I have made some sort of error

Gosh, so much happening here (not to mention the excitement of a week in Solihull hospital, being elected as a Churchwarden, and whatnot). How the time flies.

Anyway, due to my continuing convalescence following the hospital visit we ordered our groceries online from Mr. Tesco. I seem to have made some sort of error in ordering the green beans, for this is what we received:


Church attendance

One of the little tasks I seem to have ended up with is compiling figures for the annual statistical return to the diocese from our parish.

I have just finished processing the data for Valley Church Centre, Elmdon. Whilst I try not to get too obsessed with the figures, there is some good news – average weekly attendance is up, from 17.7 in 2007 to 18.5 in 2008!

The bad news – leaving out one special and very atypical service (at the end of the children’s summer holiday club) the total attendance by under-16s in 2008 was 2. Not an average of 2 for each service: 2 in total for the whole year.

+Alan on Eucharistic Presidency

Yes, I am still alive. Yes, it has been a while since I wrote anything.

Fascinating discussion over at Bishop Alan’s Blog on presidency at the Eucharist, following on from the vote in Sydney diocese that it is legal for deacons in Sydney to adminster/preside at/<insert your choice of terminology here> the Eucharist/Holy Communion/The Lord’s Supper/<insert your choice of terminology here>.

I loved this bit from Bishop Alan, which just about summarised my take on this:

The Eucharist is presided here by laypeople selected, trained and authorized by the bishop. We call them priests.

Of course, this doesn’t address at all the whole question of just what a Reader (such as myself) is.

On holiday last week, visiting Tywyn Baptist Church got chatting to a minister from an independent church who apparently hadn’t realised that the Church of England had any sort of lay preacher type people, and was rather surprised to learn that we have more of them than we have stipendiary priests/presbyters/elders/<insert your choice of terminology here>.

ESV Study Bible

Well, a great flood of information is coming out over at the ESV Study Bible blog about this forthcoming release.

Looking on Amazon.co.uk, until very recently you could see the Crossway edition (ISBN 978‑1433502415) with no price listed and also, more recently, a superficially very similar Collins edition (ISBN 978-0007237142) at £39.99. They are still listing the Crossway editions in fancier bindings, e.g. the bonded leather one which is actually listed as a couple of pounds cheaper than the Collins hardback edition.

It would be useful to know exactly what the difference is between the Crossway and Collins editions. The page counts seem to be slightly different. Does the Collins one use the Anglicised ESV text? (Perhaps too much to hope.)

Ticket inspection

Well, for a little while now we have had ticket inspections (at least at peak hours) at Birmingham Moor Street and University, as well as New Street. This means at least 3 inspections during each journey to and from work. Sometimes they collect the tickets, sometimes not – and sometimes they try to collect even if I haven’t reached the end of the journey and need to gently remind them that I need to keep it for the rest of the journey.

These companies would do well to read Railway Management at Stations by E.B. Ivatts of the Midland Great Western Railway (5th Ed, 1910, published by McCorquodale & Co. Ltd.). He starts well and then it gets a little odd:

The examination and collection of tickets, either at a ticket platform or an exit gate, is a process which should be done with the greatest possible speed, consistent with accuracy. A fumbling ticket collector unnecessarily detaining a train full of passengers is a deplorable sight. Either old men or youths are generally unfit for the duty, unless where an old man has been always a ticket collector. Active, intelligent young men, of over twenty years of age, are most suitable. A man with a prominence of the forehead just over the eyes will make a quick ticket collector. By passing the finger up the front of the nose to where the nose joins the forehead, in some men, the skull at this point, which may be termed the root of the nose, will be found to protrude, and, in some instances, form quite a lump. Men of this type are quick, ready and observant, and most good detectives have this development. If the hair of the head and whiskers also is fine in texture and quality, so will the owner be the more incisive and perfecting in character. A ploughman cannot be expected to make a watch, nor will a clumsy, lolling man make a ticket collector.

What we have been up to

Wrightscale Wren between dutiesThings have been a bit quiet here of late. Well, among other things… on Saturday No. 1 son and I paid a visit to Dave Watkins for his garden railway open day. Many, many thanks to Dave & family for their warm welcome.

We brought along pretty much every item of 16mm rolling stock we have, including a couple of FR quarrymen’s carriages that have just been finished. The sides and ends of these, desperately thin scribed plywood, came from a chap in Aberaeron from whom we bought some track back in the mid 90s. Having found them in the loft we built a box of 1/16″ ply for reinforcement with a 1/32″ ply roof and added wheels, axleboxes and buffer/couplings from IP Engineering.

We have also built a useful drop-side wagon (vaguely L&B-looking) with centre buffer at one end and TR-style side buffers and coupling hook at the other. This is rather useful if you run stock with both types of couplings.

The Wren managed around 2 scale miles. I’m gradually getting the hang of setting the gas to generate the right amount of steam – runs beautifully, except if there’s too much steam when it becomes a bit of a monster to handle. Part of the solution is to provide plenty of rolling stock for it to drag round the line and hold it back somewhat. Like the look of Andy Bell’s GVT open carriages

Surprisingly, the Saltford diesels also made it right round the track several times, with 3-4 lightweight wagons and (sometimes) the Corris van.

Photos from the day…

Exporting songs from Easislides to MediaShout

Update, 2014: Something has changed, either in MediaShout or Easislides, and I understand that my software no longer works correctly with the current versions of these programs. I’m really sorry, but es2ms is no longer available.

Someone, sometime may want to do export all their songs from Easislides (free but limited song projection software) to MediaShout (more expensive but rather less limited). Here’s how you do it:

  • Make sure you have the Java Runtime Environment installed – get it from here if you haven’t.
  • Download this software I wrote. Place es2ms.jar in a convenient folder somewhere.
  • In Easislides go to Tools, Export, select the songs you want to move across (if you want them all, tick both “Tick All” boxes), then click Export.
  • Rename the file easislides.xml and move it into the folder containing es2ms.jar
  • Double-click es2ms.jar – a file called mediashout.txt will be created in the same folder.
  • In MediaShout go to File, Song Library, Import, From Files.., in the next dialog choose “ShoutSinger text file”, click Next, browse to the mediashout.txt file you just created, click Next, and Bob’s your uncle.

The source code is also available. All distributed under the Apache License version 2.0.