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Another day in the archives study room. My work has slowed down somewhat. I have spent a day and a half indexing In God’s Image, the journal of the Asian Women’s Centre for Theology and Culture. Too many articles to read and learn from, I’m afraid. I will finish the last couple of issues on Monday.

People in and out. One of the staff came down from the Hewitson Library to pass on a book I had reserved, The Younger Evangelicals. Then the assistant archivists came in for a word. I couldn’t help him with his search for a word that would explain the relationship between the photo collection and documents in the missions collection so he went away disappointed. Just before nones the archivist came in to sort out the paperwork for last few weeks of my work at the archives. She has been to see The Daylight Atheist by Tom Scott last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. Then there was a visitor to see her who works at the AIDS Foundation in Christchurch (the sexual puritans of the queer community in New Zealand – if you can’t be good, then at least be safe!)

I went to an induction of presbytery last night, a new minister was inducted into the Highgate Mission at Roslyn Church. The man was from the Church of Scotland in Aberdeen. He looked like something from a bygone era. His hair was slicked back so it looked brylcreamed. He wore a suit with a blue clerical shirt and collar. Most odd to see a younger minister dressed in that sort of formality. One of the more pompous elders on presbytery dressed up in a geneva gown, hood and morterboard. There was a bit of tomfoolery going on between the ministers most closely associated with the call and induction in the sermon, the narrative and the welcomes. The congregation shared in the humour.

I would’nt bother with semi-soft. Once Microsoft becomes spreadable there will be NO competition!

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A friend observed that they had been out for an evening last week. Of the eight people there, two had moved across town to Caversham, two had changed from Opoho to the Anglican cathedral because their daughter was keen to go, and two are a Catholic-Presbyterian couple who go more often to Holy Name in the Valley. For a while they had all been people who had gone to Opoho.

The archivist and the assistant archivist took some time off today to measure out the space available to the Archives if all the basement space was made available. While it would double the amount of space the Archives now has, which includes space on the ground floor, this is half the space that the Archives would need over the next fifteen years.

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We have discovered that Joe’s RSS Feed to his mail box does not take into account my habit of updating my initial entry. Oops!

My work at the Archives is going smoothly. The archivist tells me that she has spoken to the people in Christchurch, presumably as a referee. Mike is reluctant to leave Dunedin for a trial period of three months in Christchurch, even though he is wanting to leave Dunedin! She is encouraging him to accept if the offer is made. She and I perceive Mike differently. I see his much vaunted ability and cringe, she sees his underlying lack of confidence and guides him out of his comfort zone.

Plans for restructuring the Hewitson Wing are afoot and have come to the Archivist’s attention.

Apparently we are missed at morning tea in the buttery and some of the staff there are agitating for our return. It would be helpful to go across occasionally, but I don’t need it at the moment.

The Ab Epistolis, one of the staff’s personal assistants, have been showing visiting students around the college. It was amusing to walk past and seeing him standing on the bottom of the foyer staircase as he described the Hewitson Wing and its occupants.

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After a day’s work in the executive tearoom I have two and a half boxes more indexed. That’s a shelf done. The archivist is looking into removing a book from the library.

We are out of washing powder. If I want to do any more washing this week I will have to walk down the hill and buy some.

Power bill due tomorrow.

I went into town after work. Nothing at Bagend, although I found three new titles to add to my pull list: Amazing Fantasy, Yuggoth Creatures, and Starjammers. I did not get onto the treadmill at the gym. It was busy there, and the board of available machines was confused. I skipped it and left early.

I looked in at the library and found a new Barbara Hambly fantasy that I haven’t read: Sisters of the Raven. I got that out along with 1632 by Eric Flint.

RSS Update Test for Joe.

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Working through indexing the COMEC journals today. I got through about four boxes. It involved looking through them, finding where the gaps in the collection were, noting topics. It meant I had a lot of time to stop and read articles. Oh, how sad!

After lunch I went up to the library to see if I could find the copy of Saint John Chrysostom’s commentary on the Gospel of Matthew that one Presbyterian minister brought back from an Italian monastery after World War Two. I was quite pleased that with the assistance of the library staff I found it in the rare books room. I did not get the chance to tell the archivist that it was there as she had an appointment out of the college in the afternoon and departed before I returned.

