Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 25 June 2023.

  (I wonder if they've missed me? 😊) Well, we’ve lived in our little cottage for six months now. We love it, it’s comfortable and homely, and very “us” - you know what I mean by that. Maudie the German Shepherd loves it, she can cavort around the yard all day long, fetching balls which Leisa throws morning and evening, and making me chase her for those same balls during the day while Leisa is at work to pay the mortgage. I think that the cockatiels love it. It’s difficult to tell. Holly, the hen bird, would never let on, and Glimfeather, the cock bird, would chirp happily in a Force 4 cyclone. I’m sitting on the front deck as I tap this, looking up at Castle Hill right behind us. It’s not perfect, of course. The irrigation points leak, and the system is counter-intuitive in the extreme to programme. The bathroom slopes alarmingly to one end. It’s on one of the busiest roads in Townsville. That’s not such a problem for me until I put my hearing aids in. Maudie loves it most of all

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 12 February 2023

  While there’s still time to dash out and buy a card, let me remind you that it’s Valentine’s Day on Tuesday. It’s also Gail Mumme’s and Shirley Nuss’ birthdays, so you can buy them a card for each occasion. Just remember that it’s traditional that a Valentine card should be from an anonymous admirer. On the first Valentine after we started going out, I composed a poem and faxed it to Leisa, or rather I faxed it to the firm of structural engineers for whom she worked. It was entitled, “The Poet’s Plea to a Civil Engineer”, and dealt with the pain of separation. I lived in West Sussex, while Leisa lived and worked Mon – Fri in London. The poignant last two lines are: If things don’t get better, I’ll jump in the sea, Sir, So build me a tunnel from Sussex to Leisa.   A few weeks later, she flew to Egypt on holiday, and I composed another poem on the inauspicious topic of a Romanian Airways Tupolev. Since then, the Muse has largely left me.   Poetry makes up a large part of the Bible. In

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 29 January 2023

  We have some new chairs at KUC, comfortable and with arms! Sitting down in church isn’t universal. Some of you might have, er, endured an Eastern Orthodox eucharist where the congregation stands for a couple of hours (and wanders about kissing icons, or pops out for a quick fag, just to, you know, keep the circulation going). While traditional Lutherans sit to sing but stand to pray (and, so a joke goes, lie down for the sermon). In the New Testament, believers are often represented standing around while God the Father and/or God the Son are seated on their respective thrones. A few weeks ago we ended the carol, “Where like stars, his children crowned, all in white, shall stand around”. An exception to this is the Feeding of the Five (or Four) Thousand. Unusually, the story is told in all four Gospels, Matthew 14 and 15, Mark 6 (the eye-witness scene beloved of NT scholars, “sit down in groups on the  green grass ”) and Mark 8, Luke 9 and John 6. Jesus tells the hungry crowd, or asks

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 22 January 2023

 “Lost property”, on trains, aeroplanes, theatres, even churches (KUC has enough pairs of glasses now to rival Specsavers), is a curio-seeker’s dream. Different organisations have different rules concerning disposal. Most Australian rail authorities, for example, keep items for 2 months before donating to charity, returning official documents to the appropriate body, or destruction. Umbrellas feature prominently in any collection. The Southern Region of British Rail (or whatever they’re called in these privatised days) have, or had, quite a few of my umbrellas over the years. Mostly left behind on the 17:35 from Waterloo to Havant, but sometimes, er, “borrowed” by other passengers. Which puts me in mind of a ditty: The rain, it falleth on the just and on the unjust fella. But more upon the just, because the unjust pinched the just’s umbrella. The dittyist’s (is that a word? It is now) muse was inspired by Matthew 5:45, “your father which is in heaven … sendeth rain on the just an

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 15 January 2023

  I’ve just booked a return flight to Perth, to attend a friend’s ordination at Bunbury Cathedral. As they say on product review sites, Pro: A catch-up with our greatest concentration of pals in the southern hemisphere. Good music and liturgy.  The Rose and Crown . Con: Three nights away from Leisa, Maudie and the cockatiels. Long flights, especially west-bound. And airports.   Townsville Airport is still a breeze compared to capital cities. But it’s not quite so friendly as it used to be, since the lovely, dopey security man was replaced by full body scanners. “What’s that in your pocket?” “Er, nothing, oh yes, a handkerchief.” “Why didn’t you put it on the tray?” “It’s only a handkerchief.” “Doesn’t matter, you shouldn’t go through the scanner gate with it.” Who knew that handkerchiefs were such a threat to the safety of the realm? Metal detector, I get, but c’mon, a handkerchief detector?   On the face of it, God has a moral detector to deter me from entering his sanctuary. Ps 24, ‘

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 8 January 2023

  Well, the gate doorbell camera has already proved its worth. My Apple Watch vibrates on my wrist, alerting me that there is a pretty pic on my phone of someone standing at the gate. Or even that their vehicle has just pulled in to the layby. (Handy on bin day, to know that the garbo truck has emptied our bins). One pretty pic was of the real estate agent who sold the house to us, another was of a couple of our members. What they had in common, was that they each bore gifts. Virgil has the Trojan priest, Laocoön, exclaiming (Helen Beck has taught this to generations of South Australians) “Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes”, “I fear the Greeks even when they bring gifts.” Nothing to fear here, those goodies both included champagne. We are quite fond of sparkling wine in general, champagne in particular. Friday night is bubbles (and fush n’chups) night chez nous. Usually a cheap-ish prosecco or Australian sparkling. A mortgage and rising interest rates will put paid to that tradition. An en

Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch pew sheet 1 January 2023

  Our new pad has an electrically operated gate for our cars to come in and out (to our electrically operated garage, which is being used for storing assorted unopened and part-opened boxes for the time being.) The pedestrian gate opener is obstructed (on purpose, for security reasons) by a padlock. So how do parcel deliverers, meter readers and bearers of mulled wine (thankyou Robin   😊 ) gain ingress? Well, they press the groovy wi-fi connected camera doorbell which rings my and Leisa’s iPhone, wherever we might be in the world, displays their pic and allows one or both of us to tell them that we’ll be right down (if the dog is safely in) or ignore them if we’re in Woop Woop so that they can leave goodies at North Ward or JCU PO. Except it’s not connected yet. Give me a day or two to understand the accompanying installation instructions. Two well-known instances in scripture of Jesus, as it were, pressing the doorbell, are in Revelation 3: “Behold I stand at the door and knock.” And