The web pages of Stephen Penney

Ringing Chat postings, Lent 2004

Here follows all the postings I would have sent to ringing chat during lent:

Bxxx, 25-2: "Did anyone have any nice pancakes yesterday?"

For the second year running had to decide between eating pancakes at home and the CY practice. I made the correct decision though – we got free beer after the practice, and it turned out my Mum couldn't be bothered to make pancakes anyway.

MBD, 25-2: "Hmm, according to my weblogs practically no-one looked at this. Certainly no-one attempted any sensible interpretation of the image. But it's absolutely fascinating - what's wrong with the lot of you??"

I looked at it Mark. It's clearly the top of an apple pie.

PG, 26-2: "He has decided that he wants to take Latin as his language choice"

One of the biggest mistakes I made was not to take Latin lessons at school. I think I didn't bother due to the fact that they were during lunchtimes for the first few terms. For the next two years they were during games lessons, so I could have got off PE by doing Latin. If only they'd pointed this out at the start.

JEC, 28-2: "I didn't say I actually had an afternoon nap - just that I need one."

I often have an afternoon (and evening) nap even though I don't need one. I read of a frightening statistic recently which estimates we waste two thirds of our lives awake.

GJ, 29-2: "There are also other ways for a conductor to be embarrassed after the event, such as the composition is true but doesn't come round; or it is only 4992 changes long!"

I heard of someone recently standing up a quarter peal because it didn't come round where he expected it to. If he's only let it go another two changed he'd have realised it came round at the snap….

AT, 2-3: "Anyone up for a whisky tasting?"
ABB, 2-3: "Will the tasting include haggis with neeps and tatties?"

Aah, whisky, haggis, neeps and tatties (mouth waters). When we were up in Inveraray for a peal last year most of us ordered Haggis, neeps and tatties for lunch. After a few minuted the waiter came back to inform us "We've plenty of tatties, but we haven'y any neeps. Would cabbage be ok for ye?". I was delighted, as I greatly prefer cabbage anyway.

UJ, 5-3: "There is a message on Change Ringers from Neil Donovan to say that numbers appear to be double what they should be."

I did wonder why everyone had rung an even number of peals last year.

JP, 6-3 : "John Donne (installed as Dean of St Paul's in 1621) got it right when he wrote:-"He that seeks proofe for every mystery of Religion, shall meet with much darknesse; but he that beleeves first, shall finde every thing to illustrate his faith.""

I think this has two interpretations. Is he saying that, as Christians, our beliefs are more important than finding proof for them, and this if we follow God, he will arm us with the reasoning we need to defend our faith? Or is he saying - believe in something blindly, and you'll convince yourself that the evidence supports it? I'm not sure I agree with either. A friend once asked me "am I wrong to question the Christian faith?" I answered, "no, you're wrong not to". C S Lewis did just that - examined the evidence for Christianity and decided it was the only logical conclusion to come to.
John Camp talks about "are still wanting to find some basis on which they can keep the Christian label". I've often wondered if these people are just using the label "Christianity" for their meta-ethics, without having any intention of following Christ whatsoever.

MP, 9-3: "Am I the only one to think there is something graceful and possibly even elegant about a wind farm?"

Wind farms? Isn't there enough wind in this country without wasting electricity generating more?

Gweilo, 16-3: "It was the Joint Academic NETwork hence JANET. I'm too think to have been allowed to use it though"

The first I heard of JANET (As opposed to "Janet", my mother) was in about 1994ish when I was informed it was an acronym of "Joint Academic Network for Electronic Transfer". Is this bollocks?

IWD, 16-3: "I do [proof reading] for a living. For friends I charge only £15 an hour (how do I make a living, you ask)."

By reading very slowly?

MT, 18-3: "Has anyone else been having problems with Freeserve recently?"

I've got a freeserve account which I use to use as my main email account, but it started receiving so much spam that I don't use it now. I still use the account for dial up access from home though.

I thought I'd let the mail box fill up so that it would start bouncing messages so it would eventually (hopefully) be removed from spam lists. I checked to see how it was doing recently, and discovered a message from freeserve saying "Your email box has become full, so older messages have been deleted.". How very annoying.
I did try bouncing back spasm using mailwasher, but found it kept crashing my PC for some reason.

