David J. Farley of Plympton, Plymouth, United Kingdom

David J. Farley of Plympton, Plymouth, United Kingdom

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What SHOULD be in the News Headlines

It's a tough, but heart-warming story...with this picture of John Gebhardt in Iraq.

John Gebhardt's wife, Mindy, said that this little girl's entire family was executed. The insurgents intended to execute the little girl also, and shot her in the head...but they failed to kill her. She was cared for in John's hospital and is healing up, but continues to cry and moan. The nurses said John is the only one who seems to calm her down, so John has spent the last four nights holding her while they both slept in that chair. The girl is coming along with her healing.
He is a real Star of the war, and represents what the Western world is trying to do.

You'll rarely see things like this in the news. The public needs to see such pictures and understand that we're making a difference. Even if it is just one little girl at a time.

We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust our sails...

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Twelve Days of Christmas

As a token of gratitude for Britain's aid during World War II, the Christmas tree in London's Trafalgar Square has been the annual gift of the people of Norway since 1947.

There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me. What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas? This week, I found out; as a direct consequence of the Reformation from 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

The partridge in a pear tree was our Lord Jesus Christ.

Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

Three French hens stood for faith, hope and charity.

The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.

Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.

The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.

So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol !

Merry (Twelve Days of) Christmas Everyone

Lest we forget

Arlington National Cemetery, Washington DC, USA

Rest easy, sleep well my brothers. Know the line has held, your job is done.
Rest easy, sleep well. Others have taken up where you fell, the line has held.
Peace, peace, and farewell... Readers may be interested to know that these wreaths -- some 5,000 -- are donated by the Worcester Wreath Co. of Harrington, Maine, USA. The owner, Merrill Worcester, not only provides the wreaths, but covers the trucking expense as well. He's done this since 1992. A wonderful guy. Also, most years, groups of Maine school kids combine an educational trip to Washington DC with this event to help out. Making this even more remarkable is the fact that Harrington is in one the poorest parts of the state.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

You hear too much about the bad things people do. Everyone should know about this annual act of gratitude and kindness.

Friday, December 19, 2008


May the peace and happiness of Christmas remain with you throughout the New Year

The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a Son and they will call Him Immanuel which means 'God with us'

MATTHEW 1 : 23

'When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:'

MATTHEW 2 : 14

Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.

LUKE 2 : 14

Christmas is a special time to celebrate our Saviour's birth for he was sent from heaven above to bring us peace on earth

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Transparent Butterfly

It comes from Central America and is found from Mexico to Panama. It is quite common in its zone, but it is not easy to find because of its transparent wings, which is a natural camouflage mechanism. A butterfly with transparent wings is rare and beautiful.

As delicate as finely blown glass, the presence of this rare tropical gem is used by rain forest ecologists as an indication of high habitat quality and its demise alerts them of ecological change.

Rivalling the refined beauty of a stained glass window, the translucent wings of the Glasswing butterfly shimmer in the sunlight like polished panes of turquoise,orange, green, and red.

All things beautiful do not have to be full of colour to be noticed: In life that which is unnoticed has the most power!

These beautiful pictures reminded me of that immortal quotation by Mahatma Gandhi in 1934; "I need no other inspiration than Nature's. She has never failed me yet. She mystifies me, bewilders me, sends me into ecstasies. Besides God's handiwork, does not man's fade into insignificance?"

Monday, November 24, 2008

Buckfast Abbey, Buckfastleigh, Devon

On Saturday 22nd November I had the blessing and sheer joy of visiting St. Mary's Abbey, better known at Buckfast Abbey, Buckfastleigh, Devon. Although I have been a visitor many times before it never ceases to inspire and uplift me. I was attending a quiet day and Holy Eucharist in the adjacent St. Cuthbert's Conference Centre.

Buckfast Abbey is a Benedictine monastery on the edge of Dartmoor National Park. It is visited by almost half a million people every year. Visitors experience a marvellous tranquil atmosphere as well as the rare opportunity to encounter a Roman Catholic monastic community.

The first Abbey was founded in 1018 and absorbed into the Cistercian order in 1147. It grew throughout the Middle Ages until its closure in 1539 by King Henry VIII. The buildings were converted or allowed to fall into ruin, but in 1882 a group of Benedictine monks, exiled from France, settled at Buckfast and eventually set about rebuilding the Abbey. It now seems incredible that a team of no more than six monks completed the work in 30 years, especially as only one - Brother Peter - had any experience as a builder. This feat was made possible by their unshakeable determination to build a lasting symbol of monastic heritage and a living community dedicated to following the Benedictine Rule.

Today Buckfast Abbey is the only English medieval monastery to have been restored and used again for its original purpose. The monks at St. Mary's Abbey pray and work in the exact spot and in the same ways that their predecessors did nearly a thousand years ago. They follow the guidelines that were set down by their founder, St. Benedict, in the fifth century, and they continue to support themselves through a variety of means, including the traditional monastic occupations of beekeeping, land management, wine production and hospitality.

Although, understandably, the monastic enclosure is private visitors to the Abbey are welcome in the church, its beautiful grounds and outer buildings. If you ever find yourself in Devon whether on business or vacation I can truly recommend a visit to Buckfast Abbey where you will find peace and quiet in a spiritually uplifting environment. You cannot fail to leave without experiencing a close encounter with the Holy Spirit.

The High Altar at Buckfast Abbey. Since its foundation in 1018 Buckfast Abbey has experienced times of peace and turbulence, of grandeur, ruin and finally restoration to what it is today.

This huge magnificent stained-glass window of the Last Supper, dominating the Blessed Sacrement Chapel which was added in the late 1960's at the east end of the Abbey Church, was created by the late Father Charles Norris. He trained at the Royal College of Art and developed a modern style of stained glass by using thick tiles of glass, which were chipped to shape and set in concrete or epoxy resins. Over the last 50 years, the monks of Buckfast Abbey have designed and produced windows for over 150 churches, as well as many private commissions. One notable recent commission was a window for a memorial in New York to the firemen killed in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre on September 11th 2001.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Three Nuns









My thanks to Mel in Australia for kindly sending me this funny but profound story. There are times when we all need a smile!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lest we forget!

