Wednesday, 24 February 2010

A new challenge.

Yesterday was my 1st day actually with service users. Confidentiality is vital, so suffice it to say I enjoyed it even though it involved a tambourine in Craigmillar! Backshift today, so off to say Mass in Murrayfield.

I also sorted out a sponsor for my programme at AA. Oddly it was the person who greeted me on my 1st night at the meting I go to. So that is another step forward.

Monday, 22 February 2010

A day at the office

I spent the day reading Policy and Procedure - and lost the will to live at about 2pm. Then home and a burst of dessert cooking - and I make a dam' fine bread and butter pudding! Mebbe all the cooking put me in the mood for something French, but here's some Edith Piaf.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

I think it's a bit like bicycling

celebrating the Eucharist. At least in the sense of you never forgetting how to do it. This morning I went out to Murrayfield to preside at the Eucharist in the absence of their Rector. There was a very slight initial glitch with the collect for Purity (playing verbal ping-pong with deacons is something I'm out of the habit of) but I was very glad of a deacon to deal with the ablutions - especially consuming the Precious Blood! It was nice to know I can still do the preach and preside bit rather competently.

A hefty and calorific brunch was followed by a leisurely stroll with the haushund along the canal (which has frozen again). The sum effect of which was to send me to sleep when I had vaguely intended Evensonging! So I watched the Da Vinci Code instead! And tomorrow - back to work!

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Flashback to the Future - I hope not!

Today was a Community day to help define the vision of the Emmaus House community. Which was really great for me - until we hit talking about legal issues on charitable status. Suddenly, we're bogged in detail, someone repeats the same speech 3 times, the phone is ringing and Zap! Yes, I've flashed back to all those bl**dy vestry meetings over the years, coming after a burst of busy days with a service to take on the morrow and my brain starts doing jittery wheelies. Long walk needed to calm the jangled nerves and bring the "mad heid" back under control :-(.

Which it now is and I calmly contemplate supper. Maybe this music explains what I feel a bit:

Friday, 19 February 2010

TFI Friday!

Just a wee note to show that HMG is still keeping up some useful pressure on the Ugandans. Mind you, with the Argies suddenly getting uppity over Los Malvinas, the Israeli's nicking passports and the wee Nip in charge of the Atomic agency saying the Iranians actually are a bit worrying on the nuclear programme front, Carlton-Browne of the FO and chums are doubtless on overtime this weekend.

The Mental Health and Sexuality stuff today was challenging. I did learn a heck of a lot about Aspergers but felt a bit knackered afterwards. Some head clearing muzak is needed.

Oh yeah!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

The 2nd day

...was not exactly the cheeriest of topics to spend 6 hours studying: Adult Support and Protection (what they used to call Protection of Vulnerable Adults and still do in England and Wales, but the Parliament of Neeps (aka Holyrood) decided to be different - as per usual). 6 hours talking about the various forms of abuse, how to spot it, what to do about it etc. Lovely - not! Necessary, of course - and done better than anything I had whilst working for the Church. Because IT IS MANDATORY, not voluntary. As are supervision, assessment et al. A lesson in there for Sanctae Ecclessia Dei perhaps?

And for a little escapist magic (or was it the drugs?):

Cookhouse blues.

I enjoyed day one of training (Health and Safety and Food Hygiene). That said, our Food instructor was a former cookhouse Sergeant at RAF Lossiemouth (He killed 100 men during the Gulf War with a particularly deadly Lamb Bhoona) which meant we got a bit graphic on the consequences of getting the food hygiene wrong. I note merely this: chicken - nasty things, eat anything, thick with germs, yuk! Oh and be vewy, vewy careful (as Elmer Fudd would say) when reheating rice. If it's wonky, the runs it gives you are truly 'orrible! And I'm buying a new toothbrush. (Put that loo seat lid down - before flushing. Please!)

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Last Day of Freedom

This being my last day of State Sponsored Freedom from the Economic Hamster wheel of Gainful Employment (or "on the Dole" as it is known), I spent it gainfully climbing Arthur's Seat (with Arthur's permission, of course) and then going to a French comic film. It was a spoof of the James Bond genre, so if you can imagine a sort of Gallic Austin Powers, you're well on the path to understanding what it was about. For an evening outing, I am taking pancakes to the Tuesday night meeting.

The psychiatric assesment has arrived and Yes, it is Aspergers. I was fascinated to discover from Mum's input that I was a child Trekkie(!). I'd really forgotten that. So now we work out the next step.

Monday, 15 February 2010

The mind slightly boggles.

