Monday, 31 December 2007

Happy New Year

Many years ago when he was a child I told my eldest son that if the day came that he could beat me in a 100 meters race, I would concede that I am old. We talked together today about the comment as we kicked a rugby ball together on Cilfynydd RFC's pitch.

The years have put on too much weight on me and I now have a slightly doggy hip after bouncing badly on a child's trampoline a couple of years ago. That will teach me.

I live in the hope however that if I could lose a couple of stone and run some more I could at least take him on.

I'm just looking forward to yet another year and hope that 2008 will be a happy year. Happy new year everyone!

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Gwaelod y Garth

Today was really relaxing and it was good to take the service in Gwaelod y Garth Chapel. I looked forward to the new year through the eyes of the Transfiguration.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

I am Legend

Tonight, I went to see "I am Legend", the latest Will Smith film. It was very good and kept me captivated. The dog was very good.

It all sort of made up for Manchester United losing and Arsenal winning. Such is life!

Benazir Bhutto

The most significant event over the past three days was the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. She was murdered while campaigning last Thursday.

My thoughts and prayers are not only with her family and her country but with many Welsh people who have their roots in Pakistan. They are troubled.

I have also been troubled by a computer bug called Junk-NavQuar. I have just installed Norton 360 to deal with it. I won't tell you what I would like to do with people who design such things. It isn't very Christian and I do have to forgive.

The other great highlight for me over the past three days was seeing Manchester United going to the top of the premiership again. That's where we belong!

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Explosive Christmas

Late last night my youngest son called to say he had run out of petrol on the way home. Poor thing isn't very well. I've only done that once and as sins of omission go it's OK.

Just outside Pontypridd I found a garage that could fill my little can of mercy with petrol. Everything was OK and everyone got home safely for Christmas.

I smelt a bit of petrol though and on reflection it probably wasn't a good idea to light all the votive candles in church before the Christmas Eve service.

Today however - now that I have arrived safely - is all about getting up late, family, eating and sleeping and finding something else to do when the Queen's on TV. It's just a family ritual that goes back a long way in Trawsfynydd!

Monday, 24 December 2007

Christmas Eve

All the children in our street are getting excited and so am I.

This morning, I went to act as Santa Clause and delivered some presents to my friends in Crickhowell. That was fun.

At lunchtime the BBC wanted a piece on the two young men from Pakistan with a family in Swansea who were claiming asylum. The interview on Radio Cymru's Taro'r Post went well. At the time of the interview the two young men were waiting to be deported from Heathrow because of difficulties concerning their visas.

They were granted a short reprieve shortly afterwards. That's good for Christmas Eve.

Tonight, I'll be celebrating the Eucharist in Pontypridd. That's also good for Christmas Eve.

Sunday, 23 December 2007


It was a real joy just to be able to go to church for communion today in Saint Catherine's Church, Pontypridd.

They all forgive me for being a prodigal son. I have promised to be there a little more next year.

We went to sing carols with two other churches in Pontypridd market. Christmas has now really begun for me - that is the bit I love most.

I thought a great deal this morning about forgiveness - the theme of the day. I'm not very good at it but I ask for grace every day.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

What's the Difference?

Today was very much a family day. My sister came down with her husband Rhodri to pick up Awen from Cardiff. It was good to see them all.

The day started with a quick visit to the BBC to do a Welsh language message for Christmas on Radio Cymru. I asked people to respect difference. Uniformity isn't the answer to the world's challenges - its plurality!

The answer to someone telling a suicide bomber that there is no other option is - please dare to think of more than one idea and to offer every question more than one answer.

Friday, 21 December 2007

The Teddy Bear

Just before doing a piece on being kind at Christmas on BBC Radio Wales' Richard Evans Show I was introduced to a teddy bear with a robust laugh.

I was encouraged by its former owner to tickle it's right foot. Apparently, in the middle of all the laughter the bear uttered a word it shouldn't have. Richard asked me on air if I had heard the 'F' word. I hadn't the first time round!

