Art trail
st_martin_a
Every year in my town there is something called an Art Trail. About a dozen artists open their house up to the public to show their art. A woman called Lynda who lives directly opposite us is one of the artists so today me and Zac went round to see her art. It's quite an unusual situation wandering around someone's house when you don't really know them although I really like her stuff and got on well with her.
Then we went to another artist who also lives on the same road as us. She was an old woman who produced more traditional kind of art. (Lynda did more abstract stuff largely based on the human form). Not so much my cup of tea but interesting none the less. I liked her sketchbook. It had ink drawings of places she'd been and it inspired me to do something like that. It's a great way of appreciating a place while you're there.
Then we wandered further afield to this big house where 6 artists were based. The garden was pretty big and lead down to a lake in the park. It was a beautiful place to wander round whether there was art there or not. It had a giraffe made out of metal:
Sent from my Windows Phone

I chatted to this Canadian artist who was telling me about this cycle journey he'd made from the southern most point of England to the northern most point of Scotland. I'd love to do that. Took him 18 days. About 50 miles a day.
I didn't think much to his artwork but I ended up speaking to him for a while. : )

Hippy talk
st_martin_a
Get outside, often.
Slow your pace.
Breathe deeply.
Smile.
And keep watch.

From my book 'Soulfulness' by Brian Draper.
I've finished it.
There's some reminders at the back. Things like:
Make a cup of tea slowly.
Savour it sip by sip.
Do one thing at a time. Be liberated from the panic of task-switching.
Choose your funeral song...choose your funeral song?!
...wow,
Give yourself to the day instead of trying to take from it...

Tomorrow is going to be another cycling day. The weather is supposed to be cooling down so it should be good (and I need more exercise).

Out in the fresh air.

And breathe.

Politics and music
st_martin_a
It was the Queen's speech in Britain today to welcome the Prime Minister, as voted by the people a few days ago but it was quite an embarrassing event because she'd counted on a landslide victory and ended up loosing a significant amount of seats.
The opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has become a bit of a legend, especially amongst the younger generation. It's partly to do with his honesty, partly to do with the media-bias against him which completely backfired and partly to do with his heart for the marginalised. He's going to be appearing at the Glastonbury music festival this summer and the White Stripes song Seven Nation Army has become his theme tune.
Check this out; it'll put a smile on your face:
https://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=T4_Yrwb4rh8

Marchamos en la luz de dios
st_martin_a
The weather over here at the moment is really warm - I think it was 30 degrees today. Some of you in hotter climates probably think that's not very hot but for England it doesn't get much warmer than that. That kind of heat is quite rare.
It was Father's Day today in England too so my youngest son brought me breakfast in bed and the others gave me presents. I don't really like eating breakfast in bed but it was really touching to see my kid struggling in with a tray when I woke up this morning and it made me appreciate it. He's such a lovely kid.
This morning in church I was singing at the front with my Venezuelan friends. We sang a song - Marching in the light of God, in Spanish. It's good that the Venezuelans are being welcomed into our church like that and encouraged to take part and it's an honour to be associated with them. I don't feel that my Spanish is good enough really and there are a couple of others in church who's Spanish is better but I've probably become closer to them than anyone else. It's funny but Rosalinda was the first Spanish-speaker that I ever used my Spanish with when I first started and realised that it actually worked. I couldn't imagine that 3 years later we'd be standing at the front of church together singing in Spanish.
This afternoon my parents came up and we ate and chilled in the garden. I don't see them that often and I was glad that I was able to have my Dad up for Father's Day.
Chilling now, in the heat.

Mi curso
st_martin_a
I had a lovely day today. I had a bit of a lie in (7:30) and then I walked down to the train station which made a nice change to using the car.

There was a sports bag left on the platform and I was the only person waiting for the train. To start with I sat next to the bag wondering why it was there and then I thought about the warnings we've had about reporting abandoned bags in public places in case they've got a bomb in. I thought, on the off-chance that there was a bomb in it, I might be better off sitting a bit further away, so I moved. Then there was an announcement over the tanoy that any bags seen unattended should be reported straight away. It was as if they had seen me on the camera and were testing me... My train wasn't due for a couple of minutes so I went down to reception and reported it. A minute later the guard came up and started rummaging through it. It wasn't a bomb but had been left. : /
Anyway, once I got to Lichfield I had a 10 minute walk to the cathedral. My course was in a building on the cathedral estate. At lunchtime I walked around the cathedral and it was beautiful. Really peaceful, really grand. I took some pictures:


