Monthly Archives: February 2011

Resuming Normal Service..

as in returning to a more normal work routine tomorrow, after a month of doing things slightly differently. We shall see what happens.

I think it’s also safe to risk beginning to move out of my corner at church again. The triggers that were making me cry seem to have subsided. (I managed to sing “All Creatures of our God and King” this morning with no problem.. but that might have been because I was more annoyed at cutting the final three verses and leaving it as a nice  hymn with all the pretty bits of Creation, but not the suffering and death bits. Which missed the point of the original “Canticle of the Creatures” entirely. OK, I know it’s long at seven verses… but they are necessary!) I’m seeming to be less angry about being in church, and less inclined to keep all the barricades up. I’m still not inclined to get involved in anything other than going to church on Sundays, but that’s mostly because once work is up and running again I can’t guaranteed I’ll be back for the one evening thing (once a month) I might be interested in, and the other two things I would have considered are day time. Also they only seem to be day time in term time, so they don’t run when I’m around anyway….

I seem to be resuming normal musical service, as in playing my keyboard most days,  just for fun.



For the curious, and Ian!

It would appear I really do possess a lot of hymn books.

  1. As One Voice (Australian RC)
  2. Baptist Hymn Book (UK – 1963)
  3. Baptist Praise and Worship (UK – 1991)
  4. Scottish Psalter and Church Hymnary (1920 – Tonic Solfa, split pages version)
  5. Church Hymnary 3rd Edition (1973)
  6. Church Hymnary 4th Edition (2005)
  7. Come and Praise (BBC Children’s Hymn/Song Book)
  8. Come and Praise 2
  9. Common Ground (Scottish Ecumenical book – 1998)
  10. Common Praise (Hymns Ancient and Modern successor – 2000)
  11. Complete Celebration Hymnal with New Songs of Celebration (1990)
  12. English Hymnal (1906)
  13. New English Hymnal (1985)
  14. Hymns Ancient and Modern Revised (1950)
  15. Hymns Ancient and Modern New Standard (1983)
  16. 100 Hymns for Today
  17. More Hundred Hymns for Today
  18. Hymns Old and New Anglican (1996)
  19. Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New (2000)
  20. One Church, One Faith, One Lord (A Hymns Old and New book – )
  21. Hymns and Psalms (Methodist UK 1983)
  22. Irish Church Praise (1990)
  23. Junior Praise 1
  24. Combined Junior Praise (but not the most recent!)
  25. Laudate (1999)
  26. Mission Praise (1984)
  27. Mission Praise 2 (1987)
  28. Mission Praise Combined Edition (1991)
  29. Combined Mission Praise (2005)
  30. New Hymns and Worship Songs (1996)
  31. Sing to God (Scripture Union Children’s book 1971)
  32. Songs of Fellowship 1
  33. Songs of Fellowship 2
  34. Songs of Fellowship 4
  35. Songs of God’s People (Church of Scotland supplement to Church Hymnary 3 – 1988))
  36. The Source
  37. The Source 2
  38. The Source 3
  39. The Source 4
  40. Spring Harvest 1993
  41. Spring Harvest 1998
  42. Spring Harvest 2004/2005
  43. Spring Harvest 07/08
  44. Songs of the Spirit
  45. More Songs of the Spirit
  46. Songs of the Spirit 3
  47. Taize Chant book
  48. With One Voice (Australian 1977)
  49. Youth Praise 1
  50. Youth Praise 2 (Books of my Youth in the 1970s!)
  51. Numerous odd small collections of strange provenance!!

And in the Christmas Department

  1. Carols for Choirs
  2. Carols for Choirs 2
  3. Carols for Choirs 4
  4. Carol our Christmas
  5. The Christmas Source
  6. The Oxford Book of Carols
  7. Bethlehem Carol Sheet full music book (Don’t ask which one, I can’t remember!!)

It can be disputed I don’t need all the Mission Praises, but they did mess around with the music arrangements from the originals to the Combined editions, and the Combined editions are just too big for sensible use!

It could also be disputed that I don’t need the 100 Hymns and More 100 Hymns for Today, as they are in the Ancient and Modern New Standard (Which is an abridged version of Ancient and Modern Revised, + the two 100 Hymns supplements. Common Praise is a completely new book…) but, keys have been altered… and I like to keep them all!!!!!!!!

An alternative use for a Laundry Basket

My Laundry Basket makes an excellent repository for hymn books when the mood takes me to do some more work on the Japes’ Ideal Hymn Book and Grand Index of All Hymn Books. This is a long term project, one only I’m likely ever to see, and the “All” is a bit of an exaggeration, as it’s really the books I have in my collection… which is over 50. Um, maybe I do already have quite a lot of what is in print and available in the UK!

It all began when I was playing regularly in church, from  books I was less familiar with, and expanded when I started moving around the variations of the Anglican church a lot, and to be known for having a certain interest in the subject. I’ve never been easy to categorise either theologically, liturgically, or musically.

So, as I’m up to date on chores, and other matters I’ve neglected of late, I’m playing with the hymn books again!! Such fun.

I might need saving from myself

Dear Lord,

I know I was in definite need of some oomph and energy to return. But for housework?!?!

Yes, I have been playing loud music, and doing lots and lots of odd chores all morning… and am enthused for the afternoon’s tasks of cleaning the bathroom and kitchen. The recycling has been attended to, the  last six months worth of paper is dealt with, and the shredable stuff is sitting in the hot water, being rendered unreadable (works remarkably well in the absence of a shredder, but somewhat messier.)

