Damned with not-even-faint praise

Just now, whilst discussing this excellent blog post with its author and my darling Ros we got to talking about how it compared with our own posts based on the same evening.  Linus’s post is detailed and deals with a whole bunch more stuff than just what Brian McLaren said that night.  Mine was a cheap joke based off the back of it followed by some vaguely interesting thoughts of my own.

Ros’s comment at this point – “Doesn’t that describe your life, more or less perfectly?”

Thanks love.

 

Advent Tree Ahoy!

Okay, it’s a Christmas Tree and we’ve put it up early.  This wouldn’t normally be blog-worthy but the fact that it’s the first time I’ve put a tree up in a home of my own makes it unusual for me – Ros only had to threaten me once or twice before we got round to it.

So, without further ado, may I present the exciting transition of one corner of the living room from “junk area with a table with my CD and DVD collection on it” to “evergreen shrine, life in cold deathness and table with my CD collection on it and DVDs underneath”.

Click on a thumbnail for the full size image.

Things That Should No Longer Go Splosh in the Night

I roused myself from my pile of soft things on the floor and rang the landlord. He came round less than an hour later with a friendly workman in tow. They checked everything that could be leaking and found nothing.

It turns out that, because of the lack of ventilation, condensation was forming – not just on the windows but also – on the boxing surrounding the extractor pipe from the bathroom (that had cold air blowing in from outside). It was an excess of this, acting under the influence of gravity, which had woken up Ros the night before.

Further to this, the only way to counter all of the above seems to be to open the windows and turn up the heating. The friendly workman is going to fit (or already has) a hinged flap to the exterior of the vent to prevent cold air blowing in. We’ll be making an effort to not use the room for drying laundry (it has the most accessible radiator for standing a clothes horse in front of). We’ve also rearranged the bedroom so that the bed is no longer directly in the line of drip – this involved taking everything apart, emptying the wardrobes and moving a giant shelving unit full of comic books into the spare room, and then putting it all back in a different order. It looks very strange and different and we’re going to have to keep an eye on the boxing, but if we don’t get woken up by sudden, unexpected facial wetness in the future then it’ll be a day well spent.

Things that go splosh in the night

There appears to be some form of precipitation in the main bedroom – this is not good for a number of reasons, mainly that it keeps Ros awake when water (good grief! I do hope it’s water) from an unknown source sploshes on her face. She’s now safely resting up in the spare bedroom, and I’m on a pile of soft-ish things and in a sleeping bag on the living room floor.

The mattress has been stood on end away from the drips, a bowl placed in relatively the correct place and I’ve had a look in the loft, where there’s nothing too obvious.

In four hours I’ll ring the landlord.

Ho hum.

As if by magic…

…a blog roll appeared

It’s been a while coming (every since the transfer to the new server) but I’ve finally got a vague kind of blog roll up and running. The more observant among you may have noticed two categories – “Famous Blogs” and “Infamous Blogs”. These are broad and intended mostly to differentiate between blogs by people I know (or at least have vaguely interacted with at some point in my online life) and those I read having found through Google, Twitter or whatever.

I’ve not got everybody’s in yet, but I’ve made a start – if there are any glaring omissions, please let me know.

Week Off, Day Two and All’s Well

Well, kind of. I’ve not got half the things I was hoping to have done by this point but was hoping to write this evening about the fun I had at the doctor’s today – but it was rather dull: the cough is just a cough (as I thought, but since I was there, it was worth mentioning), and the horrible (and long-running) pain at the base of the spine and across the top of each hip is being treated as muscular with a course of anti-inflammatories and some lying down exercises to do every morning and evening.

