Blog Archive

Monday, September 17

Avoid London Today

Just updating the look of our blog here, and tried this image in the heading - except it took over the whole page! Not good. However, I took this picture on the way back from a chaplain's meeting in York on that fateful day of the London 7/7 bombings in 2005. Much of the infrastructure across the country closed down, and all train services were suspended. I ended up having a lift back to London thanks to a generous motorist. Aircraft were still flying, and if you look top right of the picture, you'll see a Boeing 747 or Airbus 340 preparing for final approach to Heathrow's 9L or 9R runway, a flightpath that almost overflyies Winsor Castle. - Look at the very first entry on my blog archive, where I transcribed my unedited diary account that I wrote 4 hours after the attacks.

Right now, plans are re-emerging for the 'Emergency Response Trust' that is helping those in the community make emergency contingency plans (see the previous post as well). Unlike many top-led scheme that major on business recovery, our focus is on working with the most vulnerable individuals and community groups. We are not just working on preparing for what might happen, but also strengthening community bonds between ethnic groups, so that much needed support can be accessed right here and now. A big 'thank you' for all who have encouraged us in the work so far! To cut our costs, I've dumped our Emergency Response website, and host only this blog and my more personal blog, that is called Faith's Journey.

Community Response Trust update

Just a word to say that I'm here but having 2 blogs was proving too much, so this one has sat there for a long time. Since the last entry, we've had some of the worst flooding nationally that Britain has seen for many years. Our contingency planning charity, and Annette's flood awareness work took a back seat for the duration of the storms - largely because our original funding bid was unsuccessful - although we received many comments indicating that it was worthwhile work. We are about to re-submit a very modified funding bid that will be trimmed down to essentials - God has been so good in the past year or so - we have venues lined up to use, we have office equipment -- and we didn't write a single begging letter!

Then, two weeks ago, the local council (London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham) contacted Annette and asked if she would represent them on a Civil Contingencies forum, which she did. What I find most encouraging is that neither Annette nor myself went looking for doors to open, but at the right time, others are opening doors for us. At the heart of it all, the community is what is important -- we are not at all important; it is our ability to serve, help, encourage and prepare those around us that alone is of value. I pray only that we might retain -- and grow -- in servanthood.

I can only at this stage update this infrequently, although there are a couple of recent posts on my other blog, which is Do please feel free to reply and comment on ANY post; your opinion and view will be respected, if posted with respect! I value diversity and your viewpoints are important to me!

With God's Blessings in Christ,
John R.

Friday, March 3

All Clear

Four surge tides have come and gone, and all is well! (We do still have some high Spring tides scheduled at the end of March.) It was worthwhile preparation, and the Enviromental Agency has agreed to send a speaker to any of our 'Living Waters' emergency planning workshops for church or community. I wrote a long entry here, sharing some of my theology of chaplaincy work, only to get it all erased when I went to the spellcheck! So this one is short and sweet: since it is Friday afternoon, you've been spared the monologue... for now at least!

Wednesday, March 1

Official Flood Watch declared

Okay, I said last week on my Community Response Forum that we were going on alert for flooding. Since the Environment Agency was showing all England and Wales regions as "all clear" at the time, we didn't want to call it an actual 'flood warning'. At 7:30pm last night, however, the status changed to FLOOD WATCH for the area Annette and I are living in.

So we can say it is official now, and no one can say we are being flacky. Let me say this right now -- we got 6 days advance warning because alert Christians -- watchmen if you like -- were on the ball, and the communications system was working.

This is still a flood watch - not an alert - and we now have 8 hours until the tide peaks. We have our emergency plan as in place as it is going to be, including a make shift kitchen arrangement upstairs. We plan to only evacuate if we really have to - since we have the ability for the 7 of us to survive for at least a week inside the home. [Our daughter Hannah lives in a basement flat, so she would stay over here]. For the skeptics among us, who will note that I made the last post on this blog after the Watch was announced, take the time to check my Living Waters Forum; you may check with any of the 50 or more folks that Annette and I emailed our two-page flood warning PDF file newsletter that I emailed on 27th February 2006. On the forum, I launched the warning some six days ago.

