The other day Grace and I went for a bike ride on the Purbeck hills (its tough in Dorset). When we crossed back into Poole via the chain ferry there were a couple of other cyclists behind us, one of whom was a kid on a mountain bike.
It was a good mountain bike, with lockout suspension. But it was a mountain bike, and I was on my road bike. I’m not as quick as I once was, but I’m not that shabby. Anyway, I pedalled off, and thought Grace was behind me, but sneaked a peak and realized it was the kid on the mountain bike.
So I speeded up. (You must understand that it is not done to be overtaken by a kid on a mountain bike. As a male, I don’t like to be overtaken by anyone.)
I wasn’t going absolutely flat out, but I was going as fast as I could while still looking nonchalant. In not being overtaken it is important not to look like one is trying too hard.
Anyway, the kid tracked me for about a mile, until I turned off and he carried on ahead.
But here’s the thing: Grace – who was obviously some way behind us – told me that the kid was doing a wheelie the whole time he was following me.
A mile long wheelie. At speed. On a mountain bike. That is just taking the p.
I only hope he has been signed up by the GB cycling squad.
I’ll tell you something else that annoyed me – the case of the two policewomen who have been told by Ofsted that they can’t look after one anothers children because they are not registered childminders.
Why does the Government get to tell anyone who can look after their kids?
If a parent wants someone else to look after their child and wants that person to be an Ofsted registered childminder they should have that option. But why does the Government dictate that this has to be the case? Hysteria about paedophilia has led to the State abrogating far too much power to itself over the rights of parents.
Continuing the parent/State theme, this week we are attending open evenings at secondary schools our oldest daughter might be going to next year. It is interesting to watch head teachers giving their pitch. The other night I had to give one head good marks for content but low marks for delivery – he was just trying too hard to be chummy. It seems to me that what parents are looking for in a head is someone who commands instant respect, not chumminess. Anyway, no-one was laughing at his jokes.
Delivering a speech is of course a fiendishly tricky business. Which brings us back to politics as in the UK it is the party conference season.
I like politics and respect those in office, but political speeches so rarely get the pulse racing. To me, it too often ends up sounding like clichés.
Most Sundays I get to stand up and speak uninterrupted for 40 minutes. Party political leaders and head teachers don’t get to do that. I’m working with better material of course – opening up the Bible and lifting up Jesus, rather than trying to sell a school or canvas for votes – but listening to those other speeches has given me a spur to be increasingly diligent in my preaching.
Neither chumminess not cliché will cut it. It takes application to be able to pull a preaching wheelie.
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