Received in the Post today

To           David Rowe

Edinburgh, 30 April 2008.

You are hereby served with the foregoing Notice to Quit, Form AT6 and Section 33(1)(D) Notice, by me, Patrick Dooley, Sheriff Officer, 9 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, dated this thirtieth day of April, two thousand and eight years, before and in the presence of Richard Milligan, residing in Edinburgh, witness to the premises and hereto with me subscribing.

Signed:          Witness              Sheriff Officer


Possibly the scariest piece of post ever.  They could have just rung up, said, "We’re sorry, the owner wants to sell the flat so you’ll have to get out," and we would have shrugged our shoulders and packed our bags.  Now we have to do that anyway, but feel fricking intimidated too!  It’s not just the above letter; there’s 6 pages of legal nonsense – the horrifying administratively correct way of saying, "OUT!"

Okay, okay.  I’m going, I’m going …

Being a Writer

When people meet me and ask what I do, I look around for Tom or Josiah to explain, "He’s a writer – he writes novels and things and does other jobs in order to support writing."  It’s good to hear it from them; it reassures me, and I don’t really trust it when I say it myself.

That’s one reason I like my friends.

But really, I’m not being a very good writer just at the moment.  About a month ago, my period of working 10 hours a day finished, leaving me with (reasonably) spare time virtually every day – perfect for a writer, surely?  But no, not really.  I write best first thing in the morning, which, ironically, is the only set period of work I have (7-10am, handing out my Metros), and, having been over-employed for a while, my time-management skills are very poor.  I could easily be writing 2000 words a day, but I’m not, and I’m frustrated.  GRRRRRRRRR!!!

So anyway, I thought you might like to know the stories I’ve been working on in the last two weeks:

          Back To Eden [two boys discover the Garden during their gap year]
          In Search Of A Lock [a guy has a key and wonders what to do with it]
          A Perfect Son [a Jewish boy has autism but no accompanying disabilities]
          In The Abyss And Above [a father & son escape from the Abyss their people live in]
          The Man Who Sold Shares In Himself [self-explanatory]

Quite a few! I tend to flick between things, you see – that may be another reason that I can’t seem to build up much momentum …

The Unbent Banana pt.2

One day, when the clouds were racing and the greens and browns of the plantation were flickering in the changing light, a change came.  The day had started normally enough, with whispers of Is she still big? fluttering from sister to sister, none of whom realised how horrible they sounded.  And then, other voices were heard.

“Yes sir,” said one, submissively.

Two men came by.  The second of them they had seen before, since he was the plantation manager and an important person in his own way.  But the man who preceded him was much different.  He was foreign – white – tall and solemn-faced beneath his white hat.  His name was Paul O’Connor.  Mr O’Connor worked for the Irish government and was inspecting the plantation – one of many in Belize from where the Republic of Ireland imported bananas into the European Union.  Mr O’Connor had three other locations to visit that morning before meeting with the Irish consul, but his eye for detail never left him because of mere busyness.  He came to a stop beneath a tree.  About seven feet above his head, the unbent banana hung helplessly.

“You’ve got a bit of a giant here,” he noted in an understated voice.

“Yes sir.”

“Stands right out from the rest.  Very large.”

“Yes sir.  Very large.”

“Too large for the EU though.”

“Yes sir?”

“Yes – too large – too long – probably too straight as well, knowing them.  Make a note of it.”

You can imagine the effect that these words were having.  Several of the bundle were barely able to contain their glee, and the sound of tittering fell from the tree.  Others – the more thoughtful of the bunch – now began to feel sorry for their sister, who would now be left to rot alone; unpicked, unbought, uneaten.

“Could I use your phone?” was all Mr O’Connor said.  The two men turned to leave the way that they had come, and in their absence, the titters overflowed in a torrent of laughter and gossip and spiteful song.  No one had heard anything like this before.  And one banana stayed still and silent, sizable and straight, wondering how things could get any worse.

                                                           [to be concluded!]

William Blake

I thought I’d show you my favourite painting, since it’s the sort of thing I don’t usually do.  This is The Body Of Abel Found By Adam And Eve, by William Blake.  I wrote an essay on it at university, and get slightly obsessive about the grave and spade in the foreground.  Anyway, hope you like it – would be glad to hear your thoughts.

[click for a larger version]


Evolving Evangelicals

[please note possible irony in that title]

I was just reading an interesting article online (from the LA Times or something I think, so necessarily United Statesian in its outlook) which included this observation:

Over the last 50 years, evangelical Christianity in the United States has moved away from fundamentalism, which is still dedicated to the idea of separation from an ungodly world. Evangelicals believe that the way to change culture is to participate in it, albeit with caution. Particularly in the last decade, as the movement has matured, intellectual institutions — journals, scholarly presses and advanced academic work — have quietly budded within evangelical circles.

Now, I don’t exactly call myself ‘evangelical’ (although I do believe in the evangel), but it has been the area of the Church with which I’ve had most contact, so I’m interested that it/they/we have changed significantly enough for the secular press to notice – a very healthy thing, especially since these are very healthy-looking changes.

Not sure I have much more to say than that.  But in writing this I’ve been wondering what Christian label I would presently stick on myself – always an awkward thing, especially since I can never handle other people’s nomenclature, and have to create my own.  Therefore I am (for the moment) a ‘non-conformist orthodox trinitarian who likes TD Jakes a lot’.  We are a small denomination.  Join us!  Let us point fingers at pharisees together 🙂


bits of the Bible I am presently noticing

Blessed are the meek…

The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously…

Do not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing…

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…

Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more important than food?

His intent was that now, through the Church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known…

I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that passes understanding.

Yet another reason to vote Lib-Dem

This is one of the most astonishing political interviews I’ve ever read: Piers Morgan with the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg:

Piers Morgan: Was the invasion of Iraq illegal?
Nick Clegg: There’s a strong case to suggest it was in breach of UN resolutions, yes.

PM: So, assuming it was illegal, would it be justified for Iraqis to exact revenge on Britain?
NC: I don’t think you remedy an act of violence like that.

PM: If Iraq had invaded Britain illegally, you would have said it was morally justified for us to attack them back, wouldn’t you?
NC: Yes, I probably would.

PM: So why is it not morally justified for them to attack us back?
NC: I wish it was that simple.

PM: If it is morally certain one way, surely it has to be the other way, too?
NC: No, you are repeating the error of Blair and Bush, this Old Testament view of moral rigidity that says you compound one thing with another.

PM: If Iran illegally bombs London next month, should we retaliate?
NC: Of course we should.

PM: But you say it is not morally justified for Iraqis to attack us?
NC: Because foreign affairs cannot be driven with absolute moral precision.

PM: I don’t understand why Iraqis don’t have a moral right to attack us if you say we illegally invaded them.
NC: I can see how people could construct a moral justification. But I don’t think the morality of invading Iraq is expunged by them attacking us.

PM: I’m baffled. If Iraq invaded us, you would say it was morally justified to strike back, but it’s not morally justified for them to do it to us even if our invasion was illegal?
NC: If you are invaded illegally, then clearly you feel you have a moral justification. But that isn’t a sensible way to conduct foreign affairs. Bush and Blair waged war on Iraq through misplaced moral certainty.