Whatever gets you through the night
I was going to pull out of street pastoring last night because I was feeling rough but I was the key-holder so it would have been complicated. I took a couple of ibuprofen, a couple of paracetamol, a couple of lines of coke....(just joking about the coke). The adrenaline of being outside picked me up quite a bit too.
As I was walking down (dressed in my tabard) a doorman from one of the pubs stopped me and asked if I was from the 'first response team'. Apparently they'd called an ambulance for someone inside. I told him I was a street pastor and apologized for not being able to help, wished him luck and carried on.
As we were setting up our table that we use for serving tea and coffee a police man came and introduced himself. He was the new Sargent for the area and had been told to make more links with community projects, so that was encouraging.
We also had an Religious Education teacher approach us asking if she could have her picture taken with us because street pastors are on the new exam syllabus.
The rest of the night was fairly calm..."muy tranquil" as my Venezuelan friend said.
We packed up at about 1:30.

Today I'm speaking at an old people's home in a short Christmas service. I'm using that image that I posted on LJ the other day. The hand holding the match which is in the shape of a Christmas tree. The hand symbolises the hand of God. The hand that brought the universe into existence is the same hand that brought the 'light of the world' at Christmas. That's the idea. :)

The Christmas music's on, the Christmas lights are on. Feeling Christmassy.

Christmas is nearly here
I've finished school at long last but feel like I'm coming down with something. That's typical. You work like a dog for 8 weeks, get a break, and fall ill. I normally stay well away from any form of medication. I prefer natural remedies, but I've been taking paracetamol the last two days. If I'm at that stage it means I'm at death's door. It's a serious case of man-flu.

I went to my Spanish group last night because I didn't want to let the others down but the pub was rammed and noisy and we only stayed a couple of hours and I didn't really enjoy it.

I've got my wife's family coming over this evening for mince pies and mulled wine... I think I need some more paracetamol....

I'll leave you with this image that the pastor at our church used at the 'Carols By Candlelight' service last Sunday. What do you see? A Christmas tree? Or is there more?

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Jesus, Kurt Cobain and poetry
Two more days of school and then I break up for the Christmas holidays. It's been a busy week and I've been caught up most evenings with stuff like parents evenings (for my own kids and students at my school) and nativity rehearsals and things like that. Non-stop.

Sunday night was one of my favourite evenings of the year. Very peaceful. 'Carols by Candlelight' at my church - candles everywhere, Christmas carols and poetry. Some friends also performed a version of the nativity story in the local Backcountry accent. It was done in a humorous way, bordering on the irreverent, but it made the point that Mary and Joseph were probably working-class people and that the Christmas story is a gritty one.

I also managed to watch a documentary on Kurt Cobain. Absolutely fascinating. Very similar story to Sid and Nancy although there were claims that Courtney Love may have killed Kurt... ?!

Crazy world.

Another snow day
Got up about 8:30 this morning instead of the usual 6:30.
Cooked myself some bacon, eggs and toast and then walked into town to do some Christmas shopping. I normally get all my stuff on the internet but as it was a snow day, I wanted to get outside, and town was very quiet.
I managed to get some bargains which I was happy about and a couple of novels. One of them is 'On Chesil Beach' by Ian McEwan. Beautifully written. I also picked up a copy of The Big Issue. The Big Issue is a magazine that people who are struggling to get work sell in England but it's a surprisingly quality magazine which gets support from a lot of celebrities. This week it has an interview with Mark Hamill. It also had this piece of art from a homeless woman featured in it. I really like it:
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A different Monday
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Me and my 7 year old went to the park this morning. I gave him a shoulder carry there because I knew he would find it a struggle to get there if he walked.
He loved sledging. I think it was the first time ever for him.
Then we went further into the park and ended up in this really deep snow. We found a sleeping bag where someone had spent the night. I wasn't sure if they were still there to begin with or even if they were there but dead, but they must have gone for a walk or just deserted the sleeping bag completely. There were some tins of food there too that were empty.
The snow got in my son's boots and his feet were freezing so I took off his boots and socks, sat him on the sledge, put my hat and scarf on his feet and pulled him home on the sledge. Lol
I really enjoyed the time with him and it was really good exercise for me using muscles I don't normally use. :)

When I got in, I watched this film called 'The Secret'. Has anyone seen it? I stumbled across it after spacetravelz (on dw) pointed me in than at direction. It's a documentary about positive thinking essentially, but I found it fascinating...

Snow day!
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We've had snow. More than we've had for a good few years. And I've just found out my school is closed tomorrow. : )
I was hoping that would be the case since I saw the forecast on Friday but it's been confirmed by the school.
: )

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The tree is up.

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It's my wife's birthday today so we went out for a meal together.
She was happy to walk down to this restaurant not far from our house but I fancied something different and I persuaded her to go to a Lebanese restaurant on the other side of town that I found listed on TripAdvisor. I love trying new food and we've had more restaurants from the Middle East opening in England recently.
Are there many diverse restaurants where you live in the world? What do you prefer? Going back to a place you know? Or trying something different?

I've been working hard at school. I don't mind working like a dog from Monday to Friday if it means I can have a total break at the weekend.
I've been working out and practicing my Spanish too as usual. I was thinking what else to write that might be of interest and I was inspired my Nattalie in Argentina describing her neighbours. Neighbours give a real insight into a culture.
I live in a semi-detached house on a long street of brick houses. Most of us are too busy to speak to each other very often, which in some ways is a shame. The only people I know by name are one neighbour - Michael - in his 30's; only moved in about 3 months ago; single; a real perfectionist on his house; nice guy.
The other side has been empty for a couple of years, which is rare here. The owner was an ex-teacher who is supposed to be selling her house to her daughter.
Next door but one is Rita - another ex-teacher.
And on the other side - quite a friendly couple with a very quiet teenage daughter.
Opposite is Linda - the artist who I've mentioned before.
And then I know the others opposite to say hello to but I don't know their names.
So there you have it. English city life in the 21st century - minimal contact...although at least it's relatively peaceful.

Love is the first step in a rEVOLtion
This morning I went for a run and my 7 year old son came with me. It was a nice way to start the day, running round the streets together before most people are awake.

Later that morning, I delivered my sermon. I used this from Banksy to look at some scripture:

And I wound it up with this by U2:

I was really pleased with how it went. One old woman who I hardly know came up to me afterwards and gave me a hug.

Hopefully I can do another one soon.


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