Sunday, 29 February 2004

So... change of plan. Today I go to Plymouth Cathedral for the rite of election. I wasn't going to, and I feel I must apologize to everyone at the chaplaincy for not strumming at them this morning like I was going to, also to Fr. Paul for not being round to meet a person he thought I should speak to, and to whoever might miss me on the walk to the Double Locks. Sorry.

I think they might forgive me given that my reason is that last night I decided to throw my lot in with the Catholic Church. That's slightly misleading actually - it wasn't like a decision at all. For a very long time I've been thinking and occasionally saying, to whoever seemed to want to hear, that the decision to join the Church really seems too big for me. How would I know what criteria to apply? How could I go against the principle of the authority of private judgement and yet commit myself to an organization that claimed to mediate that responsibility?

Actually, I still don't know. What I do know is that I was reading, and then I was praying, and after that I was sort of past the decision. That's probably the best way of describing it. It was there in my mind that the natural thing to do was to become a Catholic, and it stuck, and I was bewildered. I sat there for a long time on the floor in my sleeping bag (it seemed like a good place to pray at the time), critiquing myself, thinking things like "Well, I do feel a little feverish.", "Perhaps it's only because I like the idea of authority* - that's no reason to attribute it to the first body arrogant enough to make that claim." and other such things. And they seemed less real than the decision which I believe God brought about.

Upon stepping outside my door it still seemed to be there, and it also survived the rather prosaic spectacle of seeing Norris playing Nightfire in the front room, occasionally muttering things about skags and floozies.

For the rite I need a sponsor, something I hadn't arranged because I hadn't intended to go, so I roped James into it. It means that I need to do other things to, like get hold of a copy of my baptismal certificate, and probably re-arrange how I spend my Easter, though I'm going to try my best to be at home for it if possible. I should also point out that I won't, um, officially speaking, if that's an adequate way of phrasing it, come out of Plymouth Cathedral a Catholic this afternoon. Assuming things run according to their ordinary usages, I would be received into the Church at Easter, hence the bother about whether I'm at home or not.

So, yeah. A more dramatic evening than most, I thought.

* That argument had a good airing today as well. We had spent most of a day doing a personality test which suggested the following; that I desire security above many things, that I doubt and fear greatly, that I desire a trustworthy authority, that I tend towards obedience and conformism, that I desire to know where I am located within a hierarchy, and, last but not least, that I am happiest in acting with the backing of "dogma", or an analogous rule-book. In short, that I tend towards being a sheep, which should be okay so long as I have a Good Shepherd.

Monday, 23 February 2004

Good afternoon. Well here I am at work, trying to think how best to summarize the week. It would be a start to say that Ella was here, which seemed to involve the watching of many films. Perhaps more exciting things happened during the day, but I was not around to see. They flew kites I believe, and I went to the Ram quiz for some reason. Joint second we were, I think.

Stayed up till one playing Scrabble on Thursday/Friday night, which made Friday a little weaing, but fortunately there wasn't an insurmountable amount of work to do.

Now the weekend was rather fun. Ella left on Saturday, but before she did, we watched Police Story, and shortly afterwards decided to make a kung-fu movie. But not kung fu. And probably not much of a movie. We shot some of the scene on Saturday and some yesterday. Cushions were piled, head-scratching was engaged in, about a million poorly-executed flying kicks were, well, executed and my forearms came in for a prolonged bruising by Norris while James pondered why it was that Jackie Chan looks cooler than Norris and I put together. Naturally in respect to myself, I have no idea, but the principal difficulty with Norris is that after a maximum of half a second's quasi-seriousness, he tends to turn as camp as Christmas and gyrate worryingly. Still, all good fun, even if you can tell that James doesn't really have a vision other than it being "dead good."

I also wrote a song on Saturday. It has chords and words, and I can't remember it now, but I wrote it down.

Sunday was good. I got a bit emotional in mass thinking about the theophanies of Isaiah and Ezekiel in contrast to Jesus as a child and on the cross. Guitar playing was a little ropey, but I sang my responsorial psalm okay. A clarinetist(?) joined us, but I think she may have been a little disheartened after finding herself overwhelmed by transposition issues, which I was of no help with. I meant to have a word afterwards, but she went off while I was suggesting to Irene that we check whether the double locks would be open next week. We had an idea we should walk there after mass.

Last week it was duck-feeding, this time Irene, Rachel and myself went for a little walk in Sidmouth, which was kinda cold and windy, but nice. And the sea looks really cool and more analagous to infinity the higher you are. Chatted in a pub called the Black Horse after this. Talked about various things. Rather "weirded out" to discover that Rachel is younger than me. That's just not right. Foreign students are meant to be older than me - it's the law. It came out that I never dated anyone at uni and Irene said she was shocked and jokingly suggested that I might like to meet her daughter who apparently shares my birthday.

And that's about it broadly-speaking I think.

