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GroomNews Christmas 2010 December 18, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Advent and Christmas, Life, News.
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Archives2008 | 2009

GroomNews Christmas 2010

GroomNews Christmas 2010 (printer friendly version, pdf, 127kb)

Which Charity Would You Choose?
Like last year, instead of adding to the carbon-footprint chaos caused by billions of ultimately unwanted Christmas cards, we’re sending most of this year’s Christmas greetings without a card or by email only. But this time it’s your choice: where should we donate the money we would have spent on cards & postage? The charity which gets the most votes wins £50, as that’s the amount we think we might otherwise have thrown away: vote here today!

2010: All Change Again
We’ve settled in well to the semi-rural lifestyle and we made good friends with the wild birds last winter, but not sure where they’ve all gone this time around. If you see Bedfordshire’s bird population, please tell them there are seeds, fat balls and more waiting for them here.

Sue’s role has changed in the diocese following the retirement of her boss — no, not God, the DDO. Sue is now Interim Acting Diocesan Director of Ordinands, which keeps her very busy interviewing would-be priests and helping them as they find their way through the discernment process. At the same time she continues to be Priest-in-charge of Henlow and Langford. She does seem to have a habit of being appointed to jobs which subsequently double in size! Somehow, in between DDO interviews and parish work, Sue has also resumed her DMin studies, except it isn’t a DMin anymore it’s a DThM. Due date is 2012, which should be possible if she takes a sabbatical to write up. This should be feasible thanks to the arrival of the Revd Patsy Critchley as part-time Assistant Curate in November this year.

If you follow this blog or Phil’s twitterfeed @notbovvered you’ll know that he left LST in September. Things came to a head in July when LST initiated redundancy proceedings against him and several other members of staff, but rather than wait around to be shown the door Phil managed to find another job: he’s now working for Sainsbury’s in Biggleswade. Started in September: so far so good. A simple routine: go to Sainsbury’s, take stuff off the shelves, give Sainsbury’s money; go back to Sainsbury’s, put stuff on shelves, Sainsbury’s give Phil money. Less pay for less responsibility but immensely liberating and as Biggleswade is within walking distance of home, a substantial saving on travel. Please pray for others made redundant and for those left behind at LST battling their way through the education sector’s financial crisis.

Café Mocha, Biggleswade

Café Mocha, Biggleswade

Café Mocha
Before starting at Sainsbury’s, Phil spent a while working as a volunteer at Café Mocha, a Christian-run community café in Biggleswade. Whether you fancy an Americano, a Gingerbread Latte or Mocha Snowball, Café Mocha is the place to get yours: the friendliest and best fairtrade café in town! Find out more at cafemocha.org.uk or facebook.com/CafeMochaBiggleswade

Almost is now moored closer to home, at Milton Keynes Marina on the Grand Union. This year’s summer holiday took us from the Kennet & Avon, up the Thames and via the Oxford Canal to the Grand Union. Most enjoyable, especially catching up with a few friends along the way. It was too hot the first week and too wet the second: typical British weather — but at least it didn’t snow!

Phil’s Parents
It’s been an interesting year for Phil’s parents, with his Dad having a mini-stroke and his Mum having a hip replacement. The net result is that Dad has slowed down and Mum has got faster. Please pray for them as they readjust to one another’s strengths and weaknesses.

This year Ed, one of our nephews, was posted to Afghanistan with the RAF. Please pray for a speedy resolution of the conflict and a safe return home for him and all the troops.

Thank You
Thank you for your friendship over the past year: this comes with our love, best wishes for Christmas and our prayers for peace in the year ahead,

Vote now for the charity you’d like to receive our Christmas card money! We’ve selected 5 but feel free to nominate another via the comments below: if other readers shout out for them then they might win instead!

A New Beginning September 20, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Life.
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Sainsbury's, Biggleswade

Sainsbury's, Biggleswade

THIS is where I start work today. They’ve given the store a major overhaul in anticipation of my arrival: it reopened on Tuesday last week, extended from 28,000 sq ft to 45,000 sq ft. I’ll be one of a new intake of 53 new staff on the team.

