Charlie Knox
26, m, resident of spa, northern ireland, a thinker, who tries to be real, enjoys the company of nala(left), indebted to jesus for his grace and instruction in life and whose, amongst other things, studying sports science at UUJ. enjoy rugby a whole lot!

Monday, April 06, 2009  

It was written!!!

Mel and I managed to squeeze in a wee visit to the cinema on Saturday night to see Slumdog Millionaire. I expected the cinema to be half empty because the film was released quite a while ago but it was packed out which in itself is an indicator of this movie's success. We both really enjoyed it. It's the story of one young man's immeasurable success when all the odds were magnificently stacked against him. Indeed the chances of such success were so minute the only suitable explanation was that 'it was written.'

And didn't it feel exactly the same less than 24 hours later when the Hinch, our wee club in Co. Down, in no uncertain terms became All Ireland Champions after dethroning multiple cup winners, Cork Constitution in a outstanding game in Athlone. I will never forget it.

The route to the final was unimaginably hard. To get there the boys had to knock over several kingpins of Irish Rugby including Shannon in the second round, Galwegians in the quarters and Garryowen in an unforgettable semi final in front of a capacity crowd at Ballymacarn. Just being in the final was an incredible feat but at lunchtime yesterday the big question was could there be a fairytale ending? Could the boys really do it and dispose of another legendary Irish team, Cork Con?

Before the game it seemed like the whole of Ballynahinch had migrated to Athlone. A pile of buses had transported the army of Green and Navy supporters to the centre of Ireland to will on their team on to victory in these unimaginable circumstances!! The buzz was good, the Co Down. men and women were enjoying being on tour and the boys, again tagged as the underdogs, had nothing to lose.

As the game kicked off it soon became apparent that the Hinch, bouyed by the crowd and comfortable playing into the strong wind were in no way intimidated by their famous opposition. In fact when they scored a converted try to take the lead about two thirds into the first half it felt like the odds were beginning to slowly swing their way and they were in fact the team to beat. And so it went on. A halftime lead of 7-6 and playing with the wind in the second half, Hinch dominating posession and territory as second half unfolded, Turnover after Turnover, domination of the collisions leading to both the influential Con. halfbacks having to leave the field and then in the dying minutes a superb John Gunson try to put the game beyond the reach of Con. Just unbelivable! And didn't we dance and shout and scream and hug on the sidelines. I don't believe I've had such a feeling of ecstacy in a long, long time. The boys had done it and done it in superb fashion! The pitch was invaded soon afterwards and the boys were enveloped by the travelling Hinch support. And so began the celebrations....more hugs, more songs, more and lots more jubilation. What a result, what a day! It was written.

For full report click here.

posted by charlie | 3:41 PM |

Monday, March 23, 2009  

Some links

I confess that reading this made me jealous that I'd missed it.

What an incredible day of rugby on Saturday. Part 1 being this and Part 2 being that which you already know about!!

Your age in days. Today I'm 10139.

posted by charlie | 6:56 PM |

Thursday, March 12, 2009  

Right Now

I'm now on my second placement of my PGCE. For this shift I'm at Down High School (where Duke Special, Alistair McGrath, my sister, ash and my sister in law all did their schooling amongst others). As it's alumni would suggest it's a pleasant spot to work. So far most of the staff have been very welcoming and like Shimna the outdoor panoramics are very inspiring with the Cathedral in the foreground and the Mournes on the horizon.

The work so far is challenging. There's lots of it, there lots of it that is new to me (Cricket & The Dalai Lama* to name a couple of topics), the kids are like sponges who seem to soak up everything i give them very quickly and to make matters worse, somewhere al0ng the line i've picked up some annoying perfectionist tendancies . Late nights in front of the PC are abounding and I'm feeling drained on lots of levels as the plethora of mouth ulcers keep reminding me (before the bongela puts them to bed!!). I keep telling myself that while this doesn't always FEEL that good its only for a season and that in the long run its good for me. Growth hurts sometimes and despite feeling wrecked I can see that i'm being stretched in good ways and would rather have that than not improve.