Sometimes you really wonder what is going on in people's minds. Not in the terrorist's mind so much, as in the mind of his unnamed sister. She is quoted as saying: "the sentences were too long. Not even murderers get sentenced that much. Twenty-three years, that's half of his life. It's not fair to him, our community or our religion." Absolute rubbish: it is perfectly fair to hand down a stiff sentence to someone who plotted and planned mass murder. It is not an act of injustice against a community, rather it is justice for the whole community. The law cannot differentiate between crimes because of colour, ethnic background or religious persuasion. That is not justice - it is special pleading and as for the comment on religion - in most Islamic countries the little B****r would have been hanged or shot, so (as I believe they say in Australia) "Don't come the raw prawn"!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Lunch, Generals and Ash.

I went out to lunch yesterday in salubrious Stockbridge (Embra's Pimlico) and discovered that my hostess was a relative of the man who could have finished the North Africa campaign before Rommel arrived, if only Winston had decided not to go and try to rescue the Greeks from the Germans - General Sir Richard O'Connor, KT, GCB etc. He famously tried to escape from the Italians 3 times, on one occasion legging it with another General who was half Belgian and who had lost an eye and a hand in WWI. With such an inconspicuous looking colleague, the surprise was that they nearly made it to Switzerland before being recaptured! The one eyed bod (Carton-deWiet) was allegedly the role model for Brigadier Ben Ritchie-Hook in Evelyn Waugh's "Sword of Honour" trilogy. Life is full of little surprises!

It suddenly struck me that after 16 years of never having to think about what I was doing on Ash Wednesday (say Mass, ash people), I had to work it out a bit this year. Where will I go? (Rather than: "I'm on duty at St X's") When can I go? (Working 9.30-4.30, so an evening do is needed.) I'm suddenly back where a lot of members of congregations are: fitting Church into work and life, rather than fitting life into Church and work as I have done for years. Coo, it looks different from this angle! Luckily, my local Pisky incense shop is 4 minutes walk away and has High Mass at 7.30pm. Problem solved!

Friday, 12 February 2010

Proof that intelligence is not a pre requisite for holy orders.

I never read the Daily Heil, but when my attention was directed towards this article, my little brain nearly exploded:

One ordained idiot per parish is unfortunate - two is just dreadful. This English parish are obviously exceeding their quota. Sadly the See of Rochester is vacant, but one hopes the Archdeacon collars this pair of twerps and rockets them for bringing the Church's good name (well, what's left of it) into disrepute. Alternatively, we look the two dopes in a room with a dozen heavies from the Mother's Union for 15 minutes and see if they survive!

News just in.

What a mix of news yesterday was! The C of E voted through their sensible pension rights policy for Civil Partners of the Clergy, which is nice for the English. I finally got a start date for the new job - Ash Wednesday! So I'm giving up claiming benefit for Lent! And we went out to the pictures to watch "Precious" - not a cheery film, avoid it if your serotonin levels are low!

Thursday, 11 February 2010

The Ugandan Bishops speak.

This, sadly, seems worth posting. Anything in italics is my own comment.

On 9 February, the Church of Uganda issued a statement on the proposed Uganda legislation.

According to the covering email:

The attached document is the official position of the Church of Uganda as endorsed by the House of Bishops of the Church of Uganda.

Kindly ensure that it is represented in its entirety.

(I certainly will - it's appalling and deserves to be printed in full, so that they can condemmn themselves out of their own mouth.)



The Church of Uganda associates itself with the concerns expressed in the Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009. However, instead of a completely new Bill, the Church recommends a Bill that amends the Penal Code Act (Cap.120) addressing loopholes, in particular:

  • protecting the vulnerabilities of the boy child; 1
  • proportionality in sentencing;
  • and, ensuring that sexual orientation is excluded as a protected human right.

Further, we recommend involvement of all stakeholders in the preparation of such a Bill in order to uphold Uganda’s values as they relate to human sexuality.

Church of Uganda’s position on Homosexuality

The Church of Uganda derives her mandate and authority from the canonical scriptures of the Old and New Testament, as the ultimate rule and standard of faith, given by inspiration of God and containing all things necessary from salvation. 2 Her mission is to “fulfil Christ’s mission through holistic teaching, evangelism, discipleship and healing for healthy and godly nations 3.”

The Church’s position on human sexuality is consistent with its basis of faith and doctrine, and has been stated very clearly over the years as reflected in various documents. i ii iii

From a plain reading of Scripture, from a careful reading of Scripture, and from a critical reading of Scripture, (there are a hell of a lot of decent, intelligent well informed scholar and pastors who would strongly disagree with this) homosexual practice has no place in God’s design of creation, the continuation of the human race through procreation, or His plan of redemption. Even natural law reveals that the very act of sexual intercourse is an experience of embracing the sexual “other” (Eh?). The Church of Uganda, therefore, believes that “Homosexual practice is incompatible with Scripture” (Resolution 1.10, 1998 Lambeth Conference). At the same time, the Church of Uganda is committed at all levels to offer counseling, healing and prayer for people with homosexual disorientation, especially in our schools and other institutions of learning. The Church is a safe place for individuals, who are confused about their sexuality or struggling with sexual brokenness, to seek help and healing. (I wouldn't go to this lot for help if it was a choice between them and Hitler)

The Objective of the Bill

The Church of Uganda appreciates the spirit of the Bill’s objective of protecting the family, especially in light of a growing propaganda (or 21st century education as you might call it) to influence younger people to accept homosexuality as a legitimate way of expressing human sexuality.

