Tuesday, October 25, 2005

just checking the way

so i downloaded and am trying a new web browser: camino. it's supposed to be mozilla's bespoke offering for mac's os X, and seems to work quite well. it certainly supports blogger better than safari. whether i start to use it as my default browser is another thing entirely though.

so our new car has a spot of rust on the rear off-side (left) wheel arch. if we leave it untended to it will mean, in due course, we need to replace the wheel arch. if we tend to it ourselves, it may well mean the same thing. unfortunately the garage we use recommended a body-work specialist who only does entire body panels - so for them to remedy a spot of rust the size of a 50p coin will mean they re-spray the entire panel (which even i will admit is OTT). but if we try and do it ourselves with a bit of sandpaper and touch-up spray we'll probably end up having to replace the entire panel too. perhaps i am being overly pessimistic about my wife's talents with sandpaper and spray paint, but surely there's another way...? i guess we'll be trawling the yellow pages for body-work shops for a more helpful solution.

did anyone else think phil and grant mitchell's re-appearance on eastenders last night was terrific? "hello mum" *smirk* - sheer brilliance. mrs hope and i had a tv binge last night, having had the two shows we watch (spooks and house) recorded for us last week (we'd plumped for spidey 2, which was only available on video, otherwise we'd have recorded it ourselves). spooks and house followed 'enders in merry fashion; dinner was eaten off laps on the couch - great stuff!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Due to an overwhelming response to the ticket pre-sale, some of Jack's shows have been moved to larger venues and additional shows have been added.

so in early march we'll be sitting in cardiff arena listening to jack's sunny hawaiian surf melodies. anyone else thinking what i'm thinking?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

up north

it takes a while to get here by car on a friday. i have never had to queue to get out of a service station before, but that's just how bad the M6 northbound was last night. at 10.15pm. north of birmingham too.

my niece is now 27 weeks old - and looking ridiculously cute. granny and grandpa (didn't realise they wanted to be called that, but makes sense) are all cooey over her, which is really nice to see. and i am too actually, although she was totally freaked out by my resemblance to her father for most of the morning, and so burst into tears at the sight of me. mrs hope was always at hand to comfort me though, so don't worry, i'm alright. but amber did warm up to me at lunch thankfully, and i'm the happy receipient of several toothless, gummy, dribbly grins!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

what is man that you are mindful of him?

Monday, October 17, 2005

wonders of the seas

the sea sponge (Poifera meaning 'pore-bearing') is one of the simplest of multi-cellular animals. a sponge is a bottom-dwelling creature which attaches itself to something solid in a place where it can, hopefully, receive enough food to grow. a sponge is covered with tiny pores, which lead internally to a system of canals and eventually out to one or more larger holes. specially designed cells force water in and through the canal system, allowing it to feed, respire and poo. this picture illustrates the pumping action of a sponge, as it absorbs water bearing a (non-toxic) dye at its foot and forces this up through itself and out the top.

my new job is something i can easily throw myself into, both whole-heartedly and whole-mindedly. it is a good thing. but i don't want to become my job - i don't want to eat, breathe and poo 'form'! what i want to do is to eat, breathe (and poo) jesus all the time. this is especially the case when i'm 'on the job', as it were (and now i am seriously begining to regret allowing the 'eat, breathe and poo' metaphor to carry on this far into my thought).

to leave the bodily references behind, i want to be defined by jesus, and not my job. in my previous job, i needed my identity reinforced to sustain me through a job i didn't like so much. now i again need my identity reinforced to prevent my enjoyable job from absorbing me entirely.

in other words, allow the sea sponge to interpret matthew 6:33 for you.

Monday, October 10, 2005

the circle of life

the roast chicken became a carcass that became chicken stock (i even tolerated celery for this purpose) that became pea risotto. it was yummy, but when it is repeated, it shall be in smaller amounts. you just cannot eat large amounts of pea risotto for a main course, but it would be terrific as a starter.

last year, we were blessed with a small but dedicated pod of students (the term 'pod' was used self-reflectively, so i feel able to use it with impunity here) who engaged in the community without much fuss on their part, nor lavish student-friendly events on ours. this year the pod has increased in size; mrs hope and i gate-crashed the student lunch and gorged on pizza and fizzy pop. we wait to see whether the numbers were swelled with migratory students or those seeking a home (and fast food).

mrs hope and i then drove to westonbirt arboretum, where the leaves are starting to turn. the website is worth checking out, even if only for the quote "Westonbirt's world-famous maples in Autumn are definitely among the top "100 things to see before you die"!" accompanied by the following picture:

hmm, i suppose you don't have to visit the website now, but the circle continues...

Monday, October 03, 2005

domesticated fowl

so with my new working arrangements, i am blessed with more time at home with mrs hope, as well as more energy to devote to household jobs. yesterday was an incredibly productive day on that front, which is just as well as mrs hope is currently under the weather with a cold. with ample time on my hands i planned and executed my first solo roast chicken, complete with roasted vegetables (okay, i'll admit i did consult nigella from time to time).

it hasn't been often that i've been able to cook, but i have for a long time now scanned the sunday rags for the odd recipe. one writer that has grown into a real favourite is nigel slater, with his evocative writing style, particularly that of roast dinners. a few years back, whilst at a friend's for dinner, i was treated to a 'slater-esque' roast. the meat was juicy and wonderfully fatty. the roast veg was finely cubed; crispy, crunchy and chewy in all the right proportions, it was scraped off the roasting tray in front of our goggling eyes. as i took my plate to the kitchen after the meal, i spied the roasting tray and the charred remains of the veg still glistening there. i was full, but i had also fully absorbed nigel's saying that the last scrapings of the tray are the best bits. i drew closer to the tray - the smell of lemon wafted up as i stirred up the caramelised fragments of potato, parsnip, carrot and onion from the corners of the tray. reverently i raised the heavy wooden spoon to my mouth and took a large mouthful of lemon washing-up liquid, which my efficient hostess had liberally doused the roasting pan in to remove the burnt-on remains. this taste-memory can still make me gag if i dwell on it too much.