Monday, 30 August 2010


As everyone knows (if you don't, I don't know where you've been), I LOVE music. Any type of music, I'll give anything a play once and I'll buy an album because I hear an like one song. As it's been my birthday recently I had from friends and family iTunes and Amazon vouchers for the purchase of music/books. Here's a little insight into my recent purchases and some of my favourite tunes at the's not my top 5 or top 10, because to scale my musical tastes and favourites into such a short list would be doing everything else a dis-service. Instead, I listen to music depending on my mood. And at times the music I'm listening to is incredibly eclectic to even be able to try to start to categorise. As a result, I have a constantly evolving playlist on my ipod of 'current favourites'. I think it has about 200 songs on there at the moment!

And so, here are some of my purchases and favourites. Some of the special ones with videos........I hope you enjoy them.

Brooke Fraser: Albertine
Biffy Clyro: Only Revolutions
Lissie: Catching a Tiger
Marina & The Diamonds: The Family Jewels
Paramore: Brand new eyes
Wakefield Cathedral Choir: Music for Holy Communion

Paramore: Ignorance

Friday, 27 August 2010

Rugby World Cup

As a bit of an antidote to the game that is called 'football' or 'soccer', and being an ardent rugby fan (#realfootball), I've been following the Women's Rugby World Cup, the pool games for which are being held at Guildford, with the Semi-Finals and Finals being at the home of my beloved Harlequins, the Twickenham Stoop.

I haven't been able, yet, to get to any matches, although have watched what I can on television. My family and I will also be at m parents for the final; otherwise we would have gone. Instead, we have opted to go to the Semi-Finals that are being played on Wednesday (1st September) at the Twickenham Stoop, starting at 6pm. Unless there is a huge disaster, England will be one of the top seeds and playing in one of the games, as a favourite to go through to the Finals, where in all likelihood they will meet New Zealand.

Women's rugby is superb. It is a free-flowing fast moving, running game. I'm not going to compare it to the game men play as I think that would be doing the players a dis-service. I thoroughly enjoy watching it and am delighted that there have been big crowds turn out in Guildford, with, for example, this Saturday's action being a sell-out. On the opening day people had to be turned away. It is a fantastic opportunity to watch a high standard of rugby but very reasonably.

However (there is always a 'but'). I have to have a moan. In looking to purchase tickets, I visited the official site ( and rang the ticket booking line. Ticketmaster operate on behalf of the RWC the sale of tickets; advertised at £15 for adults and £5 for children - very reasonable prices. I was, however, horrified to be informed that in addition, there would be a £1.90 'service fee' on each adult ticket and £1.50 on each child ticket. In addition to this there would be a £2.50 fee for the whole transaction. What on earth is this for?
I'm also collecting tickets so I suspect there are little postage costs. Total additional 'charges' of £13.80. I feel very aggrieved at these - and whilst I could have gambled on the game not selling out, with 2 adults and 7 children, it was just not a practical option.

Hopefully, the good rugby will continue and we see a victorious England lift the trophy next weekend. Watch out for it on Sunday afternoon.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Br Roger of Taize

Five years ago today, Br. Roger of Taize was brutally murdered in the Church of the Reconciliation in Taize. I remember exactly where I was at the time; on holiday in Studland when I received an email first thing in the morning the day after and then there being a picture on the front page of The Times newspaper. I felt numb, totally numb. Taize was and still is a major part of my faith journey and life and during the 18months I was there 20 or so years ago I had a lot of contact with Br Roger. Why on earth was this holy man struck down and killed and in such a violent manner? Brother Roger was the holiest man I have met in my time on this earth. A man of reconciliation.

In the next few hours I tried to process everything, but the one thing that was important to me was to try to get to the funeral. It was the following week. I looked at my calender - I was back at work, but for some reason the day of the funeral I had nothing on, nothing at all. I booked the day off. I then booked the necessary Eurotunnel tickets - I was going to go there and back in a day. 1200 or so miles. I did it. I was at the funeral. The community had kindly made some provision for the old 'permanants'; volunteers, so I had lunch and then into the church for the service. It was a service of love, of course of great emotion, but there was no hatred, no hate for the murderer. Just prayers for her.

