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Some introductory text to go here. Probably. Maybe soon now that I have FTP access again.

The Blog of Life

17 Months Today

Only one more month of counting in months, then he'll be 18 months until we start counting in years. can it really be so?

Some lovely moments today with the little chap standing at our open upstairs window and waving at passing cars. his wave is almost a salute - arm straight up and then a little twist of the hand - quite adorable. he has grown so much yet is still so small and cute at just the right height for the windowsill. Later I had the accidental opportunity of mixing with the junior school pickup when we went to the playground. so many kids and mums; it was quite manic. thankfully I was saved by some mums recognising him and then saying hello to me as will as some known friends. I was well impressed at his continued improving climbing skills - the mini rock climbing wall is now conquered, while the big skids was also done solo (with the lovely encouragement of a friendly older girl).

This was all then contrasted by the scenes on the news from Aleppo in Syria of blooded little kids being carried to makeshift hospitals. Scenes that perhaps a few years ago would have not really affected me, know feel viscerally the sadness because I can understand what a little child is.



Today our little chap said his first word - bubble. Before now he's sort of said owl, door, cat and something once about Jesus, but this was different and really counted as a proper word. He's been playing with b sounds a lot recently (it turns out there are a plethora of b-words which are really rather useful as a baby: boy, bang, bump, ball, bang). A bubble toy has been enthralling him last week so it's not surprising that was the word - he wanted to play with bubbles so got the word. After realising that he'd got the word he spent quite a time doing sound play spiralling around bubble with many variations.


The Blog of Photos - past 30 days

Flat Lands

I complain a lot about living in East Anglia; Cambridgeshire in particular. I have two main annoyances: one is the total lack of things to do and places to go, the other is the crushing flatness of the place.

I was looking at Google Maps satellite view today and you can clearly see how this area in particular (north from Cambridge) is essentially underwater or at least should be. I was reliably informed before my arrival that EA boasts the biggest skies in the UK. this is a lie, or at least this is a truth for anyone who has never stood on a hill overlooking a wide valley such as the Severn over to the Malvern Hills. Here, due to the flatness, you can only see the horizon which is at most 6 miles away meaning that the whole sky dome is only 12 miles in diameter. If there were a range of mountains 30 miles away the sky would seem to stretch all the way there as is the case in the Pacific Northwest and the Cascade mountains. But the 6 miles to the horizon is a QI fact and you can feel it. The only positive which I'm currently appreciating is that, given a clear Westerly aspect, the sun does sink right to the horizon and isn't obscured by something else. this does make for very nice long sunsets. tonight is one of those, sitting in The Plough in Fen Ditton by the banks of the Cam (the other thing that makes Cambridgeshire nice).

River Cam, Cambridgeshire. © Nick Bailey
Late sunset over the River Cam at The Plough, Fen Ditton

Mt Rainier, Washington State in 2000. © Nick Bailey
Seattle is relatively flat but the socking great Mt Rainier makes the skies simply massive.


Sunday Fellowship: Church without the church, but also mostly just church.

When we went down to Southampton a couple of weeks ago we joined our friends for the Monthly Quaker "youth" outing to the Southampton Sunday Assembly. For those of you who don't know, the Sunday Assembly was started in 2013 as an idea to take the best bits of church such as communal singing and gathering together, but without any of the crappy religious bits that obviously makes actual Church rubbish. Here are their four point summary (see, they even shirk the three point sermon):

  • We are a secular congregation that celebrates life.
  • We have an awesome motto: Live Better, Help Often and Wonder More.
  • A super mission: A Sunday Assembly in every town, city and village that wants one.
  • An awesome vision: To help everyone live life as fully as possible.

So we went along and it was just like church. Actually, it was closer to some of the funkier churches in Southampton such as New Life or Vineyard, perhaps even a little CU at a push. There were the funky folk, the quirky outsiders, the poets and the rebels. After an initial slightly awkward meet and greet time with coffee and tea the service got under way with some singing of traditional pop songs (Cold Play's "Fix You" was rather enjoyable) followed an excellent poem on apathy by an American member of the congregation. The main sermon was also good, by local poet come song writer Grant Sharkey about maintaining a line between love and anger (and included the term 'binge thinking' which I rather liked). This was followed by the short five minute talk (which went on for nearer 30) and tried to get us to share nice things that had happened in the past week. We then prayed together. No, I mean we thought together. There was even a collection!

It was good. Nice people and a friendly atmosphere, just like a good church should be and quite often are. It was markedly young, as seen by their twitter banner and I suspect most of my church would feed out of place and not as a result of the lack of God. Indeed I barely felt there was a lack of God, just that no one mentioned him or tried to avoid mentioning him (actually Grant accidentally did). This was simply church re-imagined by young people who failed to be taken along to a CU while at university. Or perhaps they were taken along to a CU, or similar funky modern church where they were prayed at or otherwise intimidated into being saved, resisted but secretly enjoyed the whole thing.

Perhaps I'm being a little facetious. I'm sure there are plenty of reasons why people were there, but I certainly wouldn't be surprised if a number were ex-evangelicals, some of them had that look. Either way there is something other actual churches could learn: people like to sing together, and do pretty much everything else that Church does. It's not even the preaching that puts people off, though no doubt some of the older traditional stuff has. We just need to loosen up a little and funk it up. But at the same time I certainly don't want to loose all the lovely silver backs we have in my local Church - they bring such warmth, love, vision and stability that should be treasured. Also they are most certainly not all stuck-in-the-mud bores who don't want change. Lets all sit together and learn from each other. It is hard to be a cohesive living church of all ages, but God really can help, even if some have to pretend not to have heard about him.

PS. The idea of giving new people different coloured mugs so everyone knows who's new and who's not is a wizard idea.


Listening to: OK Go
Upside Down & Inside Out
From: Hungry Ghosts

23 knife wounds
Recently:Slipped while sharpening cleaver and sliced deep right across the proximal interphalangeal joint

£ 3.20
Change from our first outing with baby

I love ecover

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