Friday 18 September 2009

Learning to crawl

It's strange after all these years finding myself with new eyes for the world that disappeared while studying, and new legs that haven't yet learned to stand.

What have I learned in this new life as an ordained entrepreneur?

That I am finding unexpected common ground with all kinds of people outside the church... and suspicion from unexpected people within.

That it's hard facing up to the meltdown economy, but good to share that experience with so many.

That there are people attempting amazing things that I would never have discovered unless I had found this nearby and altogether less heroic path.

That people are hungry for meaningful connection and that the church has largely lost the reputation of being a group that does just that.

That however it may have felt during the curing, cutting and canning process of theological education, the insights and instincts of twenty-odd years in marketing are back and busy.

That I can - just about - crawl.

Sunday 12 July 2009

Ordained Entrepreneurship

Matt Jamison, impressively confident and capable radio presenter at BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, on his Easy Sunday programme today. I was there for an interview about being an ordained entrepreneur (Thanks, Matt! Thanks, Heather! Thanks, Vanessa!).

A short while before there was a piece about churches dealing with the challenges of buildings to maintain and assets to protect. Or the opportunity of bringing the community into the church and finding everyone's best ideas of how to make best use of what we have to offer...

I'm hoping that kind of challenge and the stories of churches that have tried different approaches will be exactly the kind of thing we'll be featuring on, the free national podcast series launching in September. Not so much from people with ideas, but from ordinary people (including ordinary ministers!) who've tried things that have worked and things that haven't.

I'm also hoping to connect with someone as passionate as I am to give Cambridge entrepreneurs an opportunity to connect with the entrepreneurial Church (and that's the only kind we've got, however often we forget it).

Posted via email from JDAP posterous

Sunday 10 May 2009

Internet Mousetrap

Do you remember the game 'Mousetrap'? It involved fitting pieces onto a board, so that when a mouse was in the right place, a sequence of weird and wonderful events meant it got trapped - if every piece was set up properly.

So here I am with my board set up, and here's what I think the sequence will be.
Now, there's every chance one of these steps won't work. And, excitingly, there may be a loop somewhere that will gradually fill the Internet until it bursts.

I'm not suggesting this is a sane, or even a useful, sequence. But it's interesting!

When I say 'my blog' I really mean the blog at that is really a (Google's) Blogger free app. I can post to this by logging in or by emailing, and it gives me fine control. I'm not sure how (or whether) Posterous lets me access controls such as tags, that group entries. The blog is my space (and indeed, I migrated it from Myspace when that place began to irritate me too much). Even though it isn't really.

I use facebook as a semi private space. I use it to host photos (with some control over who sees what) and for private conversations. I rarely go there spontaneously - it wants to be my home space but it's just too bloated, filling up with more junk every day. But I respond to email notifications - I've had a message, someone's commented on a photo or status update.

It took me a while to get the measure of twitter. It's a very public social space, with text-like (SMS-like) tweets. The core is minimal - in fact, not terribly good as a user experience. But it's wide, wide open. Unlike facebook (or second life) it doesn't declare itself to be the whole universe, and invite developers to work inside. It offers its capabilities raw to anyone, so that all kinds of interactions can have twitter as a component. I don't feel I'm missing out if I don't keep up to date with what's going on there. (Want to peep? I suggest twistori as an interesting window into the more blog-like part of twitter; but to see the conversational aspect maybe Stephen Fry is as good a starting place as any, if not quite normative. Or to see who's seen as interesting, try this.)

I've watched posterous mainly prompted by, who switched there from another site that could be used to feed photos to twitter. And now I'm dipping a toe in the water... My first impression is that it has aspirations to sweep up a lot of the value of all the above, without becoming bloatware like facebook . And it does have an impressive range of connection capabilities: it looks a much better starting point than twitter if you are mini-blogging to feed other services, though it's not as satisfying an environment as Blogger , Wordpress or a host of other full-on blog/website services. What it is, is delightfully easy. Starting from that home page, it's one click for most people to start the blog, for instance if you use gmail/googlemail that click is this, or for hotmail it's this. Or maybe you use a mail program, in which case this is the way to get started.

Go on. You know you want to. And if you are still on the edge of the world of social media, you know you should.

But, of course, all this falls down if my mousetrap is missing a piece.

Here goes... If you find this, perhaps it even worked!