Helping the soul slightly as I stare at the screen each evening are Iain archer, ray lamontagne and priscilla ahn. Mel and I went to see the latter two in the Waterfront in February. Both sing with a lot of heart. Ray's latest stuff is superb and is becoming anthemic of the past 6 months for us. Isn't it funny how music attaches itself to lifetimes?

No other major goings on. I would so much love to be talking about some movies. The list of shows i'd like to see in the cinema is long right now but time hasn't been allowing too many visits. From reading reviews I get the feeling that the first 2 months of 2009 have given us more good movies than the whole of 2008 put together. Good times. I guess i'll just have to enjoy a few more summer DVD's. (like the wrestler, valkyrie and slumdog and doubt to name a few).

Finally and while i'm here I'd also like to add my little bit to the tsunami of reaction to the shootings in our part of the world over the past few days. Like so many other people have expressed, my heart sank hearing about the deaths. It will be little consolation to the families of the dead men that their deaths seem to have brought more unity of voice than we've seen around here since a long time.

right. i allowed myself 5 minutes for this post and it took a good bit more.

* Two separate units - i have yet to find out what 'his holiness' makes of the game!

posted by charlie | 11:14 PM |

Wednesday, February 25, 2009  

Not to be missed!!

Make sure you don't pass up the opportunity to go to the Bodies Exhibition thats currently on in Dublin! Basically it's a bunch of real human bodies that have been preserved and creatively presented to provide a fascinating insight into how the various systems of the body operate. I was at the exhibition in New York in 2005 and also took Melissa along when we were in Barcelona last year, having a wonder-full experience on both occasions - i honestly couldn't recommend it enough!!

The website will give you all the practical info!

posted by charlie | 12:43 PM |

Monday, January 05, 2009  

Exciting Days at the Hinch

It was a momentus occasion on Saturday at Ballymacarn where Ballynahinch won the First Trust Ulster Senior League for the first time after a 38-9 bonus point home victory over Queen's University.

The boys really are on fine form these days!!

More here.

posted by charlie | 4:29 PM |

Sunday, January 04, 2009  

Christmas Holidays 2008

The holidays are drawing to a close and tomorrow I start back at school. I've really enjoyed the break this year. PGCE life is busy and so it was nice to have time on my hands to catch up with folks, take the odd dander, play a game or two, take in a few movies and relax in front of the fire plenty! Here's a few of the highlights of the holiday.....

Around September time a friend in the rugby club told me about an activity he had taken part in during a summer holiday in Canada called Geocaching - I was immediately interested. Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, that are usually tucked away outdoors in proximity to points of scenic or historical interest before sharing your experiences online. What excited me even more was that after a little research I found that lots of these hidden containers are stored away all around Co. Down! Immediately i was hooked on this idea but had a small problem in that i didn't have a GPS device! I was very tempted at the time to go an buy one on impulse but decided to wait until Christmas when it might be more affordable. Thankfully Melissa picked up on my eagerness for a device and did a great job in selecting one for me to unwrap on the 25th!! Since then we've got stuck into our new hobby and to date have located 11 geocaches in both familiar and surprising locations not far from home! I'm fairly sure this is only the beginning of geocaching and look forward to setting up a few more caches locally and uncovering a few more in places afar!! I'm also keen to see a few more friends on board!!

During my last two years of school the bunch of lads that i knocked about with used to head down the Ormeau Road every Friday lunchtime to the Hungry Hound II where we would get a BA-SA-SA (our affectionate term for a Battered Sausage Supper!!). Since this year marked 10 years since we left school a few of us decided to gather again at the Hungry Hound for old time's sake. It was great to see the boys and it reminded me of the special bond between us all. Despite having not seen some of them for almost three years now, we picked up right where we left off and it was just like we'd just been off on a school break for a while! It seems that inspite of the different experiences we've had since school, the relationships we formed during those influential years remain constant.

