Next: Science is now so complex that we can no longer ask What? We can now only wonder Why?

This Blog used to be about the question: What is Science?
Now, it asks: What is Happiness?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Do'know why, I am flying in the sky, above the weather....

Seems like all the blogging paid off.
Got a comment on my 'Jerry and the Hatricks' blog from a good friend last week. "Seems like you have gone totally eccentric..."
well, lunacy pays off and out of the blue comes an offer to assist with a blog from the other side of the, watch this spot.
today's update brought to you from seat 57C SAA flight UA5475 to Dakar and beyond.
The sad news is that the entire staff of the Microsoft division that has been heroically working on Microsoft Flightsim for almost 25 years has been given 48hrs notice......I wonder if I can find a copy of X-plane in Senegal?
Flying in and out of African aiports is always fun. Luggage on the runway and jostling with swathes of exotic people....
But, hold on! What's this? Yellow cabs and Springsteen?

Dakar was a one hour midnight stop, never left the plane - thorough US homeland security check for all flights headed to America.
Mourning the sad demise of my Microsoft demigods I left West Africa and crossed the fantastic Atlantic to find my self bicycleless in Washington.

Great story>>Got the same immigration guy as when I was here in August 08. We had almost the same converstion.

"So you're here for what?""The 53rd UN COmmission on the Status of Women"."You're some kinda praafessah?""Nope", say I, "Media, I am a film maker.""You do whaaat for Ameeerica?""I make films, doccumentary films.""For America?""No, Fiiiilllllllmmmmm maaaakerrrrr.""Oh! Filmmm makeeerrrr! Enjoy your stay in the US of A. Next please."
The first sighting of New York from a 20 seater Embraer Executive jet is along an endless white beach, and I have to find my way there sometime in the next 2 weeks, come snow or sunshine.

Looks like it will be snow tho'.

JFK. A little like Richards Bay airport, nothing as elaborate and splendid as the new Ortam, except fot the skytrain out which took us to the NY subway and a long walk from west 42nd to East 42nd st. Time Square, Grand Central Station, 5th Ave, The Chrysler building and here I am in my new 41st story office at the New York Helmsley Hotel.
Only problem so far: at 3am this morning, in 3 degrees C, I headed off to the local pharmacy/grocery store, CVS, to find a kettle, tea and oats porridge, dressed in Africanesque t-shirt and cotton pants. Shop wide open but no tellers.....only autotellers. Well, what can I say.

Other than, "Better get out to Central Park for my morning yoga before the blizzard hits!"

Clever, these meteorologists....

Monday, February 16, 2009

Kiss my ass!

There are 2 great ways to view your day.
Focus closely on the key tasks and issues. Don't be distracted.
Stretch your radar as wide as possible and see what comes in. Be continually distracted.

My 88 year old mum strolled to the magnificent view of the city from her apartment this morning, gazed over her kingdom and said to me, "Last year, the old Zulu king got married to another wife and wanted to build a palace in the middle of the golf course. The city said no. These bloody kings!"
I remember it well. I think it was in the April 1st edition of the Daily News.
It seems like in the nurtur/nature debate we are kind of born with right/left brain potential.

(Gran with her latest great grandson, James Dellis....can you believe that she has never dyed her hair!)
I recently subjected myself to a gruelling psychometric test designed to assess how Right/Left brain you are. You can do it yourself at
This was the result:
"Andre, you possess an interesting balance of hemispheric and sensory characteristics, with a slight right-brain dominance and a slight preference for visual processing.
Since neither of these is completely centered, you lack the indecision and second-guessing associated with other patterns. You have a distinct preference for creativity and intuition with seemingly sufficient verbal skills to be able to translate in any meaningful way to yourself and others.
You tend to see things in "wholes" without surrendering the ability to attend to details. You can give them sufficient notice to be able to utitlize and incorporate them as part of an overall pattern.
In the same way, while you are active and process information simultaneously, you demonstrate a capacity for sequencing as well as reflection which allows for some "inner dialogue."
All in all, you are likely to be quite content with yourself and your style although at times it will not necessarily be appreciated by others. You have sufficient confidence to not second-guess yourself, but rather to use your critical faculties in a way that enhances, rather than limits, your creativity.
You can learn in either mode although far more efficiently within the visual mode. It is likely that in listening to conversations or lecture materials you simultaneously translate into pictures which enhance and elaborate on the meaning.
It is most likely that you will gravitate towards those endeavors which are predominantly visual but include some logic or structuring. You may either work particularly hard at cultivating your auditory skills or risk "missing out" on being able to efficiently process what you learn. Your own intuitive skills will at times interfere with your capacity to listen to others, which is something else you may need to take into account."
Several things emerge from this for me. First, it is merely a confirmation of how I feel anyway. But more importantly it puts it into hard copy, words that I can read and ponder on. Then I can act upon those words. With this in mind, I was chatting to friends last night about Julia Cameron's 'Artist's Way' and, making a quick calculation, realized that it has been almost a decade since I had my first exposure to it and every aspect of that remarkable process still lives with me every day. We talked about the power of the montaging exercises we did and how I had reread my crusty journals from the time and delighted in seeing those aspirations and changes that took place in me being documented and subsequently realized.
So, with my eyes wide open I dived into a new week, starting with a further attempt to achieve my news year's resolution, the dreaded ghanda berundasana!

