Friday, December 28, 2007

Country Love duet with Julie

So for Christmas I got a new Bass guitar from Santie - which was used to record with on Boxing day - I have completed the first and last Country song with the inestimable Julie on vocals. I have turned it into a duet as we had terrible technical problems with intermittent faults in the wiring and crackling on the vocals and a random change mid recording in the vocal effect - SO THIS IS JUST AN OUTTAKE ALRIGHT!!! All on the Di Griso myspace site

Friday, December 21, 2007

"The Christmas story is a legend" says Archbishop

In the Times today is an article observing that 2007 has been a bad year for Faith what with Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Philip Pullman, Mohammed the Teddy and finally the good old Archbishop expressing his opinion that the traditional Christmas story is largely legend. Good timing!!
The journalist Gerard Baker closes with the following comment "That faith, by its very nature, entails doubt. If we could be really, truly certain, about the existence of God, what, really, would be the point of it all?
It is the Christmas Story, or legend if you will, as much as anything we believe, that underlines this essential tension between faith and doubt.
You'd have thought (and certainly the pre-Christians did) that the Son of God, when He chose, would enter the world in a way that would leave no doubt who He was or that He existed.
But He chose instead to come in a way that ensured just about the maximum room for doubt; merely another barely noticed nativity in the most miserable of circumstances. If you were lucky enough to be one of those shepherds on the hills around Bethlehem who got the news from the angelic host, or one of the wise men who followed that star, you were lucky. No long, dark night of the soul for you. Instead, just one brilliant flash of celestial light and the secret of the universe was revealed.
But for the rest of us, forced to ponder the complexity of our existence and the competing implausibilities of faith and unbelief, that was surely the point of the manger, the stable, the ox and the ass. That God would choose to come among us in such a way is so strange, so inexplicable, so unbelievable, it compels us to believe. " NUFF SAID

Monday, December 10, 2007

Gale force winds over the channel

Two rock and roll crossings over a long weekend in Normandy - the return being at gale force 7-8 with massed breakage of crockery in the restaurant over lunch and a passenger being thrown out of her chair. Still we delivered the new cooker and I varnished the oak floor 3 times in one day and then the next day we set up the new kitchen as pictured, without the actual new cooker as we ran out of the required energy to actually install it.
Also lit the new woodburner and relaxed in front of it after a hard day! That was after the smoke had cleared, this was its` first time alight after all. We also did a lot of cleaning builders do seem to be very skilled at making mess. The next stage begins when the new bathroom goes in on the first floor, hey more mess to come, bring it on!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Jonnys back on the road again

Here's Jonny with his truck! This was kindly taken by the Robinsons, who keep us up to date via their blog!
Unfortunately the engine blew up (probably due to oil starvation) not long after this, however a cash injection from England ensured the replacement is now installed and he is back on the road again.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Autumn leaves

We often moan about the weather but Autumn beauty is an intoxicating blend of colour, light and shade if we take time to look.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Day out in Hartlepool

Oh yes, the climbing, adventure park that is Summerhill! We discovered it yesterday! and James and Anne discovered climbing!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Invitation to the party

Anne and I are on Facebook as well now - due to the necessity of keeping vaguely in touch with our errant adult children. I will add links onto the side menu!
I have now firmly ditched motorbiking since my last accident (which was very painful) and wrote off my beloved Yamaha 1000 V-Twin - however being the son of my father, this year has seen the renaissance of my love for guitar playing which has been quite a surprise. You don't expect a teenage dream to become true in your 40's but for me that has happened. I continue to embarrass myself by going public with my music under the name Di Griso but despite the cringeworthy mistakes (of which there are many) I have managed to persuade someone who has been in the professional music scene to record her vocals on a song I have written next wednesday. She has a black soul voice so if the experiment works I will put it up on the Di Griso site as an Mp3 download.
This weekend Anne and I or one of us are being interviewed on the local radio because we are having Michele Guinness over to stay next weekend to speak on the subject of "Invitation to the party" and launch her new book at our church. As well as that I am speaking on Apostleship on Sunday, Anne is going to London for a medical conference, tonight we are going to an evening of Stand-up comedy and live music which is hosted by my exceedingly mental GP in Stokesley just down the road - it is called Stokesley Humour And Gig - hmmm notice the acronym!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


