They came with a little postcard that you could use to direct the guide: you would point the guide at a specific number that corresponded to a place or point of interest and then the guide would recognize it and give you the relevant information. In the center of the cross is a massive dome, probably feet tall at its highest.
So, we were at the 60 foot mark and we were able to walk around and peer down at the people in the church below. Everything was absolutely gorgeous and insane and opulent. Again, church to end all churches. After we walked around for a little bit up there, we went through a different door and continued on.
I figured we would now take an elevator back down and then go inside the church on the floor. But I was wrong. We started climbing steps. And then there were more steps. Eventually, the walls started to curve: we were nearing the top of the dome! It was a very strange experience: the staircase was right up against the walls, so you had to lean inward because of the curvature.
After the curved staircase, there was yet another staircase that led up even higher, up the dome itself the previous stairs were around the perimeter. We finally peaked and went outside onto a circular viewing platform that was at the very top of the dome.
The views were incredible, but unfortunately it was insanely crowded. I could barely move and it was pretty uncomfortable. After looking around for a while and snapping some pics, we forced ourselves through the crowd to the exit, which was on the opposite side as the entrance. The steps going down mirrored the steps going up exactly, and then we popped out onto the roof of the Basilica again, but this time we were outside.
There were bathrooms out here, which I thought was silly, and some more great views to see. However, I was confused because she normally gets a magnet specifically for a famous site that we go to she got a Moulin Rouge magnet, a Rijksmuseum magnet, an Atomium magnet, etc. Again, she told me that the picture on the Rome magnet covered it. I was still confused, because she definitely gets a specific magnet for each city she goes to, making sure the name is written on it.
When I told her that, she still said that the Rome magnet was suitable! And then I felt bad about it, of course. We then took an elevator back down to the ground level and went inside the Basilica again. It was extremely crowded down here too, which was annoying. We walked around about as fast as we could, given the crowds, and saw the sights.
That being said, it was impressive. After we finished, we walked toward another place that we wanted to see, called Piazza Navona. It was about a fifteen minute walk and we arrived at about 6. The plaza was very cool; it was long and rectangular, had three fountains in it, and had some street performers doing their thing.
We went to a restaurant that had outside seating and ordered some gelato while we people watched for a while. The gelato was pretty good, but not great. Still better than the Croatian gelato, though. After we finished eating, at about , we went to a church that was in the square so that Erin could light her candle for Lois. This time, they had a candle section and she was able to do it.
It was an emotional time for her, but I think it helped a little bit. She would be doing fine, and then she would see something that reminded her of her grandma or would get a consoling text that would set her back off into a bad mood. After the emotional candle lighting, we went to walk to the Pantheon, which was only about five minutes away. It was a very impressive building and is apparently the most-surviving ancient building in Rome!
Which is pretty cool. As I used to be pretty into mythology, I was very excited to see it! However, at some point in history, it had been converted to a Christian church! So all traces of pagan gods were gone, replaced by Christian statues and symbolism. I was extremely bummed about that. The building itself was cool, though, and had cool floors that I liked. After we checked out the Pantheon, we went on a journey to find the Trevi fountain.
I had never heard of it, but Erin had and really wanted to see it. Apparently there was some sort of controversy in it the previous summer when some tourists started swimming in it and pissed off the locals. It was also pretty nearby, and we found it at about 7. It clearly was a famous attraction, as it was insanely crowded with people.
It was a huge, amazing, intricately carved fountain. I was very impressed. More pushy street sellers approached us, and Erin had had enough of them. However, when we were trying to take a selfie of ourselves, a man offered to take a picture of us with her phone.
You could tell neither of us trusted him at all. We assured him that we were not interested, and he sulked away after a while.
Then we got our selfie stick out just to spite him and took some pretty good pics. By now, it was about time to head back. I went to a place that I thought the bus might stop, and we waited a couple minutes until a bus arrived. However, it drove past us! The stop was actually about two blocks farther down the road!
It turned out it was the last bus, so if we had missed it we would have had to walk all the way back to the hotel about 40 minutes I think or Uber or Taxi. After we got off the bus, we stopped in a grocery store to get some bars and then got back to the hotel at around 8. We hung out for a while until we left for dinner at about 9.
Erin had found another gluten free place that looked good so we went there. It was about a 15 minute walk. It was pretty empty, and we chose to sit near the back. This child was probably the loudest child I have ever heard. It was insane the decibel levels he was reaching. We lasted for about 10 minutes before we asked to be moved to the front of the restaurant, as it was around a corner and pretty far away.
Even still, the shrieks could be heard, albeit much fainter. For appetizers, I ordered a shrimp ravioli and Erin got gluten free fried calamari! I love the experience of fried calamari. My swordfish dish unfortunately came with a bunch of eggplant, which was lame, but otherwise it tasted good.
Erin liked her pasta dish and really enjoyed the noodles but thought it tasted a bit too fishy. On the way to dinner we had walked by a gelato place that looked incredible, so we planned to hit that up for dessert on the way back. When we arrived, the line was literally ten feet out the door!
That was extremely promising. We waited in line and then we ordered. Erin ordered sorbet, of course, and she got blueberry lemon and ginger pear. Just off the names alone, the gelato seemed great. Mine was extremely creamy and the flavors were so delicious.
Unfortunately, I paid for it later that night with a bloated stomach. It was still worth it; that gelato was the stuff of Gods. The flavor combinations were inventive and exquisite. They worked on an intimate level, providing an experience that was both refreshing and intense. On top of that, they managed to make the sorbet almost as creamy as mine; how they did that, I have no clue. We arrived back at the hotel at about 11 and then we watched some Iron Fist and then went to sleep at around 1.
