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Putt toward the hole

My son and I had the practice green to ourselves, since there was a gale blowing, and all the sane people were nesting in the club house. I was five metres from the hole, and my first putt missed by just centimetres; but then was caught by a gust of wind, and rolled and rolled,…

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Straight shooting

When Homer’s Odysseus fired an arrow through twelve axe heads, I thought I was in the realm of fiction. To prove his identity, and to win the hand of Penelope, it was a pretty impressive feat, but surely impossible. But knock me down with an arrow-feather!…. a Danish man recently shot seven arrows through the…

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Verities and valuables

There is much celebrity surrounding that diamond, the Koh-i-Noor, that adorns one of the royal crowns of Britain. It certainly is a sparkler, and in terms of value, the most poetic valuation was expressed in this way: “If a strong man were to throw four stones – one north, one south, one east, one west,…

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Twos and threes

I met a married couple at a mission dinner recently who had a brilliant way of supporting missionary causes. He introduced himself as an investor, and she as a seeker-out and spender; with a strategy to both use their gifts and insights to bring a double blessing. What a dynamic duo, and certainly better than…

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What weed is that?

One day I will write a book about weeds. In the lawn at church, I was stunned to find a weed, on top of a weed, on top of a weed, with some poor grass underneath struggling to breathe. I’m no botanist, but the topmost villain was clover, and already sporting a nasty spray of…

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Sweet fishing stories

At a recent church fishing event, I discovered that one of our young men was trying to catch fish with a lolly. He had baited his hook with a sour worm, and with the rationale that fish like sugar. I immediately put his chances at catching a fish below zero – though mathematically I don’t…

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God’s Smuggler

For years, Brother Andrew, whose recent ‘call to glory’ is being marked and honoured around the world, was known as ‘God’s smuggler’. The moniker became the title of a written account of his adventures in ferrying Bibles to believers behind the iron curtain. It was a name however that he wished hadn’t stuck, for it…

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Spy thrillers

Exfiltration sounds like a step required in cleaning a coffee machine, but it’s actually a spy term – the opposite of infiltration. It describes the process of extracting an agent from the country in which they’re spying. It is typically a dangerous operation, especially when surveillance is in bedrooms and bathrooms, and radioactive dust is…

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Flackings

What a great word, and what a great idea. From the French word flaque, meaning puddle, comes this term that describes a street artist filling in cracks and potholes with beautiful mosaics. Currently, such an artist in France is beautifying broken paths and pavements, and quietly bringing a smile to many faces. “The goal is…

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Humility and gentleness

C S Forester in his classic The General, offers an insightful analogy in his critique of the English High Command during the first world war. The commanding officers were committed to the old modes of military conflict: infantry advances with guns, calvary ready to follow with lances and swords, war by attrition, the winner declared…

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