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.

FeedBurner email updates and Timezones

Over at The Parish of Elmdon we’re now using FeedBurner for our feeds. Good stuff, and the email updates are a nice touch for those who haven’t quite been converted to using a proper feed reader quite yet. (Sign up for our email updates!) Just one thing: the emails give the post timestamps in CDT:

Sample email from FeedBurner

Umm, I’m actually not in the US central time zone, I’m pretty close to the Greenwich Meridian. A glance at the source for our feed shows no CDT nonsense. Reading the FeedBurner fora, this has been a known issue for nearly a year.

Come on, FeedBurner! Some of us live outside North America. It’s true.

Helpful hints when making comments on preachers’ style

Work on processing the results of the parish survey is nearing completion. PCC members the length and breadth of Elmdon (which is not very far) are full of excitement.

One handy hint for anyone who might be filling in such a survey about their own church, and might be considering making “helpful” comments on the preaching style of one or more of their clergy, readers, etc. My hint is that, whilst I can understand why you may wish to remain anonymous, and that you might think it helpful to refrain from naming the person whose sermons you dislike, this actually makes life quite tricky for the person who gets to process the survey results.

If we don’t know and can’t work out who you’re talking about, and we also don’t know who you are (understandably!), then there isn’t actually anything useful we can do with your remark.

Great Britain

Great Britain is the name of an island – an island which is comprised of most of England, most of Wales, and most of Scotland.

I live on Great Britain, though I was born and raised on a neighbouring island which is named Ireland. Specifically, I was born in that part of Ireland known as Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland, Great Britain, and their many and various offshore islands make up the state in which I have always lived, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

There is no state called Great Britain.

I trust this is entirely clear (!).

See British Isles (terminology) at Wikipedia.

Sentences of Scripture are out

Common Worship: Times and Seasons provides all manner of useful goodies. But I am irked by a little thing in the Introduction, towards the bottom of page 3. There the Liturgical Commission, in telling us that they have kindly provided some “short passages of scripture” appropriate to each season, go on to say that:

[…] they are not intended to revive the practice of starting a service of Holy Communion with a sentence of Scripture, rather than with the invocation of the Trinity and the greeting of the people by the president.

Now, if you actually read Holy Communion Order 1 in the Common Worship main volume you find that the “invocation of the Trinity” that the Liturgical Commission are so fond of (near the top of page 167) is printed in that very pale and thin version of Gill Sans that means that General Synod decided to give more weight to other options (top of page 330) – in other words, Synod expressed a preference for us not to start with “In the name of the Father…” – and that it’s perfectly acceptable to use a sentence of Scripture appropriate to the season as part of the greeting (page 330, note 4).

Actually, when I’m looking for sentences of Scripture I tend to look first in the Church of Ireland’s Book of Common Prayer 2004, which has a decent and easily findable list on pages 78-82. The new Irish BCP seems, generally, an excellent place to look for liturgical material.