Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Angel of the North

After finishing my university January Exams, myself and a few flatmates had a week off before the next semester officially began. We decided to go on a few day trips in the local area and one of the best was to the Angel of the North. We got the bus there in pretty good weather; but as soon as we arrived the sky darkened, the wind picked up and it started violently snowing! We braved the elements and walked up, you could see the clouds sweeping over and the snow falling for miles around. It was absolutely amazing. As soon as we got the bus back it cleared up again and there was blue skies!

After dark literature review

So what books are you reading? - currently I have on the go three fabulous books - Future Shock by Alvin Toffler, which is an analysis of the rate of change in society over the last 100 years with a particular focus on the effect of the pace and transience of life today on our psychology - it was published in 1970 and I read it as a teenager but wanted to revisit it in the light of my current role in the NHS - the other book is the Toyota Way by Taiichi Ohno which is equally challenging re the analysis of wasted resource in organisations (just don`t think about the amount of wasted time in church organisations!!!), the final one is Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman which is absolutely amazing tho' written from the perspective of a non-christian psychologist - the church could learn a lot from this man!!
I am about to start Day Watch which is translated from the russian and is the sequel to NightWatch which is a gothic romantic thriller set in present day Moscow, played out on a dramatic foreground of vampire hunts, shapeshifters, and magical battles contrasted by gritty descriptions of urban decay in Russia.

Barmy weather!!!!

Ok - this is ridiculous - today was 12 degrees (Aberdeenshire was 15!) at least 9 degrees above the monthly average - the hawthorn hedge is budding and the daffs are blooming. Anne and I went to Saltburn beach to have Cocktails, it was so warm.
Dreading visiting cold Arizona in March!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Gambling and Foreign Aid

Middlesbrough is being granted a licence to develop a large Casino, Manchester will build a SuperCasino! We already have the National Lottery, now established in the nation's psyche.
As Britons, we gamble away £60 billion annually, compared to the government giving approx £5 billion in overseas development aid which is 0.48% of our GDP. The USA gives about 0.2% GDP in overseas aid by comparison and is the meanest country, whilst Denmark is the most generous.
Food for thought, at least for those of us who have food on the table. Government Aid is not only stingy but also is frequently tied to specific countries and often companies and with demands to liberalise the import export market (benefitting the donor country) according to prevailing policies etc. Usually the amount of aid received is less than the subsequent cost to the recipient country in terms of increased imports. Hmmm what does that make you want to do?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Another week goes by

Ok what are the Bells up to at present - this week we went up to Newcastle to see Robert Ward get "Licensed" by the Bishop of Newcastle as the Non-Stipendiary Assistant Curate to the St Lukes Spitaltongues Fresh Expressions Initiative Newcastle - which I think ought to be abbreviated to "Express Phlegm Church"- he basically has been given an old church next to the Dental and Medical schools which was closed down due to lack of congregation. The service was a bit boring and religious until Robert was presented to his congregation and there was whopping and a hollerin` with a stampin` of the feet - afterwards there was champagne and cake and JJohn gave a little talk using Robert's name as inspiration - and someone gave him £50,000 for heating as there is none at all, on the night.
Anne has been viral, watching House and Joan of Arcadia on DVD - the latter is a very clever take on Joan of Arc where a 16 yr old girl gets visited by God and given tasks to do (Angus and Debbie like it too!).
Angus signed a letter to Lord Carlile who was quoted in Hansard as saying (after our visit the other week) that we were a disaffected faction who were unrepresentative in our views - OK NOW WE ARE VERY DISAFFECTED!!!
Ruth is back today, Jonny does his SATS for american university tomorrow and we have a family do up in Newcastle with my brother and sister tomorrow.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Anticyclone on the way!

