Friday, 1 January 2016

Passage of the year

Despite the heavy rain, there were nine of us for the midweek Eucharist at St German's Wednesday morning. Afterwards Hamid and I went and sat in a cafe called the Salad Bowl in Clifton Street, to continue his preparation for baptism the Sunday after next. He's still learning and gaining confidence in English, so it's necessary to go slowly. His journey towards faith is rooted in the Urdu biblical text, and anything concerning the baptismal rite must be cross referenced between the English and Urdu texts, for him to understand and recognise its value. 

In times past I've worked with bi-lingual adults learning Christian faith, but this is the first time I've worked with a second language learner, and it challenges my understanding about effective communication. Nothing can be taken for granted. But what a privilege. Thanks to Google Translate I've been able to prepare for him some simple basic prayer texts in Urdu script. It's quite possible these are things he's learned already, but sharing them with him is a way of checking what he knows and helping him to grow in confidence.

New Years Eve called for a trip into the CBS office to meet with Ashley and Julie, as there were matters to deal with left over from before Christmas plus the induction schedule to finalise and communicate to Ian, the new business crime reduction manager who starts work Monday next. There was also the task of preparing the computer bought for his job in anticipation earlier in the year, but used by me, as making an appointment took longer than anticipated. I was surprised by how long the clean-up took. Although the office Cloud storage is fairly tidy, it needs regular attention to maintain or improve so it's accessible and beneficial to all users. This machine harboured an idiosyncratic collection of legacy file copies used, edited, left after the finished document has been stored, used and now needing removal. There were also personal passwords to get rid of, and bookmarks to be weeded out. I'm so used to working with our file system, but will it be quite so easy for someone coming to it from new? The test comes Monday next.

Clare and I stayed up to see the New Year in with Jools Holland and his band with his remarkable collection of guests. At midnight we opened the front door, and shouted Happy New Year to the world, but the street was quite empty. Cardiff's Calennig celebration  fireworks started before the countdown and we could hear, though not see them, so we went up into our loft bedroom, where we had a good view of the sky across the city centre and the display. Many more people seemed to be out in their gardens, drinking toasts and calling to each other in the dark. Things are hardly ever this lively in our rather sedate neighbourhood.

We woke up late and spent a very quiet New Year's Day, apart from a walk down to the rain-swollen Taff late afternoon. There were few people out and few cars on the road. It was slightly eerie. Only in the evening did all the empty car parking spaces in the street fill up again, with families returning from Christmas and New Year celebrations elsewhere.

The only thing of note today was finding that the Windows 10 'Settings' menu allows one to switch off aspects of synchronisation, including hardware, allowing each device using the same OneDrive account to retain a separate configuration. It's not obvious, and the reason hardware sync is 'on' by default is incomprehensible. Not that many organisations will simultaneously bulk purchase all new machines, so that all are in lock-step with each other. Hardware diversity is more likley and even if diverse languages and keyboard use is a tiny minority in some cultures it is far from being universally the case. Not just in Switzerland, with four national languages plus English, but also India, with Hindi and English at a national level and twenty two other official languages at a regional state level, argue against monochrome, monolingual presumption.

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