I was waiting for Felicity when I got home. She did not arrive until four o’clock. I used the time to read Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. I was just getting grumbly when she called to say she was only a few minutes away. She had been delayed by a court case that she had to attend. We went to see Robert in South Dunedin. When we arrived I caught him getting out of the shower. Not a pretty sight. We went to the Warehouse for a cup of coffee when he was ready.

Mike has announced that he is applying for another job in Christchurch, a business archives position.

Easter 3


Bagend is becoming too unstable to be practically useful. It took me an hour today to complete a virus scan because the system kept hanging. Joe opened the side to see if there was any problem with the fan. There wasn’t and the opinion is that the problem is with the memory being dodgy. I suspect that until such time as something can be done about this I will have to move all my mail to faithful old Endeavour and work off that.

John Allen preached at church today on the conversion of Saint Paul, today’s lesson from the Book of Acts, and one of the Sunday School teachers showed the children the memorial for those who went away to the Great War. It usually hangs in the Morrison Lounge. Thirteen of the names were listed as ‘killed’. He spoke about about forgiveness and read from a children’s bible about Jesus’ appearance to the disciples on the shore of Lake Gallilee after his resurrection.

And still the sea obeys the will: of Him who whispered ‘Peace, be still’.
That sea, its sounds and mystery: drew fishermen of Galilee.
For on the seashore Christ appeared: while Peter fished and others feared.
There Jesus lit the fire of faith: ‘Christ is alive’ and we are safe!
O, heaven is earth and earth is heaven: to know that Christ the King is risen;
To know the Easter tale is true: that Jesus Christ makes all things new.

Titus Alone is now read, although I have yet to add it to my catalogue. Mervyn Peake’s vision of human tragedy and the fantastic is complete. I am sorry that ill health took him before he could write more than a couple of paragraphs of a fourth novel. I read it once in a complete Gormenghast omnibus. What happened after Titus’ final departure from Gormenghast, his descent into adulthood and old age, and the ruin and rituals of Gormenghast after the end of the House of Groan, can only be speculated upon.

I looked at the latest update from Golden Leaf and checked the first few on the New Zealand Store. TR had already updated the prices. It shows how far I had fallen behind. Joe suggested that the scans I am doing might be picking at the scab caused by the dodgy RAM in my computer. This could be what is causing it to hang. Sort of a case of ‘damned if you do damned if you don’t’.

I did not go to the Majellan session today. Instead I went to an ANZAC service that I did not enjoy. It was still beneficial that I learned a few things from it. Joe went to Majellan without me. He played my character Alec. Alec picked up a new friend and avoided getthing his butt kicked. I’m told he should have a new quirk – deep fryer fixation.

Our landlord visited and mowed the lawns. He promises to return again soon as they were long and holding a lot of water. He asked us if there were any problems. I reminded him about the element in the range that doesn’t work, and he took it with him to check.

I caught up with my programmes tonight. During the week I taped Scrubs, a doco about Tammy Wynnette, and Serial Killers. The last is a local comedy about the screen writers behind a medical soap opera which is a rip-off of Shortland Street. Two episodes in and it’s still funny. That’s a record for a NZ comedy! Moved ahead in watching Angel on Max’s DVDs.

Southern Dave is trying to work out who Sceptic is who leaves comments on my journal entries. His first attempt amused me enough to tell Joe. One of the few times when I can genuinely insert ROTFL.

“Blessed are the Elders…”


I’m back from the overnight Elder Retreat at the Holy Cross Retreat Centre in Mosgiel. A 23-hour getaway to a former Catholic seminary now used as a retreat centre. There were about 30 of us, representing elders, visitors and Union church team leaders. The range of views went from the openly ‘saved’ to the openly ‘liberal’. There were some honest discussions going on, which the Reverends, Doctors and Reverend Doctors who were leading us had to field. Discussions included “Religious change and the place of church in New Zealand”, the future of church, and Pastoral Visiting. In the role-play for the last one I failed spectacularly badly. The ‘couple’ for whom I had to provide pastoral care clammed up completely, and I had to ‘leave’.

The rooms we stayed in overnight were tiny little cells, with a divan, a wardrobe, and a desk and chair. Originally for training priests it felt rather like being in a monastery. All the shelves and mirrors were set at a level for people taller than me. I could not use the mirrors over the sinks in the bathroom for shaving, and resorted to standing in front of a full length mirror. I found the heating too warm to sleep comfortably at night and resorted to opening a window for relief. Despite this one night was too short a visit.