For the uninitiated, this is a rather interesting Yoga pose where you increasingly bend over backwards until you can kiss your ass.
Now this may seem like a trite little resolution, but a whole lot of other stuff hangs off it if I am to be successful. Most importantly, I have to be able to bend over backwards. This means a daily Yoga routine stretching all the ancillary muscles and squashing the gooey bits inside to eventually facilitate my berundasana attempt. I then fling myself over backwards and try to walk my arms through my legs. Naturally, I have to find a suitably evocative and spiritual space to do this, so I am duty bound to get out into a place of serenity each day. Then I must learn to focus only on my own body and soul and ignore the confused stares of passerbyers. It is further a great opportunity to use my bicycle to and from, so all in all, by breakfast time I am well ridden, well stretched, well squashed and well on my way to kissing my ass before the year's end.
While in this open radar frame of mind I took another journey back into recent documented history. I paged through images from Ida and my time in Hereford and Wales last year. Three pix drew my of a grave stone in a country churchyard (click on the images and read the engravings) and the other two, a tale of how an ancient church in Hereford has regained its lost parishioners by serving coffee and cake during services!

Have fun, both these are right/left brain teasers.
Back in Durban I have been on the trail for a new tree to plant for our dear compadrette, Albuquerque Patrice. Durban's very own tree and monkey lady, Jean Senogles, listened to how I described the following future moment: "Imagine 10 year's time. You, Ida, Patrice and I are standing on a craggy cliff, overlooking one of the last bits of pristine river valley within the urban precincts of Durban. Next to us is a well rooted tree, planted there at a time when many of us could only see patches of light through the dark clouds.

Jean strides off into the wet undergrowth and emerges triumphantly with a potted tree of note (e-sharp). "Perfect!" she says, "the forest cabbage tree...Msenge in zulu. This tree's sole evolutionary purpose...don't you love Darwin! to chase the light at the top of the forest canopy!".

Say no more!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

and 'F' is for Flying...

If you are ever offered an adventurous flight in an airplane take it. Such opportunities don't stick around for ever. So it was for a few months with East Coast Airlines, based at Virginia Airport (FAVG) in Durban, South Africa. This little delight of an airport boasts all the charm of a rural strip but is barely 10km from the heart of one of Southern Africa's most vibrant port cities. A seaward circuit promises that all your approaches and departures will be over one of the finest strips of golden-beached coasts in the world and South African aviation safety standards will get you in and out every time safely. So, for a while there was an exciting opportunity for aviation enthusiasts to get a cheap trip and equally cheap thrill by booking a seat up to Oliver Tambo (FAJS) International in Johannesburg with East Coast Airlines. Their Cessna 414 flew up to Joburg at 21h00 each evening to collect a load of newspapers for Durban circulation the next day and for about $20 you could fly up in the empty plane. The trick was to get into the plane first and then lean over into the open pilots' cabin and gazing lovingly at the blinking lights, ask all those questions that have been burning in your crazed airplane loving brain. I well recall my first flight. Every now and again the pilot would whip out a torch and shine it on the wings, checking for ice. At one stage we were informed that we had to choose between freezing or a longer flight as we had to choose an altitude to accommodate the faulty cabin heater. But the most memorable was our aero-surfing experience. As we flew in the downwind of the Drakensberg Mountains (12000ftASL) the pilot told us how the wind coming off the mountains would often form wavelike ripples and if we flew into them we could actually surf the airwaves! Sure enough it happened and, as a surfer myself, I was delivered a double whammy of delight. So it is that this blog is dedicated to mountain flying, the joy and the real dangers therein. By understanding the physics of high altitude mountain flying and equipping yourself with the necessary skills this vista of flight opens a compelling door to all who should seek to push their envelope......and be sure to stay alive to inspire others. After all, who said that safe has to be boring?

