[ARCHIVE] Nobody’s EP

[ARCHIVE] This post was first published on 14th August 2013.

It was my birthday on the 12th of July, and two days before I received an early present: the release of Sam Brawn’s tenth public release: the six track Nobody’s EP.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQ-Wa1y8HhI

Nobody’s is in fact his second EP, though many of my readers will doubtless not realise it, for it was never distributed, and had it not been listed on Sam’s Bebo page (that’s right, that’s how far back we’re going, to a time before Facebook), its very existence might be unrecognised. Entitled Latin Crush EP, it contained the titular track, as well as a few others that later became Sams first album. It also contained ‘The Place In My Head’ – the first song Sam ever wrote (aged 12). The difference between the two EPs, and thus the beginning of Sam’s musical history and the present day, is perhaps best encapsulated in this description from Sam himself: “Looking back, it was just a jumble of surrealistic imagery set over five or six awkward power chords. I like to think I’ve come a long way.”

In the trailer, Sam told us to ‘prepare for the dreamiest folk music you’ve ever heard.’ As a particular fan of Sam’s ‘comfy chair music’, this excited me, and put me in mind of his second 2009 release, Lullabies before the Storm, a similarly relaxed album.

When I asked Sam why, after nine albums, he chose to revert to the EP style of release, he pointed to his nature as an unsigned artist with no band to support him. He described the situation: “For once I have not bitten off more than I could chew. I have bitten off just the right amount and I am chewing well.”

Sam’s gamble has paid off. The result is a shorter release, but of a very high standard, which allows Sam to showcase more effectively his wide range of skills, particularly when considering how those skills might be transferred to live performance. At present, Sam is writer, composer, recording artist, drummer, guitarist, vocalist, bassist, keyboardist – and every other role that you might be able to think of. Of course, without the benefit of layering, Sam cannot do all of these tasks at once, and it seems that his folk music serves him better here, with a tighter range of instruments, much as he played in 2010 on university radio.

Another advantage of an EP is that it gives listeners a chance to get to know individual tracks better, and reduces the risk of the album being lumped together as a single entity in a listener’s mind, as can be the case for albums. This is perilous, especially in the case of Sam’s music, which is highly individual even compared to another track in the same release To my ear the result was six songs, each standing strong on its own while complementing its brothers.

My first listen was to the EP as a whole, in order and without stopping. Later I listened to individual tracks again, better to get a feel for them. As always, Sam’s work is finely crafted, improving in parallel with his ever-increasing skill. This is clear not only in the way he plays but in the integrity of his recording. Every word is crystal clear to understand – an issue which had troubled Sam from time to time in earlier releases. Ironically, it is on this release that my iPod displayed lyrics already attached to the song.

What of the songs themselves? Well, Sam makes a strong start with the first track, ‘Wild Blue.’ The mood is instantly calm, laid-back: a guitar track laid over something more peripheral and exotic. And then comes the singing. Sam’s lyrics are increasingly poetic, and perhaps a little too abstract (for my ears, at least): while he does still write songs whose subject matter can easily be recognised (OML‘s ‘Upset Fire’ etc.), the days are seemingly gone when Sam used his music to tell the story of nearly being mugged (‘Promise Me Nothing’ from Expressionism), ‘charity fatigue’ (‘Sailing around the Moon for Charity’ from LAS) or a hatred of cricket (‘Pray for Rain’, from S&F). While the subject matter is often less clear cut than in the past (and lets be honest, a degree in English Literature will do that to you), Sam certainly does not mince his words, even now. For example, in Wild Blue, which Sam sets in the biblical Garden of Eden, the person to whom he is singing (speaking?) is described thus:

You were the snake / Telling me to love her / You curled your tongue / Around my heart

Strong, impassioned words, with perhaps a little more than a sting in the tail: the snake is, after all, the character who tempted Adam and Eve. The song does not identify this matchmaker, and I doubt that we shall know for certain who, if anybody, Sam has in mind; but real or fictional, their services seem not to have been appreciated.

