Saturday, 18 October 2008
Thinking about the rapid onset of Christmas... every Advent, I renew the vows I've taken. Before you ask, they're private vows, and you can find out more about them in these posts I wrote previously: HERE and HERE.
This is my sixth anniversary, and, fortunately, the nearest convenient Saturday early in Advent happens to coincide with our monthly Missa Cantata. In previous years I've had a short service of re-dedication after Exposition and Benediction; however, when we have the Missa Cantata, there isn't time for a holy hour, and there is just a short service of Benediction after the Mass. So, this year, my renewal of vows will happen after Benediction, at 11:45am.
The very nice chaps from our visiting schola have agreed to sing the Litany of Saints, which will be a real treat. Afterwards, there will be a buffet lunch in the large hall, and hopefully the bar will be open too, and everyone is welcome.
Directions to the parish can be found HERE. It would be helpful, for catering purposes, if you could leave a message in the combox to say that you're planning to come along, but, anyway, if any of you bloggers (and blog readers) do happen to find yourself in the vicinity of Blackfen on Saturday, 6th December, feel free to pop in!
There used to be a comedy sketch with two nightclub bouncers whose catchphrase was about "The Management"... I might do a You Tube trawl a bit later to see if I can find anything. However, if ever there was a feline version, these two would win the lookalike contest paws down...
I've been getting these cat pictures from the I Can Has Cheezburger? site, which has hundreds of pictures, mostly of cats, with silly captions. You can actually put your own captions on the picture and submit them as well. For the dog lovers among you, there is a dog version too - called I Has a Hot Dog (Anna and Karen, don't say I never do anything for you!)
There is a related blog called "FAIL blog" which specialises in showing the really silly mistakes people make with signs, notices and similar. There are some not-so-funny examples, but there are some which are so funny that you end up crying with laughter, which is good if you need a little light relief in your day...
My current favourites have to include these little gems:
A large envelope was sitting in the sacristy for me this morning. Jackie (Mother's Pride) had read my post grousing about the early onset of Christmas for my local council. In order to help me maintain a sense of the true liturgical seasons, she kindly sent me a little book of reflections for each day of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany.
Strangely enough, I don't object to Christmas presents arriving in October... (though, technically, it's an early Advent present!)
Many thanks Jackie!
A few blogs seem to have disappeared off the radar recently. A real shame, especially as the links to those blogs have now become defunct (slightly frustrating: I don't cut-and-paste huge chunks from other blogs, but make a reference to them and link back... if the links are destroyed, the point being made is often lost, and the post becomes meaningless!)
To redress the balance, Anna Arco (journalist on the Catholic Herald) has started a new blog... something she mentioned at the recent London Blognic. I'm delighted to be able to give her a plug, as she is an excellent journalist, and writes some very good stuff. Pop on over, and welcome her to the Catholic Blogosphere... (comments aren't currently enabled, though maybe this will change... but I'm sure Anna will be chacking her blog stats to see how many visitors she's getting...)
Friday, 17 October 2008
I love driving. I am also very attached to my car, having "crash-tested" the make and model about three years ago, and escaped with life and limb intact.
However, I do seem to have had quite a few car-related problems. I don't know if I have more or fewer than other people, but I certainly seem to have lots... maybe other people just don't mention their problems...
This evening, I went out for dinner. On my way home, I drove around a corner, and the car started juddering rather badly. I wasn't sure what the problem was, but I was able to hazard a guess that I'd punctured a tyre. I pulled over, carefully, and got out. Definitely a flat tyre. Very flat. More like a strip of rubber flapping about around the wheel than a tyre, to be honest.
I have insurance which includes a breakdown service. And a snazzy mobile phone. I made use of both, and was promised assistance within the hour.
Not too much of a problem, I thought. At the most, an hour to get to me, then fifteen minutes to change the tyre, max.
The recovery service chap was very nice. He quickly located the car jack and the spare wheel, and then asked where the locking wheel nut key was.