Ok so I bragged too early. We have been enjoying warm temps for too long, the anticyclone that has been over America (snow in texas!) has moved out over the Atlantic and is on its way drawing polar air over the uk this week - subzero temps are on the way, at least for the South East coast hahahaha. Thank
Mind you there is an ominous report of a high pressure system building up over Scandinavia - which threatens that media scare story of "siberian temperatures".
Let`s get pistis meeting went well yesterday with people really getting into seeking God for personal "rhema" words.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

saturday cook in

Well what do you do on a wet Saturday afternoon?? Of course being girlie Bells you turn to the cookery book and find an interesting cake recipe and spend the next hour hunting out ingredients, popping out to the shops to get the things you forgot on the first shopping trip and having a lot of fun. Debbie and I made this amazing flour free battenburg, filled with ginger preserve, covered with mascarpone icing and topped with freeze dried strawberries, coated in white chocolate! Typically we would probably all prefer a good old fashioned chocolate cake, but were happy to pass slices of this one on to various friends with flour intolerances/ or baking phobias!! Good times.

The song "Oxygen" by Willy Mason

i wanna be better than oxygen so you can breathe when you're drowning and weak in the knees i wanna speak louder than ritalin for all the children who think that they've got a disease i wanna be cooler than TV for all the kids that are wondering what they're going to be we can be stronger than bombs if you're singing along, and you know that you really believe we can be richer than industry as long as we know that there's things that we don't really need we can speak louder than ignorance cause we speak in silence every time our eyes meet, on and on and on it goes, the world it just keeps spinning until i'm dizzy time to breathe, so close my eyes and start again anew i wanna see through all the lies of society to the reality happiness is at stake i wanna hold up my head with dignity proud of a life where to give means more than to take i wanna live beyond the modern mentality where paper is all that you're really taught to create do you remember the forgotten america justice equality freedom to every race just need to get past all the lies and hypocrisy make up and hair to the truth behind every face then look around to all the people you see how many of them are happy and free i know it sounds like a dream but its the only thing that can get me to sleep at night i know its hard to believe but its easy to see that something here isn't right i know the future looks dark but its there that the kids of today must carry the light, on and on and on it goes, the world it just keeps spinning until i'm dizzy time to breathe, so close my eyes and start again anew if i'm afraid to catch a dream, i weave you baskets and i float them down the river stream, each one i weave with words i speakto carry love to your relief

Saturday, January 20, 2007

It`s Spring already!

This morning as part of our New Year fitness campaign, we walked up a new route almost vertical into the hills - Anne used the trees to pull herself up!
Gorgeous weather reminiscent of early spring, continues. The neighbours daffodils are out!
Cold snap is forecast for next week but we`ll see.
Preaching on faith at the evening celebration - on Sunday - the working title is "Let`s get Pistis!"

Friday, January 19, 2007

Do yourself a favour and listen to Eve Selis

Click on the blog title and listen to Eve Selis - a Country rock and roller from San Diego who is playing a gig on the North Yorkshire moors near Farndale next weekend. She has a voice like "whisky and lemonade", with a style reminiscent of Bonnie Raitt - I am really looking forward to it as her band are fabulous and can play everything from ballads to Jimi Hendrix with bluegrass in between, and she seems to have a personal faith. Her latest CD is the best I`ve heard for a long time and she plays a Martin T5 guitar!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Nana came to visit

We went up to Newcastle on another gorgeous warm day of about 9 degrees in sunshine! Picked up Ruth and then dragged her to see the building where Great Grandpa Jobling built the biplane with Mr George in 1910, in the very room pictured. As you can see, she was thrilled!!!
Then we went out to a great spanish tapas resaurant, staffed by andalusian beauties. Newcastle has been transformed in recent years - I recommend you see the football film "Goal" which makes the city look like Bilbao! Anyway today am speaking to the Non Consultant Doctors in the Trust - of which a certain Anne Bell is numbered! So we are driving into work together!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

God`s heart for the poor and evil dentists

As some people are aware I was given a new job last September which meant that I had responsiblity for Adult Psychiatry services for Durham, Darlington, Teesside, and North East Yorkshire. One of the unexpected blessings of this has been the larger number of people that are finding out about my fundraising for Rhema school. On friday I got an email from the IT department in the Trust who have raised over £50 for the school, then 1/2 hour later I got a telephone call from one of the General Managers telling me that there is strong interest in supporting the school from Darlington - this is in addition to the £500 "christmas card money" given to me by my own team.
I have been worried that we will not be able to raise the £70,000 that we need for the new build school but the sneaky suspicion is growing in my mind that my new role may have less to do with my personal brilliance and more to do with God wanting to bless generations of poor children in Uganda............ and as I reflect on this, it is putting a big smile on my face this morning!
Finally a report in the Times that a Dentist forcibly extracted two teeth from an 87 year old patient without anaesthetic as she had previously complained about his care - as she was held down by the Nurse he reportedly shouted at her "that'll teach you not to complain to the Doctor" - hmmm big surprise that story........ Dentist causes pain!!!!!!!