It just goes to show. It's not what you say that matters but how you hear it.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Christmas Party

The office Christmas party was a pleasant experience. We don't go wild in our place of work.

It was just good to be amongst friends. I pray for all my colleagues.

I also met up with Leona and Themba from DPIA. They are very special friends. I pray for them too and the countries they come from.

All in all this day was a blessing.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Its' OK to Call Christmas: Christmas!

I really enjoyed this morning at the Senedd building in Cardiff Bay talking through the possibility of producing the Welsh Bible in braille. I really hope it comes about.

I got called in to the BBC's Good Evening Wales tonight to talk about the Bishop of Saint David's comments on how being PC has deprived us all of Christmas. I was pitched against a gentleman from the Secular Society. He was OK and I agreed with some of the things he said.

I just wish people would stop blaming other faith groups for changing our Christmas. It just isn't so. The problem rests with people who have had the needle of their old records stuck in the early sixties where equalities are concerned. They haven't moved on in the diversity world.

It's not OK to use language to abuse people because of their gender, race, faith, disability, sexual orientation or age but it's blooming OK to call Christmas: Christmas!

Just put Winter Festivals in the bin. Who wants to celebrate being cold, dark and miserable?

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

I Like Herod

I cleared a lot of stuff at the office today and suffered a bout of pre-Christmas depression. Perhaps the grumpy old man is beginning to be more strident in me.

This week,I made the mistake of telling someone in the Children's Commissioner's Office that I like Herod. He's my favourite character in the nativity story. Probably that wasn't a good idea.

Coincidentally, somebody from the Western Mail rang for a quote about what the new Commissioner for older people should do. I don't know why he asked me - I'm only 52.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Sunday..Monday..Rowan Williams...

I cooked on Sunday and went to Saint Margaret's Church Roath for the Lord Mayor of Cardiff's Carol service. I really enjoyed it and got a chance to put on my brand new overcoat. It's warm.

On Monday I went to the office before being interviewed by Gwilym Owen of BBC Radio Cymru about faith in Wales during 2007. He's a robust journalist.

He once wrote in his corner piece in a Welsh magazine that I was like an ostrich with my head in the sand with my back side farting in the wind. For some reason I remember the quote. At least one part of my anatomy was in the right place!!!

I went to London then for the launch of Communities and Local Government's own interfaith consultation "Face too Face and Side by Side". They forgot about Wales and Scotland and pretended once again that England is Britain.

It was really good to talk, however briefly, with Rowan Williams again. We just got to wish each other a Nadolig Llawen (Happy Christmas). I continue to pray for him.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

X Factor

Congratulations Leon but I really wanted Rhydian to win. I think he should have as well.

I enjoyed the BBC Carol Service in Saint David's Hall, Cardiff in the morning.

Friday, 14 December 2007

BBC and

I had to get up early this morning to do a piece for BBC Radio Cymru on destitute asylum seekers and do a short clip for the evening news Newyddion at lunchtime.

It went well and it was good to see my friend Anna from the Welsh Refugee Council doing the English language side of things in the morning.

My friend Arfon asked me on Facebook to read two chapters of the Bible on I chose Luke 1-2. Guess why?

Thursday, 13 December 2007

More to Life

Today was all about staff meetings, budgets and catching up with emails and phone calls. There must be more to life!

I am so looking forward to Christmas.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Keith Towler

It was announced today that Keith Towler from Save the Children would be the new Children's Commissioner for Wales.

Well done Keith and many congratulations.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

I Had a Dream

Last night, because I went to sleep afraid that I would not wake up at 5.00 a.m. in time to do the morning papers for Good Morning Wales for the BBC, I had a really strange nightmare.

I dreamt that I had woken up too late to go to Llandaff to do the papers.

It took me ages to wake up from the nightmare that I had already woken up in. Thank God for alarms on mobile phones I say!!!

Doing the papers with Bethan and Rhun is always fun and I had a good day with some friends and colleagues to follow.

