Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Always get a second opinion

Yesterday, I was driving home from Colchester and I realised that my odometer wasn't working.

This morning, after Jazzercise and collecting some apples for various people from one of the congregation, I headed to the place where I brought my car and asked them to fix it for me. Initially the receptionist said that they couldn't fix it because they didn't have the right tools. I kicked up a little bit of a fuss, because I'd brought it from them, and the guy (who was in the showroom but kept well away) said that if I had any problems I should bring it back and they would fix it. I was also told that because they didn't have the right equipment I would have to go to Dunton to get it fixed. So I insisted that they should at least have a look, but they wouldn't unless I had a warranty. I said I wasn't sure if I did and the receptionist asked me to go home and check my paperwork.

(Now I realise that they took a copy of everything and could easily have checked instead of me driving two miles, urgh! I've only just started)

I do have what I thought was a warranty, but I was told that it didn't cover the problem I had. They had a mechanic look at it for me, who simply hit the top of the dashboard and the display reappeared. The problem was a bulb apparently, and yo replace it would cost money and take time. So I would have to pay for the labour, an hours work to replace a bulb at a cost of £85. I told them that I would be seeing my own mechanic to get a quote from him before I went ahead with anything.

So I headed off to Phil's at Gooseberry Green to see what they could do for me, and if what I was being told was right.

Car + regular Jo(sephine) = Always get a second opinion

Malcolm at Phil's was great, he discussed the issue with me and said that he would ring the Vauxhall help centre to get a proper idea of what needed to be done. He also said that warranty's are useless unless the car blows up whilst being carefully driven and even then the company who sell the warranty can dispute the claim. So there really is no point in having one, but chin up and he would give me a ring when he'd discussed it with the right people. He did, very promptly and explained that it was the bulbs filaments that cause the problem, a bulb is £1 and the labour for an hour is £48 (potential saving of £36). It doesn't have to be done now, so I will give them a ring when the bulb eventually dies.

Always get a second opinion.

Especially if you feel like you're being treated unfairly or being pressured into something. Especially if you know nothing about cars and don't like dealerships who try to charge you too much money.

Monday, October 26, 2009


"Default option - an option that is selected automatically unless an alternative is specified."

My default option after this weekend seems to be singing. I was with Chris on Saturday night, at a Harvest Supper in the wilds of North Essex, and found myself singing a lot of the time to the music that was playing. It seems that whilst I'm concentrating on something else, if there is music playing in the background, I will sing along to it. Of course, this is made easier by the knowledge that all the songs were really well known to me, but still, when I woke up the following morning and realised I had a sore throat, I had to think as to why that was. Strange. I sing a lot of the time. Some times are better than others, but mostly I do it for my own amusement/to worship God.

Anyway, like I said, I have spent most of my weekend with Chris and seeing family that I haven't seen for a very long time. Catching up with news is always good, it's nice to hear that things are moving on, but the way that it happens doesn't change very much...

This week is half term and I will be preparing for Christmas with my free time and preparing an essay for CCS. This will be my first attempt at writing such a think in more than three tears, so I'm a little apprehensive to say the least and I'm trying to figure out exactly how I'm going to fit it in whilst working, because the last time I had to write the only focus was the essay. So time to read up and answer the question! I'll tell you what it is when I've got some idea of where I'm going, because I haven't got the piece of paper that's got the exact title in front of me... but it's definitely something to do with the story of the Exodus and Christians today.

So here's to spending a week reading and planning!

P.S. The links are different for Chris' name because he now has a photography website and a blog!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Gathering together...

Yesterday was a busy day and started with a late arrival for me at the 8am service. I some times forget how quickly a spoken service can go, so before I knew it, it was time for breakfast and then time to start preparing for the next service.

The third Sunday of the month is always a little strange. The children are in for the whole of the service, it's shorter and more interactive. I do enjoy it a lot as I'm often at the front doing something or helping with an activity and this months service was no different!

