Showing posts from June, 2009

Liverpool Triathlon - results

Well, Sunday June 21st was the BIG day: my first triathlon. I was at an advantage over some of the competitors in that my years of club cycling have given me good cycling fitness and so I didn't have to do too much extra cycling training. I put most of my time and effort into getting my swimming back up to scratch, joining the Liverpool Masters training group at the Wavertree Aquatic Centre. This is made up mainly of people between 25 and 70 who used to do some competition in their younger years and would now maybe like to do some Masters (Veterans) swimming galas or the triathlon. I myself experienced a taste of competition (+ the intensive training that goes with it) as a young boy, competing at breaststroke in a few galas for the City of Southampton club.
I began my swimming training in early March, comprising of three 90 mins. sessions with a coach per week, although often I could generally only attend 2 of the 3. I thoroughly enjoyed this training and am going to continue with…

Sponsored triathlon for Zoë's Place baby hospice

It's that time again!! I'm doing another sponsored sporting event. This time to raise money for a most deserving local charity in Liverpool:
Zoë's Place Babies Hospice (
About Us
Zoë’s Place Liverpool was the first Zöe’s Place Baby Hospice in the UK. Following the fabulous work carried out in Liverpool, it was recognised that there was a need for more Baby Hospices in the UK. Subsequently, Zoë’s Place Middlesbrough opened in 2004. There are now also plans in place for a new Zoë’s Place to be built in Coventry. Zoë’s Place Liverpool has now been in operation for 15 years, caring for babies with multiple special needs and life limiting or life threatening conditions. The Hospice does not have a set catchment area and welcomes babies from all over the UK. Zoë’s Place currently cares for 45 babies and their families on a one to one basis, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Zoë’s Place relies upon the generosity of the public, grant making trusts and o…

A testimony

Here as promised is the testimony I referred to in my previous article. I post it not to boast of my own actions, but rather to boast and indeed celebrate those of God himself:
Hi Brother James,

I am just sitting working on a computer and decided to view this DVD again and it struck me that I would like to update you on the past year.

I asked for a copy of this at a time when I was asking serious questions of myself. There was a stirring inside me, and after much searching it became apparent that God was calling me.

I went along to Trent Vineyard Church in Nottingham as its outward looking approach appealed to me. On the 18th of May last year in church, hands were laid on me and prayer offerred after I had let it be known that I had just decided that I believed in Jesus as God and wished to trust and follow him. During that prayer I had the humbling experience of feeling the Holy Spirit touch me.

This past year has been without a shadow of doubt the best and most fulfilling in my life. I a…

"The Monastery" - update

In 2005 the 3-part BBC 2 tv documentary series"The Monastery" followed 5 contemporary men who volunteered to live 40 days at the Benedictine monastery of Worth Abbey. A friend of mine managed to do a decent transfer from vhs to dvd for me. After getting permission from the Abbott of Worth Abbey, Abbott Christopher Jamison, I made it known to friends that I could give them copies. I also advertised the fact on this very blog. It turned out that the BBC weren't interested in releasing it commercially. The only payment that I have ever asked for from those requesting copies is prayers for my family.
The 5 volunteers...

... with the monastic community at Worth Abbey. I used part of the series in school. It's a wonderful resource to have: insights into religious life - its difficulties, its riches, insights into Christianity in general, a very positive image of the Church and of the Benedictines involved - the Abbot, Novice Master, etc... some of whom give individual guidanc…

Mum + Dad

As I said in my previous post, I went over to Ireland to see my parents last weekend. Both are in their 80s and are now together in the same nursing home: Mum = bed/chair bound, Dad = wheelchair bound. Neither can walk but both remain pretty alert mentally, though Dad's Parkinson's is gradually taking its toll. What is lovely is that after having been through much trauma and suffering throughout their life together, they have each attained a level of inner peace which I think shines out from their faces. A God-given grace for which I am immensely grateful. The photo was taken just after the Saturday evening Mass of Pentecost.


That's the time right now (or at least when I wrote this last Saturday morning). I'm in (was in) Ballyporeen, Co. Tipperary, staying 2 nights with an uncle and aunt of mine so that I can visit my Mum + Dad during the day in a nursing home not too far from here over in Co. Limerick. After getting back from a pub in the village at about 1a.m. (as you do over here, although that's actually a little early!) with my uncle, I then had a 5-hour discussion with him (aged 71, a very holy man, also rather a private, shy person) about life, God, faith, our families' stories, suffering, books, films...I've known my uncle for many years, but this is the first time that we have opened up to each other in this way: a God-given time of grace in and through which the Holy Spirit has been at work in our hearts and minds. He happens to be Gemma's Dad (see previous article) and she arrived on the Saturday. It was great to catch up with her and what she's been up to in the musi…

Gemma Hayes - Oliver

Our Gemma (my cuz) has a new video to go with the lead single off her E.P. "Oliver". Simple vid to go with a beautiful song. This is after having just finished a tour with Liam Clancy (last surviving member of the world-famous Clancy Brothers - Irish traditional heavyweights) and other guests.