Free gifts from the bicycle show

freebies

Free items picked up at the bicycle show, and how they will be useful:

  • Waterproofing liquid (soak then agitate thoroughly)
  • Aromatic massage gel for joints (and indeed muscles)
  • Sensitive face care hydro gel for men (no greasy residue)
  • Putty to repair things (finish with wetted spatula)
  • Firming body oil (firms within 2 weeks)
  • High protein recovery milk drink (shake well)
  • A Kit Kat

Having been out in the rain to fill in a hole I will be able to restore my weary joints and muscles, soften and nourish my skin (and improve my natural beauty), before sitting down for a chunky bar of chocolate and a milky drink.

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How I organise my money

Small change / proper money

There are two tins:

  1. Small change
  2. Proper money

Small change is anything that is not really worth carrying around. This means 1p, 2p, 5p, and yes, 10p pieces.

Proper money is anything larger than that. So 20p, 50p, £1 and £2. Sometimes a 10p will make it in, depending upon my mood. If it is a note I just carry it anyway. Proper money is called upon when I need to park in Basildon, cross the Dartford bridge or buy a 99p coffee in Pret.

It could be that there are more advanced ways to organise one’s money, I don’t know. I will perhaps ask Margaret, my accountant, whether I am in tune with current best practice.

Questions for study groups
How do you organise your money?

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Cartoon: Differing heights

differing heights

See the larger version of this cartoon here: Differing heights.

I, being towards the taller end of thingst, often feel awkward when I find myself in a central seat near the front in church (well, in truth I often feel awkward in any seat, but that is another story). This is because I’m certain I’m blocking those behind me from seeing the clip art on the overhead powerpoint. This cartoon is my attempt to provide solutions to this problem.

How about you? Are you among the blockers or the blocked? What solutions do you have to the problem? Please feel free to make any comments on this issue, one of the most pressing for today’s church. In preparation for the debate I have categorised this post under ‘in-depth analysis’.

I should mention that this, along with the other cartoons I’ve posted this week, is taken from the Canterbury Press book ‘The exciting world of churchgoing‘, now available with 10 (ten) % (percent) off.

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Kettles and the extent to which they dribble water, or not

We had a kettle – it dribbled water.

It seemed hazardous to keep dribbling water, what with the electrics and kettle water being boiling, so we got a new kettle that did not dribble water.

Now the new kettle dribbles water too.

Do all kettles dribble water? I have set up a poll on the left to see whether it is only our kettles, or whether everyones’ kettles dribble water.

Yes, I have descaled.

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Holiday photograph 3: Deck chair hire in Torbay

deck chairs

You can always tell a rubbish photographer by the fact that the shadow of their head appears in the lower half of the photograph.

This inspirational picture shows an innovative moneymaking initiative by Torbay Council, who have realised that you can hire out uncanvased deckchairs for 90p per half day. Many tourists are content to bring their own canvas, saving themselves some money and meaning that everyone gets to have a deckchair fabric pattern they are comfortable with.

Tourists who do not bore easily are allowed to sit in the same deckchair for up to a week. The charge for this is £4.90. Wisely the council have kept this weekly charge below the ever-important £5 barrier. No-one in their right mind pays over £5 to sit in the same old deckchair for seven consecutive days.

A drain is provided next to each deckchair for safe disposal of teapot dregs. The hexagonal paving is of no particular relevance.

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Holiday photograph 2: Bathing in Brixham Harbour

bathing in brixham harbour

Readers tuning in hoping for a picture of me bathing in Brixham Harbour will, I’m afraid, be sadly disappointed.

I think all right minded people would agree that bathing in Brixham Harbour should be severely frowned upon. But it is the illegality of the ‘attempted bathing’ that presents one of the great moral issues of our time. One imagines that such bathing attempts might fail for various reasons – ill fitting bathing costume, inability to find a suitable locker for valuables, the presence of green slime that only became apparent upon scaling the harbour wall, etc.

My travelling companion was vehement that such attempts should be outlawed in the same way that waving a gun around in a bank is not really the done thing. But I am of the school of thought that says that failed bathing attempts should be allowed for the amusement of the general public, as long as they do not pass that thin line between ‘attempted bathing’ and ‘bathing’.

What do you think? I have added a poll (left) in order to test the mind of the international community on this matter.