We particularly appreciate the objectives of the Bill which seek to:

a) provide for marriage in Uganda as contracted only between a man and woman;

b) prohibit and penalize homosexual behaviour and related practices in Uganda as they constitute a threat to the traditional family (the use of family to defend vicious homophobia seems to ignore the fact that ever single LGBTI person is a member of a family);

c) prohibit ratification of any international treaties, conventions, protocols, agreements and declarations which are contrary or inconsistent with the provisions of the Act; (but boy will you yowl if anyone threatens to cut your subsidies because of this)

d) prohibit the licensing of organizations which promote homosexuality (This is totalitarian. Reichbischof Orombi, beware, you are betraying the heritage of couragous opposition to totalitarianism bequeathed you by the Martyrs and Janai Lwum).

The need for a Bill that amends existing legislation

We affirm the need for a Bill in light of the existing loopholes in the current legislation, specifically sections 145‐148 of the Penal Code Act (Cap 120), which does not explicitly address the other issues asscociated with homosexual practice such as procurement, recruitment and dissemination of literature. That notwithstanding, the ideal situation would be one where necessary amendment is made to existing legislation to also enumerate other sexual offences such as lesbianism and bestiality (ye Gods, let's be more efficently reactionary than the Victorians). This would not require a fresh bill on homosexuality per se but rather an amendment to the existing provisions which would also change the title to something like “The Penal Code Unnatural Offences Amendment Bill.”


As Parliament considers streamlining the existing legislation, we recommend that the following isues be taken into consideration:

1. Ensure that the law protects the confidentiality of medical, pastoral and counseling relationships, including those that disclose homosexual practice in accordance with the relevant professional codes of ethics.

2. Language that strengthens the existing Penal Code to protect the boy child, especially from homosexual exploitation; to prohibit lesbianism, bestiality, and other sexual perversions; and to prohibit procurement of material and promotion of homosexuality as normal or as an alternative lifestyle, be adopted.

3. Ensure that homosexual practice or the promotion of homosexual relations is not adopted as a human right (the UN Declaration has pre-empted this in case you hadn't noticed peeps).

4. Existing and future Educational materials and programmes on gender identity and sex education are in compliance with the values and the laws of Uganda.

5. The involvment of additional stakeholders in the evaluation of the gaps in the existing legislation, including, but not limited to, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, its Department of Immigration and other relevant departments

6. The undertaking of a comprehensive legislative and literature review of all the laws and literature related to the subject at hand in order to identify the actual gaps in the existing legislations. (Let's have a thought police - how very Orwellian)


As a Church, we affirm the necessity of appropriate amendments within the existing legislation and corresponding Penal Code sections. The Church of Uganda, being a part of the Anglican Communion (really, I hope you aren't for much longer on this evidence), reiterates her position on human sexuality and her desire to uphold the pastoral position of providing love and care for all God’s people caught up in any sin and remaining consistent with Holy Scriptures of the Christian Church.

1 Cf. The discrepancy between Penal Code sections 128 and 147. Cf. also Section 129 which has no corresponding section for the boy child.
2 Article 2‐ Doctrine and Worship, Church of The Province of Uganda‐ Provincial Constitution 1972 as amended (1994).
3 Mission statement, Church of the Province of Uganda

i Resolution 1.10 of the Lambeth Conference of Bishops [Anglican Communion] held in 1998
ii The Church of Uganda’s Position Paper on Scripture, Authority and Human Sexuality May 2005
iii Press Statement of February 21, 2007 by Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi on the Primates’ Meeting held in Dar‐es‐ Salaam, Tanzania

Are we really going to remain in communion with this?

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

++ Rowan at his best.

