Paul & Sue Hazelden
- Family News -
January to June 2006


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Sue's health | Paul's health

•   January 2006
•   February 2006
•   March 2006
•   April 2006
•   May 2006
•   June 2006

January 2006

Monday 2: The family goes to see "Aladdin" by Philip Pullman at the Bristol Old Vic, our first visit there. It was okay, but not the impressive creative work I had been led to expect.

Tuesday 3: Back to work for Paul and Sue. After work, Sue drives Alan back to Warwick and stays the night before driving home.

Thursday 12: Sue went back to Frenchay for a brain scan, to see what they left behind after the surgery last year. We should get the results in a couple of weeks - in theory. Anyone want to offer odds?

Sunday 15: An odd experience. After speaking at Holy Trinity, Bradley Stoke, a chap comes up and asks if I remember him. It is Chris Budd, who was studying Maths at the University of Surrey the same year as me. He is 'still looking' and recently started going along to a post-Alpha group at the church. I'm invited to come along to the group.

Friday 20 - Sunday 22: The Highgrove Men's Weekend Away, at the Woodcroft Christian Centre, Chepstow. All in all, a good time, even if we did spend much of a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon walking through an unlit railway tunnel. And even if the 5-a-side produced more bruises in an hour than I have accumulated in the previous 5 years. We so rarely get the chance to spend time together. This is sad, but also a worrying comment on our priorities.

February 2006

Sunday 5: Sue and I both made it to Highgrove this morning. Nothing planned for the afternoon, so we went for a short walk along the Avon, and then drove to the Orpheus to see Memoirs of a Geisha. Very disturbing, in several ways. Parents selling their children; children brought up to be high class prostitutes; selling a girl's virginity to the highest bidder; women whose entire existence is devoted to giving pleasure to rich men; and one sub-plot is about nothing more than hidden paedophilia. Most of the plot is about envy, spite and desperation. It's one of those films I'm glad I have seen, and it is probably a very accurate presentation of some aspects of Japanese culture when it was set, but not a film to enjoy.

Monday 6: The St Pauls Crime and Disorder Forum was cancelled, so I had a spare evening. Sue and I went straight from work to the Orpheus to see Mrs Henderson Presents. Some beautiful and moving performances, and the scene with Judy Dench and Bob Hoskins dancing on the roof of the theatre was superb. I commented to Sue afterwards that there was more feeling in that one scene than in the whole of the Geisha film yesterday.

Wednesday 15: Sue and I are booked to spend two nights at a hotel in Worcester - a special deal she found through her MoneySaving friends. On the way, we dropped Ian off with his friend Tyrone, went back home to pick up my phone which I had forgotten, then got the car washed, and back home for Sue's handbag which she had forgotten, then off for real and up to Worcester, stopping for a break at a supermarket in Tewkesbury on the way. I suggested that we have the cheap meal - beef stew and dumplings - to keep her credibility with Sue's MoneySaving friends. She replied that it was too early to eat, and anyway, she intended to enjoy her food while we were away. I could have the stew and dumplings if I liked. We made do with a coffee and biscuit.

After reaching the hotel (following a significant detour to find petrol), I went for a sauna while Sue unpacked, then we had a delicious meal in the restaurant, and watched most of 'Intolerable Cruelty' - Sue had seen it before, and filled in what we had missed. Tremendously enjoyable light entertainment. Thinking about it afterwards, the song 'April' at a wedding was wonderfully appropriate.

Thursday 16: Off to Oxford, to spend the day there with my parents and brother. We were nearly half an hour late, which would have been embarrassing if not for the fact that my parents were still in London!

They eventually arrived after a dreadful journey, and we spent most of the afternoon in the Ashmolean. Have to go back.

They confirmed that my father has Carpel Tunnel Syndrome in both his wrists. They will need to operate, but will do the wrists one at a time - I assume, so that he has the use of one hand while the other is recovering.

