Monday, 27 December 2010

2010/11 even snowier winter!

Wed 1 Dec
Visit to Snailbeach, Stiperstones, the village and Stiperstones Inn. Climbed the iced up and snowy summit tor from Snailbeach. Met a yg woman with her dog and mountain board with wheels taken off and used as a snow board. Area of lead mining in the 19th century.

Friday 3 Dec
First walk from Hope Bowdler to Caer Caradoc via Willstone Hill and its rocky outcrop. Snow, wind and very cold.

Sunday 5 Dec
The day before my return to work after breaking my left collar bone. Climb from Bwlch Oerddrws towards Glasgwm. Too much soft snow to make the summit, so turned back about halfway along the N edge of the forest that had been clear felled apart from many clumps of trees that were left.

Sunday 26 Dec A Boxing Day walk with a difference and with a dghtr!
Soft, deep snow on this walk with Becky from below the normal sharp corner on the mt road to Bala. Snow on the steepening road meant that we parked with two other cars about 500 m away, on the tarmac free of snow. Wading, swimming and ploughing through the snow on the higher ground was very hard work. I greatly appreciated the trail blazing by Becky so that I could put my boots in her footprints. She often offered to break the trail to help the old man keep up with her and she was always uncomplaining. She later said, "It was just nice to be out in the big mountains and in the snow once more." A few times I put my hand down and it disappeared up to my armpit! You then had to struggle, swim and roll around before you could stand up and take the next floundering step! Snow up to halfway up the fencing and deeper in places. Reached summit Foel Hafod-fynydd at 689 metres

I made the mistake of walking N to get out of the strong and v cold S wind and then deciding to explore the attractive looking ridge and minor summit at the end of it. We then had a real battle with the snow traversing above the steep ground, below the ridge we had followed up; on through the deep snow to find the footpath that led onto the ascent/descent track and safety. We should have returned from the 689 m summit the same way that we had come. Deep snow and long grass meant that, at one stage, we were breaking through an upper crust of snow into air beneath!

Back home, Becky let the cat out of the bag over my mountain omissions and failings. She gleefully reported to everyone that I had tried to put on my overtrousers on a snowy hillside, only to discover that they wouldn't fit over my big winter boots! She remembered that I also went sliding down one slope with my ice axe uselessly still strapped to the rucsac. Earlier, I had poo pooed the idea of getting the axe in my hand when Becky got hers ready for business. I was also trying out new gloves from the Meiron Mill in Dinas. Snow balled up on them and got under the fingers flap. My ultrafleece suit and other layers were warm when on the move but also attracted the snow but slid off my black nylon waiscoat or gilert. My heavy winter jacket was rolled up in my rucsac ready for raging blizzard conditions - that we didn't get.

That day saw a very strong S wind, yet very cold. But it portended what came the next day - the thaw set in.

Saturday 8 January 2011
I had a great walk from Eisteddfa Gurig on the A44 to Y Garn 684m, a hill I last climbed on the 30 August 1982, that I remember absolutely nothing about! I then went on to Pumlumon Fawr where I had mum's cheese roll. It was wonderfully and bitterly cold with the strong W wind that meant the wind chill temp must have been at least -10C. I had base layer, corduroy shirt, ultrafleece studded shirt, ultrafleece zipped jacket, all topped out with my very heavy, blue winter mountaineering jacket. Even then, when heading into the ferocious wind, I really needed my silk balaclava on to block the draughts zipping through the gaps between hood and face. I've never known that before! I only saw two other young guys on the way up, as I was coming down.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Kings Kids thoughts

This was an enjoyable evening of Israeli dance, music and verses from the Bible performed by mostly young Israelis who were all, also, Messianic Jews (Jewish Christians). Therefore, all had an unshakeable conviction that God had chosen only themselves, the People of Israel, for a special blessing and favour from the Lord. Only this tiny portion of God created humanity was to be treated as special, as God's Chosen People. All the other 99% of humankind is very plain and ordinary. Therefore, God shows partiality, favouritism, that is hardly in line with God being a God of justice, treating everyone the same.

It is also an unfortunate impression that Israel is a cut above all the other peoples of the world. It indicates that Israel has a certain hubris. Christianity also feels that it, alone is the true faith. Some Christians say they are the new Israel, the new Chosen People of God (replacement theology, I understand). Their faith alone is the manifestation of God's will; is the true Kingdom of God. They are the true city set on a hill; sometimes known as manifest destiny, who have a special favour and relationship with God. Therefore, the majority of humankind are second class citizens.

The evening was also noted for the leader of Kings Kids speaking with approval that one of the brothers was to enter the Israeli Defence Force in a few weeks time. The 16 year old young man in the dance group also told me how he was looking forward to entering the army. Therefore, Messianic Jews deny the Old Testament assertion, "Not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit, says the Lord" (Zech 4 v 6). The spirit of Jesus, that should include non-violence but never does, goes out of the window in favour of military might, great power and force. You don't talk and compromise and make friends of Arabs, Palestinians, Muslims, Hamas, Hezbullah, you just grind their noses in the dirt and make even more vociferous enemies of your neighbours. Extraordinary!

The evening was also noted for use of the quote from the Bible, that we are"to pray for the peace of Jerusalem." The context is never quoted but, it goes on as, "May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls,and security within your towers." (Psalm 122 v 6, 7). This is often quoted by Messianic Jews and born again Christians (the true believers) but, the verses strike me as fair enough if the literal interpretation is taken, that Jerusalem is never to be the subject of war - ever again. However, it again shows God as biased, showing favouritism and only interested in peace for one capital city out of the 193 nations of the world. All the other 192 can have struggles, conflict and wars, as far as God is concerned. Again, quite extraordinary!

