A Quiet Last Day? No Way…

Maybe it was optimistic to expect my last day before the Christmas Holiday to be quiet…

So far this morning:

  1. Last parcel from Amazon turns up having been damaged in transit – and probably no time to replace the damaged contents. Just waiting for Amazon to get back to me. Update: Just got an e-mail from Amazon – replacement items being despatched first class.
  2. After half a days worth of testing, we’ve found a trailing space in a bit of test data. Following a quick fix, as it is a fully validated system we have to go all the way back to the start of the tests and start again.
  3. Just had a call from one of my colleagues who should be on annual leave today. His team is doing an install in Cardiff and got to site to discover that they’d left the install CD that he’d put together for them at home.
  4. Had a moderation request from the Affirming Liberalism site – Peter Ould probably about as opposite in Anglican terms as you can get has linked to the site under the category “heresy” pairing it up with an unrelated video and a comment about growing liberal Churches seemingly implying that he doesn’t think there are any… Of course he’s most welcome to come along and visit St James – but he’d probably have trouble finding a seat, especially over the next couple of days.

Anybody Any Good With Oranges and Cocktail Sticks?

Glow Stick Christingle

A few years back, St James would hold a single Christingle service on Christmas Eve, then came the year that 500 people all turned up…

After that the decision was taken to hold the service twice, at 2pm and 4pm, and to allocate seating using free tickets.

Roll on to this year, and we had three services planned, at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm, with 200 tickets for each. The tickets were made available at the beginning of December, and within days had gone, and we’ve had so many people phoning up wanting tickets, that we’ve now had to add a fourth Christingle service at 12 o’clock – and it looks likely that we’ll fill the Church then too.

That of course leaves us with one big problem, traditionally the junior choir have made the actual Christingle’s – not too much of a problem when we had one service, but with so many people coming along now, short of bringing child slavery to Finchampstead we need lots of extra help to put them all together. It’s not overly complicated – basically four cocktail sticks, a glow stick (much to the chagrin of the traditionalists the combination of small children, candles and a jam packed church was too much for Health and Safety), an orange and some red ribbon – but there are a lot to do. The production line gets going on Saturday afternoon at the Parish Centre!

Once those four services are done though, there is the other popular service, Midnight Mass – one service we can’t do more than once, so we just have to try and fit everybody in. Last year we had people standing in the vestry and more people standing in the north aisle – heaven knows where we’ll put people if more turn up this year.

Greased Lightnin’


We’re just back from the closing night of the show at Beth’s school. After the fantastic production of Peter Pan last year, this year they’ve lifted the bar again, by putting on Grease.

The first thing to note about the production is that they did the original version, so if you turned up expecting to hear Grease, Hopelessly Devoted to You, and You’re the One That I Want, all of which were added for the revival version, then you may have been disappointed. Having said that, it was hard to be disappointed with what the entirely student cast produced.

The whole show was fantastic. Apparently there had been some hiccups in the earlier performances, but it all came together tonight. The two students playing the key roles of Sandy and Danny were great, getting the harmonies in Summer Nights spot on. There were great performances right across the board though – the “man lessonsâ€? that the director had to give to the boys seeming to have paid off, alongside all the hard work on accents. This year they even got together a live band to play for all the songs too.

Interestingly, much as with the production last year, the production was a bit of an eye-opener for some of the parents, most of whom probably hadn’t really paid attention to the content of the show – quite a few of the jokes, although they probably go straight over the heads of half the cast, are pretty risqué – although there was only one point where there was a sharp intake of breath from parts of the audience. About the only aspect of the original that I remember that wasn’t here was the smoking – there is only one minor point I spotted in the lyrics where it is referred to, but aside from that it doesn’t really notice that it’s not there. Another interesting aspect of the show is actually seeing it performed by actors who are the right ages – the movie version especially is renowned for having actors significantly older than the parts they are playing.

Anyway, I took a load of pictures during the production. They are all non-flash, but using the image stabiliser on Beth’s camera, quite a few have come out pretty well. I’ve uploaded the full set to Flickr though, including the dud’s to give some idea of the full story – although in common with any of the other pictures taken at the school they are subject to the Child Protection rules and are therefore only available in the private stream. All in all it was a great evening, the big question is now, what are they going to do next year to top this one?