Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Christmas

Luke 2 (NIV)

The Birth of Jesus

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.

4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

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Wishing you a very Happy Christmas.

For the results of the beer experiment, the incident with the weirdo in Horsham and the mystery of the missing 100th post do come back soon.



Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Facist Clown?

On Sunday we drove to Worthing to go to a church there and en route we passed a vintage lorry at the side of one of the very beautiful roads here in West Sussex. Boring, I here you say. But don't stop reading, because hanging from the side of said lorry was a poster, proclaiming in big colourful letters, "The Facist Clown". Given that we didn't stop I was unable to let my curiousity get the better of me and investigate, but I found it amusing nonetheless and worthy of posting here.

Monday, December 19, 2005

And I'd always thought that Edwina Currie was misguided

Recently a group of us were talking about recent Tory party leaders, and one of the girls who was present voiced her support for John Major - because "he is quite sexy", apparently.

This revelation took me by surprise somewhat because, well, it's John Major. 'Mr Grey'. I know that some girls evidently go for older men, but I can't see that our last Tory PM has any defining qualities whatsoever. My friend tried to defend herself by reminding me that Edwina Currie fell for him, but that didn't really wash. It's, well, Edwina Currie.

But then I reminded myself that women are rarely understandable. There's the whole shoe thing, for a start. I'll save voicing my opinions on that for another time, but really, what's with that? Back to the issue in hand, it could be possible that most women find John Major attractive and Edwina Currie is the only one who has publicly admitted it. Does anyone wish to share their opinion on the matter?

I await your comments with interest, but for now I shall end this post and move on before I dig myself deeper and come to the conclusion that I might be less sexy than Sir John.

Beer Update

I am pleased to announce that at about quarter-past four this afternoon the frozen-solid can of Carlsberg Special Brew was removed from the fridge. It is now defrosting happily on the side in the kitchen.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Beer...Cold Beer...

Perhaps I should be ashamed to admit this, but back in the summer I have to confess that I did see a little bit of Channel 4's Big Brother. At one point one of the guys - Maxwell? - was complaining because someone else had frozen his beer, and it was thus "broken". This sparked a discussion amongst the group I was with (see, I wasn't the only one) as to what would happen if you did freeze some beer and then defrost it, and whether it really would ruin it.

So I decided to experiment. I popped along to Sainsbury's and duly purchased a can of Carlsberg Special Brew from the 'Reduced to Clear' section ("it was cheap"). Upon returning home I placed it in the freezer and, for some reason, forgot about it completely...until two days ago when a frozen-solid can of Carlsberg Special Brew was found, wrapped in a carrier bag, in the freezer as we moved house. It was kept frozen for the move and now resides in the freezer here temporarily. I plan to defrost it in the next couple of days and see what sort of results my experiemt will yield; I'll publish my findings here in due course.

I don't know that it will be a particularly fair test however - I've never knowingly had Carlsberg Special Brew before in my life and for all I am aware it could taste rough even before it's been frozen and defrosted.

Friday, December 16, 2005

New House, New Blog

Well, "New House, Updated Blog", anyway - but that wouldn't have fitted as well.

Greetings from Billingshurst, where my family has now taken up residence. The new house is lovely, and despite the plethora of still to be unpacked boxes and an inability to find anything quickly I'm settling in well. The house has been redecorated and it's lovely; I think in the past I've been known to describe the upstairs as 'a bit poky' but I would like to take that back.

Billingshurst itself is quite small, but has grown rapidly over the last couple of years. It seems pleasant enough and everything is within easy walking distance. It has its share of take-aways, charity shops, Barbers competing for bad names (Leonardo's and Blades, "the cutting edge"...), and its very own Budgens. It also seems to have a good selection of pubs, and I'm amused by the fact that the Kings Head is at the opposite end of the street from the Kings Arms. (Oh hilarious, I hear you jest sarcastically - well, I'm tired so that's all the humour you're getting).

As you can see, my corner of the Blogosphere has had a bit of a makeover - this is in response to a comment that white on black is not the easiest on the eye. Given that I suffer from eye problems myself you'd have thought I'd have picked up on this, but I only write it after all and leave the reading to others. The new scheme should be better, and I think it looks rather nice; I hope that you like it as well. I have also recently added a hit counter, just so that I can gain some statistics about my visitors. As per usual, comments, suggestions or general greetings would be most welcome.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Normal Service Will Resume Shortly

This last few days I had hoped to welcome new visitors, to share my opinion of David Cameron, to wax lyrical about G&Ds (the ice cream place in Oxford - truly an institution), to tell you that I found such thing as a free lunch and to iramble about the usual wierd and wonderful goings on in my life.