What if William Shakespeare had been a Yorkshireman, instead of hailing from deepest Warwickshire?
And what if he had lived in the time of good Queen Victoria, not Bess?
Duke Theseus’ court in A Midsummer Night’s Dream reflected the Victorian 19th century just as effectively as the original elements of Elizabethan England.
And the fairies of the Forest of Arden could just as easily have been in the Valley Gardens of Saltburn!
So I went to the Autumn production of Saltburn ’53 Drama group - "Shakespeare-by-the-Sea.
A class-ridden society, with a powerful underworld: the court, the working class ‘mechanicals’ and the naughty fairies (all dressed as ladies of the night) comprise the three intersecting worlds of the play.
There were some hilarious performances particularly Peter Quince and Bottom tho all the mechanicals were like the Three Goons. Portraying Titania and the fairies as Victorian ladies of the night was a great idea but the outstanding performance was that of Hermia closely followed by Lysander, Demetrius and Helena.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Walk for Rhema school

As you may be aware Anne and I have been supporting Rhema school in Uganda since 2002 when I first visited Kampala. So Saturday found me doing a sponsored walk/run with my team from work.
Between us all, we covered over 60 circuits of Sedgefield racecourse (1.26 miles) in 4 hours - dressed as the Pink ladies and T-Birds from Grease.
There were over 20 other teams with prizes presented by yours truly and the whole day raised over £4000 - it was organised by Denise Wyatt who went as a Blues brother (central in the picture with her team).

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Road of Nutters

Here are a few images from our holiday in Normandy - the weather was mixed - pants the first week and fabulous the second. We made some big improvements in the house, painting-wise and had lots of good eats, swimming in the bay of Mont St Michel (which was as warm as Mexico in April!) and new discoveries of gastronomic significance - three ways to eat Foie Gras, the best andouillette EVER and a marathon walk in the muddiest woods with bikes and giant orange slugs.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Bernard`s visit and news from Rhema School Kampala

Bernard visited us for one night as he was in the UK for a prayer conference for Uganda, and we were able to give him a Newcastle United top and about 30 football shirts for the children of Rhema School. I am collecting premiership shirts to send out to Kampala and I have about 200 more shirts to send out via Bernard`s brother-in law who ships out regular containers!
Bernard brought great news that we are about to start building the new school in November and so a trip to lay a foundation stone is planned next year. The access road shown as it was in 2005 has been surfaced to allow the building materials in! The next picture shows the current classrooms and why we are seeking to build a new 3 storey school for these children.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Di Griso and knicker magnets

Things are happening at a fair old pace at present - last week was the final development and presentation of our 5 year business plan for Foundation Trust status. We were heavily influenced by the discreet, gentle and subtle policies of William the Conqueror when he harried the North - by Monday we heard that our "Slash and burn" policy had been approved.
Now of course I am joking, as with our Kaizen philosophy of eliminating waste and pursuing perfection we can cut costs and improve quality!
What else - well we had the visit of the Mallon clan of Sheffield - they were dragged huffing and puffing around the local hills and when not complaining about the "long walks" (Sue) were grumping about the cold (Nigel) as we sat out in the balmy evenings (10 degrees) by the fire - it was great fun seeing them all in olde englande!
On Sunday I was to be found leading worship at our intimate evening meeting which was the first time in my life I was playing alongside a live drummer and another singer! I really enjoyed it but it was stressful. Music making is the theme of this year with the three Di Griso brothers - who hail from a little alpine village on the italian border with Slovenia.
Tonight our neighbour popped round and amongst other things told us about knicker magnets - "LadyCare is a small powerful, static magnetic device that simply attaches discreetly and comfortably to your underwear. LadyCare is a safe,drug free product designed to go on helping reduce the symptoms of menopause..."

