Pleasures Point Us Forward, the

Pleasures Point Us Forward, the
Pleasures Point Us Forward, the

I have been trying to think of a name for our new canoe as all water craft have to have a name of sorts.  I have had several sources of inspiration: “Surface Detail” by Iain M. Banks, “The Sentry” by Robert Crais, and “Finding God” by Larry Crabb.  In Surface Detail, a story set in the far distant future of the galaxy, the Culture spaceships have complete control over their own name and often choose something that expresses their character, attitude or aim in “life”, and it is worth reading at least one of Banks’ books to have a quiet chuckle as they blaze their way through hyperspace.

Robert Crais’ character, Joe Pike, has two large red (red like my canoe) arrows tattooed into his deltoids.  They point forward, reminding him to keep pressing onwards, that there is no going back.  Pike is always looking out for the little guy and ain’t nobody gonna stop him. He doesn’t say much but he has mission commitment in heaps that keeps him focussed on the goal of saving the girl or solving the case or watching his partner’s back or keeping his red Jeep clean (usually all of the above).

Larry Crabb has mission commitment too but he is not an ex-assassin-turned-detective with tattoos.  He is a professor at Colorado Christian University and his mission is, to put it simply, to find God, know God, love God. In his book “Finding God” there is a take-away summary point that has got me thinking:

Our deepest longings are inconsolable. The deepest pleasures in life don’t satisfy – they point us forward. Continue reading Pleasures Point Us Forward, the

Food Aid Program

We are the fortunate recipients of food parcels as part of the church’s pastoral ministry.  Several lucky people have had the chance to see the young Kirsten when they have dropped off a ready-prepared meal during the week.  Who would have thought that having two kids meant there wasn’t enough time to cook the supper?  That said I now know what it is like to be a house husband – exhausting but fulfilling.  Moms and Toddlers, Toddler Gym, swimming classes, sessions at the swings, doing stickers, playing with the diggers in the garden, morning snacks, lunch, sleep, afternoon snacks, afternoon slumps if the sleep never happened – and then try and make tea.  The meals are hugely appreciated!

Apple and blackberry crumble with custard

Daniel certainly likes the crumble.

Happy Anniversary

Happy anniversary to me! I have been working at Angus Council for a year and a day. What a year! Apart from a move out of London up to Scotland, much house hunting, learning a new language, meeting new people, getting involved with a new church there has also been the task of getting to grips with a new job. My to-do list has been whittled down to less than 20 items from about 175 and we have a new enterprise web GIS brewing quietly until it is ready to launch. In addition, there is another baby due any time within the next two weeks. Just to keep us on our toes.

Still here, just!

What a month!  Moving house, cleaning old house, cleaning new house, people to stay, Daniel to wear out, us Parents to work out what to do with the space and stuff, new baby to prepare for…

We’ve just three weeks to go until the predicted due date of bairn number 2 and there is a still a list of things on the To Do list (does it ever reduce?) such as sorting out the family room carpet, painting the kitchen, family room and our bedroom, removing a large set of built in wardrobes, sorting out new baby clobber and collecting buckets of apples.  This past week we’ve all had colds and been in bed as soon after 9pm as possible.  Tiring times, indeed.

I’ll bung some photos in the gallery when I have a moment.  This was just a short note to let you all know we are still alive and well in Newtyle.

Chez Mcdonald

The Family McDonald now have a new house. We picked up the keys on Wednesday and popped in that afternoon to have a look. So much space – all ours – to clean and look after, to fill with family and friends. You can have a look at some of the first pictures in the gallery.

7 years in Tibet

On 11th February 1990 a world and nation changing event happened.  On 11th February 2003 a life changing event occurred.  Yesterday Nelson Mandela celebrated along with the world the 20th Anniversary of his release from prison.  Yesterday, seven years ago, I left Cape Town and boarded a plane to London.  Today I have been in the country seven years.

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Here we are then.  Seven years.  Wow.  Sigh.

What about some numbers?

  • 1 lovely wife
  • 1 fantastic son
  • 4 jobs (getting better)
  • 2 cars (getting bigger)
  • 4 bicycles owned (3 having been stolen)
  • 4 rented properties and 1 owned and now sold.
  • 1 Ancestral visa, 1 Spouses visa, 1 Residency visa, 7 Schengen visas, 1 US, 1 Canadian
  • ~6 sick days (maybe more…)
  • some grey hairs but not enough to make a difference (do they make a difference)
  • 1 beard since July 2006
  • 0kg lost or gained
  • 127 posts on my blog

Lessons from Luke

The sermon series this year at the Steeple Church has started with the Gospel of Luke.  If you like you can listen to the sermons here.  The last talk was on the parable of the sower of seeds.  To illustrate the point egg shells filled with moist cotton wool were placed in egg cups and everyone under the height of 3ft invited to liberally sprinkle seeds onto the damp cotton wool.

We now have two egg shells on the kitchen window sill bursting with new life.  Using the new Super Macro function on our new camera I have been taking some pictures showing the daily changes in the tiny seeds.

Monday 8th February – note the clear gel around each seed.  Any ideas?
Seeds Day 1

Tuesday 9th February – tender little roots coming out.
Seeds Day 2

Wednesday 10th February – definite upward growth towards the fluorescent tubes.
Seeds Day 3

Thursday 11th – Wilma’s birthday and …

thirty three

Sunset on Broughty Ferry Beach, looking east.Well here I am, entering the twilight of my youth.  Happy Birthday to me.  I thought I had better write something down on my birthday and I thought that some targets for the year ahead would be a good thing.  It’s a bit like doing New Year Resolutions only you have had some time to think about them.  I’ve had an extra 5 weeks.

So, in no particular order:

  • Apply for a British passport
  • Apply for South African citizenship for Daniel
  • Buy a canoe
  • Sort out a more permanent accommodation solution for the family
  • Bring the Angus GIS up to speed
  • Explore the Angus hills and rivers more with Daniel and Amy
  • Prepare a couple of “best man” speeches [edit: this is now underway]
  • Enjoy good holidays when we take them
  • Keep in touch with people with something other than Facebook
  • more to be added later when I think of them…

Looks like it is going to be a full year.

Mixed Gallery updated

The Mixed Gallery has been updated.  There is a new album in Year 2009 showing time with friends and the “Daniel Abroad” album has been updated with some new images as well.

Click here to check them out.

How to choose a utilities supplier

Energy suppliersMoving home involves so many interconnected processes.  Mail subscriptions need to be cancelled or rerouted.  General mail needs to be rerouted by Royal Mail (for a small fee). Telephone and Internet need to be synchronised and migrated to the new address.  Utilities need to be stopped and final bills calculated. Council tax needs to be stopped and the mortgage needs to be tallied up and finalised.  Banking details need to be updated.  Car insurance and travel assistance need to be recalculated based on the new address and changes to driving patterns.  The list is endless…

Once all the existing connections between you, the house and large corporations have been severed new connections need to be established to allow life to go on.  It is a chance to have a think about costs and budgets and available options and try to find the best deal.  So how do you go about this?  well, I have done it a number of ways over the last six or seven years, with varying degrees of complexity: the simplest – get your friends to sort it out; go with the existing supplier; get suckered by a cold caller at the door or on the phone; or do all your own research on the web using the comprehensive tools available.

Comparison sites

These are some of the sites I have used to get an idea of how life works outside of London

http://www.ukpower.co.uk/home_energy/
http://www.energychoices.co.uk/
http://www.simplyswitch.com/

Reviews, ratings, opinions and advice

These are some of the results the search engines returned that have proved to be quite useful.

Survey results
Huh? What’s this?
Where are we going to live?

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