Thursday, May 27, 2004

a thief of time

i've just added a link to this game, Insaniquarium. be warned that it is very odd, but even more addictive.

also, check out this poem by andrew jones.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

this could only ever happen in the UK...

You have referees, linesmen, supporters and policemen, but the streakers out-sell all of those by a good margin
i'm fasting today - i blame all the errors and odd disconnected thoughts that follow on my low blood sugar level.

i'm conscious that i haven't blogged for a while; i don't want to blog out of guilt for not blogging, but don't want to fall out of the habit either. and, for once, at work it's quite quiet, so i should take advantage of the current lull.

weeds are a problem. dandelions have very deep tap roots, that can survive even though you manage to pull a good length out. i am tempted to resort to chemicals, but there is something satisfying about gradually eradicating them by hand. bit by bit, we're clearing the paving slabs of the weeds in the cracks. clean paving slabs are good!

i'm thinking of my talk for sunday:
i don't want to give them a lecture that they've already heard a hundred times.
i want to give them something they can relate to.
i want to offer them a tangible hope.
i want to offer them something different, but attainable.
i want to offer them something mysterious.
i want to challenge them.
i want to start from where they are, not where i am.


garden update

we're growing sunflowers, thusly:

look at the pretty flowers!

nice, eh?

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Whose well is it?

In the shanty-town there was no water...
It was evening, and the day had been very hard...
And Jesus said: 'Give me a drink.'

A woman passed that way, coming from afar. She was a stranger, someone they didn't know and she carried a bucket. She went up to the well where the children were sitting, and the old people and the men and women, looking at the water in the well - the water, so near and yet so far.
And Jesus said: 'Give me a drink.'

And the woman answered: 'Why do you ask me for a drink? You are poor and I am rich. You are thirsty but the bucket is mine.'
And Jesus said: 'Woman, what of the well? Whose well is it?'

And the woman's eyes were opened and with her bucket they began to draw water for the whole district.

Maria Teresa Porcile of Uruguay

from this article by len sweet.

Monday, May 17, 2004

...the idea behind Nationstates

just a neat pic i wanted to post...
This is my new blogchalk:
not bad... that's definitely my nose, but i've got no hair
lives United Kingdom, Bristol, St Werburghs; speaks English; male, 21-25; likes gardening, following jesus.

was going to try blogging by email out for the first time. am concerned that my blog could get spammed; though i am tempted to set up a spammable blog to see what would be written. on second thoughts, probably not a lot that would be fit for general consumption.

suddenly realised that if i tried it from work, the disclaimer added by work (which, unsurprisingly is quite lengthy) would show up. will try another time.

Keith died on sunday - a very sad day indeed:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

he is now buried at the end of the garden; a stone marks the spot where his mortal form now lies. he was beautiful fellow, even in death. we both felt utterly helpless to prevent his passing.

Monday, May 10, 2004

new shoes and old words.

saturday was new shoes day. the shoes are my wife's, but the shoe buying processing was definitely for the two of us. mrs hope has recently been in hospital, and as a result has had a sore tummy. i was on hand (luckily enough!) to help out with the trying on of various possible purchases, and able to offer great advice on what looked best. i even did the thing that sales assistants used to do when i was a wee lad buying school shoes, and pinched around the toes and measured the width of the shoe to make sure they fitted properly without pinching (the reason why the last pair of new shoes were rejected and a new set of new shoes was required).

to give you an idea of how seriously mrs hope takes the purchase of new shoes, i think i can just about get away with revealing she does in fact dream about them. by way of background, i should explain that my wife esteems the art communication so highly, and indeed is so proficient in it, that she is able to maintain a conversation whilst asleep. and so it was that at 1am this morning, she asked me where her new shoes were. i replied, with slightly less coherence but as much dignity as i could muster, that they were where she had left them (pretty good reasoning on my part i think, considering i hadn't the faintest idea of where they might be). she seemed satisfied with my answer, as she ought to have been and fell silent for a while (after all, i was using one of her own favourite phrases on her, and even i have never arrived at a suitable reply despite repeated exposure to it). sometime later, as we practised sharing the bedclothes once again, i was minded to ask what prompted her question in the first place. she sighed, and said as long as they weren't being sold to someone else it should be okay, but somehow i felt she feared the worst. needless to say, she was very glad to see them again this morning.

sunday was a day for gardening, specifically planting our first crop of sweetcorn and some sunflowers. whilst getting grubby, and uprooting various unwanted plants, i was able to think about my favourite gardening words, and here are my current top three:

1) Tilth

Main Entry: tilth
Pronunciation: 'tilth
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English, from tilian to till
1 : cultivated land : TILLAGE
2 : the state of aggregation of a soil especially in relation to its suitability for crop growth

