Friday 6 April 2018. The first grass cutting of the year - despite the cold Spring, this is about the usual time to get out the Flymo.
Friday 30 March 3018. At last
nigra has flowered,
albeit sparsely thanks to a
pair of hungry bullfinches -
this is the latest date ever
for our tree. Could that
be because of global cooling?
Wednesday 21 March 2018. Collected a Renault Megane
replacement key for the
one we lost somewhere, sometime. It cost an
eye-watering £217.83 - that won't happen
Tuesday 20 March 2018. The
Spring equinox, when the
length of day and
night are equal, and
it's goodbye to winter and
hello to spring. It was
here this morning, but that is
Monday 5 March 2018. Our way out, the
A44 between Aberystwyth and
Llangurig, has been impassable
for the last four days - the
snow drifts were cleared last
night. We've returned to
2018. Today I have painted the top of my desk with floor paint
2018. The Big
Clearance begins - long overdue,
we have bitten the bullet by
sorting, saving or shedding 40
years of household 'stuff'
including toys, clothes,
electronics and pure junk, even
my fishing rod and reel that I
bought when I was ten years old.
happy New Year
to all my (few
My cold is
sun is out and
a pheasant has
up our garden
- a happy New
Monday 25 December 2017. Oh no, not again! I have started a cold on Christmas Day. This time, despite the malady, we have eaten well, with thankfulness.
2017. Wendy's big
Christmas present arrives - a tumble
dryer. Our house is now looking
even more like a Bosch showroom with
five such big German appliances in the
garage and three in the kitchen. Bitte schön.
Wednesday 6 December
men from Carpetright came and laid vast expanses of
beige carpet throughout about half of the house.
It looks gorgeous. But now it’s shoes off at the
front door and all eats/drinks in the dining room -
well, for a couple of months.
Monday 20 November 2017. Mr
Oil came early this morning. 1,500 litres for
£691.43 - considerably more than last time, but that was
21 months ago. We're now dreaming of a warm, white
Wednesday 8 November
frost of the autumn/winter. It was -1.0ºC
this morning, but wonderfully sunny. The
long-range forecast is for an Arctic winter.
Wednesday 4 October 2017. 'The length of our
days is seventy years ...' (Psalm 90:10). Yes indeed,
today mine are. And I am
both content and thankful.
Wednesday 20 September 2107. After 13 years, my last day sitting on the magistrates'
bench. As everyone knows, those approaching 70 are
quite incapable of making sound judgements.
Tuesday 19 September 2017.
After CT scans, multiple tests and numerous
examinations, Wendy was discharged from Bronglais
Hospital. She is OK, dog-tired, but cheerful. The
headaches and aphasia continue but the former are
readily controllable (paracetamol) and the latter is
Friday 15 September 2017. Yesterday, while I
was lecturing at the Wilberforce Academy, Cambridge, Wendy
had a sudden headache and lost her speech and
comprehension. When we arrived back at Aberystwyth we
went straight to A&E and the diagnosis was an aneurysm
in an artery of her brain.
Monday 21 August 2017. An unusual purchase today - a bath and
taps. Yes, that old cast-iron bath is finally
going to be replaced by a sleek Carronite model with
smart Bristan taps and a cute pop-up waste.
Friday 11 August 2017. Just back from a jolly week with the family (8 adults and 8 children) at a farm cottage (sleeps 22) in the Brecon Beacons. The area, quite unknown to us, is scenically beautiful.
Tuesday 1 August 2017. Ordered a new carpet for the hall, lounge,
landings and stairs. It will be fitted in October,
after the bathroom has been renovated. Is there no end
to home improvements?
Saturday 29 July 2017. Exactly 45 years ago we were married. We celebrated in the Crickhowell area by climbing Table Mountain and staying at the Gliffaes Country House Hotel - wonderful grounds, decent food.
Friday 14 July 2017. Sent off my driving licence application
form (confusing and ambiguous) for the over-70s together
with my old green licence (issued in 1977) and a truly awful
Saturday 1 July 2017. The
pictures have been rehung, the doors have handles again, the
sockets and light switches are back on the walls and two new
smoke alarms have been installed. Now onto the lounge!
Monday 26 June 2017. Ah,
the joys of home decorating. The repairing and preparing
and painting of just the hall and two landings have taken 3
weeks - those architraves, window frames, balustrades, skirting
and ten doors. Soon be over!
Friday 9 June 2017. At long last we have a replacement for our written-off Clio. It's another Clio, same shape, same colour, just with more updated gismos. The registration is CV10 NLC to be remembered as Naomi Likes Cake.
Monday 5 June 2017. To London, despite the
terrorist attack on London Bridge two days
ago. Now a subdued city. A National
Gallery tour with Gayna Pelham - the best so
far. Dinner at Clos Maggiore (advertised
as the most romantic restaurant in London) - one
of the best so far.
Thursday 1 June 2017.
start of Summer. Today we joined the 21st
century and installed a dishwasher. I have
mixed feelings - I shall miss the nightly
post-dinner tryst with my wife as she washed and
I dried and put away!
Wednesday 24 May 2017. Ran to Jones' drive and back in 25 minutes and 15 seconds - a new target to beat. I've not run this route for 7 whole months and now I'm just 7 seconds slower.
Wednesday 17 May 2017.
Back to my
young ways - twice round the village in 11
minutes 56 seconds, a BMI of 21.98 and a weight
of 11 stone 3 pounds. Some times I feel
like Benjamin Button.
Saturday 22 April
first run since 22 December, 4 months ago.
Once round the village in 6 minutes and 5
seconds - very pleased with that as a decent
baseline on which to improve.
Saturday 15 April 2017. My Easter present, a Flymo hover lawnmower - a replacement for a 17-year-old model which 'died' last week. I really wanted a ride-on mower - maybe next time!
Monday 3 April 2017. To London - Apollon Musagète
Quartet (Haydn and Arensky) lunchtime concert at
the Wigmore Hall - wonderful. Three seats
along was a student I taught at University 30
years ago. Then to Tate Britain for the David
Hockney exhibition - mixed. Finally
to Pollen Street Social for dinner - superb and
Monday 20 March 2017. Our very useful Renault Clio was written off today - a young driver rammed me nearside at an Aberystwyth roundabout. Thankfully no-one was injured, but it was not the jolly First Day of Spring I had hoped for.
Thursday 16 March
musical evening with the National Orchestra of
Wales and Simone Lamsma playing Mendelssohn's
violin concerto in E minor - superb.
Wednesday 15 March 2017. A spring day - I mowed the grass for the first time this year.
Saturday 11 March
2017. After a three-month break due to
illness, I'm back swimming on Saturday mornings - a
cautious 10 lengths for starters.
Wednesday 1 February 2017. The Prunus nigra flowered - neither early nor late. Perhaps global warming is neither here nor there.
Tuesday 17 January
from JustGiving, 'John, you were in the top 5%
of fundraisers for 2016. Well done on
raising so much for your cause.'
Monday 9 January 2017.
emerging from a two-week humongous cold having
sampled the full pharmaceutical panoply,
including three mega-doses of antibiotics.
Sunday 25 December
2016. A not so merry Christmas.
The Queen missed the Christmas day church
service, and so did we. We’ve both had
shocking colds. We managed scrambled eggs
for lunch and a Waitrose curry for dinner.
So we have postponed Christmas Day until at
least tomorrow. And we haven’t opened a
single present yet.
Tuesday 20 December 2016. I gave evidence at the coroner's inquest into the death by drowning of William Davies - see entry for 31 August 2016. It was a moving hour with tears. The verdict - death by misadventure.
Friday 18 November 2016.
This is the first
anniversary of my running training - who'd have
thought? Today, twice round the village in 12
minutes 1 second. Twelve months ago, I did once
round the village in 8 minutes. That's progress!
Thurdsay 17 November 2016. A 94-mile-an-hour storm hit Aberystwyth this morning. I was in court (on a 2-day trial) by the marina and saw/felt the full force. This evening, a National Orchestra of Wales concert - Die Fledermaus Overture, Elgar's Cello Concerto (Leonard Elschenbrioch, soloist) and Brahms' Symphony No. 4. A very mixed day.
Monday 31 October 2016. I've never caught anything by beach
fishing - until today. This afternoon I hooked three
dabs at Borth - just as the sun set. Beautiful.
Wednesday 26 October 2016. First frost of the winter - down to -1.5ºC so I had to scrape the
Monday 24 October 2016. Today I learned that my Bioethical
Issues in now available as an ebook - https://www.dayone.co.uk/collections/ebooks-2/products/bioethical-issues-ebook
Tuesday 18 October 2016. The tree surgeons - Joe, Stuart and Tristan from Arbcore - came to chop and trim several of our 30+ year-old trees, front and back. Not the cheapest, but (apparently) the best.
Monday 10 October 2016. Affinity
meeting in London followed by You Say You Want a
Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970
exhibition at the V&A and dinner at the Ritz.
