A Dad for Christmas

Christmas presents

When it comes to Christmas, it might be safe to assume children will ask Santa for an extensive list of toys, games and treats.  But a survey highlighted in The Telegraph of their typical lists for Father Christmas has shown many have more serious concerns, requesting “a dad” instead.

A study of 2,000 British parents found most children will put a new baby brother or sister at the top of their Christmas list, closely followed by a request for a real-life reindeer.

A “pet horse” was the third most popular choice, with a “car” making a bizarre entry at number four.  But despite their material requests, the tenth most popular Christmas wish on the list was a “Dad”.

The survey, of consumers at Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City, found children aged three to 12 years also wanted a dog, chocolate and a stick of rock.  Traditional hopes for a white Christmas were represented by a wish for “snow” in ninth place, with sensible youngsters also requesting a “house”.

Of the top 50 festive requests, 17 related to pets and animals, with some imaginative children hoping for a donkey, chicken and elephant.

iPhones and iPads also appeared on the list, with some quirky children asking for the moon, a time machine, a pond cover and beetroot. One child asked for Eva Longoria and another wanted Harry Styles from One Direction.

A request for a “mum” reached number 23 on the list.

Hillsborough 96

We should take a moment to remember one of the greatest tragedies in football that occurred 24 years ago today. On April 15th, 1989, Liverpool and Nottingham Forrest were set to play the semifinals of the FA Cup. Liverpool supporters far outnumbered Forrest supporters, but were not given as many tickets. Out of fear that the several thousand fans outside the gates would turn violent, supporters were allowed to enter an already overcrowded stadium on the Leppings Lane end. The influx of people crushed fans in the front against the barriers, killing 96 of them.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

John Alfred Anderson (62) Thomas Howard (39) Colin Mark Ashcroft (19) Thomas Anthony Howard (14) James Gary Aspinall (18) Eric George Hughes (42) Kester Roger Marcus Ball (16) Alan Johnston (29) Gerard Bernard Patrick Baron (67) Christine Anne Jones (27) Simon Bell (17) Gary Philip Jones (18) Barry Sidney Bennett (26) Richard Jones (25) David John Benson (22) Nicholas Peter Joynes (27) David William Birtle (22) Anthony Peter Kelly (29) Tony Bland (22) Michael David Kelly (38) Paul David Brady (21) Carl David Lewis (18) Andrew Mark Brookes (26) David William Mather (19) Carl Brown (18) Brian Christopher Mathews (38) David Steven Brown (25) Francis Joseph McAllister (27) Henry Thomas Burke (47) John McBrien (18) Peter Andrew Burkett (24) Marion Hazel McCabe (21) Paul William Carlile (19) Joseph Daniel McCarthy (21) Raymond Thomas Chapman (50) Peter McDonnell (21) Gary Christopher Church (19) Alan McGlone (28) Joseph Clark (29) Keith McGrath (17) Paul Clark (18) Paul Brian Murray (14) Gary Collins (22) Lee Nicol (14) Stephen Paul Copoc (20) Stephen Francis O’Neill (17) Tracey Elizabeth Cox (23) Jonathon Owens (18) James Philip Delaney (19) William Roy Pemberton (23) Christopher Barry Devonside (18) Carl William Rimmer (21) Christopher Edwards (29) David George Rimmer (38) Vincent Michael Fitzsimmons (34) Graham John Roberts (24) Thomas Steven Fox (21) Steven Joseph Robinson (17) Jon-Paul Gilhooley (10) Henry Charles Rogers (17) Barry Glover (27) Colin Andrew Hugh William Sefton (23) Ian Thomas Glover (20) Inger Shah (38) Derrick George Godwin (24) Paula Ann Smith (26) Roy Harry Hamilton (34) Adam Edward Spearritt (14) Philip Hammond (14) Philip John Steele (15) Eric Hankin (33) David Leonard Thomas (23) Gary Harrison (27) Patrik John Thompson (35) Stephen Francis Harrison (31) Peter Reuben Thompson (30) Peter Andrew Harrison (15) Stuart Paul William Thompson (17) David Hawley (39) Peter Francis Tootle (21) James Robert Hennessy (29) Christopher James Traynor (26) Paul Anthony Hewitson (26) Martin Kevin Traynor (16) Carl Darren Hewitt (17) Kevin Tyrrell (15) Nicholas Michael Hewitt (16) Colin Wafer (19) Sarah Louise Hicks (19) Ian David Whelan (19) Victoria Jane Hicks (15) Martin Kenneth Wild (29) Gordon Rodney Horn (20) Kevin Daniel Williams (15) Arthur Horrocks (41) Graham John Wright (17)

Autistic Artist Sketches New York Skyline From Memory

Stephen Wiltshire’s most recent panorama drawing – created in New York in April 2011 – is now displayed at JFK airport on a giant 250ft billboard. It is a part of a global advertising campaign for the Swiss bank UBS that carries the theme “We will not rest”.

Liverpool FC: Agree deal with Inter Milan for Coutinho

Liverpool have agreed to pay Inter Milan £8.5m for the Brazilian attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho. The 20-year-old who attracted interest from premier league club Southampton, is expected to travel to Melwood early this week for a medical and to complete other formalities such as obtaining a work permit.

Coutinho would become Liverpool’s second January transfer after Daniel Sturridge joined from Chelsea.

With the transfer window closing on Thursday Liverpool will still be hopefully of signing a couple more players.

Books I have read: Puritan Portraits

Puritan Portraits

J. I. Packer, a well known theologian, named by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential evangelicals alive, and one of the leading authorities on the Puritans has written a new book Puritan Portraits.

The first part of the book discusses the historical context from which the Puritans ministered.  Much of the book was initially published as introductions to the Christian Heritage series of paperbacks published by Christian Focus, looking at John Flavel, Thomas Boston, John Bunyan, Matthew Henry, Henry Scougal, John Owen and Stephen Charnock and two closer portraits of William Perkins and Richard Baxter.

Instead of writing a detailed biography about each man, Packer instead focuses on a specific essay or book that each had written:

  • Henry Scougal: The Life of God in the Soul of Man
  • Stephen Charnock: Christ Crucified
  • John Bunyan: The Heavenly Footman
  • Matthew Henry: The Pleasantness of a Religious Life
  • John Owen: The Mortification of Sin
  • John Flavel: Keeping the Heart
  • Thomas Boston: The Art of Man Fishing
  • Thomas Boston: The crook in the Lot
  • Thomas Boston: Repentance.

At times it felt weird that the book that was so heavily written about wasn’t then included in the book, but equally I found this book great at whetting my appetite to read more of the Puritans.  The book then concludes with a chapter that looks at the ideals of the Puritan theology.

This isn’t a light read or an easy read but it certainly encourages you to dig deeper into their writings, to understand more fully what they were writing about.