Sunday, June 29, 2008
A number of the older members had received 'household baptism' in their infancy, whereas the dominant practice by our time had become baptism on personal confession of faith. But the two understandings of the proper subjects of baptism coexisted peacefully; there was no attempt of coercion of conscience on one side or the other.
When the elders declined on health grounds, to add believers baptism to the experience of a very frail old lady who had previously experienced household baptism;
I am sure they were right in principle; I have never been an Anabaptist.
What illustrious company to keep!
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
My own memories of this hill are decidedly mixed. My first attempt to get up it, in 1995 began and ended in ignominy. A party of us, led by Big Darren, The Rake and Crazy Jim, parked in the wrong place and instead of finding pleasant stepping stones, were unable to cross a gorge containing a torrent. By the time we managed to get onto the hill, I was exhausted and the foot-deep snow made progress on the steep slopes desperately slow. The attempt was abandoned at about 2000ft, when Big Darren produced a Trangia stove, and began melting snow to brew tea.
Returning on my own in the Spring of 1997, I managed to find the place to cross the river and pulled myself up the long climb to Lui's summit. It's a long, steep, lung-bustingly tiring climb for which the walker is duly rewarded with views stunning enough to recapture 'awesome' as a meaningful word. With patches of snow and ice clinging to the Northside of the mountain, I made the summit ridge and was buffetted by cold, powerful winds fanning Scotland from the West. As I ascended the final section of the summit ridge I noticed that the weather was changing. The damp air, blasting at the mountain was cooling as it climbed up over Lui's shoulders, began condensing exactly at the point of the ridge where I stood. I put my feet apart and looked down and could see the cloud appearing between my knees! Although the whole of the West coast was completely clear and visibility was good over a vast area, within a few minutes everything to the East of me was lost in cloud. Watching a huge bank of cloud forming so distinctly and standing so precisely on its edge was odd, bizarre, a little eerie and really rather wonderful.
I stopped for lunch on my way down to the high bealach between Lui and its lower neighbour Beinn a Cleibh. Foolishly I sat down next to my map, which a sudden gust of wind promptly dispatched off into distant clouds, never to be seen again. Thankfully the walk didn't have to be abandoned as a fellow walker, doing the same route as me came over and chatted over lunch and let me share his map for the rest of the walk. He was an entertaining fellow, who escaped the boredom of office life by travelling all over the world with the Scouts. A ghastly descent of the wrong bit of Beinn a Cleibh (who was reading that map?) led to the car, a meal in some local pub and a farewell to my friend-for-the-day.
I stopped on Saturday just south of Tyndrum to grab a snap of Ben Lui's grand eastern face, to remember great days out, and to wonder whatever became of Big Darren, The Rake and Crazy Jim.
Monday, June 16, 2008
I remember climbing Ben Vorlich and Stuc a Chroin, its flat-topped, steep sided neighbour in 1996 - a week before I married Mrs Hideous. Four of us climbed these two hills in blazing sunshine, while Mrs Hideous was still toiling in the Saharan sunshine doing her medical elective at a Mission Hospital in West Africa. A minor coup in the country had made communication worse than usual and I hadn't heard from her for a few weeks, which was playing on my mind somewhat, as I recall. After the descent of the hill and the return drive to Dundee, I moved all my stuff into what would be our first flat together, on the salubrious Lochee Road!
The memories a photo can generate!
Friday, June 13, 2008
It's a great film, and Jamie Foxx's portrayal of the Ray Charles is remarkable and powerful and well deserving of the 'best actor' Oscar it received. There were though a number of strange omissions from the story I thought. Charles is never seen playing anything but a piano, never the sax, clarinet or trumpet, all things he mastered at the school for the blind to which he was sent - years which were entirely omitted from the story. Charles' exuberant cross-country motorbike riding and his piloting skills are well documented and could have made great scenes too. Likewise, the tension between his Baptist-background and his hedonistic lifestyle were hinted at (we see Charles on tour never without his Braille Bible), but the tensions therein are not addressed in the film as they are in some biographies. The film closes with a short clip of the elderly Ray Charles himself receiving an award in Georgia and an apology over the ban the state issued him with over his refusal to play to segregated audiences in the 1960s.
I was never convinced by the orchestra and choirs of the later years, (or the country and western) but Charles with a small band, singing blues soulfully, with angst and expression dripping from every note on his piano - still makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. The following is "Drowning in My Own Tears" from the Fats Domino gig.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
I have discovered that managing the realities of parenting in the home is relatively straightforward in comparison with the intricacies of public management of infant hygiene! Boris and Norris are of course, like me, male. This has caused a few problems over the years, especially when they were both in nappies. In a recent conversation I was reminded that I should name and shame Bells sports centre in Perth - whose only baby changing facilities are in the ladies loo. I declined the opportunity to see what the ladies is like and insisted instead on changing Norris' howling nappy in the corridor on the grounds that if they were going to be antediluvian in their provision then I could be troglodyte in my behaviour! They could hardly complain!