Tuesday 27 September 2016. Wendy and I attended Uncle Jack's funeral
in Long Buckby, Northamptonshire. About 280 people
were present. I read Psalm 23.
Thursday 22 September 2016. It was exactly 40 years ago today, 22
September 1976, that we moved to Aberystwyth - how times
flies! It was a Wednesday. And then it rained
for a month.
Monday 12 September 2016.
My favourite (and only) uncle, Uncle Jack died peacefully in
his sleep this morning at 10.20. He had cancer. We
visited him at Northampton General Hospital last Monday.
Wednesday 31 August 2016. This morning, I spotted a powerboat circling wildly about 500m offshore. I thought the crew had been thrown overboard. I raised the alarm with the harbour-master. The RNLI launched and recovered two men from the sea. Sadly, one of them died. The RNLI said that I saved one life - I wish it could have been two. This episode has had a sobering eff dire. We caught just six mackerel, but the sunrise was glorious. On raising the outboard back in the harbour, the tilt mechanism died. Lazy Lady is now due for a major operation at a nearby marine engineers and it's probably a premature end to our fishing season this year.
Monday 1 August 2016. Back
from a couple
of days of
eating in the
became a bona
today – happy birthday, Esther!
Thursday 28 July 2016. Most, if not all, of the sponsorship money for my Wolf Run is now in. It reads like this: online donations, £1,359.30 + Gift Aid, £224 + offline, £105.00 = a grand total of £1,688.30. I always hoped I could raise £1,500 so I'm delighted. And thank you again you generous donors. And remember, it's never too late to add to the pot!
Monday 25 July 2016. Picked all the cherries - hardly a bowlful, the poorest crop ever. Most had rotted on the tree because of the wet, wet June.
Friday 22 July 2016. We went fishing early this morning for the first time this season. It was slow going, but we managed to land seventeen of the mackerel beauties. Guess what we’ve got for dinner tonight?
Wednesday 20 July 2016. Put
just as we
Plop! as I
the harbour -
later at low
Tuesday 5 July 2016.
A nice email message today, 'Your
JustGiving page was one of the most successful of
June. Out of 67,626 fundraisers, you were in the top
Monday 4 July 2016. First training since the Wolf Run, about 23 days ago. The severe contusion and 'the mother of all bruises' on my left thigh have subsided. Once cautiously round the village in 5 minutes 50 seconds - I'm pleased with that.
Friday 1 July 2016. While
at the Royal
Belgium 3-1 in
the Euros 2016
Friday 24 June 2016. The
been counted –
the UK is to
From now on,
23 June is the
Monday 18 June 2016. Yet
and the Arts
Scott's - we
Saturday 11 June 2016. The Wolf Run
- did I finish
YES, of course
It was tough,
seen so much
and read all
about it here
Wednesday 8 June 2016. My last training session before the Wolf Run.
the village in
with that -
the foot is
Now two days
of rest before
the big event.
Thursday 26 May 2016. My first tentative run for 17 days. Once around the village in 6 minutes, fifty-six seconds. My ankle held up - I am delighted (and relieved).
Monday 23 May 2016. Another cultural day in London
- Pekka Kuusisto (violin) and Nicolas Altstaedt
(cello) at the BBC3 lunchtime concert at the
a guided tour
dinner at Quo
Sunday 22 May 2016. The Golden Anniversary of my baptism. See the address I gave at Carey Baptist Church, Reading, here.
Wednesday 18 May 2016. In the last three days I've had
an x-ray and
damage to my
left foot is
but it is
23 days to the
Saturday 14 May 2016.
the last four
days, even as
early as 07.15
It's been fun
11 May 2016. In the last
two days I have seen my own
GP as well as an A&E nurse
and consultant. None of them
thinks my foot problem is a stress
fracture. They have prescribed
rest, gentle exercise and
analgesics. I am frustrated.
Monday 2 May 2016. A standard training run around the village ended up with bad, bad pain in my left foot. Oh dear, is this the beginning of something serious?
Monday 11 April 2016. A busy day in London. BBC3 lunchtime concert by I Fagiolini at the Wigmore Hall, the Delacroix and the Rise of Modern Art exhibition at the National Gallery and dinner at Koffman's restaurant at The Berkeley.
25 March 2016. Another
barrier has been broken –
this time the
30-minute trail at Nant yr
Arian. My time was 29 minutes,
Wednesday 23 March
life has changed. The Exchange Store has
re-opened, after 20 years, in Capel Bangor ... and
it takes the vouchers for The Times
newspaper. No longer will I have to drive 8
miles every day into Llanbadarn Fawr to collect my
copy, from now on it's a brisk 250m walk.
Monday 21 March 2016.
That 12-minute barrier has been
twice round the village in 11 minutes, 42 seconds.
Thursday 17 March
2016. Went for another 5km run on the Nant yr Arian trail –
this time I followed the correct route. Time –
30 minutes, 34 seconds.
Friday 11 March 2016. Somewhat inadvertently I've downloaded Windows 10 onto my PC. Seems OK, so far. A couple of glitches, easily fixed. Postscript: loading Windows 10 onto my netbook was an entirely different experience. The Uni Help-desk team tried and failed. The problem is the machine's small memory because 10 needs about 13.5GB of space to download. Anyway, eventually, and surprisingly, the Knowhow boys at Currys did it for a mere £20.
Thursday 10 March 2016. Went for my first 5km run on the Nant yr Arian trail – gorgeous day, beautiful scenery, soft, muddy running surface, but with some killer slopes. Time – 26 minutes, 41 seconds. Postscript: in my enthusiasm (and ignorance), I missed some of the route direction markers, so this was a truncated run.
Monday 7 March 2016. It is exactly two years since my Bioethical Issues - Understanding and Responding to the Culture of Death was published. Thankfully, I don't have to live off its royalties.Thursday 3 March 2016. The day to increase my training run to 10km (six miles), the distance of the forthcoming Wolf Run. I had hoped to run it in less than 60 minutes – I did it in 55 minutes, 54 seconds. It’s a new landmark for me.
24 February 2016. The oilman delivered a bargain fill up -
£401.63 for 1,500 litres. That's over £335 cheaper
than last time, 16 months ago.
Thursday 11 February 2016. Twice round the village in 12 minutes, 29 seconds - my fastest ever and my hip is much improved.
Thursday 14 January 2016. The Prunus nigra flowered - is this the earliest ever? It must be a benefit of global warming.
13 January 2016. As the Beatles sang, 'It's getting better all the
time.' Once round the village now in under
6 minutes, in fact, in 5 minutes, 48
Saturday 9 January 2016. A week of interval training - 10 x 90m sprinting followed by 10 x 90m jogging, plus a 5-minute starting and 3-minute ending of jogging. Today was my best time, 19 minutes 45 seconds.
1 January 2016. I
celebrated the New Year by running my new 3-mile
training route in 26 minutes 21 seconds. That's
just less than 9 minutes per mile - not bad for an
Friday 10 April 2015. After a long break, and a switch to another server (123-reg), and a nightmare of computer-upgrading problems, my website is again active, sort of.
Thursday 19 March 2015. A day of computer hardware upgrades. Bought a new Acer PC, a new Asus netbook and a new Netgear router. And moved from Windows XP to 8.1, from Office 2003 to 2013 and from IE7 to Chrome. Was I not asking for trouble?
Monday 2 March 2015. The Prunus nigra flowered - quite late this year.
Saturday 21 February 2015. A whooping 5.7m high tide at Aberystwyth - the highest for many years.
Tuesday 24 February 2015. The vote on 'three-parent' IVF in the House of Lords is lost by 280 votes to 48. Horrible!
Monday 23 February 2015. Sex-selection abortion vote in the House of Commons lost by 292 to 201. Incredible!
Monday 9 February 2015. To London for an Affinity meeting and the Rubens and His Legacy exhibition at the RA, followed by dinner at Wilton's with one of my PhD students, who I'd not seen for 30 years.
Tuesday 3 February 2015. The vote on 'three-parent' IVF in the House of Commons is lost by 382 votes to 128.
Wednesday 7 January 2015. A belated but happy New Year to all my readers!
Monday 24 November 2014. The first frost of the winter, down to 0ºC. That will knock the remaining leaves off the trees.
Friday 7 November 2014. A mixed day. It started with 50 minutes in the dentist's chair having root canal work. Then followed a mammoth watching of the Committee Stage of the Assisted Dying Bill from the House of Lords on the internet.
Thursday 6 November 2014. The Worcester Bosch man came to service the boiler. He spent about 1.5 hours here and replaced parts worth £173. That's not bad for a service contract price of £204. Incidentally, the boiler was measured to be 91.6% efficient.
Tuesday 28 October 2014. The oilman delivered another 1,500 litres this morning. It cost only(?) £737.88 which is more than £200 cheaper than the last delivery 20 months ago.
Wednesday 2 October 2014. Back from Poland - 16 addresses on bioethical issues in 9 days and two days relaxing in Krakow. Wonderful.
Wednesday 10 September 2014. Took Lazy Lady off her moorings. It's been the most miserable summer fishing ever - just 14 fish from 5 trips.
