Friday, August 29, 2008

Atheism is a question of faith, not science.

Or so said the sub-headline on the letters page in Wednesday's Metro


I couldn't have put it better myself...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Another one of those failed railway romances

Those of you who've been here often, or who read my column in Impact* last summer are probably bored of my tale of failed romance when an attractive young lady smiled at me on the train, I smiled back, and...nothing else happened.


Yesterday I was given a second chance, when as my train pulled out of Swindon I looked up to find the attractive blonde across the aisle staring at me.  As is my custom I returned her smile, and sat back in my seat thinking how the moment of leaving Swindon had just become brighter still.  I settled down to watch 'Battle of the Bishops',** but my concentration was hampered by the fact that I continued to exchange the odd smile with the beau opposite.  I even like to think that she was staring at my reflection in the window, but my hunch would be that I am mistaken on that one***.  Anyway, she got off at Reading without so much as a backward glance, and that, as they say, was that.





*See what I did there?  Forgive me as I angle for a bit of an ego boost.


**In this context this sounds intriguing and perhaps a little risque (worryingly) but you can rest assured that I am referring to the documentary that was on the BBC recently at the time of the Lambeth Conference.  I'm still as behind with the times as ever.


***Still, it pads out the story a bit.  Besides, such thoughts are also good for my ego.

Hands up who voted for short, fat, hairy legs...

There was a humorous article in yesterday’s thelondonpaper which reported the discovery by a “top London scientist” that “men find women most attractive if they have big breasts and shapely legs”.


You don’t say. I agree, of course, though more so on the point about the legs than the breasts, if I am honest. Maybe the phrase “beggars can’t be choosers” springs to mind, but I’m not overly fussed about massive huge breasts.


When it comes to what women find attractive about men though, I was surprised and perhaps slightly disappointed by the report.

Broad Shoulders – tick.

Long upper body – hmmm.

Short legs – Oh dear.


Whatever happened to tall, dark and handsome?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

if it's still broken this time tomorrow...

I've had the privilege recently of spending quite a bit of my day onboard an Airbus Flight Training Simulator. For the purposes of pilot training, the whole cockpit needs to visually resemble the real aeroplane, right down to the last detail. So, on the circuit breaker panel behind the seats you will also find various items you’d also expect to see at 30,000 feet in the real deal, such as a container labelled ‘Gloves’.

In some cases it’s possible to be a bit creative, perhaps with the aim of saving money. So the gloves in the box are obviously not vital for crew training because on the Simulator I discovered two hand shaped pieces of cardboard*. When it comes to the item labelled ‘Crash Axe’ on the other hand...


*Incidentally they’ve not been there since the beginning of the week, so whoever thought they’d avoid petty theft by not supplying real gloves was possibly mistaken.

Monday, August 11, 2008


I think I might have mentioned before that one of the things I like about the londonpaper is the londonlove section. In particular, I’m often amused by the texts sent in by people trying to take an exchange of smiles on the Tube to the Next Level.


Sometimes I think that people need to be a bit more original, because “I’m the brunette who smiled at you on the Jubilee Line” is not particularly eye-catching (even if smiling at someone on the Tube is noteworthy these days) and could illicit all sorts of dubious responses from people trying their luck. On other occasions I can understand why an exchange of numbers never happened in the first place; I can’t say that I’m especially well-versed in this sort of thing but I’m fairly certain that “I really did have some cold-sore cream in my bag” is not a follow-up to a great chat-up line. I also wonder why some people bother when they end their messages with such gems as “you drove off in a gold Nissan Micra”. Gold. Micra. Both wrong.


Anyway, I might mock, but after visiting a church recently I can see the merits of a similar system extending beyond the confines of the London public transport network. I’m sure we’ve all been in the situation of chatting to someone and then making the schoolboy error of leaving without any means of further contact.


This got me thinking then, about what would happen if The Church Times had a love page like the one in the londonpaper, and it opens up quite a few questions.


Obviously there’d have to be more to the original encounter than simply smiling across the aisle. Churches tend to be full of Christians, and a lot of us smile a lot anyway. Unless the church in question is one of those where people have a Deep Joy, smiling at someone isn’t as unusual as it is at 9am on the District Line.


In my experience, the texts in the londonpaper are rarely particularly risqué, but I would probably still advise caution when describing the person in question. On the positive side, to pay someone a compliment would fit in nicely with Paul’s teaching about “building one another up and encouraging one another”, but over-step the mark and you risk falling foul of the warning that “anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery in their heart”. Have that hanging over your head and any further meeting is bound to start awkwardly.


Then you’d have to think carefully about what constitutes the Next Level. In the more conservative circles, I don’t think that ending a message with “Drink” is particularly appropriate, do you? You could, however, get around this problem by being more specific about the type of beverage. “Coffee?” is bound to be more universally acceptable, although in some cases you might want to make it clear that you weren’t simply concerned about their Doctrine.


Finally, whereas “the brunette on the Northern line” could be anyone*, Christian circles tend to be quite well connected. No matter how small and out of the way St Frideswide’s happens to be you can guarantee that someone somewhere will pick up the paper and know that it was you who went there last Sunday and took quite a shining to his brother's girlfriend.

JP sins cardinally

I’m not really sure what defines a Cardinal Sin, but I’m fairly certain that I committed one recently. A guy on the train was wearing the same tie as me.


I positioned my copy of the Metro to conceal this fact, and as I buried my nose in to the pages even closer than usual I shot a furtive glance across the aisle to make sure that he hadn’t noticed. I then glanced around at the rest of my fellow commuters to ensure they hadn’t noticed either. I’m not sure what this glance would have achieved, as anyone pointing out my offence would have risked committing a greater social faux pas, but I feel that on this occasion I got away with it.


I wonder if this is what women feel like when they turn up somewhere and someone else is wearing the same outfit?

a no-smoking sign on your cigarette break

In case you're wondering, I don't smoke. But I did think that it was ironic that to watch "Would I Lie To You?" on the BBC iPlayer I had to confirm that I was over 16 by simply ticking a box.

you knew that I'd be back

I have no reasonable excuse for my long silence, so I'm not going to bother wasting my time making one up for you.

I've been away for so long that I feel like I'm shouting in to an echo filled cave, and all I expect to hear back is the slow drip, drip of water in the distance.

I may as well say "hello" though.