Thursday, 19 February 2004

Gosh, what a flurry of blogging. I'm feeling all left out, not having written here for quite a while. Now I just need to think of something intelligent to write.




We just got a DVD player. It plays DVDs. Many a happy hour will be spent watching Count Duckula. Quality. I expect Rosy will be round to force me to watch Spaced. He's got it on DVD, despite not having anything to play it on, and periodically lends it to someone at gunpoint. I like Spaced, so this isn't a problem. Why haven't you brought it round yet Rosy? Oh why? I want to watch Spaced now.

Oh well, I'll just have to watch Duckula instead.
Good afternoon people. Yesterday I said to Zosia that I'd blog, so... I am.

Yesterday then. Should probably start with CTaCH wherein it was decided that we would offer to make intercessory prayers for all and sundry in County Hall throughout Lent. Coincidentally, this was about the same time I decided what I was going to do this lent. So Karen (Silcox) and I should be doing a lot of praying soon. At the beginning there was a lot of talk about Melchizedek. Someone thought that Jesus was descended from him apparently, which rather negates the point of the passage.

Oh, and that morning Ella had a stomach-ache, so I got James to make her some ginger tea and apparently it hit the spot.

After work I went over to Nina's. Nina is a genial hostess and not averse to feeding me. Thank you Nina. I had some veggie lasagne, mange tout and lettuce, a banana soy milk-shake and another drink which I can't recall. It was lovely. Just sat and chatted really, as ever; apparently Nina thinks this is not good enough, but I would differ.

I was a bit late leaving Nina's and just got to RCIA on time. I found myself instantly bewildered by the fact that whereas it's usually a local group, today every candidate and their kid brother was there. And I walked straight into the middle of it, which is an architectural necessity. I'm now borrowing a book by Cardinal Hume off of one of the catechists. I shall have to see if I can't finish it off before I forget what Newman's on about. Mike gave me a lift home, and I popped into the house to drop my stuff off before heading over to CathSoc, where drinking games were being played, but without drink. I dread to think how much more slowly the whole thing would have gone if they had been drinking. Then we played Taboo, which I was expecting to not find fun, but it was rather good. And after that, Bible Challenge. That got a bit personal; I was playing to beat Lisa basically. She was far too nice about it, and kept on giving me answers and things. I did beat her, but she helped, so... hang on - I see what she's done, the cunning minx! Well, perhaps not. It's possible she was just being nice. Zosia related her stress and I made soothing ocean noises but it got old a bit quickly. And I made too much noise crushing cans, and got KAren's e-mail to apologise remotely, which I haven't actually done yet, so I better had now. Blogging in the space of half an hour sucks. I could have said a lot more.
I've met several members of David's family in the course of working at his shop, his parents and his sister, Lynda, the latter of whom works in the shop some of the time. She seemed impressed by my houseworking skills, however since I was brought up to do my own housework it's hardly surprising.

Working for David has been a sometimes exasperating experience, the amount of cleaning up I've had to do over the past few weeks has been a little aggravating. It seems that David's shop is a magnet for people who make a mess, I've cleaned takeaway remnants from the front, someones kitchen waste where they had left it by the telephone exchange box in nothing but a black plastic sack, where the local wildlife had torn it open. Most aggravating was someone who has repeated left birdseed, lots of the blessed stuff outside the back door, undoubtedly attracting both rats and feathered rats. The first time the bin was half full of the stuff, the next two times the birdseed was actually collected for Trevor's mother's chickens. Trevor who works in the workshop part of the shop told me that the last person to do something like this died recently, so I'm keeping an eye out for the culprit. I left a couple of polite notes out the back asking the mess makers to reconsider.

The actual work has been going quite well, part from a "flower pot" clock that has kept stopping for no apparent reason, but that's par for the course when working with French-style clocks. David seems to appreciate my computer skills, especially with his new internet connection. I help out Norman, the chap who mostly deals with customers when I can, especially when disposing of the packing material that comes with new stock.

Last week David asked me to move the replacement watch straps into their new stand, and he seemed surprised at the speed at which I was able to handle the changeover, especially as I was reorganising them as I went. Mum seemed to really appreciate the hyacinths I bought for her birthday present, which reminds me that "Birthday Season" is approaching rapidly.

Monday, 9 February 2004

I started my new job today as a Project Assistant. I had to report to the same office that I have been working in as a temp since last July (when it opened), to my manager Mal who is on holiday all this week, at 9am - no chance. So I just turned up for work as usual and got paid alot more than usual. Only difference so far is that I had to go to the town hall this afternoon for an induction which was so boring.

While I was there though we got handed our personal files for some reason and then had them taken back off of us. An excercise to show that they are not keeping stuff about you that you wouldn't like I think someone said. I was being nosy and found my references in the file and my tutor wrote me a really nice reference. I don't actually think that he could have wrote a nicer reference. It was really nice.