Friday, 29 May 2009

Barca, burial and blitzen

What a pleasure the UEFA Champions League Final from Rome was on Wednesday night - unless of course you were Mancunian of the red variety! As a dispassionate spectator (?) I loved the skill of Barcelona against whom I thought Man U looked a blunt instrument. They didn't seem to tie them down as effectively as Chelsea had, and of course after the first early goal they seemed to lose heart. Some things impressed me though: for example there being a bann on selling takeaway alcohol around the stadium and at all metro and railway stations from Tuesday evening to Thursday morning. Can you imagine that in London?

And even more impressive was the passing mention in the commentary that Barcelona is owned by its fans and doesn't have lucrative sponsorship for the team shirts, but themselves advertise UNICEF on their shirts, and donate €millions to UNICEF.

Yesterday we buried my aunt's ashes in the 'family' grave near Salisbury. All my brothers and my cousin John were there. The sun was shining. And I enjoyed being retired and not doing the duties. Afterwards we were kindly given tea in the garden of my aunt's lovely old house by the present owners, Trevor and Hilary. I realised that we are now the senior generation of the clan. A solemn thought.

In the evening we relaxed watching 'Springwatch', and badger clan in Essex. Then I switched over to BBC1 'Tourettes, I swear I can't help it'. What a moving programme! I've mentioned Tourettes Syndrome before, the condition of violent uncontrollable tics often vocalised in swearing. The programme was very informative, and focused on a couple of 'sufferers' including John Davidson, a lovely man in his 40s. Halfway through they were talking about the problem with forming relationships, which you can understand, and he said something like, 'I’ve just found it so hard to find someone who I can trust, someone who loves me for who I am, likes me for who I am.' THAT is the point: 'loved for who I am'.

Tomorrow we go to the DLF retreat in Wales (where we went last summer), while the workmen move in to gut our kitchen. We're hoping the weather continues like now, not like Holland this week, where they had the heaviest thunderstorm for 30 years, as this great photo of Otto's shows.
Photo: Otto Veninga


  1. Hello Michael,
    It was my privilege to serve as a minister in Allington until 2006, so the photo of your family grave brings me back some good memories - there being no vestry in the church we used to gather "with John and Grace" for the prayers before the service.

    thank you for your inspiring blog.

  2. Hello Tim
    Thanks for your kind comment. We've just come back from a week away. You must have served at Allington for a good stretch. It has poignant memories for us, as you can imagine. I tried to take a picture of Chapel Cottage from my wheelchair but it came out hopelessly skew-whiff!

  3. I was NSM from 02 to 06
    (my wife was the curate)

    I remember now that we spoke on the telephone once when you were at Stanford. I think Wycliffe had lined you up as a possible summer placement for me, but in the end you went on sabbatical.
    Didn't you have St Denis' finger or something?
    We did get a taste of the Vale in the end as my wife did her placement at Faringdon.

    Will you be at New Wine this summer? Various bloggers are thinking about meeting up.