Friday 17: Back home via Tewkesbury. We decided to park in the long term car park (it's free, but a longer walk from the centre), and wondered what was the large building we were parked behind. Wandered along a footpath, and came out on a supermarket - lo and behold, the one we had stopped at on the way up. It seems we were fated, so we went in and I had the beef stew and dumplings after all. Not brilliant, but not at all bad for the price.

After that, we wandered around Tewkesbury until it was time to go home. We only popped in to the Abbey for a few minutes, but they were about to have a funeral and had to leave. Delightful sculpture in the Abbey grounds, children sitting down in a circle with the soles of their shoes touching. The Old Baptist Church, a walk along the river, a bookshop, some more coffee, and it was time to go. A beautiful place, and lots more to see.

The boys had not missed us, and Steve was not too traumatised by the experience. So, all in all, a success.

Saturday 18: Sue had a letter this morning from the hospital, with an appointment to talk about the results of her brain scan: Wednesday 26 April.

Sunday 19: Preaching at St Lukes, Brislington this morning. Terribly exciting, as they were using a new order of service and celebrating communion from a table in front of the pulpit for the first time.

I was to do the Gospel Reading, which involved processing down to the middle of the Transept (I think!), with someone holding the book while I read from it. Which was fine, except that the book didn't include the phrase I had to say at the end of the reading! We just stood there. I whispered "I know I need to say something else, but don't know what it is!" and eventually someone passed me an order of service, and I said the right words for the response, and we processed back.

After the trauma of the reading, the sermon was a piece of cake. Coffee afterwards in the Church Hall, and met several interesting and wonderful people. I forgot to mention the meal tickets during the service (again), but someone reminded me and bought a book anyway.

Tuesday 21: Sue was off to London today, to learn about databases. Lucky her! I had my next appointment at Endocrinology, the main details of which are on the Paul's Health page.

In the evening, we had a Community Project Open Meeting at Highgrove. It was supposed to be about the PRC Council House development in Sea Mills and an update on the local ASBO situation, but for a technical reason we couldn't do the latter part. However, the first part took all evening anyway - maybe 75 people there, lots of good questions, and a high level of interest in keeping local people involved in the process.

Saturday 25: I set up a blog (External Link - Paul's Live Journal http://tenuki57.livejournal.com/) so I can post replies to Alan's blog as something other than 'Anonymous'.

Sunday 26: Rob Parsons at Highgrove this morning - an excellent talk, as always. I am so impressed by that guy.

After lunch, Sue and I take Ian off to his first cricket practise at Henbury Leisure Centre. We waited - the session was from 3 to 4:30 pm, so hardly time to go home and do something before coming back. I thought of swimming, but then realised I had swimming trunks in the car, but no towel. He enjoyed the session, so it looks like this will be our regular Sunday afternoon activity for a while.

After nets, Ian persuaded me to play cricket with him by the Trym. It was freezing. I was dressed in two coats, but he claimed to be comfortable in a tee-shirt. How does he do it?

Just noticed that the page counter has just overtaken the original page counter (recording the home page only): 46640, as opposed to 46548. Don't know why, but it feels like a significant event...

March 2006

Wednesday 1: The BT Engineer in all day today, upgrading the CCM phone system at last. A few hiccoughs, but by the end of the day we have some new phones, one fewer line into the building, and for the first time since I've been there, it all works. The bad news is that he ran late and has to come back tomorrow to show us how to use all the facilities. So I have to come in to the office instead of working on the MTh.

Thursday 2: Phone home tonight, and Mum said that Dad has just received his appointment for the first operation to fix a wrist (not sure which one they will do) - 7 August. He wishes it was sooner, but is glad to have a date. Roger has applied for a few more jobs online, but no more interviews this week.

Another fascinating conversation with Ian, this time touching on what Muslims and Mormons believe, and on the timing of the end of the world.

