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My Stories

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Speaking in Tongues

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This morning I was stopped in my tracks by this powerful piece of art in Chichester Cathedral from Paul Benney called ‘Speaking in Tongues.’ He has ‘”depicted the apostles as people who are known to him – friends and contemporaries. ……………… from different ethnicities and religious backgrounds together, as they collectively experience a profound spiritual awakening.” Read More

Uganda story

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Friends Marcus and Ellen (Sweden) told me this story about when they were travelling on a local bus in Uganda with a pastor. They got off and gave 500 to the pastor for the journey – the bus driver suggested that the pastor could have charged 1000 and kept the money because they are mzungus (white people) and they don’t know the price. The pastor says that if you charge the correct fare to the mzungus then you will be blessed. The driver is not convinced and drives off but a few stops later the whole bus empties and another group of people fill the bus – another stop later the same thing happens – this means the bus driver gets a lot more money than he expects – he is amazed saying this has never happened before – and he asks who were these mzungus that have caused this blessing to happen – the pastor replies that they are men and woman of God. He is overheard later telling other bus drivers of his meeting with the people of God and the blessing that he encountered!

How long will the priest preach?

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DSC02758I found this curious sand hourglass in a church on Skaftö Island, Sweden. In days past, an hourglass was turned when the priest started preaching. Apparently, if he didn’t finish before the sand ran out, permission was given for people to leave the church!

Book review

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The Heart of everything that is – Bob Drury & Tom Clavin

This book is more than the story of Red Cloud, the great Sioux warrior; it is a history of the Great Plains, chronicling the story of the land and it’s tribes. The ancient way of life is forced to change as a trickle of pioneers from the East coast turns to a rush of settlers to the gold fields in the West. This book is an incredibly honest narrative of the men and woman behind the stories of intrigue, councils, trade, betrayal and confrontation.

Latcho Drom

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Enjoy this fantastic French documentary called Latcho Drom (“safe journey”) that brings a little insight into the journey of the Romany people through musicians and dancers (there is very little dialogue). I love how the musical sound and styles have evolved as the communities have wandered from India, to Egypt, Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, France, and Spain.

Scottish recording archive

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Radio 4 often has some wonderful programs telling the stories behind the music – today there was a program by Julie Fowlis an acclaimed Hebridean musician and singer, talking about a project that is collating the amazing stories and musical heritage in Scotland. Tobar an Dulchais (translated as “a well of heritage”) is an incredible online resource which has been set up to preserve  recordings in Scots, Gaelic and many other local dialects. At the moment they have a catalogue of 30,000 songs, music, stories and poetry which have been recorded since the 1930’s all over Scotland  – all of which you can listen too online.

Perspective

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We often use maps of the world to encourage people to discuss perspective – all maps are saying something but often it is not what we think they are saying.  You have to know what the cartographer is trying to depict to really understand the map. Also as time moves on we learn more and can ask questions behind why we might have done things a certain way in the past eg for political reasons. Here’s a fun clip from a TV episode that looks at this conundrum.

Interestingly whilst on a recent flight I read about “trap streets” – apparently cartographers for centuries have misnamed streets or made up new ones for the sole purpose of catching those who copied or reprinted maps as their own. The London A-Z was reported to have more than 100 trap streets by the mid 2000’s. This you will be pleased to know is now a dying art!

Nozumi project – Ishinomaki, Japan

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Heard about a wonderful social enterprise project called the Nozumi project in Japan. Using broken shards of pottery and recycled material found amongst the debris of the 2011 tsunami, a group in Ishinomaki are making unique jewelry to help their community.

“Nozomi, translated ‘hope’ in Japanese, is a social enterprise bringing sustainable income, community, dignity and hope to the women in Ishinomaki, Japan by training women to craft unique jewelry products.  One third of these women are single mothers and grandmothers; most of these women and their family members lost their livelihood when the tsunami crashed through half of their city in 2011.​”