Wednesday, December 31, 2003

time on my hands means blog entries and tweaks to my blog site. not sure i remember what it looked like yesterday, but i promise it has changed a wee bit. i can only make minor adjustments because i don't really know what i'm doing. i thought to change the font and make more room for text - i don't think i'll be adding pictures of anything at any time soon!

thoughts for new year? resolutions? i was browsing my friend jon morgan's site and came across his entry re solitude (12 November i think). i also came across a shout-out on that entry from a friend in beirut - how about that? nice.

it has been hard to find personal space recently. i don't mean that in a bad way - it's not something that i can 'stumble across' in our home, we have to go seek it, make time and space for it (and turn off the TV, stereo, whatever). living with someone is such a big change for me, a change that i enjoy adapting to, but it's taken us both a while to recognise the things we have left behind as a result of joining our lives.

solitude - i'd like to want more of that in the future. 'recognising that you are beloved' is a great description.

we are still in a period of fixing up the house, re-arranging and sorting through our possessions. it is tempting to say once that it all taken care of, things will be "normal" and we can get on and do all the other things we haven't had time for. somehow, i don't think it will work that way and "normality" will be ever-elusive and those best-intentions will never be carried through. so we seek to be less busy each day, but achieve more?

we get our new car today - did i not mention this before? nic's little peugeot 205 runs out of tax on Thursday and it is so old that it will cost more than what the car is worth to fix it for the MOT. we went looking for a new car on saturday and bought a peugeot 306 for £1,700. it's about ten years old, but with below average miles on the clock and is in tip top condition (from a layman's view). i think we have paid a little too much, but the chap who is selling it is a garage owner who is giving the car a full service and MOT before selling it to us, so i am happy to get a car that shouldn't cost much over the next 12 months, other than insurance.

we'd been looking for a few weeks prior to saturday, and mentioned it to a few friends during that time. i got the nicest phone call yesterday from a friend who'd spotted a car for sale and thought we might be interested. he called to leave all the details he could remember (having spotted it whilst driving himself). what a great friend!

new year always strikes me as a funny occasion. to think that everything can be different than last year, everything begins again in some way, because the rock we live on is about to begin a new orbit around its star? i like the optimism, the recognition of new beginnings, but can't help but feel it's slightly misfounded.

Monday, December 29, 2003

'christmas time, don't let the bells end...' everyone loved the single (apart from my wife because i kept singing it to her and, with my singing talent, i didn't do the tune any favours) but nobody actually went and bought it. so 'mad world' was number one. why is the christmas number one such a hyped up chart event? i don't usually pay attention to the charts, but this was unescapable. odd.

we went to the church we were married in at christmas eve. two friends came round to ours beforehand, and the four of us went together. it was really nice to see them, definitely one of the highlights of the holiday 'season'. the church was crowded (we were late of course) and we squeezed up into the balcony, where my wife promptly feel asleep on my shoulder. they told a good story:

three men were walking down the stairs in trenchard street car park. the first man was on his mobile phone, and the conversation (at least, on his end of the phone) went something like this:

"I've just parked... yes, in the Trenchard Street car park... okay, the Guildhall is where I've got to go next... no, I don't, which is why I was calling. If you could look it up and let me know, I'd really appreciate it."

there was a short period of silence, during which the three men tramped down the last flight of stairs. the first man's conversation partner was obviously busy on the other end of the phone. suddenly the third man spoke up:

"Did you say the Guildhall?"

the first man was a little surprised to be brought out of his private musings by such an immediate response.

"Yes, that's where I have to get to. Can you tell me how to get there, please?"

the third man smiled,

"I'm going that way myself. I'll walk with you."

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

the wedding is over. phew. it was fun though, don't get me wrong. i think my lasting impression of it will be happy and busy friends helping us through the day. it was such a blessing to have so many dear friends gathered in one place - an amazing day!

the trip to the maldives was interesting. the journey was very long, some 24hrs travelling time each way. there was a bit of a hiccup on the the way there as we didn't have confirmed seats for our first flight. getting put on stand-by for the first three hours of your honeymoon is not something i'd recommend.

the island, called Nalaguraidhoo in the native tongue (i have no idea how it is pronounced), was astoundingly beautiful. it was a picture-perfect tropical island... a large lagoon and coral reef meant the sand was white and the water crystal clear and a lovely colour. our beach-front bungalow was at the quiet end of the island, faced south (so the sun set on our beach) and had a decent sized beach in front of it. there was so much wildlife to see, from the innumerable mosquitos to the huge rays that were hand-fed each night at the jetty. there were myriads of fish, completely unafraid and un-fazed by our noisy intrusions into their world, all the colours of the spectrum. the sun shone plenty, the food was never in short supply and the company was, of course, delightful.

we returned to a wet, cold, grey Bristol at 1am on Tuesday 2 December. the house was freezing and we were knackered, nic had a very sore throat and bad cold.

since then, things have remained indicative of the fact that God loves us and is continually pouring out blessings on us.

we had a lovely trip to the Eden Project and the car worked the whole way there and back (and continues to work reasonably well to date). the b&b was luxurious and had the novelty of a TV! lots of flies though. it was in deepest cornwall though, and incredibly peaceful. we were very well fed by the hosts and rested well.

so now its back to (or rather the first few weeks of) normal life. except we've never been married before or lived together or made a home together before. what fun it is! it is quite tiring though, doing up the house as well as the ordinary things you do everyday. however, we have been very blessed through it all. firstly, we have been supplied with all essential bits of kit to eat with and cook with and clean with and sleep in. we have even been given several things which are not simply functional and are in fact quite luxurious and make our home more than simply comfortable. we have also been able to buy things that are quite nice as well. we really have been well set up, by God, through our friends and family.

things that we're quite happy with are our huge dining table, which can comfortably seat 8 people without needing to be extended. what we'd need to do really is extend our parlour to fit the table in, whereupon the enlarged table could easily seat 10 or 12 if you're getting cosy!

also, we picked up a bargain sofa, which we just managed to fit in the house. it is now snuggly in our living room and very comfortable.

i tackled my first major DIY job last weekend, putting up some shelves in the kitchen, and got away with it i think. very happy with the result of extra storage space in the kitchen and the fact that the shelves, and indeed the walls, remain in position (at least they were this morning).

it's nice to think that nic and i are bringing the house into line with our will - creating our own little kingdom as it were. our prayer is that our home is a place where God's will is done, and truly, we are enjoying the freedom of setting up our home in line with His will.

christmas and thank you cards... there is much to be done!