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What would Jesus make of IKEA?

"What would Jesus make of IKEA?" This question occurred to me as I was assembling the BILLY bookcase this week. Always a challenge, flat pack furniture. In fact, for most of my life I have been consciously avoiding IKEA. Many years ago I was in the final stages of assembling one of their units only to discover one single metal fitting was missi’g. Getting through to customer services was a challenge in itself, and how do you pronounce LÅNGFJÄLL and the like? But then I was informed – policy may since have changed – I had to return the entire unit in order to be given a replacement. All for one single metal part which then had, as far as I could ascertain, no English name. Any

Fighting against Black Friday, our challenge.

“But we don’t need another ice rink,” Jacqui patiently explained to me. “I know,” I replied, showing even more patience, “But it’s three-for-the-price-of-two. So we’re getting it anyway!” As you can see, I’m now in full Black Friday mode. In my defence we were looking for Lego sets for Christmas presents for our ten grandchildren, a daunting task. Boots were selling them online for a competitive price – but this being the Eve of Black Friday, they were selling three for the price of two. And selling them very quickly. Tragically the ski lifts had already sold out. Life can be tough on this day of all days for the retail industry. This year it was Aldi who had to handle shoppe

When you stand your ground, alone.

Often our most powerful weapon – especially when we are taking on the strongholds of this world – is our weakness. We may face a heavily armed enemy with just five smooth stones. No problem for the disciple of Jesus. I was taken aback at today’s headline in the Daily Mail As preening Tory saboteurs undermine their PM, their party, Brexit – and Britain’s future – the Mail asks simply HAVE THEY LOST THE PLOT? And at the centre of the front page there is a comment box which begins: “Contrast the calmness and composure of Mrs May with the shrill baying of the peacocking saboteurs. . . . ” To my complete surprise this tabloid, which - to quote from “Evita” - is slightly to the

Remembering Frank

Not that I knew it at the time but Frank and I shared the same bedroom. I only discovered this a few years back when I googled the address of where I grew up. The result came up as a complete surprise. Corporal Frank Tomlinson, of the King’s (Liverpool Regiment), only son of Frank and Elizabeth Tomlinson. He was killed in Flanders 16 May 1915. Frank was just 20 when he fell but unlike me he did not grow up in Waterloo. What I was able to find out about him was that he attended Bedford Road Council school in Bootle. Otherwise that's about it. But here was someone who knew my bedroom, its shape and view, and looking up from my bed - the coving and cornice. Above all the sound

When you are threatened with Tadcaster.

“Don’t leave it too late to die” counsels the quietly efficient Sister Gilchrist of her patients in the newly-renamed Shirley Bassey ward. Even so her patients persist in regular song and dance routines, in particular “Good Golly Miss Molly’ which brings the house down at the beginning of the second act. Last night Jacqui and I made our way to Edge Hill’s Rose Theatre for the streaming of Alan Bennett’s new play, “Allelujah!” being performed at the Bridge Theatre in London. Set in the geriatric ward of the Beth, an old-fashioned but much loved hospital in the West Riding of Yorkshire, this beautifully acted play muses on the meaning of life when to all intents and purposes life has

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