Note: currently, anyone can click through to our forum - by the time you read this, you may have to register as a user first. Below is what the government agency is now saying, not us:
Current status
Flood Watch Status
last changed at:19:30 on 28-Feb-2006
Location:The River Thames from Putney Bridge to Teddington Weir
[Click for Live Link]
Because this governemnt page is updated frequently and flood watches change, this may be a dead link in by the time you view. If so, just chop off the extensions, and you'll be able to do your own flood search for the whole of England and Wales. The evidence is clear: however we are not saying there will be a flood, but we are ready if one happens!

Tuesday, February 28

London Flood Drill

Annette and I have received a warning indicating a possible flooding of London along the River Thames tomorrow 1st March (Ash Wednesday).

Having researched the evidence, there is indeed a risk of flooding from very high (but not unknown) tides in the afternoon on Wednesday and Thursday, reaching 7.5 meters. (This is around .1 to .2 meter higher than the tide in February 2004 which was the last time the Thames Barrier was raised into the flood defence position.)

I cannot speak for the City of London financial district, but thousands of homes and community facilities are in known risk areas, (including our home which is just two hundred yards from the river bank). I'm updating everyone on our own preparations on the new Chaplains Call Forum I've been busy working on this month.

The Thames Barrier is also scheduled for monthly routine maintenance tomorrow morning. This is not Internet rumour: I checked the Port of London as well as other sources. My feeling is that due to the dry weather, we are likely to be safe this time around. However, at the end of March we get another very high tide, and if we get a lot of rain later in the month, then the danger could be considerably greater. Check the forum for regular updates-- also participate and post to it! - John

My Other Blog...

Why I have two blogs, I'll never know; one is enough work!

However, if you want to find out more background to this photo I took at a prayer meeting a few hours ago, after returning from St. Clement Danes, I suggest you click over to my rather more personal,

"Faith's Journey" blog.

Sunday, February 5

More from St. Clement Danes

More shots of St. Clement Danes Church from this morning. The cased book is one of several listing all the airmen killed in WW2. Another book includes all killed between 1911 and 1939, and an eleventh book remembers all the American airmen of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces killed whilst stationed in the UK in WW2. The top interior photo features the massive Royal Stuart coat of arms with this inscription in Latin: "Built by Christopher Wren 1682. Destroyed by thunderbolts of air warfare 1941. Restored by the Royal Air Force 1958". Some of the pews are very ornate indeed. By contrast, the exterior appears quite plain. It is located on a traffic island right in the middle of London's Strand. Oh, in case you're wondering, the "bells of St. Clements" in the old nursery rhyme "Oranges and Lemons" may be a reference to this historic church, but more likely to St. Clement's Eastcheap, also designed by Wren.)

Air Cadet Anniversary Service

Just returned from the Annual Air Cadet central London parade and thanksgiving service, marking the 65th anniversary of the formation of the corps. The service was held at St. Clement Danes Church, built by Sir Christopher Wren in 1682, (although the original church is thought to date from the ninth century). Around 700 cadets marched along the Strand. Since 1958, it has been the Central Church of the Royal Air Force. I took in total around 60 shots, when I get time, they will form a webpage. I was given permission to take photos of this world-famous church after the service; unfortunately, not during the ceremony, which is why the church is virtually empty. However, these are genuine shots I took less than 3 hours ago.

Saturday, February 4

My offical squadron padre photograph. The wooden prop behind me is from a WW1 British fighter aircraft - can't remember the type off the top of my head.
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Thursday, January 19

Still Active!

Anyone even bothering to click on my blog will notice nothing new at all... This is a reflection of my battle with passwords, log-ins etc. that very often defeat all my best intentions! Also, my writing has been directed mostly of late in the essays required on the MA Pastoral Theology degree I'm undertaking.

Having now got the website up and running for my gardening friend, Edyta, at my confidence is on a roll, and I may just get around to re-do and update my ancient website at -- it needs work for sure! Don't loose sleep, but --- let's hope I get things a biut more up to date! - John