Friday 8 August 2014. Up at 04.30 this morning to catch the 06.30 tide to launch Lazy Lady. All went well. And we did go fishing this evening - and caught enough mackerel for three meals. It was a gorgeous, balmy evening in Cardigan Bay. Pity the forecast for the next 10 days is so poor.
Saturday 2 August 2014. The Big Kitchen Project is finally finished, after just 10 weeks. Hooray!
Friday 1 August 2104. Goodbye Black Clio, hello Stone Clio. Our 15-year-old Clio was creaking a bit. Its replacement is a Clio Dynamique 1.2 TCE 100 BHP, 5 DR. Nice!
Friday 13 June 2014. The Big Kitchen Project has ground to a temporary halt - too many other calls on my time. But all this physical work has meant that my weight has dropped to 11 stone and my BMI is a mere 21.6 - that is about a 20-year low.
Friday 6 June 2014. Of course the Big Kitchen Project is going slowly - what else would you expect?
Monday 19 May 2014. This is big - we are replacing the 35+ year-old kitchen. So far the ripping out is going well.
Saturday 17 May 2014. For the first time in 30+ years the dining room is silent - no hum of the air pumps, no bubbling of the water in the aquarium. The pet fish have found a new home.
Tuesday 8 April 2014. Oh dear, today Microsoft pulls the plug and ends technical support and security updates on its Windows XP. What to do? I need to chat with a geek. On a cheerier note, today I finished The Times Quick Cryptic crossword for the first time. Am I getting more eccentric?
Tuesday 11 March 2014. Today we said goodbye to our 10-year-old faithful friend, the Laguna, and hello to a rather brash upstart, the Mégane. It was quite a sad farewell. The Laguna had history - several weddings, a few funerals, myriad other events and over 77,000 miles on the clock. The Mégane has done just 17 miles and has an instruction pack as thick as a Bible with a 12-page section just on 'Opening and Closing the Doors'. How will we cope? We shall try.
Friday 7 March 2014. Over 100 copies of Bioethical Issues - Understanding and Responding to the Culture of Death arrive by courier - good, at last, to see them.
Monday 3 March 2014. Today I bought a new car - an event that occurs only about every 10 years. It is a black Renault Mégane Dynamique TomTom dCi 110 S&S. It is meant to do something like 80 mpg. I am not overly excited!
Thursday 20 February 2014. Another Red-Letter Day - Bioethical Issues goes to the printers.
Thursday 13 February 2014. Violent storms and hurricane force winds all day yesterday. Late this evening our electricity supply was restored after a 30-hour outage. The first day without power is fun, like camping. The second day that fun evaporates rapidly.
Wednesday 12 February 2014. That harbinger of spring, the Prunus nigra tree has begun to flower.
Wednesday 1 January 2014. A happy New Year to all my readers! This is another Red-Letter Day - I've just sent off the updated manuscript of Bioethical Issues - Understanding and Responding to the Culture of Death.
Thursday 21 November 2013. This is like a belated catch-up. What happened to October? Today our first Christmas card arrived. A few days ago the first copies of Când începe viaţa umană?, the Romanian version of my When Does Human Life Begin?, arrived. And last night the temperature dipped to below zero, confirming that winter has arrived.
Friday 20 September 2013. Lazy Lady is now in the back garden after a good fishing season - 233 fish caught in 14 trips.
Wednesday 14 August 2013. With regard to my entry on 1 January 2013, after just 7 months of operation, my sample of 'the world's toughest shredder' has broken. I collected its replacement this morning. I suppose Fellowes' boast still holds if other makes bust after about six months.
Tuesday 6 August 2013. In 15 years of boating, we have never been out fishing on the two tides in one day, until today, on the 0838 and 2048 high tides. We caught a total of 29 fish and the sunset was glorious.
Wednesday 23 July 2013. Put Lazy Lady on her moorings yesterday. Went out fishing early this morning - gorgeous sea and sun. Caught 18 mackerel and had some for dinner with home-grown potatoes and mange tout, followed by cherries from our tree - we're sort of self-sufficient (for a day).
Monday 10 June 2013. Back from 10 days in Poland, flying to Łodź, speaking at the Together for the Gospel Conference in Spała, preaching in Piątków, travelling to Żywiec, visiting Auschwitz and Birkenau, sightseeing in Warsaw. Fascinating, educational and productive.
Friday 17 May 2013. At 08.03, Caleb Zephaniah Ryman was born in the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading to Anna and Christopher - a brother for Mia and Joshua. He weighed 9lb 2oz with strawberry blond hair. All are well - Deo gratias!
Wednesday 1 May 2013. It's May Day and for me it's a Red-Letter Day - today, at last, I finished writing my book, Bioethical Issues - Understanding and Responding to the Culture of Death. Whatever can I find to do tomorrow?
Monday 8 April 2013. Spring is late this year - only just planted Swift early potatoes in containers today, a month later than last year.
Sunday 10 February 2013. The Prunus nigra flowered.
Thursday 31 January 2013. The oilman delivered 1,500 litres this morning - I am now £944.21 poorer.
Tuesday 22 January 2013. The phone rang mid-day. It was the garage - I'd taken our 14-year-old Clio there earlier for its annual MoT. Last year it cost me £434, so I answered the phone, 'Oh dear, this is going to be expensive!' 'No', came the reply, 'Your car has passed and ready for collection.' This year it cost just £54.85.
Tuesday 1 January 2013. I always like to start the New Year with a good spend. The post-Christmas days were taken up, as usual, shredding the previous 12 month's paperwork, receipts, letters, etc. The Lidl's shredder - the third free replacement in four years - could not cope and came to a grinding halt. So, today I purchased a Fellowes P-48C and so far it's going well. The makers advertise their products as 'The World's Toughest Shredders' - that's a boast I look forward to testing.
Friday 30 November 2012. A few copies of Kiedy zaczyna się ludzkie życie? arrived in the post - I don't understand a word.
Thursday 29 November 2012. Three days, three examinations. Teeth, car and boiler - all passed with flying colours.
Monday 5 November 2012. Received the first payment of my State pension - now I feel like a proper pensioner.
Thursday 4 October 2012. We are a pensioner - 65 today! I am now officially an old-age pensioner, though I don't get my State pension paid until November, one month in arrears.
Saturday 22 September 2012. Kiedy zaczyna się ludzkie życie? This is my When Does Human Life Begin? translated into Polish - the proofs arrived last night attached to an e-mail. Three 'z's and one 'ż' in the title - pretty impressive, eh?
Monday 3 September 2012. Just a month after launching, Lazy Lady is back in the back garden. A very short, but successful season - only six trips out, but 149 fish caught.
Saturday 4 August 2012. First time out fishing this morning and 21 lovelies caught in just an hour. We raced a storm back to harbour. Mackerel for lunch and dinner today, and lunch tomorrow. Yum, yum.
Thursday 2 August 2012. Put Lazy Lady on her moorings this morning - about a month later than normal because of adverse weather. Oh, for some sunny, calm days, then it will be fish for lunch and dinner.
Sunday 29 July 2012. It was 40 years ago today.... we got married on a sunny day in Abingdon. Who would have thought that the pretty, young thing would still be my sweet wife? See here. Today, I shall wear the very same tie to church!
Tuesday 17 July 2012. The penultimate computer crisis - upsetting my mug of hot chocolate over my keyboard! How many times have I told you not to drink and type at the same time! The ultimate crisis, of course, is losing files. Anyway, a quick dash to the sink and a spray with water onto the inverted keyboard, plus some judicious drying, seems to have done the trick. Actually, the keys now feel more solid, and they are certainly cleaner.
Monday 16 July 2012. It's mid-day in mid-July and I have just switched on the central heating. Weird or what? It's just 15ºC outside, windy and pouring with raining. The summer Olympics start in 11 days.
Saturday 9 June 2012. We had over 5 inches (125 mm) of rain in about 36 hours and floods like nobody can remember. Capel Bangor became a news media hub for the day. We were fine, high and dry, but several nearby homes were deluged.
Tuesday 29 May 2012. Spent an hour this morning with our MP, Mark Williams, discussing, at his request, the government's intention to redefine marriage. He is uneasy about the proposal and I think I made him even more perturbed by its potential ramifications.
Monday 28 May 2012. Down to the promenade at 07.30 to see the Olympic Torch leave Aberystwyth. Quite exciting!
Wednesday 9 May 2012. Some 20 years ago, Auntie Marguerite gave us one of her glass paperweights - it's been stuck on a shelf ever since. Today I picked it up, turned it over and discovered (with a little help from Google) that it is a Moineau Timide by René Lalique, the great Art Deco glassmaker, who personally signed each one. Today I cleaned it!
Friday 27 April 2012. Today is the 44th anniversary of the implementation of the Abortion Act 1967. The Act received the Royal Assent on 27 October 1967 and then, six months later, on 27 April 1968, the killing started. And now, a total of some 8 million and 200,000 abortions each year, we are still putting to death our unborn offspring. How could we have ever let such a practice start, and then continue for so long? Shame on us all!