The ABC's opening address to the English Synod is (for once) something I can largely agree with. See it at Gone is his usual obfuscation: it is a clear, subtle and nuanced analysis of the state of play we find ourselves in as a communion. Credibly, he describes LGBT rights as marks of a civilised society and describes the Ugandan legislation as "repugnant". He also points to the inherent tension between the American advances on orders and same sex relationships and the needs of the Church in the developing world to be free to witness without the accusation of being part of a moral threat to society (for that's how an LGBT friendly Church looks in some countries). There is a tension here between two conflicting good aims. But realistically, I very much doubt if the TEC will go back to the "gracious restraint" they practiced for 3 years, given that the conservative faction kept on getting African Bishops to interfere across diocesan and Provincial boundaries. The temper of the Church is (I suspect ) equally agin too much provision for the opponents of women priests. Last time around, Parliament insisted on compensation. I suspect neither a New Labour or a Cameroon Govt will make any such demands given the significant numbers who left, taking the money only to return when they found the ecclesiastical culture over the Tiber not to their taste. They actually mean what they say about obedience and that is not something FiF clergy are used to, either temperamentally or experientially.

I don't agree with his stance on the Equalities Bill - but he is right to urge caution about letting the Executive and legislature become too much the moral police of society. It was a bad mistake under Thatcher and likely to be worse, were British politics to take a radical swing to the Right. He also makes the nice Tractarian point about the Church being the right body to police its moral policies, give that it is a body which no one is compelled to join - but when you do you implicitly accept it's authority within boundaries to make pronouncements and decide policies which reflect it's understanding of the implications of the Gospel. Your Grace, I broadly agree with you - but you should have said this in November!

A news review...

Well, the announcement at the weekend that the ABC doesn't approve of John Terry's adultery gets my "What next? Scotsman drinks whisky" award for non-news of the year. Despite valiant efforts like: "Pope thinks Catholic schools are a good thing and doesn't like Margo MacDonald's Euthanasia Bill", it's still the least newsworthy. Better is the well deserved award of a BAFTA to Andy Serkis for his portrayal of Ian Drury in "Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll" He was stupendously like ID, even to the extent of singing the songs with the Blockheads so well I didn't realise it was him and not ID until the closing credits.

The ABC is (evidently) going to read the riot act to the General Synod of the Church of Englandshire. I do sympathise. The Evos and the Anglo-Papalists are all threatening to throw toys out of the pram on Women Bishops. Time to bop the odd skull together and go "If you like it not, join Benny's gang (he'd love to have you) - but forget generous compensation, cos we're skint and too many of youse took the money, ran and came back in 92. Also, if you want to be a biblical fundie, eff off and join the Nigerians. Both can pick up the pensions you've earned up till now after you are 65."

Here endedth the lesson!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Sad news

Sad news this morning. Sir John ("Johnny") Dankworth the Jazz musician has passed on. I was fond of the stuff he did with his wife Cleo Laine as a young 'un due to our jazz mad music teacher at school and was fascinated to discover they did an album of tracks based on Shakespeare lyrics! Here's one in tribute:

Friday, 5 February 2010

Compare and contrast!

A discussion in the kitchen (with general agreement that we all quite liked Amy Winehouse's version, but none of us could remember who wrote the original) led to tonight's music and a question. First the version of Cupid what the young people know:

And then the original:

OK, which do you prefer?

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Of Soup and surgeries.

The trip to the new doc's surgery to be peered at went well. My blood pressure is normal, my meds prescribed and the Hepatitis B vaccine is now in the fridge awaiting a trip to the practice nurse. And this evening's soup effort for 10 was a triumphant carrot and orange which earned good reviews from the masses. Its sister (the carrot and coriander) was OK, but the fruit and veg combo was an easy winner. I officially rock as a soup maker!

The study group ended with a few thoughts on the Pax in Anglican congregational life which I append below:

We all know a Mrs Beamish!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Holy Orthodoxy

Leading a group on Heyschasist spirituality put me in the mood for a bit of Orthodox chant tonight. Romanian seemed good to me.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Pilgrims Progress

Evidently, Sure have brought out a deodorant for Weegies: it lasts 48 hrs! Other rib-tickling observations tonight include the observation that my mouser makes me look like Col Mustard in the Library with a candlestick ("but in a GOOD way!"). Thanks people!

The report from the trick cyclist is on its way indicating that Aspergers Syndrome is indeed a condition I have (which is a major liberation actually - bits of my behaviour and life over the years suddenly make a lot more sense). But she also suggested that the type of therapy I have undergoing (psycho dynamic) isn't ideal. Actually, there are 2 conditions it is recommended not to use it in conjunction with - Aspergers and alcoholism. Which may explain why at times it has felt like marching uphill with a kit bag and rifle through bloody treacle! Her suggestion is CBT therapy. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. (And there was me thinking that stood for something else entirely!!) In fact I feel a bit angry about that as I was clear to the therapist from stage on that alcohol was a problem and Aspergers a possibility (as the Aspergers website said I ought to). Why nothing was said to me to indicate there was potentially a problem I don't know. But I think it was what was known to be available and funded that sent me in that direction to start with.

The new job is now definite as all the paperwork has arrived and I will be told about induction training in the next day or so. It's suddenly a bit busy about here! In a GOOD way!