Monday, September 17, 2007

We are alive

Ok it has been ages, but we have done nothing too exciting. I mean,sent Jonnyoff to the USA for a year, don`t know when we will see him again!! Ruth secretly dyed her hair and now looks like she should be in a girl band. Debbie at last went back to school after 3 mths holiday and James is ruling the roost, well somebody has to take over from Jonny!! Oh we actually had a fab time in France and now have the builders in! Two people had birthdays, lots of us partied on, and the Mallons came to join us at our house for a change, we ve been out to their house loads recently so it is time they did some travelling!!

We do go to work as well but lets not spoil the moment!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

La Famille Cloche est en vacances

This view was on a walk in February near to Bagnoles where there is a Michelin starred restaurant 20 mins from our house in Normandy.
This time we will try the restaurant!!
Tasks for the summer Normandy trip will be to get the roof repaired from the "catastrophe naturale" which occurred in June when the roof sklights were broken by enormous fist-sized hailstones.
We will have visits from a builder, an insurance agent Cecille, and an Ian an englishman who has a bathroom and kitchen business in Normandy.
The wine cellar in england is terribly depleted deliberately par moi so I can go on a lovely wine buying spree - we have almost run out of "fizzy pop" - Cremant D`Alsace!
We have yet to go to Falaise and Deauville and Alencon and the Loire so expect lots of pics on return!
A bientot mes amis!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Seeing signs

This is a guy called Richard resting in front of the art exhibition in our Church. He built the displays and the exhibition has attracted sponsorship from Greenbelt Arts and has been on show for the last month. It will be going to another church for display and oh yes did I mention I had a painting in it - hohohoho I can legitimately say I am an exhibited artist, which with me reading one of "me love poems" at New Wine in front of about 150 people at a fringe event means I am an artist and a poet!!
Doncha know it.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

and the animals came in 2 by 2

So there was this "severe weather warning" from the Met office for the East Midlands, when we were driving down to Newark for our annual christian camp. For the geographically challenged..........Newark is in the east Midlands!!! I`m not saying there was a lot of rain but we had to release a raven and a dove from the car to make landfall. On arrival most of the site was under the aforementioned H2O and we were unable to get onto Red4, let alone put anything up! We were moved to the disused airfield next door and were on the old runway!
What was amazing were the children who had a whale of a time (probably Jonah`s!) tho' a lot of adults looked thoroughly grumpy!
Anyway this year Anne did her first seminar "Suffer the little children" where she asked Philippa Hannah (her brother is the bassist in Jamiroquai! Check her out at to play a few songs and sing over the parents with their little ones on the floor. It went very well!
I did my usual sex (Hot Monogamy for men!) and anxiety (Overcoming Stress and Anxiety) and depression kind of thing. The latter was at Shepton Mallet in Somerset at the end of the week when Ruth and I travelled down for one night and packed about 600 people into a venue for 250 with no ministry team.... hmmmmm!
Despite the weather the spiritual refreshment was amazing and spending quality time reflecting on where we were at in life with God and His people was invaluable.
It is always humbling to realise yet again that God is the voice who speaks at the centre of everything and that He never shouts - so when we take time to be still and listen He is there at the centre - loving us.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

New Wine (ing)

Well tomorrow we go to Newark for our annual camping/caravanning week where it has been fairly deluged with rain in recent times - the showground has variously been described as "half under water" or "soggy" - the forecast for the next 2 days is heavy rain!
Ruth and Debbie are on teams and Anne and I are doing 3 seminars between us so it won`t be easy to run away!
If we die of trenchfoot then this will be the last blog!
Here is a picture of me looking at our campsite pitch! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Good times in Newcastle

