Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cape Town

I'm on a short break, and spending it in Cape Town with Rose and family, and also visiting Allan and Richard. This morning I was sitting in the sun-room overlooking the sea to the right while eating my breakfast. To the front and left are mountains. What a place to be - I could get used to this!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Richard graduates

A very happy day and reward for achievement. Richard graduated with distinction in Electronic Engineering and was awarded a gold medal and prize for being the top student.

Here we are, with the Engineering Building in the background. From left to right: Liesel, Richard, Honey, Beryl, Ned.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Islam - 'Religion of Peace'

These are pictures of Muslims marching through London on their 'Religion of Peace' Demonstration. We need to be aware that their concept of 'peace' is a world submitted to Allah. It is a territorial religion - the land which is submitted to Allah, with all living under Allah's rule, is then 'at peace'. So, being both an imperial and a territorial religion it stands to reason that it is a militant religion. Their struggle is with the enemies of Islam - which means anyone not under Allah's rule.

I am thankful for our Trinitarian God. If God were only one person, then God could not be love, because love is a relationship. Allah is not and cannot be love, and is neither in relationship with nor accessible to humanity. Unlike the Living God in whom I find my acceptance, security and significance - who initiated relationship with us; whose Son took human form, lived among us, suffered for and because of us; died our death on the Cross; was raised triumphant over death and sin and broke the power of those over our lives. It is in this great work of reconciliation that we find our peace with God. And it is as ministers of this reconciliation that we lead others to this peace with God. I am grateful that I do not have to demonstrate and be a war-mongerer for my God, who draws us into relationship by love, not by force or coercion. Christ is risen indeed. Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Rumble and Bonny

Rumble is now 15&1/2 years old, has survived one small and one massive stroke, and fallen into the pool seven times since we put the net on. A number of times we have thought she was on the way out, but she rallies each time - a 'hard core dog' in Paul's words. She enjoys being with in the same area of the garden as the other two, although she just lies around and keeps an eye on what is going on even when her eyes are closed. She still enjoys mealtimes, and eats standing up and then sitting down, and then lying down as in this picture - it is too much to stand until she has finished eating.
Bonny is probably going on for 1 year now - we got her from the SPCA in January and she was approx. 8months old then. Food time is very exciting, as can be seen by the eager, expectant look on her face - 'please, sir, can I have some more?' - as she looks to see what is going on in the kitchen. She is a Husky cross springbok - which comes out when she 'pronks' around when we carry her dish to her eating spot. It is still very hard for her to sit, wait, and 'shake hands' before diving into her food!
Bess is now middle dog, age wise, though top dog heirarchy wise. She is as sweet as ever, but just barks too much - a typical terrier trait. Her picture doesn't feature today!
Ah, the joys of pets.


No wonder it is called a 'Crane flower' - certainly looks like a crane (bird). This plant has been in our garden ever since we moved in over 15 years ago, and this is the second year that it has flowered. Normally one can expect them to flower after between 4 - 7 years, but this one took 14 years! Well worth the wait though.
One of the first research projects I was busy with after graduating was investigating conditions to enhance the germination of strelitzia seeds. I scarified them (sand papered on one side), then kept them in an oxygen rich environment in the dark (sort of fridge affair), at different temperatures, for differing lengths of time. Then sliced them with a micro knife machine thing (so long ago I can't remember it's name) and tested levels of some enzyme or the other using a staining technique.
The other project I worked on involved Drosera. Kept them in a lighted cabinet at stable temperature and fed them tiny bits of cheddar cheese, then ground them up and extracted an enzyme. Precision work.
I wonder what it was all for - what life-changing/ enhancing results were being sought? I can't help but believe that a lot of stuff that is investigated serves little, if any, purpose. But then, maybe my view is rather narrow?