On the morning of New Year's Eve a crowd of us began the day with a cooked breakfast in Spa before heading into the Dromara hills where we ventured up Slieve Croob before turning down the Pass Loanin pathway towards Finnis. It was great just to get out into the fresh air for a few hours with friends! Such a dander could become an annual fixture if not more often!! (Incidentaly, when we were in Finnis the google streetview car drove past us. Maybe we'll feature sometime in the future!) Later on that night Mel and I enjoyed a chinese in Ardglass before returning up to Slieve Croob where we welcomed in the new year over some craic in the Inn!

For now I'm back to Shimna College for 3 weeks before a return to Jordanstown in February. Good times!

posted by charlie | 11:22 PM |

Thursday, November 27, 2008  


I've been giving my Year 8's at Shimna an introduction to the Bible as part of their RE classes over the past few weeks. Just today we looked at some of the key steps in history that led us towards the range of bibles we have today (i didn't show them this one!!!). These steps included the massive impact of Gutenberg's Printing Press and the determined actions of 'heretics' like William Tyndale who took it upon himself to have the bible translated in English knowing that it could cost him his life (as it turns out it did!).

Having just finished the lesson, it was interesting when i checked out the BBC website at lunchtime and found this article!! Interesting stuff.

posted by charlie | 3:16 PM |

Friday, November 14, 2008  

The Art Wrestle of Public Speaking

I get to do public speaking every now and then, although intentionally I do a lot less these days than i have in the past. Sometimes i speak in churches, sometimes in schools and occasionally at one off events, like last summer when i delievered speeches at a couple of the weddings I was involved in.

I hope it doesn't sound too vain to say that i enjoy speaking in public. Like Eric Liddel, the olympian whose story was told in the movie Chariots of Fire, and who said 'God made me fast and when I run I feel his pleasure' , I feel God has given me some natural ability to speak in public and when I do, it feels right. However, that definitely doesn't mean its without effort, work or even a few recurrent nightmares!! I constantly wrestle with questions about the whole public speaking thing (and incidentally I think thats the way it needs to be. A mate recently quoted Erwin McManus saying 'you should find what comes easy in life and then work hard at it.').

I ask questions about whether public speaking is effective - do people remember anything? can i remember much from any of the public speaking I've listened to lately? is that the point? is it about the longterm effect or the effect it has in the moment? is it about these small effects adding up as you listening to lots of public speaking over a period of time? I ask if we too often confuse public speaking with teaching, particuarly in the church? I ask what effect public speaking has on listeners - does it passify them? numb them? make them angry? make them bored? make them feel unspiritual becuase they are bored? make them excited? make them want to change? make them want to go home? make them think about what they're doing afterwards? make them think differently? make them question? make them feel like the person at the front is more important? make them feel like poor listeners? make them feel part of something bigger? I ask questions about what type of public speaking is most effective - how long? how funny? how many stories? how many quotes? stand still or move about? visual aids or good word pictures? detailed notes or none? how to start? how to finish? how much silence? audience participation or not?

The questions are unending.... and of course so will be the answers.

Anyway, the thing that got me thinking about all this stuff (when i should be lesson planning!) was an article that Stevie P sent me today. It's written by some leadership consultant called Mark Sanborn. I think the questions he encourages Public speakers to ask are spot on:

Did I stick to my allotted time?
Did I develop and present purposefully?
Was I thoroughly prepared?
Did I capture attention at the very beginning?
Did I positively influence listeners?
Was I appropriately entertaining, or at least not boring?
Did I end only once?

In the article, Sanborn also provides a few reasons why speakers should ask these questions. As his title suggests Sanborn reckons that following these questions should keep one's public speaking 'flop proof'. While I wouldn't share his confidence in that regard, asking these questions would help public speakers, including myself become more sensitive and accountable to the people who graciously lend their ears each time we stand up.

thanks stevie.

posted by charlie | 1:06 PM |

Monday, October 27, 2008  

Patience with others is love.
Patience with self is hope.
Patience with God is faith.


posted by charlie | 10:23 PM |

Friday, September 26, 2008  

Learning under the shadow of Donard

Having just completed a short placement in Spa Primary last week I got the first major placement of my PGCE underway today. For the next four Friday's and then the following four months I'll be heading up to Newcastle each day to work in Shimna Integrated College in their PE and RE departments. I'd never been at the school before today but I'm really looking forward to my spell with them. I'm particuarly looking forward to seeing the integrated sector in action and also the school's comprehensive approach to education. Both are different to my own schooling experiences and will be interesting to be part of.