Saturday 4: Made it to the Prayer Breakfast at St Edyths (first Saturday in the month) for the first time in ages. Back home, then working on some documents for the CCM trustees' meeting on Monday.

After lunch, played cricket with Ian over the road for 45 minutes. Not to be too modest, I thrashed him: 7 the first innings and 5 the second (it was really 7, but he wouldn't accept two runs were valid), while Ian could only manage 2 in the first innings and 9 in the second. After accepting defeat, he continued to bat, and made a duck, then a few more runs on his third and fourth innings. He took it very well.

In the evening, Sue and I went to Westbury Park Methodist Church for a 'Big Sing Thing'. It was a superb evening with Paul Heppleston, an Associate Member of the Iona Community, leading us in a variety of songs. Most of them were new to us, and for most of them we sang harmony in various combinations. On top of which, there was a gentle journey of spiritual reflection guided and illustrated by the songs. I shared a little about CCM and our work at the start of the second half, and they took up a collection for us. Wonderful people! Sadly, Sue had one of her repeated headaches, and had to leave at the break.

Wednesday 8: We hear in passing that Philip managed to be the 'Best in School' for the Math's Challenge he recently took part in. He didn't think this of sufficient interest to mention.

Saturday 11: Volunteer training in the morning: Mental Health. Always a difficult session, but several people said they found it worthwhile.

Cricket with Ian in the afternoon. I think it counted as a draw: as it was a limited over match, I suggested he declare at 15 (for the record, it was his first test decade!) and I only had time to reach 9 before 4 pm when we had to go in. Shopping called. It was a very odd feeling - I have never been interested in sports, but I actually felt like a cricketer at the end, walking back to the pavilion... house... with a bat under the arm, pads on leg, and pulling off the cricket gloves as we walked.

Sunday 12: I have been asked to do another wedding service! Karen from church and Marcus, 12 August this year. I'm 'dead chuffed' to be asked. It turns out that Karen and Marcus met at Paul and Jayne Griffiths' wedding. She didn't know I had been there, too. Small world.

Tuesday 14: A Meaningful Occupation meeting in the afternoon, which means I have to miss the Sea Mills Community Forum. Pam Scott-Cook also misses it, as she is in hospital to have her gall bladder operated on. Parents' Evening for Ian. A number of common themes, and few surprises: the teachers like him, he is very capable, his contributions are always worthwhile, but he easily gets distracted and needs to produce more work. However, they are happy with him in Art - which is a first for our family.

Friday 17: Sue wanted to see 'Syriana' - one of the new films with George Clooney - and we had a free evening. We managed to get to the early evening showing at the Orpheus. Difficult to follow all the different strands, and hard to engage emotionally with the action jumping all over the place. But a worthy film about some important subjects. Perhaps we'll see it again, to see if some of the details make more sense the second time round. Or perhaps we will get the book.

Saturday 18: Sue and I went to a concert tonight. Christ Page had a friend taking part, and invited us to join her. An 'Organ Celebration', consisting of three pieces. Dvořák's Te Deum, Guilmant's Symphony No 1 for Organ and Orchestra and Duruflé's amazing Requiem. I hate to think when we last went to a concert. Twenty years ago? Very grateful to Chris for giving us the incentive.

When we got home, we were just in time for a bit of male bonding. Sue went to the lounge to see the recorded 'New Tricks', while Alan, Philip, Ian and I went up to Alan's room to watch '28 Days'. I can see why it did well: lots of good ideas. But at times it felt like there were too many good ideas all thrown together and not developed. For example, there is an attempt to give a scientific basis for the action - a plague, which sweeps England - but then there is no attempt to give it any plausibility as a medical condition. The scene where the hero is first rescued from infectees chasing him contains some nifty incendiary devices, but they never appear again for some reason. And so on. One of those films I'm glad I saw, but also glad I didn't pay for it.