Newcastle as you will be aware is the cultural and spiritual centre of the known universe. There is nowhere on the planet that can compare for a good night out.
For those of you who knew the old city a few years ago, you are in for a shock - the Quayside is now beautiful with the award winning Sage (shown to the left of the Millenium footbridge) as only one of a proliferation of music venues - I recently saw Magnum in the new Carling Academy venue (3000 standing plus 4 bars) then Rodrigo Y Gabriela who if unknown to you then google them immediately. They are an amazing guitar duo from Mexico who transcend musical and cultural barriers.
Anyway two nights ago we were motored up the A19 by David and Andrea heading for the Cluny pub (in Byker by the Ouseburn) where we met Dugald and Ruth and her boyfriend Aidan in a fabulous converted Lime works building. There we reclined on sofas drinking our peach beers and Erdinger hefe weiss bier before going through for the gig (man) to see Sonic Hearts (a Dexys type band from Liverpool) supporting Jacob Golden who as you are aware from previous postings is the current fave rave of the month with his album Revenge Songs - I supped on my bottle of chocolate beer - oh yes - only to be followed by a coconut beer!
This weekend we are up on the Tyne to try the new Barn Asia restaurant with my sister, which is near the Floataria centre - another must do experience in Newcastle.
Ruth is now esconced in her new house in West Jesmond - the professional cleaners had to be brought in and they (both men) said it was the second worst property they had ever cleaned! Ruth however is delighted with the fact that the previous residents left their TV with functioning Sky and Internet connection as well as a full stocked Kitchen!
Jonny is now having driving lessons (An ironically named "crash course") and his american embassy appointment is on 3rd August.
Debbie is on a sleepover with her ferrari owning friends!
James is currently into his (actually Dad`s!) radio controlled tank with rotating turret and elevating and firing gun!

Monday, July 09, 2007


If you have been paying attention, you might have picked up a slight stress theme recently.
Work has become rather worrying as tight deadlines plus poorly defined tasks and terrible communication in the NHS take their toll.
I opened my On-Line Bible this morning and this was on the screen...
2Co 9:8 God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. leapt out at me this morning, followed by....Col 1:10 We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work.
Blessings from God and learning how to do my work!!

Monday, July 02, 2007

Balladeer misery heaven!

We all piled into David`s bouncemobile that he calls a car and set off over the moors to FARNDALE. I won`t say he was going fast but we overtook Lewis Hamilton in his Mclaren on the way. When we got there we had to endure a swedish songstress who wailed on about how miserable she was since she`d been dumped by her boyfriend and we consoled ourselves with a nice white burgundy followed by an equally nice Loire Sauvignon.
Soon the pain was over and she stopped, then we got Jacob Golden playing songs from his new cd Revenge songs (Sunday Times album of the week in June) followed by Iain Archer (who was in Snow Patrol when they did the Final Straw). They are both pictured when they did a joint session at the end, Jacob on the left and Iain on the right. The both have MySpace sites etc so google them for a listen.
I personally loved the intensity of Jacob and had a brief chat with him and got a signed CD for my collection - which is fabulous - very very very reminiscent of Sounds of Silence era Simon and Garfunkel.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tornadoes, floods and death

With headlines like these we reflected on the worst weather ever experienced in June in the UK yesterday.
There were two tornadoes in Yorkshire and the nation repeatedly heard about the harrowing story of a failed rescue of a 28 year old man who was trapped whilst clearing a drain in Hull. The services spent several hours trying to free him as the flood waters rose and eventually he was drowned. Helicopters were rescuing stranded people from tops of buildings in Meadow Hall in Sheffield as floodwaters rose by 4 feet in a matter of minutes. Cars across South yorkshire were floating away, the picture is of a road in Hull.
As usual roads were in chaos and most mainline trains were cancelled...........and there is more rain to come!
However summer has apparently arrived, as we were invited to our first Strawberry and cream tea of the season on Sunday and Wimbledon started yesterday.
We were transfixed by rain delays which perfectly set up Tim Henman`s match against Carlos Moya for the mid evening - as despite only winning two matches all year, Tim then pulled out the best tennis we`ve seen him play, to give us a 5 set thriller poised at a delicious 5-5 in the final set until the Umpire stopped play because of bad light.
As to the Bellies of Guisborough we have a major roof leak, Debbie has broken a finger in a door hinge, Jonny and Ruth simultaneously want to be taught to drive, the broken elbow has recovered and I resumed my guitar lessons with Kenny the rockstar.
Work is as you`d expect with me having to learn to take some, shall we say, very challenging and robust management decisions which means naffing people off bigtime!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Floods and prayer request in the North