Mind you, the facts are that it’s raining, I have chocolate in the house,  I’m up to date with paperwork from work and I have no coursework corrections and amendments to do. (How dare my tutor take away my reason for delaying the chores for another week with the words. “Oh, easily at the highest level. Nothing more to do.”)

I am now sat down, and in time-honoured fashion, having a coffee and blogging break from said chores. A most satisfactory state of affairs.


OK, so just a little under 10,000 words.It’s not the best work  I’ve done, I’ll be content if it passes, and not too surprised if it lands back with me for more work over next weekend. But, it is finished, printed and in my bag ready for handing in in the morning.

The relief is enormous! I’m well aware of my limitations in this kind of academic writing work, unless I’m interested I won’t bother. I’d’ve been more interested if I wasn’t also having to hold back. If each section had been a 1500 word essay, (making it 30,000 words!) I’d’ve been fine, but only 500 words?  I’m good at précis and condensing ideas, and I was seriously struggling to limit myself to 500 words!  I’m a homily writer and deliverer, not a sermoniser.

Much as I enjoy my job, I’m not just interested in the theory, the reflective journalling, the speed with which ideas come in and out of fashion, depending on who’s in Government…. We spoken of one set of ideas in a class a few months back, and they’ve been superseded already. I’m not saying I’m not interested in learning more, just not interested in the stuff I’ve been doing.

Bizarrely, rather than improve my professional skills at dealing with teenagers in the environment in which I encounter them, it’s managed to give me a few clues to what’s been going on in the world of Japes! So, maybe it’s not been such a waste of time after all. (Or am I just a confused teenager in a mid-life crisis?)


A couple of weeks ago, there were saplings being given away.One had been given to a student who, I discovered, had snapped it in two and binned it…

I rescued it, brought it home, but did nothing other than putting it in my little utility room, which has a perspex roof, and forgot about it… I didn’t think it was going to survive the mauling it had had, (which had angered me, and the student heard all about it!) and was going to put it out with the green waste this week.

Today, against all the odds, it’s sprouting little leaves. It’s a very determined little sapling, and deserves to live!! I’ve got it a pot and some compost, and will be interested to see what happens next.

Yesterday, against all the odds, I discover there are bits of me alive that I thought had died, and weren’t ever going to be resurrected. I was wrong, they were merely hibernating, waiting for the right time and season to emerge. Despite the various attempts on numerous people’s parts to interfere, force things to happen.

Sometimes, it’s best just to leave things be.


So, work really does seem to have settled down. I’m happier with the current way of doing things, more myself as I know I can be at work, and in the last week have been getting some out of nowhere, spectacularly blush-making comments from some very unexpected folk at how good I am at my job. I’m well aware in the fickle, unstable world I work in I could well be getting it all spectacularly wrong in the next dew days, but for now I’m taking it as affirmation I’ve made the correct set of decisions, and am peaceful with that.

Having watched the speed at which change and replacing me in my old team have occurred, I’m also more than content to be out of it. I’ve done my bit in moving it from a one person job to a several person team, to helping get it more organised in what it does, but I’ve got a different approach to how I believe I best do that kind of work, and it’s not one the rest of the team go for. When there were just two and a bit of us, it worked. Not now.

The assignments are still hovering over my head, but in a less menacing fashion. I’d done more than I’d realised to getting it all finished, and really only need to print out and proof read it this weekend.

Unlike the “What the heck am I going to do about church?” question of doom and gloom which has now forced itself to the front of my mind, and is going to need more work. For, after over a year of more or less faithfully attending my parish church, it just isn’t working for me. It’s a perfectly respectable, middle of the road, Anglican parish church, with lots going on, lots of social activities, variety of services, plenty for me to get involved in – it’s been made really clear that all I have to do is say so, and I can do whatever I want…. but, um, I don’t want to.

And, it boils down to the fact I’m not a respectable, middle of the road kind of Japes.

Let me explain! Yes, superficially I am. I work in a respectable middle class profession. I learnt long ago to blend into whatever group I found myself in, trying hard to be what ever was needed, or required. Eventually, it became boring, and things would go wrong, and I’d be moved on, or I’d need to move on, and the cycle would start again. The default Japes’ setting is “If it’s all gone wrong, it’s my own fault, I need to try harder.”

Now, for a very long time in church settings, I had a set of assumptions assigned to me, because of who I was assumed to be, based on a group I belonged to. I no longer belong to that group –  for lots of excellent reasons, but for  remarkably similar reasons for choosing to relinquish my smaller role at work. I’m beginning to wonder if I belong in any church at all.

I could, of course, “come out” at church as this disreputable type, who doesn’t fit the norms, who won’t fit in, who’s an awkward so and so, who only wants to come to church to worship God, and see how best to fulfil his purpose for me in his world, which I would seem to do best with my scruffy, awkward, bunch of kids, most of whom have been well and truly failed by the respectable, middle of the road world system they don’t fit into either! And we are all in the scruffiest end, of the most disreputable part of  the system!

Oddly enough, since changing my work, I’m actually doing the kind of stuff I thought I’d be doing in original smaller role, far better…just not hiding behind that role any more, either. Since leaving the group, and learning not to hide behind the role assigned, which was becoming more constricting and confining for me, I’m doing all the kind of things I thought being a member of that group was all about, but somehow wasn’t.  How interesting!! God, you are flipping devious.