However, the leader of Kings Kids on the evening, told me that it meant praying for the return of Christ. My wife said it was to do with the people of Jerusalem finding true peace through making their peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Quran v Bible; Islam v Christianity

My motivation for reading the Koran was to get to the truth about the widespread assertion that the Koran tells Muslims to go out and kill the infidels (the unbelievers). In addition, as Muslims believe that Jesus is a great prophet, do they then follow his teaching in the Sermon on the Mount about loving enemies, turning the other cheek and being a peacemaker rather than a warmonger? (Not that the followers of Jesus, themselves, have been zealous in following this particular teaching for the last 1,700 years.)

This is the Jesus who was non-violent and non-aggressive in all he said and did. The irony is that the faith where Jesus is the most central is by far and away the most violent and aggressive when comparing the track record of Muslim and Christian nations over the last 1,400 years. The evidence for this is found on my blog and, in particular, in my piece, "Islam is all sweetness and light when ... " Both Islam and Christianity accept violence/aggression as perfectly acceptable from time to time, especially for self-defence. Having now read both the Koran and the Bible, the Bible, thanks to the Old Testament, is clearly the winner with the prize of most bloodshed.

Today, I finished reading the Koran (over 600 pages). Rather heavy going and nothing much that anyone could possibly take exception to. Lots of "God is Forgiving and Merciful" and being condemnatory of the unbelievers and polytheists and hypocrites. Old Testament characters and Jesus are given a similar treatment as we have in the Bible, except that Jesus is not the Son of God or divine, of course.

There were no stories of blood and gore, either, as you get in the Bible. No killing of unbelievers (infidels), except in self defence or when they are persecuting the Muslims. "Kill those who war against you." No holy war, either that we get in Deuteronomy ch 20 v 1-20 with the rules for waging holy war! The word, 'paradise' was never found, nor was that pernicious idea of suicide bombing to go straight to paradise. The nearest word to paradise was heaven and the Garden. However, I did find the following:

"And those who are slain in the way of God, He renders not their actions vain. He will guide them and improve their state and bring them into the Garden, which He has made known to them." Surah 47: 4-6. Also, Surah 4: 74, below.

Earlier in verse 4 in this Surah we read that, after battle against unbelievers, to show "either grace or ransom till the war lays down its burdens." Grace, I suppose, meaning showing forgiveness and mercy and releasing prisoners or, ransoming prisoners of war, perhaps.

One good verse about "Assuredly, the creation of the heavens and the earth is greater than the creation of humankind" Surah 40 v 57. And, my translation had humankind, too and not mankind. This is good, for me, if the verse means that the heavens and the earth will outlive humans and, if it means that we need to stop the deterioration of the earth's life support systems from human activities. This verse got the nearest to humans needing to follow the principles of stewardship of the planet. Stewardship of the earth's resources is also not found in the Bible - only plenty of references to people being stewards or servants. Sharing/equality (aka the Marx/Engels idea) is found in 2 Corinthians 8 v 13-15. Again, in contrast, the Bible has humans being greater than every other living thing (in Genesis 1) and being free to do as they will with the earth's resources and everything on it ("dominion over").

Quotations on the subject of Islamic warfare or, what we prefer to call, Islamic terrorism:

Surah 2: 190-193 "Fight in the way of God against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! God loves not aggressors. ... if they attack you then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. But if they desist, then lo! God is Forgiving, Merciful. And fight them until persecution is no more."

Surah 2: 216 "Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful to you."

Surah 2: 217 "Warfare (in the sacred month) is a great transgression. ... And they will not cease from fighting against you until they have made you apostates from your religion, if they can" (This is what NATO - the traditional Christian nations of N America and W. Europe - is doing in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Pakistan border. In addition, on the backs of the military, are the Christian missionaries working hard to save Muslims as they turn from Islam to Christ or, to make them 'apostates' from their religion.)

Surah 3: 199-200 "Be patient and outdo your enemy in patience, be ready and fear God, in order that you may succeed."

Surah 4: 29-30 "... and kill not one another. Lo! God is ever Merciful to you. Whoever does that through aggression and injustice, We shall cast him into Fire, and that is ever easy for God."

Surah 4: 74 "Let those fight in the way of God who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoever fights in the way of God, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward." (not a harem of virgins in Paradise for the men and nothing for the women suicide bombers, as is commonly supposed by non-Muslims - and some Muslims, too!)

Surah 4: 75-76 "How should you not fight for the cause of God and of the feeble among men and of the women and the children who are crying, 'Our Lord!'. Bring us forth from out this town of which the people are oppressors! Oh give us from you some protector! Oh, give us from you some defender! Those who believe do battle for the cause of God; and those who disbelieve do battle for the cause of idols. So fight the minions of Satan." (this appears to reflect a time when Muslims were being persecuted)

Surah 4: 84 "So fight (O Muhammad) in the way of God. ... Perhaps God will restrain the might of those who disbelieve. God is stronger in might and stronger at inflicting punishment." (appears that the Muslims were suffering at the time of these writings)

Surah 4: 88-89 "... if they (self: unbelievers) turn back to enmity then take them and kill them wherever you find them, and choose neither protector nor helper from among them." (killing only in self-defence is allowed)

Surah 4: 90-91 "If they keep not aloof from you nor offer you peace nor hold their hands (self: nor hold back from killing Muslims), then take them and kill them wherever you find them. Against such We have given you clear warrant."

Surah 4: 100-101 " ... it is no sin for you to curtail your worship if you fear that those who disbelieve may attack you. In truth, the disbelievers are an open enemy to you."