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In-depth reflections on Mac ownership

I made the transfer from PC to Mac about a month ago. Here are my thoughts about it, numbered because the ordered list tag exists and I just don’t use it enough:

  1. I changed computers because I had worn out the keyboard letters on my other one out through my furious and continual typing. Also because I had filled its hard drive up with diagrams. And because it wouldn’t play Youtube videos properly owing to a minor but incurable error. And for other reasons I have long since forgotten about.
  2. The Mac is more shiny, has rounded edges and the keyboard is the best I have tried.
  3. It takes a bit of time to get used to a new way of doing things, but most of it you can work out using experimentation. You don’t need to go to the Apple shop for special seminars really.
  4. Most things on a Mac ‘just work’, but some things don’t, so you still need to do a bit of hunting around for drivers and those sort of things.
  5. It still crashes, but rarely. To be fair, I found Windows XP also crashes very rarely if you have enough memory. Unfortunately Firefox makes XP crash continually because it uses excessive resources, but it is still my favourite browser.
  6. It is so good not to need antivirus programmes. They are all troublesome. I’ve had to swear at the ones everyone else swears by.
  7. I love that thing on the Mac whereby you can press the buttons on the side of the mouse and make all your different open programmes appear and disappear (I do it repeatedly just for the joy of it).
  8. I suspect any new computer would have been a huge improvement on what I was using before, but I don’t think a new PC would be this good.
  9. I like using the Mac mouse, but sometimes it stops working. Getting anxious about this and then discovering various remedies is a bad 10 minute experience every new Mac use must go through. They should explain about this ’10 minutes of doom’ in the shop.
  10. I still haven’t got the hang of organising my files and finding things quickly (edit: without typing). The PC system for doing this seems easier to use, but it could just be me.
  11. People on Twitter are very helpful at offering instant advice for which I have been continually grateful.
  12. I still need to decide which programme to use for doing my diagrams. I’ve been spoilt on the PC by the superb but deeply unfashionable Microsoft Image Composer which offers 1) the ability to instantly change canvas sizes by dragging the sides in or out and (2) the ability to drag sprites/layers in and out of the work area. if I find something that can do those things I will be overjoyed.
  13. Unfortunately at the time of writing I still need Microsoft Internet Explorer for my work. Do not ask me why. It is a frustrating set of circumstances which cannot be circumvented by using Safari, Firefox, Opera etc etc etc. This means I still have my PC working in my office and the Mac working in the second bedroom and I wander between the two writing web addresses down on little bits of paper in a deeply ineffective manner. I may have to put IE on the Mac but it is oh so complex to do so.
  14. Overall I am very happy with the Mac and glad I made the change. It is a lot of money to buy one, but when using a computer all day for your job it is worth having good kit. Unfortunately I still need to use both computers at the moment, making my computing the least efficient it has ever been. This is a lamentable set of circumstances that exist because of my peculiar needs.
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End of year speech

This is my final post of 2007 unless something unexpected happens. I have no plans for this to be the case. I am about to take a bit of a break. All being well I will post again on this blog on the 1st of January 2008. During the intervening time comments may be moderated, and it might take me a while to get around to doing the moderating owing to pre-planned slackness.

2007 has been a good year I think, generally for me and here on the blog. I think this year has been the first when I’ve really been able to see how this cartooning lark could possibly work in the longer run. Glancing through my list of posts I also note that in 2007:

  • I did a ‘cartoon talks’ (without a telescopic pointy-thing) in places like Wokingham and at the Portsmouth Diocesan Conference. I’m still hoping to do more of these. I’ve spoken to one or two of you about some of these – we’ll have to finalise some dates in the New Year.
  • The Primates had a meeting and I did a drawing. I have perhaps gone a bit quiet on the Anglican goings-on front in recent months, but expect a few more Anglican drawings in 2008.
  • The SPCK bookshop saga continued to develop and this blog unexpectedly became a place for interested parties to find information.
  • We got cats.
  • My first properly produced calendar was produced, meaning that my annual last minute dash to find a photocopier during the week before Christmas was avoided. Thanks to everyone who has supported my work by buying it.
  • Vegetable racks became a surprise topic of interest.
  • Mrs W and I went to the Christian Blog and Web Awards
  • I posted this cartoon (shown below) on the 17th of January. It was, I think, the most ‘re-posted on blogs’ cartoon of the year on my We Blog Cartoons site.