Saturday 31 March 2012. A Red-Letter Day - after 35.5 years of working at Aberystwyth University, I have finally and officially retired. I am a free man (sort of). I am reminded that the job was first advertised on April Fool's Day 1976! Today I got my P45 in the post.
Tuesday 6 March 2012. Mowed the lawn for the first time this year and planted Swift seed potatoes in two containers.
Saturday 18 February 2012. That bell-wether of spring, the Prunus nigra tree has begun to flower.
Wednesday 15 February 2012. Divided three overgrown rhubarb plants into twelve - we love the stuff.
Monday 13 February 2012. To the David Hockney RA - A Bigger Picture exhibition at the Royal Academy. The colours were at times outrageously vivid, but his genuine enjoyment of his native and childhood Yorkshire countryside, through the seasons of the year, was all too evident. And his innovative uses of an iPad plus some multi-screen filming were fascinating. Ah, the beauty of creation.
Sunday 1 January 2012. Happy New Year to all readers - at least those dependent on the Gregorian calendar. If you use the Julian, Hebrew, Chinese or any other calendar, the sentiment is still the same.
Monday 19 December 2011. Today I sent my formal letter of resignation to the University. I've been on the payroll for 35 years. I asked that if I'm entitled to a clock, may I have one without a tick and a tock!
Tuesday 6 December 2011. At 02.07 Gwen Sophia Ling, our sixth granddaughter, was born in Carmarthen Hospital. She came a bit early, at 34 weeks, and weighed just 4lb 8oz. Glenda and baby are well, Ben, the father, is still in shock.
Friday 25 November 2011. IT disasters. The University moved to the Exchange e-mail system this week, so I had to too. After ages attempting to set up, three phone calls and an hour actually with the IT boys, I'm almost there - netbook OK, PC not yet. This week, hate it - next week, love it (maybe).
Monday 7 November 2011. The first frost of the winter - it was -2ºC here this morning.
Thursday 27 October 2011. The oilman cameth - he's not been for 21 months. He left 1500 litres, a bill for £896.18, but also the prospect of a warm winter.
Saturday 1 October 2011. We celebrated Mum's 90th birthday with a family lunch at the Mill House, Swallowfield - 41 adults and 14 children present. Read my little tribute to her here.
Friday 23 September 2011. Walked around the Cardiff Bay area including the Welsh Assembly Government building (used only three afternoons each week!). Then on to Swansea, where Wendy had a troublesome wisdom tooth removed - ouch!
Thursday 22 September 2011. A notable day: deposited my 11+ exam bike (a wonderful Dawes Double Blue from 1958) at Cyclemart in Cilcennin (better than dumping it in a skip), lunched at Culinaria in Bristol (my favourite restaurant), saw Joshua for the first time (though he could not be bothered to open his eyes) and stayed overnight in Cardiff.
Thursday 15 September 2011. Lazy Lady has left her moorings and is back in our garden - the weather forecast for the next few weeks is miserable so we decided that, after 22 trips made and 142 fish caught, it was time to call an end to the season.
Monday 12 September 2011. At 4.24am, Joshua Joseph Ryman was born to Anna and Christopher in Bristol - a brother to Mia. He weighed a healthy 9lb. 6oz. Our first grandson, to complement our five granddaughters.
Monday 5 September 2011. Are you bugged by unsolicited phone calls trying to trick you into applying for home insulation grants, etc? We are - sometimes, two or three times a day. Today I have logged onto BT's Choose to Refuse service - it's free for a month. Is it effective? A month's time will tell.
Thursday 1 September 2011. A piscatory bonanza to start the month - two dozen mackerel caught on a sunny autumn morning. And have you tried a mackerel-in-a-bun, à la Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, for lunch? You should.
Monday 22 August 2011. Autumn is coming - I know because the grass is still moist before mowing, the early potatoes are over and the leaves of the cherry tree are beginning to fall. But the autumn-fruiting raspberries are ready to pick, the runner beans are in full swing and we are catching mackerel twice a week. It's swings and roundabouts.
Thursday 14 July 2011. Yesterday to Birmingham, this morning to Leamington Spa for a sub-committee meeting of LIFE trustees, this evening to Stratford-upon-Avon to see The City Madam at the Swan Theatre - wonderful, superb.
Saturday 2 July 2011. The boat moored in the harbour yesterday, fishing today - five mackerel - fish BBQ with new potatoes, broccoli and gooseberry sauce tonight.
Monday 6 June 2011. Copies of my new 45-page booklet arrive. The title plus strap line is, When does human life begin? Christian thinking and contemporary opposition.
Saturday 21 May 2011. The proofs of my booklet, When Does Human Life Begin? arrives from the Christian Institute. Coming to a bookshop, church or meeting near you, soon.
Monday 9 May 2011. Bean poles up and runner bean plants in - much earlier than usual.
Wednesday 6 April 2011. Just back from a five-day, anti-euthanasia speaking tour of the Isle of Man - read all about it here.
Wednesday 23 March 2011. Planted Accord potatoes in the ground and in a container - the latter should be ready to eat in 65 days. Also did some seriously harsh pruning here and there. A gorgeous, sunny day hitting about 20ºC.
Thursday 10 March 2011. Just like last year our Prunus nigra tree has flowered in March instead of the usual January - cold winters really do delay the flora. Even so, I have just cut the grass for the first time this year.
Tuesday 1 March 2011. Happy St David's Day to all our exiled family and friends: some suitable music here.
Monday 14 February 2011. Good result in the abortion pill case - the bpas challenge was dismissed by the judge. Attended the Affinity Social Issues Team meeting. Dinner with my Valentine at the Gay Hussar, London's iconic Hungarian restaurant.
Tuesday 11 January 2011. A wonderful day of writing yesterday - 1,000 words that made good sense. Then at 21.21, I lost the lot, gone for ever. So I stayed up until midnight rewriting while the stuff was still warm in my mind. The moral - back up frequently!
Thursday 6 January 2011. Just back from the Carey Conference at The Hayes, Swanwick. What a fine Conference - I was bored only twice! The main speaker, Bruce Ware (never heard of him before) was nicely mind-stretching. I understand the 'one person, two natures' of Christ so much better now. My session went well as judged by Wendy, comments/questions and book sales.
Tuesday 21 December 2010. The shortest day - summer is coming, even though last night it was -11.5ºC. Went Christmas food shopping yesterday - the check-out girl said she had already checked two trolleys worth over £300 - is there really a recession on? Ours was hardly £80.
Saturday 27 November 2010. Yesterday we has a good couple of inches of the white stuff. Ben and Glenda (and Tiana) moved house in the morning only to find that the removal lorry got stuck at the bottom of a steep and snowy hill. So they did B & B and EM with us. This morning the roads are clearer, their heating is on, so they should be installed by sunset.
Monday 25 October 2010. The Best Buy of the Year. I have amphibious circulation and hence constant cold feet, especially when sitting hour after hour reading or writing. Today I bought an electric foot warmer from Lidl for just £12.99. I am like a new man - mild and temperate!
Monday 18 October 2010. Just back from the 40th LIFE National Conference in Warwick. My PowerPoint presentation (The Truth About Stem Cell Technology) went well. Sold more of my books than at any other meeting. Such extensive and intensive listening, talking and driving take their toll on the elderly. But recovery is imminent.
Saturday 9 October 2010. It's official - autumn has arrived. I know because today I've taken down the runner bean canes, pulled up the tomato and courgette plants and winterized Lazy Lady's main and auxiliary outboard engines.
Wednesday 29 September 2010. Back from a two-week holiday in foodie Lyon and sunny Marseille. It rained (of course) as we approached Aberystwyth and the temperature was 11ºC - about half that which we had enjoyed in France. While there I read Peter Mayle's classic, A Year in Provence. My French has improved a little but my Gallic shrug is coming on nicely.
Thursday 9 September 2010. Brought Lazy Lady home. Not a great fishing season - there were five weeks around August when the winds and tides made it impossible to go out. But we did have some gorgeous omega 3-rich fish and there are still some in the freezer.
Friday 27 August 2010. Another first. This morning I went out in Lazy Lady on my very own - Wendy was busy elsewhere. And I didn't fall in, or have a heart attack, but I did catch enough fish for dinner for four.
Thursday 19 August 2010. There are few activities more satisfying than a job well done. And there are few activities more satisfying than plumbing - unlike electrical work, plumbing's errors are usually no more than a few drips rather than sparks, blown fuses or imminent death. So today I satisfactorily replaced a faulty radiator, and I am well satisfied.
Thursday 29 July 2010. Today is our 38th wedding anniversary - we had a long lunch at a local restaurant.
Tuesday 27 July 2010. After renovating the iroko patio table and building a 30-foot long paling fence, I am now clearing out and cleaning up my shed - apparently, sheds have become de rigueur as the last refuge of the married man. Anyway, my shed now has a stool, a 2 x 7 foot table, loads of shelves and drawers and a radio - sadly, I can't get a wi-fi connection to my netbook there!