Sunday 19: To complete a really cultural weekend, Sue, Philip and I went back to the Orpheus after Ian returned from cricket practise, and saw 'Goodnight, and Good Luck'. The other two boys didn't want to come. All black and white - incredible. I found it totally engaging. Quite the most astonishing film I have seen for ages: no action, all talk - most of it about abstract principles - and still gripping. I can't believe Holywood allowed it to be made.

Monday 20: Our wedding anniversary: 24 years. Have to start thinking about that we want to do next year.

I took the afternoon off, as our new sofas were scheduled to arrive between 2 pm and 5 pm. I arrived home at 1:20 pm, to discover the delivery people had been and gone. he rest of the afternoon was spent shifting the old furniture out, with Alan's help, and sorting out the room.

In the evening, Sue and I went back to the local Italian restaurant. Very nice food, as always, but it doesn't do much for the diet...

Wednesday 22: Ian's 14th birthday. Lots of cricket things, including some metal stumps on a stand that should work a good deal better than the bent sticks we currently use when we go over the road. The card we bought him was completely irresistible: nice house, with parents and young son on a sofa, and the Dad saying, "It's very important that you try very, very hard to remember where you electronically transferred Mummy and Daddy's assets."

Most of the day was spent on an Equalities training seminar organised by Voscur. It's important and useful stuff, but after attending a number of such events, little is as new as the people running it hope, so a helpful reminder rather than a life- or work-changing experience. However, they did show a video from the "Blue Eyed, Brown Eyed" seminar, which was as disturbing as I had anticipated from the reviews. How far can you justify abusing people on the grounds that you are teaching them an important lesson?

In the evening, Sue and I went for a meal with Korky and Anni Davey. The first time we have managed this in ages. They are both wonderful people, and we rarely get the chance just to spend time and enjoy being together.

Friday 24: Sue and I took Ian to the performance at his school of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Ian wanted to go, so we grabbed the chance - it's not often any of our boys want to do something 'cultural' these days.

Saturday 25: The church away-day. The morning was excellent, with George Kovoor (but they spelt it 'Kavoor'?) on good form - stimulating, informative and challenging. The rest of the day was not really worth doing, other than the chance to spend time with folk we usually just exchange a few words with every other Sunday.

A personal gripe: why is it that people think they can spend half an hour online with Google, and think they have 'researched' a subject? Maybe you can do it with pop stars, but the greatest thinkers of the human race have been wrestling with the question of free speech and censorship for the past three thousand years, and looking up a couple of web site that mention these terms really does not give you even the starting point for a seminar.

Thursday 30: Sue and I go to the One25 social in the evening. Saying goodbye to Carol Self, very sad. They do a general knowledge quiz: my team is in the lead at half time, but Sue's team just beat us into second place by the end. Not that we are competitive about such things, you understand.

Friday 31: I was a complete idiot. Sue had the car, but left it at work and took the bus home. I was going to work late-ish and then drive home. Then I took a phone call, and discovered that a grant application we had submitted required some additional information, and it really needed to go into the post tonight. Bits of paper weren't where they should have been, and some electronic files were not the correct versions, either, so the process what somewhat fraught. Just got the information printed off, into an envelope and into the post box in time.

At this point, I am very close to where I catch the bus, so, with my mind full of all the urgent things I didn't manage to get done after all, that's what I do. Walk into the house, and Sue asks where the car is. Oops. The next train goes in two minutes - not enough time, so I have some tea and go down to catch the next train. It has been cancelled, no more tonight. Up to the top of the road to catch a bus - none along the Portway at this time of night - and have to wait for ages at the bus stop. It's past 11 pm when I finally get home again. I'll try not to do that again.

April 2006

Saturday 1: The joint Prayer Breakfast. The second one in two months - really on a roll! No Pam, as she is still recovering from the operation.

Sunday 2: The last day of the "Power of Paint" exhibition at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, so Sue drops me off before dropping Alan to work, Ian to nets and Steve to the airport. She then picks up Ian from nets, and collects me again.

