BOOK REVIEW: @SheridanVoysey “Resurrection Year”

Sheridan Voysey - Resurrection Year

Today, this book, from someone I have been incredibly privileged to come to know over the past couple of years, is available for sale:

Having received this book, I settled down to read a chapter before bedtime. A couple of hours later I turned the final page of this beautifully written story that had truly drawn me in with it’s honest insight into a agonizingly difficult journey. The depth of emotion is deeply felt – we share times of both joy and bleakness, with particular authenticity given through original diary extracts which have that unfinished rawness my favourite blogs do. Several sections of the book are eminently tweetable, but this is not a story of simple soundbites: choices are stark and unpleasant, the doubts are heavy, and the questions about suffering and why prayers had gone unanswered are deeply painful.

Read full review on The BIGBible Project.

Question for @eastcoastuk

I spend a lot of time on the train … so I’ve just downloaded 3 tickets from the Rewards system. It sounds like an easy enough process. I want the following train, and there are 2 first class ticket spaces:

available

When I then go to the order system, where it says there should be a £0 next to available tickets, I get this for £80, and no £0 tickets… I double checked that it was still showing above…

eastc2

Am I missing something?

It’s My Bag!

As you know, I use this blog as a bit of a scrapbook. I have a huge pile of business cards, of which I’m trying to throw some away, but I wanted to make note of this company. Based in Eastleigh, www.itsmybagonline.co.uk was at the Winchester Christmas markets. I’d tried buying 2-3 different “leather” bags on e-bay, but they tended to come over as “pleather” (unsurprising at the price). This colourful range of bags caught my eye (under £50.. just), and I purchased a purple one, which I love… However, not long afterwards I was given an iPad… which means that I can no longer shut the zip, so back to putting all the weight on one side of my body … (I was also given another lovely grey bag by a friend for Christmas, but for everyday I like a backpack…)

Quick Response from @sainsburys

I had shopped in Sainsbury’s the week before, was given a £10 voucher, so thought I’d go back the following week and do my next lot of shopping (with a few store cupboard items to bring me up to the required £70 spend). I got to the til and was told that the voucher had expired the day before. Too tired to put anything back, I purchased, then tweeted my frustration that no one does their main shop in less than a week (and they must have enough data from my Nectar card to work out I shop for myself only!), and therefore the voucher should have at least 2 weeks on it… The following day I received:

On phoning them, they were very apologetic, and agreed that it was a strange expiry date (although according to the girl on the checkout, all like that). They offered a £5 voucher, but I said, considering the original voucher was for £10, that would be more appropriate… which he agreed to immediately. He gave me a clear idea of when the voucher would be with me, it turned up promptly, and has already been spent! Thanks Sainsbury’s (and they have also said they’ve passed the thoughts onto their marketing team… so we’ll see!)

Good Response from @royalmail

Twitter has added an interesting dimension to the customer service debate… I often tweet without expecting a particular response… This time I received a piece of mail 5 months after it was posted 25 minutes away (the church administrator was confused, as she was sure she’d posted the information before the course, but was very organised, and had a spare copy!), and randomly tweeted. I got an apology re compensation, which I’m not worried about for this, although hopefully my sister-in-law will have the information so we can get hold of my still-missing Christmas Present (which I now know was this book (posted to theirs, and then forwarded), which I’d love to have… loving my slow cooker, now I’m not cooking the same meals over and over!)….

Always Great on Twitter @WinchesterCity

Sarah, who’s behind the @WinchesterCity Twitter account, is always prompt and helpful in responding to Tweets. Last year I tried to report a dangerous path near me, uneven, with at least 2/4 lights not working, to fixmystreet. Because it’s a pedestrian walkway, rather than a road, they couldn’t get a GPS fix, so asked me to let me know the numbers on the posts… well, I can’t see them, as I only use that path in the dark, and it’s dark because half the lights don’t work… I tried to send an email describing which roads it was between, but this was a real case of  ‘the computer says no’. WinchesterCity tried to help… the other week it’s was finally bright when I walked down (I’ll stop getting the bus now, so won’t walk past again)… so I have sent it back into the system…

Prompt Service from @DuoBoots

As I clear out around 5 years of emails, I’m coming across some correspondence and thought I’d do those blog posts I keep promising, when customer service strikes me as particularly good/bad. Duo Boots was very prompt. I saved up for 6 months for a pair of their boots (designed for all calf widths), chose them on a visit to Manchester, then on first putting them on, the zip pull came off in my hand.