Tuesday 6 July 2010. Went fishing this afternoon. When we left the harbour there was a nice southerly breeze - within ten minutes it was blowing a force 5 with waves to match. We came back in. Ah, the cruel sea - respect!
Friday 18 June 2010. So, I bought a bottle of Crabbie's original ginger beer and a tin of cashew nuts (roasted and salted) and prepared to watch the revitalised England team walk all over Algeria. The pundits said 3 - 0. I was ready for a great match. After a while I read the paper, did the crossword and got some online quotations for house insurance. I've seen more exciting games when my boys played for their primary school.
Wednesday 16 June 2010. Gotcha! Eleven mackerel and one gurnard. Not a bad start to the season.
Tuesday 15 June 2010. She's in! We launched Lazy Lady this morning. Now for some good weather to go fish hunting.
Monday 7 June 2010. New picture of me on the front page. I'm speaking at the Carey Conference in January 2011 and they wanted a picture for publicity, so on the principle of duo-utility, there it is, taken yesterday.
Wednesday 5 May 2010. Quite a shock today - Day One, the publisher of my book, Responding to the Culture of Death - A Primer of Bioethical Issues, tells me that it has sold out, none left, out of stock. I have just 25 copies remaining - I sold 10 yesterday. Is a revised and updated reprint on the way? We are about to enter into discussion.
Monday 3 May 2010. Simeon, our eldest, is 35 years old today - half way through his 'threescore and ten'. How do you think that makes me feel?
Tuesday 20 April 2010. Suddenly, because of the recent tragedy in Poland, the number of hits of my Polish talk entitled, 'Jak dobrze umrzeć' (How to Die Well) has jumped from 1000 over four months to 2000 within just a week. Nothing focuses the mind as much as imminent death.
Saturday 10 April 2010. First blossom on the plum tree, first lunch out on the patio, first potatoes peeking through, first picking of purple sprouting broccoli for dinner - Summer cannot be far away.
Saturday 27 March 2010. At last, our Prunus nigra tree has flowered. This is our tell-tale harbinger of Spring and it usually blossoms in late January. So this year our Spring is about two months later than normal.
Friday 26 February 2010. Planted a row plus a container of the newly-launched Accord early potatoes. They apparently have firm, creamy flesh with a distinctive, tasty flavour and even better disease resistance than Accent.
Monday 22 February 2010. My Polish talk entitled, 'Jak dobrze umrzeć' (How to Die Well) has now been watched 1,000 times over the last four months. You can see and hear it here.
Thursday 18 February 2010. Retirement is not all sitting around waiting for something to happen. In the last 12 days I've been to London once and Leamington Spa three times. No wonder I need new front tyres on the car. And next week I'm in court for three days.
Tuesday 2 February 2010. It's been 15 months (including two winters) since we last bought heating oil - 1500 litres for £660 were delivered today, which should last us until autumn 2011.
Friday 29 January 2010. Purchased a new mobile phone. My old one - given to me by Anna, some ten years ago, after she dropped in down the toilet - was about to die. My new one, a Nokia 1661, has no web browser, Bluetooth, camera or music player, but is perfect for the down-to-earth man who has never sent a text message in his life. And at £7.49, the price is pretty perfect too.
Friday 15 January 2010. Brought first-early potatoes. This time they are Accord, an apparent improvement on last year's excellent Accent. We shall see, and taste.
Saturday 9 January 2010. Who likes coincidences? I was about to make soupe aux poissons, and for accompaniment I put on 'The Very Best of Petula Clark' (my new Christmas CD - sweet, sunny voice, and incidentally, it lasts exactly the time it takes to make the soup), with its opening track 'Downtown'. I turned on the radio/CD player and guess what? On Radio 2, 'Downtown' was playing - I was slightly taken aback. Now, what is the probability of that occurring?
Friday 8 January 2010. Last night it went down to -11ºC. Today I am making borscht - good enough for frozen Russians, good enough for us.
Thursday 7 January 2010. It was -10ºC here last night - even Derek, the snowman I built yesterday, looks cold.
Tuesday 29 December 2009. You can read our annual Christmas newsletter here. I know some deride such round-robins, but we are always disappointed to receive Christmas cards with no news whatsoever included.
Friday 18 December 2009. The lights are up and on, Handel's Messiah is playing, the presents are bought and wrapped, the cards are written and sent, it's -6Â°C outside - I'm ready for some snow and Christmas.
Tuesday 15 December 2009. Back to see the doctor, yet again. Half my nail fell off this morning. The bacterial infection has apparently subsided. Now on Loceryl for the original nail fungal infection. Just another six months and I should be OK.
Thursday 3 December 2009. My little finger infection has been shown to resist ordinary penicillin, so I am now on a form of super-penicillin called co-amoxiclav for two weeks. Never have I had so much antibiotic in such a short time.
Friday 27 November 2009. We had a new garage door fitted. It took two men 6 hours - I'm glad I didn't try and do it myself. The old wooden door lasted (just about) for 47 years - if this one lasts as long I shall then be 107 years old.
Tuesday 24 November 2009. Now on a second course of penicillin - 500mg this time - and my little finger has now suppurated (excellent word!) and is leaking. Yukky for you, painful, yet reassuring, for me.
Wednesday 11 November 2009. I've been prescribed penicillin for a bacterial infection in one of my fingers. Some 20 years ago, I thought I was allergic to this antibiotic, so I very carefully read the instructions. The listed side-effects include, 'sense of impending doom.' No worries - I can also get that from reading the daily newspaper.
Tuesday 3 November 2009. For dinner tonight we had squirrel casserole, honestly! The meat was sweet and nutty.
Friday 30 October 2009. At 09.29, Tiana Eliza Ling was born at Bronglais Hospital, Aberystwyth to Ben and Glenda. She weighed 6lb 12oz (3.06kg) and all three are well.
Monday 26 October 2009. Back from a five-day trip to Toruń, advertised as 'Poland's coolest city'. Lectured six times on various bioethical issues - I was well heard, well questioned and well fed. Videos and pictures are available here.
Friday 18 September 2009. Winter is approaching (and the fishing season has virtually ended) so we lifted Lazy Lady out this morning. Logistically it is complex - early morning high tide, tender rowed and moored, boat taken off moorings, trailer reversed down slipway, boat secured on trailer, tender recovered, boat towed home, equipment unloaded and stored, boat washed outside and cleaned inside, engines flushed and winterized - we shall sleep well tonight.
Monday 7 September 2009. Not wishing to be left out of the current Fab Four Fest, I was reminded by a piece in The Times today that I too saw the Beatles perform live on Saturday 18 May 1963 at the Adelphi Cinema, Slough. Top of the bill was Roy Orbison. I went with four or five of my fourth-form chums - I can't remember whether we bunked off school or not.
Friday 4 September 2009. Autumn is here - I know because the leaves are falling off the cherry tree and I have just taken down the runner bean poles.
Wednesday 5 August 2009. At last, Lazy Lady is launched. Now for some fine weather and fine fish.
Wednesday 29 July 2009. Our 37th wedding anniversary. Lunch at the Wynnstay Hotel, Machynlleth (crab and venison, duck and Dover sole). I bought Wendy a new mobile phone. She bought me John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion - all 1,060 pages of it; perhaps she doesn't want to talk to me much more.
Wednesday 22 July 2009. So ends a concentrated time of reading and writing - critique of 60,000-word thesis, 1,500-word article for Poland, review of 200+ page book, 3000+ words on current bioethical issues, plus other bits and pieces. My eyes, my brain!
Monday 20 July 2009. The 40th anniversary of men landing on the moon. I remember it well - I watched it on TV with Ken and Wanda Hansen in their home on the campus of Penn State University. Neil Alden Armstrong and Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr., landed the lunar module, Eagle, at 20.17 UTC with about 20 seconds of fuel remaining. Almost seven hours later at 0256 UTC, Armstrong set foot on the lunar surface and uttered, 'That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.' They remained on the moon for 21 hours 36 minutes and 16 seconds. President Nixon proclaimed 21 July as Moon Day, a holiday, 'allowing all Americans to watch the astronauts' activity.' Happy days!
Thursday 16 July 2009. Stitches were taken out this afternoon - I feel better already.
Friday 10 July 2009. Happy 500th birthday, John Calvin, the greatest of Protestant theologians. He wrote, 'Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves' (p. 35, Institutes of the Christian Religion) - the best circular argument ever. His commentary on Genesis remains one of my all-time most influential reads.
Monday 6 July 2009. Boating accident no. 2. Ben and I were moving the tender (the rowing boat we use to reach Lazy Lady at her moorings) when I dropped my end. Gash on the knee, six stitches, course of antibiotics and a lifelong tetanus shot. Ouch!
Saturday 4 July 2009. Exactly 40 years ago today I first set foot in America, at New York - tall buildings, stifling heat and fireworks are what I remember. Fireworks? Of course, it was Independence Day.
