30 April 2013

The Fourth Doctor

In 1974, Tom Baker took over the lead role in Doctor Who from Jon Pertwee.  Producer Barry Letts was convinced he was right for the part after seeing his performance in "The Golden Voyage of Sinbad". However, he was actually working on a construction site, as acting jobs were scarce at the time!

Tom starred as the Time Lord in 172 episodes over a seven-year period, from 1974 to 1981. This makes him currently the longest running on-screen 'Doctor'.Although Tom came up with many aspects of his Doctor's personality and speech, his trademark scarf for his character was created by accident. Costume designer James Acheson supplied much more wool than necessary to the knitter, Begonia Pope - she simply knitted all the wool she was given. Tom's eccentric style of dress - and his fondness for jelly babies - quickly caught the viewing public's imagination. It is Tom's version of the Doctor that is best remembered in the United States.

He was succeeded at the TARDIS helm by Peter Davison. More to follow...

29 April 2013

Problems and Opportunities

It was a particularly wet and miserable morning - and I couldn't just turn over and go back to sleep. I had to get up to go to work. I hadn't slept well the night before - too many things on my mind - and I was in pain with an annoying ailment so as a result I was feeling particularly low. There seemed to be nothing but an endless string of problems ahead of me...

In fact, I started seeing these problems in a tangible way - if you excuse the literary reference, it was just like the heads of the Hydra - cut off one, and two more would take its place.

Inspired by the way my mind was working this out, I sought suitable inspiration to combat this online - as I sat on the train to work I googled a quotation or two. And then I read this:

"Each problem has hidden in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem. The greatest success stories were created by people who recognised a problem and turned it into an opportunity."
(Joseph Sugarman)

You know, I find it hard sometimes to see the opportunity behind the problem. Sometimes I can't seem to see the wood for the trees! However, I've been trying hard this week to actively spot the opportunity in each problem I encounter.

"Tho’ we are weak, His grace is everything we need;
We’re made of clay but this treasure is within.
He turns our weaknesses into His opportunities,
So that the glory goes to Him….."

(lyrics from 'Rejoice, Rejoice' by Graham Kendrick)

25 April 2013

Faith is spelled R.I.S.K…

... and I have blogged a little bit about risk before. I have also written quite a bit on the subject of faith before.

Being a follower of Jesus takes faith - even to the extent of looking a fool. Jesus never promised His followers that everything would be “rosy”.

In fact, quite the opposite. He said:

Mark 8:34-38 (The Message)
Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for? If any of you are embarrassed over me and the way I’m leading you when you get around your fickle and unfocused friends, know that you’ll be an even greater embarrassment to the Son of Man when he arrives in all the splendour of God, his Father, with an army of the holy angels.”

We are called to live an "alternative" lifestyle. A life of sacrifice, a life of denying oneself and living the way Christ teaches us to. And that can be scary. And can makes you feel extremely vulnerable.

But it's the right way. The way to go...

13 April 2013

Let Go And Let God

As children bring their broken toys with tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God, because He was my friend.
But then, instead of leaving Him, in peace, to work alone;
I hung around and tried to help, with ways that were my own.
At last, I snatched them back and cried, "How can you be so slow?"
"My child," He said, "What could I do?
You never did let go."

Author: believed to be Lauretta P. Burns

10 April 2013

May Her Soul Rest In Peace

The news of the passing of Baroness Thatcher has filled the newspapers and news bulletins for the last 48 hours. Journalists have clearly gone overboard with their coverage. And why not? We may never see anyone quite like her again in our lifetime...

Reaction to the news amongst my friends and colleagues has been ... mixed. There have been some quite nasty comments made, a couple of tender tributes. However I could have easily predicted who would say what.

What do I think? Firstly, I note that compassion for the family and friends of Margaret seems sorely lacking. Surely it would not hurt to mourn for just a little while?

Secondly, I recognise the passing of a great leader. I think she would have had the toughest job in the entire world at that time. I don't agree with her politics and some of the decisions that she made but I covet her drive and ability to handle tough situations.

I can't help but dwell for a while to consider the 'real Margaret'. The one behind the Iron Lady image, so carefully crafted to portray her to the world as a formidable leader and statesman. The wife and mother that was present behind the persona of Britain's first female prime minister. The one who cried over some of the decisions she had to make.

1 April 2013


“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
(quote from C.S. Lewis, "The Four Loves")

Something that I was reminded about over this Easter weekend. I've just downloaded the book to read this week.