Posted via email from JDAP posterous

Sunday 8 March 2009

Finding my Voom!

There are lots of approaches to understanding how people relate to one another: there's every chance you've come across a few.

One of the most useful in practical situations is Belbin's Team Inventory, which gives insights on how people work together (or how they don't!).

In this, I turn out to have two very strong peaks: top is Shaper (also called Driver), next is Plant.

Here's a nice page giving some succinct definitions.

Shapers like to make things happen; plants generate ideas. Now you already know quite a lot about what I do best: take an opportunity or a situation and generate new creative ideas; take someone's idea and turn it into reality.

That's not a usual combination - in fact most definitions of Shaper suggest these are the last people to generate ideas. And most definitions of Plant suggest those people tend to be a bit removed from the practical 'how-to.' But I have a suspicion that 'type infinity' maths people may often show this combination: being able to do maths means plucking inspiration out of the void, then relentlessly haring down the answer.

An ideal team needs all the roles: the tool helps to build balanced teams and to understand the dynamics when people are operating out of their optimal team role. It's helped me to understand how to seek out individuals whose strengths lie in the other critical areas so that the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts rather than less, which is the default for teamwork.

By a fluke for which I can claim no credit at all, I've spent my whole working life either in or connected to startup businesses or companies considering major change. You won't be too surprised if I tell you that in my experience, startups don't start up and certainly don't succeed without someone being the shaper. You might be surprised that although it's my natural lead role, I don't particularly enjoy being the overall boss: my technical skill area is marketing and I'm happiest in the Marketing Director role where on the Board I lean to my Plant side - looking for new opportunities and new ways of seeing situations - while day-to-day I love to lead marketing operations.

For similar reasons I secretly enjoy working a way down the organisation with teams that have something great but maybe not the political clout to deliver. (And in this context I take secret delight in turning finance people into effective sales pitchers: more than once that's been the secret weapon that's got projects resourced and executed.)

It also helps explain what can also seem like a contradiction: I'm a tactical strategist. The maths thing again seems to deliver without much conscious effort insight into big strategic issues; then the shaper kicks in to act.

So you can ask me what Voom! is. It is, of course, what Dr Seuss's Little Cat Z produces from under a hat to sort out the mess. And it's that bit of me that I've had to hog-tie in college, because it's always straining to make things happen, and frustrated when people set their sights too low and achieve even lower.

I'm enjoying letting my Voom! out again, if only for short bursts.

Sunday 1 March 2009

Faith as risk

I've been training towards C of E ordination and a full-time paid curacy. Now that's in question. Here's the story, or its bones at least.

Selection is understood as a process of discernment - the object being to understand if the sense of call to ministry is experienced by the individual and recognised as appropriate and timely by the church.  My call came in 1984. How it came and how I was on the run for over twenty years is a whole other story. Buy me a beer and I'll tell you.

Right in the middle of the selection process, as a family we decided we were going to move to Cambridge. Our timing couldn't have been worse in so many ways: it was a costly move in a lot of ways, but also one which we experienced as totally right. This felt like a calling too - and not just to me individually this time.

It meant a jitter in the selection process, but Ely Diocese (Cambridge is part of Ely from the C of E's point of view) put me back just a couple of steps, not right back to the beginning. I was selected, and accepted at Ridley Hall (theological college) and by Sidney Sussex (matriculating college), hallelujah! 

Also costly, though. A couple of years of minimal (but still generous - who else pays people to train these days?) financial support, another tranche of downsizing. But we knew, at least, that at the end would be a curacy which would provide a family home and an income (stipend in church-speak - money paid to enable ministry, not technically a salary).

A seismic moment came last July, when I learned that that curacy wouldn't be in the Diocese. On reflection, this was an opportunity to rethink things that might have saved some trouble. Oh, the joy of rear-view mirror vision! However, after a couple of false starts I found and agreed a curacy: if you're on our Christmas card list you've had the details.

And now, after serious reflection and what I would again describe as call we have now agreed not to take that up. It's possible that something else will come up that meets our circumstances, but it's an unlikely possibility.

Where does that lead? Very probably it means finding work outside the church for the near-term. Lots of wise friends and associates are contributing to that decision; the key choice is something we'll have to make this month.

I'm excited and alarmed in roughly equal measure. I have strong marketing credentials and a passion for business, but now isn't a great time to be getting back into the market, especially after a two year break. 