Wednesday 24 June 2009. Man overboard! But there was no great splash, just a dull thud as a I hit the concrete path because the boat is still in the garden. The irony is that I was renovating the safety handrails and had just removed them. Result - a few grazes, a badly-bruised hand and a rather shocked landlubber.
Monday 22 June 2009. Cavity wall insulation installed by the Neath boys (Mike and Darren from eaga Home Services Ltd.) - now we'll be even cosier during the winter.
Wednesday 17 June 2009. Back from Dublin visiting Christopher, Anna and our new granddaughter, Mia. See pictures here.
Friday 12 June 2009. Just back from a few days visiting Mum in Reading - she is making good progress, up and about on two sticks. Wendy collected her new Givenchy tortoiseshell glasses - at least she can now read the bill more easily.
Wednesday 3 June 2009. Recycle the cycle - after about 15 years of keeping Anna's bike (mainly for sentimental reasons), I took it to the local recycling facility and said goodbye.
Thursday 21 May 2009. Another first. Yesterday we took delivery of a new three-piece suite - our first ever. Last night we slept on it (it's a sofa bed) and we slept like logs.
Tuesday 19 May 2009. Just finished reading an Enid Blyton book, my first for many a decade - Five Run Away Together - a spiffing tale of unlikely adventure, written in the language, custom and style of yesteryear. How jolly!
Saturday 9 May 2009. I've just connected my Wii console to the internet wirelessly via my Linksys WAG160N router - I'm such a computer nerd!
Wednesday 29 April 2009. At 03.38 this morning, Mia Frances Joy Ryman was born in the National Maternity Hospital, Dublin to Christopher and Anna (née Ling). She weighed 8 lb. 15 oz. All three are doing well.
Friday 24 April 2009. Mum is knocked over in Reading Station by a young lady with a suitcase on wheels who was in a hurry. She breaks her left hip and is operated on at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
Wednesday 15 April 2009. The twentieth anniversary of the Hillsborough football tragedy. When I think of it, I think of two young men who attended that game - Anthony Bland and Andrew Devine. The former was the 96th victim to die, whereas the other is still alive. Read about why they are both still bioethically significant in chapter 12 of my book, The Edge of Life.
Monday 13 April 2009. Ben and Glenda tell us that they are expecting a baby on 4 November. How wonderful, how exciting.
Wednesday 8 April 2009. Spent the last four day in Cambridge - city of my birth. Worshipped at CPC (excellent) and Eden Baptist (not so good). Found the nursing home where I was born, the place where I first lived, and all three schools I attended. Did the fascinating Christian Heritage walking tour and checked out numerous boyhood haunts. Spent time with my old biology schoolmaster (we'd not met for 40 years), and the son of my father's Sunderland navigator (we'd never met). Also visited the Botanic Gardens, Jesus Green, King's College Chapel, and lots more. Mine was a happy childhood in a wonderful city.
Thursday 2 April 2009. The first grass cutting of the year - the evocative smell, the satisfaction of trimmed edges.
Friday 27 March 2009. Last night, we went to hear the National Orchestra of Wales - they played Weber (Der Freischütz, Overture), Brahms (Symphony no. 3) and Dvořák's Cello Concerto (the soloist was Torleif Thedéen). It was magnificent.
Tuesday 24 March 2009. I'm on a technological roll. I've just bought an Acer Aspire One netbook (see here). It truly is a remarkable piece of kit - the size of a largish book, but with the power of a typical desktop PC. It's got the lot - Windows XP, Word, Excel, Wi-fi, e-mail, internet, even a built-in webcam!!
Friday 13 March 2009. I've capitulated - and bought a Garmin 205WT sat nav. After the horrors of frantically trying to locate the venue of a speaking engagement last month and the prospect of several upcoming and unknown journeys, I thought we'd give 21st-century electronics a go - apparently it's cheaper than divorce.
Thursday 5 March 2009. Planted two rows of Accent early potatoes. Some gardeners always plant earlies on Good Friday, I plant on Good Thursday.
Saturday 28 February 2009. Our Prunus cerasifera 'Nigra' has started to flower - in my book, this is the first sign of Spring, though five weeks later than last year.
Tuesday 24 February 2009. Our passports needed renewing. The cost is 2 x £72 fees, plus 2 x £4 photographs, plus £5.05 for special delivery postage = £157.05. Now we can't afford to fly anywhere!
Saturday 14 February 2009. A memorable weekend in Birmingham with all the close family - Simeon and Anne, Ben and Glenda, Anna and Christopher and our granddaughters - to celebrate, belatedly, Wendy's 60th birthday. A meal at the famous Chung Ying Garden restaurant (with its 400-plus items on the menu) was the starting point. See pictures here. And granddaughter Naomi (22 months) decided to start walking.
Wednesday 14 January 2009. The central heating boiler was serviced this morning. The engineer measured its efficiency as 92.9% - that's good enough for me.
Tuesday 13 January 2009. Bought a bag of Accent seed potatoes, which are now chitting in the bedroom - Spring must be just around the corner.
Thursday 1 January 2009. Happy new year - may it be better than 2008. How good is the God we adore!
Tuesday 30 December 2008. Today I have been mainly shredding. It's the triennial clearout. Have you got bank statements, electricity bills and all sorts of other semi-official papers from 2005? No, nor have I now!
Saturday 27 December 2008. Woolworths, the largest store in Aberystwyth, shuts today for ever - truly, the end of a retail era. And I never did get to try the pick 'n' mix - too late now.
Friday 19 December 2008. For most of this week I've been working in a foreign land - the National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth. The place is a copyright library (one of only five in the UK), has over four million books (though you can't browse the shelves), more staff than readers (we are called 'patrons') and where Welsh is the language (though staff somehow know to speak English to me). It's austere, confusing and cluttered, but a wonderful resource for research and writing.
Tuesday 9 December 2008. Posted our Christmas cards - if you do not receive one, you can read our annual newsletter here.
Saturday 29 November 2008. When I got up this morning the outside temperature was -3°C. I'm dreaming of a white Christmas.
Thursday 20 November 2008. Our first Christmas card arrives - from the Netherlands. Hartelijk dank!
Wednesday 19 November 2008. Perhaps the Prime Minister read the entry below - today I received my first pensioner's winter fuel allowance (£250). Thank you, Gordon!
Monday 17 November 2008. The Prime Minister has told us that consumer spending is the way to beat the recession. Today I bought heating oil (£512.16, bartered from £549.65), MoT and new timing chain for the car (£433.40, sat down and paid up), home contents insurance (£125.21, negotiated from £147.88) and car tax (£170.00, no haggling allowed). Gordon, I want you to know that I'm pulling my weight (while also looking for the best deals!)
Saturday 8 November 2008. The counter on my home page reaches 10,000 after 4.5 years. Actually, I'm now getting about 1,000 hits per week on my website (yes, I'm surprised too) - it's just that most people don't come through the 'front door'.
Thursday 6 November 2008. An historic transportation day. Wendy and I used our free bus passes for the first time together. We caught the 09.17 into Aberystwyth and the 10.25 back home. We now feel like genuine pensioners.
Thursday 30 October 2008. Just picked the last of my two favourite crops - runner beans and raspberries.
Saturday 18 October 2008. We've been using the Wii Fit and Balance Board every day for about 10 days and never, never have we felt so stretched, balanced and aching - it must be doing us good!
Wednesday 8 October 2008. Wendy's birthday - I bought her a Nintendo Wii Console, Sports Pack with Wii Fit and Balance Board (click on uk.wii.com). Now I know what you're thinking, 'That's a blokey sort of thing to do', but she will come to learn to love it! Actually it's a real whizz gizmo that will give hours of fun for us and all visitors. We are open for tennis, baseball, golf, bowling, boxing and, of course, fitness training from 8 am. to 10 pm., Mondays to Saturdays. All welcome. I also took her out for a birthday lunch before we went to the council offices to apply for her free bus pass (really).
Saturday 4 October 2008. My birthday, and my dear wife bought me something I've wanted since childhood days - an Etch-A-Sketch.
Monday 29 September 2008. Ah, Iberia! Just back from a two-week trip to Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona. From basking on the beach and swimming in the Med last Saturday at 28ºC to wet and windy Aberystwyth at just 14ºC - it's quite a shock. The art museums, blue skies, transport systems and food (especially the fish) were just splendid. The downside: 4-inch grass to mow, 497 e-mails to sort, 2 weeks of newspapers to read.
Thursday 4 September 2008. It's been such a miserable summer so we decided to take Lazy Lady off her harbour moorings. Weather and tide forecasts meant that today was the best opportunity - inevitably we got soaked in the rain storms!
Monday 1 September 2008. There is that close feel of autumn everywhere - damp grass, falling leaves and the smell of bonfires. We have picked the last of the Victoria plums, the mange tout and dug up all the potatoes. Just runner beans and autumn-fruiting raspberries left for the next few weeks.