It’s within walking distance of home and I am so looking forward to not having that 2-hour each way commute through London — not to mention the saving in travel costs (though it may cost me a few bob in shoe leather).

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(and if anyone’s wondering, no, this doesn’t spell the end of my involvement in the Christian book trade: UKCBD and the Christian Bookshops Blog goes on).

Seek ye the good… June 7, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Random Musings, Theological Reflection.
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Café Mocha, Biggleswade

Café Mocha, Biggleswade

So there I was, doing my stint in Café Mocha, Biggleswade, and a customer was telling me his life story, as they do. If you’ve ever worked in a café you’ll be familiar with this: if you’re willing to listen, you’ll soon become privy to everyone’s innermost secrets. I think the same thing happens in barber shops and hairdressers.

This particular gentleman told me about a piece of doggerel he’d discovered on a mug many years ago: it had stuck in his mind and had a profound effect on his attitude to other people:

Seek ye the good in every man
Speak of all the best ye can
Then will all men speak well of ye
And say how kind of heart ye be

It was written, of course, in the days when men were men, and so were the women. These days, men are men, women are women and the rest of us are either transgendered or wish we were: it clearly needed rewriting for an inclusivist era. I consulted my inner woman and this is what we came up with:

Seek ye the good in everyone
Speak not ye ill of anyone
Then will all speak well of ye
And say how kind of heart ye be

It almost works, but there’s a significant difference, we think, between speaking the best you can of someone and not speaking ill of them. So, a competition is called for: can you do better? Can you come up with a version that still rhymes and scans, is inclusivist, and retains the original emphasis? Your prize will be the satisfaction of doing better than we could 🙂

But it set me thinking in other directions too: part of me wants to cheer and say it’s a great principle to live by; another part of me says actually, it’s plain daft — whilst we can do our best to speak the best of everyone, if that’s all we ever do we’re in serious danger of becoming hypocrites: isn’t it better to be honest and if someone’s being a prat, tell them so? And whilst it may feel good to have everyone speaking well of us, isn’t there a danger there too? A danger that Jesus warned us about:

Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.

So maybe, just maybe, our version is an improvement on the original? And when we see bullying, hypocrisy, injustice, unethical or unfair business practices, I guess we’re just gonna have to accept that some people out there won’t like us speaking out about it. As someone else far wiser than me once said, the only thing evil needs to succeed is for those who know better to remain silent…

Nearly Famous October 31, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in News.
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Thank you to the good people at the Biggleswade Chronicle (yes, David, Biggleswade really is for real) for featuring both Sue and me in this week’s issue, welcoming Sue to the area and bigging up my dreams for a new bookshop for the area.

Sue made page 21 and online, I made page 31. That’s definitely nearly famous in my book.

Biggleswade Chronicle, p.21

Biggleswade Chronicle, p.21

Biggleswade Chronicle, p.31

Biggleswade Chronicle, p.31

Daring to Dream October 27, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Bookshop Ramblings, Watching and Waiting.
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Books for EveryoneI dreamed a dream.

I dreamed of people reading: an older man in his armchair, laughing uproariously at Bill Bryson’s latest; a young man, marching along, head in his book, enthralled, enchanted, oblivious to the world around him; a woman, relaxing with a new romance — or was it a crime story or a thriller she was absorbed in? Two children, excited as they discovered new worlds, new possibilities.

Who were these people? I don’t know: they could have been me, they could have been you; but all of them were loving and enjoying their books, real books printed on real paper.

Where were these people? They were everywhere. But as I looked, I could see them close to home, not far away at all: in my street, in my neighbourhood; and so another dream was born and began to take shape: Biggleswade Books.

Can that dream become reality? I hope so; and I hope that you, gentle reader, will share my dream…

Biggleswade Books: Dreaming of a new, independent bookshop for Biggleswade and the surrounding area.

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