I write from Claygate, where we have just returned home from an uplifting and empowering church service of covenant Sunday, of making promises to love God and live with him through the year to come, particularly, and in your life, entirely, as I understood it. Two songs written by women, and two by Matt Redman who sings quite high and so gets in on a technicality. Matt Redman came to Southampton University a year after me, me being a couple of years behind Matt Hyam turning up at the CU there. There was not enough room in the CU for two Matts, so the weaker song writer left. Or maybe it was arm wrestling they fought it out with? I was not sure, I was too busy trying to find Nick Treby things to do to prevent him playing his trombone in public. Anyway, Matt Redman couldn't take the pace of the fast moving tempo of Nick's trombone playing, couldn't keep up and that's why I think he left.
Yesterday I had a marvellous day out with Jenny Alibon, famous for being my right hand girl on our trip to Bosnia in 2007. We meet annually now, and have a great time! We 'did' the National Portrait Gallery, which I had never been in before. There were some modern photographs in a competition, and some modern paintings of scientists and business people which were interesting, then we went and trooped around the famous men of old, with heaps of paintings of old men so ugly they would have done better to say to the artist: 'I'll be honest. I'm no oil painting. Forget it.'
After a walk in St James Park (why do tourists cross the globe to go to London and then take photos of vermin - pigeons?) we had tea and cake at the Royal Festival Hall, a lovely space, much better used since the re-furb a few years back and now full of people drinking tea and eating cake. R and the girls had spent the day at the Natural History Museum, as A is doing dinosaurs at school and was eager to go and see the bones. I was on the train after theirs, so got back and had a relaxing evening eating chips while rest of family Bowen were over at Family Gibbs of Little Bookham. H has stayed over, and was looking forward to it, being the especially big cousin of two little boys who she adores. We hear that she organised Angus into making A and A breakfast in bed!
I had a observation of my teaching on Friday and my feedback was all good, which is nice. The only problem I had was with one of the boys trying to get under my chair while I was discussing puppets with the whole class. The children were as well behaved as always and I was delighted with how well the lesson went and how much they have learned in this DT project on making puppets, they can now use double sided tape, and as R pointed out, at the start of the year some of them struggled to use single sided tape. They have also all sewed something on to their puppet, and I was blessed with 4 parent helpers to get the sewing underway on Wednesday. I have had a good week teaching, with some fabulous writing being produced by children about giants and great use of vocabulary and compound sentences, with 'and' and 'because' appearing in lots of their writing. I also assessed my reading groups and have a handle on where they need to go next which is a great feeling!
On Tuesday we had Steve and Elaine Jones over for dinner, and in the hour before they arrived I cooked two types of soup, gave the girls tea and entertained 3 angels. Steve and Elaine are thinking, godly people and amongst the few who I can be honest with without fear. They charge reasonable rates and I recommend them to you all.
Housegroup on Wednesday was somehow led by me, Josh FORGOT he was leading the worship but mercifully I had already decided that we would go and pray at Amanda's new flat so he claimed that as his own idea and we all had a cup of tea and prayed for her, at her new flat. It seems very clean and decent, with brand new kitchen and bathroom. Hey. Josh, don't worry, I won't tell anyone you forgot you were on the rota....
Sialou and I have managed 2 weeks in a row of meeting and reading Mark together, so 2 chapters down. It is fantastic to read and discuss the bible with someone who has such a hugely different culture and history to me, but essentially who meets the same Jesus on those pages. I come home really built up by the experience, and can only despair that it has taken me two years to get around to it, and rejoice that despite my slowness, Jesus is waiting for me always.