The fifth track, another of my favourites, has the speaker confront somebody who used to know him. An old friend? Lover? Again, we cannot know for certain who this person is, but it stands in a tradition within Sam’s songs of re-visiting people from the past: old flames, forgotten friends. Although the words to this song were written by Sam’s friend and fellow King’s English graduate Simon Jared, Sam sets them to music and makes them his own, and the result is a song which stands firmly in Sam’s tradition. Compare the words of ‘Too Old To Be Told’ with another similar track:

Everything has turned to blue,
Long gone are my days with you;
Now you
re just a distant face
Yearning yonder for embrace

You Are A Memory

Lost at Sea (2007)

Theres a remembrance etched
into your retina
which tells the sad story of a man
with a melancholy gaze.

‘Too Old To Be Told’

The last track of the EP is another strong narrative song: ‘Sleep Tight, Little Moonbeam’ shows three episodes of a relationship. Our protagonist first loves, and then loses the person he loves. His lover finds somebody else, and prepares to marry her new fiancé. However, on the day of the wedding, she goes back to our protagonist, confessing that she cannot go through with the wedding and imploring him to run away with her. In the chorus the protagonist prophesied that ‘some day we will run away.’ But when it came to it, did they run away together? The song is silent on the matter as it comes to a close.

I doubt that there is a single central character at the heart of Sam’s narratives: even discounting the tale of adventure in ‘Jabberwocky’, our protagonist would be a French coal miner from the 18th century, who lost a classics teacher in 2004, was nearly mugged in 2006 and was saddened by the 2011 riots. But even so, there is a distinct note of remembrance –but more than that, of a very special anamnesis, running through Sams music: not merely the calling to mind of past events and people, but reliving and re-visiting them, making them real and present again, through the recollection.

Nobody’s EP is a quiet, unassuming collection of tracks, but with a core strength that holds it all together. It is this, with a set of well-crafted lyrics, that makes Nobody’s Sams strongest piece of work to date. What will come next? Only time will tell

You can find Sam’s official Facebook page here; Nobody’s EP can be downloaded free, or for a price of your choice, here.

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BAP – an introduction

So after months (years?) of waiting, I’ve finally been given the green light to go to BAP; and this, I’ve decided, is going to kick-start me into writing more. So I’ve decided to use this oft-neglected blog to talk about my activities as I go towards BAP, and, hopefully, training.

Some of you may not know what a BAP is, much less why it’s so important. So this post is designed to serve as an introduction. For those of you for whom this is just so much technobabble, I’ve made a list of some of the terms I’ve used at the bottom.

Ordained Church Ministry

In the Church of England, most ministers – church leaders – are ordained. This means that after being selected and trained, the Bishop lays hands on their heads and prays over them. You’ll generally know if someone is an ordained minister because they wear a dog collar (the slip of white around their neck at the top of their shirt). The church believes that a real change comes over the person when they are ordained: more than simply ‘a license to vicar,’ it’s a spiritual change that enables the ordained minister to perform the duties God has given them. While it is possible for someone to be ‘laicised’ – to no longer be ordained – it’s not the norm, like leaving a job or even retiring, and it’s intended to be a lifelong calling.

The road to ordained ministry

The road to ordained ministry is long and arduous. Why? The reason is simply that the church doesn’t want to ordain people – especially if this is to be lifelong – if they aren’t supposed to be ordained. The authority to ordain ministers lies with bishops: it is their duty, as given by God, not only to perform ordinations but to select those who should be ordained. To make this matter easier, the Church has put various systems in place, and it is through these systems that I am currently making my way.

Step one: the parish priest

The first thing to do is to speak to your own minister – who will, in most cases, be ordained themselves. (What they’re known as – be it ‘vicar’, ‘parish priest’, ‘rector’ or even ‘the Rev’! – may vary but their role is essentially the same)

For me, this happened in the autumn of 2011. I saw one of the two priests who work at my church and the two others we’re partnered with. I explained that I felt a calling to ordained ministry, and she said that she would look into the best way to proceed. She put me in touch with my DDO, and I got in touch with her.

They say that at first DDO will always play hard to get, as it were, to make sure that those looking to pursue this path are truly committed. And so it is perhaps unsurprising that despite having the first conversation with my parish priest in the autumn, and the conversation that went on between her and my DDO, it wasn’t until the spring that I finally managed to meet with the DDO for the first time.

Step two: the DDO

For the next three years I saw my DDO about every two to four months, more or less. It varied across that time based on other circumstances, mostly geography: my family home was in Hampshire but I was seeing the DDO of Derby Diocese, where I was studying. In that time we would talk about how I envisioned my ministry; what the identity of a minister, and especially of a priest, was; and what I was up to in my own lay Christian ministry.

