Saturday, 24 May 2008

Behaving Badly

Sorry I have been away for a while. I have been having problems with Christians again and I want to behave really badly.
I am now at the stage where I not only like Herod but I am very partial to Nero. I have also been thinking of buying action men and sticking needles into them but that wouldn't be nice - that is to action men.

Anyway, here are some Christians I really, really like and they are all Manchester United fans as well. What's more. We were all Manchester United fans after a certain Mr Terry slipped last Wednesday night. Its just great being a Christian and a Manchester United fan. Thanks to Marcus and the boys from Saint Catherine's for the photos.

I noticed in the picture how much weight I had lost. Today, I was down to 14 stone 1 lb. I feel very humble about my success and the success of Manchester United.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Asylum Seekers and Free Health Care in Wales

I don't share the view that politicians should be approached with cynicism. It was shown today in Wales that the likes of Edwina Hart can make controversial decisions because they are right.

Well done I say to Edwina Hart who was brave enough today to grant unsuccessful asylum seekers the right to have free health care in Wales. It would have been so easy for her to hide behind the legal challenges that are being pursued by the UK Government.

I did several BBC interviews this morning and feel terribly sad that helping a small number of vulnerable individuals who may be unwell on our doorstep proved to be such a controversial issue and the source not of legitimate care - that's OK - but blatant bigotry.

The Welsh media are brilliant at holding the conversations of the public square in Wales. They have my fullest support and gratitude. I wasn't sure today if people who are unwell - even suffering from cancer - should be brought out to question the policy.

Today's issue wasn't about one group of unwell people competing with another group. The asylum seekers involved simply aren't that numerous to make a difference.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Barack Obama

I'd love to go over to the USA in November as an embedded Welshman in his campaign. I'd learn a lot. Provided he doesn't call me 'sweetie' I'll be OK. He'll win Oregon in style. Just don't mention Kentucky.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Cardiff City

I really enjoyed watching the Cardiff v Portsmouth FA Cup Final in my neighbours' house. We had a fantastic time supporting Cardiff. It was my national duty to do so - even as a Manchester United fan.

Cardiff did Wales proud and although they lost 1:0 we all supported them to the end. Brilliant boys.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

O Ye of Little Faith

This is just for those of little faith who were not inclined towards believing my shark fishing story.

Many thanks also to my son's young friends who have seen fit to defend my story telling integrity by providing irrefutable photographic evidence of my honourable fishing credentials.

It was a brilliant weekend and I trust that this little member of the shark family is now happy swimming somewhere off the coast of Tenby.

I don't think it was too happy to be in our boat but we all did the honourable thing by putting him safely back in the water. I think it was a him - unless someone can tell my differently by the photo.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

In the Frame

This morning I failed to get a frame for my Shane Williams signed photo. He's just too good to put into any frame. At least, that's my theory.

In the gym this morning I heard that some significant foreign clubs are willing to pay £100 million for Ronaldo. Hands off please!

Monday, 12 May 2008

More Doctors

This was a half day at work. The other half was spent on Displaced People in Action.

The Welsh Assembly Government minister, Brian Gibbons, came with a couple of his staff to see our work in serving children, refugee communities and refugees who wish to find work. DPIA has helped hundreds over the past six years.

Since 2002 the WARD project (Wales Asylum Seeking and Refugee Doctors Project) in particular has helped 98 refugee and asylum seeking doctors with their UK training. As a Welsh internationalist this gives me a huge sense of pride. DPIA and the Welsh Assembly Government continue to work well together.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Champions and Ryan Giggs

Just to make a perfect, perfect weekend - Manchester United retained the Championship.

It was just brilliant that my great hero Ryan Giggs scored the second goal. After the result, I was told by a group of men in the gym swimming pool that all Manchester United fans had to leave the water. I had outed myself as a fan in the middle of a lot of bubbles.

Apparently, Manchester United winning things isn't good for football. That's OK. We are not good at sinking or blowing bubbles. We are just very, very humble when we win everything - except for the FA Cup which is on its way to Cardiff.

European Championship: here we come!

I Caught a Shark

I don't know whether I am supposed to or not as a father, but I really really enjoyed my eldest son's stag weekend.
We all went down to Tenby to do some fishing. My youngest son caught a ray which started things off well. My eldest then revealed that various expressions of enjoyment and wobbly boats don't always go well together. Then, I caught a galeorhinus galeus or a tope, or if I want to make it sound really good - a shark.
Going out on a boat in Tenby to fish is just brilliant. Catching a shark really made my day. I needed help to get it in and that added to the fun. Then I enjoyed a real boys barbecue. That is a barbecue without salad or vegetables. Oh no - that isn't quite true - we had crisps and pringles.
We also had beer. I was within the limits required for driving and being on wobbly boats. My clutch cable broke on the way back near Pont Abraham Service Station but I didn't care. I'd caught a shark. I also got a signed portrait of Shane Williams on the way down. This is heaven!

P.S. - I did put it back - that is, the shark.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Fish and Chips

Tonight I reached a loss of two and a half stone since Christmas. I was so thrilled I went out and had a brilliant fish and chips.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Rhondda Heritage Park

I had a really good day today with our Cytun staff team in the Rhondda Heritage Park. The mines, thank God, are closed now.

I love living in the Valleys with Valleys people. They are kind to strangers from north Wales. Working with good colleagues and friends in such places also makes life even better. It was a lovely day today.

I was kept going all day by my new passion for Cola Zero - as opposed to Diet Coke - and Maltesers (only 190 calories per pack). Between them they provide me with enough Es to help me survive the day on my diet. I need lots of Es.

Rhodri Morgan told me the other night that he had lost over three stones. That's really good and I wish him well. I have lost now two stones and four pounds since Christmas. That's OK.

These days, we laugh a lot at Cytun as we do some serious work for God. I think God prefers laughing to being serious. If he doesn't, I'm in deep.... something other than a mine!

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Barking Sermon

The bank holiday was fun - except for Chelsea beating Newcastle United. Manchester United will now have to wait until next Sunday to be crowned champions.

Last Sunday, I went to preach in a lovely Presbyterian Church outside of Cardiff. For the first time in my entire ministry, I had to compete with a dog in the congregation. The dog was there for a good purpose though. It was being brought into human company as part of its training as a guide dog. I thought that was fantastic and was thrilled that he had listened so well to one of my sermons.

There is a really bad joke (that I shouldn't write down in my Blog) about an agnostic with a bad spelling problem who didn't know if he believed in 'dog' or not.

This one was real and I have every confidence in him. He took me gently by the hand and went a polite uch! Not only was the dog real. It was also discerning.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Two Peters and Cooking Bishops

Today, I had lots of fun and a really good lunch with two Peters from the United Reformed Church. We all went as a trinity during the afternoon to see a bishop being consecrated. That was good too.

If bishops are to be compared with cakes they shouldn't be cooked too quickly. They simply can't be microwaved if you know what I mean. Today's bishop took two hours to cook and that was good going. Last week's bishops in York took another twenty minutes on top of that.

I meant to do some more work during the evening but cooking all these bishops is hard work. My lasting memory of the day was seeing a Roman catholic Bishop being prayed for by a woman Anglican priest. Times are changing - but not how long it takes to cook a whole bishop.