My thinking at the moment is that I'll rebuild my portfolio career - combining work with small and startup businesses with projects for larger businesses in the technology space. And I know there's a great deal of risk in that. So here's my own challenge of discernment - is embracing that risk together with the risk of faith in Jesus Christ where God is calling me?

Somehow even the thought is energising, nourishing. And, yes, scary. Not very much like the comfortable talk of 'living on the edge' in lecture rooms. That would be a good thing.

Putting this on my blog feels like a big risk in itself. Because we've swapped tracks from a route where things are clear and safe from any outsider's point of view, to one that has a whole lot more questions than answers. Honesty is potentially rather costly.

So if you're the praying type, do feel free to adopt the Parsons family as a cause to place before God. And if not, well, say one anyway, what harm could that do?

Tuesday 24 February 2009

The Church of England says Tweet, Tweet, Tweet

I'm (we bloggers are...) asked to post a link to the C of E's Twitter page so, loyal type that I am, here goes.

For those of you who haven't peeped out of your virtual nest and tweeted yet, maybe this could get you there. I'm encouraged.

The request came as follows:

May we ask all those of you who blog to mention our twitter url. We want to have a big community of people helping others this Lent.

to which I tweeted back

@c_of_e yes... what form will this community take? (did I miss something?)

but I'm still waiting for a reply. So it may be that this is slightly less of a dynamic entry into the twitterverse than it appeared.

Sunday 22 February 2009

Proposal for a new word: Implanation

The air is full of politicians offering implanations. They call for 'more responsible lending' - sorry, where's this irresponsible lending happening today??? - and contend that (if already in power) we would have avoided problems if only we had followed their principles; or else (if they are not presently in power) their insight would have prevented the crash.

So my proposal is this:


  1. The act of identifying in current events vindication for past or present political policies, programmes or principles.
  2. An implausible logical sequence that fully exonerates the speaker

I encourage you to try this for size in conversation.

See you in the OED appendix.

Thursday 19 February 2009

Making an Impact

I am packed and compact, as moment melts to moment
For I live in minus-time. I own the countdown,
Know its cause, anticipate its result,
Even exult in the confident uncertainty 
Of acceleration.

Yours is the aim, yours the goal, yours the eye:
What shall I say? That trust is past or promise lost?
By no means. I expect and do not fear
To be flung and tumbled free into such air.
But I do fear the recoil.

Monday 16 February 2009

Bring on the asset-strippers, really

Through a series of fortunate events, I had my first taste of a startup business between school and college. I was the first paid employee of a software business in 1983. I'd taught myself to program from books in the days you didn't see computers, hand coding, hand running and testing, and put that into more practical use when Acorns turned up at school. Three of us sixth formers had even set up a tiny enterprise selling game and utility software we'd written to people at computer shows. Then I found myself surrounded by experienced computer people, something of a dream come true.

So I saw and got involved in innovation without ever naming it as such. We sold other people's software and developed our own. Before Windows, before the direct forerunners of the PC, there was no guarantee programs would work properly. One of the things I used to do was to debug other people's programs, for instance finding out why one spreadsheet was a memory hog, why another word processor messed up the screen display on the systems that were our focus. Debug meant running them in a debugger, step by step with no access to source code. Usually I tracked down the problem, I'd write a bit of fixing code, find somewhere to insert it and update our software masters. And that was one of the reasons we got a reputation of selling the same software you could buy from three bigger distributors for higher prices but with better value.

My job title was support programmer; I felt the problems from customers and took action to fix them at source. There was no-one else to do it, so I did it myself. I was given freedom to do this, and the wiser heads of my bosses found ways to turn these skills into differentiation. Lots of things to do, so few of us to do them, and the urgent daily need to sell things and keep the door open. Hunger makes good kitchen. I moved into marketing when I realised (was helped to realise) that my core skill was practical strategic insight.

Through a corporate career, I consciously tried to keep that thinking going, and whatever my day job I sought out people with small businesses or new ideas who would like fresh eyes. And I developed a reputation for being someone whose advice was worth having and whose plans tended to work, even if (typical mathematician) my reasoning was sometimes utterly unintelligible.

I was - and remain - excited that large enterprises have the resources to achieve amazing things; I was - and remain - convinced that most large enterprises tend to continually self-organise to prevent this ever happening. The best results can come from skunk-works: semi-authorised, resource-strapped, teams ready to be audacious and take risks. I've done some; and I've had to terminate some that haven't delivered.