Surah 7: 55-56 "(O People!) Call upon your Lord humbly and in secret. Lo! He loves not aggressors."

Surah 47: 4-6 "Now when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then it is smiting of the necks until, when you have routed them, then making fast of bonds; and afterward either grace or ransom till the war lays down its burdens. ... He may try some of you by means of others. And those who are slain in the way of God, He renders not their actions vain. He will guide them and improve their state, and bring them into the Garden, which He has made known to them."

Quotations about men/women:

Surah 2:228 "Women have rights similar to those of men over them in a just manner and men are a degree above them. God is Mighty, Wise."

Surah 4:26-28 "God would make the burden light for you, for man was created weak." (However, 'man' here, probably means men and women.)

Quotation about Abraham (Muslims, Christians and Jews are all children of Abraham or, all descended from him)

"Abraham was not a Jew, nor yet a Christian; but he was true Muslim, and he was not of the polytheists."

The Quran on manslaughter

Surah 5: 32 "We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all human kind, and whoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all humankind."

The Quran on Judaism and the Bible

Surah 5: 67-69 "O People of the Scripture! You have nothing (of guidance) till you observe the Torah and the Gospel. ... Lo! Those who believe and those who are Jews and Sabaeans and Christians - whosoever believes in God and the Last Day and does right - no fear shall come upon them neither shall they grieve."

Tim Weller 21 November 2010

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Much more remembrance of many more troops needed

"We should never forget the lives which were lost during the First World War fighting for our country. They were heroes and should rightly be remembered by us and future generations to come." James Morris

"It is a wonderful deed, of great honour, to fight and die for your country". Such thoughtless but noble obedience is, of course, the ultimate in bravery, in sacrifice, in service and heroism. Why is it, then that we are only at war with three countries - Iraq (though less so now), Afghanistan and, even Pakistan with our drone attacks on villagers?

Can we please have more war fighting to give more of our young men and women the opportunity to serve our nation in heroic sacrifice, in great bravery and service as they kill and then get killed, and so be remembered by a grateful nation for ever.

Please see what you can do in Parliament to maintain and extend our war fighting attacks around the world to bring peace and democracy to the unfortunate countries who don't know any better.

Continuous at-sea deterrent

" ... can my right hon. Friend confirm the absolute centrality in his thinking of the fact that we need to maintain a continuous at-sea deterrent?" James Morris MP

" Dr Fox: I have absolutely no problem in agreeing with my hon. Friend about the importance of continuous at-sea deterrence." Secretary of State for Defence

Our continuous at-sea deterrent, the Trident submarine, is essential for a great superpower and sea power that we always have been and always will be. We only, in the last fifty years, graciously and generously gave away the biggest and longest lasting empire in the history of the world and, therefore, we need to continue to punch above our weight.

The UK is as important as the US, of course and, as they have a continuous at-sea deterrent, so must we. We are the unofficial 51st state of the USA, we have a special relationship with them that means what they do we must do. Our big friend always knows best and we must continue to follow where they lead. We can't have some well-meaning types saying that we should think for ourselves and be independent of the USA.

In addition, of course, our continuous at-sea deterrent has prevented war and attacks on our land since the 2nd World War. Our continuous at-sea deterrent impresses our enemies like al Qaeda and the Taliban and shows them what a rich and muscle flexing and aggressive nation we are. We deserve to be a permanent member of the UN Security Council, for ever - thanks to our power and might in the world, reinforced by our continuous at-sea deterrent.

After all, we can't have the UK becoming like Norway that is notorious for its diplomacy and peace-mongering in attempting to settle the wars between Israel and Palestine and the recently ended violence in Sri Lanka.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


