Surprise news

For Sale by Owner

Believe it or not, I didn’t do any blogging last week. Oh, I know that blog posts appeared on the site each day but I actually wrote those two Fridays ago, while watching Comic Relief, and scheduled them to appear throughout the week, just so you wouldn’t miss me!

The plan

Last week I was in Selkirk, visiting my Mum. The plan was that I drive down on Mothering Sunday and throughout the week give Mum a hand clearing out a few cupboards, the shed and help organise her paperwork. Hey! What else are information architect sons for?

The reality

However, the week didn’t go entirely to plan, on two accounts. First, I developed a UTI, and second, Mum decided that she’d have to sell the house. The rest of the week was spent taking antibiotics, drinking copious amounts of cranberry juice and helping Mum begin to get the ball rolling with regards putting her house on the market; Jane came down on Thursday evening and was a star on Friday speaking with estate agents, the building society and the bank.

The realty

It wasn’t a decision that Mum wanted to have to make. She doesn’t want to sell her house, the house she’s lived in for 35 years, and in which she raised her family. But the reality is that with recent increases in mortgage and fuel rates she now has no choice. So much for a Labour government looking after its people! It is sickening.

On the other hand, a smaller house will be cheaper to maintain and hopefully will be much less hassle for Mum. But a house move is always stressful regardless of the circumstances.


If it is your discipline to pray, please pray for my mum Rosalie, that she’ll

  • be able to sell the house for a good price
  • find the right house or flat to move into, in Selkirk
  • continue to trust that God has everything in hand and will support and guide her


Clergy honorifics (not titles)

Photo by tome213 at stock.xchng.

Do you know what makes pedantic priests like me happy? Yeah, apart from people loving the Lord Jesus with all their hearts. I’ll tell you: it’s people who get clergy titles right and include the preceding definite article. That’s a ‘the’ to you and me.

What do you mean you didn’t know there was a ‘the’ before Reverend?! Here’s how I understand it (with a little help from Mr Debrett).


You see, “The Reverend” isn’t actually a clergyman, or clergywoman’s title: it’s a courtesy title, an ‘honorific’. An honorific may only qualify a full name, that is it cannot be part of a name.

So, for example I may be properly addressed as:

  • Mr Saunders
  • Mr G Saunders
  • Mr Gareth Saunders
  • The Reverend Mr Saunders
  • The Reverend G Saunders
  • The Reverend Gareth Saunders

BUT NOT, under any circumstances:

  • The Reverend Saunders
  • Reverend Saunders
  • Reverend Mr Saunders
  • Reverend G Saunders
  • Reverend Gareth Saunders

In other words, my proper title is ‘Mr’ not ‘The Reverend’.

The rules

  1. The word “Reverend” must be preceded by a definite article (‘the’): The Reverend
  2. “The Reverend” may be abbreviated to “The Revd” or “The Rev.” (The full-stop after ‘Rev’ is optional, but should never appear after “The Revd”.)
  3. “The Reverend” (or suitable abbreviation) must be written before either
    1. Any temporal titles (e.g. the Hon, the Earl of Somewhere, etc.), then
    2. An ordinary title (e.g. Mr, Mrs, Miss, Professor, Dr, etc.), or
    3. The first name (e.g. Gareth), or
    4. The first initial (e.g. G)

And that’s it. Simple, huh!

That said, I prefer to be known simply as “Gareth” — that’s my proper Christian name.


For more information on the wonderful world of pedantry with regards the standard styles of address, I thoroughly recommend Debrett’s Correct Form (Debrett’s Ltd; New Ed edition, 30 Oct 2006)

Be a Fierce Presence


Some people think that to be effective, to be successful, to be helpful you must always do the right thing, or say the right thing. But what is the right thing?

Sometimes the right thing is just to be there for someone.

Our presence matters. We are good news to one another when we hang out through the messy stuff—the tears and bad words and unfixable situations. We are good news when we have nothing to offer but our availability. We are quiet support like the foundation of a house, present but not often noticed.

This article Be a Fierce Presence by Rochelle Melander is an encouraging read. Or challenging, depending on your point of view.

Little and large

Small envelope with a large stamp

The recent changes to how the Royal Mail charges for delivery of letters is actually quite simple, now that I’ve got used to it.

Letters are now separated into three bands:

  • Letter
    240 x 165 mm (x 5mm max. thickness)
    max weight: 100g
  • Large Letter
    353 x 250 mm (x 25mm max. thickness)
    max weight: 750g
  • Packet
    > 353mm long or > 250mm wide (or > 25mm thickness)
    max weight: depends on service

Which is why I laughed when I received an envelope (pictured above) from my sister Jenni.

This small envelope is only 150mm x 90mm (6″ x 3.5″) and yet has a “Large Letter” stamp on it. I wonder what the smallest large letter I could send would be.


Man slumped over a desk

I take a quick break to share this news with you.

UK workers hit lowest point ‘at 2.16pm’

Its official – the post-lunchtime slump strikes at precisely 2.16pm, according to new research.

A study of 2,000 people identified this as the time when the nation hits its lowest ebb. On average, the respondents had least enthusiasm for doing tasks of any kind at this point in the day.

The second lowest trough happens at 11.37am, according to research carried out for TNS. The most upbeat “energised” times of day among all respondents were 9.23am and 4.31pm.

Richard Nall, marketing director at Typhoo which commissioned the research, said: “We’ve always known that there are points in the working day when people are in particular need of revitalisation, but until now it’s been based on assumptions.”

The study ignored actual levels of productivity to concentrate on respondents’ levels of enthusiasm and energy levels.

The findings were based on a TNS survey of 2,022 people aged 16 and over. The respondents were asked to record levels of enthusiasm for performing tasks at different times of the day.

Personally, I don’t believe a word of it. It’s early afternoon now and I feel Zzzzzzz…..