Sunday, July 09, 2006

these crowing times

Other people's jobs are really boring to read about most of the time. But it strikes me that I've never written about what I do at the church office.

We don't actually sit around reading the Bible and praying - well, not all the time anyway.

Two days a week I make my way into the city and take up residence in a 19th century stone building which paradoxically holds quite a lot of modern office equipment.

Most of my time is spent at the main desk surrounded by computers, printers, modems, faxes and scanners. Information flows in by phone, fax and e-mail to be digested and distributed.

This Tuesday, for example, I did a first draft of the Sunday bulletin which we'll print later in the week. I corrected a set of rosters, typed a couple of letters, answered the e-mails, sold a book on baptism to someone who rang up looking for it, and checked the smoke alarms.

During my coffee break I listened to a new adaptation of Rider Haggard's novel She which is the current Classic Serial on BBC Radio 4's website. I remember reading this about forty years ago when I was at school. I don't recall the plot in detail but I can picture the cover picture and the old children's library in Macquarie Street. I find that memory sometimes works that way: like a collection of snapshots in an album.

This morning I was awake early and the roosters outside the back door started crowing. I went out and tried to keep them quiet. I was having mixed success, then the rooster inside started answering them.

I gave up at that point. Even if I could shush noisy fowls, I couldn't be in two places at once.

I'll be really happy when Julie finishes the extensions to her hen house and has room to take these two lads home with her.

Similarly, walking the dogs at Julie's house is full of unexpected adventures. Especially involving her border collie Emma, who is the most unpredictable dog I've ever met.

I can't stress enough that a border collie is not the ideal dog for those living in the city and inner suburbs. These dogs were bred for work in the outdoors and have the stamina to run all afternoon. They're also intelligent enough to get bored quickly in the backyard, meaning they tend to go over the fence at any opportunity.

This afternoon I took my eyes off her for 30 seconds to answer my mobile phone and when I looked up she was gone. After some searching I eventually found her around the corner and up the hill playing with a stray dog.

That's not the first time she's done something similar. She's such an escape artist we should have named her Houdini.

After a couple of weeks of frugality, I received a cheque that put my account back in the black for a while.

It probably won't stay there for long, because having money means you're more likely to spend it.

For example we were in the supermarket this afternoon and stopped at a display of groceries marked down. It would have been better to have passed by on the other side; in the end we loaded up with examples of three types of biscuits and no less than seven different varieties of tea.

American author Gilbert Stack has always had a passionate interest in history; he has a PhD in history and his academic focus has been the middle ages.

However his short story in the July issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine "Pandora's Luck" is a tale of the Old West, where prizefighter Corey Callaghan and his trainer, Patrick, travel the boxing circuit; in Denver, they meet the beautiful gambler Pandora Parson who seems to have her own strange sort of luck. "Look for more of Corey and Patrick's adventures in these pages in the future" promise the editors.

I've been working my way through one of my MP3 disks of old radio programmes I've collected. Usually I keep one of these in my room so I can listen to one or two before bed each night.

THE BLUE BEETLE 400517 Sabotage
Based on an old comic strip; this one was probably more fun to read than to listen to.

COUNTERSPY 490816 statue of death
U-235 smuggling in Mexico - the body count is dismayingly high in all the episodes I've heard of this show.

GREAT GILDERSLEEVE Birdie the heiress
Typical of the show's warm and fuzzy feel - everyone is dismayed at the prospect of their favorite housekeeper leaving the country.

GUNSMOKE 540712 Texas Cowboys
Matt Dillon faces a band of quick-tempered Texans when it looks like he will have to arrest one of them for murder. But he begins to believe that the man isn't the killer. Another episode of the quintessential western series.

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