The course itself was useful too. Full of ideas on how to teach philosophy and in particular Christianity in a way that gets students to ask questions and engage with the subject.
Then afterwards I went to 'Darwin's house'. It was also on the cathedral grounds and was the house where Erasmus Darwin (Charles Darwin's grandfather) lived. Apparently he came up with the idea of evolution before his grandson but Charles investigated it further. This guy also invented the axle, was a poet, and had 18 children (14 were biologically his).... His garden was beautiful and it was a pleasure to walk around.
Then I got the train home.
There aren't many perks to my job... but today was one. : )

It was a sunny day
st_martin_a
Sent from my Windows Phone


I took this picture on the way home from work. It was a good ride. I'd eaten well and I had the energy to push myself quite hard.
This week has been a but stressful at school because I've had a list of extra things to do but it's not as bad as I initially thought...
It's Spanish group tonight and tomorrow I'm on a course so I don't have to go to work. It's nice having a different destination and knowing that I don't have to get up so early. It's being held in the grounds of Lichfield Cathedral. I've been there before and it feels like Oxford university or something. I realized today that I don't need to drive either. I can get the train so that'll make a nice change.

Life is a mystery
st_martin_a
Heard this on the radio on the way to my son's fo..soccer training this morning:

https://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=79fzeNUqQbQ

I hear you call my name.

I never realized how well the link between the spiritual/the physical/love...God..romance is explored, all within 5 minutes of what is pretty much a perfect pop song.

It's like an angel sighing.

Apparently the album that the song is from is about her mother who died when she was very young.

Your voice can take me there.

One theologian compared it with Song of Songs in the Bible.

I want to take you there.

Interesting piece of art.

And it feels like home.

Los resultados
st_martin_a
Ok, so this is British politics at the moment, summed up from my viewpoint:
The opposition party are lead by a leftwing leader called Jeremy Corbyn.
A few weeks ago the Prime Minister Teresa May was feeling very confident in her position, right of centre, and decided to call an early election to increase her mandate. Her policies became even more rightwing, she started personally insulting Corbyn, and didn't even attend any of the televised debates because she was so confident that she would win a landslide victory.
The majority of the media backed her.
Meanwhile, Corbyn kept his dignity, appeared at loads of open-air rallies, his message got communicated through social media and the results of the election were ...May's mandate decreased considerably. Corbyn didn't win the election but he made significant gains that have severely limited Teresa Mays power.

Meanwhile, there were 16 people at my Spanish group last night. We're quite a community now. And mi amigo Sergio found out that he's been granted asylum here. Apparently he's only the second Venezuelan to be granted asylum in the UK in the last 20 years!

Battered soul
st_martin_a
A bit bruised anyway. A while ago I mentioned the Head of the 17 and 18 year olds in our school telling some students that I couldn't teach. There were a few other things she'd said and done against me too which resulted in my line manager recommending that I take it up with the Headteacher. Well, today Faisal - the other RE teacher in my department, came to me and told me that one of the students said that she said that he couldn't teach and neither could I...
Faisal was really upset by it. He's better at expressing his emotions than me and what he said summed up how I felt last time. It's amazing how something like that can get to you, although it didn't feel quite so bad this time for me because it was two of us being bad-mouthed together.
We spoke to the Head teacher about it and he's going to reflect on the best course of action to take. This woman is a very difficult person who can be really nasty and the students are too scared to put anything down on record. We'll see.

On a brighter side, I voted. For Corbyn. He was in my city yesterday giving a speech. He's been drawing massive crowds compared to Teresa May. He's also been treated very unfairly by some of the press over the last few months but in his speech yesterday he said: "I hear some people have said some nasty things about me. I forgive them all!". What a legend.

Results of the election will be in the early hours of the morning.

Edit: I watched that James Comey trial live on tele when I got in. What is happening to the world?

Cassette boy verses Teresa May
st_martin_a
Thursday is the general election in the UK. I don't suppose it's had much coverage outside of Europe.
The Conservative Party are currently in power, lead by Teresa May who seems to come across as the face of stability. She's a fairly good speaker although the more she says, the less I trust her.
The opposition leader is left of centre and the media often portrays him as a bit of a loony who will put the country in debt. The more I learn about him though, the more I like him. He could possibly be the only honest politician in Britain...
Anyway, there's lots of stuff on social media at the moment and this made me laugh:
https://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=p7iUYWMD77w
There's also a song called Liar Liar about Teresa May that is number 1 on the download chart which isn't being played by mainstream media...

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