The wonderful world of aviation is blurred into 3 distinct areas: Those who do the real thing, those who dream of doing the real thing; and those who simulate doing the real thing. Clearly there is a huge crossover as many a dedicated virtual pilot or air traffic controller turns out to have just got back from his/her real job as a fighter pilot or ATC jockey. Such is the level of complexity and reality of today's simulation software that we are seeing these packages being used increasingly as components in real life training. US navy airmen are provided with a well-known Flight Sim package as part of their kit.
What the simulated world does very well is IFR (instrument navigation). What it does not do well is giving the ergonomic experience of actually flying a plane. It was in search of this experience that lead me to take real world flying lessons at my home base.....FAVG, no less. What I discovered was that the experience of getting into a Cessna 152 is extraordinarily close to doing it on a well set up simulator (in my case Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004). I was able to replicate almost all the lessons I had in ZS-MPG on my laptop at home, including the spin training which I REALLY enjoyed! For the unitiated, a spin in an aircraft is something quite extraordinary and you either hate or love it. It goes like this: You pull back on the yoke (the stick thing that makes the plane go up or down, left or right) without increasing the throttle. The nose comes up and eventually the plane starts to stall. This is not like a car stalling. In an aircraft, an aerodynamic surface is said to stall, when the air that is moving relative to it's surface is no longer fast enough to create lift and the surface (normally a wing) drops. One would recover from this stall by putting the nose down, regaining airspeed and then climbing back to level flight once the wings have recovered their lift. With a spin, as the stall begins, you kick in left or right rudder, the plane yaws and one wing loses its lift earlier. The plane plunges to the left (or right) and after a few balletic aerodynamics, settles into a nose down spinning tumble. From the pilot's POV all you see is the earth below you rotating. If you have done your homework you will then instinctively initiate P.A.R.E. Power out! Ailerons neutralized Rudder opposite direction to spin elevator slowly up to recover and pull out the dive. I will not tell you about the time I forgot the 'P' part. All I know is that I am alive today because of a very sharp instructress....
So, while us simming pilots are great at getting around in pitch dark and misty weather, we have mostly developed the bad habit of flying by our instruments when we should be watching outside of the plane. Mountain flying is thus a very good re-educational ground for simmers. If you go by your instruments alone you will probably come to a dead end.
For real world fliers who may read this blog, treat this as a reminder of the real responsibility that you have to fully prepare yourself for the unseen challenges of flight in mountainous areas. South Africa, like the US, has magnificent mountain ranges presenting awesome flying opportunities. Next time you go to the Drakensberg and you watch the tourist helicopters buzzing around their business, have respect, have respect!
A great guide to Mountain Flying has been produced by the FAA and can be dowloaded or viewed from this URL: The file is called 'Mountain Flying.pdf'
and now......join me for some mountain flying, dreaming or simming!
Close your eyes....imagine the sounds of a busy international airport, cold winter weather and the excitement of an impending adventure! You are at Denver International Airport, Colorado, USA having just flown in from well.....wherever you flew in from! Go and get a hot cuppa coffee and a good healthy bite because for the next flying hour or so, you won't want to waste a moment on doing anything other than taking in the panoply below that is your gentle introduction of things to come. We will fly a high altitude turboprop plane from Denver to the regional airport, Alamosa Bergman Field (KALS) altitude 7539 ft. Alamosa is slap bang in the middle of a valley surrounded by walls of high mountains. This gives us the opportunity to get used to high altitude flying without the added challenge of excessive mountain walls and winds. It is here that we will change planes for a single engine, normally aspirated aircraft which will be our constant companion for the next 450nm. Within 15 minutes flying time we have Mount Blanca, a 14, 345 foot mountain and Crestone Peak at 14,294 feet. Once we have built up our confidence and skills within sight of Alamosa we then (after a good night's sleep), head for tha' hills!