Yesterday, Wednesday, two Royal Marines from my city of Plymouth were killed in the Garsir district of Helmand Province, Afghanistan, whilst on a joint patrol with Afghan security forces. They were killed when their vehicle was hit by an IED (improvised explosive device).

The Ministry of Defence have today named the Royal Marines as Robert McKibben, aged 36 years, from County Mayo, Northern Ireland and Neil Dunstan, aged 32 years, from Bournemouth. They were serving with the UK Landing Force Command Support Group from 3 Commando Brigade (whose home base is Stonehouse Barracks here in Plymouth) as part of the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force.

Last Sunday and on Tuesday of this week both RM McKibben and RM Dunstan joined colleagues in Remembrance Day and Armistice Day services on the front line little knowing what fate would befall them so soon afterwards.

Their deaths bring the total number of UK service personnel killed in Afghanistan to 124 and when combined with those lost in Iraq the UK total now stands at 300.

The City of Plymouth once again finds itself in a state of stunned shock at the loss of its brave servicemen. For my part I wish to send my sincere condolences and deepest sympathy to their family and friends. Whilst deeply saddened at such tragic loss I am nevertheless extremely proud of their dedication and commitment.

We, as a nation, owe a great debt of gratitude to each and every member of our armed forces who daily put their lives on the line in various conflict zones to defend our freedom, liberty and, above all else, our security.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Dream Fulfilled!

History was made today! The United States of America has elected its first African American President in Senator Barack Obama and I send him and his family sincere congratulations from me and my family in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. We wish him well for his term in office and look forward to a continuation of the enduring and well established working relationship between our two countries. I am very mindful of Dr. Martin Luther King's immortal words in 1963 when he declared, in that famous speech, he had a dream that one day his children and grandchildren would be judged, not by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character. That dream was fulfilled today in its entirety, albeit 45 years later. Praise The Lord !

I also pay special tribute to Senator John McCain for fighting a very fair election and especially for his characteristic dignity in defeat. A new dawn has begun and as the President Elect stated in his inspirational victory speech it proves that all things are possible in America. The American dream of the Founding Fathers in writing the US Constitution is, thank God, alive and well and we can all look forward to a future full of Hope, Freedom and Liberty for all irrespective of race, colour or creed.

Whatever one's own political persuasion may be; today has certainly been a momentous occasion on the world stage of democracy. The citizens of the United States of America have never been more "united" than now in so many different ways. Congratulations to those celebrating success and commiserations to those gracious in defeat. May God bless America and her Allies.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


Apologies to my regular visitors for the lack of postings over the past couple of weeks. As detailed in my previous posting I was extremely disappointed to lose my personal website on AOL Hometown which I had built, over recent years, into a reasonably good site; judging by the favourable comments posted within my Guestbook. However, not to be outdone, I have succeeded in constructing a new site, albeit of necessity, containing much of the same information as the previous one but with one significant difference; it contains none of AOL's boring adverts ! It can be reached at www.david-farley.com and I would welcome any constructive comments or criticism from bloggers or indeed any visitors as to how I may improve the content or presentation of the site.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I have been a member of the Internet service provider AOL (America Online) for many years. I have enjoyed its many advantages of bells and whistles with its all singing and all dancing e-mail and especially the facility of AOL Hometown which provided free website space to all members. I spent endless hours over several years constructing my website on AOL Hometown and ended up with a website of which I was really proud, even though I say it myself! Now,at the beginning of this month and completely out of the blue, I received an e-mail informing me that AOL Hometown was closing its doors at the end of October and advising me to download all my files and images from their FTP space as it will no longer be available after the end of October. Not even the courtesy of an explanation for the necessity of this draconian action on their behalf. To add to my turmoil I am now unable to enter the editing suite to retrieve several items of HTML script which I placed on various pages. This is not available in the FTP space to download so I have lost that data. AOL is not even offering the option to transfer the websites to another ISP.

If AOL had a problem with too many people taking up too much web space why on earth did they not opt to impose a charging or payment system for the privilege of having a website on Hometown. I am certain that would have removed the more frivolous sites and freed-up valuable space.

I am now seriously considering leaving AOL altogether because it was the benefit of the free website on AOL Hometown that persuaded me to stay with the company for all these years. I believe AOL has acted in a cavalier way and are not worthy of my continued custom and loyalty. Have any of you bloggers experienced the same fate at the hands of AOL? If so, I would be interested to read of your reactions to their austere implementation of this drastic move.

I have already started to build a new site by purchasing some web space from a UK company at a very reasonable fee for 10 pages with the option to upgrade to unlimited pages if so desired. My new site, which of course is still in its infancy, can be viewed at http://www.david-farley.co.uk

AOL made a lot of money from its Hometown facility by selling advertising space throughout the entire network and so I am at a loss to understand why they have decided to pull the plug on such an important arm of their business model. The product simply will not be the same anymore and I suspect there must be many others sharing my sentiments. Wake up AOL before it is too late and have a change of heart! Most of us would gladly pay a reasonable fee to retain our websites which we have worked extremely hard to develop over many years of membership.

Someone suggested to me that this has all come about since the Carphone Warehouse became a major shareholder in AOL. If that is so shame on them too!

Thursday, October 02, 2008


This is my local Anglican parish church of St. Mary The Blessed Virgin, Plympton, Plymouth, Devon, U.K. where I am an altar server.

As a child I was in the choir before leaving to embark on my police career. In my retirement I am extremely happy to be back in my spiritual home and serving God to the best of my ability. The church was dedicated in 1311 and we will therefore be celebrating our Septuacentennial (700th) Anniversary in 3 years time. A planning group has already started work to formulate a programme of events to mark this momentous occasion.