Hippo, 18-3: "There are plenty of other substances in common usage (in the UK) which are considerably more toxic in overdose than any of the above and are worse to try treating. Two particular nasties are Co-Proxamol (Distalgesic) ….. and tricyclic antidepressants"

Tricyclic antidepressants? Phil Earis tells us to try cyclic to make us happy – can an overdose of resurrection be fatal?

JEC, 21-3: "Have you ever read any Enid Blyton, Squiff?"

I used to enjoy reading Enid Blyton, until realising her books were somewhat formulaic. I think Ricky Gervais summed her up quite well by imagining a meeting between Enid and her publisher:
Blyton: "I've written another book"
Publisher: "Oh not another bloody famous five book?"
Blyton: "No, this one's totally different – it's called 'The secret seven'".
Publisher: "Go on….".
Blyton: "Well these, seven kids…"
Publisher: "Get out".

Thinking back to the famous five books, it's quite amusing how the brains of the operation was Timmy the dog.

Bxxx, 23-3: "Is there a kind of torture where someone is made to eat dry rice and then swallow a large amount of water, causing the rice to expand in the stomach?"
AW, 23-3: " Think it originated in China and was used in japanese POW camps in the lasr war."

I used to do this to save time.

FB, 23-3: "Section 172 (assuming I'm thinking of the right one) requires the keeper to state who was driving the vehicle at a particular time: that's all. Nothing there about admitting guilt."

So why can't you just say "Sometimes my Dad drives my car on his insurance. I have absolutely no idea who was driving that day."? Surely it's up to the prosecution to prove it was you driving? If it works – why doesn't everyone do this?

RL, 26-3: " The 'Question of the Week' on the website of The Church Times is: "Are the Church's new guidelines on Child Protection unworkable?""

My view is that if it only saves one child….. then it's probably not very cost effective.

Talking of Polls, I think it was Ceefax had a poll: "Which presenter do you prefer – Anthea Turner or Eamonn Holmes?". The results were something along the lines of: 30% Eamonn Holmes, 50% Anthea Turner, 20% Don't Care. It was the latter group that intrigued me – did people really sit at home and say "I couldn’t give a toss about that – where's the phone?"?

JAF: " If you're going to be rationalist about this, why divide the day into 24 parts anyway? Why not 10 or 16?"

A very sensible suggestion. Personally I think time should be measured in radians.

Bxxx, 30-3: "Don't you have to be more than 8 stone in weight [to give blood]?"

It was not all that long ago that I was able to give this excuse not to give blood. I've put a bit of weight on since then though, probably due to an imbalance of beer consumption, food and exercise.

RY: "I like the idea of making St. Alban the patent saint of England"

Me too, although I'm biased. Is the fact that he predates England a problem though? At least he lived and dies in a place which later became known as England, which is more than St George did. What year did England become England then? Do neither St David, St Patrick or St Andrew predate Wales, Ireland or Scotland (as appropriate)? makes reference to Holmhurst Hill which later became the site of St Albans Cathedral. I know of no reference to this hill, in the form of street names or districts, now in St Albans.

UJ, 31-3: "I gave blood today. I was a little disconcerted to be asked if I minded a trainee putting the needle in - that did make me a little nervous !"

A friend of mine was asked the same question, and looked the other way as the trainee inserted the needle. She was a little disconcerted when the trainee yelled out "Oh shit – it's gone everywhere!".

There was a lot of talk about poetry during Lent, and it occured to me that I might not have posted my creation "Grantchester Orchard" before. As you may know, Rupert Brooke once wrote a poem about Grantchester Orchard, and they now have the Rupert Brooke museum there. I went to a wedding reception there last year, and it occured to me that if I wrote a poem about the place, they might have a Percy museum there onceday. Maybe. Anyway, here 'tis:

Grantchester Orchard
It makes you think that war should
End and that more should
be done to help the tortured.
In Grantchester
Does no plant fester
It's better than Leicester
and you can't test her.
No mound
That's unsound
can be found
On it's ground
And for about a pound
you can buy tea
or coffee
and drink your tea
or coffee
'neath a tree in a deckchair
they put there
You know,
You really should GO
to G.O.

The poetry about german lavatories reminded me of a superb verse a friend of mine once wrote, related to the same subject:

Poo is tasty
Poo is blue
I'm a poo
And so are you

You'll notice on this page I've used IWD's method of quoting (plus the date). IMHO this is far more elegant than indenting with lots of greater than signs.

- Percy