Friday 15 August 2008. The annual Aberystwyth Conference, organised by the Evangelical Movement of Wales, ended today. We have fed and watered 14 old and new friends from Reading, Nottingham, London and Newcastle - what a pleasure that has been.
Tuesday 29 July 2008. Our wedding anniversary - the 36th. Well done, Wendy!
Monday 28 July 2008. Picked the last kilogram of cherries. To those who missed them - come back next July.
Tuesday 22 July 2008. At last, the weather has abated and so we were able to go fishing. My first cast hooked 4 mackerel - quite a shock. All told we caught 37. Guess what we had for dinner tonight?
Friday 18 July 2008. Ben and Glenda relocate to their new home - big day, big move, (big mortgage!).
Wednesday 16 July 2008. My father-in-law, Charles Shelley, died in his sleep this evening at a nursing home in Cheshire.
Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 July 2008. Perhaps my busiest 'pro-life' weekend ever - two Saturday evening lectures, Sunday communion address, morning and afternoon sermons AND a children's talk at Feltham Evangelical Church.
Friday 4 July 2008. Put Lazy Lady onto her moorings - now for some fine weather to go fishing. And we saw a seal in the harbour - a first for us.
Thursday 26 June 2008. Covered the pea-sized, yellow-pink cherries with plastic bags to protect them from the marauding blackbirds, thrushes, magpies and rooks. Another month and they (the cherries) will be large, black, sweet and juicy.
Thursday 19 June 2008. Latest abortion figures for 2007 in England and Wales released today - the worst ever. The total was 205,598 - up 4,425 on the previous year. Where will it all end?
Monday 9 June 2008. Just completed the worse job in my boating repertoire - adding a protective layer of glass reinforced plastic (GRP) to the keel of Lazy Lady. On my back, with hat, safety glasses, long-sleeved shirt with cuffs tucked into nitrile gloves and with only 50 cm working height, brushing a coat of dripping resin, followed by a layer of glassfibre chopped strand mat (CSM), followed by more resin, which sets in about 15 minutes. But it's done - a new skeg (from Old Norse for 'beard') - nice word, but quite inappropriate for a Lazy Lady.
Saturday 24 May 2008. Benjamin Mark Ling marries Glenda Jane Benjamin. See some of my pictures here. And see the official photographer's pictures here.
Tuesday 20 May 2008. Another day of bioethical disaster. The House of Commons votes against the need for a father in IVF and against lowering the abortion limit from 24 weeks. The UK is now a less compassionate, more God-dishonouring place.
Monday 19 May 2008. A day of bioethical disaster. The House of Commons votes to approve the creation of admixed human embryos and saviour siblings.
Friday 2 May 2008. It is announced that the Second Reading of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill will take place in the House of Commons on Monday 12 May.
Tuesday 29 April 2008. My first webcam conversation with Simeon - pretty good fun, especially when Rachel and Naomi appeared (Esther was asleep in bed).
Sunday 27 April 2008. Forty years ago today (27 April 1968), the 1967 Abortion Act came into force, that is, six months after it had received the Royal Assent. It's the day the killing started.
Saturday 26 April 2008. Our dear friend, Joy Negus, went home peacefully to be with the Saviour she loved and served at 00.15 this morning. She was in no pain and slipped quietly away, with David's head resting against hers on the pillow, and all the children gathered round. "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints." [Psalm 116:15]. See here.
Tuesday 8 April 2008. The first grass cutting of the year - 'Sumer is icumen in, Lhude sing cuccu! ...' [from The Cuckoo Song, a Middle-English four-part rotational harmony, dating from about 1250, sung annually at Reading Abbey gateway.] Well I never!
Wednesday 2 April 2008. Court lunchtime, walked passed the new Costa coffee, went in, BIG mistake. Ordered arrabbiata chicken panini and small hot chocolate. Faux-friendly, patronising staff, long wait, filthy table, no newspapers, poor sandwich plus glass of Nesquik, and they charged me £6. Never again!
Tuesday 18 March 2008. The Christian Institute has just ordered a reprint of 5,000 more copies of The Morning-After Pill - Uncovering the Truth.
Friday 14 March 2008. Attended a National Orchestra of Wales concert last night. Hussite Overture (Dvorak), Violin Concerto No. 5 (Mozart - soloist, Olivier Charlier) and Symphony No. 1 (Sibelius). First-rate - Mr Eargate was enchanted!
Sunday 9 March 2008. Someone (actually, at least two people) stole the tender (the rowing boat we use to access Lazy Lady in the harbour) from our garden. See a picture here. If you find it, let me know.
Wednesday 5 March 2008. Planted first early potatoes, variety Dunluce. Apparently they are, 'the tastiest of the extra earlies with succulent creamy white flesh which will appeal to those who prefer a firmer new potato.' We shall see (and taste).
Tuesday 4 March 2008. Wrote again to the Prime Minister - see here.
Saturday 1 March 2008. Happy St David's Day to all readers! It's bright, sunny and very daffodilly here.
Thursday 28 February 2008. Sowed 36 Cyclamen coum seeds bought from Ashwood Nurseries, which holds the national collection of such plants. They should germinate in about 6 months and flower in about 36 months. Then you'll all get them for presents. Also planted three Dunluce early potatoes in a huge pot on the patio.
Wednesday 27 February 2008. Received a most unsatisfactory letter from the Prime Minister - see it here.
Tuesday 12 February 2008. First day working in the garden this year - weeding, pruning, feeding and mulching the soft fruit. Unseasonably bright, sunny and warm - joy!
Wednesday 6 February 2008. Viewed the 'From Russia' art exhibition at the Royal Academy - stunning. Met Mark Williams MP to discuss the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill - very worthwhile. Met Andrew Tuggey, Secretary of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, ex-Reading School and not seen for 35+ years for scones, jam and clotted cream in the Pugin Room (a grand style tearoom between the Commons and the Lords) - fascinating. Attended 'Passion for Life' meeting in Central Hall, Westminster with Lord Alton, Ann Widdecombe, etc. - noisy, but nice.
Friday 11 January 2008. Wrote letters to the Lords Elystan-Morgan, Livsey, Moran and Roberts urging them to vote for an amendment to the Human Embryology and Fertilisation Bill in order to keep the 'need for a father' as a preliminary to IVF treatment - the deliberate creation of fatherless children is not a good idea.
Saturday 26 January 2008. Prunus nigra flowered.
Wednesday 2 January 2008. Christmas 2007 may be well and truly over, but not so for my cold, which is now dragging into its second week. I've had sore throats, headaches, sweats, blocked sinuses, nose bleeds, body rashes and coughs - all, at least, twice. While I may have slept like a lamb, I've also coughed like a smoker. Away foul viruses, bacteria, whatever!
Saturday 24, Sunday 25 November 2007. Are we going sentimental or what? This weekend we spent in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Wendy's birthplace. Staffordshire is not an attractive county, but we were glad to see her old schools, family house, Hanley Evangelical church and several other sites from yesteryear.
Friday 16, Saturday 17 November 2007. Spent an intriguing weekend at Leeds (where we first met as students some 40 years ago) rediscovering many of our old haunts - some have been modified almost beyond recognition, some have been bulldozed, and some, like us, remain steadfast and sure.
Monday 12 November 2007. Took delivery of the annual oil top-up of 942 litres, which cost £410-48. Not too hefty a sum for a year's central heating plus hot water.
Friday 2 November 2007. I took my place among the silver haired and used my bus pass for the first time to travel to Aberystwyth. What a jolly little 15-minute trip, and think of my diminishing carbon footprint.
Monday 15 October 2007. I applied for my free bus pass! And I got £1 off my dry cleaning bill - who says that growing old has no benefits?
Thursday 4 October 2007. Today I am 60 years old - it's true, even though I feel more like 49 (and some of the dear ladies at church say that I look it too).
Monday 1 October 2007. Just back from a two-week Grand Tour of Italy - Rome, Florence and Venice - it's been a birthday treat from my dear wife (she came too, of course). Excellent time, though I've seen enough frescoes, tondos, triptychs and predellas (especially of the 'Madonna con Bambino') to last almost a lifetime. But I could eat the Italian food for ever. Incidentally, I was rather pleased to be thrown out of the Vatican papal apartments - I unknowingly changed the mode on my camera and the flash went off, strictly forbidden. Good story - feeble reason.
Wednesday 12 September 2007. Lazy Lady is taken off her harbour moorings to our back garden. We caught just short of 200 fish in a poor season weather-wise - but it's a marvellously stimulating hobby that we both enjoy.
Tuesday 4 September 2007. Esther has her first day at primary school - ahh!
Monday 20 August 2007. I dumped our TV at the local recycling centre. It was an 18-inch white Ferguson - our first colour TV, bought to watch the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. It was state-of-the-art back then. What service it has given - I was quite sad to see it go, but it is only 'stuff', with an increasingly snowy picture.
Thursday 19 July 2007. We went out into Cardigan Bay this morning and caught 30 mackerel in 90 minutes - guess what we're having for dinner tonight.
Tuesday 17 July 2007. We put Lazy Lady at her moorings - fish will soon be on the menu, often.