We had Peter Hylton and his team from St Mary's take the majority of our service. They were launching Operation Christmas Child for our church, which went down really well. We had a fuller congregation that normal because we had over 50 children from the uniformed organisations join us. It was great to see so many faces and hear from people who had been out to places to give out shoe boxes. (We sang Father Abraham, which I haven't sung for ages)

After that it was time to head home for some serious rest. To watch the gymnastic world championship (well done Beth Tweddle on your gold) and the Brazilian Grand Prix.

That period of time went far too quickly and I found myself willing Jenson Button on (He won and became the 9th (?) British F1 champion) as Mum and I walked the short distance to the Catholic Church for the penultimate CTB pilgrimage service. I've never been a part of a traditional Catholic service so it immeadiately caught my attention as something that I'd like to go to.

I found it intriguing that nearly everything was sung and there was Latin as well. I missed some of the bits of the service because I was reading the Latin, but I got the gist of it and found singing Latin really easy! I would recommend going to a Catholic service if you don't attend a catholic church regularly when you're giving the opportunity. The last service is at St John's so I will hopefully be going there in November.

When I find the piece of paper I'll tell you what the service was called.

Then it was quickly home for a bite to eat and out again to see the Baptist church in action. We've joined forces to help with the leader situation and to see how our youth groups can work together. It was good fun. I was definitely ready to go to bed when I got home!

Friday, October 16, 2009

National Chocolate Week

We're coming towards the end of National Chocolate week and to celebrate I made cakes for the Shaken Up lot. So if you weren't there, or have been on my facebook recently, here is photographic evidence that they turned out really well and didn't all get gobbled up by the boys...

Decorated and tasting gorgeous. I would really recommend the recipe from Divine if you've got an afternoon to spare. They got the thumbs up from everyone at Shaken Up and my family liked them too... I've just got to see what Chris and his mum think!!

On other chocolatey matters - have you seen these

I love popping candy, I'm not so fond on Chocolate Orange and I don't know if they are fair trade but the box and the idea is just amazing!! I hope I get one of these, either for Christmas or sooner...

What!?! Why!?!

I'm sensible about my driving, I do a lot more of it than I ever imagined, so I look after my car, because if I don't it will cost me a lot of money in the future. I hope that the price of petrol will continue to fall, though I don't know that we will ever go back to the 79.9ppl!

Of course, free is the best price so I was shocked when I realised that Tesco have started charging for air! It's 20p for 5 mins. I guess air only costs when it's being pumped through a pipe... It doesn't break the bank, but it is another cost that we really don't need, and that Tesco really shouldn't be doing.

So the plan is to change my pattern ever so slightly and foot pump my way to success! I get fitter and not nearly as much money is spent!

This week has been an interesting one, I've been into school 4 times, which is a great encouragement to me. I do love that part of my job.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Giving Blood

Is a different experience every time. This time Chris and I headed to Christ Church to share the experience.

Strangely, I enjoy giving blood. I love that I can do it, and do it as regularly as possible. I have a rare blood type, so I know that it is important to give. I'm A RH Negative so I'm already in the 16% of the population that are negative.

I got in first and it took about 8 mins to fill the bag up, with some pain, but I thought I was going to be ok. Chris took about half that time and although it's never a competition, he was pleased that he was quicker than me.

I got a bruise that was quite painful. I normally don't bruise so I was a little worried, but I think it was just down to not applying pressure in the right place after the needle was pulled out.

So 17 weeks from now, I will be donating again unless I get ill...which hopefully I won't.

I'm starting to get into a routine, not all of the pieces are in place yet, but I am trying my hardest to make my week flow so that I know where I am and what I'm doing without having to think too much!

Thursday, October 08, 2009


The Course in Christian Studies is a course for those who want to find out more about Christianity. It is plugged as a discovery course, and so far so good, though the Christian element is a lot stronger than I thought it would be. (With a lot of things recently I haven't really known what I was getting myself into until the day/course/service/activity has been over with, so I find myself saying 'I don't really know what to expect' a lot!)