... compared with the Christian West and Israel!
  1. The 20th century was the most violent, destructive and horrific in the history of humanity, it seems to me. But we can't blame the Muslims, the Hindus, the Buddhists or the blacks. It has to be us - the Christians and the whites, in my opinion!
  2. Centuries of persecution of Jews by Christians and not Muslims.
  3. You can't blame Islam for the holocaust. It was a Christian nation that did it.
  4. Centuries of on/off warfare in Europe between the Christian nations cannot be blamed on Islam. In fact, centuries of interference, invasions, attacks and occupations around the world by the white man was much more widespread, harmful and longer lasting than Islamic empires like the Mogul Empire in India.
  5. Those European centuries of violence ended in the Great (magnificent) War to end all wars that Islam did not start. The Christian European nations started it and such was their unsatisfactory and unjust settlement that it then led to World War part 2 in 1939!
  6. It was not Islam who also gave the world WMD and were the first to use them.
  7. You can't blame the Muslims for vapourising Pacific Ocean islands on which nuclear bombs were tested.
  8. The traditional Christian and Bible based, Western nations made 11 mega tonnes bombs that are 1,000 times more destructive than the Hiroshima bomb. Our half a mega tonne thermo-nuclear bomb makes it the most powerful weapon of mass destruction ever. All this evil intent is nothing to do with the much criticised (and even despised) Arabs, Muslims, Middle East nations!
  9. It is our good friend and ally, the President of the USA who has the means to annihilate most of humanity; not a Muslim president or President Ahmadinejad of Iran.
  10. The richest and most economically and military powerful nations and empires have been the Christian ones. They have dominated the world for centuries. Yet, their founder rejected any kind of domination in the Temptations of Christ.
  11. It was the Christian nations who had the most slaves and indulged in the most slavery when compared with the Arab nations.
  12. It was not Islam who that was responsible for Bloody Sunday and other horrors over 800 years of our occupation, settlement planting and colonial rule in Ireland.
  13. Islam is not responsible for the thousands of men, women and children that our friend and ally, Israel has killed in its 62 yrs. 1,400 alone in the 2008/9 war on Gaza. In contrast, 13 Israelis were killed in that same war.
  14. It was not Islam that introduced concentration camps. It was, guess who? Us - the UK in the Boer War. The camps killed 20,000 women and children!
  15. It was not Islam that was responsible for Bhopal and decades of indifference, carelessness and complacency in the USA.
  16. You cannot blame the the Islamic nations for the most greenhouse gas emissions and the most "help yourself to the most natural resources in the world" mentality and behaviour of the West.
  17. The Christian nations and the Church waged their holy Crusades against 'evil' Islam. Evangelical Christian, GW Bush Jnr did the same with the War of Terrorism launched on 7 October 2001 that continues to this day. He called it a crusade until he was told not to.
  18. We can't blame Islam for attacking Iraq to remove their WMD, only to find there were none, after all!
  19. We can't blame Islam for the West's hypocritical behaviour in removing leaders it doesn't like but preaching the importance of electing governments and their leaders.
  20. We cannot blame Islam for wiping out so many of the very long established, original peoples in both North and South America. It was Spain, France and the UK taking God, guns and the white man's germs. God led them to believe He had given them the new lands across the Atlantic. Guns helped to kill the original peoples; and, germs brought diseases that, again, led the colonisers to sincerely believe it was the hand of the good Lord in using the Western, European brought diseases to make it easier for them to claim the land for themselves as the Indians succumbed to foreign diseases and died in their hundreds of thousands (from BBC Radio 4, 'America: Empire of Liberty')
  21. Unlike the Christian nations, Islam did not interfere or involve itself in affairs to bring Muslim culture, Shariah law, governance and Islamic faith to the Western, white nations. Rather, we have seen attempts by the hegemonic, white, Western European and Christian nations to impose their culture, commercialism, democracy and Christianity on the Middle East nations - and, SE Asia in the immediate post-war years.
  22. We can’t blame Islam for the Korean War of 1950–1953 when, according to Lord Alton, nearly 3 million died (mostly Korean) but of which 38,000 were US and UN soldiers, 600,000 Chinese combatants and 1,000 UK servicemen. (‘Today’ programme on 27.11.10)
  23. It was not Islam that was responsible for slaughtering 2-4 million men, women and children in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in the West's war from 1959 to 1975.
  24. It was not Islam that was responsible for apartheid. Rather, it was the Dutch Reformed Church from Western Europe - yet, again, the stamp and authority and dictat of supposedly enlightened, forward thinking and so very democratic and civilised and traditional Christian nations!
  25. We can't blame Islam for running the world in such a partial, lopsided way that the traditional Christian, white and very powerful nations have it all their own way on the world stage.
  26. Muslim convert and heavyweight boxing champion at 32 yrs, Mohammed Ali, went to prison rather than fight in that crime of aggression, the Vietnam War. I have not heard of any Christian who had that same moral courage as that famous Muslim. Rather, some dodged the draft by fleeing to Canada.
  27. We have proved to be the worst or the real terrorists down the centuries with our empires that were founded on violence throughout the world. Many Western European nations, in order to found their empires, went out to explore, conquer and decimate local populations of black people who wanted nothing more than to be left alone.
  28. The Bible based and Christian European nations, if you look through history from today back down through past centuries, have killed many more humans than the Islamic nations.
  29. It was not Muslims who invented poison gas, nor were they the first to use it.
  30. The vast bulk of prison mistreatment, abuse, rape, torture and murder in Iraq and Afghanistan was done by foreign, NATO soldiers and not the home-grown prison officers and soldiers.
  31. British intelligence was complicit in the mistreatment and even torture of Muslim detainees.
  32. It was not Muslims who killed 23 people in Oklahoma in 1996.
  33. It was Muslims who killed nearly 3,000 men and women on 11 September 2001. The Quran frequently asserts that their God is forgiving and merciful. Our nine years and continuing reaction of furious warfare shows that our version of God is the exact opposite. Our Bible says, “ ‘Vengeance is mine. I will repay’, says the Lord.” We believe the Lord needs a little help with his revenge!
  34. Even taking into account that the Bible is very much bigger than the Quran, from my reading of both, there is clearly much more bloodshed in the Bible than the Quran. In fact, there are no stories of bloodshed in the Quran. In the Bible, we have 'Rules for waging holy war' in Deuteronomy 20 v 1-20. My commentary has: " ... holy war is not a human enterprise ... but is an action in which the Lord himself is engaged and in which his people respond with fanatical devotion." Does that help to explain the much greater violence and aggression by the Christian nations than the Islamic ones?

Monday, 6 September 2010

Why not believe in God?

  • There is no evidence for 'God'. It has to be solely a question of faith.
  • There was no creation moment for life on earth but, perhaps, there was for the universe almost 14 billion years ago, after the Big Bang gave birth to it.
  • But, there is evidence that 'God' created the earth for dinosaurs - from their successful occupation of the planet for many tens of millions of years. Unlike humans very brief track record and their malign effect for both themselves and all other life forms.
  • Therefore, why did 'God' create the world for humans AND, in his image, too?! Does that not reflect very badly on 'God'? What on earth was 'God' doing creating humans? He was either mad, bad or made a genuine mistake! None of these options are consistent with 'God' and the nature that the theists say he has.
Colin's thought:
If God is all knowing, why would he embark upon a pointless
experiment to test our faith ? After all, he is GOD and would therefore
already know who would fail and who would pass the tests and temptations He
places in our paths. The idea of free will seems equally odd for God would
already know our fate. He would also be aware of the misery and pain we
would inflict upon our fellow, innocent creatures and our planet. This
God, or at least as I understand the whole set up, seems a bit of a sadist.
(I say this whilst checking behind me just in case there is a bolt of
lightening on its way). Colin Port

Myself: Is not a temptation - for example a lustful thought - a sin in itself, quite apart from the act of lust itself? In addition, isn't lust an essential element of human nature to ensure the continuation of the species? The Lord's Prayer, "lead us not into temptation" is well meaning but unrealistic and is asking God to censor our thoughts that is quite impossible ever to happen.