April Florence We woke up at about and then ended up checking out at about It was a set of ruins where Julius Cesar was murdered and it had been turned into a cat sanctuary and supposedly had cats wandering around. Sounded nice. So, we planned to drive over there instead of taking the bus, because it seemed more efficient , look at some cats, and then head onward to Florence.
Erin decided to drive, so I let her. And then we ran into three separate road closures that blocked us from where we were trying to get.
The frustration started to take hold in Erin again. We finally managed to find a parking lot that Erin had found on her phone after about 20 minutes of driving. We managed to sneak inside when someone else opened the gate. Eventually, we decided that this was not where we wanted to be and we tried to leave and find another place to park. We just want to get out of here!
Then, on the way to the new parking lot, Erin had to navigate a bunch of narrow, confusing streets and there were some aggressive drivers that really set her into shutdown mode. We finally found the parking lot at about and then started walking to the cat place, which was about 12 minutes away. On the way, we passed by two guards with assault rifles protecting some building. I got a sandwich that had pesto, tomato, mozzarella, and ham on it that was pretty fine, but the bread was hard as a rock.
Erin got some sort of salad that she thought was fine. We also each got a smoothie that we were both kind of disappointed with. We finally arrived to the ruins and were initially disappointed again. There was a moderately sized rectangle of ruins, below ground level and walled off from pedestrians. So, it seemed like an amazing place for cats to play! At first, we saw no cats. We walked down almost the entire length of the ruins and continued to see no cats. Then, finally, near the end, we saw some cats!
There were five cats that we could see; some were lounging and some were walking. I then found out that there was an entrance which took us underground into a room with a very low ceiling that had a bunch of cages.
Here were all of the cats! There were probably 20 cats that I saw in that room. I pet some of them which was nice. It was just a cat shelter that happened to be attached to some ruins.
Overall, cool cats, but still disappointing. On the way to the cats we had seen a mineral shop, so of course we had to go. They had some cool samples of rocks, including some sulfur from Italy! I figured Erin might buy that because it was locally sourced. To that, I told her that she should get some limestone because that is what all the famous buildings are made out of. She could just pick up a rock from the ground and she would have a famous Italian rock.
We got back to the car at about 2 and then started driving to Florence. It was a pretty uneventful drive except for when, at , we saw a forest fire! It was off to the side of the road, and pretty small, but it was definitely a fire. As we entered the city, we encountered a bunch of construction, like always. It was quite annoying.
Eventually we switched to Google and we made it to our hotel at about We probably would have arrived at 5 if not for the road closures. Oh well, no big deal. One weird thing about the hotel was that you had to return your key to reception every time you left. I thought that was strange.
Our room was nice and big and overlooked a beautiful plaza Piazza Santa Maria Novella that was bustling with street performers and pedestrians. The most annoying thing, by far, about the hotel was that the Wi-Fi was terrible. Probably the worst we had had the entire trip. I ran a speed test on it and I had 0. Also, I got a whopping 0. I complained about it a lot throughout our stay and Erin got very frustrated with me. Bad internet is one of my least favorite things in the world, up there with wasabi and sitting in traffic.
We hung out in the room for a while before we left for dinner at about 8. Erin found a gluten free restaurant that was only like 5 minutes away, so we went there. The bread that came with the table was extremely weird.
It had a strange, floury taste and a weird, not great texture. I started with a Tuscan we were now in Tuscany! My garlic bruschetta was way too overpowering for me; it was an assault on my mouth and taste buds. Erin loved her toast and eagerly accepted the garlic topping from my bruschetta onto hers.
I learned that Italians often do three course meals, so I figured I should adopt the custom. I really just wanted to eat as much Italian food as possible. So, for my second course I ordered a lasagna and Erin got pasta with a red wine sauce, bacon, and eggs. She also thought the red wine flavor was a bit too strong.
We got back to our hotel at about 9 and foolishly tried to watch an episode of Iron Fist. We had to stop and start it a million times due to the terrible internet.
It got stuck for good with about 15 minutes left. That internet made me want to die and I let Erin know about it, which she very much disliked. So, frustrated, we got ready and went to bed at about midnight. The shower was made out of a whole bunch of patterned tiles which gave it a fun look.
The overhead nozzle was too divergent to be usable. The handheld had pretty good pressure but nothing incredible. It was a very passable shower; nothing amazing, nothing terrible. I ended up getting to bed at about 1. Luckily, the internet was working decently enough for some internet browsing until Erin woke up at about While she was getting ready, I started pacing around a bit and hitting random switches on the wall, and I discovered some electronically powered blackout curtains!
They were built into the windows themselves and came down once I hit the switch. Because they were built in, no light got through them, even around the edges! So we went from no blackout curtains to the best blackout curtains ever! We left at 11 to go explore Florence. We figured we would just wander around and hit them as we neared them, like we normally do.
We started off by walking to Mercato Centrale, which is a large market surprise, surprise. It was about 15 minutes away. It was a large building that housed the food markets: ingredients for sale on the bottom floor and a food court on the second floor.
Outside the building was a sort of flea market, where people were peddling lots of Italian leather clothing items and other souvenirs. We went inside to the food area first because we were pretty hungry. Unfortunately, nothing really looked all that incredible. I got a panini sandwich with mozzarella and salami and Erin got a little sushi box. It was too much mozzarella and not enough anything else.
