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

John Davies: Walking the M62

walking the m62

John Davies has now begun his two month walk along the approximate route of the M62 motorway. You can follow his travels on his M62 walk blog here. I have mentioned this before, but thought I’d mention it again as a reminder now he has started.

This post explains why he is doing it. Do add the blog to your feed reader and send him an encouraging comment every now and then.

The above diagram is not to scale so do not use it for navigational purposes.

The 10 Driving Commandments

catholic driving school

The Catholic Church has issued a set of ’10 driving commandments’. See the BBC news report, or the full text of the document (warning: quite lengthy). The document also talks about prostitution, street children and the homeless.

There are of course humourous aspects to a document such as this, but overall I think that it is a very good initiative. Well done to the Catholics. I think that Christians generally would do well to reflect on how they conduct themselves on the roads. The following section from paragraphs 25 and 26 resonated:

The domination instinct, or the feeling of arrogance, impels people to seek power in order to assert themselves. Driving a car provides an easy opportunity to dominate others. Indeed, by identifying themselves with their car, drivers enormously increase their own power. This is expressed through speed and gives rise to the pleasure of driving. This makes drivers wish to experience the thrill of speed, a typical manifestation of their increased power.

The free availability of speed, being able to accelerate at will, setting out to conquer time and space, overtaking, and almost “subjugating” other drivers, turn into sources of satisfaction that derive from domination.

Cars particularly lend themselves to being used by their owners to show off, and as a means for outshining other people and arousing a feeling of envy. People thus identify themselves with their cars and project assertion of their egos onto them. When we praise our cars we are, in fact, praising ourselves, because they belong to us and, above all, we drive them. Many motorists, including the not so young, boast with great pleasure of records broken and high speeds achieved, and it is easy to see that they cannot stand being considered as bad drivers, even though they may acknowledge that they are.

[Being a campervan driver “the free availability of speed, being able to accelerate at will” is a slightly foreign concept, but that is an aside.]

A good summary of the driving 10 commandments:

Those who know Jesus Christ are careful on the roads. They don’t only think about themselves, and are not always worried about getting to their destination in a great hurry. They see the people who “accompany” them on the road, each of whom has their own life, their own desire to reach a destination and their own problems. They see everyone as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of God. This is the attitude that characterises a Christian driver.

[PS. Thanks for the contributions to my cartoon ideas thread below. Please don’t stop!]

Upside down bicycle

People come to this blog to hear the latest in-depth analysis on the religious stories of the day, so I thought today I would talk about my latest invention, the upside down bicycle. This off-topic item will be a disappointment to everyone, I know, but such is the price of technological innovation.

upside down bicycle

The blueprint is shown above. I don’t think that anyone else in the world has invented one , but they might have done. There is a man who has invented the sideways bicycle, as seen on the BBC and elsewhere a few months ago, but that is different.

If anyone would like to purchase the blueprint above contact my people and they will talk to your people.

I can see several uses, the main one being that you could travel places upside down. People wishing to travel upside down at the moment face very limited options. A major advantage is safety – if you fall off and end up upside down you do in fact end up the right way up. Much less disorientating.

You can put this blueprint on your blog as long as you put a clause underneath it saying that people cannot manufacture this bicycle without their people talking to my people first.

Responding to climate change

I sat in a coffee shop today reading the Independent and feeling unhappy.


I know we have known for a long time that the lifestyles we choose to lead are having a disastrous effect on our planet, but it now seems even more definite and even more real.

A lot of the things that usually occupy my mind, such as the problems in the Anglican church (Yes, I know – I do need to get out and about more) now seem really very unimportant.

So, what can we do? Well, I can only speak for myself.

First of all there are lifestyle changes. In my case I think the campervan needs to go. I’m beginning to come to the conclusion that someone who calls themselves a Christian can no longer own a campervan with a clean conscience. Campervans are a lot of things, but green really isn’t one of them. Perhaps I should scrap it rather than selling it so that no-one else gets to pollute the atmosphere with the dashed thing.

I also need to be a bit more serious about using my bicycle rather than driving places. I’m quite good at this, but I could be better. I haven’t been very good over the last few months as my bike keeps on developing stupid little problems that I can’t fix, but I need to resolve to do better.

I suppose the other weapons I have at my disposal to do something, (even if it isn’t much) are my cartooning ability and the fact I can make websites. Therefore I am thinking that a good thing to do would be to build a new website with cartoons that have an environmental message, and somehow (via means that I have not exactly fathomed out) use this as a lobbying tool to put pressure on governments to do something. If you can think how this might work please let me know.

I think that is the main thing we can do – demonstrate that we feel strongly about the issue and use whatever skills we have to influence people in power to do what they can. And do what we can to fight apathy and ‘nothing I do will make a difference anyway’. I don’t know what else to suggest.

Advice to Guildford Council about the operation of their Park and Ride scheme

bus routeI have a degree in Transport so I am qualified to give this advice.

  1. Have some signs from the main A3 explaining where the Park and Ride is. There are no signs from the A3 explaining where the Park and Ride which makes it difficult to know where it is if you are approaching from the A3.
  2. Have some signs from other roads that explain where the Park and Ride is. There are only a few poorly situated signs on other roads explaining where the Park and Ride which makes it difficult to know where it is if you are approaching from other roads.
  3. At the Park and Ride have a sign explaining where people should park. At the University Park and Ride there is no information about the Park and Ride anywhere except the single sign at the entrance to the University. The car parks say Pay and Display, but does that apply to Park and Ride people and is this even the car park for Park and Ride anyway? The result is that people do not know where to park.
  4. At the Park and Ride have a sign explaining where people should ride. There is no information about where to get a bus at the Park and Ride. The result is that those people who have managed to park do not know where to ride.

My advice to people going to Guildford. Go by train if you can. If not make sure you have a leaflet before you go. If you do not have a leaflet your visit is likely to be filled with misery.

I have sent this report to Guildford Council for their perusal.

Update: Well, I tried to contact them. The website feedback form gives an error.

The cycling revolution

As avid followers of my cycling category will know I recently bought a new bicycle and have been riding it hither and thither. I find that after a day of doing drawing or admin or websites or blogging getting out into the fresh air is just what you need. I go though fairly uninteresting housing estates and bumpy semi-cyclepaths, but it doesn’t matter. I just enjoy it.

I was please to read via Richard’s blog that cycling is significantly on the increase, according to the Independent. Ian has a picture of the front page of the newspaper: Pedallingmythoughts: Newspaper front page of the year. Marvellous. Come on everyone – if you are physically able to ride a bicycle (and I realise not everyone is) then why not give it a try? See my other cycling posts for bike-buying advice.

I think the final word needs to go to Steve Tomkins though:

Anyway. Now I’m a born-again cyclist. (I get fit and I go to be with Jesus when I die.) It’s fab. Whhhhhhheeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!! I go, when it’s downhill, the wind in my helmet, my life in my hands. When it’s uphill, it’s more “Ugh – ugh – ugh – ugh – ugh…” (stop and pretend to fix something on my bike while I get my breath back) “…ugh – ugh – ugh”. But then it’s a truly righteous feeling when you get to the top – and when you feel those little blobs of cholestrol being traded in for extra minutes of your life.