Last night I attended a piano concert in the church performed by an accomplished concert pianist who happens to be our Director of Music and Organist, Mrs. Mila Grimes. She is Russian by birth and married to an Englishman. A thoroughly enjoyable evening included music by Bach's Prelude and Fugue in C minor. Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, Bagatelle in E flat and Fur Elise. Schubert's Impromptu in E flat. Tchaikovsky's Snowdrop. Chopin's Polonaise in A, followed by his Waltz in C sharp minor. Debussy's Clair de Lune. Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu. Liszt's Consolation in D flat and concluding with a wonderful performance of Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C sharp minor.

A truly memorable evening by a truly outstanding pianist performed in a truly beautiful church. Mila gave her services free of charge in order to raise much needed funds to maintain and improve our historic organ which was given to the church by William Henry Osmond in 1879 and has served the parish well for almost 130 years. It was built by Lewis and Co of Brixton, London, and by Hele and Co of Exeter, at a cost of nearly £1,000 - a huge sum in 1879.

Thursday, September 18, 2008



When a motivational products company interviewed Tim Dumler by phone for a sales job, he told them his goal was to become their number one employee. After meeting him in person they were shocked to discover he was legally blind. But he promised he'd buy a machine that magnifies letters. So despite serious misgivings, they hired him. And it's a good thing they did. He came in early, worked late and within six years became their top producer. His clients loved him because when you're blind you become a great listener and his associates loved him because of his caring, positive attitude. He said, 'It's unfortunate that I'm visually impaired but adversity made me a better person. I have a lot more than I don't have.' Tim has the 212-degree attitude!

What's the 212-degree attitude? Motivational speaker Mack Anderson explains: 'At 211 degrees Fahrenheit water is hot. At 212 degrees it boils. With boiling water comes steam. And steam can power a locomotive. One extra degree makes all the difference in business and in life; it separates the good from the great.'

Here's some straight talk for slackers, those with no ambition and those who see no purpose or value in this life: 'Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does' (Ephesians 6:7-8 NIV). The Bible tells us to be 'fervent in spirit.' This word fervent means 'bubbling or boiling.' In other words, having the 212-degree attitude! By the way, when God promises to reward such an attitude, you don't have to wait until you get to heaven to enjoy it.

The Word For Today
Web: ucb.co.uk/wft

Monday, September 01, 2008






My grateful thanks to Jim Doney for sending me this beautiful sight.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


This is an awesome music video...featuring a special free-flying Bald Eagle named 'Challenger' (in honour of the lost space shuttle crew) cared for by the non-profit American Eagle Foundation (AEF).

He's a 'human socialized' bird accidentally raised by the people who rescued him - after being blown from a wild Louisiana nest in a storm as a baby in the late 1980s. Declared 'non-releasable' by federal and state wildlife authorities, he was trained by the AEF to perform educational free-flight demonstrations at high profile public events.

He's the first Bald Eagle in U.S. history that learned to free-fly into stadiums, arenas and ballrooms during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner. The celebrity eagle has appeared at numerous major sporting events...like the World Series, Pro-Bowl, All-Star game, BCS National Championship, Fiesta Bowl and Men's Final Four, etc. Challenger has also flown before 4 U.S. Presidents! His life story is told in a children's storybook titled 'Challenger, America's Favourite Eagle.'

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I have not been posting of late owing to the fact that I have been suffering from a nasty bout of shingles which has laid me low and caused a great deal of discomfort. For anyone interested, shingles is an infection of a nerve and the area of skin supplied by the nerve. It is caused by a virus called the varicella-zoster virus. It is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Anyone who has had chickenpox in the past may develop shingles.

About 1 in 5 people have shingles at some time in their life. It can occur at any age, but it is most common in people over the age of 50 and I am in that category. It is uncommon to have shingles more than once, but I am told about 1 in 50 people have shingles two or more times in their life. God forbid!

Mine started with shooting/stabbing pains in the head, followed by a rash under my left armpit. I immediately consulted my doctor who, without hesitation, diagnosed shingles and prescribed a course of antiviral medication. The rash soon healed but the pain associated with the condition persisted and required strong pain killers. Now, four weeks later, I am still suffering severe discomfort under the armpit and the itching is driving me mad! I am using refrigerated calamine lotion to ease the itching and it does help for a while.

I am told there is no definitive answer to how long the postherpetic neuralgia may persist. Shingles causes inflammation of the nerve. Pain can be expected whilst the rash and inflammation occur. However, it is unclear why some people continue to have pain when the inflammation has gone. It is thought that some scar tissue next to the nerve, or in the nearby part of the spinal cord, may be a factor. With treatment the pain eases gradually and the symptoms are gone by three months. However, without treatment, about 3 in 10 people still have pain after a year. The thought of either is enough to drive one insane believe me!

If anyone out there has any advice about shingles which I have not mentioned I will be pleased to learn more details. My doctor has been most helpful and an internet search on Google has also provided me with a lot of information.

I am continuing with aspects of my life to the best of my ability but am finding the condition debilitating and a little depressing. I am however, very mindful of other people suffering far worse, even life threatening illnesses. That certainly helps to keep my mind balanced. At least I know I will get better sometime soon.

Monday, August 04, 2008

In Celebration of a Diamond Wedding

Dean and Arlene Eddy of Murphys, California

Dean and Arlene were married on 7th. August, 1948 and celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary on Thursday 7th August, 2008.

Although I have never met them in the flesh I have got to know them really well through our internet friendship over the past few years. Dean is a decorated World War II Veteran having served as a Paratrooper in the 11th US Airborne Division and saw active service in Japan with the 511th Parachute Infantry Patch during wartime.

In peacetime he later became a police officer and specialised in dog handling. He retired from Antioch Police in California and now lives in retirement with his beloved wife Arlene in the Californian Mountains at Murphys. He is a devout Christian and dedicated family man. It has been my honour and privilege to rank him amongst my best friends. I wish both of them a really happy Diamond Wedding Anniversary and long may their union continue with good health and much joy.

That happy and wonderful day on August 7th, 1948

Still wonderfully happy 60 years on!