One major plus to being a PE student is that I'll spend lots of my day outside and given the school's beautiful setting on the fringes of Donard Park I will have either the Irish Sea or the beautiful Mournes not far away in my peripheral vision for lots of hours each day... of course that depends on the weather holding up so i can see them...the teacher in charge of PE wasn't so hopeful today as he heartily commended Gortex trainers as the only way forward.

posted by charlie | 4:18 PM |

Friday, September 12, 2008  

Back on the bus!

Time to break the barreness i reckon. It's been too long! When you don't post for a while, knowing where to start can sometimes be difficult. There's much to talk about. So for now i choose 'Public Transport'.

Sadly, my ever reliable polo which has amassed nearly 120,000 miles over the last 7 years has developed a few chronic sicknesses and has spent the majority of the last month at the mechanic's for some major surgery. There's been a few complications and I'm getting a major education on the inner workings of a wagon and much lighter wallet in the process!

As a result of being carless I've had to rediscover the joys of NI public transport in order to get myself up to uni each day! The good thing is that not so long ago such a statement would have had serious sarcastic overtones. Now its not just so far from the truth! Here's just a few of the upsides.....

+ Buses from Ballynahinch to Belfast are a lot more frequent, more modern and warmer than they used to be when i had to trape to school everyday! The train to Jordanstown is just fun!

+ When you get off the bus or train you inevitably have a little bit of a dander which clears out the cobwebs and contributes to the days physical activity levels.

+ When you're on the bus or train you have sleep, to read, to gawk around you(at stuff inside the bus or off it), to text, to sort out the diary, to chat to fellow passengers....such space is good for the soul i think!

+ When you stand at the bus stop there is the chance that some kind people notice you and stop and offer a lift and when you accept you get to catch up and renew friendship some as was the case this morning. Thanks CT!!

So being without the car has been a little bit of a blessing in disguise. Looking forward to being over 60 now and the free bus pass!!

posted by charlie | 9:22 AM |

Thursday, June 19, 2008  

The wait is over

On 10th December 2007 i posted my application for my PGCE (PE) at UUJ. After a very long wait I got an interview in April which was followed by equally endless wait through May and June!! Today, however, the tide turned when the following arrived in the post!

As you can imagine I'm over the moon about this! Another bit of the jigsaw has fallen into place and the journey towards being a teacher has reached another important milestone! I also get to stay in NI which I'm glad about..there are things that would have made it hard to leave at the minute! Thankyou God.

posted by charlie | 3:48 PM |

I want one!

Discovered this inflatable roof rack online. Looks like a tidy piece of gear. I think I might get one for lugging the canoe or the windsurfer around!! Nala wouldn't smell as bad up there either!

posted by charlie | 3:32 PM |

Saturday, June 14, 2008  


So theres been silence on the blog. Truth is that the final onslaught at uni proved to be a bit tighter going than I'd expected. I only had two exams but found myself in lock down mode for the first three weeks in May, anxious to secure a result I could look back on in future years without regret. Having said that the revision definitely didn't come easy. I found the final push incredibly hard to get motivated for and when it was all done i was absolutely goosed. Despite having a fair bit of free time since the exams I've found it hard to relax or get on with things, worrying about results and whether i had secured a place on the PGCE in Belfast. Thankfully some of the cloud began to lift on Thursday when I got word that I'd managed a first in my degree. Enough to say I'm delighted. I've worked hard at uni over the past three years and its nice to take away a qualfication that should help in the future! Now i'm just waiting on some positive word on the PGCE and then I'll really be able to enjoy my summer!!

posted by charlie | 3:56 PM |

Thursday, May 01, 2008  

A few gems in the madness!

The last few weeks in April have been mad with work but there's been a few gems!