The theists say that God has given us free will, so we are not robots. We are free to disobey him and free to obey him. His omniscience should have told him that there would be the Fall in the Garden of Eden and more disobedience, as you write, and very much more disobedience. So why create the suicidal and ecocidal maniacs that are humans? It just does not add up; no, not one little bit!

However, the scientific, open, objective mind set should properly lead us to agnosticism until there is cast iron proof that it was man who created God. The believers get out of that by saying that it was God who put the thought of himself in their heads and who allowed them to work out his nature. So you can't win!

The Bible says, God created the world, not the solar system, not the
galaxy, not the universe! The Bible view, I believe I'm right in saying,
is of a flat world, with the stars in the heavens as the roof or ceiling
for the world and hell or hades is in the basement. It was the RCs who
tortured Galileo for saying it was nothing like that, I understand! (But I
must check my facts, sometime.)

Hello Tim,

Just one final thought. Atheists are, no doubt, overjoyed by Stephen
Hawking's pronouncement that God's presence was not essential for the
universe to form as this was just a coincidental collision of gases and
elements. The Believers would argue however, that it was God who put the
gases and elements there in the first place. And if that doesn't silence
the doubters, the Believers can always revert to their usual response
"because it says so in the Bible".

On a lighter note, it is said that we are all products of the "Big Bang".
The question is, does that mean we are formed of stardust........ or
nuclear waste?

Colin 7 September 2010

Thanks for this amusing piece.

And, at what point did God create the world and everything in it - at the
Big Bang or when the planet emerged or when life of some kind was first
seen or when the first section of the Bible was written or when the Church
of England was created by King Henry 8th who gave himself the divine right
to rule? The earth and everything on it is constantly and very slowly

The words that the Christians use for Jesus Christ are also anachronistic
eg King (I'm a republican); Lord (part of the aristocracy); Master (better
to be a servant, according to Jesus). In our history, kings and lords were shockingly brutal
and murderous and rarely exemplary role models.


Friday, 6 August 2010

Friends of Israel AND of Palestine!

Dear friend - of Prayer for Israel organisation

I have picked up my wife's copy of your latest 'Prayer Bulletin' on this Christmas Day (2008) afternoon and read some of it.

It does seem to be more about saving native-born Israelis for an eternity in heaven, rather than working for a more heavenly holy land, in the hear and now, where justice is done and seen to be done for the impoverished Palestinians, as well as the paranoid Jews. Do you, in fact, see any part of your discipleship as being about opposing Israeli government policy when it comes to allowing further homes forJews by forcing out Palestinians and turning a blind eye to further settlements in the West Bank? The new Great Wall or fence is encroaching into great swathes of the West Bank to leave the suffering Palestinians in an even more desperate plight. They are being constricted into enclaves controlled by the IDF and seem to be treated like prisoners in poorly run, open prisons where all movement is determined by the Israelis. Is this the way for your friends in Israel - born again believers and devout Jews - to be conducting themselves? Do you think that this turning of the screw ever further on the oppressed Palestinians is the best way to win friends and influence people? Or do you feel it perpetuates the hatred for Israel - a wealthy and very powerful nation that has so much when the Palestinians have so little, in comparison? Even their lands and livelihoods and olive trees are taken away from them. Yet, Israel is a modern, Western, highly materialistic, regional super-power that is heavily armed and possesses WMD - funded by the West. Even then you write, "Israelis can't take for granted their right to exist"! You could not get a bigger contrast with the plight of the 'imprisoned' Palestinians who,with every attack by Israel, get wiped out in far bigger numbers than the Israelis. And, in true hypocritical style, Israel is always pointing the finger at Hamas and Hezbullah for wanting to wipe Israel off the face of the map. In fact, Israel justs get on with it without any of the talk. Israel is all action; the Palestinian groups are all talk, it seems to me!

I think an even more shocking contrast is the evangelicals supporting this rich and powerful nation when their Lord and Saviour is the despised and rejected of men and the friend of tax collectors and sinners. The Lord rejected the temptation to rule over the world which the Christian West has been doing for many centuries with its European empires and, now, with the Anglo-American-Israeli hegemony! I am horrified by my Messianic Christian family - and others at church - assenting to all this. I am sure it just washes over you, fails to impinge and you just get on with the more serious business of saving souls for eternity! Saved for an eternity in heaven but extra judicial assassinations and pre-emptive attacks (always in the name of defence, of course!) on Palestinian fighters - as well as even invading the weak and defenceless nation of Lebanon - is all perfectly acceptable for the disciples of the Lord in this small but violent nation. And, it got the blessing of our God-fearing, UK Prime Minister in July/August 2006 War on Lebanon!

You wrote, "There are more believers in the IDF than at any other time in her history." Do you not think there is something deeply contradictory in followers of the Way of Yeshua giving their first and only allegiance not to the King of Love, the Prince of Peace and the Creator/Ruler of theUniverse but to the very fallible and sinful, Prime Minister Olmert of Israel and his Cabinet? You publish a piece from HKACM, with pride and approval that even more true Christian and Messianic believers are engaged in illegal attacks and invasions on their neighbours, as members of the armed forces. Armed forces that kill many times more of their neighbours than the Palestinians kill of them! All this when they are called to love God and love their neighbour as themselves!