You can send your good wishes to them by leaving a comment on this posting as I shall be drawing their attention to this tribute. Go on, make their day very special indeed!

Alternatively, Dean and Arlene have a delightful website which I can commend to your attention. The address is: (copy and paste into your browser)


Monday, July 28, 2008

Music of the Night

Further to my posting of the 17th. July concerning my attendance at the Music of the Night performance at the Royal Citadel in Plymouth. I have managed to acquire a short video clip of various numbers featured in the show and have embedded it at the bottom of my posting. I also provide it here for speed of reference. A short video clip cannot possibly do justice to such a magnificent show but it certainly gives an excellent flavour of what the audience were privileged to see and hear. Make sure your speakers are turned on!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A new prayer to add to your list

Dear Lord, every single evening as I'm lying here in bed, this tiny little prayer keeps running through my head: God bless all my family wherever they may be, keep them warm and safe from harm for they're so close to me. And God, there is one more thing I wish that you could do; hope you don't mind me asking, please bless my computer too. Now I know that it's unusual to bless a motherboard, but listen just a second while I explain it to you, Lord. You see, that little metal box holds more than odds and ends; inside those small compartments rest so many of my friends. I know so much about them by the kindness that they give, and this little scrap of metal takes me in to where they live. By faith is how I know them much the same as you. We share in what life brings us and from that our friendships grew. Please take an extra minute from your duties up above, to bless those in my address book that's filled with so much love. Wherever else this prayer may reach to each and every friend, bless each blog and e-mail inbox and each person who hits "Publish" or "Send". When you update your Heavenly list on your own Great CD-ROM, bless everyone who says this prayer sent up to GOD.com


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Music of the Night

From reading recent reports in the national and local media one could be forgiven for thinking that modern youth is epitomised as knife wielding, drunken, drug-crazed, foul-mouthed lawless citizens. However, I have just returned from attending a glorious open air performance of Music of the Night at the Royal Citadel in Plymouth and my faith in the young people of this City has been completely restored. From a cast of 300 of whom over half must have been teenagers I witnessed total dedication and commitment of the highest order. Weeks of rehearsals and preparations culminated in a professional presentation of which this City can be justly proud and all in the name of raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for charitable and humanitarian causes. It clearly demonstrated that the vast majority of our young people are first class citizens and undeserving of the negative publicity attracted by the minority of badly behaved teens in our midst. As for the organiser, Angela Collins, I think it is high time she received formal recognition in the Honours list for her magnificent contribution to this biennial event. In relation to the minority of whining residents of Plymouth Hoe who complain about the "out of tune warblers" and loud bangs from the Royal Artillery during the 1812 Overture I say "Get a life". Yes, I can understand that pets may be frightened by the noise for a few minutes each night during the week but compared to the period around Guy Fawkes Night when the firework bangers continue throughout all hours it is a small inconvenience compared to the enormous success of the event and, judging from the prolonged acclamation of thousands of people in the audience, I am not alone in my views. A huge debt of gratitude is due to all the performers and back stage hands who contributed to this great extravaganza of local talent at its very best. Congratulations and well done to all concerned.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Puppy Bouquet to brighten up your day!

I have no idea of the identity of this very skilful and talented flower arranger but I was sent these wonderful pictures over the internet and believe they deserve a wider audience assuming they are not copyright protected. If I establish they are subject of copyright I will of course immediately remove them from this blog. I hope you agree they are delightful pictures and appreciate them as much as I do.

"May you always have Love to Share, Health to Spare and Friends that Care..."

Monday, July 07, 2008

St. Thomas of Canterbury Dodbrooke Parish Church, Kingsbridge, Devon.

On Tuesday 1st. July I attended a special Guild Office and Benediction of my Chapter of the Guild of Servants of the Sanctuary held at St. Thomas of Canterbury Parish Church, Dodbrooke, Kingsbridge, Devon. Our Chaplain, Fr.Brian Lay officiated and the Rector, Prebendary Tony Kyriakides-Yeldham, gave an inspiring homilly. There are several fine specimens of stained glass windows in this lovely medieval church but as a Freemason I was intrigued to find one known as The Mason's Window. At the top it has God's all-seeing eye. Below that the celestial and terrestial globes. The middle of the left panel depicts the mason's working tools. The bottom of the centre panel depicts the craftman's square and compasses and the centre of the right hand panel depicts the Volume of the Sacred Law and the Triangle. All highly significant to any Freemason and the established basis of our Fraternity and Order. A beautiful church and I can but recommend a visit if ever you holiday in the South Hams area of Devon.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

May They Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory

I am posting this tribute to honour four of our fallen heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the service of the British Crown in Afghanistan on Tuesday, 17th. June when an IED (improvised explosive device) was detonated and destroyed their vehicle and claimed their lives. The funerals are about to take place of Sean Reeve, nephew of my friend Annette, and also of Corporal Sarah Bryant, Lance Corporal Richard Larkin and Corporal Paul Stout. I am reminded of those immortal words written on tombstones in almost every war graves cemetery;

When you go home tell them of us. For your tomorrow, we gave our today

And now a reading from Holy Scripture;

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going"

"I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him."

John 14: 1-4, 6-7 (NIV)

At the going down of the sun and in the morning we WILL remember them!

NB. A link to Annette's blog can be located in My List of Favourite Blogs to the left of this posting.

Monday, June 30, 2008

World War II Flying story!

Amazing story!
Piggyback Hero
by Ralph Kenney Bennett

Tomorrow they will lay the remains of Glenn Rojohn to rest in the Peace Lutheran Cemetery in the little town of Greenock , Pa. , just southeast of Pittsburgh. He was 81, and had been in the air conditioning and plumbing business in nearby McKeesport. If you had seen him on the street he would probably have looked to you like so many other greying, bespectacled old World War II veterans whose names appear so often now on obituary pages.

But like so many of them, though he seldom talked about it, he could have told you one hell of a story. He won the Air Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart all in one fell swoop in the skies over Germany on December 31, 1944. Fell swoop indeed.