One of the other elders there was at one time an Elder at St Ninians in Wellington, Alan Richardson. He recognised Nick’s name when I mentioned it. He is on the session at Knox in Dunedin.

Still not finished Titus Alone.

According to the quiz “How Evil Are You” I am Good. This does not take into account such virtuous acts as disseminating Southern Dave’s blog, or generously adding tabasco sauce to a meal that I made for others.

COMEC Journals

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Journals all boxed. Most of the COMEC material – books and reports, etc, brought down from the library journal floor. I have started making an index of what we have got in the executive tearoom.

I expect to be picked up to go out to Holy Name in Mosgiel sometime before five o’clock.

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Most of the boxes moved down to the executive tearoom now. Still some things to come down from the journal floor, some things to be sorted out. I had the staff member next door drop in and tease me about having my tea break in the midst of the archives paperwork. I suggested that I could take it in his interview room by the foyer. He went away after that.

Been into town this afternoon. I met the university chaplain as I was walking in. There is a chance that he will be speaking a couple of times as presbytery. Church and World would like him to attend as part of the Dunedin Council of Jews, Muslims and Christians. He is also going to speak about university chaplaincy. We will see who gets him first.

No new comics at Bag End this week. Went to the gym. Looks like this will be the only time I will get in as I am going out to Mosgiel for a retreat tomorrow night, and I will be there until midafternoon on Saturday. It looks to be a busy weekend. I stopped in at the library to check how to write a name in Brithenig. Didn’t see anything on the shelves that leaped out and said ‘you want to borrow me’.

Mum rang from Invercargill. She gave me the answer to this week’s Concert FM quiz. Hummel attended Beethoven’s funeral. I have sent away the answer. She has been into the hospital yesterday for a colonoscopy. They did not put her under an anaesthetic. I find this strange as I was put under both times. She was conscious during the operation and got to watch it on tv, although she was not comfortable during the operation, and will ask to be put under anaesthetic next time if need be. They found one polyp, but nothing to suggest that she had anything to be concerned about.

Missed Angel on tv last night. I forgot all about it after I got home from Parish Council. Joe still has the disks from Max. We watched about four episodes tonight as I decided that I wanted to get ahead while we still had them available. They have to be returned soon to Max.


Today’s work involved walking up and down staircases carrying journal boxes. The most I did on one trip was three boxes. One person observed that I was a busy man, most of the traffic through the library was me.

Two meetings tonight. The first was Presbytery Workgroup, trying to plot a way through generational models of the church, allowing an older model of church to decline (smoothing the pillow of a dying race) while planting the seeds of the next generation of church. The silly idea went through my head at one point that if we want people to relate to each other we should cancel presbytery one month, hire a gym, and have a sportsnight instead. I never took the chance to suggest it. I mentioned it to one person afterwards who thought it was radical enough to work(!)

We have reached the point where the maintenance model for the traditional church has become a luxury.

I think what elders are nominated from parishes onto presbytery will have to be looked at in the future. Presbyteries should be looking at people who can fulfil a role within its ranks, not just sit in and report back to parishes.

Performing mission is not the role of presbytery, providing inspiration and administration is.

After tea: Parish Council. Latest ignominy is Opoho is one of four Presbyterian churches in Dunedin that will be rated. Apparently its regular use by the Opoho Bowling Club is sufficient that it is not used primarily for religious education.

I agreed that I would attend General Assembly again this year, which is on 19 to 24 September. I enjoyed the experience the last time I went. Yes, I am that strange. I will have to make sure that I am in a position to take that week away in Christchurch if needs must. I will have finished at the archives in June, and I expect that I will be working again for Griffler Enterprises. I cannot rule out the possibility that some other job opportunity will be landed on me in the meantime.

On another note, Mike has been asked to apply for a position at the Dunedin Polytech Library. This is after applications had already closed. He took his CV in today.

Our electricity charges are going to go up by £2 per week. This is what happens when electricity supplies become ‘competitive’. Donations for the hitman start here.

The archivist pranged her car last saturday. She left Knox College to go a meeting, pulled out too far at the Arden Street corner and had her rear side door struck by a car coming down the hill. The corner is a hassle because it is a blind spot, and there were cars, probably college residents, parked up right to the corner, over yellow lines, which is illegal, which obscured even further. Now the archivist is without a car and it may have to be replaced because the sideswipe has bent the framework. Her former partner, who lives down the road from the college, has been leaving his car in her park at the college for her to use.

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