There is a certain irony to the fact that Rev Richard chose euthanasia as the topic for our final Lent Course session a couple of weeks ago, as now the Terry Schiavo case actually brings the whole issue into a sharper focus.

At the session I wasn’t sure what I would do, and although I have thought about the issues more since then, I’m still not sure. At the session, Richard went over the Church of England position against euthanasia which has been consistently presented in parliament whenever the topic has been discussed, and most recently united with the Catholic Church in the UK in a joint statement against the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill.

Father Jake presents the Anglican Communion Lambeth resolution from 1998 which expresses the same sentiments in this posting.

Jake asks the question “Why must she die?” – she is in no pain, she has people who are willing to look after her. In some ways her condition sounds like my cousin Katie, who was brain damaged from birth, and who has been cared for her entire life. However, on the other side of the coin, her husband has stated that to die was her wish, and that he is trying to act on that wish.

To some extent I can see both sides of the argument, and I am still no more sure which way is the right way. I just hope that I am never in a position where I have to make the choice!

Are Nestle a bunch of Cheapskates?

So after the item on Watchdog last night, where predictably the Nestle response was that it said clearly on the box what was there (i.e. no Smarties), tonight we took a look at the Easter eggs that my brother dropped off.

Kit Kat Egg Smarties Egg

As you can see, another Smarties egg, and a Kit Kat egg. There is not much of a difference, except this time they’re using the Kit Kat brand to shift the same contents – a chocolate egg and an egg cup.

Is it asking too much to actually have a Kit Kat or two, or some Smarties with an Easter egg if they are using the brands to sell their eggs? How much would it eat into their $5.94 billon profit to do so?

Having said that, if we were buying for ourselves it is worth saying that we would usually boycott Nestle anyway having seen the Mark Thomas show on the ongoing problems with the use of bottled baby milk in areas with unsafe drinking water a number of years ago. However it is worth pointing out the whole egg cup thing leaving me feeling like people who bought us eggs have been ripped off doesn’t exactly improve my image of the company!

Doctor Who Defeats Ant and Dec

The first outing for the new series of Doctor Who, that has been warmly recieved by the press has scored a hit for the BBC in the traditional Saturday evening ratings battle!

The first episode of the new series averaged 9.9 million viewers, peaking at 10.5 million – 44.3% of viewers watching at the time. This is well up on the levels when the series last aired back in the 80’s, and even beats the number who watched the movie in 1996. Ant and Dec attracted 7.2 million, peaking at 8.5 million viewers.

Of course the key test will be whether the series can maintain the same levels over subsequent episodes.

The other quite amusing side effect of the new series was people discovering that their partners were Doctor Who fans – have a read of Carla’s bemusement at being pushed aside. It is worth mentioning that Beth knew having looked through my video collection what she was marrying, although she shares with Carla a certain lack of appreciation for the merits of the classic series! 😮

Anyway, maybe there is the basis for a movie here – “I Married a Whovian”…. 😀

Where are the Smarties?

So I’ve just opened my Smarties Chocolate Egg…

Smarties Egg

Guess what wasn’t in the box (the clue is on the box)…


All there was was a chocolate egg, and an ‘Exclusive Smarties Branded Egg Cup’, hence why it is a Smarties Egg Cup egg, not a Smarties Egg.

I suppose the argument would be that it didn’t say that it had Smarties on the box, but still if they are selling the egg off the back of the Smarties name, the least they can do is stick some Smarties in the box!

Update 29th March: In addition to this blog entry, I also e-mailed much the same thing to BBC Watchdog. I’ve just had a phone call from one of their researchers saying that they have had other e-mails on the same subject, and are planning to squeeze in an item about the lack of smarties at the end of tonights show!

Vigil 2005

I’ve just uploaded a set of pictures from last night, when we held the annual Youth Group Vigil.

After our record breaking numbers last year, broke the record again with thirty-one people signed up on the list coming along, including quite a few friends of Youth Group members who came along having heard what a great time people had in previous years.

We again had the video projector, and I ripped out the surround sound system from home and set it all up in the young peoples room, projecting in 16:9 onto the wall above the fireplace. With all the couches around the room, the sound system and the almost two metre diagonal picture is like having a private cinema! As last year we also had another DVD player and TV in the other room, and X-Box games in the foyer.

From the vast selection we had, drawn from our collection, plus quite a few that the young people brought in to see on the big screen, choices shown this year are below:

School of Rock [2004] The Incredibles (2 Discs) Bruce Almighty [2003] Spider-Man 2 [2004]

The games during the night that Beth hinted at in her post yesterday seemed to go down pretty well. First up was “Duct Tape Creations”. Each team was given a paper plate, a paper napkin, and a roll of duct tape and told to make something. After the initial ‘you must be mad’ look, and a few minutes of searching for inspiration we actually got a pretty good selection of creations.

Game two produced the ‘now we definitely think you’re mad’ looks as Beth gave out a list of ten things she wanted measured, and then handed out the tools to do the measuring – one banana per team! The trick (as you will see in the pictures) is not actually to use the banana. You find something else that is better for the job, and work out how many bananas that represents. In most cases people found someone on their team whose feet are the same length as the banana!


Of course, in amongst all the games, movies, pizza in the early hours is the serious business of keeping the vigil. The vigil itself is divided into nine readings, and then a gospel reading for the dawn service. Each of the young people takes a turn to go over to the church, read the reading and psalm for their watch, and then they have to keep an eye on the candles that are in front of the altar.

The event actually grew out of our previous priest-in-charge wanting to restore the tradition of the early church of keeping a watch, plus ensuring that there was at least a small congregation for the dawn service, in an attempt to lift numbers. (Incidentally, this year we had a congregation of 65 at dawn, many of whom come specifically for the service, and not because they have anything to do with the youth group!) Everybody who comes along to the vigil and takes part in the games has to do a turn on watch, the initial idea being that we were almost bribing the youth group to keep the watch with the night of games, movies and so on – it being a lot easier to sell a night of games with a bit of sitting in a cold church, rather than the idea of just sitting in the cold church. Anyway, with some of the young people having done the vigil for many years, it was great to hear some feedback from another member of the congregation that one of the young people had told them how spiritually moving they found the 30-45 minutes they actually keep the watch. Hopefully that will counter some of the annual grumbles we get from parts of the congregation about all the older members of the junior choir not being able to sing at the later services on Easter morning because they’re too tired!

The set of pictures are on our pictures site, and also include some pictures of the newly restored bells which went back into the tower last week, pictures of the service, and some shots taken at breakfast.

Oh, and this is what a youth leader looks like after spending the night with over 30 young people in the Parish Centre….

Tired Richard