We had actually passed a sushi place on the way to the market and I had offered to go there, but Erin wanted to check out the market. When she was deciding to get sushi at the market, I offered again to go back to that place because I figured it would be better at an actual store. She declined, because I think she thought I wanted to eat at the market more than I really did. After we ate, we took a walk through the outside flea market, because Erin cannot resist them, and people tried very valiantly to get us to buy something.
Those Italians can be very pushy! I think he must have been hitting on her. I could tell that Erin really wanted to buy something for me she loves buying things for me , and some of the leather belts looked pretty cool, so I told Erin about it. She was elated to hear the news. I picked out a blue leather belt and got it custom fit to me. It is a very nice belt, if not a bit stiff and bulky. I definitely think it looks good, though, which is what matters.
Erin also bought a Florence magnet while we were at the market. We packed up and left at Today, we were driving to Venice. The drive started out with about an hour of bumper to bumper traffic, which was extremely annoying. I was pretty frustrated with it. She got another text about the funeral which made her sad, I think. I think she was also annoyed at me for being frustrated with the traffic and the bad Wi-Fi. Anyways, after the traffic the road cleared up and I was able to cruise along at a nice pace.
However, the drive was pretty bad because I could just sense bad vibes coming from Erin again and that always bums me out. We stopped to get gas and get food at about 2 because I was pretty hungry. There was a place in the middle of nowhere called Autogrill and it was absolutely packed.
I really wondered why it was because it was just a random gas station far away from anything. Give your flame room to burn — it should touch no more than the bottom of the pot. Do not use appliances if they are giving off a smell as this indicates leaking gas or emissions linked to carbon monoxide poisoning. And if your appliance is malfunctioning — stop using it! For more information about gas safety, see www.
One place in the home to hum with power is the home office. Energywise says turn your computer, WiFi and other equipment off at the wall at night, or when not in use. Adjust power management. You can choose the time delay for your computer to turn off the monitor, turn off hard disks and enter sleep mode. And when you set up your home office, choose a sensible place if you can. Try to use a small space which is easy to heat on its own. And move the desk to a position that gets good natural light.
And unplug chargers — for phones, cameras and the like — when your equipment is charged. Ooooby founder Pete Russell says the service is delivering healthy, good quality, local, sustainable food.
The Tauranga operation will only include organic, spray-free or naturally-grown fruit and vegetables. Pete says the boxes also contain details of where the produce was grown, and who by, together with recipes. Have you ever wondered where the frozen prawns in the supermarket come from? Why is that and where are all the Kiwi prawns?
Surely if they have them on the other side of the Tasman, then they must be here as well; after all they can swim. Our wild, native prawns are called Jack Prawns or Jack-knife Prawns and they live right on the edge of the continental shelf in areas that are to metres deep. The last time I talked about these prawns I. So what to do with them? The simplest way to enjoy is to drop them whole into your biggest pan of boiling salted water, bring back to the boil and they are ready after just a minute or so.
Alternatively, you can throw them in a hot pan with a knob of butter and pan fry them for about five minutes, adding a couple of cloves of crushed garlic and a handful of chopped parsley about halfway through. For those wanting something a little more sophisticated, try this super healthy laksa. Place laksa paste in a saucepan over a medium heat and cook, stirring, for three minutes. Add the prawn stock, coconut milk and fish sauce and simmer for five minutes.
Add prawns, mange tout and kaffir lime leaves. Cook for a further three minutes or until the prawns have changed colour and are tender. Place the noodles in a bowl of water and allow to stand for two minutes until soft, then drain. To serve, place the noodles, bean sprouts, mint and coriander in bowls. Spoon over the laksa liquid, prawns and mange tout and top with chilli. Serve with lime wedges. The week from May aims to shine a light on coeliac disease by spreading the word about getting tested and eating well.
CNZ do this by providing information about food and ingredients, and general awareness about coeliac disease and what that means for those diagnosed and their support people. Crossed grain logo products can be found at www.
Some food outlets are awesome and demonstrate understanding about coeliac disease and gluten-free best practice as well as offering many tasty GF options on their menu.
Businesses will only become accredited after successfully completing a training programme and independent audit. CNZ aims to open up the glutenfree dining out experiences for coeliacs by providing this extra level of assurance that food offered is safe to eat. Visit the CNZ Facebook page for offers, competitions and daily updates.
Check out www. Gluten-free is slowly becoming more common in eateries, but what is celiac disease? Celiac disease is a hereditary autoimmune disorder where consuming gluten leads to damage in the small intestine.
This means that when a celiac eats gluten, their body sends an immune response that attacks the small intestine. The attacks damage the villi — small, finger-like protrusions in the small intestines — that absorb nutrients.
There were just under 11, show visitors — which is a record — and just over show exhibitors, with just more than coffees — also a record — consumed during the three days. See you there. Graeme Martin, Bay Events. New proposal will dump rubbish option I understand the Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty councils may give consideration to a rates-funded rubbish and recycling collection. These proposals will be open for public discussion some time next month, in June, and will be voted on in July.
Currently, residents have freedom of choice regarding which service provider they choose to remove their rubbish. Competition helps to keep costs down. May I suggest G Clark visit his optometrist and renew his bi-focals as he reiterates exactly what I said — which is that there is too much easily accessed benefit money which encourages people to breed and regard their children as cash cows, or just breed because they are too lazy to use contraceptives and just.