The exhibition is excellent - a touring exhibition from the National Gallery. I recognised some of the pictures from the National Gallery, but others were new to me. Most of the pictures were 'Old Masters' and simply stunning, plus a few more recent ones, which were mostly entertaining. I particularly remember the Degas (the mainly red painting of a maid coming some long hair) as a member of staff had been talking with a party of school children about it when I visited, and they spent some 15 or 20 minutes drawing out different aspects of the scene and the techniques being applied. The only disappointment, for some reason, was the Turner. I thought they had better examples of his work. But only a minor quibble.

Wednesday 5: Ian's birthday treat, so I have the day off work.

But first, we have booked the car in to the Toyota garage. When we filled up the petrol tank on Saturday, the computer range did not re-set. So we have a full tank, and the car thinks it will run out of petrol in 60 miles. This is the first time we filled up the tank after the garage serviced it.

So I drive across Bristol, and wait for someone to go and look at what has gone wrong. It turns out that this is normal behaviour: sometimes the range does not automatically reset, and you have to press and hold in the 'Trip' button to force a reset. Why couldn't they tell me that on the phone? Two hours, just to be told to press a button - frustrating. Of course, we could have looked up the instructions in the manual, but it didn't occur to us that it might be working correctly. Chalk it up to experience.

Ian and I get the bus out to Cribbs, to the Hollywood Bowl we booked for his treat. Ian plus six friends, over two lanes, so I agree to play to make the numbers even. But one friend doesn't turn up, so that doesn't work too well.

Afterwards, we have a drink at the café there, and they go and play on the gaming machines for a while. We get the bus home, where Sue has been cooking pizza.

They decide to have a game of cricket while the pizza finishes cooking, so I go over with them and umpire: it's quite fun, if a bit cold. Back for food, and then they decide to play hide-and-seek. Honestly! I didn't think 14-year-olds did that sort of thing. Chaos reigns until the parents start arriving to pick them up at 9. Totally exhausted, but Ian enjoyed himself.

Thursday 6: Another day's holiday. We have arranged to meet my parents and Roger at External Link - Wellington Country
      Park Wellington Country Park. We arrive by a miracle exactly at 11 am, and enter the car park just as Roger is parking. Ian wanted to come because last time we were there, we missed the boating. But the boats are not available today, so we will need to come back.

We go for a pleasant walk, had a game of crazy golf (Alan and I were tied on the last hole, but he then got a hole-in-one to beat me), and then a ride on the miniature railway, which was all pleasant enough, but by 3 pm we had exhausted the options. What next?

We were not far from Odiham. Years ago, Sue and I repeatedly found ourselves on the Odiham By-pass, which a proud notice told us had been opened early. Odiham has a castle, so we decide to see what was there.

We never found the castle, but Odiham is a charming little town, and we met a surprising number of friendly and helpful people there. It boasts a Pest House (surprisingly small but open) near the church (surprisingly large but closed) and a canal with a towpath near the most delightful pub we have visited for a long while, serving good quality and cheap coffee.

Back to the New Inn at Heckfield for something to eat. Not quite as good as we remember from our last visit, but still very friendly, and decent quality food. Back home just before 10:30 pm.

Tuesday 11: Praying for our church missionaries at Homegroup tonight. On Sunday, Debs suggested "15 minutes". With hindsight, perhaps that was not intended to be 15 minutes for each of the four missionaries...

Thursday 13: Spoke with the hospital today. Several times. It turns out that they have put me on the list for an MRI scan, so they are concerned I may have a brain tumour. The plan is that this scan should be done before my next appointment with Endocrinology in June, but nothing more specific about the date at this stage.

Friday 14: Good Friday. Sue and I went to the 10:30 service at Woodlands, and then for a coffee afterwards with Pam and several other folk from Highgrove. It turns out that one of the ladies there knows Steve X - Steve Lewis - from Surrey University. I never found out how. Small world!

