Saturday, 20 March 2010

Damascus road experiences...

Good acclimatisation for future west coast living today. Leadership/team-building exercises in the rain in the Forest of Dean. I'm sure someone has muddled up membership of the Church of England and the Parachute Regiment. Never mind, it was an entertaining if potentially pointless set of exercises.

I did get that single blinding insight, of course, as one always does at these sorts of things. I am, by nature, a person who leaps into action full of ideas and directions for how the team should achieve the goals. Over the years, this has been tempered a little into facilitation, gathering other views, enabling team members to participate etc. etc. etc., but essentially I still like to jump in and say, 'So based on all that stuff - this is what we are doing - RUN - JUMP - GO THIS WAY...' etc.

However: Putting a set of blacked-out goggles on me during an exercise and I was as quiet as... well something that is really quiet. Very docile, lead around by the lovely lady who was my partner in the exercise - very obedient. Now, if they could bottle and sell that effect on mouthy people like me, they would make an absolute fortune.

The insight? I still love telling people what to do (in a very affirming, collaborative sort of way) - and you would probably have to poke my eyes out to change that... Ho hum.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Apply liberally for immediate relief...

A chat with 'Ron' who is actually called Tim - and a great relief. He is very happy to furnish with a (possibly monosyllabic) canal-type person who knows which of the arches of the Carron bridges to aim for and will have the correct vocabulary of grunts and mutters to communicate with the sea lock people and onwards. All that is dreadfully unfair, as they are all very nice, chatty people who will be very helpful.

Tim did then go on to talk about taking narrowboats up the Forth to Stirling (mooring at the boating club on Riverside) and even the future possibility of a link to Loch Lomond from the Forth & Clyde Canal. Better half (BH) blanched at hearing my end of this conversation, and expressed a desire for Tim to accompany me on such ventures whilst she sipped gin on the side of the canal/raging river/stormy loch. And to think I spent £80 on a life jacket for her!

Generally, much relief that knowledge is available and willing to get us into the system up at the Scottish end of Dalriada's journey to her nominal home!

Speed bonnie boat like a bird on the wing

Some discussion on the dates for Dalriada's transportation to Scotland. Plan A - May 4th out the water - feels a bit close to the moving date proper. Plan B (under development) - the week after Easter week - would work better.

Plans are very fluid - reflects the state of life at the moment as the Gloucester end begins to be melted down and the Cowal & Bute end remains hypothetical.

For the boat, the key (we hope) is someone called 'Ron' who knows all about getting boats into the tidal Carron and up to the Falkirk Wheel basin. 'Ron's are worth their weight in gold!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010


First secondary school assembly! Even now, that my leaving has been announced (date tbc) and I am going to leave curacy behind, firsts can still appear. Not that that should be a surprise, of course.

The place: Christ College, West Cheltenham
The cast: Year 9 (just after lunch)
The subject: Talking with God

Majority show of hands and heckles that one cannot have a conversation with God. No response to their own views on where to pray.

Their response to 6 minute potted This-Is-Andrew-Swift-and-his-journey-from-there-to-here-involving-conversations-God. Not too much - as far as one could see. The seeds are scattered, the bungee-minister twangs back out of the context, probably never to return.

The staff liked the panoramic view of Dunoon and the Clyde...

Sunday, 7 March 2010

...a blog is born

It's been a couple of years since I blogged, but today seems a good day to start again.

Announcement made in Gloucester, Cowal and Bute that I will be the next priest for the charges of Holy Trinity, Dunoon, St Martin's, Tighnabruaich and St Paul's Rothesay.

We will be travelling northwards in the early summer (detailed date to be confirmed). An exciting new life awaits, with many challenges and many delights, no doubt.