Thursday 12 July 2007. What a marvel Amazon is. I ordered three books on Monday lunchtime and they were delivered this morning, in pristine condition, and at a saving of 32% compared with high street prices.
Wednesday 4 July 2007. Want to see how a lifejacket works? Look here!
Monday 2 July 2007. I went to Reading School (and Carey Baptist Church) with Mike Young (see, www.tyg.co.uk) - we haven't spoken for 35 years, until this morning. That's the power of broadband and Google.
Friday 15 June 2007. We lunched at the Michelin-starred Simpsons in Birmingham - marinated Loch Duart salmon followed by slow-cooked daube of beef, plus all the other bits. Go there for a special occasion - a real treat. See what I mean here.
Tuesday 1 May 2007. Passed my Magistrates' National Training Initiative appraisal.
Wednesday 25 April 2007. We went to see Naomi for the first time. She fell asleep in my lap for about an hour - bored or tired? I think the latter. See pictures here.
Saturday 14 April 2007. The answer is: she will be early. At 18.05 today, Naomi Juliette Ling was born, all 4.1 kg and 55 cm of her. Mother and baby are just fine. Pictures will undoubtedly follow.
Wednesday 18 April 2007. Baby Q is due to be born on this day. Will he/she be early or late?
Thursday 5 April 2007. Ordered a pair of prescription single vision distance glasses from www.glassesdirect.co.uk - they arrived 8 days later (despite the Easter holidays) for a mere £17.50. 'I can see clearly now ...'
Thursday 1 March 2007. I start to write my next book - it centres on the human embryo and IVF, PGD, ESC, CNR and a host of other issues. The working title is Human Embryos, Inside Out. Think about it - anomalous biology plus thorough knowledge. I reckon it's pretty clever.
Tuesday 27 February 2007. Last night the Christian Institute put The Morning-After Pill book on its website as a free download - by 09.30 this morning it had been downloaded over 500 times. My first e-book! Download a full copy for free here.
Monday 29 January 2007. Prunus nigra started to flower.
Thursday 25 January 2007. Benjamin and Glenda came to tell us that they are engaged to be married sometime next year. Good news - we are delighted! See a picture.
Friday 5 January 2007. We ditched the old PC with its Windows 98 and cronky dial-up system and went broadband on a new Core 2 Duo computer with XP Pro - now we're cooking on gas!
Wednesday 13 December 2006. Copies of The Morning-After Pill - Uncovering the Truth arrived by courier this morning. Hooray - at last!
December 2006. Started
the audio section on my
website, with two Pwllheli addresses from 2002 and 2003.
Saturday 25 November 2006. Signed the copyright The Morning-After Pill - Uncovering The Truth. To be published in January 2007 by the Christian Institute.
Friday 22 September 2006. It is exactly 30 years since we moved to Aberystwyth - we thought we might be here for just 3 or 4 years!
Monday 18 September 2006. Simeon and Anne announce that they are expecting baby number 3. He/she is due on 18 April 2007. We are all delighted.
Monday 22 May 2006. It was 40 years ago today (it was a Sunday in 1966) that I was baptized at Carey Baptist Church in Reading - 'How good is the God we adore!'
Friday 12 May 2006. We attend the debate on the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill at the House of Lords. Read the report.
Wednesday 22 March 2006. 5,000 hits recorded - I don't think it's just my Mum.
Sunday 12 March 2006. The Prunus nigra tree came into flower.
Saturday 15 October 2005. Christopher Joseph Ryman and Anna Rachel Ling were married at 2pm in Dun Laoghaire Evangelical Church, Dublin. See pictures.
Sunday 29 May 2005. While we were in church singing John Mason's hymn, 'How shall I sing that majesty, which angels do admire?', Rachel Amelie Ling was being born, at 10.36 am. to be precise. She weighed 3.8 kg (8lb 6 oz) and was 55 cm long. Simeon and his three girls are all doing well - congratulations! Click here for pictures.
Tuesday 3 May 2005. Happy birthday, Simeon, 30 today. I must go and lie down, suddenly I'm feeling quite old.
Monday 2 May 2005. The new date for the wedding is Saturday 15 October - same place (Dun Laoghaire Evangelical Church, Dublin), same couple (Christopher and Anna)!
Monday 18 April 2005. Oops! We were a little overambitious with the wedding date. It has had to be postponed because key members of Christopher's family cannot make 24 September. A new date is being arranged - watch this space.
Thursday 7 April 2005. The wedding date has now been set - Saturday 24 September at Dun Laoghaire Evangelical Church, Dublin.
Friday 1 April 2005. Anna Ling gets engaged! She has been asked to be the wife of Christopher Ryman - and she has said, 'Yes'. They plan to marry in Dublin later this year, perhaps in September. More details to follow.
Friday 18 February 2005. Bought my first item over eBay - a Corgi model of a Sunderland MkIII, based on 'H', the actual aircraft that my father flew in the Indian Ocean.
Friday 21 January 2005. 3,000 hits recorded - nothing special, just as predicted.
Saturday 15 January 2005. The Prinus nigra tree flowered yet again.
Thursday 16 December 2004. Ben is appointed to his first full-time, permanent job at the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER), just outside Aberystwyth. 'Now, I'm a civil servant, now, I get a pension.'
Tuesday 2 November 2004. Simeon and Anne announce that Esther has a baby brother or sister (but not both), due to be born on 29 May 2005.
Tuesday 5 October 2004. A fascinating morning leading the Reading School Bioethics Conference with 130 year-10 students attending.
Wednesday 22 September 2004. Anna 'emigrates' to Dublin.
Thursday 16 September 2004. We take Lazy Lady out of her summer mooring in the harbour and put her in the back garden for the winter.
Monday 6 September 2004. I sent a copy of The Edge of Life to each of the members of the House of Lords' Select Committee who are considering the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill. See, Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill
Sunday 1 August 2004. Esther is 1 today. She had a cake with a musical candle, but her best presents were the paper wrappings. I plan to buy her a big cardboard box for Christmas.
Sunday 18 July 2004. Anna is to be baptised at Ladyfield Evangelical Church, Hungerdown Lane, Chippenham.
Monday 28 June 2004. 2,000 hits recorded on this website - not a great number, I know, but hopefully some of them have been significant.
Thursday 24 June 2004. My letter is published in The Times - click on, From Dr John R Ling.
Tuesday 1 June 2004. Esther finds first gear and begins to crawl forwards - 'there may be trouble ahead ...'
Monday 22 March 2004. I put an up-to-date photograph onto my opening page. 'About time too', some said, 'You're looking much older now!'
Monday 2 February 2004. Prunus nigra flowered.
Wednesday 14 January 2004. My first day on the Magistrates' Bench. We heard about fifty cases - mostly the usual motoring offences, drug possessions, harassments, and thievings, plus a threat to kill. What hard, but fascinating work!
Monday 15 December 2003. Ernest King, my step-father, died at 8 am., peacefully and full of faith - he was ready to meet his Lord and Saviour. He was 82 years old. It's a sad, sad day - I shall miss him greatly. The funeral is on Monday 22 December from 11.30 am. at Carey Baptist Church, Reading. See, On The Death Of A Stepfather - An Appreciation.
Friday 12 December 2003. Today, we changed our car. This may not be a particularly newsworthy event for some of you, but for us, it last happened 14 years ago. We were sorry to see Old Faithful go (all the children learned to drive in her), but, after 160,000 miles, she was beginning to show her age.
Monday 1 December 2003. This website records a 1,000 hits in six months, that is, since it was launched in June. I know it's not many compared with the BBC's, which apparently gets about 3 million hits each day!
Friday 14 November 2003. Anna graduates at a ceremony in York Minster.
Wednesday 12 November 2003. This morning I was sworn in as a magistrate at Aberystwyth Magistrates' Court.
I, John Robert Ling, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.
I, John Robert Ling, do swear that I will well and truly serve our Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth the Second in the office of justice of the peace, and I will do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of this realm, without fear or favour, affection or ill will. So help me God.
Friday 1 August 2003. Esther Clara Ling is born at 9.56 pm. She weighs 8lb 2 oz (3.68 kg) and is 58 cm long. Mother and daughter (and father) are well, and the grandparents are overjoyed! Click on Esther for some gorgeous pictures.
Friday 19 July 2003. I am appointed to be a Justice of the Peace, more commonly known as a magistrate.
Monday 14 July 2003. Anna lands a job as a year-1 (5- to 6-year-olds) teacher at Calne, Wiltshire. She starts in September.
Wednesday 9 July 2003. Both Yahoo! and Google register this website on their indexes.
Friday 13 June 2003. Anna finishes her student days at York - the end of an era - yippeee!
Saturday 31 May 2003. For those (including me) who cannot remember those ugly addresses of websites, Simeon kindly buys me, for Father's Day, a much more memorable domain name, http://www.johnling.co.uk This automatically switches to that entirely unmemorable URL, http://users.aber.ac.uk/jrl, which is the server I use.