The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels on the River Porciuncula

It seems that David Beckham going to play for LA Galaxy is as much about racial politics as about business and celebrity. The club is based in a working class Hispanic neighbourhood.
"To those white Americans who resent the growing influence of Hispanics in American politics, Beckham’s arrival in LA could actually be considered as a threat. Indeed, the suburb of Carson (incorporated as its own city in 1968) is an area of pride for many Hispanic-Americans: it was originally the Dominguez Rancho homestead, a gift by the Spanish governor of California in 1782 to the Spanish soldier Juan José Domínguez, who was part of the Portola expedition that settled the area that ultimately became El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles del Rio de Porciuncula (The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels on the River Porciuncula). "
The white middle-class reaction could be summarised by the LA blogger who quipped that soccer was a sport “generally played by 12-year-old girls in high socks” and an editor at the Los Angeles Times who commented: “Not even the paparazzi will get down to Carson: the traffic’s too bad.”

Friday, January 12, 2007

Beckham goes to America shocker

The news is full of it, the enormous salary, 87 pence a second, £70,000 a day etc the decline of sporting greatness etc and most of all the complete disbelief that america and europe can like the same sports!!! Sah-kurr is regarded as a boring sport - tell that to the Arsenal fans and the rest of us who enjoyed the 6-3 defeat of Liverpool at Anfield.
Simon Barnes writes in the Times:
"Football will not awake in America. That is because football is not actually present in American culture and is therefore unavailable for the kissing. Sah-kurr is a game for children, women and Hispanics and Beckham will not change that perception.
Sport matters to us, English, Americans and all. It is part of national and personal identity. Baseball is a wonderful game, but no English person would swap a victorious England baseball team for the team who lost the Ashes. Better to lose with cricket than win with baseball. We’re English, after all.
America is a self-loving, insular nation and its self-created sports are part of its understanding of itself. In America, sport’s highest achievements are domestic. The United States is its own Brazil, its own Australia, its own All Blacks. The thing that America admires most in the world is America and it will take more than an agreeable 31-year-old Real Madrid reserve to change all that. Despite his snake-hipped wife."

Monday, January 08, 2007

The House of Lords Toilets

What a funny year so far. Today just zipped down to london, arriving 3 hours early as we were going to the Department of Health to take part in a meeting with the Health Minister. My colleagues' anxiety over being late was mocha'd in Starbucks. Onto the DOH for a good frisking and to meet Rosie Winterton and her entourage - a 1/2 hour of spicy chitchat later then she took us over the road to the House of Lords where 10 of us met with a similar number of Lords and Ladies to discuss the amendments to the Mental Health Bill which was debated this afternoon. I now understand why we don`t have oak forests left in the country. As photographs weren`t allowed (!) all I could get away with was a quick flash in the toilets and on the stairs going up to the Commons gallery!
It was all a bit Hogwarts crossed with public school dinners! The final pic is of me looking tired outside the H of L's (well I was up very early!!)

Friday, January 05, 2007

George and Jobling and channel 4

The New Year has brought some interesting experiences already. For some reason I took it upon myself to Google some family names and ended up with a lot of surprising information about my Great Grandfather Mr Jobling and his colleague Mr A.E George. Together in 1899 they established an engineering business behind the Central station in Newcastle Upon Tyne. They took on the lease to a property from the Stephenson brothers (remember them, they invented trains!) who moved to Darlington.
At George and Jobling's they built cars - initially selling Argylls, then importing Model T chassis' to which they hand built bodies. They were famous for building the "Golden Ford" which was raced at Brooklands in 1912 in front of Henry Ford and which was full restored in 2004 for a Channel Four programme. They also built the George and Jobling biplane in 1910 and my Great Grandmother was the 3rd woman in the world to fly in a plane!
I have found some pictures of Mr George with the plane and the restored Golden Ford.
I have more exciting news re George and Jobling inventions later!