Month: November 2005

Third position

Moving swiftly on from second position, I’m now being taught the scale of D major in two octaves which requires knowledge of third position. It’s a little bit tricky as I’m prone to hanging onto the neck for dear life in case I lose my reference points. The two-octave scale of C major in second position wasn’t so bad, as I merely shifted by a semitone and gripped on for dear life again. Alas, to achieve a two-octave D major scale requires shifting from first to third position mid scale! I’m going to have to relinquish my grip if I’m to progress.

The mother of all parliaments

For the first time in my life, I had a look at the inside of the Palace of Westminster. It was fascinating wandering around the debating chambers, halls and corridors of one of the oldest democracies in the world.

The tour started with the hall where many previous monarchs and prime ministers had lain in state, and where, in the past, the highest courts in the land convened, even to try a king. The hall was vast and airy, yet had a great sense of occassion about it.

We were then led to the House of Lords, where the monarch presides over her parliament, and where the lords and nobles discuss matters of state. The surroundings were opulent, with large areas layered in gold for the monarch, and the nobles and lords resided on red leather upholstered benches. We listened in as a lord debated legislation concerning compensation, although to be honest not many were present.

Next port of call was the House of Commons, where the elected representatives of the people debate and put bills forward. The decor was more puritanical, with simple functional carving and understated green leather clad benches. We entered as the opposition were arguing against government proposals for extending state education to very young children. It was notable that the opposition were fewer in number and consisted mostly of men, whilst the ruling party had more members seated, being made-up predominantly of women.

Our penultimate stop was the terrace, overlooking the Thames, the London Eye and the former GLC building. One can imagine it being a fairly pleasant place to unwind on a warm summer’s evening, although we didn’t stay there too long due to the biting wind of a bitter winter’s evening.

We finished in the chapel, a colourfully decorated sanctuary where members of parliament could go to get away from the hustle and bustle and pray in peace. Throughout the tour, the Christian heritage of the country could be seen in its parliament, even the daily order of events on the agenda for the House of Commons included an opening in prayer.

All in all, a good experience, where parliament seems a little closer and just a little bit less remote.

a.m.: Genesis 25 p.m.: Nehemiah 10

Despite all his sin, Abraham died right with God. Not through anything he had done, for nothing he did could make him right with God, but through faith in the one who was to come, the Messiah who would come from his bloodline. For Abaraham “believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” (Gen 15:6) Are we right with God, have we had our sin dealt with?

Abraham’s life had ended with him “full of years”, having had a ripe, fruitful life serving God. If we put our life in God’s hands, trusting his Son, then his Spirit will dwell in us, and our lives also will be fruitful. The Spirit will work in us, changing us, sanctifying us.

For ultimately, Abraham was received into the presence of God, not as a sinner, but a sanctified, purified glorified child of God. If we are not justified before God and if we are not sanctified by God, we cannot be received by God into his presence as his children.

Happy Birthday Christine!

There do seem to be a spate of birthdays around this time of the year! This evening was spent celebrating Christine’s birthday at the Harvester in Denham. (It started off in Windsor, then Ruislip until settling in Denham!) I must admit I was a little stuck thinking of a present, but in my trek in Tesco this afternoon I found a fine example of a Poinsetta. The challenge I set Christine, when I presented it to her, was to keep it alive – although I didn’t state a duration….hmmm…anyway. The meal was good, even with a slight mix up with food and ending up with a rather rare steak! Fortunately, the conversation was better, with a few people there who I don’t see that often. Another good birthday celebration, with a seemingly very happy birthday girl!


Nur wer nicht sucht, ist vor Irrtum sicher. Albert Einstein

The third commandment

Q: Which is the third commandment?
A: The third commandment is, Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

Q: What is required in the third commandment?
A: The third commandment requireth the holy and reverent use of God’s names, titles, attributes, ordinances, word, and works.

Q: What is forbidden in the third commandment?
A: The third commandment forbiddeth all profaning or abusing of any thing whereby God maketh himself known.

Q: What is the reason annexed to the third commandment?
A: The reason annexed to the third commandment is, That however the breakers of this commandment may escape punishment from men, yet the Lord our God will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment.

(Questions LIII, LIV, LV, and LVI from the Westminster Shorter Catechism).

Happy Thanksgiving!

To all you Americans out there (I know you exist, Google Analytics tells me you do), I wish you all a happy, and thankful, Thanksgiving. Oh, and please forgive the rest of the world for not having the foggiest idea this day is any more different to the rest. As far as we’re concerned, it’s November 24th and that’s it! (Much like the rest of the world doesn’t play baseball, and we think football should be played with the foot! Anyway, I digress.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 118:1

Church of Lego

Now this is impressive, although possibly slightly different…

Abston Church of Christ

Another partner…

Another bridge evening round Sarah’s, with another partner! Saying that, this is not to say this was a bad thing, as this partner was both enthusiastic and learnt very quickly. I think I even detected her counting the cards as they were being played and playing her cards appropriately. The only tricky concept was the bidding, but that would become second-nature with time.