G Clark always blames the Government for all his complaints and ailments. The welfare system in New Zealand is one of the best in the world but it is abused by those who carelessly bring children into the world with neither the means nor desire to properly care for them. This is why I suggested there be benefits for the first two children only. And yes, sadly Maori do predominate the numbers who abuse their children.
You cannot blame the Government for their lack of responsibility — why is it that 85 per cent of non-Maori have a cleaner record? We are all NZers. Perhaps the answer would be for the media to name and blame all abusive parents. The shame of public exposure of all cases of abuse just might prevent yet another attack on a defenceless child.
M Brooks, Tauranga City. Such organisations can be looked upon as a cash cow by contractors and any increased costs to the consumer are covered by merely increasing rates or taxes. The ratepayer or taxpayer has little say in the matter.
With the present system, if one provider increases its costs, or does not provide the required service, then residents have the opportunity to seek quotes from one of the other providers. This opportunity will no longer be available under a rates-funded scheme. Now would be a good time for residents who would oppose such a. Strip council chambers of the dead wood How many ratepayers are there in Tauranga?
It is high time that councils and governments stopped giving money to small groups in society and concentrated on the majority apart from real needs of course.
Nobody will die if a jazz festival is cancelled because those profiting from it lose a few bob. There needs to be an all-out effort at the next election to strip the council chambers of all the dead wood and replace it with young sap bearing productive and live wood and bring Tauranga back to life.
A Bourne, Bethlehem. G Hughes, Matua. Thanks to everyone who entered the Your Portraits of Our Place competition! We received hundreds of entries; it just shows how spectacular this District is. The top 10 photographs have now been turned into greeting cards which are being sold to raise funds for Waipuna Hospice. Every dollar goes to the Hospice. We have a rare opportunity to create spaces the community will love and utilise for years to come.
The Kauri Point Jetty is closed for the next few weeks as contractors replace the walkway decking. This jetty is a popular, iconic local landmark and recreational fishing facility. A few years ago Council completed re-decking of the jetty head. Contractors have also begun demolition of the Tanners Point timber jetty.
Removing it will improve access and use of the pontoon. The demolition work could take up to a week. You can give us your ideas and vote for ideas you like at haveyoursay. This month Council selected the new suspension bridge, designed by Abseil Access Limited, from 11 concept designs submitted by five bridge building companies. The single-span bridge provides a link across the Uretara Stream where the old railway line used to go, approximately due South of the south end of Uretara Drive and connects to the footpath along the top of the stop-bank on Uretara Drive.
The design stands out for its rustic look and its potential to include decorative panels on the towers at either end. While the suspension design naturally incorporates some movement, Scott says this will be minimal and can be further stabilised. Both consultations have been open to the public since 13 April.
We wish to thank everyone for their cooperation this season — burning safely and reporting any suspicious fires. More than permits were issued during the season, which runs from 1 October. Looking forward into late autumn and winter, remember: anyone lighting a fire in the open air is responsible and liable to keep their fire under control.
Jump online to haveyoursay. Feedback closes 4pm, Friday 13 May. Please remember if you have a problem, query, complaint or compliment about anything to do with Council and its service, please contact our customer services team.
A savage night out with Savage A savage night of electronic dance and trap music will turn up Mount Maunganui next month. Known for his skills on the mic, this will be the first time Savage will perform his full DJ set of bounce, trap and bigroom, on home soil. Joining them are Regan Perry and the Evolutionaries. Regan is a critically-acclaimed Kiwiborn and raised singer-songwriter. The Weekend Sun has two double passes to give away to one lucky reader who can tell us where is Regan Perry off to in October this year?
Enter online at www. Entries must be received by Wednesday, May Solution No. Photo: Colin Lunt. For more information, visit: www. The all new two-hour animal-free show for ages two to 12 includes more than 20 world class performers showcasing death-defying acrobatics and amazing illusions, with more than a little light relief courtesy of the hilarious clowns. For tickets, phone or visit Bookings ZirkaCircus. The Weekend Sun has three double passes to give away to three lucky readers who can tell us what the show is called?
This might interest a lot of people since Ritchie, for many years, lived in Tauranga. He was in more than a few bands here. In fact, given his often rapid turnover of musicians it was probably dozens of bands, playing with musicians such as Chris Gunn, his main collaborator over several years, Joe Puriri, Paul Higgins, Lewis Baker, Simon Elton and bucketloads more. It would take a historian simply to gather the names of those bands, often changing weekly: Horace Truck and the Frightening Kenworths, the Hole in the Wall Gang, and so many more Even back then there was a.
Tauranga connection with one of the two guitarists being a young Kevin Coleman, who later went on to play bass with Hard To Handle. As a sweetener to persuade the band to all come to town to be interviewed — bass player Jimmy Wallace is in Whangarei, guitarist Dave Maybee in Raglan, drummer Noel Lamberton in Rotorua — Graham arranged studio time at The Boatshed Studio in Whakamarama.
There must be hundreds of you out there with Ritchie stuff — stories, photographs, memorabilia, demo tapes, whatever. Can I suggest you contact Graham. Just go to the Brilleaux website and email him. So we might as well try and get as much in there as possible, the whole story for better or for worse Graham also played a couple of weeks ago at the annual Ritchie Pickett tribute show in Cambridge, organised by Larry Morris and other friends of Ritchie. Check for tickets at undertheradar.
Sunday 15 — Blaze pm. Classic hits duo. Saturday 14 — Mark Taipari 7. Sunday 15 — Tauranga Big Band 4. Saturday 14 — Shabang 9pm — late. Sunday 15 — Chris Gunn Gunshy pm. Free entry. Come along with chord sheets and sing with the band. Come dressed in black, Goth, scary etc. Sunday 15 — Live music with monthly Jam Session. Sequence dance, live band, great supper.