2) worm

Main Entry: 1 worm
Pronunciation: 'w&rm
Function: noun
Usage: often attributive
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English wyrm serpent, worm; akin to Old High German wurm serpent, worm, Latin vermis worm
1 a : EARTHWORM; broadly : an annelid worm b : any of numerous relatively small elongated usually naked and soft-bodied animals: as (1) : an insect larva; especially : one that is a destructive grub, caterpillar, or maggot (2) : SHIPWORM (3) : BLINDWORM
2 a : a human being who is an object of contempt, loathing, or pity : WRETCH b : something that torments or devours from within
3 archaic : SNAKE, SERPENT
4 : HELMINTHIASIS -- usually used in plural
5 : something (as a mechanical device) spiral or vermiculate in form or appearance: as a : the thread of a screw b : a short revolving screw whose threads gear with the teeth of a worm wheel or a rack c : a spiral condensing tube used in distilling d : ARCHIMEDES' screw; also : a conveyor working on the principle of such a screw
6 : a usually small self-contained computer program that invades computers on a network and usually performs a malicious action
- worm·like /-"lIk/ adjective

3) spade

Main Entry: 1 spade
Pronunciation: 'spAd
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English spadu; akin to Greek spathE blade of a sword or oar
1 : a digging implement adapted for being pushed into the ground with the foot
2 : a spade-shaped instrument
- spade·ful /-"ful/ noun
- call a spade a spade 1 : to call a thing by its right name however coarse 2 : to speak frankly

all anglo-saxon words - what a great language for mucking about in the dirt with! i think they sound best if you put on a slight scottish accent as well...

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

bizarre story of the day

builder survives nailgun accident
last weekend

si and nomes had lent us their car (very kind guys, thanks again) and we gamefully set off around quarter to three. traffic was sticky straight away, although not so the car on the road as we found when joining the M5 northbound from the M4. those of you who know that stretch are aware that it is a gentle righthander that takes you up and over the M5 and onto a slip road. anyway, we found out that taking that turn in the rain, at 70ish, and hitting a cat-eye at the peak of the rise results in a little oversteer. only a little mind, though as i now know that isn't much of an excuse in my wife's books.

despite this, the journey proceeded uneventfully (and slowly) until we were approaching birmingham. it was here that i remembered that i was supposed to bring keys to the flat we were staying in (truthfully, my wife quite rightly asked for evidence that i had the keys on me) and i also remembered that we had left in an awful hurry and that a spare pair of clean socks is a useful thing to have around (as mrs hope found out on sunday, but that's another story for another time). clean socks can't unlock our flat however, so i ended up calling granny to see if we could borrow her spare keys. as it was her party (or one in her honour) it was nice to speak to her to see how she was feeling on its eve; we arranged for the keys to be left in a suitably secret place for me to collect on arrival in edinburgh, in some four hours time.

we queued from birmingham up to liverpool. i found out that the steering column on ford escorts cannot be tilted or otherwise adjusted and that the handle underneath the steering column is in fact the bonnet release. although the bonnet was only wobbling slightly as we cruised in the slow lane at 50, mrs hope decided she wanted to stretch her legs at that point and insisted on hopping out when we next came to a stop in the traffic and, whilst out and about, she took the opportunity to close the bonnet.

it's a bit of an animalwe stopped at tebay services for a quick snack and loo break. whilst munching on the lion's share of a peperami hot and taking some cash out, i was approached by a young scot, waving a grubby tenner at me and asking for a lift up to carlisle. now as i was already doing at least two things at once, my wife can testify my powers of concentration were sorely stretched, so i knew none of these details until i'd stopped chewing and put my cash away (i'd asked the guy to wait a minute already). even then, it took me a few seconds to understand what he was saying, as his accent was quite broad (my wife only remembers him saying 'yo' every other word, yo). it turned out he'd been kicked off his national express coach for smoking, but needed to get to glasgow, or helensburgh, or carlisle, or dumfries, and out of tebay services at least. i managed to convince mrs hope he wasn't carrying a bloody axe in the pocket of his shellsuit, and told him that we could take him to carlisle. delighted, he hopped up and down outside of the car until we asked him to get in or we'd leave him behind.

his name was barry. he was 23, and was, until recently, living with his brother in wigan. they'd fallen out and he'd moved to manchester. for some undisclosed reason, he was going up north. he happily told me the shellsuit he was wearing was someone elses, quite possibly belonging to the chap who's girlfriend he spent the previous night with, but he couldn't say for sure (and neither could he remember what he wore the night before). he spoke with great enthusiasm (constantly punctuated with 'yos') and animation on whatever i asked him; he was wonderfully open and i don't think it was just because of what he'd drunk. whenever we fell silent he would thrust his 'ten spot' at me, despite our repeated assurances we didn't want his money and advice that he'd need it later on if we dropped him in carlisle.

he said he was always too easily led; he'd done some time for petty theft although impressively he'd been off the gear for some three years now. he had a five year old son, jamie, who lived in scotland with his (jamie's) mum. he is going to be six in october, and although i can't remember the date, barry does.

we parted in carlisle, somewhere in the centre of the town (neither mrs hope or i had been there before). he intended to take the train (by hiding in the loos) or catch a bus to continue his journey. we gave him some heartfelt advice, and told him he could find friends like us at the glasgow vineyards. he grew very emotional and shook my hand, hugged me and offered me his last tenner several times. we last saw him running across the road. we weren't concerned with him getting caught smoking on a coach that night as he left his fags in the back seat.

the rest of the weekend was fun (seeing granny, digging for worms in the Moray Place gardens, catching up with family, a good curry) but not as fun as our hitchhiker.