I received a very quick response to my email last August (in which I enclosed photos), and despite my desire to send the boots back, was told the quickest thing would be to follow the video attached … which was entirely true (despite my fear of all things “too mechanical”), and they’ve remained fixed…

Very easy/pleasant experience, incredibly polite email, and options given within the email for if this didn’t fix the problem!!

Review: Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter recently rumbled back into town, and the debates amongst the Christian community arose again. To reject the series on principle: because the entire story is set within a world of magic? Or to place it within the canon of British allegorical writers with J.R.R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis?

J.K. Rowling is a great storyteller, and I’m one of many who has been drawn in. Her stories, although set in a fictional world, chime with real-world choices and dilemmas. In 2007, with the final book published, Rowling stated that “the religious parallels have always been obvious”, but had not been made explicit, to protect future storylines. The Deathly Hallows was the most overt, so did this translate on screen?

As with the book, this film is the darkest yet. The film assumes deep knowledge of the backstory. Harry, Hermione and Ron (and friends) work together to fight the power of the horcruxes, those parts of Voldemort’s soul, which, if not destroyed, will give him ‘ultimate’ power. In the film, the ‘evil characters’ are particularly powerful. Throughout, however, it is clear that the magical world itself is deeply flawed, with an unjust power structure. Those wielding power are skilfully depicted as imperfect, false, untrustworthy, and downright dangerous.

The film convincingly illustrates the spiritual power of the undestroyed horcrux. In the fight against these dark forces, faith, hope and love (1 Corinthians 13:13) are clearly displayed amongst the friends. In the book, the clearest Biblical references are upon gravestones, including Matthew 6:21: “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”. Excluded from the film, this would have explained more clearly Ron’s return, as Dumbledore’s gift guides him back to Hermione.

Great stories. Great conversation starters.  July 2011 still seems a long way away, when the final battles commence – onscreen and offscreen!

Written for AHRC/New Generation thinkers bid , and see the remainder of the bid.

Camilla Kerslake: Thank You!

Signed Album from Camilla Kerslake

Just watched Camilla on BBC Breakfast yesterday. Has been fascinating watching Camilla rising in the public eye, so keep blogging about her, and love seeing how proud her mum is (and so proud of seeing the new site for Debs come together, hopefully before Christmas!). That “leading supermarket” that Gary referred to is Waitrose – lovely! I’d already downloaded the album from iTunes, so had been enjoying it, but now I can listen in the car too (no MP3 player!) – so thanks Camilla for my signed copy of your album! Hope you got a good sleep after your late night and early start – I wish I’d seen you in concert with Il Divo, but I knew I was never going to fit it in…

David Attenborough: Life

Last night, at my friends, I actually watched some TV, and this “Creatures from the Deep” from David Attenborough’s Life series was absolutely fascinating (below, a ray eating a soft-shelled crab) – you can see this particular episode on BBC iPlayer for the next 19 days, or purchase the series from Amazon!

rayeatingcrab“‘Life’ will chronicle the extraordinary patterns of animal behaviour and the ends to which animals and plants go in order to survive.

For the first time on television, viewers will be able to see dolphins creating circles of mud to entrap fish, hunting cheetahs collaborating to bring down prey twice their size, killer whales who have learnt to stalk seals and Komodo dragons trailing buffalo.

The series, which took four years to make, will also include epic spectacles such as millions of fruit bats darkening the Zambian sky, dozens of polar bears feasting on a whale and a billion butterflies cloaking a forest in Mexico.

Produced by the BBC Natural History Unit using state of the art filming technology, the show includes strange creatures such as star-nosed moles and stalk-eyed flies “growing” their eyes.

