Saturday, 25 September 2010

Visit to Vilnius

Last week I had to go to Vilnius on business. As always on business trips you get tantalising glimpses of fascinating place without the time to explore; work gets in the way! the country has a fascinating history although from the thirties to the nineties it suffered greatly. First invasion by Germany and then the era of the Soviet occupation.  I did manage a visit to the old KGB building which is now a museum dedicated to the Genocide Victims.
On the outside are the names of a few of the early victims of the reign of terror.

Inside I found it very chilling and macabre. There was not much to see in the cells; the were mainly bare and empty, but somehow the knowledge of what went on; the brutal beatings, the solitary confinement sometime in freezing water, the padded cell so that screams went unheard gave it a very disturbing atmosphere. Upstairs there was an exhibition of what happened and how the partisans fought back against overwhelming odds. There are pictures and stories of Catholic Priests and Bishops who opposed the Soviet regime; they too perished here or in exile in Siberia.
Isolation cells
I felt quite ashamed that this had gone on in my lifetime and that I knew nothing about it. Mans inhumanity to man knows no boundaries.
The city itself is interesting, there is a lovely cathedral and the people are friendly and welcoming.
 On the last evening some of the locals that we were working with took us out into the country to a restaurant serving typical food, very good and filling to say the least!

All in all a very interesting place and one more on the list of things to do and places to see.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Sundowners for Andy

Andy and I joined IBM about the same time some 26 plus years ago. We both joined in property Services looking after IBM buildings. We also both joined up in the "Back to the Field" call some 23/4 years ago; this was IBM getting non-IT professionals to move into IT. Andy ended up in sales where he had a very successful career and was well respected by all who worked with him. He was one of those who worked hard and played hard; apart form his wife Diana two of his great loves were sailing and the outdoors. Sadly Andy died of cancer almost two year ago. One of his last wishes was that a bench in his memory was installed by the sea at one his sailing clubs.
Thus on Saturday we went to Thorney Island Sailing Club for the unveiling of the bench; designed and built by his uncle, and drink a sundowner or two in his memory.
The plaque
 Diana saying a few words
Max with his son, my Godson Joe

Diaconate Formation

At last I started the formation programme which will, God Willing, lead me to the Permanent Diaconate in the Church. The formal part of this process is a degree course in Pastoral Theology form St. Mary's College, Strawberry Hill (scene of a recent visit by the Pope). This takes place at St.John's Seminary at Wonersh, there is one study day per month, two study weekends each year plus visits to your personal tutor - plus lost of reading. the first study was last weekend. It was very enjoyable except that now the homework starts! A reflective diary, a presentation and a 1500 word essay. If anyone would care to post a 1500 word comment How the letter, Dei Verbum, affects our understanding of the Bible as the "Word of God"  it would be read by me with great interest - complete with footnotes, bibliography etc please!!!

Monday, 13 September 2010

Dietary Update

As I haven't mentioned the diet for several months you have probably guessed that things went slightly askew! From a weight of X stone 10 lbs I managed to achieve x stone 14 lbs - a net gain and not at all what I meant to achieve. There are a whole raft of mitigating circumstances, but dear Oscar Wilde summed it up most succinctly in Lady Windermere's Fan; "I can resist everything except temptation." Matters came to a head last Monday when I went to a formal Catenian dinner and struggled for several minutes before I could do my trousers up! So it is back on the diet which means cutting down on bread, potatoes, pasta etc and no beer although wine is OK. So far I have managed to lose a few pounds, in fact this morning I was x stone 6 lbs although I suspect this may be a false low. Still it is in the right direction at least.

Thursday, 9 September 2010


I have just installed Dropbox which is a file sharing application and it allows non Dropbox users to link to files you put in the box, even when your host computer is switched off. You simply put files into the Dropbox public folder on your machine and create a link to them. This Internet stuff will never catch on!
So to test this click HERE and you should see a family photo taken at Helena's graduation. Please let me know if this does/does not work for you.
Many thanks

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Back from Devon

Julia and I spent the last 10 days or so down at our lodge in Devon. Despite the poor weather we had a great time. We met up with Mike and Jane, Mike is an old college friend of mine who lives in Exemouth,. We met at the Cary Arms in Babbacombe for lunch; as luck would have it this pub/hotel starred in the Sunday Times Travel Section the following Sunday. It is well worth a visit; not cheap but great beer and good food.

View from the pub

We also saw a great art exibition at Buckfast Abbey, it featured fourteen pictures of the Stations of the Cross and twelve pictures of the Stations of teh Resurrection - well worth a visit although the exhibition closes on September 13.

As always Dartmoor is lovely, as are the animals!

All in all a great few days.