Saturday, 30 May 2009

Park life?

All the people
So many people
And they all go hand in hand
Hand in hand through their parklife
(Blur: Parklife)

We spent yesterday in Edinburgh it was a gorgeous sunny day, with almost cloud-free skies and high temperature to match (well, high by Scottish standards). After lunch the Fish Wife and Dolly D went shopping, and I wandered off towards some bookshops through Princes Street Gardens. I expected the gardens to be quite busy, but was surprised how many people there were. I was equally surpised by the obvious desire by so many to soak up as many sun rays as possible.

Now I don't want to be a total grump... but a recent news story told us that skin cancer in the UK has doubled over the last 12 years or so. We also seem to have added a new 'binge' to our lifestyles - after binge drinking and eating, apparently we now binge-tan!

Will we ever learn that healthy lives need balance, not excess?

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Silver lining

Our housegroups are in the middle of an interminable series on the armour of God – not my cup of tea to look at stuff like this in detail. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago we were looking at the breastplate of righteousness, and I was leading the study that night.

As my mind wandered I recalled that there was a prayer by (or attributed to) St Patrick called the Breastplate of St Patrick. I even remembered where I had a copy of it (David Adam’s book The Cry of the Deer – which is another name for the same prayer). So I referred to it during the study, quoting a wee bit of it, and used it to conclude our prayer time at the end of the evening. It was only as I was reading it out loud that I realised how wonderful it is. Now it’s my new favourite prayer!

You can find the prayer here – other translations are available, but I like this one.

So there are silver linings to dark clouds… at least sometimes.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Bloggers block

I've got so many ideas swirling around in my head just now, but somehow I can't settle down to write anything. I suspect that it'll fall into place in due course - if I can just let it happen.

In the meantime...

This seems to confirm that there can be a silver lining to a raincloud.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Surprising service

This weekend I had to renew the anti-virus software for my P.C. The online subscription renewal was dearer than buying the latest version of the software (which included the annual subscription). So I went off to PC World, credit card in hand, knowing that I would hate the experience - I always do! My mood was not greatly helped by the pricing policy in the shop - they don't show the prices, so you have to ask for assistance even when you know what you want.

After a remarkably short period of time a member of staff approached me and asked if he could help. I asked him to clarify the price of the two products that I was choosing between. He gave me a rough indication, but said he would go and double-check, but added that there were a couple of other options that I might like to consider. My heart sank. I really didn't want to spend any more of my Saturday morning listening to a lengthy sales pitch about fancy and expensive features which I would never use.

He duly returned, told me the prices and said that he used another package which was very good, but slightly dearer. No gobblydegook, no whistles and bells, no sales pitch. As I had been using the package that he had priced for me for several years, he recommended that I stick with that. He was polite, efficient and very pleasant. He took me to the sales till (I assume that they are paid by commission to some extent) and wished me a good day.

As I walked to the car I thought about how helpful he had been, and how the experience hadn't been the horrid drudgery that I'd anticipated. I put the software into the car and went back in to the shop to find him and thank him properly - not just in the automatically polite way that I tend to in shops. Chris (that was his name) told me that he had just started in this particular shop. I hope he's still there the next time that I need to visit. I will make a point of finding him - even if I have to wait a bit longer - and I probably won't have the same sense of foreboding as I drive down to the retail park!