Tuesday, 24 March 2009

A day together!

Well! Susie and I had a day together. Sounds great? Actually, not really. We both are sharing a virus and coughing for Scotland and neither of us could go to work!

Ah well, at least we can console each other in our misery!

Truthfully, we have a lot to be very thankful for and this is just one of those inconveniences of life. We both hope it passes soon.

I've been reading a lot recently. It's taken me ages, but I'm getting through the biography of Elizabeth Fry by Jean Hatton. Its called 'Betsy'. I'm not sure I've ever read such a painstakingly well researched book. It's lengthy, there's no doubting that, but very readable and it does consume one's interest. What a life! Elizabeth Fry, you may remember, was a pioneer of prison reform in Britain in the early 19th century and this spread a lot further afield to Europe and beyond. Those were the days when they locked you up and threw away the key - literally. The description of her walking into Newgate Gaol will give you nightmares! She asked the turnkey to open the gate into the communal area where all the women were - and he refused. She pressed him until he did and he expected her to be ripped apart by the mob of women. She entered alone. She said the stench of unwashed flesh and filth made you gag. Clothes ripped and ragged appeared to move by themselves such was the infestation of lice. What a calling that woman had. It's worth the read.

Newgate Gaol
demolished 1902
(this photo 1895)

The other bit of reading I've been doing is by Charles G. Finney from 1874, entitled "How to Overcome Sin" and I'll say a bit about that under the next posting and give the link to the online source. It's one of the best (quite short) sermons I've come across in a good while.


  1. Hi Paul

    We have been reading your blog and think it is great idea telling us how you are progressing. Vivien and I hope all is well with you and family. We are thinking of you and has Norman Grubb would say "SEE THROUGH" . We are seeing through your circumstances.

    Vivien & Vijay
    Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA

  2. In case you are wondering - why Vivien and I blog as 'bambooconspiracy' here is why.

    When the Asian Tsunami hit West Malaysia, villages along the coastal lands that had bamboo plants did not suffer much damage. When the villages first started planting the bamboo plant many years back, they were mocked. Experts said they should plant coconut trees instead as they grow faster.

    Nevertheless, wisdom prevailed. When the Tsunami struck the coast, all the coconut trees were uprooted. However, the bamboo plant, although were all bend down by the power of the waves, deflected the power of the waves and protected the villages. Furthermore, within a week they were standing tall and continued to protect the village.

    There is a spiritual lesson here. Within the bamboo plant - within its structure - its DNA - it had inbuilt resilience and was up after the first blow - unlike to coconut plant.

    The Californian author and self-confessed amateur gardener, Rick Warren, shares this story:

    Of all the growth patterns, I’ve observed as a gardener, the growth of the Chinese bamboo tree is the most amazing to me.

    Plant a bamboo sprout in the ground, and for 4 or 5 years (sometimes much longer) nothing happens!

    You water and fertilize, water and fertilize, water and fertilize—but you see no visible evidence that anything is happening. Nothing!

    But about the fifth year things change dramatically. In a six-week period, the Chinese bamboo tree grows to a staggering ninety feet tall!

    World Book Encyclopaedia records that one bamboo plant can grow three feet in a simple twenty-four-hour period.

    It seems incredible that a plant that lies dormant for years can suddenly explode with growth, but it happens without fail with bamboo trees.

    Warren advice Christians to focus on what the Lord is doing within us and though it may be slow - the roots grow deep and will be able to stand the evil plans of the devil.

    Hence, the bamboo conspiracy!

    Vivien & Vijay
    Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA

  3. Yikes, the thought of that stench. What a calling, indeed.

    And just read Vivien & Vijay's comment. Waow, amazing!

  4. Hi Paul
    Your blog is really interesting.
    I hope that the modifications to the house are helpful - it must be so difficult to have to consider what the OT said. Your attitude is wonderful and is an inspiration to all of us.
    Hope you and Susie are feeling a bit better today.
    All the best, Ewan (SSO)

  5. Hi Ewan!
    Thanks for leaving a comment and taking the time to read my blog! What a nice surprise!
    I hope you are in A1 form and fitness. Hopefully, see you soon.


  6. Sorry to hear that you've got coughs and sneezes now. Let's hope it's the last for this winter.

    That's really interesting about the bamboo. I'll see if Alison can get that into a sermon soon. As for the lice, I'm too squeamish for that :-)

  7. Thanks for reading, Graham. I don't think you should plant that particular type of bamboo in your garden. Weeding may become a problem in the sixth year!

  8. Another interesting post Paul. Your reading material puts me to shame! I've just been making my way through old Boy's Own classics like 'Treasure Island' and 'Around the World in Eighty Days'. Doesn't require too much brain power when you're concentrating on feeding a baby at night. Tell Susie I've been reading snippets of the Dutch Sheets book she gave me. Some really good stuff in there that I'll need to go back to get the real meat from it.

  9. Thanks, Andy. I've got scores of books I've been meaning to read for years and making myself get around to it now. It's hard when you've got young children to find the time. With Matthew grown up it's easier now - I've got no excuses!

  10. Well, I have been reading the very intellectually stimulating 'Anne of Green Gables' so hope that puts you all to shame!

    Hope you and Susie are feeling better soon. Once you are feeling stronger, we will come and visit.


  11. Thanks Rosalind, we're definitely a lot better. I went back to work today and Susie is working from home. It would be good to see you all sometime soon.

  12. Thanks for he reviews Paul please keep them coming :0)