In the afternoon, Philip and Ian helped me in the garden clearing away some of the growth on the path and outside our fence. Collected seven large binliners full of cuttings.

Sunday 16: Easter Sunday. 'Sunrise' service at 7 am, near the top of the slope overlooking the Shirehampton Road and golf course, then back to St Edyths for breakfast. Then back home to pick up Sue (she doesn't do mornings, let along sunrise services), and on to Highgrove, where there is another breakfast at 10:30! I end up doing most of the washing up at the end of the service

After lunch, we head off to Newbury, where Andrew is being baptised. But, first, to her parents, where there is a massive tea (meal 4!) laid out for us. Raymond is there, a pleasant surprise, but sadly no Dianna.

The service is one of believers' baptism by total immersion, held in the church hall of an Anglican Church, so i didn't know quite what to expect. But it turned out to be a decent, ordinary service, much like most other baptisms we have been to, with the two candidates giving a good account of themselves and their faith beforehand. As always, I found it deeply moving.

Afterwards, biscuits and cake. I managed a couple of biscuits out of politeness, but by this stage I was completely stuffed. Today has totally wrecked the diet, and undone weeks of good work. On the way home, we stopped at the services for a coffee, and had a fascinating conversation with the boys about work, and about Sue's early work at the RNIB as a Braille proofreader: she was explaining that proofreading was the best job in the world, even if you have to do it in Braille!

Monday 17: In the afternoon, Sue and I took Ian to see Alien Autopsy. Not nearly as bad as I feared, and it was a way of getting him out of the house. Couldn't persuade Philip to join us, and Alan was up to his eyeballs in packing and finishing his coursework - so he said.

Tuesday 18: Sue took Alan back to Warwick, and I had a day of total chaos at work. Drove in to collect the upgraded server from Simon Toomer, but it wasn't ready - he will bring it round later in the morning. Then a meeting with Emma from One25 to talk to us about client records, but Trudie was not there for some reason. The people from Gilead cancelled at the last minute, but Simon came with his two boys (they left quickly) and the rest of the day was spent configuring the computers.

Wednesday 19: Simon is back, continuing to work on the computers. Andy comes in with a grant application, which needs details of our risk assessment procedures, so I spend much of the day documenting them, while helping Simon.

Simon eventually goes home about 8 pm, while I am in the middle of the evangelism training session. Afterwards, I go upstairs and check my machine... neither Mozilla nor OpenOffice is working. I fiddle around for a while, then ring Simon. He talks me through a few options, then decides to come back. Trudie's machine is fine - it was the one he checked, obviously! - but James, Lucy and I are all non-functional. I think we get it all sorted, but it is past 1 am before we finish. And then I remember to do the mugs from the evangelism training. Sue was not impressed.

When I got home, one of the letters waiting for me was from the hospital. The MRI scan will be on Thursday 4 May.

Tuesday 25: The nice people in our Homegroup spent the evening making cakes for CCM, and even did a bit of praying for us.

Wednesday 26: A Church Leaders' Day at Trinity College. My plan was to walk there, but in the end I needed to pick up some cakes in the morning, and then collect Sue from work as soon as it finished, so ended up driving there instead. Bishop Mike was worth listening to as usual, but the real value was the chance to meet people and chat for more than 30 seconds.

Collected Sue as planned and off to Frenchay Hospital for her consultation. The scan she had in January was fine - no signs of any tumour regrowth. Next one scheduled for next January, and they may even write to us with the results so we will not have to wait so long.

Friday 28: Ian has cricket at 5:30 this evening. Sue collects him just after 7 pm, then we take him and Philip to see The Magician's Nephew at St Pauls church in Clifton. Very impressive.