Thankfully the church I go to has provided baby changing in the gents as well. This is just as well, because Mrs Hideous used to work a lot of weekends when Boris was a baby and it meant that we weren't excluded. Such enlightened attitudes may be the norm here, but have clearly not reached the Vatican. On our visit to St Peter's in Rome I tried to take young Norris to change him while Mrs Hideous toured the great Cathedral. It turned out that (like Bells) the only facilities were in the ladies. I asked where I should change him but the guard curtly said, "No! You will get your wife!" I was about to launch into a tearful, "My wife died bearing this child, all because Il Papa won't let us use contraception and I have come to Rome to pray for her soul" - just to see the look on his face. Sadly, (but perhaps probably for the best) my conscience overcame satire and I went to get Mrs Hideous.
Child number three (Doris) is a girl. When she was a baby this fact made little difference, but now that she is three, and (usually) toilet trained, this has raised completely different issues. Doris can't walk past Marks and Spencer's without going in for a pee. The toilets in that shop must have made a profound affect upon her consciousness, as she was sometimes given a treat in their coffee shop for managing to pee appropriately, on demand, in the cludgie as distinct from over her clothes. Now we have a situation of Pavlov's bladder, when even the sound of the words "Marks and Spencer" will be met with the almost instant need to piddle.
So we leave the High Street and go in to Marks' and up the escalator, past the cafe and through the doors into the toilet area. Here is where the Great Bog Dilemma takes place. Doris insists that as a girl, she is going to go into the girl's toilet. I insist that she is a toddler and is not going in by herself. She counters by demanding that I come in with her, to which I point out that it might lead to my arrest. Am I happy to take her into the gents? Well - sometimes, it all depends on what the gents is like and how inappropriately she might stare at a row of willies peeing in a trough. Gents are hardly the most private or discreet of places. She is not yet embarrassed - but there's always the chance that someone might find her presence a problem. It won't be long before she is embarrased however. So which door? In Marks' there is a baby changing room, which does not discriminate against Dads - but it does not have a toilet! So we tend to use the disabled - where there is one. Many places do not have a separate disabled toilet.
So - where are Dad's supposed to take their daughters, when the tank is full, the call of nature comes and the exertions of two finely tuned kidneys are about to break out and make their mark? Dad's, what's the answer to the Great Bog Dilemma?
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Mr Boom! from up the road suggested that we take our families for a walk up E. Lomond, one of the two 'Paps of Fife' that tower above the pretty village of Falkland - famous for its historic palace. The weather defied the forecasts, and we walked in beautiful sunshine along the broad mile-long ridge to the steep summit cone. Although too hazy to see far, or clearly we lounged around on the grass on top of the hill, while the kids sung, danced, played, squabbled, ran and pleaded for more drinks when all the water we had was used up.
"That bloke must be hungry - look at the size of his rucksack" I said. However, said chappie didn't bring a five course banquet out from his mammoth rucksack - but a hanglider, which he unfurled and strapped himself onto, before silently taking to the air above us.
A gentle dander down the hill, a coffee, a play in the garden and dinner at ours rounded off a splendid day - and a very late night for the kids.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
The delightful Mrs Hideous has started to go into work early one day a week. This is because she works, like many of you, in the public sector and suffers from the curse of government initiatives. The latest batch is the product of politicians who apparently couldn't find their own elbows in broad daylight (or some such less Bowdlerised popular phrase) But I digress.....
On such mornings, Boris, Norris and Doris were ready for the walk to school ludicrously early, which was creating a problem. Those of you familiar with my offspring will know that faced with the choice of how to use-up twenty minutes, they will not sit quietly or converse politely, but will immediately set about the urgent task of sibling dismemberment with some gusto. We do not need a devil to make work for these idle hands.
Needless to say, my usual negative reactionary parenting was useless in maintaining a calm atmosphere, or preventing the outbreak of the next impending fracas. So yesterday morning, faced with well-rehearsed indications of rising hostilities, failing diplomacy, and troop build-ups at my children's emotional borders, we took action. We went to the park!
We are blessed and privileged to live in a beautiful part of the world with plenty of nearby open spaces. In fact the busy main-road which we brave every day on the walk to school, has a delightful river-bank park running parallel with it, which makes a pleasant but longer alternative route. So with space to run, the river to watch, wildlife to see, trains to wave at and things to climb, we arrived at school on time, with happy children complete with the requisite number of limbs intact between them.
I discovered an old compact camera in a pocket as we walked and got a few good photos of the kids - which was a bonus too. My initial reaction may have been to curse the government for my lost sleep, and scream at my naughty children for their apparent inability to sit still, but Boris, Norris and Doris' reaction has been to ask if a trip to the park before school can become a regular feature!
This booksale isn't just theological, or historical though - it has bargains under all the following headings: Archaeology, Art & Architecture, Biography, Business, Crime & Criminology, Diaries, Letters & Journals, Economics, Education, Fiction, Food & Drink, Geography, History, Language & Linguistics, Law, Literary Studies, Literature, Mathematics, Medicine, Miscellaneous, Music, Philosophy & Religion, Poetry, Politics, Psychology, Reference, Science & Nature, Sociology & Anthropology, Travel.
And also books in my favourite category of all, "Under £5"!
Friday, June 06, 2008
Monday, June 02, 2008
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Puking = Me: there was a bit of swell on the sea between Anstruther and the Isle of May
Puffins = There were plenty of them, as well as hundreds and thousands of other seabirds