Today tried to drive into West Yorkshire to visit John and Iris, as Scott my brother in law was over from New Zealand. Two diversions due to flooded roads later, we arrived! Yes it has been raining so hard over the last few days that yet again the rivers are bursting and the roads are closed all over North Yorks.
Our roof has become religious and is now holy thus leaking all over Debbies bed!
Still on the foggy, misty and wet side at least we are all at low risk of getting skin cancer.
Regarding the rest of our lives - the business of Mental Health is becoming rather pressured at present as we have entered into the sharp environment of preparing for our Foundation Trust application. This has been described as akin to launching a FTSE100 company. As Angus is not renowned for the detailed knowledge applied to his finances - quite literally your prayer ought to be "Heaven help the Health service"!! If anyone wanted theological proof of God`s sense of humour then just ask "Who let Dr Bell loose in a Directorate with an annual budget of £60 million and a requirement to save £1.5 million in costs annually?"!!!!!
Seriously this is a busy time and has some major implications for healthcare for 1.5 million people - so we`d better get it right - so any spare prayers would be appreciated for the next few months.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Guns...... lots of guns!!

Well what do you do to celebrate an 8 year old boy`s birthday?
You take him and a friend to London to see Dinosaurs and Tanks!!! Yes we hived on down to the railway station at Northallerton where you can park all day for mere pennies and we were in the Natural History Museum by 10.40 a.m. James was 8 and so enjoying himself that he got all the names mixed up - so we visited the Imperial History Museum to see the animatronic T-Rex, fooled about on the Tube and in a London phone box and went to the "Natural War" Museum where we saw Monty`s tank, examined the shell damage in a Jagdpanzer, discussed the relative merits of the Spitfire versus the Focke-Wulfe and sat in a Halifax bomber cockpit.

We went past "Huge"Park Corner and had lunch in "Convent" Garden at "Fire and Stone" Pizza restaurant (TOP RECOMMENDATION!). I think James had as much fun as Dad!!!
The day closed off with a visit to Camden market and a dash to Hamleys toyshop.

On the big day itself, there was a tanktastic birthday cake in the form of a Tiger (PanzerV) in desert livery and a new red bike with front suspension

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Streets of London and Lord of the Rings stage show

It has become a tradition that upon attaining the ripe old age of 18 that Dad takes the newly minted adult to London for a BIG WEEKEND away!
So last weekend it was Jonny`s turn - we took in all the usual sights but in addition saw the Lord of the Rings stage musical at the Drury Lane theatre - being the most expensive musical ever we had high hopes and indeed the stage design and props were magnificent but sometimes the dialogue acting and music were frankly boring. The standout moments were amazing tho - the opening with all the hobbits wandering around the stalls catching fireflies (we were in the middle of the second row!) and the invasion of the auditorium by a band of marauding orcs in the intermission were unforgettable - Lothlorien and Galadriel and the Ents were fabulously realised and there were standout performances from Merry and Pippin who were brilliant. So despite the curate`s egg - it was still well worth seeing and I would recommend it even if you`ve seen the films to death. It is 3 hours long though!

Which one is Jonny the 18 year old?

Jonny and I went to London to celebrate his coming of age - we kept on bumping into lookalikes all over the place!
See if you can tell the difference?