“As though God were a god”

I’ve just finished re-reading C. S. Lewis’s first Christian book, The Pilgrim’s Regress. Published in 1933, just four years after he “gave in and admitted the God was God … perhaps the most dejected and reluctant convert in England”, the book is an allegorical account of his own journey into Christianity, which was largely a philosophical rather than emotional or personal one.

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I very much enjoyed the first three quarters or so; but as the book draws towards its climax, the characters display a regrettable tendency to break into poetry — a form which I have always struggled with.

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The abject and persistent incompetence of PlusNet

PlusNet had been my ISP for years — despite the many problems I’ve had with them (metered usage, not disclosing MAC key, secret packages). On top of all this, the actual service had degraded so much — with an outage pretty much every day — that on 18 July I finally decided to leave, and move to a more expensive but much faster BT deal. Hurrah!

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So needless to say, they have continued to bill me.

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Time for lunch!

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(Note that this is only half as much as on certain other occasions.)

What I’ve been reading lately, part 16

And Then There Were None — Agatha Christie

Arguably Christie’s most ridiculous plot — it strands its principal cast on an island and features ten murders and a suicide. Yet also, oddly, one of her most successful books, both commercially and artistically. If Wikipedia is to be trusted, it’s not only Christie’s best-selling book, but the fifth-best selling single-volume book of all time (surpassed only by The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Little Prince and, er, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. All seven of the Harry Potter books make it into the top 20).

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Is it worthy of that level of popularity? Well, no, of course not. Continue reading

Why do I bother writing to my MP?

I’ve written to my MP, the Conservative Mark Harper (Forest of Dean) quite a few times in the last few years, on many different subjects. (I use the “Write to Them” site.)

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And to give him credit, I have nearly always received a reply — in the post, printed on nice, heavy parchment-style paper.

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On “On “On Monday I placed two apples””

In November 2016, an anonymous critic wrote a sustained analysis on Andrew Rilstone’s now classic essay “On Monday I placed two apples“. The critique was published without a title, and is referred to for convenience as On “On Monday I placed two apples”.

I was fortunate enough to receive in the post a pamphlet containing this analysis, from an anonymous sender. It is itself a fascinating piece of work. The author appears to have had unprecedented access to Rilstone, allowing him or her a level of insight into the creative process not previously seen in other critical appraisals.

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** Reminder ** Biometrics Registration

Just got this email from our boys’ school


Dear Parent

Just a gentle reminder to return the reply slips for the Biometrics registration as soon as possible please.

I understand that 6th form believe they do not need to register. This is not the case, all pupils need to return their slips and register.

The registration days will be held in the Sports Hall on Friday 2 December and Friday 9 December and further information on times etc. will come from form tutors in due course.

Thank you for your co-operation.

[Name redacted]
Finance Manager


Hmmm.