Elizabeth Trish email: lollaughterwellness gmail. Seek to unite together in our walk to put truth into action on a daily basis.
All ages welcome. Every Sat 1pm. Equip available, all levels welcome. Jo Ann Interested in Airsoft? Track set up from 10am. Practice starts approx 11am. Try a car out in the Newcomers class. Subs due. Valerie Specialty programmes. At G Whakamarama Rd 10am - 1pm.
Topic: Fear, how to eliminate from your life permanently. Txt Breathtaking Grace - Judges Series. Stallholders booking a carpark site is essential. Email Alf bethlehemmarket lionsclubs. Refreshments provided. Vic Garden visit to 9 Fasching Lane, Tauriko 1pm. Opportunity for attendees to have their secateurs sharpened. Please name your secateurs. Fern Every Sunday at the new shopping centre, 83 Pyes Pa Rd 9am. Mike or email: mikemell kinect. Uncork your potential. Lani Dance experience not essential.
Gaynor or Discussion on military records at SH29, Tauriko 1. Visitors welcome. At Maketu Village Green 8am. Susan Beginners welcome.
Graham Psychic Cafe. At Greerton Community Hall, doors open 6. All levels catered for. Jenny or Celebrate Pentecost with this quiet service based on the style of worship from the Taize community in France 7pm.
Barbara I am six feet one inch tall, and as I rose to meet them I could stand erect in the boat's cabin. He had to stoop. His hand enveloped mine, and I felt that he could have crushed it to pulp had he wished to. Now I knew who the clothes belonged to. Willie this is Mark, and Everything about him was impossibly smooth. He was not handsome, he was beautiful.
He seemed in his late thirties and was as tall as the other fellow. Mark, but slimmer, gorgeously barbered, exquisitely dressed in a cashmere blazer and white flannel trousers, a yellow silk shirt, and an ascot tied at the throat. I had never seen a man wearing white flannel trousers and an ascot, except in the movies, and he looked perfectly comfortable and unselfconscious in them. He looked as much at home with the soft, glossy loafers in his hand as another man would with them on his feet.
His handshake was firm, personal, but his hand was as soft and buttery as the shoes in his hand. Thrasher, I can't tell you how delighted I am.. I had obviously stumbled into the middle of a very happy event for all these people. Thrasher and Annie immediately launched into a discussion about boats. I leaned toward Mark and said, "Excuse me, I didn't get your last name. Please let them be brother and sister.
There was sympathy in his voice. Now I had the bastard at hand whose negligence had caused all this bother, and I fairly flew at him. We had out a forty-five-pound Danforth anchor, four fathoms of half-inch chain, and thirty fathoms of two-inch warp in seven fathoms of water. I really do apologize for your having to deal with it all, and I really am most grateful to you for what you did.
I saw the whole thing from the upper deck at the Royal London. It was a very brave thing to do, jumping like that. You were some distance out and seemed to be dressed differently. While he was out rescuing your yacht, all his belongings were stolen. That's why he's wearing your clothes. We drank the first bottle of champagne, then another, and talked into the early afternoon.
Mark and Derek Thrasher talked, at least, while Annie mostly listened and occasionally made a remark. She was very polite to Thrasher but somehow cool.
I sat and watched and listened and gazed at Annie Robinson. Thrasher looked at his watch. As we left the marina and started up the High Street I noticed a man who seemed to be keeping pace with us, stopping when we stopped, watching us closely. I noticed him because he seemed so out of place in Cowes. He was big, built like a linebacker on an American football team, and encased in a tight-fitting, threepiece, blue suit.
He was wearing the only necktie in sight. He seemed quite tense. We found a little restaurant in the High Street, ordered, and Mark and Thrasher were soon into a discussion about boats. Held every four years. I did it last time on the boat you were just on.
I want the boat when Mark's done with it. I'll change it when I take her over. Something you can advertise? Surely, that's a major benefit of sponsorship. The last thing I want is publicity, believe me. That's why I'll change the name when you're through with her. I prefer doing things quietly, and as far as your boatyard or anyone else is concerned, you are building your own boat, not mine. Can we agree on that? He shook his head again.
Take the boat you so kindly rescued today: she's only forty-two feet long, but it takes three people to sail her properly with no self-steering and a conventional deck layout. I want a boat of sixty feet, and that would ordinarily mean having a professional crew, which I most definitely do not want.
Mark, here, already has a design of that size developed, with every possible innovation for singlehanded sailing included, and with a bit more luxury built in than he'd planned, she's just what I want. Mark, on the other hand, will do nothing else, and when he finishes I believe I'll have the finest cruising yacht of her size afloat.
She had a faculty of total concentration in a conversation, causing me to feel that what I had to say was not only relevant and important, but fascinating. I glanced at Mark. He seemed capable of doing anything. His hard hands looked out of place on the white tablecloth. I'm happy for him. You must come and see us. The camp has quite a fleet. The last couple of years I took the older kids cruising, taught them a little coastal navigation, sail handling, anchoring, seamanship, the usual stuff.
We're sailing for Ireland tomorrow, why don't you come and sail down the Channel as far as Plymouth with us? There's a ferry from there to Prance. Annie's always a bit under the weather the first day out, and we could use an extra hand. You'd get a good look at the English Channel, with a night passage thrown in, and you'll only be a day or two. Perry to catch, and we still have to get Will some new gear. The earlier heavy was nowhere in sight.