In other news, my local cheap-hardware store, Richardson’s (or Richardsons’) on Heaton Road, is no more – which is a right royal pain in the bottom since it’s where I got all my keys cut. The shop sign is still there with the door closed and wheelie bins lined up in front of the forlorn, empty windows – no need to board them up since the display stands block all view into the shop. It was a dismal hole of a place with all manner of cheap, disposable-level tools and useful things like locks, brackets and, of course, the key-cuttery – the main reason I ever visited. I got used to having it around – indeed, it had been part of my life for nearly fifteen years. What’s upsetting is not so much the inconvenience of having to find another supplier of freshly cut keys as the sudden vanishing of a small, dingy, yet valued part of my life. It will be sadly missed.

New Bike Mini Adventure

This post is mostly for Andy in Germany.

For my birthday this year, one of my good friends, M., bought me half (well, eight fifteenths of) a bike and I made up the difference.

Today, I took it for its first outing – to my local Edinburgh Cycles to acquire the things needful for attempting to ride it to work and home again without dying.

It soon became clear to me that this cycling malarkey was less simple than I remember it being as a child (or indeed, before my previous bike was pinched). For starters, I needed to find keys in the flat for the:

  • back door
  • bike shed
  • back gate
  • bike lock

It seems that I’ll be needing reinforced pockets:

Once these were found, I had to go down the stairs to lock the front door. Then it was off into the wild blue back yard. The bike survived the ride to the shop admirably. I, however, did not. Icy air, a hacking cough and levels of fitness lower than a snake’s limbo-dancing efforts combined with a reasonable slope to render me somewhat struggling to continue.

Following discussion with one of the guys in the shop, I purchased a mud guard, lights and fresh bar grips. The ride home was somewhat simpler, although when I stopped to pick up food for dinner, I realised that the removable front wheel wasn’t entirely simple to remove on account of the brakes and then fought to get my unwieldy D-lock through the wheel, the bike frame and the railings I was attaching it to.

Returning home I encountered the gate:

Thankfully, it was relatively easy to grab and open the lock and then to work the latch allowing access to the yard. Pausing only to take some pictures, I moved some junk from the bike shed to the mini shed and stowed my newly-mud-guarded prize away for safe keeping, went upstairs and unpacked all my shiny bike-related bits and pieces:

And, as requested, here are the pictures of the trip,featuring the bike as it was put away – the bar grips will be added at some point this week – and the contents of the bike shed:

Pub in my Living Room

Tonight, because we couldn’t be bothered to go out to the pub after church, or, indeed, to church before the pub, a small horde of assorted n’er-do-wells have gathered in our living room. Talk is ranging from Adele (and her pregnancy or otherwise), Lady Gaga’s meat dress, and the elf-ish-isation of New Zealand’s road signs to the difference or lack of it that baptism makes to how we feel.

Oh, and John is planning to start a blog, which should be an interesting and entertaining read (at present, it’s not up and running yet but that’s the site address he’s come up with).

So far, it’s been a roaring success – we’ll see how it goes at kicking out time…

Q: Why did Brian McLaren Cross the Road?

A: He was stapled to the chicken.

Ros, Linus and I have just been to a discussion evening, hosted by Greenbelt, in which Brian McLaren talked about a new book of his that deals with positive relationships between Christians and those of other faiths. We’ll all be writing a brief post based on the evening.

The anti-comedic title of the book is:

Why did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road?

and my initial response was that they’d seen Sheldon Kopp approaching and were off to look for George Herbert in whatever country parsonage he was holed up in.

Then I started listening.

The most outstanding moment of the evening came when Brian used Gregory of Nyssa’s description of the relationships within the Trinity as a starting point for talking about a possible way for us to relate to one another. But it does raise a question that troubles me:

That difference is to be celebrated without any party lording it over the others, is as it should be. That this celebration can entail a preference for our own way of being and doing is all very well. But is there a point at which our believing we are right and others are wrong (as seems to be the case with anybody believing anything) will get in the way – not of polite discourse but of our respect for ‘the other’?

Or, is that the whole point – that there is no ‘Other’, just people who believe different (to a greater or lesser degree) things to us and that our purpose as Christians is to love them as we love ourselves?