Archive for March, 2007

Broken tooth

March 27, 2007

Last week when eating breakfast I felt a twinge of protest from a tooth as I crunched on a hard bit of cereal. Shortly afterwards I crunched on something even harder – it was about a quarter of one of my teeth which had broken off, leaving a rather exposed bit of ‘inner tooth’ (I think dentine is the technical name)!

Fortunately the fracture hadn’t gone through to the root so I wasn’t in pain, but I was bit unnerved by a large section of missing tooth in my mouth, and thought I’d better go to a dentist soon. Only one problem, however. We haven’t registered with a dentist here in Gloucester. We were looking to find a health service dentist who wouldn’t charge too much, as money is not an overabundant commodity when you’re studying at a mission college. However these are few and far between and we haven’t yet found one taking on new patients.

Never mind, I thought, there’s a phoneline for emergency treatment for patients who don’t have a dentist. After an hour of trying, I got through – and was told that unless I was in severe pain I’d have to go on the waiting list – 10 months! Not so sure that was going to be much use. After lots of frantic effort I did finally manage to find a dentisit in a nearby village who had an available appointment and was willing to see me, even though I wasn’t registered with them. He was able to fix the broken tooth for a not-too-exhorbitant fee. I now have a pin in my tooth, surrounded by filling. However I’m still a bit anxious about really ‘testing’ it too hard – at least until we’re properly registered with a dentist …

This is not the only example I have of not quite getting round to something until it was almost too late. A few years ago I had got a bit lax at making backups of our documents, Emails etc on our computer. After all it was a very good PC and never went wrong. At least until it did, and the computer was unable to read the hard drive. After multiple attempts it did at last start up, and I managed to get the disk spinning again. I didn’t switch off the PC until everything was burned onto CD. That hard drive never worked again, and I only just rescued the data in time.

Often we (or at least I) don’t get round to important things as there’s always something more urgent to do. Only when the emergency happens do we realise that the important is more important than the urgent. And perhaps one day we won’t be able to do it just in time.

Why is my life so boring?

March 17, 2007

Looking through the search strings which have brought people to this blog, I noticed one question – why is my life so boring? I don’t know why my blog got listed from this search – hopefully it’s not the search engine’s judgment on the content …

But actually quite often life does seem rather mundane. At the moment it’s largely comprised of a series of essays which always need some work, combined with rocking a baby to sleep, playing with baby, eating, sleeping, the occasional weekend away, shopping at Tescos, chatting to my wife. Nothing particularly earth shattering. Talking with other friends about how things are going, we all seemed to feel much the same at the moment – it’s just carrying on.

So what stops life from being ‘so boring’. What do you think?

I’m no expert on the ‘exciting life’ – but I might as well give some thoughts on the matter having raised it. I’ve certainly had plenty of interesting things happening from time to time – going to Spain for 6 weeks recently, the arrival of our baby last year, etc. And I enjoy our holidays when they come round. But I don’t think that an exciting life consists of having more and more of these ‘exciting’ and ‘fun’ activities. When I used to have long student holidays (those were the days!) I was pretty bored after a couple of weeks, and longing to do something else instead. I think variety can help, but still I don’t think that’s the whole secret of of an interesting life.

In most of what we do in life there are elements of interest, beauty and fun as well as elements that are boring and hard work. I may not enjoy writing essays, but I do enjoy the reading that leads up to them. Long car journeys are pretty boring, but you can see some beautiful scenery out of the window (usually). I think I need to learn ‘contentment’ more – to see what is interesting, fun and good in the everyday things of life, and enjoy them. We have to realise that God has given good things even in the mundane parts of life, and I think we will always be somewhat bored until we learn to open our eyes.


March 8, 2007

Here’s another photo from our time in Spain. This is another of my favourites, but for different reasons. It was taken outside a cafe in the square by the cathedral in Valencia.

English spelling is difficult, and not only do I admire the bar’s owners for providing a full English breakfast, but they almost get the spelling entirely right.



March 1, 2007

Just before leaving for Spain I watched an article on the BBC news describing the perilous 1000 mile sea journey that many Senegalese people were making, aiming to reach the Canary islands with the hope of a new life in Spain. The article made quite an impact on me. On one hand, you couldn’t help be angry at the exploitation of desperate people, with gangs demanding exhorbitant fees for smuggling them across the ocean in a way that would mean the death of many at sea. But also I was quite moved by the testimony of some who had taken, or were about to take, such a journey. They did not want to leave their country or family members but felt that they had ‘no other choice’.

When we were in Spain, we were in reality immigrants ourselves for 6 weeks, and this experience gave me an even greater sense of admiration for these ‘illegal immigrants’. Despite the fact that both the UK and Spain are developed European countries, and hence fairly similar, and even though I spoke a reasonable level of Spanish I was quite culture shocked for the first week there. Everything was just a bit different and all the familiarity of knowing how to do every little thing in your own country is suddenly stripped away. And I found it really frustrating just not quite being able to communicate what I wanted to, or understand enough of what people were saying to me. This shock must be far greater if you speak nothing of the language, come from a far more distinct culture and are not about to go home again in 6 weeks. It just made me realise how desperate the poverty of people must be that they are willing to face potential death, family separation, and all this for just the hope of something better somewhere else in a strange land.

The whole issue of migration is a difficult one. No a country cannot practically open its borders to everybody who may wish to enter it. So while there is more concern for those refugees who are fleeing for their lives, there is often little sympathy for the economic migrants. While this is understandable, I don’t think it’s right. It doesn’t seem likely to me that the decision to move to a new country in search of work is one that will made lightly, easily or at little personal cost for anyone. While we do need to find solutions to the problems of migration I think we’d be better off looking at ways of solving the dreadful poverty that pushes people to leave their own, friendly lands, rather than just trying to find ways of stopping them coming in, or getting rid of them once they’ve arrived.

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