On the 15th April my mum turned 50. To mark the occasion my dad took her to a friend's apartment on the Costa del Sol and had arranged for us all to fly out at different times to join the celebration. The good bit was mum knew nothing about any of it until each of us arrived out there! First of all SJ flew in from England on the 14th and turned up in a Marbella restaurant where mum and dad were eating. On the 16th Johnny, Rebecca and Gregory arrived at the apartment and were greeted my copious amounts of screaming and finally on the 18th Mel and I appeared from behind the breakfast bar when mum returned from a wee dander. We were only able to stay for two short days but the experience was well worth it. Mum never fails to extend herself for all of us through encouraging words, caring actions and amazing example so it was great just to do something so special and so memorable for her. There were a few other perks of the trip including getting to a drive fun little lancia hire car, a fun road trip round some torturous mountain roads, some great grub and plenty of craic with the folks! Respect also has to go to Dad who engineered the whole thing to precision without mum having a clue about it all!

On the 25th April my U14's boarded the bus at the rugby club in Ballynahinch and made their way to the 'big green acre' at Ravenhill were they playing their Ulster Cup final against Monaghan. Having been beaten twice already this season by Monaghan they knew they'd be up for a tough scrap but a super first class performance including some solid defence work and great continuity saw them take an 8 point lead. In the second half they played well but conceded one converted try leaving a fairly nervous 10 minutes to finish the game. Thankfully they held out and when the final whistle went i leapt a right few feet in the air before joining in on the celebrations! It was great day for the lads. Getting to Ravenhill is something every rugby player treasures never mind getting to lift the cup there! I was very proud of my boys....they've been the best bunch I've ever had for dedication to training and team spirit and have been a pleasure to coach. Their hard work paid off on saturday and they'll remember that day for a long time. Ironically I clearly remember a night at the start of this season when after a bad training session i told Melissa how I reckoned this year would be a real struggle! Thankfully the reality was different and there couldn't have been a better way to finish the Ulster Champions!!

Official Match Report and Photos here.

posted by charlie | 2:31 PM |

Nearly there....

Well the final year mist is beginning to lift as today I handed in my last assignment for my degree. It is a great feeling to have that weight off the shoulders. Now only two exams left in mid-may and soon after that I'll be able to add a few letters to the end of my name. I also had an interview yesterday for next year's PE PGCE at Jordanstown. It was a very informal effort and i think i got across everything I'd wanted to in terms of my desire to teach and my relevant experiences to date. Now just a wait until the start of June when we're expected to get a result...i'll know then whether i'm based here or in England next year.

I defintely am ready to be done with all this purely academic malarkey, i'm ready to get out of the ivory tower and into the real world again. University has been an experience that has enhanced my knowledge, refined my skills and one I'm most grateful for but all this thinking about things can get tiresome. Thankfully next year's PGCE wherever i do it will have a much more balanced approach of practical experience and reflection!

posted by charlie | 2:10 PM |

Monday, April 21, 2008  


Some highly intelligent humour from the two ronnies.

posted by charlie | 4:23 PM |

Tuesday, April 15, 2008  

Go on the boys!!

posted by charlie | 11:13 AM |

Sunday, April 13, 2008  

Belfast On Form

I love seeing Belfast taking small steps to becoming a vibrant city again.

Having travelled to a right few cities across the globe it has always pained me to think about the city experience i was coming home to. But like Newcastle with its new promenade, hope is in Belfast’s air as signs of change emerge at a fair rate of knots! It's great to see some new architecture springing up, attractions like the big wheel lighting up the night sky and little eateries (like boojum) beginning to appear here and there.

Anyhow. Last night I had a good feeling about Belfast as we headed into the Titanic Quarter, through the building works beginning to transform the landscape down there, to go to the drive in movie put on as part of the Belfast Film Festival. I've always wanted to go to a drive-in movie but never expected to have my first experience sitting right next to Harland and Wolff's iconic yellow cranes or with the silhouette of Cavehill on the horizon.

The event itself was run with precision. Upon arrival you were guided to your spot by an army of torch wielding stewards before being provided with an A4 sheet packed with practical information outlining how the whole thing worked. It included the FM frequency to pick up sound for the movie and other helpful tips like remembering to start your car every 20 minutes to avoid a flat battery at the end of the show! Last night's movie was the romantic comedy 'When Harry met Sally' which alongside being a fun show got me thinking about love and loss and sex and love and friendship and lots my own life experiences.