I would have thought myself imagining it all, except when Thrasher came out of the restaurant, last, the man quickly turned away and pretended to look in a shop window. Thrasher didn't seem to notice; he fell in beside me. I'm surprised you know about him.
There were those murders, too. That got considerable attention in the British press. They're fond of that sort of thing. It had made nationwide headlines at the time and had even helped my father's political career, since he had been instrumental in hiring the chief of police who had discovered and solved the crime.
I might go back to law school, I just don't know yet. My business has reached a size where we're always looking for bright young fellows to join us and be trained for a career. What business are you in? We've just bought a chain of fancy hairdressers, for instance. Beauty parlors? I wouldn't have thought there'd be much money in that. All the shops are in top hotels and department stores, and they produce a lot of cash flow which we're investing all over Europe in property, holiday condominiums, all sorts of things.
We're even dabbling in films. I'm glad you're getting a sail with Mark and Annie. When you're next in London come and have some lunch. We'll talk more. The heavy who had been following us earlier leapt from the car and opened the door for Thrasher. The contrast between the two men was almost comical--Thrasher, the urbane, mannered, perfectly turned out gentleman, and his chauffeur, who was a real blunt instrument.
I wondered why Derek Thrasher needed a bodyguard. We all watched as the car glided toward the ferry. I noticed that the skinny man watched, too, from the entrance to a news shop opposite us. We spent half an hour finding jeans, underwear, sweaters and a blazer that fit.
I picked up some shaving gear at a drugstore, and we continued toward the marina. Mark put his arm around Annie. She did not respond. She shrugged. The huge signs with the single word "Thrasher" marked construction sites--motor ways industrial parks, all large projects.
You heard his reasons; he's no fool. I thought I detected a touch of acid in her tone. I couldn't understand it; I had found Derek Thrasher to be completely charming and even unassuming, apart from his expensive clothes and chauffeured car, both of which seemed perfectly natural accoutrements to a man of his position.
He didn't strike me as the captain-of-industry type and certainly not as the sort of man who would build a career on kicking old ladies out of their homes. I wondered if Annie knew something that Mark and I didn't. It was half past four in the morning, and I responded slowly. We had dined aboard Toscana and had drunk two liters of red wine among the three of us.
Mark had had the best of it, I thought, but while he seemed cheerfully awake, I was extremely fuzzy around the edges. I struggled out of the sleeping bag, struggled into my clothes, and struggled from the forepeak, the forwardmost part of the boat, into the head, where a toothbrush and a splash of cold water in the face made me feel more human.
In the saloon Annie stuck a mug of steaming tea in my hand and put a plate of bacon and eggs before me. I ate ravenously. Hangovers always make me feel weak, and I always believe I need to eat to build up my strength. Fortified by breakfast, I joined Mark on deck and helped cast off from our marina berth. The diesel engine chugged quietly as we motored out, past dozens of other sleeping yachts. Another boat or two departed with us, apparently to catch the tide, as well.
Annie tossed up my new nylon jacket, trousers, and sea boots all attributable to the gratitude of Derek Thrasher. Clear of the marina Annie switched on lights fixed to the mast, illuminating the deck, then I began to get to know Toscana.
All yachts, even ones of identical design, have their own idiosyncrasies, like people. I had a look at the engine controls and the deck layout, which was arranged so that all lines came back to the cockpit, making things easier for a single hander I noticed that there was a steel bracket fixed to the stern. Didn't want to tempt thieves in the' marina and I don't think we'll use it on the passage. Mark seemed to be watching me closely, as, I suppose, I would have done in his place. I used to watch my campers the same way.
She was already looking not very well. How are you feeling? Couldn't go to sea without it; better get used to it. Couldn't ask for better. The scattered clouds behind us reflected a gorgeous array of colors as the sun struck them from below the horizon.
I glanced at the shoreline. What son of tide have we got in here? That's why we sailed so early. The boat's doing five and six knots through the water, and with the tide to help we're making nine and ten over the ground. That's The Needles coming up to port. We were soon in the Channel, the risen sun feeling warm on our backs.
I found that I was sweating and shed my slicker. There's a strong tidal race there, and by the time we're that far along, the tide will be against us. As we sailed into the Channel the boat's motion became more pronounced, and I began to feel dull and groggy again, almost as I had felt on rising. Mark glanced at me occasionally. I began to feel distinctly awful, now.
Mark pointed to port. My head cleared, and I felt immediately better. By early afternoon we were abeam of Portland Bill, some five miles offshore. We had a glorious day for our passage--sunshine, a pleasant breeze and a kind sea. Annie came on deck with sandwiches and beer, looking much better. I felt better myself and ate greedily.
Mark and I stripped off our shirts and enjoyed the sun. Annie went below and came back in a bikini. I could only afford quick glances at her; Concepta Lydon had been relegated to some distant corner of my memory; my mind was all too occupied with the outrageously alluring young woman sleeping in the sun on the deck of that neat little yacht.
Mark gave me the helm and a course to steer and went below for a nap, giving me instructions to call him if needed, and I was left alone with an oscillating compass, my concentration repeatedly shattered by the sight of Annie Robinson, lying on her back, the straps of her bikini loose, dozing, with a little smile on her wide, full mouth. I was relieved when she stirred and came to spell me at the helm.
I gave her the wheel gratefully. My neck and shoulders were aching with the effort of keeping the boat on course with the constant distraction of the supine Annie. It was easier to let her steer while I looked out over the water. Daddy was a barrister; good one, too. He died last year.