This shocking record by Christian believers and Jews has gone on for sixty years in a constant war of attrition between Palestinian fighters and the IDF. I think you should be teaching your young Christians and Messianic Jews to have nothing to do with the illegality and aggression of the Israeli state. If they cannot be excused from conscription, they should suffer the consequences of total Christian discipleship and go to prison for the Lord - a privilege and a joy in such circumstances!

Could you please explain if PFI can be described as Christian Zionist? Who or what is a Christian Zionist? It is Scriptural for us to "pray (enquire about) for the peace of Jerusalem". However, should this not also include praying for the peace of Arab and Palestinian refugee camps, villages and towns? And, does not praying for peace mean being loving, peaceful and fair in all our dealings rather than being warlike and indulging in crimes of aggression? In the 34 day attack on Lebanon, 158 Israelis were killed of whom the very large majority were service people but, the IDF killed over 1000 Lebanese andPalestinians of whom most were civilians. It does seem to me that if you can't live at peace and in justice with your neighbours - and, as a minimum, refuse to vote for the war parties at elections and refuse to be conscripted - you cannot possibly have made peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. "Judgement (and repentance) begins in the house of the Lord".

60th b'day w/e - Jan 2008

I had a fabulous celebratory w/e with six close family members at a 4 star cottage 6 miles E of Devil's Bridge in mid-Wales. The weather was great onboth days and I had a superb 8 hour walk with my own two great children andthe guy who had better become my son in law - or else! Linda then did agreat meal in the evening and a discussion over future prospects forhumanity before the Will Hay film, 'Oh Mr Porter'!
On the big walk, Jon hugged a wind turbine - quite gigantic - we found aweather station that looked like a space craft just landed on planet earth;five footbridges over crystal clear rushing water; and even a 10 minutesjog downhill on a good track in beautiful countryside that was new to me.We even went to 2,000 feet and, at the summit, found a good stone shelterwith a sweeping, curving entrance that was better than anything I have seenanywhere else - really surprising! Unfortunately, it ended with a veryfine, character building, six mile road walk in the dark, when we couldn'tget a signal to summon a car! Only then did the youngsters outpace the oldman of 60! When he arrived back at the cottage, Tim got his car out, withJon, to pick me up. However, I was not that far behind so I wanted tocomplete the whole thing on foot - that Tim and Jon understood.

The Sunday morning was a leisurely walk on good paths and steps, a chainbridge and spectacular water features in Coed Hafod (Hafod Wood), nearby.

I'm longing to get back to Scotland next month to start on the Corbetts(2,500-3,000 ft) in earnest, with Ben Loyal. Meanwhile, I've had threeconsecutive Saturdays doing a 6, 8 and, yesterday, 5.5 hr walks.Yesterday's walk, was over Aran Fawddwy (905m), over snow and ice butthrough cloud and gale force winds. I had five thick layers on and I was,then, warm and cosy. It was exhilarating and I never had to bother with map, compass or, even torch!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

"You should know better at your age!"

April 2010 near An Teallach. My last full day to visit three Corbett summits after my fourth night of bivying out under the stars - well, the stars on one bitterly cold night, anyway! It was 7 am and I was on the move. No stream to wash in but I was able to leave the rucsac for my return to travel light for the first Corbett. A steep band of snow meant I went off to the left and got onto steep but snow-free ground. I got away with it and on the descent took the safer route on the other side of the snow. I found the rucsac but then had a long walk in to the next pair of Corbetts. Near to the base of the mountain I met two men walking through the mountains from Poolewe. They were taking a low level route and were staying in the two bothies, the second of which they were almost at. I, however, was heading off to do the next two summits.

The map seemed to show a route that I could take that would mean I could climb round the rampart of crags above. It worked in March but this time I was getting onto ever steeper ground that led me up onto a rocky ridge. I made some hesitant progress but when it seemed never ending and ever more hairy, I thought I should make a careful retreat down a very steep, mainly grass gully. My North Face mountain approach shoes with their studded soles held me to the mountain side and I clambered down safely. I found myself in a bowl or cwm having lost considerable height but, at least, there was now a clearer way up. From the ridge, the left hand summit did look higher but labouring up to the ridge, I began to doubt my judgement. I went off the right hand one first where I saw the true high point was indeed the one I had veered away from. That meant I lost more time doing an unnecessary summit.

I next had a difficult decision whether to play safe and return without completing the final Corbett or to risk all and go for it. I had no rucsac, torch, sleeping bag or even bivy bag. My bumbag held waterproofs, phone and a little food. It was the last full day, the final Corbett of the holiday, the weather was holding - so I went for it. I got to it in fine style, even phoned Linda from the summit and then had to very carefully check the map for the quickest and safest route off to find my rucsac and utlimate safety. Thankfully, I chose the correct side to descend off the ridge, kept the lochan to my left when the other side might have been a little quicker and then ended up half running and half walking to find my rucsac before darkness overtook me. In such situations, I always think the rucsac is on to top of the boulder sooner than the actual boulder is found! However, I found the correct boulder with half an hour before the light faded completely. It was 2030 hrs and I had been out and on the move - and with a dodgy Achilles tendon - for 13.5 hrs. I think a record for me!

In the morning, I walked over to the bothy. The two men were still there and they confirmed the conclusion I had already come to - there is only one safe route up and down "the mini An Teallach", as one called it. And it was certainly not the route I had foolishly chosen to get up!