So well done's good see you on such good form…the appreciative honk on my horn at the of end of last year’s show was accompanied by a prayer that you continue to be renewed and revived and led into a life much fuller!

posted by charlie | 1:31 PM |

A Spiced Up Weekend

Indian food. First I disliked it, then i could tolerate it and now I love it. Melissa and I enjoyed a great wee feast at the award winning 'Passage to India' restaurant in Downpatrick on Friday night. I'd highly recommend it but would be worth booking if you keen because we've been turned away a few times!!

Mexican food. First I disliked it, then i could tolerate it and now I love it. Melissa and I enjoyed a great wee feast at Boojum in Belfast on Saturday night. It was recommended to us by Gregory and I'd highly recommend it to you. And you won't need to book. The Burrito is particuarly good!

posted by charlie | 1:16 PM |

Thursday, April 03, 2008  

Sorry, couldn't help it!

Scientists find a 14,000 year old dump!

posted by charlie | 9:35 PM |

Thursday, March 27, 2008  

is a great movie.

posted by charlie | 11:35 PM |


A recent conclusion is that barcelona is a fun city to visit.

There's a whole lot packed into a relatively small space and it offers plenty of experiences for the short stayer. Similiar to feelings that i had in edinburgh it struck me that BCN is a city that has given permission to it's artists. You see it in their architecture where they have fairly sucessfully fused old and new together, you see it in their tourist attractions (cable cars, magic fountains) and you even see it in their public transport system (of which bicing is the latest novel addition). The city appears to have developed alot in the last 20 years and the city council is evidently a place where decision makers make it easier rather than harder for new initiatives to have a go - not always a feeling you get from our 'jump through hoops' approach to things round here!

Anyhow we had a great time. I'd recommend the city to anyone although i can't guarantee the company will be as good as I had. It was special to share the barcelona experience with my lovely lady Melissa!!

For both memory and recommendation's sake here are some of the interesting things we experienced in BCN......

Montjuic Mountain - The funicular railway and cable cars that take you to the top of this hill on the side of the city are a lot of fun. The views over the city at the top are breathtaking, including some over the huge industrial port.

Tibadabo and Amusement park - another mountain overlooking the city - again gettting there is fun using a tram and another funicular railway. Unusual features at the top include two churches, one built on top of the other, and a unique amusement park. We only did one ride called the grand lever. It was a big steel structure built in 1928 that took you to incredible heights in a big steel bucket. Given the construction date and the fact that you were already at a fair height this was quite a hairy experience!!

Gaudi's masterpeice's - Gaudi is barcelona's favourite son and an iconic architect. We visited three of his works, House Batilon, San Grada Familia and Park Guell. His very distinctive style of work initally made me think he had just 'winged it' but with a little explanation it became obvious that he had actually thought about every little detail of his buildings and that he was the epitome of creative thinking in this field. San Grada familia, Gaudi's cathedral started in 1882 and continues to be built even though he died years ago. Suffice to say it's massive...other than that you'd need to see it!

I think kids would love Gaudi's buildings!

Magic Fountain of Montjuic - I never seen a fountain quite like this before and I'm not sure anything like it exists elsewhere. It's massive, dances to music and combined with lights at night is quite a show. We were part of a massive crowd watching the fountain and the feel good factor was all around as people awed at this thing.

Las Ramblas - This is just a massive avenue up the middle of the city from the sea. It's packed with street performers (ranging in ability!) , street sellers (hens and flowers included!) and is fun to take in.

Olympic legacy - The olympics were held in BCN in 1992. It was interesting to walk around some of the facilities that remain and also the olympic village. Unfortunately many of them felt a bit ghost townish at times. The long term benefits of hosting these events appear to be few.

The siesta - we found this idea hard to get used to. Everything shuts down around 3 or 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The hardest bit was when you were starving around 6/7 o'clock and nowhere was open for grub. We ate most nights a good bit after 9 and went to bed feeling too full!!