My mother is still there, thriving on her own. We spent our summers on the Isle of Wight--not Cowes, the other side, Bonchurch. Boys used to ask me sailing from Cowes, though, that's where I started. Took my degree at Oxford in literature. Worked in an advertising agency in London afterward. Bored me silly. In London? Cowes, during Cowes Week, two years ago.
Where else? He was a captain in the Royal Marines and was skippering a service yacht in the racing. Very dashing, he was. Whirlwind courtship and all that. He took leave and we went to Italy together. Incredibly easy to get married in Italy. We did the deed in Florence, that's why the yacht got named Toscana.
I didn't have to ask why Mark, at thirty, was no longer in the Royal Marines. He came on deck with a bottle of cold wine and three plastic glasses, wearing only a pair of khaki shorts. He had an extraordinary physique, heavily muscled, but well-balanced, except that his left knee was a mass of pits and scar tissue, and the calf was only half the size of the right. Seeing it, I was astonished that he had never shown the slightest sign of a limp, had never favored the leg at all.
Mark poured the wine, and as I was about to sip from my glass, he threw up a hand. I could not know then how very much more the sea would demand from me. It was four o'clock in the morning. I had come on deck to relieve Mark at the helm; he stayed on in the cockpit to get me settled with the boat and didn't seem anxious to get below and into a warm bunk. A brilliant night sky burned over us. In the distance. Start Point lighthouse flashed three times every ten seconds.
Trouble was, the pub was in Belfast. Bit like your Vietnam. From Mark it seemed offhand, natural, even shy. Careers are made in a war, not least because a number of one's competitors drop out of the competition. I welcomed the opportunity, even enjoyed the work.
Very tense, very exciting. Snipers out there all the time. One kept one's flak jacket buttoned to the chin. The old adrenalin was constantly pumping. Except in' the pub. I wanted to know. We felt safe in some of the Protestant pubs. Dreary places, but one had to get away from it, you know. We'd got outside a few pints, some of the lads were singing; I heard car doors slamming outside--if I'd been sober that would have made me sit up and take notice--it was the singing lulled me, I think.
One of my platoon sergeants was sitting next to me; the first rounds fairly cut him in two. Fortunately, my cowardly streak surfaced through the booze and I dove over the bar. I think I must have been in midair when I was hit.
I was spun around sideways by the blast; it was like being hit in the knee with a punch. I landed on top of the landlord, who'd quite smartly hit the deck behind the bar. He had a weapon back there--an American army forty-five, it was, and I grabbed it and got off four or five indiscriminately aimed rounds.
Hit one of them. I quickly came back on course. The landlord had loaded the thing with dumdums. It blew a very large hole right through him; he practically exploded.
I got a look at him as they were getting me out. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
So, the Father chose the believers before the foundation of the world, and these same ones are those that come to the Son. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. He knew the elect, who were chosen and who were not. He knows all.
He knows everyone who the Father chose. Because of this, He knows also who the unbeliever is. This establishes that He chooses us. In fact, it happened long before we were born. And, from this side of the veil, it may appear like that. We get into enough trouble, and we reach out for help. He chose us before the foundation of the world.
It was His choice and His action all along. We love him, because he first loved us. I John For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. Romans This is important because when the Bible talks about God knowing someone, it means they have a relationship with Him. They have been ransomed from the second death. They are saved. It is a saving relationship. Notice what He says to unbelievers :. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Matthew He never knows the unsaved the same way He knows those He has chosen for salvation. The believers are called the elect. They are the sheep of His pasture.
They know their Shepherd. They know His voice. He saves them because they are His sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: John And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
John If you want to get into the sheep business, you go buy sheep. So, you go and look for sheep. You see which ones are available for purchase. You choose the ones you are going to buy. We were chosen just like any sheep would be picked out by a person who wanted to be a shepherd, and He paid for us. Why did theologians come to the conclusion that this choosing is not based on anything good in us?
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, II Timothy We already saw in our first lesson on the doctrines of grace, the one on total depravity, that there was nothing good in us. We were sinners, in total rebellion against a holy God. Besides, we already saw, from Holy Scripture, that He made these choices before the foundations of the world, long before we were born.
It was before we had done anything, any good or evil. For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son. And not only this ; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth; It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
Romans 9: He writes that God chose beforehand, before either of the children had done anything, whether good or evil, that the elder should serve the younger. This was done that the purpose of God according to His election might stand. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. He even decided to hate one brother and love the other, and this decision was made before either of them was born, before either of them had done anything to merit favor or punishment from Him, so that He could exercise His election.
The point in the Bible, again and again is that it is God who chooses believers, and He does so without looking for any merit in the person He chooses. Your sins, no matter how many and how filthy they are, will be atoned for by the death of the Messiah. Now you might not like the idea that it is God, and not you, that chooses whether you will receive grace.
I get that. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy , and whom he will he hardeneth.
Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it , Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
So the Bible itself presents the objector, the one who is against this idea that God chooses the people He decides to save.
The text answers that person. Which side of the fence are you? It depends entirely on God, who shows mercy. Scripture says to Pharaoh, I have put you in this position for this very thing: so I can show my power in you and so that my name can be spread through the entire earth. So then, God has mercy on whomever he wants to, but he makes resistant whomever he wants to.
