Monday, December 18, 2006

5 things you didn't know about me

I appear to have got involved in a game of internet tag, or been 'memed' to use the jargon. Having been tagged by Ruth Gledhill, Times blogger and reporter, (just thought I'd drop a name there), I'm 'on' until I post the said '5 things' and then 'meme' 5 other people? Confused? Just follow the Ruth Gledhill link for clarity, meanwhile.....

1. I've lived at 17 addresses in the last 19 years:
- Sheffield (childhood home)
- Spitalifields E London (year out working at Spitalfields Crypt, a rehab centre for homeless alcoholic men)
- 3 addresses at university, 2 in halls then a shared house in Cowley, E Oxford, mostly with lawyers (one of whom was allergic to washing up, cause of some friction!!! I still have the microwave from then, it's done well to last 15 years)
- 5 working for Clarks Shoes in Somerset: Street, Ashcott, Peasedown St. John, Radstock, finally Shepton Mallett, at the other end of the street from the Babysham/Gaymers old English cider factory.
- 3 addresses at theological college in Nottingham. A matter of weeks after moving into our marital home, Becky and I were informed that 'The Grange', where we lived, was to be turned into offices for the Extension Studies part of the college, so we moved to Inham Nook estate in Nott'm, great local church.
- since ordination in 1998 things have settled down, only 3 addresses (Yeovil, Darlington, and now Yeovil again). I think that's enough cardboard boxes now....

2. The only vicar in the family tree was Great Uncle Frank, who died a couple of years ago. He was vicar in Sacriston, a tough mining community in the Durham coalfield, then moved to an industrial parish in the Black Country. When I was 16-17 and starting to get daft ideas about being a vicar, my parents sent me down to Warley to stay with him, in a draughty Victorian rectory surrounded by blocks of flats and factory rooves. Frank was a deeply prayerful man, but tough as old boots, and I found him quite intimidating! I'd probably have spent a lot more time with him had I not been so scared of him asking me awkward questions about my prayer life.

3. My favourite view is Dalehead in the Lake District. I've been into hillwalking since being a teenager, and there's nothing quite like looking down the Newlands Valley after that last punishing climb, on a sunny day with clouds scudding overhead. And to think that God sees that view all the time, it must be great being God.

4. My brother Adam is the creative one of the 2 of us - I used to swot for tests, Adam would fiddle about with electronics, or working out how to make explosives with ingredients available to a schoolboy from the local chemists. He's just won an award for technical creativity, a kind of teccie Oscars, at an international ceremony. I admire his creativity as a father too: one day he went out and bought a vanful of hay bales and made a fort for his 2 boys in the back garden. Puts me to shame really, I rarely have enough energy to be creative with my kids.

5. At the start of 2006 I nearly got myself signed off with depression. The previous year had been very demanding, for all sorts of reasons, then came the news that my post in Darlington may not be renewed, but that there would be a lenghty consultation process first (as there were a number of other local candidates for post reductions). With a year to go on my contract, I became a caretaker minister overnight, and my energy for everything I was doing just seemed to ooze away. I've spent a lot of time with people with depression, but always thought I was too much of an optimist and positive thinker to succumb.

5 things you now do know about me, now have to think of 5 people to 'meme'. I'll try:

Steve Tilley, Stacey Hollanby, Nigel Coke-Woods, Richard Frank, and isitgodsway. As at least 1 of these either won't know or won't remember me, 3 out of 5 will be a success.


  1. it turns out Richard Frank did remember me after all. 2 out of 5 have responded and said yes. So far so good.

  2. Steve Tilley has risen to the challenge at

  3. PhD student Chester trying to get hold of David Keen re Thesis - post to

  4. Hi Joan

    sent you an email yesterday, hope you got it. I did do a thesis, so you may have the right David Keen: it was on Matthew Fox and 'creation spirituality', following the Nine O Clock service mess in Sheffield in the 90's.