Thursday, 21 October 2010

The John Bunyan trail

Last weekend and a free afternoon whilst my wife was away for the weekend I decided to take a walk starting from our house and make the most of the the Autumn sun. Having been on a Silva navigation course in Derbyshire the other week I thought I'd practice my map reading skills! Pete Hawkins did suggest that the best way to gain confidence was to walk in you own locality when you are always confident of where you  are.



Part of my route took me along the John Bunyan trail. I must say there wasn't  much in the way of signage and nor have I be able to find out much about the route's association with John Bunyan-who remains  Bedford's greatest claim to fame (unless you prefer the R101 airship or Paula Radcliffe). He wrote the masterpiece which is Pilgrim's Progress-a book which is remarkable for having always been in print since it was written 1677.

I took a slight detour when I got to Bromham stopping off at the Bromham Swan for a pint of my favourite ale-Green King's Abbot Ale whilst I settled down in front of a log fire to read a portion of a lesser known work of John Bunyan-The heavenly footman. Written in 1698  it has a brief description of the Christian doctrine of justification which teaching had played such a crucial role in the Reformation. This is how Bunyan puts it,
'a man is forced to suffer the destruction of his own righteousness for the righteousness of another. This is no easy matter for a man to do; I assure you it stretcheth every vein in his heart before he will be brought to yield to it......to throw himself wholly upon the righteousness and obedience of another man... this is the first thing'.

Now Bunyan is speaking about Christ and ceasing to count on our own achievements. What a joy it is to rely upon and put my trust in another (or throw myself as Bunyan would say) who is Christ,when it comes to how I stand before God.  None of us measure up, no amount of religious activity will help us climb the ladder to a holy God.  I can live at peace with myself and with God because of someone else's goodness and sacrifice. It does't seem fair does it. No wonder John Newton called it Amazing Grace.



Tuesday, 12 October 2010

It's boring being a GP

'GPs just see sore throats and issue sick certificates'. It's a popular view of the great British public. Not greatly disimilar from some hospital consultants who caution their juniors not to waste their skills on general practice (I have a mole in the hospital in the form of my FY2 daughter Hannah!!).

Well I had a quiet duty morning today seeing only 10 patients-here they are.

Patient No 1. A 55 year old lady with a 4 week history of left periorbital pain with associated watering of the eye. Probably Cluster migraine- a rare and nasty form of migraine
Patient No 2. A 47 year man with a recent diagnosis of depression. Its come completely out of the blue since he admits he's a classic 'rugby type' into a fast paced life. We discussed his insomnia and the journey he is now embarking on.
Patient No 3. A 36 year old lady with a herpes simplex rash in her cheek. She's getting married in 2 weeks so anxious to look her best.
Patient No 4. A 75 year old man with a past history of pleurisy 50 years ago, 'I nearly died', worried about his cough. He left with reassurance and a 'delayed script' for antibiotics.
Patient No 5 A 36 year old mum with a sore throat-for the last 12 hours-ok, ok we do see some.
Patient No 6. A 50 year old professional musician with 38 hours of shortness of breath. He's got a loud systolic murmur, tachycardia and abnormal ecg. Probably mitral valve disease. Normally fit guy, off to hospital he goes.
Patient No 7 A 35 year old lorry driver who comes to discuss the mri scan of his neck. He has numbness in his arms and may need surgery.
Patient No 8 A 25 year old with pain on swallowing. He has small aphthous ulcers on his posterior pharynx. No previous history. Possibly viral. But not tonsillitis!
Patient No 9 and 10  Oh dear...I've forgotten already!


Variety is indeed the spice of life.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

'The lion will lie down with the lamb!!'

Take a look at this extraordinary video shot in Kruger national park. It's full of surprises. Not sure that it fulfils may aim of 'enjoying creation' but it certainly gives you something to think about. Make sure you keep watching till the end..




And one day the lion will lie down with the lamb!

For a shorter rather amusing version of the video from Japanese tv look here.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Jack the lad

Last week we enjoyed a relaxing time in Castleton in the northern Peak District.  Walking down Mam Tor it was great to see a number of paragliders enjoying the thermals swirling above us.  As we were near the bottom we caught side of one of the paragliders juts having landed. It was Jack from Sheffield.
Sheffield Jack
He was pleased to tell us that he had just completed his 800th flight at the tender age of 82 years (having taken up the sport when he was 66 years of age). He was full of life and had no intention of slowing up.

Yes I guess he is fortunate with his health and well being, but it always difficult to know how much of a person's current state of health is simply a random occurrence and how much results from that person's lifestyle and the multiple factors that contribute to our risk of illness, which of course includes our family history. Jack was liberal with his friendship towards us-in fact it proved a challenge to get away...

One factor that is known to contribute to well being is 'connectedness'. That surrounding of oneself with and the giving of oneself  to,  other people, some of whom we would call 'friends' of various degrees of closeness. One of the factors contributing to my own dear mother's well-being  (she is 84 years old today) has been her warmth and hospitality to so many people over the years. Loneliness and isolation can literally kill us but friendship, both freely offered and freely received immunises us to some degree against a variety of ills.

Being a Christian believer provides wonderful friendships and being part of a healthy church family really adds to that. Of course I realise that not all church families are as healthy and health giving as they might be, and not everyone who has lots of friends will be fit enough to paraglide at 82 years, but maybe it  makes the probability  more likely.

Any way Jack has inspired me to plan for my sixties!

By the way take a listen to a great sermon here on 'spiritual friendship' by Tim Keller

Pick up a penguin

I've just so enjoyed reading The Penguin Lessons by Tim Michell. It really is a lovely read. Whilst travelling to Argentina to teach i...