So when we got to talk through an actual passage like we were there, it became really interesting for me... I'm sat with a group of Christians, who know Christ personally and there's no worry about saying the 'right' thing, so the conversation is very honest. I haven't done that sort of thing for a very long time, so I listened intently and found myself as spokes person for the evening for the groups that I was involved in. The questions that the worksheet asked were really helpful for the groups, it directs the discussion, but also keeps it on track, it's intense and once you get into the stride of it, it can be really rewarding. In all my years doing a degree, I never looked a bible passage like this and I have a feeling that the New Testament module would have been sooo much more fun taught in this way!

So it is going really well, and our tutor told a story that really spoke to me about why Jesus joined us on earth, I'd never heard it before, but it is plain and makes proper sense!

"A boy decided that he was going to collect ants, and the colony grew quite large. The boy's parents decided that the ants were causing too much trouble, so they went to boil the kettle, so as to kill the ants. The boy heard their plan and ran to the ants, because he wanted them to live, he was shouting at them, telling them to run and save themselves. The ants didn't understand, they stayed in the colony and were killed by the boiling water. Of course the only way that the boy could make the ants understand him was by becoming an ant."

Really short, and if I ever get to use it at church I will embellish it to make it sound a little more dramatic! I love stories and I wish I could tell them more often. I miss working with pre-school!

There is a lot more, but maybe for another day... as the thoughts unravel I will blog and share my thoughts!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


The response from our Harvest service has been really good this year. We spent a lot of time preparing and chatting through what would go in the service.

And the congragation seemed to like seeing the young people actively involved in the service. It was wonderful to have so many young boys in church, all of whom are more than willing to be a part of the family. So it was nice to have a lot of people saying thank you and well done.

We shared lunch together - which whilst being like every other gathering we've had, was ever so slightly different, with a lot of new families joining us and different types of food on offer. We even sang happy birthday to a little girl in our congregation.

The rest of the day was spent, for me, preparing for the week ahead, thinking about communication and labyrinths, doing my reading for CCS and resting as well after a bit of a busy month.

Tonight were meeting as youth and childrens leaders to have a look at nativity and the future of the groups that we run as a church.

My count of nights out in a row continues to grow...I've not done a top up, but I know there's only one night where I was confinded to my bedroom because of the start of a cold that never really materialised (I think that's due to going to Jazzercise and drinking plenty of water, plus some paracetomol!) the rest of the time I've been working or with Chris but on balance, my days aren't too busy, so I'm resting sufficently during the day.

There are some exciting plans in the pipelines, so keep an eye out for details!

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Secret Life of Twins

I've spent a lot of my time thinking about what it means to be a twin in the last 25 years... if you hadn't cottoned on to it, or don't really know me at all Karen is my other half.

She's my best friend and although we don't live together any more, we do still have a very strong connection and quite quickly get back into being really similar when we're together.

There have been times in our lives when other people have confused us and there was one moment that I won't forget for a very long time, when my boss couldn't tell the difference between us, because apparently we sound exactly the same.

Being a twin is unique in nature, so I think that I am really lucky to be a twin, I am also intrigued by it, by what science says, by what the bible says and by what other people say about Karen and I.

So I payed close attention to The Secret Life of Twins, a BBC programme over two nights, exploring nature and nurture, and the science behind it all. Why twins exist and the sort of things they can encounter in life, from being separated at birth to spending their entire lives together doing exactly the same things. If you're interested in multiple births, its a really good programme to watch.

I certainly want to find out more about whether Karen and I are identical or fraternal and if the things we do are nature or nurture...there is a really interesting point in the first programme that suggests our choice of profession is a genetics thing... Karen and I are both youth workers, so it could well be genetics, but we came to it by different courses, so it could just be God's helping hand??

Still, intriguing for me and for those around me... it's a push in the right direction to be a member of the database and find out some scientific stuff about being a twin!!