But alas time has been short - amidst revising for exams, applying for Masters courses and helping out in college with the prospective students here on interview my family is moving house. They say that moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do, and having been home at the weekend I can see why. So, please accept my apologies and do check back regularly - I hope to resume normal service as soon as I can.

Thank you to all who commented on my last post - it was truly interesting and it was nice to have viewpoints from opposite ends of the spectrum. I am sorry however if it came across as somewhat heavy-handed and hope that whatever your viewpoint or political leaning you will continue to pay a visit to my corner of the Blogosphere and make yourself at home.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Truly Liberal?

Recently, it has become “cool” to be liberal. The ideal of course, is to be tolerant of other people and their views and to care for the needs of others. To support world equality and to look after the planet and the environment.

It has come to my attention, however that the world is full of people who like to be unpleasantly self-righteouss and put on a fluffy liberal front, without really fulfilling the ideals at all. People who are only liberal and tolerant where it suits them, and where it doesn’t cause any inconvenience. People who are liberal in the way that Henry Ford might have been (“you can have any view you like, so long as it’s mine”) and who view the need to be tolerant in a manner worthy of Animal Farm (“all people must be tolerant, but some must be more tolerant than others”).

You might not think that any of this applies to you, of course, or you might not quite see what I am getting at. So let’s consider a few specific examples, some of which I have mentioned before here in my corner of the Blogosphere.

I’m talking about people who:

…went to Live8 (remember that?) in the name of eradicating world poverty but don’t pay attention to where their last cup of coffee came from or how much the person who made their trainers was paid.

…feel that it is OK to criticise the Bible, but who have evidently never read it themselves, and who would never dream of criticising the Koran or other Holy Book.

…support gay Civil Partnerships “in the name of equality” but couldn’t give a damn about the lack of security (financial and otherwise) provided for others who cohabit and depend on one another where ‘Civil Partnership’ would not be appropriate.

…don’t have a problem with Sikh’s wearing certain jewellery articles to school but refuse to allow other pupils to wear a crucifix.

…campaign for a reduction in the use of cars, but feel that the way they use a car is always perfectly justifiable. Somehow it is always fairer and easier for someone else to adapt their lifestyle.

…want to encourage religious and ethnic diversity but feel the need to rename Christmas to avoid causing offence. If you don’t like it, don’t celebrate it.

…want to encourage religious and ethnic diversity, but feel the need to ban the St George’s flag. How is it fair and inclusive if everyone but the English to be allowed to be patriotic? And how is it encouraging diversity if no-one is allowed to be patriotic?

…nominally encourage tolerance but refuse to allow certain viewpoints to be held. (The gay Bishop debate highlighted this one).

...get so annoyed with something which they perceive to be intolerant that they themselves demonstrate intolerance towards it.

The list, worryingly, could go on and on. This disease of hypocrisy has pervaded all levels of society – our current government seems particularly bad. The trend is always towards a person’s rights, and responsibilities conveniently get brushed under the carpet or passed on to someone else. If you fit in to one or more of my specific examples then shame on you. Perhaps a good New Year’s resolution for 2006 would be to have a bit of integrity.

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As you know, I always prefer to end the heavier posts with something a bit more light hearted. Continuing the trend therefore I would like to inform my readers that apparently John “Mr Grey” Major’s father was a trapeze artist. Heehee.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Strange Sightings In The Streets of Oxford

This is a "does exactly what it says on the tin" sort of post. I am going to write about a couple of strange things I have seen in Oxford's streets in the last couple of days.

Firstly I was walking down towards Oriel Square yesterday, as you do, and a guy came out of one of the buildings on the little side street. Nothing unusual with that. Neither was there anything unusual about most of what he was wearing (combats and some sort of sweater, typical of a student) or carrying (a bag, as if he was off to the library or a lecture). What set him apart however was the fact that he was also sporting multi-coloured fairy wings. I kid you not. And if that wasn't strange enough, no-one else in the street seemed the least bit taken aback and didn't so much as bat an eyelid.

Then, this morning, I was en route to college and I saw a supermarket trolley in the street. Again, nothing unusual with that. Or was there? As I passed it, I noticed that it was not any old supermarket trolley, but a Waitrose supermarket trolley. Why should that be surprising, I hear you ask? Well, Oxford doesn't have a Waitrose, and the nearest one is probably the one in Abingdon. So, this means that whoever left the trolley in Brasenose Lane had somehow transported it quite some distance to put it there. Given that even an express bus takes 15 minutes down the A34 to Abingdon, it is quite some feat, and something of a mystery.