Martha Holmes, the series producer, told The Daily Telegraph: “We have chosen 130 stories from the animal world and the series is incredibly dramatic, with stories that people will identify with.

“Each tale is told from the perspective of the animal. We aren’t just doing broadbrush nature, we are telling individual stories and new behaviour. This is cutting edge evolution. You think you know what cheetahs do – watch this.”

See Telegraph Article.

Camilla Kerslake: Released Today

Finally, the day that many of us have been harping on about! Camilla Kerslake already has a big following online, so now we’ll see how sales of her album go on. I had pre-ordered one months ago, but then Camilla promised to send me a signed copy, so I’m awaiting that – hope it’s not too long, as I’d love to listen to the whole album!

Disc: 1

  1. She Moved Through The Fair
  2. How Can I Keep From Singing
  3. I Can’t Help Falling In Love
  4. Rule The World (Il Mondo e Nostro)
  5. Rain
  6. Balulalow
  7. Pie Jesu
  8. Panis Angelicus
  9. Closest Thing To Crazy
  10. Cavatina
  11. In Paradisum
  12. Largo
  13. Weblink

Disc 2

  1. Silent Night
  2. In The Bleak Midwinter
  3. The First Noel
  4. Abide With Me
  5. White Christmas

Divine Chocolate with Raspberries

Divine Dark Chocolate with RaspberriesWhat a find, what a find!

I first came across this particular bar of chocolate (new this year) at Greenbelt, and purchased a bar for £1 (which seemed very reasonable, although there was an even better offer of 6 for £5), just to see (it’s £1.69 in shops)! I LOVE raspberries, so thought I might like this, and I surely did. I bought on the Saturday, and spent most of Saturday and Sunday having the odd piece, and chatting with random strangers and offering them a piece. I had been assured that the Divine chocolate stall would remain open on Monday, but when I went back at 3pm, it was all packed away.

Tracking down this particular flavour wasn’t easy – it was only sold by Waitrose (which has now opened in Winchester, so is an option!). I checked out the Divine website, but only individual bars available, so I emailed them, and received a response that it was possible to purchase cases from the Ethical Superstore. Very impressed with that site also, a wide range of goods (pretty much a supermarket on tap), including one-off fruit & veggie boxes (delivered Fridays).

Think I’ll head back when I have freed up some storage space, and have £60 to spend, for free delivery.

Open Farm Sunday, 2007

With the growing interest in locally produced foodstuffs, do you know how the food on your plate is produced? There was an opportunity to find out at Shotford Hall Farm near Harleston on Sunday 10th June, which opened their farm as part of a national event ‘Open Farm Sunday‘. Hosting such an event for the first time, Tim Lewis, Tenant Farmer, had no idea whether to expect 30 or 300 visitors, and in the event had over 500 coming through the gates. Clearly finding the day enjoyable, many visitors stayed for several hours, with much to see: machinery could be climbed on, animals (calves, cows, sheep, chickens, and a bull) could be seen, egg-production was explained, information about crops grown (wheat, barley, sugar beet, maize, vining peas, oil seed rape and grass) was provided. One highlight of the day was the opportunity to watch the milking in progress. Another was the opportunity to take a tractor ride around the farm, which included information on the crops produced, an insight into conservation and farm management practices, and beautiful views across the Waveney Valley.

After all the excitement of all these activities, there was a chance to sit down, relax, and enjoy some home made food, with a hog roast, cream teas and cakes, local ice cream and smoothies available. Visitors gave much positive feedback, describing it as ‘the perfect free day out for the family’. Tim was keen to stress that the day was not a money-making exercise, and that any profits would be given to charity. The purpose of the day was to demonstrate the links between food and farming, the efforts farmers make to work and care for the countryside, and to give visitors a real insight into farming, rather than the myths and half-truths that surround the industry. The event was staffed not only by friends and family of Lewis Partners, but local farmers and businesses who worked together to ensure that a wider variety of exhibits was available. Businesses to which the farm supplies products, including Dairy Crest, Birds Eye, and Silver Spoon, also provided information packs to demonstrate the steps between farm and plate.