On either side of the card playing was good food and good conversation, on all sorts of topics and even a presentation on something biological with lots of words I didn’t understand. None the less, a very good evening.

a.m.: John 20:30-31 p.m.: Nehemiah 9

According to the Bible, the only way to be right with God, to have our sins dealt with and be forgiven, is through faith in Jesus Christ. None of our good works, none of the status we acquire, will be enough to cover our sin. In regard to our eternal salvatoin, it doesn’t matter if we attend church regularly, if we are church members, work for the church, hold office in the church – nothing but Jesus Christ can save us from what God’s justice requires for our sin and from sin itself.

We have to determine for ourselves if Jesus in the Christ is the Messiah, the chosen one, the promised one. We have to decide if he is the one who is able to save us from our sins. In the gospel accounts, he performs many miracles, and says many things concerning his status and his abilities. The Jesus of the bible leaves us very few options.

As such, the bible is sufficient in containing everything we need of what God expects of us and what we need to know concerning salvation.

Happy Birthday Ally!

It’s Ally’s birthday soon, so today being the closest Saturday, we headed off to the Fox and Pheasant in Stoke Poges for a celebration meal. The pub offers a carvery meal for two for £10, so with fourteen of us, we went for seven of those. This allowed us to take a portion of meat and help ourselves to as many vegetables as we could fit on the plate! It’s amazing how much you can fit on one plate! After a rather hearty main course, dessert was served – with a whisper in the waiter’s ear from Mim – complete with a birthday candle in Ally’s dessert accompanied with a short refrain of ‘Happy Birthday’ thrown in for good measure (and suitable embarrassment). A good evening spent with friends, made all the better seeing the birthday girl enjoying herself.

There’s nothing wrong with it…

Usually, when I visit my parents, I invariably spend some time looking for food. When I was younger, this wouldn’t usually be much of a task, as I’d be living there and my parents would keep the pantry well stocked. These days though, the pantry isn’t refilled quite so often. In fact, without my brother, sister or myself there anymore, there’s some stuff there which has been there quite a while. Before reading this article, I would’ve pushed it aside in search of something which hadn’t passed its ‘best before’ date. However, the article reckons some foods are fine many years past their manufacturers expiration date! Allegedly, even though the taste of the food might be affected, simple foods like sugar, salt, wheat kernels and even rolled oats are edible for decades! Next time I’m at my parents and I find a some decades old porridge, I might just eat it. I might pass on the mayonaise though.

Lots of variety

This evening’s violin lesson was slightly unusual. It started off as usual, with scales and past pieces. What was unusual was that I had brought along some music which is set for the piano. This wasn’t entirely my idea, as my teacher suggested I obtain more music. I mentioned I had loads of piano music and she thought it might be an idea to try that. Evidently, the violin being (mostly) monophonic, required I sort out what notes to discard. Usually this wasn’t too tricky, as I’d just have to pick out the top note from the treble which was the main melody. The mix was eclectic, with the Sound of Music, the Beatles and Christmas Carols all participating. The Carols even allowed a little harmony to occur, with one violin on soprano and the other on alto. Been left to practise the scale of C major, two octaves – second position!

a.m.: 1 Timothy 2:1-7 p.m.: Nehemiah 8

Being Remembrance Sunday, we remember all those who died defending this country in two world wars and other conflicts. We are thankful to them, for the measure of peace which they fought for.

We should also consider God, and his grace towards us. This country might’ve been very different today if the seas were not calm during the evacuation of Dunkerque, if Hitler hadn’t turned towards the Soviet Union, amongst many other pivotal events. For God owes us nothing, for we have turned away from him and yet he grants us a measure of peace.

Even for this measure of peace, we should thank God. It is even more amazing that God not only grants us a measure of peace, but offers total peace, reconciliation with him, through the sacrifice of his Son.

With all this in mind, we should use the peace we have been given for the glory of God. To share his great Gospel with others, that others might have not only a measure of peace, but total peace.

Horn of plenty

A nice relaxing Saturday doing very little. 🙂 After spending most of the morning resting, the rest of the afternoon was spent lounging around, practising the violin, playing some chess, taking photos and generally winding down.

The evening was spent dining in Ruislip with the former members of the Harlington Singers. Given I hadn’t seen many of them in ages, it was good to spend time catching up and seeing what they were getting up to.

A good day, with food and friends of all ages.