday, March 08, 2007


Moira+I had a lovely time last night at Ruth+Stu’s, celebrating Ruth’s birthday. Stu had taken the day off and they were telling us about Iris enjoying breakfast in the garden - in the sunshine.
Spring has clearly arrived!
Photo: tiny Iris flowers in our tiny garden

Sunday, March 04, 2007

ten tors training

I was helping out on the training day for a group of sixty or so 15-17 year-olds on the Quantock Hills today (essentially manning one of the checkpoints rather than walking the 15 mile arduous route) – in preparation for the final two-day challenge over Dartmoor in two months’ time. The views are apparently stunning, but we didn’t see any. The weather was absolutely atrocious – incessant, heavy rain with high winds from start to finish and with visibility down to 100m or so at times!
In the event, the students were brilliant. They didn’t complain; they simply got on with the task in hand with determination and wonderful good humour.
It was a completely exhilarating day.
Photo: one of the groups from our school – not quite half-way round!
PS: this was posted before learning of the tragic death of a student on one of the other training sessions near Okehampton. Horrible news.