Capt. Glenn Rojohn, of the 8th Air Force's 100th Bomb Group was flying his B-17G Flying Fortress bomber on a raid over Hamburg . His formation had braved heavy flak to drop their bombs, then turned 180 degrees to head out over the North Sea . They had finally turned northwest, headed back to England , when they were jumped by German fighters at 22,000 feet. The Messerschmitt Me-109s pressed their attack so closely that Capt. Rojohn could see the faces of the German pilots. He and other pilots fought to remain in formation so they could use each other's guns to defend the group. Rojohn saw a B-17 ahead of him burst into flames and slide sickeningly toward the earth. He gunned his ship forward to fill in the gap. He felt a huge impact. The big bomber shuddered, felt suddenly very heavy and began losing altitude. Rojohn grasped almost immediately that he had collided with another plane. A B-17 below him, piloted by Lt. William G. McNab, had slammed the top of its fuselage into the bottom of Rojohn's. The top turret gun of McNab's plane was now locked in the belly of Rojohn's plane and the ball turret in the belly of Rojohn's had smashed through the top of McNab's. The two bombers were almost perfectly aligned -- the tail of the lower plane was slightly to the left of Rojohn's tailpiece. They were stuck together, as a crewman later recalled, 'like mating dragon flies.'

Three of the engines on the bottom plane were still running, as were all four of Rojohn's. The fourth engine on the lower bomber was on fire and the flames were spreading to the rest of the aircraft. The two were losing altitude quickly. Rojohn tried several times to gun his engines and break free of the other plane. The two w ere inextricably locked together. Fearing a fire, Rojohn cut his engines and rang the bailout bell. For his crew to have any chance of parachuting, he had to keep the plane under control somehow..

The ball turret, hanging below the belly of the B-17, was considered by many to be a death trap -- the worst station on the bomber. In this case, both ball turrets figured in a swift and terrible drama of life and death. Staff Sgt. Edward L. Woodall, Jr., in the ball turret of the lower bomber had felt the impact of the collision above him and saw shards of metal drop past him. Worse, he realised both electrical and hydraulic power was gone.

Remembering escape drills, he grabbed the handcrank, released the clutch and cranked the turret and its guns until they were straight down, then turned and climbed out the back of the turret up into the fuselage. Once inside the plane's belly Woodall saw a chilling sight, the ball turret of the other bomber protruding through the top of the fuselage. In that turret, hopelessly trapped, was Staff Sgt. Joseph Russo. Several crew members of Rojohn's plane tried frantically to crank Russo's turret around so he could escape, but, jammed into the fuselage of the lower plane, it would not budge. Perhaps unaware that his voice was going out over the intercom of his plane, Sgt. Russo began reciting his Hail Mary's.

Up in the cockpit, Capt.. Rojohn and his co-pilot 2nd Lt. William G. Leek, Jr., had propped their feet against the instrument panel so they could pull back on their controls with all their strength, trying to prevent their plane from going into a spinning dive that would prevent the crew from jumping out. Capt. Rojohn motion left and the two managed to wheel the huge, collision-born hybrid of a plane back toward the German coast. Leek felt like he was intruding on Sgt. Russo as his prayers crackled over the radio, so he pulled off his flying helmet with its earphones.

Rojohn, immediately grasping that crew could not exit from the bottom of his plane, ordered his top turret gunner and his radio operator, Tech Sgts. Orville Elkin and Edward G. Neuhaus to make their way to the back of the fuselage and out the waist d oor on the left behind the wing. Then he got his navigator, 2nd Lt. Robert Washington, and his bombardier, Sgt. James Shirley to follow them. As Rojohn and Leek somehow held the plane steady, these four men, as well as waist gunner, Sgt. Roy Little, and tail gunner, Staff Sgt. Francis Chase, were able to bail out.

Now the plane locked below them was aflame. Fire poured over Rojohn's left wing. He could feel the heat from the plane below and hear the sound of 50 calibre machinegun ammunition 'cooking off' in the flames. Capt. Rojohn ordered Lieut. Leek to bail out. Leek knew that without him helping keep the controls back, the plane would drop in a flaming spiral and the centrifugal force would prevent Rojohn from bailing. He refused the order.

Meanwhile, German soldiers and civilians on the ground that afternoon looked up in wonder.. Some of them thought they were seeing a new Allied secret weapon -- a strange eight-engined double bomber. But anti-aircraft gunners on the North Sea coastal island of Wangerooge had seen the collision. A German battery captain wrote in his logbook at 12:47 p.m.:
'Two fortresses collided in a formation in the NE. The planes flew hooked together and flew 20 miles south. The two planes were unable to fight anymore. The crash could be awaited so I stopped the firing at these two planes.'

Suspended in his parachute in the cold December sky, Bob Washington watched with deadly fascination as the mated bombers, trailing black smoke, fell to earth about three miles away, their downward trip ending in an ugly boiling blossom of fire.

In the cockpit Rojohn and Leek held grimly to the controls trying to ride a falling rock. Leek tersely recalled, 'The ground came up faster and faster. Praying was allowed. We gave it one last effort and slammed into the ground.' The McNab plane on the bottom exploded, vaulting the other B-17 upward and forward. It slammed back to the ground, sliding along until its left wing slammed through a wooden building and the smouldering mess came to a stop. Rojohn and Leek were still seated in their cockpit. The nose of the plane was relatively intact, but everything from the B-17 massive wings back was destroyed. They looked at each other incredulously. Neither was badly injured.

Movies have nothing on reality. Still perhaps in shock, Leek crawled out through a huge hole behind the cockpit, felt for the familiar pack in his uniform pocket pulled out a cigarette. He placed it in his mouth and was about to light it. Then he noticed a young German soldier pointing a rifle at him. The soldier looked scared and annoyed. He grabbed the cigarette out of Leak's mouth and pointed down to the gasoline pouring out over the wing from a ruptured fuel tank.