Excuse the I-fest. This is intensely personal experience.

In times of turmoil, what we can be sure of is this: what used to work may fail; what used to define excellence may have become toxic; what can't be done can after all, perhaps.

The Gadarene banking swine, possessed by a spirit of - well, you choose - galloped off the cliff. The UK Government caught them in fall, with the result that Legion is now free to rampage.

So we the people have become leading shareholders in banks. The Government wants no part in day-to-day operations, lacking the expertise, so we have incremental change and business-as-usual. Banks don't lend, because the model is the same. They loved their own astonishing risk-taking because they either misunderstood it or calculated that personally it was a win-win, even if (as it has) it all went wrong. And now they hate everyone else's risk, because what used to be the heartbeat of their operation, the local banking team, is de-skilled and disempowered.

Breathe deeply now. Are you ready?

The Government needs to get the best asset-strippers in the country (and yes, we do have some of the best in the world) on the case on our behalf. 

They are the people who can make good decisions about how to deal with organisational structures, remuneration policy and junk operations. 

They are the people who will find the profit opportunity on the ground - the opportunity that derives directly from the risk in small and medium-sized businesses and their need for borrowing. 

They are the people who will rewrite the rules and reshape the products to deliver on that opportunity.

'Business as usual' seems to be shaping up as the worst of all possible worlds: printing money to prop up failing monoliths, with loose change left over for gesture politics, and the reality of surging unemployment. 'Wise heads' nodding that this is what it means to make the best of a bad job.

We need an economic surge. And that must come from the real resource - people freed to think and act creatively, to collaborate and share (redundant) skills. Dragon's Den in every coffee bar. And a benefits system that recognises that this is no worse, and may be infinitely better, than sending off yet another CV for a 5% chance of an interview.

Thursday 5 February 2009

Social media: being and doing church in public

Here's a great article, 8 Questions to Ask Your "Social Media Expert"

Now, I've already commented about a year ago in response to a negative view of blogging amongst churchy types.  Funnily enough, I'm more hopeful that the same fear response won't be repeated in the social media space.

Why am I more hopeful? Five very good reasons.

  1. Contemporary social media is so alien to lots of people, but also so natural to lots of others, that it's becoming just another one of those things like cricket, beer and dyed hair - some do, some don't, where's the beef?
  2. Churches are pretty much by definition dispersed communities that struggle with issues of internal communication. Social media can - and increasingly does - fill that gap beautifully. Square peg, square hole.
  3. At least one Bishop is active on twitter - hallelujah! [And if you want to follow me and dip just a single toe into twitdom, sign up and follow alantwilson]
  4. "In Christ" is a great place to be: it's my experience that relationships between Christians tend to form faster, go deeper and mix wider than in any other context. But. The coin has a flip-side - it's easy not to notice that churchy friendships have squeezed out the other ones. Good news! Social networks are great places to chat with anyone and everyone, especially if you're willing to put up with a bit of rib-poking about being so unhip as to think Jesus is da man ;)
  5. Social media can be a truly humanising place, where people can flourish through distinctiveness, relationship and communication, whoever, wherever and however they are. It's a C21 trinitarian story. No, really.

So what's the connection with the article? 

Well, one of the ways that people misunderstand what it is to be church is the horrendous norm of niceness.

That's why we don't know how to say, or how to hear, "I don't think you know what you're talking about." It's a place where all too often people who want to claim expertise often can and do exactly that.

So in spite of being optimistic, a nagging voice says: no. The church is in the business of communication, and is royally bad at it in public media at every level. If we let the wannabe experts be the opinion formers in the social media space, God help us.

Sunday 1 February 2009

Wednesday 28 January 2009

Telecom Twit-tering

One strictly for telco or business types, if this isn't you then may I suggest visiting this site?

Here's a quote from a telecom analyst, Sharifah Amirah reported in Total Telecom:

"While I appreciate that a lot of services still exist in silos, operators need to use consumer analytics tools to provide a personalised experience, including location-based services with what we call proximity-based marketing," she explained. 
Amirah also said the recession will enable telcos to refocus.
"The downturn provides an opportunity for large operators to streamline their businesses, and re-evaluate their strategies," she said.
Sometimes it's great to be long in the tooth, and I mean no disrespect - I've seen and read a lot of similar stuff recently. And I know this is what operator managers are saying - that's why you're saying it too. But even where it's not platitudinous it's wrong-headed.  

