About Me

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Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, United Kingdom
Broadcaster, musician, song writer, tea drinker and curry lover.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


It was Fathers' Day last week. Not my favourite day really, since the loss of my own dad ten years ago, but there is actually another reason why I try to avoid all mention of this day, and I've been agonizing over whether I should even talk about it, but I decided I would. So here goes.

If I were in a better place, I am sure I would find very touching the many posts on social media from women on Fathers' Day who want to affirm their husband or life partner as "the right choice" or "the best choice" that they could have made. And yes of course I understand and agree with their sentiments, especially as many of the dads I see referred to are people I know well, and for whom I have the highest regard.

The problem for me - speaking as a long time single person -  is that all that lodges in my mind is "Nobody chose me. I wasn't chosen."

It would be easy to sink into a funk of self pity and resentment, but then of course the truth hits me - nothing earth shattering in its shock value, but no less profound - and the irony is that if anyone else says this to you but God, you would want to flatten them! And that truth is this: I HAVE been chosen. By God. 

In John chapter 15 and verse 16, Jesus says to his disciples: "You did not choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name." (NLT)

This is not just a choice of a partner for life, this is the choice of a co-heir for eternity. This is a big deal. Time and again when I am tempted to sink back into self pity, God has a way of reminding me that it's actually about the long haul, it's forever with God, and there are times -- such as right now -- when I have to type this through gritted teeth because I just do not want to have to admit it, but there are more important things in the scheme of things than being single in this life.

So there you have it. maybe not earth shattering, but sometimes the perspective can be useful. We are chosen by God for EVER, not just a lifetime. And if - like me - you DO have to say it through gritted teeth, so be it. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The First Resort

One of the biggest disadvantages of being so far away from those I love in Oregon is that when something bad happens, I can't rush to be by their side, which is of course the first instinct.

However, one thing that has come back to me again and again since my friend Keri's world was turned upside down last Friday night and her 23-year-old son Jakob was seriously injured in a car accident, is that wherever you are in this world, prayer is effective and real.

We all tend to dismiss prayer as something we do as a last resort. How often have you heard the phrase "Well, I guess all we can do now is pray." Wait just a minute...you didn't pray first??? I know, I know, I'm talking to myself too. But it's true, isn't it? So often prayer is our last resort when everything we can do in our own power has been exhausted. I guess at that stage if we really can't fix it then we'll have to leave it to God.
Prayer is in fact our FIRST resort, and I, like a lot of other people, I suspect, need to train myself to that reality.

When Jake got hurt, there was nothing practically I could do from here, 5000 miles away BUT pray, but boy I am so glad I did, because God HEARS our prayers whenever and wherever (and however) we pray them, and he ANSWERS them.
There's an old saying that goes "The first shall be last, and the last shall be first". Let's make prayer our "first" go-to instead of our last

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Jack & Tollers

Having discovered the joy of reading over the last 18 months or so, the latest book I have finished (literally minutes before writing this, in fact) was Humphrey Carpenter's excellent biography of J.R.R. Tolkein.

Great though it was I could not help but feel a sense of sadness as I read though the account of the author's life. having read several years ago George Sayer's wonderful account of the life of C.S. Lewis ("Jack"), with whom Tolkein was for many years a close friend and literary ally, there is a marked comparison to the perceived atmosphere around both men.

Lewis undoubtedly endured hardships aplenty in his life, including a somewhat difficult childhood and youth, not to mention the death through cancer of his wife Joy Davidman in later years, but the impression one gets when reading "Jack", despite all of this, is one of celebration, achievement and satisfaction.

When it comes to Tolkein, he also experienced hardships when young, but most of the sadness and dissatisfaction it seems comes from his own inability to finish his major works to his own satisfaction.

The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings (NOR a trilogy according to the author, neither - he was at pains to point out was it allegory) and particularly his earlier work The Silmarillion suffered from endless revisions, rewritings, numerous manuscripts and versions to the extent that the author sometimes was unable to remember which manuscript represented his most recent version.

Lord Of The Rings took some 16 years to finish, and even then it wasn't completed properly, since an index of elf names promised in volume 1 never materialized, prompting an apology in early editions of volume 3.

This failure to ever - seemingly - be satisfied with the end product of Tolkein's work appeared to attach itself to the author's later life, in which he complained of an unfulfilled and sometimes boring post-retirement lifestyle. Maybe he also lacked the level of intellectually stimulating company that he needed.

Nonetheless, two very differing impressions are left of two very great authors, and it was sad to come away from such a great read on the life of Tolkein feeling some measure of sadness for the man who, maybe in his own estimation, never quite got there. Wherever THERE was, of course!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A New Way of Thinking

A classical music society that I have known for many years (and was indeed a member of in my late teens/early 20s) is discovering that to progress in this modern world, they need to engage much more with social media. Of course, the problem with longstanding groups and societies such as this is that not so many of its members are social media savvy. In fact, even email is a challenge for some.

Friday, November 29, 2013

International Celebrations

Ah the joys of Thanksgiving! I know it's not a British thing, but I do think we can learn something from the holiday in it's purest form. How often do we spend time remembering all the things we are thankful for? Not nearly enough, I'm willing to wager. The truth is, whether we choose to see it or not, we ALL have things we can point to in our lives where we can say we are grateful to God. It's just an exercise we choose not to perform very much, if at all.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Bowing to the Inevitable

I was writing the other day about how I had bowed to the inevitable and bought a Kindle last year. Now I know I was one of those people who vowed that he would never give in to the power of electronics, especially where books are concerned. The reasons for that are reasons I still agree with; that you can never replace the feel of holding a physical book, especially of the coffee-table variety. E-books will never even get close to that experience.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wherever It Takes Us

Wow, it's been a long time, hasn't it?! June actually. I really envy some people who can just do these things each and every day, AND still be interesting and compelling. Sadly I am not like that. As those who know me closest will attest, I don't really like talking about personal stuff to anyone but those absolutely closest to me, and that's not going to change any time soon.