As I think I have already written, I was called upon at short notice to produce a sermon for Sunday evening. I chose a passage from St Mark’s gospel. It’s always likely that a sermon I produce at short notice will be from St Mark’s gospel if I am given a free choice of subject. Perhaps it’s that it is my favourite: perhaps because it is the simplest of the gospels. Others might say it is my Keble heritage, though my theology is quite different to Dennis Nineham’s.
As it turned out, the subject of the sermon was prayer... specific prayer gets specific answers. I think that it went well, though it is almost always impossible to know how a sermon was received, except by getting feedback. The feedback from this one was mostly positive. You can read it for yourself at my website
, where most of my sermons can be found.
Early Monday morning and it was off to London again. I think I wrote a couple of posts last Monday morning, describing the adventures of missing the train from Bromborough to Chester by a whisker, catching the next one despite the signs at Hooton suggesting that it wasn’t going to come at all. Then I caught the connecting train to Crewe and a replacement train to London Euston, arriving at the office just in time to catch a department meeting to update us on what was happening. All in all, it was positive.
Back to the hotel in Kensington after work, and then into the Exec Lounge. It’s almost rude not to benefit from the free food and drink they offer, so I spent an hour or more snacking and sipping (sip, don’t gulp) while checking mail, LJ and news sites. Then a conversation with home, then off to bed.
Tuesday was a different day. The Central Line was scarcely different to any other morning. An opportunity at work meant that a colleague needed to send out a large number of similar but definitely different emails. So those of us who were still in the office at about half past five stayed to assist in this task. We left at around a quarter past seven with a job well done and I again went off to the lounge. The main game wasn’t showing in the lounge, so I went off to the more public sports bar after a while so I could watch the end of the night’s key game. It was worth doing so: I’d only been there a few minutes when Arsenal scored their first goal against the Milan team...it caught everyone unawares as a long shot went straight into the corner of the net. The second goal, a few minutes later, was a more traditional sort of goal with a pass to a striker followed by the kick that scored. What a great game. This week, Liverpool needs to do the same at the same stadium so that four English teams are in the last eight.
It was quite different in the F.A. Cup on Saturday. Four teams left in the semi-finals but only one from the Premier League...and that’s Portsmouth, who surprisingly beat The Scum. This means either that the F.A. Cup hasn’t lost its ability to startle or else that the top clubs don’t care about the F.A. Cup any more.
Anyhow, on to Wednesday. I know that there is a big NEIL YOUNG fan on my friends list. Is it you? If so, please comment below. That was the day I made my first trip to the Hammersmith Apollo, to see Neil Young in concert. Before the concert, I met up with my friend Mike at a pub called The Trout
. Anyone know it? I also met Kate, a friend of Mike’s and Ross, a friend of Kate’s. A couple of beers and then off to the Apollo. And is anyone else on my reader list familiar with the ceiling of the Hammersmith Apollo? Anyway, the support was Mrs Pegi Young, who provides an extremely able country music set. The only problem is that not many of the audience were country music fans. And when it came to harmonica solos, they were played by another band member. Aren’t you supposed to play your own solos?
A break, and Neil came on to play an acoustic set. No complaints at all. Favourites played in the acoustic set: A man needs a maid, Don’t let it bring you down, Old man. He opened with From Hank to Hendrix, which I didn’t know but which is also very fine. You’ve had your money’s worth just hearing Neil play A man needs a maid.
After the break, a long and raucous electric set. I have to be honest and say that I didn’t like this so much. It seemed to go on and on. I wasn’t so familiar with the material here, either, but evidently others did enjoy it more than I did. High points for me: Hey Hey My My and Cinnamon Girl.
The tube runs much later than Merseyrail, so I was able to get back by public transport, though the frequency of trains is less at that hour. I could have walked from Notting Hill Gate to Holland Park quicker, but by the time I was on the platform, it wasn’t worth surfacing again.
Thursday I might have written some of this stuff down, but it was party night. Rather unexpectedly, it was the grand opening of the new lounge at the Kensington Hilton, so I went and joined the festivities, taking the opportunity to be with the staff and enjoying the entertainment laid on. A magician was the main man, doing tricks with a pack of cards, banknotes and coins.
So to Friday, the last day of the week. An early finish, as a meeting expected to finish around 4 finished just after 3. A sprint to Euston revealed that the Holyhead train was cancelled and passengers travelled to Crewe on the Glasgow train. That made for a very crowded train indeed. Fortunately for me, the train manager derestricted the whole train just as I was walking through a first class carriage. The wine was very good, and so were the cream cakes.
From Crewe to Chester on a very crowded train. Viv met me at Chester Station just after I saw all the passengers travelling up the coast join a two carriage train from Manchester to Holyhead. What fun for them! Then for us it was just a short trip to Bromborough. Then home, a walk to Bromborough, a curry and a trip to Asda to pick up a couple of gifts for Christopher. It was his birthday on Saturday.
Another trip to Birkenhead on Saturday as we continued to try to get some new phones. You wouldn’t think it was so hard to get new phones. Considering how competitive the market is, it’s not straightforward at all.
Then off to Frankie and Benny’s for a birthday feast. It was a most enjoyable time. Food and drink. The makings of a festival.
After that, a couple of hours starting to get my company accounts sorted out in time for the first VAT return, due all too soon.
In the evening, Viv, David and I went off to see Redemption Song
, this year’s production by Riding Lights
, a long established Christian drama group. A very moving production.
Sunday was the usual event. Two services, one in the morning, one in the evening, punctuated by two meals and a trip to Birkenhead.
Debbi came home for a cup of tea after the service. Then it was packing time followed by an early start this morning. So now I’m on the train, listening to Neil Young live at Hammersmith and typing a long LJ entry for you to ignore.