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Finding joy in new windows

We had new windows and exterior doors fitted this week.

When we spoke to someone about a quote, they came when they said they would.
We agreed a price.
They had to come back and measure up the windows. They came when they said they would.
They said the job would be completed before the end of June. It has.
The price didn’t change. A deposit meant the work could start.
It took the workmen two days to complete the job. They said it would take two days.
They said they wouldn’t disrupt my awkwardly positioned broadband/phone cable. They didn’t.
They said they would leave everything really tidy. They did.



We get used to unreliable so much that this kind of impeccable experience can be a bit of a surprise.

Because people often don’t say what they mean. They make promises they can’t keep. Say things they have no intention of carrying out. Vague. Sketchy. Unplanned. Lack of clarity.

And many of us blame busyness.

The guys fitting our windows are super busy though. Doing actual hard physical work. I heard them take phone calls about other work. I heard them planning the rest of the week. I heard them planning next month. They are busy. But they did everything they said they would. They were clear. Intentional. Prepared. Organised. They showed up on time. Did a fabulous job.

I feel kind of daft for writing this post but for every one of these experiences, we often have to wrestle with nine other “busy” people faffing about at being nothing more than a big let down. Reliable and trustworthy people are a beautiful thing. They are worth celebrating.

These are the kinds of people you want to work with and recommend.



Our windows were fitted by S Dooey & Co.

Hot June Spotify Playlist

June has been wet. Hot. Dry. Stormy. A bit confused.

This playlist played in order – I think – reflects the first 21 days of June.

A bit confused.

Or click this link.

Saturn + Saucer Fruit Tea IPA

This is coming very soon…

A beautifully delicate summer fruit tea IPA. We have created a gentle malt profile that allows the delicate taste of the Waterloo Peach Tea to shine through, we added real fruit peaches and nectarines in both pre and post fermentation to achieve those delicious flavours and aroma of peach. The name is thanks to Emma from Middletown Coffee as she identified the varieties of peaches we used are called Saturn or Saucer. The fruit & tea is complimented with the most sought after Citra Hop, a delicately refreshing IPA.

A Special Summer Collaboration with our friends at Middletown & Supersimbo.

To see more of my design work – go here

In the Days of Rain

As Rebecca Stott’s father lay dying he begged her to help him write the memoir he had been struggling with for years. He wanted to tell the story of their family, who, for generations had all been members of a fundamentalist Christian sect. Yet, each time he reached a certain point, he became tangled in a thicket of painful memories and could not go on.

The sect were a closed community who believed the world is ruled by Satan: non-sect books were banned, women were made to wear headscarves and those who disobeyed the rules were punished.

– In the Days of Rain by Rebecca Stott – Harper Collins

I started reading on Friday evening. I finished on Sunday evening.

The fundamentalist Christian sect that dominates the pages of this book is the exclusive brethren. I grew up in the open brethren, a less fundamentalist version of the same – sort of – group. There have been so many schisms and divisions in their history that I’ve just danced around it a little bit by saying “sort of.” You see, it’s hard to really define who is crazy and who is not-so-crazy but still weird. There is such a spectrum of strangeness through all of the brethren movement.

Many of the descriptions of church life found in this book are really familiar to me. Some from first-hand experience. Others viewed from a distance.

No television. Music. Sports. No socialising with non-brethren.

Long hair for the women. Long skirts. Short hair for the boys. No facial hair for the men.

Fear of the outside world. Other churches aren’t christians. Obsession with the rapture and the end times.

Men in charge. Women silent, submissive, heads covered.

Scandals covered up. Silenced. Ex-communications. People deemed ‘not suitable for fellowship.’

Conform and submit or be disciplined. Or shunned.

It’s not about Jesus. Or the Bible. It’s about control. Ego. Dominance. Power.

Come ye out and be separate… they will say.

Rebecca Stott wades though her family experience, showing just how much of an effect this brain-washing has on people. The nonsense doesn’t just leave you overnight.

I turn forty this year. I still twitch and squirm when I hear what these people are up to or, when I recall past experiences. It makes me a little nervous even writing this. Friends who occasionally hear a brethren reference in my conversation will laugh. Sometimes I make jokes about it.

Actually, it’s not that funny. Many of the people I’ve known were and are mad. Disturbed. Troubled. Wrong. With bizarre confusing ideas about God and the Bible. But then, it’s not fair to throw all of that in the direction of the exclusive brethren without saying, there are people like this in churches everywhere.

In the Days of Rain was an enthralling walk through the bizarre and troubling underworld of the strictest wing of this sect. I laughed out loud. I ranted. Angry. Sad. Frustrated. Mostly thankful to have moved on. Still with faith.

I think this book will offend any brethren people who may happen to read it. It exposes a dark twisted side to their fundamentalist sect, or at least one grouping within their sect. This is a ‘church’ which often looks respectable from the outside. Many think it’s just another type of christianity, a more conservative old-fashioned version. On the outside, it’s hard to see things as they really are though. I have stopped people in mid-conversation over the years when they say things like; “you get good Bible teaching in the brethren.’

Let me be clear. In my experience. You don’t. You get separation, suspicion, control and just plain weird.

This book may even offend many Christians outside of brethren-ism who might read it. Some of their odd beliefs and practices are also visible in plenty of other church groups around the world.

If you’ve lived through any kind of odd religious group, you should read this. In fact, if you go to any church here in Northern Ireland, you should probably read this book. I expect that you know people who have lived through similar experiences. Rebecca Stott’s memoir will go a long to help you understand why they are the way they are.

It may also make for uncomfortable reading.

It’s good to assess and question why we Christians adopt the practices we do though. To consider how easily we may slip into the madness of sects and cults. But also to be thankful that we should be and can be free from these religious shackles. If this book leads people to ask those uncomfortable questions then that can only be good.


Thank the Lord above for Fargo. The musical moments weaved into the show since season one have been super cool.

Find out more about Adriano Celentano’s gibberish song here. I love a find like this.

The Weekend Effect

Encroaching work demands—coupled with domestic chores, overbooked schedules, and the incessant pinging of our devices—have taken a toll on what used to be our free time: the weekend. With no space to tune out and recharge, every aspect of our lives is suffering: our health is deteriorating, our social networks (the face-to-face kind) are dissolving, and our productivity is down. The notion of working less and living more, once considered an American virtue, has given way to the belief that you must be “on” 24/7.

I’m about to read this book.

I’ve been talking about and working towards simplicity for years. Less working. Less distraction. Less busyness.

This is not a game.
This is life.

Less may not be immediately achievable but you can work towards it.

It’s why I only work the hours that I work. It’s why I always have time to spend hours in my favourite coffee shop at least once a week. It’s why I make time to relax at home, doing nothing. It’s why I left certain social media platforms with no intention of going back.

It’s also why I say no a lot.
There are loads more whys.

But, I’ve been saying this for years.

You have to do it though.

Saying is not doing.

Doing is doing.



1: having no interest or involvement in political affairs; also : having an aversion to politics or political affairs

2: having no political significance

I’ve tried. I really have tried.

I just don’t believe any of them.

When I look around, here’s what I think people really believe in.

Popularity debates.
The ability to stand up to Paxman.
Being able to complete a coherent sentence.
Wearing the right tie.
Wearing the wrong shoes.
Physical appearance.
Pithy retorts.
Media hype.
Blaming someone else.

People believe in these things because this really is politics. This is what it amounts to. A popularity contest.

Who needs to fix the issues affecting society when you can play a game like this.

I really have tried.

I just don’t believe any of them and I don’t want to play the game any longer.