Day 1: We head north, following the main roads, which enter the mountains in a tongue at the top of the lowlands. From here we will encounter several peaks with elevations exceeding 14,000 feet. Navigation will be VFR all the way, so weather is critical. Be prepared to turn back! As long as we can see the roads and the towns we should be fine. We will pass Villa Grove, Buena Vista and Twin Lakes on the left. The towering Mt Elbert (14443ft) on our left next is confirmation that we will soon be in sight of Leadville Airfield (KLXV), the highest strip in the US (9927 feet) and third highest in the World. Near Leadville is Mount Elbert, the highest point in Colorado at 14,443 feet. It is here that we will test our new knowledge in mountain flying. In the middle of a summer's day, taking off from Leadville could be equivalent to taking off from the top of Mt Elbert in Autumn. Knowing that would you attempth the departure? The higher temperatures of summer days effectively increase the density altitude at Leadville to over 14,000 feet, and if you do manage to get off the ground there is still trees and higher ground to clear.
This is why the uniques challenges of mountain flying are stressed. The rules are simply not the same as down in the thick air where most GA pilots have learnt their habits.From Leadville we head almost due west over the ridge to Aspen (KASE) elevation 7,820 feet. If the terrain is too daunting then we can again hug the valleys and follow the roads. Departing Aspen to the Southwest, we overfly several daunting ridges and canyons enroute to Gunnison, Colorado (GUC) elevation 7,673. The Black Canyon close by is in the top five scenic areas of Colorado. From Gunnison we head Southeast over North Pass (elevation 10,149 feet) back to Alamosa. This is in total about 5 hours of flying. It is well advised to do some training with the expert mountain instructors based at Alamosa. The cost for the instructor is $395.00 per day. Rental cost for the airplane is $99.00 per hour. We should put aside at least 1 day for this.
The total distance is in the region of 500nm. If you feel up to some more, we can do some low altitude flying after getting back into our turboprops and head off south to Albuquerque. This is a good place to get back on our commercial flight. An added bonus is that we can refuel or stopover in Los Alamos. This is especially useful for those of us whose planes are nuclear powered!
I have all the requisite topo maps etc and below is a beta flight plan. The VORs are not attached to the fields but are close enough to be a safety backup. Have fun! Read the FAA document, and get some sleep.
See you in the thin air!

# Type: Name: Frequency: Course: Dist.: Time:
Depart: Denver Intl [KDEN] ATC: 134.02 0 nm 00:00
Arrive: Albuquerque Intl Sunport [KABQ] ATC: n.a. 616 nm 04:20
Aircraft: Cessna C182RG Skylane
Cruise: 120 kts
1 Depart: Denver Intl [KDEN] ATC : 134.02 0 nm 00:00
--> Climb to 12000 feet.
3 Waypoint: ALAMOSA [ALS] VOR : 113.90 189° 160 nm 01:08
4 Waypoint: San Luis Valley Regl/Bergman [KALS] APT 324° 6 nm 00:02
5 Waypoint: Lake Co [KLXV] APT 337° 109 nm 00:45
6 Waypoint: RED TABLE (EAGLE) [DBL] VOR : 113.00 284° 30 nm 00:12
7 Waypoint: Aspen-Pitkin Co/Sardy [KASE] APT 163° 13 nm 00:05
8 Waypoint: BLUE MESA (GUNNISON) [HBU] VOR : 114.90 178° 47 nm 00:19
9 Waypoint: Gunnison Co [KGUC] APT 33° 7 nm 00:02
10 Waypoint: San Luis Valley Regl/Bergman [KALS] APT 131° 83 nm 00:34
12 Waypoint: ALBUQUERQUE [ABQ] VOR : 113.20 187° 151 nm 01:03
13 Arrive: Albuquerque Intl Sunport [KABQ] ATC : n.a. 80° 10 nm 00:04
Airport altitude 5354 ft
Total: (296 Gal fuel required) 616 nm 04:20

Special thanks to the crew at Leadville Airport for the inspiration behind this blog. See

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Art of Sway...2

It had to go somewhere. My Artist's Way life.
More productive? Creative? Change my job? Travel more? Live my dream?
The closest I can get to sharing the feeling of being an Art of Sway graduate (2x over) is to persuade you to do the following:

When you go to sleep tonight, hold your left arm vertically, balanced on your elbow, so as to need minimal effort to keep it there. Then reeeellllax...and go to sleep. What happens next is that as you fall asleep, your arm drops and wakes you up. Repeat the process till you are fibrillating between wake and sleep.....this should eventually pop you into the so-called hypnagogic state and, if you can remember how you saw the world when you come out of it, that is how I feel most the time these days!
So it was, that I popped out of my hypnopompic (gogic, but the other direction) state this morning and had the letter 'F' in my head. So, I played with it for a while and this is what followed:
This thought just popped out from a deep recall of the time (almost a decade ago) when I working with a marvellous chap, Dave Agates, a man who seemed to encapsulate all the above. He had a unique ability to understand and act on the needs of other people in a way that always seemed to bring a smile to his and the faces of all those around him. Whilst he seldom displayed great financial wealth, he managed to weave into his life a supportive financial structure that enabled him to fulfill the other F's to his best and most enjoyable ability. I was inspired and dedicate this concept to him and my recollection of it to The Artist's Way.
So, my mission today is to plan and review my day in terms of the above F words and to start by remembering that the MAIN THING is to keep THE MAIN THING THE MAIN THING and the first MAIN THING is (it is 08h00) and it is on my bike, down to the Botanical Gardens and an hour's Yoga and then cycle back...that will take care of the first in the list: FITNESS, and of course enable the rest, especially FUN!
Here goes.......(08h15)
see you later!
10h50: Rode down to Bot gardens and did an hour's yoga next to the bird lake. Opened my eyes after my savasana to find 2 hadedas and a long beaked bird standing next to me (less than a metre!) and obviously wondering what on earth I was doing.
Then, after pondering at how obvious the underlying principles of Evolution are when one takes the time to look at the evidence around you, I headed back up the hill via the orchid house.
That dispelled with FITNESS, FUN and FACT (Evolution, my dear Watson, Evolution!).
Now for FOOD!
10h55: Oats porridge and 5 roses tea with a touch more FACT in the form of National Geographic's feature magazine entitled, "WAS DARWIN WRONG?"
11h45: The nutritional marvel of Oats! Slow release complex carbohydrates give a low glycemic index which means 2 crucial things - (1) If you have metabolic syndrome (predisposing you to diabetes and cardio-vascular disease) this source of slow release energy will not cause the insulin spikes that are the root of most of your problems...and (2) If you have a good set of carb processing genes then you will not feel hungry till lunch time, which means that you are less likely to snack on sweets and chips! OK, that was FOOD and FIVE ROSES TEA.
11h48: FAMILY. Time to head off to Musgrave Centre armed with my 88 year old Mum's shopping list and my girlfriend's perfume research project. Two shops - Woolworths (not the same as the now ex Woolies in the UK) and Red Square to see if I can find a 30ml bottle of Gucci Rush at less than the Nairobi price of KES440.
See you later...after more FUN!
Being in the run up to Charles Darwin's 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of his 'Origin of the Species' I have been doing some reading around his remarkable (and surprizingly obvious) description of how things are and came to be. I was shocked to be reminded once again that 44% of Americans believe that the world and all in it was created (NOT BY EVOLUTION) but by a supreme being and less than 10000 years ago. After shaking my head (again!) in utter disbelief I decided that, if I do nothing else in this life I must be part of the movement to shift human conciousness out of the dark ages.
So it is that, on Thursday the 12th February 2009, I will celebrate Darwin's birthday and commit myself to being more vocal and engaging in matters where I can logically and ethically defend and support those who see light and freedom in a world of conditioning and illusion. It is only through the passionate pursuit of scientific and philosophical endeavour that we can develop and give to our children, the capacity for critical thinking. This is something quite different to a plain education, no matter how sophisticated it may sound. One gives the ability to perform complex tasks and achieve certain productive goals; the other is the ability to question and understand what it is that we are are doing. The space between these two discourses is the difference between finding meaning in life without the necessity for some extra-terrestrial or supernatural force and, on the other hand, being content with knowing the answer without much effort.
Naturally I expect and encourage some debate and indeed some acrimony. However, let me position myself first. I am a great believer in the transformative power of spiritual belief, but find the foundation belief in god a little dubious. I will, however, hope to behave myself in a respectful manner as 'many of my best friends are Christians, Hindus, Moslems, atheists, agnostics or confused and I am an equally ardent believer in our constitution which says that we can have freedom of a whole lot of things including believing that Don Bedford is a reverse engineered Cherokee from Naboomspruit.
GREAT...that was my FICTION for today!
13h45: Back from Musgrave having perfected my cycling grocery balancing act. It's grapes season and Woolies had a tray of demo grapes...cold and green! Bad mistake, more FOOD off my list!
I discovered that Gucci Rush 30mil is probably cheaper in Nairobi (KES4400 and R595 here). The Envy and Eden are discontinued but I may find them at Eccentric at the Pavilion. So, that's my next stop, but probably by motorcycle as it is a hell hot day and the time/distance equation is now talking!
WOW! Here's FUN with a BIG PH! I am googling 'The hypnagogic State and Creativity' and come up with this blog site:
Check it out! When people ask me what I miss the most when I am in Nairobi, I mutter something about it being challenging to find really interesting and divergent people....clearly I should spend more time in hyperspace...or Adams Morgan (which I know quite well, having cycled around looking for camping gas last September).
But, now, let me continue on my perfume mission! (15h30 and tempus fugit bigtime!)