For one year I worked on the Isle of Man as an intern, and in this time I entered into the lives of a pair of parishes, taking part in most of the things that went on there. I stewarded funerals; I preached; I attended baptisms and weddings; and I moved a lot of chairs! The aim of the internship was to give people who were exploring whether they might be called to ordained ministry a taste of what it looked like and to give them a chance to reflect on whether it might be for them.

Step three: The go-ahead

Every diocese screens their potential ordinands in their own way. Some have a diocesan panel, similar in style to, but smaller than, a BAP; others have a one-on-one interview with the bishop; others leave it purely in the hands of the DDO who makes the decision.

For my case, in Derby Diocese these cases were dealt with by a suffragan, or assistant, bishop. He was to leave the diocese shortly, and so to make the change smoother the six people on the books who the DDO considered to be at the right stage were invited to an afternoon that was a cross between the first and second options I described earlier. Each of us had an interview with the bishop lasting about half an hour. We also had a time of presentations similar to the ones given at a BAP (more on those in a few months)

About a week after this afternoon, the DDO rang me and told me that the bishop had given me the go-ahead for BAP!

Step three: the BAP

This is the ‘final exam’ for potential ordinands before they (hopefully) start training. The BAP, or Bishops’ Advisory Panel, is a three day event where you and up other ordinands are interviewed and tested to see whether you should train to be a minister. In a few months, when I’ve been to mine, I’ll tell you more about it. For now though, all that I’ll say is that the assessors at the BAP make a recommendation to your bishop; and while the bishop isn’t compelled to follow their recommendations (he could put forward a person to train when the panel had advised against it, or stop someone training even if the panel had given their support), it would be an eyebrow-raising event, and the bishop would have to have a very good reason to do so.

If the assessors and the bishop are happy, then…

Step four: Training!

This is another long period, generally lasting two years or more. From now on you are an ‘ordinand’, without the ‘potential’ prefix; and you will be training to become a minister in the Church of England.

Modes of training vary depending on circumstances as diverse as age, family commitments, work and the sort of ministry for which you are aiming; and as such there are a plethora of patterns of training, as well as different academic courses to accompany the formation, and different institutions catering for different needs.

For my situation, the two key pieces of information are that I am a) under 26; and b) already a Theology graduate. This means that I will probably train for two years residentially, and do some sort of postgraduate qualification through my formation. The exact details will depend on which college I go to, but the other key points are that as a married man my wife and I will live in married quarters, and that the diocese that sends you pays for your fees and, generally speaking, your living costs. This will be different as a married man than if I were a student with no dependents, but it is different to student finance in that it is not a loan to be repaid.

After those two or more years, there finally comes the (hopefully) sunny Sunday in June when in your local cathedral, you and the other ordinands from your diocese are dressed in clerical robes, make your vows, and have the bishop’s ordaining hands laid on your head. And thus you are ordained!


Some terms used in this blog post:

  • BAP: the Bishops’ Advisory Panel is the name of the conference where potential ordinands are selected to train, or not to train. There is no quota: candidates are not competing against one another. It is perfectly possible for all the candidates at a BAP to be selected; and it is equally possible for none of them to be selected to train. Candidates are tested on nine criteria set by the Church, including faith, vocation, ministry in the Church of England, quality of mind and relationships.
  • College: There are a number of theological colleges around the country which train ministers on a part-time or full-time basis. These have the same end result but vary in the style of teaching they provide, the theological tradition they follow, and whether they train full-time residentially or part-time.
  • Diocese: A diocese is a geographical area overseen by a bishop. Most dioceses tend to be roughly equal to a county. The Diocese of Derby, for instance, is roughly analogous to the county of Derbyshire.
  • DDO: a Diocesean Director of Ordinands is the person with responsibility for forming and overseeing the discernment process by potential ordinands in a diocese. Every diocese will have one DDO. Some may have more than one, and divide the work between geographical areas, perhaps, or by theological tradition.
  • Ordained: when one is ordained, it means that God and the Church have set that person aside and marked them out to to God’s work in a particular way as a minister. Ordination involves the laying on of hands, which is an ancient Christian tradition to symbolise the giving of authority, and prayer.
  • Ordinand: an ordinand is someone who is training to become an ordained minister. They will normally be training at one of many institutions such as theological colleges and universities around the country.
  • Priest: In the Church of England a priest, or presbyter, is the second of three degrees of ordination. The word presbyter comes from the Greek work meaning ‘elder’. Most parish clergy are priests, although some are deacons, a degree of ordination which focuses on teaching, preaching and evangelism.

