Monday, 30 June 2008

These two weeks

I became exactly the sort of blogger I always had the intention of never becoming. I didn't particularly want to go long periods of time without blogging anything. I know I've thought things in those time, vaguely worthy of posting on the internet for all the world (should they choose to) to see. I've even had ideas rush through my mind with the thought 'that must go on my blog' swiftly follow it. However, it transpires that I haven't. So I'm thinking that I may just start again.


My summer is panning out as follows:

I visit the Borders and Tash tomorrow. I shall take lots of photos. I shall read a lot. I shall write a lot. I shall alternatively do nothing and have a fantastic time. Although, that said, I do intend to have a fantastic time whatever I do.

After that, I'll be gearing up for holiday club, and teaching kids how to play rugby/basketball. Which is funny, 'cause I really have no clue, myself. But, should be a hoot.

Camp swiftly follows, for which I still have to work out stories and talks for the kids. I genuinely love camp, and I can't wait to go, despite it being the most tiring thing I do in my year. Although, I'm not sure how not being a team leader will pan out. I am exciting, nevertheless.

I intend to go to America after that, to go see my brother and sister-in-law for their birthdays, and then hopefully go and spend a week in Union City with my Briana. However, not until this week had I considered the full ramifications of this - the whole trip will probably be about 6 flights. The cost could be interesting.

The entirety of September I have nothing planned, except working, ocassionally. Speaking of which, I really need to get that form back in...


I am in a bit of a conundrum. I was given until last Friday to definitely take a room in Laing, one of the halls at college. So, in the morning, I went to Registry and confirmed it. I was really excited - first time moving out of home, living in college, etc., etc. And then, a day later, I get offered a room in a flat in Northwood. If I were to make a snap decision, I would choose to live in college. However, there are advantages to living out, such as the independence, and the availability of alcohol. What to do, what to do...

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

One of my proudest moments...

We were talking about wrapping presents, and Dan was saying how his brother-in-law was one of the worst people for trying to wrap presents - there was always an excess of paper and sellotape, etc. I then said (and this is one of my best jokes ever, and I may put it on another line for effect):

'It just goes to show, white men can't wrap.'

Monday, 16 June 2008

A weekend away

We left on Friday night. We got back on Sunday evening. We were away from Hillingdon for a shorter time period than 48 hours. And yet, we did so much. These are some of the highlights of our trip.


While on a night hike around 'the common', one of the girls from the Minchinhampton youth group idly muttered that if there was a power cut, all our torches would go out. One of our youth group, quite concerned, fell in step with me and asked if it was true. I can assure you I attempted not to laugh. It should also be noted I failed miserably.


Same hike, same child. I mentioned that he was quite pessimistic, and in response, he asked what that meant. I told him that it meant he was quite negative and didn't trust anyone. The reply was fantastic, considering it came from a thirteen year old child:

'Well, you just can't trust anyone in this day and age.'


On Saturday, we went to place that involved a maze, a butterfly house, and crazy golf. Not the most thrilling of days out for a bunch of city kids, but they actually had a really good time, although slightly embarrassed to admit it. However, I was unaware of the potential of teenage boys being scared of butterflies. One of the most amusing things I have seen for a while, aside from the owner of the place, who was wearing a straw hat that I associate with punters of the Oxbridge kind, and was so well-spoken and knowledgable, he was on the verge of seriously creeping out our youth group. A demon the diablo,though, which atones for it.


A thoroughly enjoyable weekend, topped off by the confusion of young people on Sunday afternoon. All weekend they were picking on a small lad called Ben, who after lunch on Sunday was being chased. He ran outside, with the rest of the youth group following. He managed to avoid them and run back to the door, where I let him in and locked the others out. Someone then let them in, and Ben hid in the disabled toilet. While they were waiting for Ben to come out, I slipped round the back of the church, and helped him climb out of the window, and helped Will, a rather larger boy, climb in. The look on the faces of the youth group as Will sauntered out of the disabled toilet was hilarious. One girl even checked the toilet, like we folded him up and shoved him under the seat.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

How time flies...

One exam away from the end of my second year. Quite ridiculous, really. I still feel somewhat like a fresher, and yet, I'm supposed to have some sort of idea what's going on when it comes to theology. I'm not convinced, myself.


Further to my previous comments on Zimbabwe, I have realised the invasion thing was quite rash. What I should have said, was 'let's invade after Mugabe rigs the election'. Having read today that 1) Tsvangarai was arrested for the third time this month, 2) the secretary-general of the opposition party is being brought to court with a charge of treason after speaking out against Mugabe, and 3) a regional wife was mutilated and burned by Mugabe's security forces, I am seriously under the impression that something needs to be done, and quick. However, the great grandfather of doing nothing, Thabo Mbeki has spoken of the 'concern' he has for the situation in Zimbabwe, but vetoed the plan by the States and ourselves to bring the political instability to the UN table, desiring that the problem is sorted out instead by the 'Southern African Development Community'. Which, without sounding too cynical, isn't happening. Someone better do something sharpish, or we'll end up with a man with an honourary knighthood killing lots of people, and we just wouldn't want that on the Windsor CV, now, would we?

Monday, 9 June 2008


Someone didn't think through the timing of my exams in proximity to Euro 2008. I feel it's largely unfair that I have to choose between John Calvin and the football. Because the poor reformer doesn't stand a chance, does he?


Thoughts on the tournament so far: less Ronaldo, please - he's good, just not that great. I decided, from the beginning of the Portugal-Turkey match, to count the number of times we had a close-up shot of Ronaldo. By the end of the game, we totalled 15; which was easily more than twice the next player. A minor point, and an irrelevant one, perhaps, but still annoying, nonetheless.


