So it seems that England is one of the few countries in the world that isn't familiar with bubble tea.
And I now know the Japanese word for the spicy sauce. Turns out Wasabi isn't just the name of the restaurant.

Today was sunny in England. Probably the most beautiful day we've had here for close on 6 months. I spent most of the day in the garden - sawing tree wood, reading, eating, drinking coffee, playing soccer with zac, playing in the swing with zac, just breathing in the spring air. I've missed it so much.

Donald Trump, southern States, Christianity and Pussy Riot
I've been trying not to think about work by exercising like mad, watching Netflix and exploring social media for anything inspiring.
There's a music festival in the UK called Greenbelt that some of you will be familiar with because I mention it every year. It's a Christian festival that is known for quality, quirky art and music. This year Pussy Riot are playing and so is this dude - he's from Birmingham Alabama. Possibly the most energetic act I've seen live and he sings about justice for everyone. Totally on my page:


This is Dovedale.
We've had dull overcast weather all week and dull overcast weather forecast for next week but Thursday was sunny all day so we took a drive north. Just 1 hour and 5 minutes and you can get to this beautiful part of the country - the Peak District.
Normally you can cross the river on those rocks in the photo but the river was too high on Thursday. Zac (my 8 year old) managed to get wet feet within minutes of arriving so we tried going over a hill to avoid getting more muddy and ended up finding ourselves in more and more slippery, steep, wet places until at one point, I wondered if we could get back down. Lol
About half a hour later I slipped down part of the hill and grabbed onto something to avoid hurting myself but what I grabbed was stinging nettles. Lol
Zac was absolutely covered in mud but we got down about an hour later.
I love days like that.
I said to Zac at bedtime - "You could have spent the day glued to a computer game, but instead, we were out in the fresh air, in the sun, getting exercise and falling down hills". : )
I think I just about convinced him that it was good.
: )

Looking For Alaska
It's another rainy day.
I took a walk into town and it felt cathartic breathing in the early Spring air and feeling the misty rain on my face.
I bought a novel from a charity shop - 'Looking for Alaska' by John Green. Reminds me a bit Douglas Copeland's writing. I've been drinking coffee and reading for most of the day, which is very rare for me.
It's about a guy who goes to live in a boarding school/college and it reminds me of my experience of living at university when I was 19. Interesting time of life. You're an adult but still have a lot to work out. You're open to lots of new influences...

(no subject)
I had a meeting this afternoon with some pub managers, town councillors and two assessors who were deciding whether our town would be given 'purple flag' status (which is given to towns and cities deemed safe and worth going to in the UK). I was there representing the Street Pastors.
I was out of my comfort zone. I didn't know what to expect and for the most part I kept quiet while these very confident publicans did a great job of selling our town as the best place you would ever want to visit.
When it eventually came for me to speak, the 10 minute presentation that I'd practiced came out as a 5 minute one and as soon as I left any space in my talk, someone jumped in. Lol. It felt like a kind of competition on who could jump in and talk next.
Fortunately the assessor was very familiar with street pastors from other cities she'd assessed and so I didn't need to convince her of anything.
I was a bit surprised when she said - "when the street pastors started, everyone thought - oh no! A load of god-botherers; they'll cause more problems than they solve, but it turned out that they've had a really positive impact on every city in the country".
'God-botheres' - that's really made me assess my own view of how Christianity is perceived by the general public...
Anyway, it was an interesting experience to be part of. I think it went well.