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

2008 is set to be an exciting year. There are set to be some changes afoot career-wise about which I hope to say more in the New Year. Don’t worry though, I’m not stopping my Church Times cartoons and this site will still be here.

One of my initial challenges during January and February will be to draw the cartoons for a 2009 calendar and to finish the cartoons for a second book. This is quite daunting as I generally struggle for one funny idea a week, whereas I will need to have 5 or 6 a week during this time. This being the case it is likely that I will (if everyone is in agreement of course) be devoting many, if not most, of my posts on this blog to discussion of various church-related topics that will hopefully provide me with my ideas. It might, of course, be unethical to pinch all ones ideas from the internet public, in which case I will go back to sitting up all night staring miserably at a wall. When I’ve done this before it has been quite fun, so hopefully it won’t be too bad an experience for everyone involved.

Finally, a very Happy Christmas to everyone who reads this site, comments on this site, or both. Thanks for all your involvement. See you in 2008.

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Heaps

heaps

In the third month they began to lay the foundation of the heaps, and finished them in the seventh month.

This verse, 2 Chronicles 31:7, is the 30638th most popular verse in the Bible out of the 31101 verses that make up the Bible. This is according to TopVerses.com, a site that ranks all of the verses in the Bible in order of the number of times they appear on the internet.

I am hoping that by posting about 2 Chronicles 31:7 it might be possible to push it up the rankings a bit. To my mind it is quite an informative verse, telling us as it does:

  • Building heaps is a good thing to do.
  • A good heap should always start with a foundation.
  • It can take up to about four months to build a decent heap.
  • ‘They’ built the heaps. Building heaps isn’t a one man job.
  • You need to finish your heaps. There’s nothing worse than an unfinished heap.

Of course it is not a verse without controversy. The preceding verse (slightly more popular – ranked 28320) seems to suggest that cattle and sheep were included in the heaps. Whether they were alive or dead we don’t know.

Top verses is a very interesting site – and thanks to Inspire for alerting me to it. As well as the top verses it includes the top 10 books, the top ten chapters, the top verses in each book and the top verses containing particular words.

The failing, of course, is that one could be led to believe that the verses most often published on the internet are therefore the most important verses. My own view is that the most important themes in the Bible come not from picking individual ‘soundbite’ verses out of context, but by looking at the overall message of entire books. Surely that is how it was intended to be read.

Feel free to post your own devotional thoughts on 2 Chronicles 31:7. It would be great if we could bump it up to the top 5. This would perplex a lot of people, which I’m all in favour of.

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ChurchRail Trail

The Churches and the Railways in Norfolk and Suffolk are teaming up to promote the Churches and the Railways in Norfolk and Suffolk. The ChurchRail Trail has been endorsed by Vicars and enables travellers to get special stamps when they visit churches:

As well as enjoying a unique day out, visitors can win prizes by accumulating stamps each time they visit a church on the trail

ie what I just said.

I am all for going on the train as we urgently need to get all of the cars off the roads by various means. I am also a supporter of churches, but most especially I am a supporter of special stamps. I for one would have more incentive to get up in the mornings if I knew that my comings and goings would be rewarded with special stamps.

I do not know who will be awarding the stamps. Will it be the responsibility of the churchwardens to stamp people, or will the Vicars be standing by with special hole punches to clip people’s tickets? If you are a Norfolk or Suffolk churchgoer and can enlighten us then please do. If you are from anywhere else and can comment from a position of ignorance then you would be just as welcome.

I think that collaboration between the railways and churches is a good thing. If I had my way special trains would be laid on to transport people to church – the time of the return journey being flexible depending upon the length of the sermon and whether there was a good vibe at coffee time. There are good reasons why I do not have my way.

Sorry that there has been a lack of drawings. My drawing morale has been low as it tends to be on about one week in every two. Also people have been writing in because Paypal is once again adding postage when it shouldn’t. To cap it all I am being tormented ceaselessly by the Camera and Scanner wizard.

By the way The Religious Intelligence (silly name) website originally reported on this. As a further aside, I always like the One Railway site as it greets you with ‘Welcome to One’, which is all posh, like. I like that. The announcers say that on the trains too. ‘One hopes you enjoyed your journey’ etc etc etc

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