Here are some telco thoughts for recessionary times:

    • In a recession, beware yesterday's great idea. I was at the Telecom conference in Geneva a decade ago and saw loads of location-based service hype, generally turning into the excitement of 'proximity based marketing'. One day something like this will happen, maybe, but just because it sounds novel doesn't mean it's life-changing. And if it is life-changing, it's going to be hard to do. Meanwhile life has changed, but not much in mobile world.
    • In a recession, the winner is the one who makes stuff better and better. Trim out the fat, for sure, but that's not the starting point. The starting point is how can we do more for our customers, give them a better experience. Next step is how can we organise ourselves to deliver those positive changes. And a natural by-product of step two is what can we stop doing, do less of or do more efficiently.
    • In this recession, developed world operators get the chance to work hands-on in the important area: how to grow profits by serving the poor. We're all a lot poorer all of a sudden. Practise on us. Because that's where the main growth opportunity sits.
    And here are some thoughts for mobile operators.

    1. Fix the basics.
    2. Fix the basics.
    3. Fix the basics.

    Imagine a world where picture messaging just works. Where internet browsing just works.

    You pretend it does now, but it doesn't. Unless 95% of people are confident that it really does work and you don't have to think about it, it doesn't work. What's the figure now? Nothing like that. Why not? Because yesterday's experience persists into today. Because the truth of the matter is you're not making it work.  Because you're obsessing so much about churn avoidance that you've sacrificed a good consumer experience now for the warm glow you experience from thinking how lousy you can make it for the consumer or handset that goes to another operator. Because you're so desperate to think of everything that's not P2P phone calls and SMS as 'added value' when most of your market is ready to turn that on its head. 

    Always connected is the big story, and phone calls and SMS are the least interesting bit of that. You know that's true for you. Why do you assume it's not for your customers? Are you using email? facebook? twitter? and blogging? Any or all of the above?  If not, go try. If yes, stop looking in the mirror and start thinking how to get out of your customers' way when they want that stuff by making it easy and value-priced. 

    Forget anticipating or shaping their needs until you've proved you can serve the ones you're missing right now.

    Then while your competitors are busy thinking how to minimise revenue loss, you can look after your customers and move on to theirs.

    Saturday 24 January 2009

    A Worm's Eye View

    Better late than never... (Or not, you judge.) One of the things we are meant to do at least once in training is preach a short homily to the college at Morning Prayer on a Thursday. My turn came on 27 November last, when the set readings were Isaiah 41:8-20 and Revelation 16:12-20.  (We generally use the New Revised Standard Version, some of the references may be more obvious from there. If you like, you should find the exact text here and here.)

    There are some interesting discussions on the precise translation of a couple of the words in the Isaiah passage in commentaries, and common Bible versions take slightly different  lines. Nothing very evidently at stake theologically, and I resisted every temptation to get involved in that...

    Here's what I said:

    There’s nothing glamorous about a worm. If they’re famous for anything, it’s their propensity to mistake almost any vibration for rain, bringing them to the surface. The world record for charming worms – bringing them to the surface by thumping a garden fork with a lump of wood – is 511 worms in a three by three metre area in thirty minutes. So they’re not famously intelligent and they’re not celebrated for their value in battle. “A worm, a worm, my kingdom for a worm.” I don’t think so.
    “Do not fear, you worm Jacob,” says the LORD in the Isaiah reading. Well, it’s hardly flattering, is it? At a time of great political change, when empires are on the move and nations are falling, Israel is small, weak, pathetic, divided, irrelevant, a worm. Perhaps that’s how they are being made fun of; perhaps that’s how they’ve started to think of themselves.
    Perhaps that’s how we’ve started to think of ourselves: “You worm, Ridley. What can you possibly achieve, huddled in here day after day with your prayer books? No-one wants you, no-one is listening to you, you aren’t going to command wealth, or power, or even respect. You worm.”
    It’s in the moment of desolation that God’s voice speaks most clearly. “I have chosen you and not cast you off... I will strengthen you, I will help you... Do not fear, you worm... your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,” says the LORD.
    It is because you are of no account, because your pride in who you thought you were or who you thought you would become has been shattered by the bitter experience of reality, because you have given up the illusion of importance, that God will once again choose you, that God will comfort and change you, that God will strengthen and use you. 
    This spineless worm in God’s hand will crush mountains, and will see the thirsty drinking from clear streams, and the dispossessed dancing as the desert bursts into life.
    “I am a worm, not a human being,” says the Psalm that begins “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When it seems to all the world that the promise has failed, that your hope is hopeless, be patient. In a little while – a hundred years, or a lifetime, or three days time – God will turn everything upside down.
    When that happens, when that surely and certainly happens, when after days or after years or after a lifetime you see the desert flowering before your eyes, nobody will be able to say it was because of you. 
    No. They will marvel on that day. They will curse or they will bless God, but they will see and know, they will consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.