....everyone be cool.....
I got home from work this evening and there was a burst pipe in the garden! Looked like a fountain going off at the side of the house.
I went out to see if I could fix it and got absolutely covered in freezing water, still none the wiser as to what the problem was.
I eventually worked out how to turn the water supply off to the house and then worked out what was wrong. I needed this really strange looking plastic pipe connector thing, so I took it with me and spent 3 hours driving to every plumbing shop in the city.
Eventually, at nearly 8:00 at night I pulled up at Screwfix - last chance saloon. If it didn't have the piece I needed we were going to be no water in the house for another 24 hours.
: /
Screwfix though, were another world - they had staff who knew what they were talking about and they stocked more than just the 5 standard plastic pipe connector things.
Cost me £2.84.
I still wasn't completely convinced that I had the right bit but when I got home, I started putting the pipes back together again, and it flipping worked!
We have water!
: )

Kiss me with your mouth
I was going to play 'Kiss me' by Stephen Tintin Duffy in church this morning because I was delivering my sermon on King Solomon's Proverbs and he also wrote those words in The Song of Songs (recorded in the Bible). I thought it might get complaints though, and while that wouldn't have bothered me too much - it would have been easy to explain that the words were taken from the Bible, and I like pushing traditional boundaries in church; it would have made, what was all ready a controversial subject, even more controversial. Most of you here on lj wouldn't consider it controversial but I knew a few old people in my church would. And unfortunately a few of them still have positions of authority.

The sermon itself went well. I'm definitely getting more confident at delivering. I left a gap in the middle where I gave everyone 5 minutes to discuss whether the passage that I was speaking on was just for women, or whether it applied to us all. There's one guy in our congregation who is from the more right-wing end of politics and he was engrossed in a debate with this other guy. The other guy was a visitor to our church. He was dressed in his Sunday best, which is unusual in our church, and that made me think that he might have had a traditional understanding of the role of women too...? Possibly. Possibly not...? Anyway, when I drew the discussion to a close, these two carried on debating at quite a loud volume and it took another minute or so for them to stop before I could continue. Apparently the right-wing guy was actually arguing that the passage applied to us all. If he was, that's a step in the right direction for him...

Anyway, I followed up with a few examples from the Bible of women involved in roles that are not traditionally women's roles and then prayed for wisdom for us all.

I think it may have been the most feminist sermon that's been preached at my church.

I'll leave you with Solomon's song, revamped into 1980s synth-pop:

The King lives!
; )

Feeling a bit like Batman
I went for a walk tonight out in the snow. I put my Sutton Pastors tabbard/jacket in my pocket in case I might use it if I saw anyone who needed help and as I was walking down the main hill into town there were loads of cars struggling up the hill. So I put the tabbard on and started helping to push the cars. Quite a few members of the public joined in and we did it for about an hour until the traffic had died down.
Definitely one of the best ways to experience time in the snow.

Shake your ass
I was trying to ease my nerves about speaking at St Matthews Anglican Church this morning by praying (in my head) for everyone I met as I walked in. It worked well because it meant that I was seeing things from their perspective as I approached them and I wasn't as self-conscious as I would have been otherwise.

When the service started though and the moment came closer for me to speak, I felt my nerves shaking physically, in my ass of all places. I was hoping that as we were standing up for the songs, the people behind me couldn't see it shaking.
: /

Fortunately when it came for me to deliver my sermon my nerves disappeared and I was able to speak naturally, although there were times when I was stood there thinking - "Am I making any sense here?"

Then afterwards I felt paranoid that someone was going to come up to me and tell me that I spoke absolute rubbish. Fortunately, I got some encouraging comments, but I really need to work on my confidence.

It's over now though. I can relax.

I was woken up by Zac this morning playing Happy Birthday. (He's having his party today).

Sent from my iPhone

At least I've got a week off school now.

Last night I went to collect my oldest son from this youth club that a friend of mine runs in the town centre. My son volunteers there, and I thought I'd see what the place was like while I was there. It was very lively. My friend has been trying to persuade me to help him there for ages but I couldn't do it after a week of teaching. No way. Interesting to see it though.

Today we're going laser shooting for Zac's birthday. You have laser guns, targets on your back and on your chest and you run around in the dark trying to get as many kills as possible. I must admit, I'm looking forward to it. I can feel my competitive side coming out (even though it's going to be against 8 year olds).


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