I hope this blog post has been useful, and I would like to invite you to follow the blog and to keep checking for news as this journey continues.

If you have any questions about this or anything else discussed on this blog, or if you have noticed an error in the details I have given (more than possible!), then please get in touch. There may be an email address on here; alternatively you can leave a comment on the article.

Thanks for reading!
Josh

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In the World

My blogging activities are, as you will have seen, few and far between, so for those of you who don’t know: here is my wife! We married on September 13th.

16728_10152476013193929_7495548792135563904_n

My current job is something I’m unused to: I’m working as a kitchen porter at Chatsworth House – essentially washing up for 40 hours a week. It’s mundane in the most literal sense of the word: it’s secular. Mundane is taken from the latin “mundi,” meaning “in the world.

This has brought me into contact with all sorts of people I wouldn’t have otherwise. Over lunch they talk about normal things – going out on Saturday night, holidays, all sorts.

The work is hard, and I’d be lying if I said I was playing to my strengths. I’m not: I’m a thinker, a word person, and really all this job needs, by and large, is brawn. There’s nothing to read for it, I don’t even have much interaction with the customers.

But it’s getting a lot better! I’ve made friends with a lovely lady who works one day a week. She’s an evangelical and she and her husband have been involved in missionary work. Because work is quite busy and we only get half an hour for lunch, plus a 15 minute tea break in the afternoon, we haven’t talked much about it, but seeing her always brightens my day. I often pray, or sing quietly when working, so it’s nice to know there’s someone who believes what I believe.

In fact, getting married has opened me up to all sorts of conversations about faith. There was the lady who asked me how my wedding was, and when I told her how excited one of our choir still was, asked if I was “very into my religion.” Other instances came up today: the Dowager Duchess died recently and we were all involved in her funeral this afternoon. A lady noticed my singing and asked if I was privately educated (which opened a whole can of worms) – she and the person she was working with both go to church, and I shared a little of my story and what I’m hoping to do.

That’s about all I have to share for now. Keep me in your prayers.

Josh.

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Can you find a use for me?

P1010676“My name is Joshua Bell, and I am a potential ordinand.” It sounds like the start of a meeting, doesn’t it? But that, for the moment, is who I am. Allow me to elaborate.

About me

My name is Joshua Bell: I’m 22 years old and I’m currently considering a ministerial vocation in the Church of England. I graduated with a degree in theology last June, and in September of last year took up an 11-month posting in the Diocese of Sodor and Man as part of the new CEMES scheme, where I am now. This was with a view to going to BAP this year and, assuming a success there, beginning my studies in September. Due to my upcoming marriage, however, my sponsoring diocese’s DDO thought it prudent to wait 12 months and then for us (my fiancée is also a potential ordinand) to go to BAP once we had settled into married life. And so here you find me: looking for a place to be useful for a year. If I were asked my churchmanship, I would say that I am not so much “middle of the road” as “the whole of the road, plus the pavement on each side of the road.” I have been part of churches ranging from the evangelical through to anglo-catholic, and all sorts in between. I studied at an evangelical, ecumenical theology college, whilst worshipping at a church in the liberal catholic tradition, and I am sympathetic towards both traditions.

What am I looking for?

Put simply, a parish post to keep me fed, housed and useful for a year. Church tradition doesn’t faze me: for preference, I should like to work in a church either conservatively anglo-catholic or conservatively evangelical/charismatic, but that’s just because I’m looking to fill in gaps in my experience (I have worshipped in churches that identified as such, but never as a worker). Almost the entirety of my Christian experience has been in churches that would class as rural. My current posting is in Peel, a town with a population of about 4,000 (in a diocese of only 83,000). As such, I have never been faced with the challenges, or the opportunities, that come with urban ministry, and this is an environment in which I would particularly like to grow and develop. That said, I wouldn’t be averse to working in other types of areas; the same goes for church traditions. I would be more than happy to work with any sort of church, it’s just that the ones I’ve mentioned are the ones I have least experience of.

