Wulf's Webden

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Thursday 23 September 2021
by Wulf

That one rocks!

This evening I was doing a bit of practise on the songs for Sunday. Someone else is leading so I get to be just the bass player and support the backing vocals. One or two of the songs are on the unfamiliar side, so I was getting to know them better, but I also wanted to get fresh ears on ones it feels like I’ve played at least 10,000 times.

If you know the contemporary worship scene, you’ve probably pegged that I’m talking about “Bless the Lord, O My Soul (10,000 Reasons) by Jonas Myrin and Matt Redman. I started on YouTube but the adverts are annoying. A streaming service like Spotify is great for this task as, with a popular song, you can line up a whole bunch of versions and, if you are just listening to snippets, the advertising doesn’t seem to kick in (certainly not before every single song). I found a few versions that pushed away from the simple approach that seems to characterise most takes, although I’ll probably resist the reggae version on Sunday and I think the altered changes of the Gospel / RnB remix I found (by The Katinas) might throw the rest of the band off. However, the Spotify search also threw up lots of different songs with similar titles and I was struck by the earthy bass part on this one, by Godfrey Birtill.

I need to let it sit with me for a bit and see if I’m hearing the lyrics and melody as much as the bassline but it could be coming soon to a church near you (if you attend a church near me!).

Wednesday 22 September 2021
by Wulf

Back to Rehearsals

I think it was when England had its second COVID-19 lockdown that I had the bright idea of offering the time slot we wouldn’t be using for worship team rehearsals as an opportunity for an online prayer meeting. I wasn’t sure there would be much take up and I expected to sit on my own for a week or two before closing it and moving onto the next bright idea. This one took off though and has become a valuable part of the weekly roll for a decent number from within the congregation.

We’ve now been back to live Sunday morning services (alongside the online offering) for a while and we have been using some time before the service to rehearse. However, it is necessarily quite a short time and some of the team wanted to get back to longer rehearsals with a bit of time to mull the lessons from them. I’ve now been able to shift the prayer meeting to another evening (I don’t want to miss it myself, which is one of the reasons for not just finding someone else to hand the running of it to) and we had our first rehearsal back this evening.

We’ll see how it all works out. I think it will be good although it does mean we now have to have a fairly good idea of the songs and the overall service pinned down before Wednesday evening. That will need a bit of readjustment from several parties but I think it will be a worthwhile step.

Monday 20 September 2021
by Wulf

Online Interlinear Bible

An interlinear Bible is one that intersperses different translations for the purpose of comparison and study. Very often they include the a text in the original language, a transliteration (like looking up each word in a dictionary but not making any attempt to make it a properly formed example of the destination language) and one or more modern renderings.

I don’t need to stick at telling you: I can show you. Here is an online interlinear Bible, looking at 1 John 5, which I was studying tonight.

When one doesn’t really have a good grasp of the original language, one needs to be very cautious about making assumptions. However, sometimes it is useful. For example, I can see that every time the word ‘love’ comes up in that passage it based on the Greek ‘agape’ – divine, self-giving love. That isn’t unexpected in this context but there are passages where other words for different types of love are used instead.

Tonight, I was particularly struck by oidamen, meaning ‘we know’. It is used repeatedly towards the end of the passage – a rhetorical technique to hammer something home. That hadn’t been so apparent in the English translation I was mainly using (NASB) which watered it down a bit by putting an ‘and’ I can’t see in the Greek at the start of the final sentence. Stepping a bit further beyond my competence, I wonder if the word has some relation to oikos (which means ‘household’ – the ‘we’) and to amen, which needs little introduction because it has been adopted into English?

Anyway, a very useful tool for study although functional monoglots like me should use it cautiously.

Sunday 19 September 2021
by Wulf

Grasmere-ish Gingerbread

Grasmere is a village in the Lake District of England, which was beloved of the poet Wordsworth and was his home for a number of years. As well as being a location from which one can “wander lonely as a cloud”, it is also the only place where you can get genuine Grasmere gingerbread. That doesn’t stop people trying to replicate it though and I made an attempt this afternoon following a video by Peter Sidwell. Unfortunately, the website he put the measurements on appears to be out of action but (I thought) it can’t be too hard to follow the steps.