Can we just invade Zimbabwe? I'm really struggling to see the difference between the prospect of Iraq and Zimbabwe. It's all very well going round admonishing Mugabe, but the man is running a totalitarian regime, detaining his only political opponent and generally being a bit of a dictator. Is it just that the money we could get out of it isn't enough? No major oil fields that far south? Of course, we cannot go invading a country for not being democratic, but I'm not sure that boycotting cricket matches and telling him he's a very bad man is doing much.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Slightly more less me

On a topic that isn't me, I read the other day about the BBC Trust uncovering a hole in the BBC budget to the tune of £24.9 million. This was specifically attributed to (over)spending on websites. This was also specifically attributed to the 'don't know how that happened' pile. Now, a slight overspending by a large corporation, perhaps, a million over, one might smile and nod and accept that these things happen, and after all, they're quite good websites.

But almost 25 million? I'm intrigued as to the outcome of this - having read the report, it seems to be suggesting that they got a little ticking off and a 'must do better next time' type remark. Which seems quite generous, if you ask me.


The largest publishing houses in Britain have come up with a scheme to 'help parents'. This idea is one that seems to be a good idea gone wrong. It is where books, from next year sometime, will have 'age guidance labels'. Yes, that's right. A child's book will no longer be at the parents/childs discretion, but we will be told as to what kind of age range it is appropriate to. Taken to an extreme, it would be amusing to see a spotty Woolworth's trainee enquire of a young child's age - 'Sorry, if you're not above 7, you can't read the Famous Five'. I would have been in serious trouble. I was devouring any book I could from a ridiculously early age. If we want our children to read, surely the best solution is to let them read the books they find interesting. If a 9 year old wants to read Shakespeare and is told to stick to Jacqueline Wilson, something has gone horribly wrong. What next, banning children from smoking?

Oh, wait...


My week is summed up adequately from that word. I have spent most days in the library learning things that aren't really of interest to me. I have become incredibly fickle in my mood. This annoys me, somewhat.


I'm also back to the old 'too little butter spred over too much bread'. I cannot wait for these exams to end. I didn't even get to read The Times today. That's how worn out I am. Amusingly, every time I go to have a brief peruse of said paper, I either I have someone chastise me for not working, or just strike up a conversation. I wish to hide away in a quiet place with my paper and get lost in the real world.


Played Ultimate Frisbee this evening. Was enjoyable. I'm discovering that I have various aches and pains I didn't know I had. Cycling is obviously not as strenuous as first thought. I do like the image that has been somehow put across about my fitness, that cycling to college and back every day makes me some kind of machine. I wish it sometimes. On the subject, some brief estimates were made by myself as to how many miles I have cycled over my two years at college. Working from 15 miles a day, 5 days a week, 30 weeks a year, we come out somewhere around 4500 miles. Which is just ridiculous.

Monday, 2 June 2008

What are the odds?

Something of great excitement happened to me the other day. Before playing pool, one has to reach into shelf where the pool balls fall as they are pocketed, to pick them up to put them back on the table. In doing so, I pick up three balls with each hand. Without ever looking at the shelf, I pick up three red balls with my right hand, and three yellow balls with my left. I marvelled at the complete random nature of it, wondering what the odds of such an event would be. I then reached down again, and subsequently did exactly the same thing. It, quite bizarrely, lifted my mood. I don't really know why.


The Times changed today. They've gone all Guardian on me. Which, funnily enough, is the reason why I don't read the Guardian. However, I will get used to it, in time. The most amusing part is the number of responses to the changes on the website, the majority complaining about the positioning of the crossword. Ah, Tory voters, eh? If it doesn't affect them (i.e., the news regarding the most catastrophic of events happening worldwide), they don't care. But woe betide the foolish man who decided to move the crossword.


Nothing of interest happened this weekend. I worked. That was about it.

Although, one of the many grumpy young men type discussions came up while talking with Dave this week. He was describing how some unfortunate kid hadn't got his Oyster card when trying to get on the bus, and tried to give the bus driver a sob story of his terrible plight. For the uninitiated and the unLondoners, an Oyster card is the credit system by which the majority of Londoners pay for travel. Kids get on free, 'cause we're nice like that, but if the driver doesn't know if they're underage, they have to have their swipe card. Leads to many arguments and lots of wasted time.

However, I, in my genius, have come up with an alternative plan to all this kerfuffle. I have based it upon the average cost of bus travel per person, per year, in that a child goes to school 40 weeks of the year. In those weeks, a child will go to school 5 times. That requires two journeys, back and forth. Using a basic £1 for the cost, that brings us to the rough estimate of it costing £400 a year to merely get each child to school and back using the bus. What we then do, is take away free travel for these young people, implement a cost of £1 for their use of the bus, and with the money we have saved churn out carbon copy bicycles, for easily under £100, and give them to every child in London/England/UK [delete as applicable to your sense of nationalism]. Now, I'm no mathematician, but that saves a lot of money. And, funnily enough, combats the two 'biggest threats since the war on terror,' (Labour stylee), and deals a 'hammer blow,' (Lib Dem stylee) to climate change and childhood obesity. (The Conservatives just don't care). The bikes don't have to be amazing, just long-lasting. And one would hope the situation would be similar to that in Cambridge, where every student has a considerably average bike, and thus, no one really has the desire to steal them. One average bike is uncool enough.

This will provide everyone with a choice. You can no longer complain about not getting enough exercise if you are given a bike by the government. If you want to use the buses, you pay for them, probably at a cost less than £1, because currently, the adult population is subsidising the kids - once the kids no longer have free bus travel, prices will go down all round.

There is one problem, courted by the most extreme opponents. Where will the young people put their bikes once they have got to school? Simple. Those playing fields we always hear schools are selling off? Just put a massive bike shed on them. It's not like they will need the exercise any more.