Candlelight in the Evenings

I’m sitting here, doing my bits-of-work-and-bits-of-writing at the dinner table, and at my elbow, lighting my way, I have a candle (in a wine bottle).  This is my new plan to make life special 🙂

Candles The thought that has been in my mind this week that, given the opportunity, the kind of life I’d like is for my (future) family to have evenings without electricity – to regularly have an hour or two with nothing but candles, lamps, and a big fire for light (it’s kind of a winter dream, you see), leaving lots of scope for talking, singing, stories and so on.  Wouldn’t it be lovely to have the kind of family where that was normal – where the prevailing culture was for five or six year olds to have regular chances to tell stories and perform?  I’d love that.

And I love the freedom to think about it – that my ideas now could affect whole generations of people 🙂

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Now Will You Believe Me?

I’ve been telling people for a little while now (you might have noticed my July 14th posting, for example) that JK Rowling is a Christian and that the Harry Potter books are expressive of that.

I was even doing it in the reception on Saturday night with my new friend Dave Irwin from Belfast.  He was skeptical.

Or sceptical, whichever it is.

Well, if you weren’t convinced before, please read this interview.  It’s entitled J.K. Rowling Opens Up About Books’ Christian Imagery, along with the subheading, ‘They almost epitomize the whole series,’ she says.

Are you convinced yet?

Some Thoughts on Saturday’s Events

Well, it was only ever going to end one way, wasn’t it?

The stage was set: a classic northern hemisphere/southern hemisphere combination; perfect conditions; key performances from key people and a monstrous effort from the supporting cast; one or two big decisions (that, in retrospect, probably went the right way); and then it was all over, bar the celebrations.

I speak, of course, of my sister’s wedding.

Sarah_dress_in_fancy_car Matt & Sarah Sullivan are now somewhere in or near Naples, making the most of the honeyest of Autumn moons.  I, meanwhile, am barely able to stagger around after all the weekend’s exertions.

I might pop up another photo or 3 when the chance presents itself, but in the meantime my Dad’s blog is probably the best place to look, if you fancy it.

After all that stress and effort, everything went remarkably well – we even managed to get the rugby projected up on a wall at late notice – and the mood was very very good the whole way through.  Seeing big piles of relatives and friends was great, plus my job (leading the songs for the service) went off pretty well – much gratefulness to my band, who were all cracking 🙂

And with that, I bid you a temporary farewell – David is a tired boy and needs a good lie down …

Okay then, I’ll write something about the rugby …

Maria & I went on an ‘Engaging with Scripture’ day retreat yesterday – out in Perthshire, one of Scotland’s prettiest spaces – and were therefore saved from ten hours of anticipatory rugby nerves in the name of doing interesting things with the Bible (I ‘meditated’ on Job 33:4 splashing around in the swimming pool).  A really really good day for me.

And so on to the rugby.  By the time we’d made it to the end, Maria, Clare, Debra & I didn’t really have any energy left to actually enjoy the victory, and that’s only one of the reasons why it feels weird to be in the World Cup Final.

Knees The thing is, and I know that everyone knows this, but this England team are not one of the best two teams in the world.  We’re not even in the top 5, I’d say.  And the players know that – they know that if they played a type of rugby that pits 15 individuals against 15 individuals, we’d lose.  We’d have lost against Australia, against France, and against whoever we’ll play next Saturday.  Instead, we’re like South Korea reaching the World Cup semi-finals the other year, doing it by hard work, team effort and by cutting out all our weak options, while stifling the oppositions’ strengths.

And it makes me feel guilty!

There are much, much better collections of players in this World Cup, and it seems a shame that they won’t be rewarded for their abilities (France had been my prediction for champions before it started, by the way).  We’ve found a way to win games that everyone (particularly Tri-Nations people) deride as dull, but if we played any other way we’d lose!  You can’t fault the common sense in choosing not to play to the crowd …

Players 

And now we’re in the final.  I don’t think we’ll win it (just as I thought we’d lose the last two), but there’s no reason not to expect that.  The thing is, I’d like England to be the best team in the world, not just the best knock-out team in the world (which we probably are).

Winning the World Cup should be the crowning achievement for a truly great team (as in 2003), not just a successful conquest.  So instead, I’d like to think of these few weeks as a building block: in 4 or 8 years, maybe we will have a truly great team; one that has built on these fantastic foundations, but has learned to be aesthetically thrilling as well as gritty and successful.

At the moment, they are showing the world how little ability you need if your performances are wholehearted, but I’d like the World Cup to take something a bit more special than a few drop-goals to win.

WHAT AN ABSOLUTELY FRICKIN’ AWESOME DAY!!!!!

Oh my life!!

It is very rare that France winning a rugby match can cap a perfect day.

I was going to write something fizzy and excitable this afternoon about England demolishing Australia’s pack on the way to the most comfortable 2 point win I’ve ever seen, but I was scared that the All Blacks would rather burst my balloon by walking all over les Bleus a couple of hours later.

Well, they did, but despite that, they still managed to lose – I still can’t really work out how.

France could barely get their hands on the ball, let alone advance down the field, so to score two tries and then hold on was completely astonishing to me.  And when, with 80 minutes up, Jean-Baptiste Elissalde got hold of the ball and ran towards his own try line (in order to kick the ball off the field), Clare, Anna & I were jumping up and down in our living room (I knocked over a glass).

The England match was a complete shock – I thought we’d get beaten by 18-20 points – but I’d always had a sneaking suspicion France could do something wonderful to the All Blacks.  And then to do it like they did – soaking up pressure like standing up to an ocean and coming back from 13-0 down – just made everything very very very wonderful.

There has never been a World Cup without Australia or New Zealand in the final, and now neither of them are even in the semi *huge broad grin*

Yes, I lived in NZ for 3 years, and yes, I do have a soft-spot for the country, but frankly, I just LOVE it when they lose – almost as much as when the Aussies get beaten 🙂

After that, even Lewis Hamilton (hopefully!) wrapping up the Formula 1 championship tomorrow will be an anticlimax – Amir Khan won his fight tonight and he just wanted to talk about the rugby too 🙂

It’s quite late for me now, but I’ve had a very excitable day and am finding it very hard to wind down …

Very very hard.

Hibs even won away at Rangers!!