Grasmere-ish Gingerbread - Attempt 1
First Attempt

It turns out that, as someone who doesn’t do much baking, there are some challenges. If it was a loaf of bread, I would have been better prepared but I made a guess at the basic flour / butter mix and ended up with 150g to 100g (the flour is a mixture of wholemeal and oats, whizzed together in a food processor to make them quite fine). On checking with the biscuit chapter in my Mary Berry book, a 2:1 ratio would have been closer the mark. My mix (with sugar, three different forms of ginger and a bit of orange zest) was still very soft after 15 minutes of cooking instead of done after 10.

The taste was good but it is too rich and possibly a bit too sweet. I doubt I’ll get that close to the original (confession: it is at least a quarter of a century since I last tried it – we didn’t make it to Grasmere in our recent trip) but I’ll try a few more iterations and then, once I’ve got something I’m happy with, I’ll probably order some of the proper stuff to compare.

Saturday 18 September 2021
by Wulf

Kitchen Day

It wouldn’t be quite true to say that I spent all day in the kitchen but certainly the afternoon was kitchen focused. We’d invited friends round for dinner and there was also a big harvest of tomatoes that we needed to work on.

First off, was a trip to a couple of supermarkets – Lidl for most of what I needed and Sainsburys for a couple of things Lidl couldn’t provide. Neither had dried figs but I picked up some fresh ones from Sainsburys. Then, onto cooking.

First dish: pork fillet in cider with sage, onion and sliced potatoes. This was a slow cooker dish so was mainly an assembly job before leaving it to stew away in the background. It was quite tasty although could have done with a bit more body. However, I was trying to keep the fat and oil down so I’ll count that as a success.

Second dish: bustrengo. This is a kind of cake that I found out about from Jamie Oliver’s Italy book. I was able to use apples from the garden and it was what the dried figs were wanted for. I think that substitution worked okay but I also realised I’d neglected to put polenta, one of the main ingredients on the list. I did have a packet of an Indian steamed dessert, which I was trying to figure out how to steam with the equipment we have and which had ingredients like semolina. Yes, it did work although it wasn’t quite like any of my previous attempts at the recipe!

Third dish: tomato and vegetable relish. I got this one started but had to give it a rest over dinner and I’m giving it another rest overnight (all veg, a fair amount of vinegar and sugar and it will get another good boil before I put it in jars). I don’t know how I’ve ended up with so much of this. It may be due to the recipe giving weights for some ingredients, like the tomatoes, but assuming that things like courgettes and onions come in fixed sizes. I was expecting my 2kg of tomatoes to yield about 1.5kg of finished product but the maslin pan scale is suggesting that I’ve still got about 5l of the stuff. I think it will still be tasty but I feel a marginal note coming on!

Friday 17 September 2021
by Wulf

Looking Down on the Garden – September 2021

Looking Down on the Garden - September 2021
Back Garden – September 2021

Not much has changed since last month. Rather, if you compare this image with the August photo, there are differences but they would fit a ‘spot the difference’ competition. If anything, I would way that the August photo looks more autumnal while this one, with pink Malope flowering in the foreground and red fuchsia in the background, gives off more of an impression of winter.

Let’s see what next month brings, when we can compare the image with the first one I took in this garden a year ago.

Thursday 16 September 2021
by Wulf

Milling Away

This afternoon, I’ve been putting my router to work.

Before we went on holiday, I knocked up a couple of wooden lids to sit on top of a couple of large plastic storage boxes we took. The design was very simple – a hardboard sheet cut to a suitable size for the surface and reinforced with a couple of pallet wood planks glued to the underside. The hardboard rests on the lip of the plastic lids and the planks fit neatly into the recess to stop the surface sliding off and to reinforce it. There is one downside though: weight. The planks aren’t that heavy but it all adds up.

That’s where the router came in. I gradually milled away material from the bottom of each plank, leaving the edges but hollowing out the middle. It has worked pretty well but took a long time. What I really needed was a good quality milling bit to remove the wood. I got the job done but I know what I’ll be looking at if I decide I want to do something similar in future.