All in all - waking up is better than dreaming.

I was once asked if I dreamt in Welsh. No, I just have nightmares in English! I certainly did last night.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Race Equality First

Being asked to chair Race Equality First's conference on "Economic Migrants - Responding to Local Needs" in County Hall, Cardiff was brilliant.

All the speakers were good but some were really good. It was noted that migrants help the economy, fill gaps in the employment market and create jobs. We also discussed some of the problems and perceived problems.

I was very impressed with the contribution of Chris Burns from Carmarthenshire County Council. His local authority have done some brilliant work in monitoring developments in places such as Llanelli and Carmarthen.

Today made me more aware of some challenges. It made me more aware of how good Wales can be where it comes to migrants. Well done Wales!

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Being Tired

I will probably never learn. Today was one of my first free Sundays for several weeks.

I spent it doing a work report. Tomorrow I'll be starting another week tired.

It's not good and I'm once again reminded of the good warning a doctor once gave me - "You are generally OK from the neck downwards." That was kind of him.

I was really thrilled, being a Manchester United fan, that Arsenal lost.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Rhydian Day

I used today to write a report for work, go to Tesco's with my wife and to vote for Rhydian on the X Factor. I'm pleased he got through but didn't want to see Niki get thrown out.

The strange guy, John Darwin, who everyone thought had died five years ago was charged by the police today. I really feel sorry for him. I couldn't go for five years without being noticed. That would be really hard.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Jesse James

I went to see the latest Jesse James film. The last ten minutes was really good but it took a long, long time to get there...

Thursday, 6 December 2007

BBC Reception

At work, today was just a grinding email driven slog. It had to be done and I needed a break afterwards. What did people do before emails? They used to have things called lives!

Going to the BBC's Christmas reception was nice at the end of a busy admin day.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

My Bug

I felt ill during work on Monday. I vomited for the world on Tuesday and I'm getting better now.

No one needs to know any more. Information overload and all that......

Sunday, 2 December 2007


It was a rude awakening. All I could hear was water pouring.

This morning, the whole of the back garden was flooded. The water absolutely poured into the garden and almost reached the level of our kitchen door. That would have been serious bad news. I don't think I have ever seen so much rain.

It was at that stage that my genius of a neighbour got the idea that I should lift the cover off our manhole. It did the trick. It was like seeing the plug being taken off a giant sink.

I preached locally in the morning and went all the way to Rock Baptist Church near Llandrindod Wells in the evening. I was the guest speaker at their joint Advent service. God has a sense of humour!

Oh yes. Just one more little thing. Putin won the Russian election in a landslide.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

World Aids Day

After spending most of Friday doing tedious office work from home, today was a pleasant change. I attended a deeply moving event in Cardiff.

This afternoon's World Aids Day service at the Senedd building in Cardiff Bay was indeed deeply moving. Christian Aid had done the churches proud. It was very well led by Aled Pickard and his colleagues.

All the speakers, readers and contributors were on form: Rosemary Butler AM; Jack Davies; Wyn Davies; Geraint Lewis; Fatima Koshokova; Monica Mills; J.P.Heath (video) and Sue - a HIV positive person. She was heard!

Dafydd Frayling from Terrence Higgins Trust Cymru spoke eloquently both in English and Welsh. His words had a deep effect on me.

It was just a personal thing for me this afternoon. Dafydd's contribution had the greatest effect on me simply because he reminded everyone, and me in particular, how appallingly some early HIV victims were treated during the eighties in north Wales. I was there and caught some of the early irrational fear. I remember one of the lay preachers in my own church describing AIDS as God's punishment on homosexuals. He said so from my church's pulpit.

If that were ever the case with God, I dread to think what sort of illness he has in store for a sinner such as me. God isn't like that - thank God!. It was significant today that the biblical interpretations had changed so much with a clear and piercing reading of Matthew 25: 31-46: "I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me."

I didn't know before that Terrence Higgins had Welsh roots. I know now! Thanks Dafydd and every blessing with your good work.