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. We become sons of God by His will, not our own. It is His choice and His doing. Well then, who is it that believes? And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
Acts NAS. God chose to redeem us knowing what kind of people we would be, all the sins we would commit, the rebellious acts we would do, the mutinies against Him we would incite. Knowing how filthy we would choose to make ourselves, He chose to make us clean, and He made this decision about us before we committed any of these crimes against our Holy Father.
It is from a Greek word that means simply to choose, elect or select. It is driving home that message that God has selected the believers, those who He has determined to save. It speaks of His divine decree, what He has determined to cause, what He decided before the foundation of the world would take place, including every event that leads to the eventual salvation of those lost sinners who become born again, or born from above.
This is also true of the sins of people which lead to the salvation of the elect. Think about it. It was a crime that they took the sinless Son of God and executed Him as a common criminal.
He who knew no sin was treated as the vilest of criminals and put to death. This passage says that God did anoint Herod, Pilate, the Gentiles and the Jews to conspire in this sin. They each had different reasons for doing what they did. Each of these reasons was sinful. After all, to execute an innocent man went against both the laws of man and God. Yet they conspired against Him, had Him arrested, tried in illegal proceedings, accused by false witnesses, sentenced to death, mocked, beaten with whips, spat upon, publically ridiculed, stripped of His clothing, nailed to a cross, and put to death for crimes He did not commit.
Yet the Bible clearly says this was by the predestination of God, for His holy purpose. It brought about the salvation of the elect. Without the cross, we could not be saved. It was His blood, shed on our behalf, that atoned for our sins. There was no other way. Yosi Joseph understood this message. His brothers wanted him dead. One of them kept him alive, but he was sold into slavery.
He was isolated from his father. Initially he was mistrusted as he faithfully served. He worked his way up again from the bottom. He helped people. Those he helped promised to return the favor, to speak on his behalf to have him released. Instead, they forgot about him. Betrayed, he stayed in prison for a crime he did not commit. He was finally released through helping his masters. Appointed a ruler, he gained prominence over Egypt.
When his brothers arrived to buy food, he could have treated them any way he wanted. As a high ruler in Egypt, he could have had his brothers executed. Instead he concluded that even their sins, which had cost him years of grief and torment, which they clearly meant for evil, God had predestined for good. We have eternal life because Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Romans and the Jewish leaders of that city conspired to have the sinless Son of Man executed like a criminal. Every action of these people was predestined by God for the good that it produced.
He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fulness of the times, that is , the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth.
In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. He is Creator and He does what He wants.
He knew about it all along. He had a plan. He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, Eph. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
God created the universe, including every one of us. He did it with a plan. He predestined the events that would take place. He chooses people and nations for certain roles. He elects people to salvation. He does this because He is the Creator. He has total control over His creation.
It is His right as Creator. Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use, and another for common use? He knows everything that has taken place, what is happening as we speak, and all events of the future.
Without predestination combined with election, no one could ever be saved. God is granting eternal life to those He chooses, but condemning the others to eternal torment.
This is called the double predestination argument. First, we should remember that all have sinned Isaiah ; Romans , , we are by nature, children of wrath Ephesians and the wages of sin is death Romans So, if God did nothing, everyone would get what they deserve, which is eternal punishment for their sins.
For anyone to escape this torment, God does have to step in, but it requires no action on His part for them to continue living ungodly lives and reap the rewards of their rebellion.
Of course, we do have this in Romans Who are you, a mere human being, to talk back to God? Or has the potter no right to make from a given lump of clay this pot for honorable use and that one for dishonorable? Now what if God, even though he was quite willing to demonstrate his anger and make known his power, patiently put up with people who deserved punishment and were ripe for destruction? What if he did this in order to make known the riches of his glory to those who are the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory- that is, to us, whom he called not only from among the Jews but also from among the Gentiles?
This is the favorite place for those that believe in double predestination, the idea that God predestined the elect to eternal life and the rest to eternal punishment. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. We tend to let Holy Scripture speak for itself.
Secondly, we must remember that people love their sin. Sin carries a certain amount of earthly pleasure with it. People enjoy rebelling against God. Pharaoh had been holding them in bondage for years and years.
He was enjoying his sin. He benefitted from their forced labor. He was happy about the power he held over them. He liked having them as slaves. He had pagan deities he thought was bringing him his power. He was arrogant. His heart was already hardened against God. Pharaoh was making free choices, decisions that he liked. So, he was responsible for those acts of outright hatred against God. He was punished. He was humbled.
Is God showing favoritism? He picks some for salvation and not others. Is it fair that God chose people for salvation and left the others to spend eternity in hell?
There are a hundred prisoners. There are all guilty. No doubt about it. They have been convicted on good evidence. We have the money to pay the fines. Guilty criminals will be set free if their fines are paid.
They are there legally. They willingly committed their crimes. They are set free. Have we harmed the others in any way? Was it wrong of us to set free the five? Remember, all one hundred equally committed crimes and deserve to be locked up.
They stayed in jail where they deserved to be. We merely paid the fines for five prisoners when we had an obligation to none of them whatsoever. In this, we harmed no one. But then again, the comparison falls short because we are not God. Now we are the prisoners. We have been rightfully convicted. We are serving our time. God draws us. He shows to us His Son, Who has paid the price. We look at the others, the ones whose fines have not been paid. They claim they were falsely convicted. Many deny they are even locked up.
We know we are guilty. God gave us His word on that. It is by His Spirit that we know our standing before Him. So even this repentance, this conviction of sin that we have, this knowledge of where we stand, is a gift from Him. It is part of what He predestined for us. Subscribe to: Post Comments Atom. To place your order, send me an email at: amplittaye gmail.
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