A Kiwi Weekend

The neighbourhood was a chorus of busy anticipation. Lawns were mowed. Errands run. Chores were done. Supplies were purchased. Small boys ran about thr street talking of their favourite players. A tremendous unity of purpose could be seen everywhere. Cars decked in flags, girls wearing "Keep Calm, Piris On" t-shirts, and a replay of the Wales vs Australia game all helped to build up the mood. Every commentary has been careful to note both the probability attaching to the favourites and the possibility of the underdogs - which has been demonstrated in this competition and others.

I'm quite wound up about it all. We'll watch the game as a family, it won't even be possible to put our five-year-old to bed.

Go the All Blacks!

Religion ... and financial advice

Can religion - the most complex of intangible products, with the smallest empirical evidence of success - be on the comeback? Indeed it looks that way. Consider this from John Micklthwaite:

"From Sri Lanka to Baghdad new wars of religion have appeared; from Washington to Delhi there are huge arguments about faith's role in the public square. Religion has returned to the stage as a much more democratic, individualistic affair: a bottom-up marketing success, surprisingly in tune with globalisation. That is a welcome change, but it does not make it easy for politicians to deal with."

If so, then it should give hope to the purveyors of another intangible service: financial advice. Clutching our advice processes like articles of faith we cheerfully proffer our services. Investment advisers, in particular, with no end of research are yet to conclusively prove the value that advice adds. So perhaps they should be lined up alongside Priests, Rabbis, and Imams. As a person of faith myself I consider them valuable, but can't quite prove exactly why.


"Sod the cost, sod the gas. "

Such thoughts were so close to being realised just a few short days ago. My Peugeot 406 was in for a service recently (attentive readers will know that I am naturally mean with money and it took me forever to even make this relatively recent purchase).

Wandering through the showroom my eyes fell lustfuly on the new 407 coupe. Recently, when I had been discussing the 406 with a colleague that person had, briefly, thought that the coupe was the version I had bought. I think that planted a seed. So it was with special interest that I gazed upon the wondrous new 407 coupe. It is a beautiful thing. So nearly did I say 'Sod the cost' ... etc.

But I am practical. I have a family - now three children - so the natural first car is a bus. In our case, a Toyota Ipsum. Then, the next slot has to be filled by a nice, sensible four door sedan - work or play this vehicle will be presentable and reasonably easy to live with. In our home these two slots are filled.

But if I had to have another car the next one would probably be a chunky four wheel drive type thing. And not a new imitation 4x4, I am talking the original here: a Landrover. They have style, they're tough, I have a cousin that works there. They would make me feel good as I went to pick up a load of lumber. Although, I have only ever picked up a load of lumber once, and am extremely unlikely to do so again in the near future, but I am sure I would have felt better doing it in a Landrover.

So if I was going to buy the 407 Coupe, it looks to be the natural fourth car. I think the term 'natural fourth car', on reflection, probably says it all.

Passing of Pope John Paul 2

In a modest but moving service our parish Priest pointed out that Jesus will not 'open the door' to heaven for Pope John Paul II, because he is with us, on this side of the door.
On the Sunday after Easter, when the story of Thomas is commonly told throughout Catholic churches the meaning of the Pope's suffering in his final days and weeks is clear. Jesus invited Thomas to feel his wounds - sharing his humanity - and so making faith possible for Thomas. The Pope has done that for many, many people, in many, many ways.