17h00: Talking about habits and rituals, everytime I get on 2 wheels, motorized or not I experience a synthesis of Body, Mind and Soul, though occasionally, like this afternoon there is a hint of adrenalin added. Maybe I need to add (F)EAR to my list as a reminder of how precious life is.

The perfume shop came up with all the goods, and Ida is now one delighted Kenyan expat.

That just leaves FINANCES and FILMS for today. The latter is easy....I should DIVX my 'Steve The Stove' filmette and pop it onto my blog and, edit the Mombasa Girls movie till 9pm and then get 8 hrs sleep.....what a day!

As for FINANCES.....

Maybe I will just FORGET.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Believe it or not with Chappies Chewing gum

Che after hearing that Moore Rd in Durban is to be named after him.

The renaming of the roads in Durban has reached the next stage where the old names are now being taken down and most of us (if not all of us) are navigating a foreign city. I was pondering this while reading a history of one of South Africa's great tourist routes, the magnificent Chapman's Peak Drive in Cape Town.
I wondered what suitably Afrique Nuveau nomenclature could be affixed to this craggy bit of Africana should the ANC retake the Cape Town City and what the Hotel at the end would be called. For most Capetonians, the verhanda at 'Chappies' is synonymous with copious calamari. However, hitting a very blank wall, I instead recalled a childhood memory of Chappies Chewing Gum.
So it is that I want to share with you 2 tales entitled....'Believe it or not....with Chappies Chewing Gum" and in doing remind you that on the 12th February it is Charles Darwin's 200th birthday.

(Names have been changed to protect me from lightning)
I am having tea with my mum this morning and she tells me how my late Dad was a religious man but not fanatical. She goes on to tell how he had a theory that Moses had been a sharp meteorologist who knew when the rapid tides came and went in the Red Sea and was thus able to escape with the Jews from Egypt and drown the pursuing Egyptians. She then told me how her late father had explained the Jewish tradition of not eating pork by his theory that Abraham was a less successful pig farmer than his brother Isaac, so, using his position in the church, he banned the eating of pork....

My mum before reading Revelations...

The conversation went on ad infinitum till we were talking about the contradiction in Genesis re who married Cain (son of Adam and Eve) when Adam and Eve were the first humans created by God. My mum's explanation is that there were 'other people from another world' to which Cain fled, but she skirted around the issue of how and when God had actually created these other people. Clearly, she claims, they were black Africans, because we know that Adam and Eve lived in Jerusalem which is close to Africa and that is how Cain managed to go into exile and marry one of the dark people.

My mum after reading Revelations.

She then asked me how well I knew Revelations to which I replied that I had read it once, but could not recall the content too well. Mum assured me that she knew her bible inside out and that Relevations states that the white race will rule the earth for many years and then it will be taken over by the black race. But, in time, the white race will overcome the blacks and will rule forever. It is written in Revelations, she insisted. I, naturally, suggested that we should get the bible that I could see sitting on her dressing table from where we were having tea. She then said, 'No, we can't do that, I do not have the time, I have lots of house work to do!'
I said that I would get it and search Revelations from beginning to end and she could carry on working. She then wagged her finger at me and said, 'Don't you dare touch my bible!'
So we had another cup of tea and I pondered how similar my mother is to every priest, priestess or holy man I have ever met.
Thank god for Charles Darwin and Five Roses Tea!

As an adjunct, I was at the beach with a friend who is a young nurse, 'Vanessa' and I were chatting about how she deals with seeing dying people. Vanessa (who is a comitted christian) said that she feels sorry for Hindus as they are going to hell. A member of our party then pointed out that she should in fact then be very happy when Christians die in the ward as they are going to a wonderful place. Maybe, on the other hand, this experience of dying was giving her some doubts? No, on the contrary, says Vanessa, when you see how wonderful the human body is inside, how intricate is the heart and veins and valves, you know that it could only have been made by the supreme designer. My natural response was that clearly, the designer was not very good at all and had clearly not even passed his woodwork exam as the human body is full of flaws and mistakes (as a natural result of evolution). Vanessa raised her hands in horror and said, 'No, you can't say that! It's blasphemous!'
So we had another cup of tea, laughed and went home.
Thank Richard Dawkins for god.