Taize, over the years, has shaped my life significantly. I went there as an 18 year old and returned at 20 having learnt a huge amount about me, about God and my faith. From there, it was all about exploring where God was taking me in this life. At one stage I considered the monastic life and another 'hicup' on my road to discerning my vocation, but now, the third time and with much help from Br Thomas of Taize, I am on the road to ordination and the part Taize and Brother Roger has played in that I cannot underestimate.

I spent 18months living on the hillside in the middle of Burgundy. The tiny village that Brother Roger found in 1940, where he was asked to stay and make his home because the villagers were so alone. Joined by friends who formed the community, they set about on their journey of reconciliation. A journey of absolute faith where people were not asked what denomination they were but a true celebration of what each denomination had to offer in worship and life, from the orthodox, to the catholic to the protestant. Since the 1950's the community welcomed more and more people, mainly young; all this without any publicity or desire to attract people. And today, the community welcomes, in some weeks, more than 4,000 people - still mainly the young, who pass by and are able, freely, to question. Question their faith, question who they are and their role in this life.

It is a place that I find solace. Where I am able to question. To ask God where he is leading me.....and to often begin to find answers.

I return on November 11th for a few days silent retreat. To continue to ask those questions.

To finish, a quote...

'You are searching for God: are you aware that what matters is the welcome you extend to Christ, the Risen Lord? By his presence, always offered to each person, by his forgiveness, he brings you to life. By placing you confidence in him and by forgiving, you will break out of your inner prisons to dare to commit yourself as a pilgrim of reconciliation, even in the divisions of the Christian family and even in those which tear apart the human family.' Br Roger of Taize

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Holiday Blues

I haven't blogged for a while and that's because I haven't really had much to say. Not publicly, anyway. And I sort of don't have a huge amount to say now. I'm on holiday in Dorset with the family and my in-laws. This should ordinarily be a great holiday, a nice one week's break, food; literally on a plate and the children with lots of things to entertain themselves.

However. I'm tired. Worn out. Both physically and emotionally. I need more than a week off. This time last year we were in our first week of three. The sun was shining in Dorset and we then had two weeks in a very hot South of France. This year, due to my placement taking up a month of my holiday, I have precious little left and so it's being used sparingly.

As I finish my second year at STETS, I think I'm not alone. My largest piece of work, my placement report, is the culmination of three or so weeks full time placement, a lot of reflection (and also naval gazing as well as procrastination) and then a concentrated period of trying to get my thoughts and observations adequately on paper. It's done, submitted and in - there is nothing I can do now other than hope that the marker is kind to me. How does one put, adequately, into 5000 words what I have experienced almost 24 hours a day for 3 weeks? Living and breathing parish life, full time? I don't know that I have done it justice.

And so to today. Sat in this no-man's land between year two and three of college. Time off from work. A short time off from my everyday job, but at the same time staying in touch through my Blackberry. I know I should switch off from this, but I just can't. Simple as that. I would be hell if I had to.

I've already printed off and looked at the first module for the next academic year. Studied the calender, looked at the weekends away. The clock is on the downward slope. 5 academic modules, 5 assignments, three mini-placements, three sermons, an assignment, 6 weekends and one Easter School. All this then leads to Ordination. Ordination in less than a year's time. In fact in just over 10 month's time. The reality is biting big time. I am constantly reflecting as to what ordained life will mean. I have waited so long for it. The call is on the verge of becoming a reality. And whilst this will be just the start. I stand back and look to the future. The future scares me. Is that a bad thing? Should I only live for today? So many questions, with so few immediate answers.

Back to August 2010. It doesn't matter if I am ready or not. I believe that God has called me. He is ready for me. I owe it to him, to my family, to the church, to all those who have, in the past and are now supporting me, to do my best. To fulfil that vocation. To answer it and to pursue where I think God is taking me. I must do this to the best of my ability and know, that in my heart of hearts, God will feed my heart and soul, guide and direct me through and lead me into the future as long as I trust in him. And trust I do.