August 2010 in Dumfries and Galloway. I had a superb cycle ride from Castle Douglas to Newton Stewart after Linda and Mike dropped me off on their way to the Glasgow Girls exhbition of painings in Kirkcudbright. The ride took nearly five hours instead of three when I foolishly thought I could get along a 1.7 Km footpath between a forest road and a country lane. I ended up carrying the bike much of the way through bracken and tussocky grass. And, I could have had a nice downhill section on smooth tarmac on a road! Its only redeeming feature was that it was downhill and it taught me never again to introduce myself to the daunting venture of cyclo-cross at my age of 62! At one point, I was ensnared amongst low lying branches, a stream and bracken on a steep section. I took a step or two to return from whence I came, only to find a wooden footbridge that I had missed amongst all the undergrowth. I climbed up to it and thought I'd continue, after all. By a cottage, on the lane where I came out I told my story to a father and son who were in their front garden. The old man laughed and the son was horrified at what I had done.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Whose killings are most reprehensible?

Israel's Commandos killing 9 civilians, without firearms, trying to deliver humanitarian food and aid is, I think, more reprehensible than a 52 year old troubled and tragic man killing 12 unarmed people. A Western government - as Israel is - should not be likened to Derek Bird and should not be saying they were acting in self-defence when doing their killings.

We should not expect bad behaviour from even a troubled and tragic Israel. Bad behaviour from troubled individuals like the Cumbrian killer is less reprehensible.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Mudguard breaks a grey area? Or, a new approach to customer relations

How's this for commendable customer service?!

I bought the German made mudguards from Brotherton Cycles in Old Hill on the 16 March. In the week beginning 3 May - on the Tues or the Wed - I noticed a break almost halfway between the stay and the metal bracket fixing the mudguard to the frame. I couldn't get back to Brotherton's until after work on the 10 May. I was astonished by the attitude of the proprietor who, like me, had never seen anything like it before but, who pronounced it was a grey area and was most reluctant to believe that it was not my fault. I thought it must be a defect in the manufacture but this guy was doubtful and even more doubtful of the old adage that the customer is always right even when he is wrong! After much humming and haaing he started to take the mudguard off, only to change his mind and to take a photo instead to send to the manufacturer in an e-mail.

I objected to the guy calling it a grey area as if I was partly, if not wholly, to blame. Any other cycle shop would have immediately replaced the mudguards and sent the faulty ones back. No way. Certainly not this shop! What a song and a dance he kicked up. He thought I must have done it by taking the handlebars to lift it up onto the back wheel so that the bottom of the rear mudguard (a rubber mudflap) scraped along the ground. I denied doing that. When I got home, I checked and found that the rear mudguard did not wrap far enough round the back of the back wheel to be able to touch the road. There were no abrasions on the bottom of the mudflap, anyway. He was reluctant to believe me that I had not crashed on the bike, had not dropped anything on to it nor, abused it in anyway. He suggested I had sawn it in two! I even had to ask that he should ring me once he had heard from the mudguard company. He was wanting me to ring him!

Two days later he did ring after hearing back from Germany. He was told that he would get his £19-99 back if he returned the faulty goods. Hence, I would get my refund.

I replied, "Could you not simply replace the mudguards? I'm sure the next set will not snap and I liked the quick and easy fitting of these otherwise excellent mudguards."
"No", came the response. "I don't want you coming back with another story of them having broken. I won't be giving you a second refund!"

Later that day, I showed the break to a colleague at work. He found a second break in the mudguard! This one was adjacent and forward of the metal bracket that wraps round the mudguard and is bolted to the rear brake and frame. "This is unbelievable", I said to Chris who had also never seen anything like it before.

Yesterday, Saturday, I returned the mudguard to Brothertons. True to his word, he refused to give me a replacement but handed me two £10 notes saying, "I'm not wanting the 1p change". I laughed out loud that this guy - a motorcyclist all wrapped up in his leathers - should feel the need to have to say such a thing. Perhaps, it was to redeem himself in my eyes!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Pushing the boat out or ...

... making the most of the daylight!

A week in Scotland in March to climb Corbetts. These are the Scottish hills between 2,500 and 2,999 feet. The idea was to see if my partially torn right tendon would stand up to the strain. I was constantly limping for the last four months of last year after using my zero carbon lawn mower. I got my foot at an awkward angle and loaded it too greatly when I pushed on the heavy machine up our steep front lawn.

The first week of a four and a half weeks holiday was a gradual toe-in in this great outdoor playground and wilderness. Well, that was the theory. After my first full day in Scotland taking in the little bump that overlooks the Kessock bridge, the second was going to be a slow ascent of my first Corbett of the year - 887m in Beinn Eighe NNR up the Mountain Trail. However, it went so well, I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to do the next Corbett, that looked so near. Unfortunately, not bothering with any guide book or even properly studying the Landranger map, meant that I went quite the wrong way up a steep, scree slope. Eventually, I came round the high crags to the only gap through the encircling cliffs of Ruadh-stac Beag 896m. Quickly up through the narrow opening, over the summit plateau to the cairn and back down the only steep exit of loose rock. I then returned the correct and much pleasanter and safer ramp at the foot of the Corbett's near neighbour. This was an unusual geological feature I had never seen before. If I had studied the map more closely, I would have seen what a delight this route would have been for the ascent, too. When I reached the Mt Trail, I turned left. If I had bothered to look at the map, I would have seen the quicker way was right! I did that section the next evening in 3 hrs on my rest day. My first full day of gradual return to Corbett climbing, turned out to be one of 9.5 hrs and two big summits! No rain, cloud scraping the Munro summits and moderate wind and temperatures.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Western Priorities

For the West, democracy, corruption, sexual sins, family values are all considered more important than OUR violence, aggression and occupation of countries that, in the process, we turn into enemies.