What can I offer?

I am a hard worker, motivated by my passion for mission and by a desire to see people enter into a relationship with God and to grow in discipleship. I am happy to turn my hand to more or less anything – if something is new to me I can’t promise to be 100% first time around, but I’ll give it my best shot. Preaching has been my most enjoyable activity this year. I have preached about twice a month this year, including Christmas morning, Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. While my review forms have generally been positive, I set great store by preaching and as such am very keen to develop my own preaching further. Another area I have experience of is schools work, specifically in primary schools. During my time at theology college I led assemblies for two years in six different primary schools. Of these, five were either voluntary controlled or voluntary aided Church of England schools, and one was a non-religious primary school. In addition, this year on the Isle of Man I have planned and led a lunchtime club in one primary school, and helped with another in a second primary school, neither of which are affiliated with churches. I have, however, not had any experience in secondary schools – this is a field in which I would like, if possible, to develop.

Interested?

If you think you can find a place for me in your parish or benefice, then I’d love to hear from you! You can either email me, or leave your details as a comment on this post and I’ll get in touch with you. Thank you very much for reading!

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Music Review: Nobody’s EP

It was my birthday on the 12th of July, and two days before I received an early present: the release of Sam Brawn’s tenth public release: the six track Nobody’s EP.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQ-Wa1y8HhI

a3650486960_10

Nobody’s is in fact his second EP, though many of my readers will doubtless not realise it, for it was never distributed, and had it not been listed on Sam’s Bebo page (that’s right, that’s how far back we’re going, to a time before Facebook), its very existence might be unrecognised. Entitled Latin Crush EP, it contained the titular track, as well as a few others that later became Sams first album. It also contained ‘The Place In My Head’ – the first song Sam ever wrote (aged 12). The difference between the two EPs, and thus the beginning of Sam’s musical history and the present day, is perhaps best encapsulated in this description from Sam himself: “Looking back, it was just a jumble of surrealistic imagery set over five or six awkward power chords. I like to think I’ve come a long way.”

In the trailer, Sam told us to ‘prepare for the dreamiest folk music you’ve ever heard.’ As a particular fan of Sam’s ‘comfy chair music’, this excited me, and put me in mind of his second 2009 release, Lullabies before the Storm, a similarly relaxed album.

When I asked Sam why, after nine albums, he chose to revert to the EP style of release, he pointed to his nature as an unsigned artist with no band to support him. He described the situation: “For once I have not bitten off more than I could chew. I have bitten off just the right amount and I am chewing well.”

Sam’s gamble has paid off. The result is a shorter release, but of a very high standard, which allows Sam to showcase more effectively his wide range of skills, particularly when considering how those skills might be transferred to live performance. At present, Sam is writer, composer, recording artist, drummer, guitarist, vocalist, bassist, keyboardist – and every other role that you might be able to think of. Of course, without the benefit of layering, Sam cannot do all of these tasks at once, and it seems that his folk music serves him better here, with a tighter range of instruments, much as he played in 2010 on university radio.

Another advantage of an EP is that it gives listeners a chance to get to know individual tracks better, and reduces the risk of the album being lumped together as a single entity in a listener’s mind, as can be the case for albums. This is perilous, especially in the case of Sam’s music, which is highly individual even compared to another track in the same release To my ear the result was six songs, each standing strong on its own while complementing its brothers.

My first listen was to the EP as a whole, in order and without stopping. Later I listened to individual tracks again, better to get a feel for them. As always, Sam’s work is finely crafted, improving in parallel with his ever-increasing skill. This is clear not only in the way he plays but in the integrity of his recording. Every word is crystal clear to understand – an issue which had troubled Sam from time to time in earlier releases. Ironically, it is on this release that my iPod displayed lyrics already attached to the song.