Bodies - when i was in New York a few years ago I was privelaged to come across the Bodies exhibition. I often wondered would i ever get to see it again and was very excited to hear it was in BCN when we were there. Basically it's a lot of dead people's bodies and bits on display which makes it sound much more gruesome than it actually is. It's an educational exhibition that does a great job of explaining how the systems of the body work and does a fantastic job of drawing attention to the wonderful creation that our bodies are. I was glad Melissa got to see it as she's heard me harping on about it over the last year or so!

Shoe shops - For those inclined, BCN has lots of shops. Fortunately I wasn't subjected to too many of them but i did discover that Melissa has a weakness for shoe shops. I must have been in at least 40 over the 5 days!

Nu camp - We did make it out to the stadium but didn't make the tour. We had to leave something for the next time!!

posted by charlie | 2:59 PM |

Monday, March 17, 2008  


it's been one of those hectic months. here's a few things i thought about bloggin along the way.

+ had an accident in carryduff one day a few weeks back. was definitely of the minor variety. while chatting to tim edgar who was on his bike at the other side of the road i reversed into a woman who had pulled in behind me. upon inspection of her car it turned out i had cracked her bumper. graciously, and beacuse of a few cracks already in the bumper, the lady driving was happy to let things go. i gave her my details but she hasn't got in touch. i'm not sure every one would take such a gracious view on things these days. i'm appreciative.

+ uni plods on. i've been working my backside off for the last wee while. results have been going well so that's encouraging but i wouldn't want to live this life all the time. it's just one thing after the other. having said that I'm heading off to barcelona tomorrow for a 5 day break (can't wait). beyond that it'll be head down until may and the chance to try on a mortar board!

+ had a few speaking engagements recently. one at emmanuel in lurgan and another at mannafest in belfast. was nice to be with two groups of people that i've built up a connection with over the years. always challenged as i prepare for these things but at the same time reminded of so many biblical truths that are dynamite (powerful!).

+ i discoverd that glenn jordan is a blogger. this man is a legend. he was the guy at bible college who instilled in me the importance of asking 'so what?' when doing theology or reading the bible. he is a scholar but also a poet, thoughtful but earthy and easy to listen to. i don't get to hear him speaking anywhere near as much as i'd like so finding his blog was exciting.

+ when listening to stephen nolan one morning i heard a women describe norn irish men as being' emotionally constipated' - they know what they feel but just can't get it out. the phrase made me laugh and is not so far from being the truth in a lot of cases. fortunately i think blogging is good means of expression and is helping a right few gentlemen around our island get unblocked a little... an emotional laxitive if you like!!

+ my clutch went on the polo. not too bad for 113, ooo miles although it went down at Jordanstown and left me a wee bit stranded. thankfully ricey pulled me out of a hole and towed me home. hairy enough stuff being towed on a short tow rope at 60mph behind a wee white van!!!

+ i've been blog tagged a few times and will maybe do a post when i'm home!

posted by charlie | 11:37 PM |

Thursday, February 21, 2008  

Had this online movie recommended to me by a mate at uni. It's a story worth hearing although it might unsettle you a little. Watch it and see what you think.

posted by charlie | 2:47 PM |

Tuesday, February 12, 2008  

Standing at the gate, looking into the garden....

Last year, Micah Jones, about to graduate from his architecture degree and embark on the great quest of life, took his dissertation as an opportunity to lament what he saw as three disastrous developments in housing. It pained him that the value of a house had become more about market value than its homeliness, forcing people into major life sacrifices to meet mortgage demands; that much housing had become uniformed, predictable and lacking in personality; and that housing was too rigid for the dynamic life we live.

The issue of housing/home making is very real for many 20 somethings and is something that frequently rears its head in my conversations with peers. In my assessment, Micah does a great job of articulating and illustrating some of the dilemmas that underlie many of these discussions.

I'd recommend this piece of writing to anyone about to take leave of the nest or to those already launched. Whilst by his own admission, Micah's writing is informed by youthful 'standing at the gate' ideals more than life tested reflection, it is stirring and unsettling writing that should provoke some response in the right direction.

posted by charlie | 12:51 PM |

Sunday, February 03, 2008  

Sporting Weekend

Was a sport packed weekend....

