Monday, January 15, 2007

CEN December 2006

It's that time of the month again and the deadline of my January Church of England Newspaper article looms. For any new readers here it's a column about web-sites of interest to CEN readers. Each month they let me archive the previous month's column. Last month's follows:

December 2006

Enjoying advent? It’s not too late to visit the Church of England’s advent calendar at Advent Stories. Different people talk each day about what Christmas means to them. If Christmas means pantomime to you then What’s On Stage will tell you where to find the one you want. Oh yes it will.

I am having my annual panic about what to make the vegetarians in the family for Christmas. (Loved the line in the Royal family, ‘Can’t she eat wafer thin ham?’) The Vegetarian Society’s website has ideas. Hooray for them. More conventional fare at Hookery Cookery and the National Trust with left-over turkey ideas at the Curry House. If you are the sort of person who rises to the bait of, ‘First, bone a turkey, a goose, a brace of young pheasants, four partridges, four woodcocks, a dozen snipes, four grouse, and four widgeons; then boil and trim a small York ham and two tongues...’ then visit Harewood House to find out what to do with the results. Then invite me round.

Talking about telephones last month unleashed a huge amount of feedback and I now know more. SAYNOTO0870 is a campaign to help people avoid paying premium costs for phone calls to 0870 numbers. It will find you alternative numbers where possible. 1899 is a site which offers incredibly cheap deals for national and international calls. If you don’t know about Skype you could be missing out. Skype software enables you to make calls and send texts using your computer. It’s virtually free to use. Last month I recommended the Telephone Preference Services without saying how to find them. I blame me. Remedied alongside, below or wherever they put the panel this week.

A few months back my wife found a book in a store’s shopping basket. Examination revealed it had been left deliberately and a sticker referred her to Bookcrossing. (Bookcrossing is ‘the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.’) Read the book, review it on line and leave it for someone to find it. Dump your unwanted books and follow their progress.

Know a teenager who could do something useful with ten squids? Visit Make Your Mark with a Tenner. Participants must work to the best of their abilities to ensure that within one month they are able to repay their initial £10 and demonstrate how they made their mark and what profit they made. It will run from the end of January 2007. Talking of young people, Warwick Boar, the student newspaper of the University of Warwick won the award for best student web-site recently.

What do ordinands think these days? Probably some have had their brains scrambled by the process of theological education but you will find one who hasn’t at Something Terribly Witty. Musings on essay writing, doctrine and English cricket. Hmmm. Wannabepriest, also from Ridley, blogs well and interestingly. As does Scouse Ordinand. Non-Ridley bloggers next month.

There are many centres for healing and wholeness around the country – places where people who need prayer for physical, emotional, spiritual and mental healing can encounter God with the help of caring and sympathetic ministry teams. Healing Rooms Ministries is a good place to begin to find the nearest source of help.

If you travel by rail a lot you may have come across Seat61. Run as one individual’s hobby, this site helps the enthusiast travel by rail all over the world with good links to all the major rail sites. Another cheap way to travel is to go Couch Surfing. Let strangers sleep on your couch; pay them back when they are in your town. Helps if you live somewhere a person would want to visit. Don’t forget to offset your personal carbon emissions for the journey. Try Carbon Paid whose slogan ‘a cool way to tackle global warming’ gives me a warm glow.

Distraction of the month is Indigo Puzzles. Every day a new hashi, hitori, kakuro or sudoku at a variety of levels with an assistant to help you if you get stuck as you learn the techniques.

OK, I confess, there were two distractions. I’ve always wondered exactly how football was structured so that, theoretically, any team, could rise to the Premiership given time and talent. The Pyramid tells you how this works. I believe Nailsea United may be a mere ten seasons from greatness.

Last month’s work is archived at Mustard Seed Shavings and I await the usual rush.


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