We heard about it because one of Ian's friends was taking part - the lead role of Digory. He did well. We struggled to hear much of what was said, but this didn't matter too much as we knew the story. And it was presented with great enthusiasm and creative design. Couldn't help but be moved by the story, and the simple but deep truths embedded into it.

Saturday 29: Peter and Jenny Kay's farewell service at Ivy. I didn't see that much of them, but will be sad to see them go. Korky and Anni were there, along with many others. After the service finished, I brought Anni home, taking a detour to stop at the office, print a few newsletters and collect some publicity material for a service the next day.

Sunday 30: Playing cricket with Ian in the afternoon, after working in the garden and clearing piles of cuttings, much done by the helpful people next door. He is getting better - the practise must be paying off: 18 in the first innings, to which I could only reply with 9. He says he made 21 in the second innings, but I reckon I ran him out at 19.

May 2006

Monday 1: To work for an hour or so, while Sue hit the shops. I hadn't managed to pay the salaries before leaving on Friday, and it really needed to be done. Afterwards, Sue and I went to see Tristan + Isolde at Cribbs. We only knew the bare bones of the story before, so not entirely sure what to expect beyond the obvious tragic love story. Very well done, just a shame about the hidden tunnel plot device. You may well hid your love for the King's wife, but there is no way you would forget to mention the most significant weakness in your castle's security.

Thursday 4: My hospital appointment. Sue dropped me off at Southmead Hospital on her way to collect Ian for his cricket match. I picked up some notes from the Endocrinology Department, then off to have a scan.

I recently remembered that I had a plate inserted into a tooth a few years ago, and had no idea what it might be made of. But the hospital chap said it would be okay. It was a bit worrying though, considering what damage this bit of tooth might do in a massive magnetic field if it did turn out to be affected.

I had assumed that the 20-30 minutes appointment would be like most medical appointments - 25 minutes of waiting around, and 5 minutes of some action. However, they went through the checks, told me to get changed, then straight in, on the table, ear plugs, wedge the head, and 20 minutes of very serious clicking and buzzing. With, fortunately, no bits of forgotten metal flying anywhere.

Sue picked me up afterwards, and we went straight on to the cricket match - the first I have attended since the inter-company game when I was at PolicyMaster. Sadly, Ian's team were soundly thrashed, but the other team did seem to have some much bigger players.

Friday 5: This lunchtime, we had another FareShare meeting scheduled. Only this time, the chap from FareShare forgot to turn up. What can you say? On the plus side, it was only a short meeting.

Saturday 6: Prayer Breakfast at St Edyths, then straight off to Redland Parish Church for a Missions Committee training day. Lots of good input, ideas and encouragement.

Saturday 13: Volunteer training in the morning: Faith and Social Action. Not many people, but a highly stimulating session. Then straight on to Fishponds for the St Matthias Lecture by Professor Grace Davie (a professor of Sociology at Exeter) on The changing nature of religion in modern Europe. She is informative and stimulating. I take lots of notes, and would like to stay afterwards to chat further but have to dash away.

Home to pick up Sue then straight out again to pick up Esme and on to the Tobacco Factory. Quick meal at Teohs round the corner, then in to the Tobacco Factory to see Five Sides of a Circle, a play by the local author Neville Boundy: "eventually the four Gospel writers meet..." It is brilliant. Of course, I can't agree with some of the theology and historical recreation, but it was witty and insightful and absolutely superb. As one brief example, it provided the best explanation I have ever heard for the ending of Mark's Gospel - and the play ends the same way.

We bought not only the programme, but also the script, which contains various quotes and references.

Sunday 14: After lunch, briefly pop round to Korky and Anni's to meet some potential new trustees, then picked up by Graham and Margaret and on to Christ Church, Clifton for the Homelessness Sunday service, at which we have a stand.

Afterwards, Ian and I play cricket for half an hour. He is getting good - must be all that practising. However, after the first innings, I am winning by 7 runs to 6, which must count for something. He declared on 13 not out in the second innings when we ran out of time. He is not bothering to take the easy runs, to make it a bit more fair.