Two of the six men who parachuted from Rojohn's plane did not survive the jump. But the other four and, amazingly, four men from the other bomber, including ball turret gunner Woodall, survived. All were taken prisoner. Several of them were interrogated at length by the Germans until they were satisfied that what had crashed was not a new American secret weapon.

Rojohn, typically, didn't talk much about his Distinguished Flying Cross. Of Leek, he said, 'in all fairness to my co-pilot, he's the reason I'm alive today.'

Like so many veterans, Rojohn returned, unsentimentally, back to normal life after the war, marrying and raising a son and daughter. For many years, though, he tried to link back up with Leek, going through government records to try to track him down. It took him 40 years, but in 1986, he found the number of Leeks' mother, in Washington State . Yes, her son Bill was visiting from California . Would Rojohn like to speak with him ? Some things are better left unsaid. One can imagine that first conversation between the two men who had shared that wild ride in the cockpit of a B-17. A year later, the two were re-united at a reunion of the 100th Bomb Group in Long Beach , Calif. Bill Leek died the following year.

Glenn Rojohn was the last survivor of the remarkable piggyback flight. He was like thousands upon thousands of men, soda jerks and lumberjacks, teachers and dentists, students and lawyers and service station attendants and store clerks and farm boys who in the prime of their lives went to war.

He died last Saturday after a long siege of sickness. But he apparently faced that final battle with the same grim aplomb he displayed that remarkable day over Germany so long ago. Let us be thankful for such men.

My thanks to Dean Eddy for sending me this remarkable account of selfless bravery

The coloured picture at the head of this posting is an artist's impression of this dramatic scenario

Thursday, June 26, 2008

When the paint pot fell from Heaven (No.3)

When the paint pot fell from Heaven (No.2)

When the paint pot fell from Heaven (No.1)

This is a real place outside Bakersfield, California

We live in an awesome world. Make it an awesome day.Peace To All and May God Bless You. Live simply. Love generously.Care deeply. Speak kindly.

My special thanks to Jim Doney for these and other stunning pictures.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


One day a man saw an old lady, stranded on the side of the road, but even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her very posh Mercedes Benz and got out. His old banger of a Ford Escort was still sputtering when he approached her. Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn't look safe; he looked poor and hungry.

He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that chill which only fear can put in you.

He said, 'I'm here to help you, ma'am. Why don't you wait in the car where it's warm? By the way, my name is Bryan Anderson.'

Well, all she had was a flat tyre, but for an old lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tyre. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt.

As he was tightening up the wheel nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him. She told him where she was from and that she was only passing through. She couldn't thank him enough for coming to her aid. Bryan just smiled as he closed the boot of her car.

The lady asked how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped. Bryan never thought twice about being paid. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty, who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way.

He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed, and Bryan added, 'And think of me.'

He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight.

A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old petrol pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn't erase. The lady noticed the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan .

After the lady finished her meal, she paid with a fifty pound note. The waitress quickly went to get change for her fifty pound note, but the old lady had slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. The waitress wondered where the lady could be. Then she noticed something written on the napkin.

There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote: 'You don't owe me anything. I have been there too. Somebody once helped me out, the way I'm helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do: Do not let this chain of love end with you.'

Under the napkin were four more £50 notes.

Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard....

She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, 'Everything's going to be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson.'

There is an old saying, 'What goes around comes around.' Let this light shine.

Good friends are like stars....You don't always see them, but you know they are always there.


My thanks to Dean Eddy for this very uplifting story

Monday, June 23, 2008

Dead Man Walking! Oh well he tried!

My thanks to Dan Wray for this image. It brought a very welcome smile to my face this Monday morning. Thanks Dan.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Turn to Jesus

The wave of teenage killings around the United Kingdom is something that must concern us all; 28 teenagers killed so far this year.

In a recent TV interview, Mr.Tony McNulty, UK Home Office Minister, called for judges to implement the tougher sentences available to them under current legislation. Surely we have to look more closely at the overall breakdown of law and order within society.

Since the end of World War II, people of all ages have been bombarded by sex and violence on TV, in the cinema and in the press, and one cannot help feeling that we have all been desensitised to the effects that our irrational behaviour has on others. Children particularly are being subjected to this bombardment with devastating effects on the way they grow up and behave.

To Mr. McNulty I would say there is no quick fix to this problem and tougher sentencing is not the solution. I believe there should be a return to Christian values, to church attendance and Sunday schools, and to a personal faith in Jesus Christ. Surely, a recognition that we are all answerable to a higher power has got to change our attitude to one another?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

CANADA and ALASKA- May 2008

I am back from my tour of the Canadian Rockies and my cruise up the Inside Passage to south east Alaska. Although quite tiring it was a truly wonderful experience the memories of which I will treasure for evermore. For those of you who may be interested I will give a brief outline of the itinerary we followed.

On Day 1 we departed from London Gatwick on our charter flight to Calgary, Alberta. On arrival we transferred to our hotel in the picturesque town of Banff for a two night stay. On Day 2 we visited the beautiful Bow Falls, the Cave and Basin and took a cable car ride up Sulpher Mountain. On Day 3 we drove to Lake Louise, described by many writers as the most beautiful place in Canada.

Staying overnight at Golden before continuing on Day 4 through the magnificent Rockies to Kelowna for another overnight stay. During this journey I managed to see an elk, a black bear and several bald eagles in the wild. Sadly though not a moose in sight! On Day 5 we continued across British Columbia to Vancouver where we stayed for a very welcome three nights. Day 6 saw us visit Chinatown, Gastown, Stanley Park and the magnificent harbour. We also went over to Vancouver's Northshore and managed to walk across the spectacular Capilano Suspension Bridge followed by a cable car ride up Grouse Mountain to see a couple of Grizzly bears. On Day 7 we travelled by ferry to Victoria, capital of British Columbia, on Vancouver Island. In the afternoon visiting the truly colourful and vast Butchart Gardens.

