What am I mincing my words with?

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Pies of course!

I’ve tried three types so far. First of the year were the Sainsbury’s brand. They were a great opener. Crumbly pastry; sugar-covered; good raisin ratio etc. your classic mince pie.

Then I tried Aberystwyth Spar’s version, whilst on a visit back to the Motherland. They had more of a homemade feel. But I was outraged with my friends for not owning a microwave that I could quickly zap them in to get that required warmth. So that ruined things a little.

Most exciting were purchased this week. From Waitrose. They’re branded with a certain Blumenthal brand. They look like pork pies — and you wouldn’t put it past him to actually put pork in them. They’re very very heavily spiced. And I chucked ’em in the oven. And there’s orange flavoured dusting sugar to sprinkle on top. (See above picture). Tasted really Christmassy. Would be disappointed if these were the only mince pies in existence, but as an exciting alternative, yule have to agree they’re very nice.

Much more fun to be had this holiday season. I heard Iceland topped one poll as the best mince pie. What are your recommendations?

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Lidl bit of a shock

I’ve got my second cold of the year, this one’s more throaty which is always a lovely bonus. The stuff that comes out of my mouth in the morning is like boiled rhubarb.

We watched a film called Tyrannosaur. It fits into the category of social-realism. Very difficult film to watch, but there seemed to be elements of truth in it, searching for something important, so I think it’s a good one. It’s got some relevant themes too in terms of Christianity and morality.

I went to Cardiff this week with my course. We saw the Artes Mundi exhibition. I especially enjoyed the sildeshow work of an artist called Phil Collins (not that one). It was nice to be in Cardiff, a place I know mostly because that is where my Aunt and Uncle live. It was scary being in a city though, I wanted to get a bus to see my brother on the other side of town, he said he lived near Lidl, so I got on the bus and said – “do you go to Lidls?” “Waddyamean!? There’s millionsah Lidls!” He replied, flabbergasted. There’s only one Lidl in Aber, as you might imagine there’s only one of most things, apart from Polly’s there’s too many of them. I did make it to see my brother, but due to the faff of trying to circumnavigate the beast that is Wales’ capital I only got to see him for twenty minutes. But I got to give him his Bible which he left in Aber, so that’s good.

Ever so obliging

Yesterday was a day that began with my first this year visit to the Welsh EMW conference. I felt a little bad earlier this week, saying that the conference is over, because for us Welsh speakers it’s far from that. I heard Dafydd Job’s first sermon, he is the main speaker. He preached from the first chapter of Philipians. He tied in the positivity of the passage with an urge for us to be optimistic about what God can do in Wales. It was encouraging. A good reminder to once again pray for revival close to home.

In the evening I persuaded my mother to ask the younger brothers to stay up a bit later so they could come down to our flat for a Brady game of Dixit. I couldn’t resist bringing the little ones down because Gwïon (year 9) adores the game. The dorky dance he did when I told him he could come and play was priceless.

The younger two boys have taken a huge liking to Josie’s dog. They will run around endlessly and tell him to sit, jump, twist and gallop through their legs. He is a labrador, so is ever so obliging. Even Taid had some fun with him, throwing a ball until it rolled all the way down the hill and got stuck under a car. Taid insisted that he find it, skipping down the Buarth and yes (!) he did locate it!  Great effort. Well played.

Classic Aber

My friend Jack arrived last night and we took him promptly to the beach for a barbecue and bonfire, this seems to be the first stop for guest entertainment this summer. My younger brothers and cousins have now arrived and they joined us, keen to skim some stones in the sea and play with fire. We finished the evening off with talking about watching a film and then realising we were too tired. I am keen to watch Kes which I bought ages ago and my Wrexham friend has been badgering me for some time to watch it. I really do want to watch it, maybe I will tonight. My Cwmbran cousins arrive tonight. I’m planning to take Jack up the cliff-railway today, and maybe the castle. Classic Aber. Cheerio.

Conclusions

We did buy bicycles yesterday. Raleigh. I have definitely seen that on bikes as a child, whether the model is just as good when you’re an adult, only slime will tell.

Our tumble dryer’s fixed too! Thanks for holding out, we knew you were concerned. I had a chat with the man and I think I managed not to turn on my faux-workingclass charm too much.

Excitement is building for the EMW Aber conference still. I’m looking forward to hearing Conrad Mbewe’s morning addresses. Praying that his preaching is blessed.

I’ll leave you now with thoughts on hyperbolic statements we make when everything goes wrong. When we decry important things which we might not have meant to hate as much as we sound like we do, statements which crumble when we apply logic to them, but seem so fitting when we’re in despair. Someone told me today, I hate jobs”. Not I hate some jobs, or I hate this job, I hate jobs in their entirety. Apply some rationality to the statement and we can conclude, jobs are kind of important, if not essential for the function of a society. But when things are hard we do hate jobs. Alan Davies was on Radio 4 talking about a nine year old girl who was having a tantrum and told her mother, life is pain”. We’ve all been there, but it isn’t pain, all the time, it’s a lot of other things as well (James 4:14 or Colossians 3:3 for example). Praise God. Come and talk to me afterwards if you want to know more.

Blewog’s Firey Diary – 05/10/2010

I’m dreadfully sorry for not fulfilling my promise of updating you on my progress (almost) daily. Anything over five days is pushing the bracketed ‘almost’ rather further than it should be pushed.