What of the songs themselves? Well, Sam makes a strong start with the first track, ‘Wild Blue.’ The mood is instantly calm, laid-back: a guitar track laid over something more peripheral and exotic. And then comes the singing. Sam’s lyrics are increasingly poetic, and perhaps a little too abstract (for my ears, at least): while he does still write songs whose subject matter can easily be recognised (OML‘s ‘Upset Fire’ etc.), the days are seemingly gone when Sam used his music to tell the story of nearly being mugged (‘Promise Me Nothing’ from Expressionism), ‘charity fatigue’ (‘Sailing around the Moon for Charity’ from LAS) or a hatred of cricket (‘Pray for Rain’, from S&F). While the subject matter is often less clear cut than in the past (and lets be honest, a degree in English Literature will do that to you), Sam certainly does not mince his words, even now. For example, in Wild Blue, which Sam sets in the biblical Garden of Eden, the person to whom he is singing (speaking?) is described thus:

You were the snake / Telling me to love her / You curled your tongue / Around my heart

Strong, impassioned words, with perhaps a little more than a sting in the tail: the snake is, after all, the character who tempted Adam and Eve. The song does not identify this matchmaker, and I doubt that we shall know for certain who, if anybody, Sam has in mind; but real or fictional, their services seem not to have been appreciated.

The fifth track, another of my favourites, has the speaker confront somebody who used to know him. An old friend? Lover? Again, we cannot know for certain who this person is, but it stands in a tradition within Sam’s songs of re-visiting people from the past: old flames, forgotten friends. Although the words to this song were written by Sam’s friend and fellow King’s English graduate Simon Jared, Sam sets them to music and makes them his own, and the result is a song which stands firmly in Sam’s tradition. Compare the words of ‘Too Old To Be Told’ with another similar track:

Everything has turned to blue,
Long gone are my days with you;
Now you
re just a distant face
Yearning yonder for embrace

You Are A Memory

Lost at Sea (2007)

Theres a remembrance etched
into your retina
which tells the sad story of a man
with a melancholy gaze.

‘Too Old To Be Told’

The last track of the EP is another strong narrative song: ‘Sleep Tight, Little Moonbeam’ shows three episodes of a relationship. Our protagonist first loves, and then loses the person he loves. His lover finds somebody else, and prepares to marry her new fiancé. However, on the day of the wedding, she goes back to our protagonist, confessing that she cannot go through with the wedding and imploring him to run away with her. In the chorus the protagonist prophesied that ‘some day we will run away.’ But when it came to it, did they run away together? The song is silent on the matter as it comes to a close.

I doubt that there is a single central character at the heart of Sam’s narratives: even discounting the tale of adventure in ‘Jabberwocky’, our protagonist would be a French coal miner from the 18th century, who lost a classics teacher in 2004, was nearly mugged in 2006 and was saddened by the 2011 riots. But even so, there is a distinct note of remembrance –but more than that, of a very special anamnesis, running through Sams music: not merely the calling to mind of past events and people, but reliving and re-visiting them, making them real and present again, through the recollection.

Nobody’s EP is a quiet, unassuming collection of tracks, but with a core strength that holds it all together. It is this, with a set of well-crafted lyrics, that makes Nobody’s Sams strongest piece of work to date. What will come next? Only time will tell

You can find Sam’s official Facebook page here; Nobody’s EP can be downloaded free, or for a price of your choice, here.

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Hurray, they rejected me!

I just received the nicest rejection letter in all of history.

Dear Joshua

Many thanks for your application for our chaplaincy assistant posts. We had a strong field for the posts this year, which is encouraging.

We have decided not to invite you for interview as we try to take people who we feel we can move forward in the exploration of ordained ministry and we feel that other candidates’ this year would get more from the opportunity as you are quite a way down the route already.

 

I do hope all goes well with you as you continue to discern God’s will in your life.

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The treadmill goes ever on and on

I’ve started my new fitness plan. I say ‘new’ – there wasn’t an old one, so it’s not replacing one. But I thought it could only be a good thing, now that we have a functioning gym at Cliff, to make use of it. So I’ve decided that I’m going to. How it works out remains to be seen, but the plan is to do 4 sessions per day on the treadmill: a morning, midday, evening and night slot.

I’m going to try to do these four sessions at regular times and to say the offices with each one. The objectives for this programme are:

  1. Get into a shape where I can comfortably hike again.
  2. Pray more, and get into the discipline of the Offices.
  3. Improve lung capacity by reading out loud while I walk, which will improve fitness and my oratory.

As an added incentive, I’m also using the Eowyn Challenge’s Walk to Rivendell scheme. It’s an old site, but using an atlas of Middle-Earth and some clever maths, they’ve plotted in miles the entire course from Bag End to Mount Doom or the Lonely Mountain and back! I’m starting with Rivendell, but will hopefully go on towards Mordor.

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