I had never heard of a wheel nut key, locking or otherwise. I thought that's what spanners were for.
But no, apparently I have alloy wheels, and there's a locking wheel nut on each wheel to prevent the alloy bits being snaffled by someone disreputable. And the key is unique to each car (or possibly each make of car, I couldn't quite work it out) and mine appeared to be missing.
And the wheel wasn't coming off without this key.
The chap hunted all through my car, and couldn't find it. He took pity on me, though, and instead of just giving it up as a bad job, he phoned a friend. The friend apparently had a locking wheel nut removal thingy whatsit. However, after removal, it wouldn't work again, and I'd need to go to the dealership to get a new set of locking wheel nuts (with key), as well as signing my life away by saying that I was happy to drive with only three nuts on the wheel...
I checked that this wouldn't be (a) breaking the law, or (b) unsafe. After being reassured on both counts, I agreed.
After nearly two hours of loudly banging the wheel with some sort of metal implement, the two mechanics succeeded in removing the offending wheel nut.
At least I managed to have dinner beforehand!
Wednesday, 15 October 2008
I'm still in a very good mood. The Head of Science was positively jubilant this morning. Every single Science teacher said the same thing: now that we don't have to spend the best part of a year desperately cramming information into them (to make sure we cover all possible topics) and practicing exam questions, we actually have the luxury of time in which to teach them some proper science. One teacher wryly remarked that they might actually cover more science than the first year GCSE students (the course is really ghastly: I have mentioned it before!)
My tutor group are in Year 9, which means that they would have been doing the SATs tests in May next year for Science, English and Maths. They were, naturally enough, very keen to discuss the latest rumours about the abolition of the tests, and I was happy to spend a good part of our PSHE lesson this morning discussing the implications for them personally. One thing that struck me was how savvy they seem to be: they all wanted to know why the tests had been scrapped, given the emphasis which had been placed on them previously, and what, exactly, was going to replace them. I explained that at the moment, it looked like some form of teacher assessment, and that there would be tests at the end of the year, to help with GCSE setting, but that it would be similar to the tests they already do to monitor progress.
The relief expressed by those children made me want to cry: it demonstrated how much pressure they must have felt at the thought of these tests.
Tuesday, 14 October 2008
A friend of mine has just phoned me up to relay some good news. There has been a sudden outbreak of common sense...
SATs tests are to be scrapped for Key Stage 3 (14 year olds) in English, Maths and Science, as there is already enough information from GCSE exams and A Levels. There will be some sort of teacher assessment, I think.
My commiserations go to my colleagues in Primary Schools, as the SATs are going to continue at the end of Key Stage 2 (for 11 year olds, at the end of their primary education.)
Monday, 13 October 2008
Sunday, 12 October 2008
Yesterday, driving back from a leisurely lunch, I flipped on the radio. I seem to remember doing this last week... anyway, this week they seemed to have another play about the Catholic Church. I heard the words "journalist," "conclave," "cardinal," and "can it really be true that the Pope was soooo ill he died after 33 days...?" and promptly switched off before they succeeded in getting me really riled up again.
I have, therefore, spent all of Saturday evening avoiding the radio.
So far, so good...
Paulinus (whose Feast Day was Friday, so belated good wishes!) has obviously reached a similar point in his relationship with Auntie Beeb. He has come to the conclusion that the only things worth listening to are the Shipping Forecast and "Sailing By" (a particularly saccharine piece of music used to fill in the time before the Shipping Forecast starts... ) And, to prove the point, he has a video for each item.
The Shipping Forecast video is very, very funny (though I suspect it only appears so to sad people who have actually listened to the Forecast on several occasions... people like me and Paulinus, I guess!)
"Sailing By" is actually a form of torture which ought to be legislated against under the Geneva Convention on Human Rights. I couldn't quite believe that Paulinus would actually put a video of nothing up on the blog, and so watched the whole thing in the hope of getting the joke. I guess that means I've been had!
In revenge, I'm going to steal the Shipping Forecast video and put it up myself...