Dealing with poverty, ill health ignorance and malnutrition just do not figure when compared with bringing Western values and beliefs and Western patterns of consumption to failed and failing nations - like Afghanistan!

Bomb Baghdad with bikes not bombs; kill Kabul with kindness - caring not killings!

Who are the real failed or rogue or terrorist nations round here? Who are the real axis of evil nations?

Sunday, 10 January 2010


I had the whole farmer's family meet me on my return from a late winter's walk up Glasgwm and back. Having completely missed their newly created car park in Cwm Cywarch, I parked in the only spot I could find by their farmhouse.

It was 6.20 pm and they were obviously looking out for me, having seen the light from my headtorch coming down the hillside. I apologised if I had taken the wrong path through the farm but I hardly got the words out before they laid into me for starting the walk so late (2pm) and coming down in the dark. The farmer said that he hated people like me for putting the rescue services to such inconvenience and never having insurance. "If you can't find the car park, your map reading is crap and puts you in danger up the hill." The wife said that there had been a rescue of a walker further north in the national park that very day. I replied that I knew what I was doing and this afternoon's walk was part of my training . They were not impressed.

"Yet another stupid hill walker going out in bad weather with snow and ice everywhere", they must have thought.

Complete incomprehension by the locals for the sheer delight that some, like me, have for going out in what they think is a white hell, is a sheer white heaven for me!

What I should have said was "This is part of my continuous training in completing all the high hills in the UK and Ireland. I'm doing this kind of thing all the time; I'm properly equipped, with the right clothing; I'm qualified as a mountain leader in non snow conditions with the MLTB and I know this area like the back of my hand, having been here over many years in summer and winter conditions." I said none of that, however! Perhaps, that was just as well 'cos I had forgotten to take the ice axe out of the car, I was using instep crampons with my mt approach shoes, I didn't have insurance with the BMC and I very nearly didn't bother with taking the map (that I knew I didn't need to use, anyway). This was also my first major walk after four months of limping from an inflamed, weak tendon.

Three years ago, one of my party, in this very same valley, dialled 999 from her mobile when I lost my party who went steaming off without waiting for me to catch up. Aberdovey Outward Bound Mt Rescue were called out. We met them at the Red Lion in Dinas Mawddwy.

As I walked to the car after this harangueing, I saw that the farmer had put his Land Rover across the back of my car to make sure that I would have to call at the farmhouse to get out, anyway!

I then could not get the car started. I said to the farmer, "I now can't get the bloody car started. Could I make a free phone call from your landline, please?"

"It's a diesel isn't it? Try pumping the accelerator pedal up and down as you keep the key turning over the engine."

And that did the trick; no going into the farmhouse; no walking to the red kiosk 2 miles down the lane; and, no waiting for breakdown rescue. Brilliant! I didn't stop until I got to the the Brigands' Inn to change out of my mountain approach shoes and to take my coat off for the rest of the drive home.

1 January 2010

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Struggles in snow plastered Wales

Fri 1 Jan 2010
This week, for the first time since August 2009, I've not been limping from my weak rht tendon. I thought I would try a quick up and down of Glasgwm from its nearest start. I was using my mt approach shoes with the cut away heel. They worked well with instep crampons in a walk a little over 4 hrs with an unexpected reception party from the farmhouse on my return!

Sun 3 Jan
A drive to within two miles of Pistyll Rhaeadr and an abortive walk 'cos of the deep, soft snow; a sheep caught in a fodder cage; and then a drive up to the old quarry at the top of the pass from Llangynog to Bala at 486m spot height.

Wed 6 Jan
Snow in Wales and the W Mids yesterday. Today I took JP back to uni on a fast run on empty roads with snow ploughs and snow blowers on the A44 over the mountains that rise to 420m south of Pumlumon. We enjoyed the snow on the ridge top trail at Nant y Arian. I very nearly came to grief with a very stupid attempt to drive down that very steep and ice covered side road near Jono's digs.

Sat 9 Jan
A gruelling walk from Llangynog to Post Gwyn at 665m in deep, soft snow that demanded snow shoes that I didn't have. Far too long at 6hrs with my weak tendon and without snow shoes. Four walkers ahead of me, I noticed, took the more sensible decision to walk over the hills from Llangynog to Pistyll Rhaeadr and the cafe there.

At times, I was up to my thighs in soft snow that meant I had to climb out of those steps! Eventually, I reached the road at a point where there was a low stone wall to jump down onto the road and on the upward side of a nearby cattle grid. On that ghastly descent, there was not one fence or wall to climb over, either and, I managed to avoid the crags to the NW and the cutting to the SE. It was a sheer fluke or, my guardian angel at work! Weeks of strong NE winds had piled the snow onto the lee side of the slopes, including the one I descended.

Sun 17 Jan
Back to Llangynog while the cold weather lasted. This time, I parked next to the road, below the high point of the pass near the track that I walked up towards the Berwyns. This time I did get further but the soft deep snow made me turn back. Lunch in the car and then down the road to park in Llangynog to walk up to circle contour GR 059278. Rusty metal post almost filled with water and nothing memorable when I examined Bedd Trynddyn; then, long descent, despite the thaw of the previous week, a deeply filled snow laden ride down steep slopes to three ponds in the heart of the forest - Tre-y-llan. It led to a track, an abandoned Land Rover, a magnificent looking house off to the left and then the road back to the village.