I went to an acting audition last night. As I assume is the case with most Univerisities in the UK, there is a Theatre/Drama society which puts on a few plays a year. Here in Aberystwyth they’re called ‘The Nomadic Players’ and I’d resisted doing anything with them last year purely because it’s scary being a wee first year going into a group of big scary second and third years (even though there’s a big chance I could be older than many of them). I think as a Christian I shouldn’t be hiding myself away, trying my best not to mix with unbelievers etc. We’re always hearing it from preachers and Christian student societies, but it’s actually a bit of an effort to put yourself out there. One of my fears is that I’ll be told to do stuff on Sunday (a non-negotiable for me) and now Thursday nights are also a no-go area because I have a responsibility towards the Welsh CU. But we shall see.

They’re putting on ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and another play which I haven’t heard of. I’m sure I’ll find out pretty soon if they liked my acting and whether they want me to be in it.

I wanted to report to you the result of my first attempt at making roast potatoes. I’m not going to lie, they tasted phenomenal. Crispy flavoursome and gorgeous. I followed a Jamie Oliver recipe (like every other UK budding chef) and was not left disappointed. We also had a few sausages and some peas to add some colour to the plate. It was a highly enjoyable meal. I would have liked to make some better gravy, I ended up just making some bisto. It’s made me want to cook more, and reminded me that when I was about ten, I really wanted to be a chef. I’m really thankful God didn’t take me down that path, but it’s a good thing to dip into when one can.

I have my first lecture today, which I’m looking forward to. I think we’ll be hearing a lot about Theatre and Politics, and it’s cool because the play we’re studying is one I saw in London. It’s called ‘random’ and isn’t as lame as the title may suggest. The entire play is performed by one black female and has no set at all. Surprisingly it is extremely moving and entertaining. All about current issues like youth violence etc. The thing I like most is her ability to characterise and capture what a black-African family could well be like and even though many may not be able to associate with it, by giving us a window into that world, we find ourselves empathising and even recognising traits in the Mother, Father, Brother and Sister. Seeing a play trumps reading it so much. which makes sense really.

Sunday was good, a few more freshers again, which encouraged me more. What struck me most was a sermon on the subject of ‘blaspheming the Holy Spirit’ I began to get a little closer to understanding what God was like in his treatment of humans, his forgiveness and his nature.

We spent the day with friends and in the evening we had a bite to eat and I said a few words to welcome the students to the church. I’d prepared a talk, and God graciously helped me to find some sort of advice to give them on how to live as a student. Looking at issues of belief, relationships, evangelising, studying and living for God in a holy way. I felt I could have prepared better, but people seemed to be receptive.

After church we sat in the manse and discussed the merits of reading out loud, then we tried it out by all reading a paragraph each of an abridged and simplified book by John Owen called ‘Temptation’ (guess what it’s about). Apparently just reading aloud can be a very beneficial activity. They do it in prisons and with special needs kids etc.

Looking forward to prayer meeting tonight, I assume Taid will continue with his series of the “I am…” sayings of Jesus. Also look forward to sharing some chips with Nain and Taid afterwards, as the tradition often is!

Listening to:


Virally Contracted:

Russell Brand on Newsnight talking about the cult of celebrity. Very interesting, definitely someone to pray for.

(Via my friend Jonathan)

Blewog’s Firey Diary – 23/09/2010 (Sanctification, Tourism & Depressed Jugglers)

Busy day today, started off with a prayer meeting at nine. We’ve been having these every morning because it’s freshers week. Today, Sibyl led the devotion all about persistence and trust in God’s answers to prayer. I thought to myself that if I was a time traveller and wanted to show a younger Sibyl a moment from her future, this would be the one, I doubt that she or I could even begin to imagine God to have worked in such a miraculous way to change both of our lives so dramatically.

Next on my list was my task of sorting out a tour of Aberystwyth for international freshers which was to take place that afternoon. I sensibly made my first stop at the tourist information centre, hoping for a leaflet or two and some tips on good tour guiding. Instead I was given a four page, ready sorted tour of the town to follow! They’d done the hard work for me, in fact a bit too much hard work, I actually ended up having to cut down on all the fabulous information they had provided.

I learned so much about Aberystwyth, for example the fact that a man called Mario Rutelli had made two statues that are in town, one outside the old college of Edward VIII (the only one of him in the world) as well as the war memorial by the castle.

I also learned that on an old inn (now a trendy café) which was called the Victoria has a ship’s figurehead on it (made in 1840). It’s the only merchant ship figurehead of Queen Vic in the whole of the UK and one of only four in the world!

Also, the pier (built 1865) used to be 800 feet long but after a few storms it got gradually shorter,  in 1942 the explosion of a drifting sea mine on the rocks below really caused some serious damage!

I was ready and hyped for the tour, hoping to give lots of international students a good old Christian welcome, but sadly only one turned up! It could have been worse though, I had a good time talking to her and two other girls from the CU came along too. They kindly listened to my ramblings and added in their own knowledgeable insights too.

After that I was faced with task of finding 150 bottles of water for the Welsh CU’s welcome team tomorrow. We wanted to give them to the freshers and stick CU stickers on them so they can hear all about us. I called the co-op hoping to strike up a monetary deal, but amazingly they suggested a donation! After sorting out an official letter I was able to pick up 24 bottles of mineral water free of charge. My task tomorrow is to find a hundred or so more. On a tight budget it won’t be easy, but as we’ve seen today God provides!

After e-mailing and calling the CU types making sure they’re all ready for tomorrow I settled down for some beautifully and lovingly made pasta from my wife. She made the sauce from scratch! And it had bacon in it! And cheese grated on top!

I had a bit of a playwriting spree last night, which tends to happen at inconvenient times, meaning I got to bed late and now I’m totally shattered. Good days are always busy ones though. Definitely.

Listening to:

I was reminded of this song from a friend’s facebook profile. One line is often misquoted ‘Elvis is a watermelon’.

Virally contracted: