A tale of two lawns

It’s a tale of two lawns. We had no choice really. Our builder, for quite understandable reasons, wrecked both our front and back gardens. Skips and grabs in the front; excavators and mixers in the back. Which meant new lawns, front and back. As it happened, an awesome task - just underneath the surface was buried the debris from when our house was originally built. As always the preparation is everything and we prepared properly: turf stripped, soil rotovated and then raked, by John and by Ian. Thanks guys. I made the tea. Then the big decision – how to make the lawn. We decided an instant garden for the front, laying turf in rolls while for the back, old-fashioned seed

When life bounces us up and down

We live in unsettled and unsettling times. We’ve just voted in an election no one was expecting and no one knows whether those elected will even take their seats. This morning Theresa May is our prime minister. This afternoon, who knows? And that’s only politics. The economic basics are changing, changing fast, driven by disruptive technologies. All this is reflected in our culture which is continually pushing out the boundaries of what is considered acceptable. The temptation, of course, is to hanker after a past where we lived predictable and secure lives, an illusion of course. “People wish to be settled,” observed Ralph Waldo Emerson, “only as far as they are unsettled is ther

Who knows what hellish future lies ahead? This year's Eurovision Song Contest.

Well, it’s that time of the year again. “Royaume-Uni, nul points!” I have to confess that I will not be joining the 186 millions of you who will be watching the finals of the Eurovision song contest being broadcast tomorrow from Tel Aviv, of all places! Strangely many young people find viewing this live international song competition compelling, with its own eclectic subculture and strange traditions.  Only yesterday I bumped into someone who told me that her son was coming home from London especially to watch the programme with his friends.  They love it as it goes increasingly bizarre. It seems that this year’s Iceland’s act, a black leather and metal-spiked group, has challenged Isr

It's not over until it's over

The commentator for Radio 5 Live was almost incoherent when Lucas Moura scored for Spurs in the closing seconds of the Champions League Semi-Final against gallant, underrated Ajax. As one Twitter user observed on the night: "The most astonishing comeback I have seen, well, since yesterday." If there is one thing we learned from these two remarkable back-to-back Semi-Finals is that "It's not over until it's over." The phrase itself comes from a famous US baseball player, Yogi Berra, from way back in 1973 and has inspired sportspeople ever since. However far you may be behind, however long the odds against you, there is always hope. Though your dreams be tossed and blown, keep on walking o

What happens when we hurt each other?

An incident yesterday showed me what happens when Christians hurt each other, sadly an all-too-common occurrence: that God himself is wounded. This is the conclusion of what appears to be a throw-away line of the apostle Paul as he writes his circular letter to the Ephesians: “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30) The Message translation is more direct: “Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart.” The apostle was frequently hurt – not just by hostile authorities or callous opponents. He could handle that. What did get passed his defences was the actions of his fellow disciples, even those whom he had led to f


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