On Saturday morning my U14s playing on a snow covered pitch up at Ballymacarn beat Ards to take the Ulster U14 Premier League for the second year running. This year's team have been super. They turn up in their droves every week to training and have a really good attitude. Saturday was a nice reward for all their hardwork.

On Saturday afternoon I took to a very mucky field with our club 5XV to play in the Forster Cup against Inishowen who are in the upper regions of the league above us. Unfortunately we were beat 6-3 putting a halt to our cup run but the performance was good and we can take a lot of confidence into the rest of the league campaign.

On Saturday evening I fulfilled a long time wish when i got to go and see Down Gaelic football team playing at the Esler stadium in Newry. A friend from Uni invited me along and I jumped at the chance. They were playing Sligo in the NFL and carried out a superb comeback in the second half to take the victory. A few things impressed me about the whole was only £4 in for students, the crowd was family friendly and yet very passionate (those two things don't always co-exist) and the game was fascinating. The game is so fast moving meaning player workrate is phenomenal and decision making incredibly difficult given that the player has so many options at their disposal every time they get the ball ie. do they kick the ball along the ground or pick it up, do they run or pass, if running, do they bounce or solo, if passing, do they kick out of hand or fist pass, if shooting do they take a point or go for the goal and three points, when shooting do they shoot with foot or hand! The information processing skills of the good players amazes me! Anyway, hopefully I'll get up to a few more games before the season is out.

After i came home from the gaelic i discoverd Amir Khan was in action defending his commonwealth belt against St. Clair. so it was another 40 minutes of sport!. Khan was impressive. In the past his boxing seemed a wee bit overenthusiastic and erratic but watching him on Saturday night he appears to have matured in his fighting style. He fought with composure, not rushing in for the kill too early but instead concentrated on defending well and taking his chances as they emerged. His lightning hand speed was too much for St Clair and the judges awarded him 120/120 - the perfect fight!

On Sunday afternoon I watched Scotland play patches of exciting rugby only to be outplayed by a young, exciting and risk taking French side who performed superbaly well given that they had only trained together for five days. They could be a dangerous team in the future!

To bring the sporting weekend to an end I sat up with Gregory to watch the first half of the Superbowl last night. All the rigmarole around the game is frustrating but the play is exciting and incredibly skillful. It was nice to wake up this morning to hear the Giants had won knowing that they were the underdogs! Why do we like the underdog winning so much?

posted by charlie | 12:20 PM |

Friday, February 01, 2008  

Fancy a dander??

Great website here.

I'm a big fan of walking. It's a fantastic time to get some fresh air, to take in Northern Ireland's bountiful beauty, to notice little things that you don't see when you're moving a bit quicker, to mull over life's complexities , to make decisions, to be alone with God or to converse with friends. It's also something that's very good for your health. I'm doing a module on physical activity and health this term at uni. The introductory lectures have been fascinating. I've always known that exercise is good for burning calories and tackling obesity. What i hadn't realised was the strength of connection that has been found between physical activity and a reduced risk of a range of cancers, coronary heart disease, conditions leading to strokes, diabetes and psychological health issues. The risks associated with inactivity were also fairly scary considering that 70% of our population here in NI is inactive (compared to 24% who smoke!). So more walkies can be no bad thing!!

This website has lots of my favourite walks included on the Co. Down list and has also brought a few to my attention that I haven't enjoyed yet . It will also be a useful resource for exploring a little in other counties!! I hope you can enjoy a few yourself!

posted by charlie | 12:54 PM |

Wednesday, January 23, 2008  

"Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children. -Kahlil Gibran "

stolen from a friend's profile page

posted by charlie | 11:40 PM |

Monday, January 21, 2008  

Coffee shop

My mate Landon had a good run up to christmas with his song 'Coffee shop' featuring in a de beers 'diamonds are forever' advert and proving to be quite popular with all sorts of folks. The advert is below but you can get the full song at his myspace. I think you might like it.

posted by charlie | 12:52 PM |
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