On Day 8 we joined our cruise ship the MS Statendam at Canada Place, Vancouver Harbour. Day 9 we cruised up the Inside Passage and again marvelled at the scenery and wildlife. We arrived at Juneau, capital of Alaska on Day 10 from where we visited the Mendenhall Glacier. Next day (Day 11) arriving early at Skagway, a lively relic of the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898.

Day 12 was the highlight of the whole holiday for me when we cruised around Glacier Bay and saw the truly amazing sight of the Marjerie Glacier which appears in the photograph at the head of this posting. The blue tint shown in the photograph is very real and has to be seen to be really appreciated. To watch the glacier "calving" and listen to the loud rumblings was truly awesome.

Day 13 saw us arrive at Ketchikan where we visited Totem Poles Park and entered a typical First Nation clan longhouse on a reservation. Later the same day we attended a lumberjack show and witnessed the might and power of several lumberjacks who put on an exciting display of their skills and talent. Day 14 was spent at sea cruising our way back to Vancouver. It was thrilling to watch from our balconies the whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals in their natural environment. On Day 15 we arrived back at Vancouver and went on another tour of the city this time visiting the market on Granville Island and also Queen Elizabeth Park before transferring to the international airport for our return flight to the UK.

Only two negatives to report. The first being that at Butchart Gardens I managed to accidentally drop my expensive Nikon digital camera rendering it useless for the remainder of the holiday although the microchip was OK and my special thanks must go to Jim and Valerie Ward, two fellow guests on the cruise, who very kindly loaned me their second camera in order that I could continue shooting great pictures onto my own microchip. Thanks a million folks.

The second negative happened at Vancouver International Airport when my luggage was weighed and found to be 12 kilos over the limit of 20Kg. I was charged an outrageous 192C dollars (£101.50) for the excess allowance. That equates to 16C dollars or roughly £8 per kilo which I consider to be an absolute rip-off. So my souvenirs turned out to be very expensive souvenirs indeed and you can rest assured my relatives know all about it! So be warned, travel very light when visiting Canada or face a hefty bill like me!

That said, the positives far outweigh the negatives. I will soon forget the minus points but I will never forget the stunning scenery, exciting wildlife and especially the friendly welcome we received from the ordinary citizens of Canada and Alaska whom we came into contact with throughout the whole vacation. I give thanks to Almighty God for a super holiday and a safe return to my home.

Finally, I have uploaded a slideshow of many of my photographs from this holiday and they can be viewed at the head of this page immediately below my welcome message.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


My friend Dean Eddy sent me this humorous picture which brought a smile to my face. No doubt my feminist readers will respond in equally humourous tones! I shall not be posting for the whole of May as I shall be touring the Canadian Rockies followed by a cruise up to Alaska, but I look forward to approving the responses to this posting upon my return!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I am grateful to my good friend, Dean Eddy of California, for the following timely reminder to us all not to forget the importance of expressing our love to those whom we care about amongst our family and friends.

After 21 years of marriage, my wife wanted me to take another woman out to dinner and a movie. She said, 'I love you, but I know this other woman loves you and would love to spend some time with you.'

The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my MOTHER, who has been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work and my three children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally.

That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie. 'What's wrong? Are you well?' she asked.

My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news.

'I thought that it would be pleasant to spend sometime with you,' I
responded. 'Just the two of us.'

She thought about it for a moment, and then said, 'I would like that very much.'

That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit nervous.

When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the door with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary.

She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel's. 'I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed, 'she said, as she got into the car. 'They can't wait to hear about our meeting.'

We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she was the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print. Half way through the entrees, I lifted my eyes and saw Mum sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips. 'It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small,' she said. 'Then it's time that you relax and let me return the favour,' I responded.

During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversation --nothing extraordinary mostly catching up on recent events in each other's life.

We talked so much that we missed the movie. As we arrived at her house later, she said, 'I'll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you.' I agreed.

'How was your dinner date?' asked my wife when I got home. 'Very nice, it was much more so than I could have imagined,' I answered.

A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn't have a chance to do anything for her.

Some time later, I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place mother and I had dined. An attached note said: 'I paid this bill in advance. I wasn't sure that I could be there; but nevertheless, I paid for two plates - one for you and the other for your wife. You will never know what that night meant for me. I love you, son.'

At that moment, I understood the importance of saying in time: 'I LOVE YOU' and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than your family. Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot be put off till 'some other time.'

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


It’s important in life to reach out, to strive for greater achievements, to go for that greener grass that is on the other side of the fence….

But one must also be careful.........Sometimes you can reach too far !

But when you find yourself over-extended and you’re stuck in a situation that you can’t get out of, there is one thing that you should always remember…..

Not everyone who shows up….

is there to help you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Grateful thanks to my buddy Dan Wray for letting me have this little gem!

Monday, April 07, 2008

The tale of two wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said,'My son, the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all.

One is Evil

It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment,inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good

It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility,kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.'

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:
'Which wolf wins?'

The old Cherokee simply replied, 'THE ONE YOU FEED'

My grateful thanks to my buddy Dean Eddy for this pearl of wisdom.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Thoughts to ponder on April 1st

Having difficulty wondering what to post today I was most grateful to my friend Dean Eddy in California for sending me the following thoughts upon which to ponder. It took my mind off the usual April Fools Day material!

I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes.

The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.

Never take life seriously nobody gets out alive anyway.

Health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.

Have you noticed since everyone has a camcorder these days no one talks about seeing UFOs like they used to?

Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again

All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

In the 60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.

How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?

Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, "I think I'll squeeze these dangly things here, and drink whatever comes out?"

Who was the first person to say, "See that chicken there? I'm going to eat the next thing that comes out of its behind."

If Jimmy cracks corn and no one cares, why is there a song about him?

If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests?

Do illiterate people get the full effect of Alphabet Soup?

Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you, but when you take him on a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?

Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Eastertide to all Bloggers everywhere

Easter Lilies

Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed!
Wishing you peace, joy and happiness this Blessed Easter

Friday, March 21, 2008

When Cops Retire

When Cops Retire

When a good cop leaves the "job" and retires to a better life, many are jealous, some are pleased and yet others, who may have already retired, wonder. We wonder if he knows what they are leaving behind, because we already know. We know, for example, that after a lifetime of camaraderie that few experience, it will remain as a longing for those past times. We know in the law enforcement life there is a fellowship which lasts long after the uniforms are hung up in the back of the closet. We know even if he throws them away, they will be on him with every step and breath that remains in his life. We also know how the very bearing of the man speaks of what he was and in his heart still is.

These are the burdens of the job. You will still look at people suspiciously, still see what others do not see or choose to ignore and always will look at the rest of the law enforcement world with a respect for what they do; only grown in a lifetime of knowing. Never think for one moment you are escaping from that life. You are only escaping the "job" and merely being allowed to leave "active" duty.

So what I wish for you is that whenever you ease into retirement, in your heart you never forget for one moment that "Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called children of God," and you are still a member of the greatest fraternity the world has ever known.

I am most grateful to my loyal internet buddies Dean Eddy (USA) & Mel Lomax (Australia), who are both retired police officers, for this poignant and moving resume' of what it means to be a retired law enforcement officer in every civilised and democratic country.

May I take this opportunity of wishing all my readers a truly peaceful Easter and I trust it will bring with it new life and fresh hope for each and everyone of us.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Passion of Christ

This coming Holy Week, do tune in to watch a major forthcoming BBC television series - The Passion. Praised by numerous church leaders, it is expected to make a huge national impact over the Easter season - drawing more than ten million viewers.

The series,which starts today, Palm Sunday, 16th. March, will be scheduled in peak time on BBC1 at 8pm. It tells the story of the last week of Jesus' life, his trial and crucifixion. The last episode, to be broadcast on Easter Sunday 23rd. March, dramatises his post-resurrection appearances.

The Passion has been made by award-winning drama producer Nigel Stafford-Clark, who was responsible for Bleak House and Warriors. The cast includes Cold Feet star James Nesbitt as Pilate and EastEnders actor Paul Nicholls as Judas Iscariot. The part of Jesus is played by the relatively unknown Joseph Mawle, who at 33 is the same age as Jesus during the events of the Passion.

The Churches' Media Council has launched a website to provide resources and information about the series. Visit: www.churchesmediacouncil.org.uk/passion

The group encourages Christians to seize this "golden opportunity to contribute to a contemporary public discussion about Jesus." Guidelines on the site encourage the Christian community to welcome the retelling of the stories for a new generation, but to treat it as drama first rather than theology.

Andrew Graystone, Director of the Churches' Media Council, was profoundly moved by early versions of the series. "This is an extremely vivid piece of drama. You feel you are right there, in amongst the Passover crowds, alongside the disciples as Jesus comes out with these simple but earth-shattering messages. And then of course, he's taken away and makes the ultimate sacrifice, and like the disciples, you're left to decide what you are going to do about it."

The episodes will continue on Monday, 17th. March, Good Friday, 21st March and Easter Sunday, 23rd. March. Internet viewers can access the series via the BBC's website.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Michael Todd, QPM, B.Sc(Hons) M.Phil.

It was with great sadness that I learned, last evening, of the tragic news and disbelief of the sudden death and mysterious circumstances surrounding the alleged suicide of Mr. Todd, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police. He was an inspirational police leader who instilled confidence and respect in the police service in general but Greater Manchester in particular. That integrity spread beyond the police service itself and into the wider general public which is an achievement many senior officers aim for but few succeed to secure. He was a "copper's copper" in every sense of the word and his ability and skills as an outstanding chief constable will be sorely missed by GMP, ACPO, the Home Office and the police service as a whole.

I am unaware of the reasons for the imbalance of his mind which may have resulted in his decision to take his own life despite a lot of speculation currently permeating on the internet. Whatever his reasons it is still a tremendous tragedy and I cannot help but feel for his family and friends. I know he has a wife and 3 young children and to them I pray for God's blessing in these days of traumatic grief.

The country needs more leaders of Mr. Todd's calibre and whatever his personal problems were I cannot believe they warranted the termination of his life so abruptly and tragically. A sad loss to his family and also to the police service as a whole.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Speeding Motorists - a new remedy!

Is it because I am getting into my third age or what? But I am increasingly alarmed at the inconsiderate motorists and motor cyclists who simply ignore the maximum speed limits permitted on our roads. Even on the motorways I am constantly overtaken by vehicles blatantly ignoring the 70 MPH limit. As for the 30 MPH restrictions around my home, well they may as well read 50 or 60 MPH and I have two schools in my vicinity! Why is everyone in such a tearing hurry these days? Invariably, you catch them up at the next set of traffic lights or area of congestion anyway!

I am most concerned for the elderly and parents with young children who cannot rush across the road in order to avoid a speeding vehicle. I have witnessed so many near misses that it fills me with horror the thought that one day someone is going to be badly injured or even killed by these accelerator/throttle happy drivers who think they are Formula One Kings of the Road. In case you think I am knocking young drivers let me stress that I am not because I have seen people old enough to know much better ignoring the speed limit signs. However, having said that there is a big problem with youngsters on these newer small motor cycles, probably no bigger than 49cc, which make a horrendous deafening noise polluting the environment but that is a separate issue and a subject for another day.

Go on say it, David is becoming a grumpy old man! Yes, and I agree with you. Come back Victor Meldrew (of TV sitcom "One Foot in the Grave") all is forgiven! "I don't belieeeeve it!"

The enforcement agencies do their best but it is impossible for them to be everywhere all of the time. In any case they come in for unfair criticism if they are perceived as hammering the poor motorists instead of catching criminals. Strange ideology that because, in my opinion, a person who kills or seriously injures another person on the roads because of dangerous or reckless driving is just that, a criminal!

I mentioned this to an internet pal of mine and he sent me this humorous picture of a possible solution to my problem. Grateful thanks to Dean and Mal but I think the civil liberty activists or human rights protagonists might have something to say about this politically incorrect remedy!