Monday, 28 June 2010

Pilgrimage to the Holyland - Part 2

It has taken me some time to collect my thoughts about the pilgrimage. What made it so special was thought that it really brought the Bible and in particular the Gospels to live. Being in the places where the stories took place was a wonderful experience.
Church of the Pater Noster - where the Lord's Prayer was given to the disciples

Church of the Holy Sepulchre 
This covers the site of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus

 The Garden of Gesthemane

On the Sea of Galilee


Friday, 18 June 2010

Return to Israel

I have just returned from a business trip to Israel with customers to our XIV lab in Tel Aviv. We did manage a couple of days of sightseeing; one day to Caesarea, Jaffa and a winery.
Carmel Winery
Original winery ledger in French detailing "bribes" 
The other to Jerusalem where we did go inside the Church of All Nations in the Garden of Gethsemane (it was closed when we were there on our Parish Pilgrimage).

 The agony of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane

Church of All Nations
Our excellent guide Josh, a Jewish Israeli, and so we did get a different perspective on things from the one given by Rami, a Palestinian Christian who was our Parish Pilgrimage Guide. Josh was very balanced, as was Rami, but it did make one think; as always there are two sides to every question. Our trip to Jerusalem included a visit to the the Shoah (Holocaust) Memorial which left us all in a very sombre reflective mood.
 Shoah Memorial
We even managed some business discussions which went very well and the feedback was very positive from the attendees.
View from IBM offices over Tel Aviv

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Friends Reunited

Following our weekend in Devon, Julia and I spent the following weekend with my old school friend, Richard "Bo" Sirot at his house in Walmer. Bo and I had only a couple of times since we left school some forty  plus years ago. We had a great time and it was good to see him and his wife again.
 Barry and Bo

Bank Holiday Weekend

We have been out and about quite a lot recently and work has been rather hectic meaning that this Blog has taken rather a back seat. Over the May Bank Holiday weekend (last weekend in May for any overseas readers - are there any readers out there??) Julia and I went down to our holiday lodge in Devon. The weather, as always, deteriorated for the holiday but we still managed a very enjoyable relaxing time. We went for one walk upstream along the banks of teh River Teign to Fingle Bridge Inn. The bluebells were out and it was really lovely.

  Flowers along the river bank
We also went to the seaside town of Beer, this is a small very picturesque town.

Much to our surprise it boasts two very good art galleries. I was tempted by a Bob Crooks vase but resisted the impulse. Bob Crooks is one of my favourite glass makers/blowers and we do have a couple of his small (cheaper) pieces.
All in a ll a very good short break.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Nothing Ever Changes

"The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled,  public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance."
Cicero, 55 BC

Girls Weekend

A couple of weekends ago Julia met up with some "Old Girls" from St. Paul's College of Education the teacher training college that she left some forty years ago. Five of them met up, they had all lived in digs together in their first year in Coventry. They met at Coventry station and stayed at a nearby B&B which by all accounts was very good. Unfortunately they were not able to get into their old college which is now a training college for prison warders(prisoners/pupils is there much difference!). That was rather sad as a couple of  years ago we had a turning sixty reunion in Rugby with a couple of friends from Rugby College. As all our wives had attended St. Paul's and so we visited the place; that time the security people let us in (the college is now closed at weekends).

Inside the main house, Julia, Maria and Maureen, taken in 2007

The main building at St. Paul's
The "new" blocks of study/bedrooms
The girls did have one piece of luck; they went to to the address of where they had lived together back in 1967 and found, much to their surprise, that Mrs Mannion still lived there and amazingly remembered them.
 With Mrs Mannion (taken by Julia)

"Old Girls" together again after 40 years

By all accounts it was a good weekend and they have vowed not to leave it forty years before they meet up again (they should live so long!!)

Back again!

Phew; it has been a while now since I put "pen to paper" or rather finger to keyboard. Not quite sure why although since we got back from the Holy Land life has been rather hectic. A couple of days after we landed there were a couple of funerals to attend. The first was of a Catenian friend; Bill who was in his nineties. Maybe it was the after affects of a ten days of intense spiritual experience but somehow the service itself seemed to "lack" something. This was also true the following day, although to a lesser extent, when we attaneded the funerl of Anne Mellish, the widow of Bob Mellish the late Labour MP and government minister, unusually this funeral was on a Saturday. If it was not held on the Saturday there would have been a delay of several weeks due to a shortage of service time in local crematoria. Most of the family were there apart from a few who were on holiday/away on business. It was good to meet up up and pay tribute to a wonderful lady who was in her mid-nineties.