Friday 26: Sue and I dash away from work to take Ian to cricket, and then discover it's been cancelled. Not only that, but he knew a week ago... Sometimes, it seems a wonder he has survived this long. Since we are driving up the Portway, we take the opportunity to visit CostCo, and Sue gets a card. We have a coffee together and then pick up some fresh veg and a pizza to cook before coming home.

We get the school newsletter today, and discover that Philip is on the reserve list for a Maths Summer School. He didn't bother telling us this minor detail.

After tea, Sue and I watch the film Apocalypse Now which we recorded back in January. Wow! Not exactly a fun film, but I see why some regard it as the best film they have ever seen. Worth the wait.

Monday 29: Bank Holiday. The boys don't want to do anything, so in the afternoon Sue and I go for a walk in Henbury, visit the tea and cake stall at the village hall, and do a tour inside and around the parish church, St Mary the Virgin. It is famous as the last resting place of Scipio Africanus, and noteworthy for having a tunnel out of the churchyard - built around 1840 to allow parishioners to walk from the church to the Salutation Inn without going through the Vicarage gardens!

Wednesday 31: The last day of the month, and another answered prayer - we can pay the salaries. Okay, I should have done this on Friday, but today is good. After they are paid, we have precisely £8 left in CCM's bank account.

After work, Sue and I go to see The Da Vinci Code at The Orpheus. We go tonight to make use of the Orange '2 for 1' promotion. Afterwards, we agree that we are glad we didn't pay full price for it. I've had several conversations with people about it recently, so really needed to go and see for myself. It was pretty much as expected. Start to type up some of these conversations into a new article.

June 2006

Friday 2: Sue's birthday - her 50th.

First thing, I have a dental checkup. Have been experiencing a few problems, so the dentist does an x-ray. Very neat system: the picture is taken in-situ, on the dentist's chair, and then immediately viewed on screen. A filling needs to be replaced, so I have to go back next week.

Home again. Sue has opened her cards and some presents, and we head off for the day to the External Link -
      sculpture trail sculpture trail in the Forest of Dean.

Thursday 8: Dentist appointment at 11:40. Must confess: I really hate visiting the dentist. They have said several times that I have 'sensitive teeth'. What this means is that they generally have to pump several times the usual amount of painkiller into my mouth, and I'm still in agony when they drill through me teeth. Today, he has to replace a filling. Incredibly, my prayers are answered - it is quick and completely painless. I'm so relieved, I forget to ask when I can eat...

Really useful time with Mike Pears this afternoon. Lots to think about, and possible new strategies for the CCM trustees to consider.

Friday 9: We hear today that Philip has got into the Mathematics Summer School after all. It costs £100, but the school will cover that. Presumably we have to arrange the transport.

Monday 19: Alan is doing a bungee jump today! Off a 200 foot crane on the university campus. He sends us External Link - Alan's Bungee Jump evidence of the jump.

Thursday 22: Get a lift to Taunton for the Faithnet conference there. A useful event. On the way back, dropped off in Hotwells and decide to walk home as I have been sitting down for most of the day.

The Avon Gorge is fabulous, and the tide is high. One odd thing: there is a slight disturbance in the water stretching across the river in a curve. It looks like it might be a faint standing wave, but it is travelling downstream at maybe one mile an hour. Could this be where the river flowing downstream meets the tide flowing upstream?

Friday 23: Collected Alan from Warwick today. The M5 was clogged up, so came off at Tewkesbury and had a pleasant run up the A46 - much better than our usual route, so returned the same way.

Monday 26: my birthday. To celebrate, we take the boys to the cinema. There is nothing at the Orpheus at a time that works for us, so we end up going to the Vue at Cribbs to see X-Men: The Last Stand. It carries you along very effectively, as long as you don't think about it too much or worry about the physics, and there are some nice touches.

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