    Saturday 17 January 2009

    The University of Cambridge and the Diocese of Ely are 800 years old

    On the first Saturday of Lent Term there was a ringing of bells and a light show to mark the start of the 800th anniversary celebrations

    Actually we went to an event (a lecture on the 'Horrible Science of Cambridge')  before Christmas that was also the start. Well, it's a big occasion, why not start a few times...

    More photos are here and there's a video to give you more of a feel of what it was like here, then there's University stuff here and Diocese of Ely stuff (founded at the same time) here.

    Friday 16 January 2009

    Jo Ind's Memories of Bliss / Love God - a response

    One of the compulsory courses is "Sexuality and the Pastoral Encounter." One part was to read various things and respond in writing for discussion. I read the above chapter - certainly provocative.

    My response may or may not make sense, perhaps it's of rather narrow appeal. If you like it, thanks; if not, put it down to the hour or so I spent downing a capuccino with an extra shot in Heffer's while reading and then writing.

    We all believe in some high god these days:
    True atheists are odd and hard to find.
    But what name shall we choose to name the one
    Who sits in bland approval of the world,
    Or else, who drums celestial digits and
    In whispered words recruits his terror squad?

    Can God be "love"? and if so, be this love
    Whose drumbeat calls each wallflower to dance?
    Is Christ a flirt? And is the blood he shed
    A pheromone that wakes our loins to him
    So that (we know not why) we lie with him
    Upon that hill, beneath that spreading tree?

    I'll tell a story of a tragic fall:
    Of Eden lost and lovers under curse;
    Of Christ who came to mend the broken way:
    "Love one another." Yes, we could, in part.
    Full freedom needed ways we all could join
    The sacred cult of infertility

    I'm sorry, Jo. I think you've traded in
    A shining mirror for a muddy pond.
    God's love is vaster than our minds can grasp;
    Unbreakable - and faithful to the last;
    All-powerful - yet tender, chaste and true;
    Known partly till Christ comes to claim his bride.

    Saturday 10 January 2009

    God, buses and 'probably'

    There's lots of interest in the bus ad campaign suggesting that "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."

    I'm hoping that intelligent observers will have a better grasp of the nature of probability than the atheist advertisers. The statement "there's probably no God" can only be understood as implying that it's more likely that there is not, than that there is a God.

    Now there either is or there isn't a God. If there is a God, there either are or there aren't ways to substantiate God's existence; and whether or not there is a God, there's certainly no way of substantiating God's non-existence. On this rather crude analysis you might make a case against that 'probably,' but not with any great interest perhaps.

    You can look, like Clifford Longley, at discussion of scientific indications of a 'deliberate' universe, like the fine tuning of various parameters. This is interesting, but it seems to me that this doesn't really cover the question of probability.

    Practically, the overwhelming proportion of humanity that believes in some kind of god seems a possible line. "Most of the world is probably wrong," would hardly have made a catchy campaign, though it might have led to interesting discussions.

    But personally I think the sentence "there probably isn't a God" simply isn't meaningful. It looks grammatically fine, it just fails to function as a proposition.

    My own reading of the ad, then, is

    Some atheists neither believe in God nor understand the basic concept of probability. Not to worry. Even in credit crunch Britain adult education is widely available.

    Saturday 3 January 2009

    Cashing in the Chips

    Louis has been Chip in the (brilliant!) touring production of the Disney musical Beauty and the Beast at the Corn Exchange, Cambridge. He's one of four rotating the part, and performed eight times including the opening night.

    It's quite something watching your child in anything, but amazing in such a spectacular production. He turns up at a few pivotal moments. If you're my friend on Facebook you'll find more pix here.