Big moon makes appearance on Jewish holiday Tu Bishvat

This week is a minor holiday in the Jewish calendar, Tu Bishvat (New Year of Trees) and again there is talk on the internet about the Blood Red Moons and End Times.

jerusalem moon

Here is the moon in Jerusalem, I’ve taken this from a reliable source of someone I know out there at the moment.

big moon 1024.jpg

Here is the moon from the camera of my phone (1/2/2018) Thursday of this week, its the thing in the middle, it looked not red at the time, but very big and clear.

Note I’m an average Christian, saved by grace and not law, of non-Jewish descent, and not a Hebrew Roots guy but worked with Jewish people for a number of years and prefer to have a non-ambiguous approach to my faith.)    I like to use Jewish holidays to meet up with Jewish friends, but I don’t fully observe them and definitely don’t force them on Christian or secular friend.

In the past, the whole Blood Red Moons thing got a bit ridiculous amongst hysteria online but I think God could be trying to get our attention, by coinciding events in the Jewish holiday with the movement of planets in the sky. 

I see it as this, to get right with God, seek Christ alone, and pray for our nation and communities.

Spiritual warfare in communities in UK

With various travelling I have done to the Holy Land, and also to Jordan, Morocco and Turkey and other places, other battles can take place in our own home cities.

harrow preachers

This is Harrow in outer London.

Here, I see some people from a local evangelical church, some young black men, very bold confident, speaking out for Christ on a microphone.  One reminds me of my good friend Ashley who I met in Israel but is actually used preaching the gospel in his home town of Watford not far from me.

A few months ago, some Muslims were preaching messages from the Koran and had booklets and teaching.   In other instances they were telling us we need to have Shariah law in the UK. (shudder)

But instead the Hare Krishna movement were there today.   They seems to be in Indian costume but don’t actually look Indian at all, but Europeans dressed up in Asian type clothing with drums and bells, and have new age type books.

At another end of the street was a man dressed up in traditional Buddhist sarong type outfit.

Later on was a a nice band of musicians doing panpipes.  Although the main thing they were selling were Wind Charms, and other American Indian type stuff.   These items are supposed to keep evil spirits away, but actually Native Americans tended to worship their dead ancestors.  I think London has the highest number of cult groups in the world, the spiritual atmosphere is thick here and it can weight heavily on you.

This is my crazy shopping precinct.  This is spiritual warfare in North West London, and I sense it like I have when I have been in the middle east.   Through this I’ve been learning more of praying in tongues.  I’m relative new to this and I don’t do this to draw attention to myself.  A supernatural way of speaking to the Lord in a more urgent way when conventional words may not be enough.

In the past I would try and debate with people, but often some people from false religions will trip you up and tie you in knots as they are trained in deception.   I don’t see these people as the enemy only deceived by false man made bondage religion.   I’m excited that people can be free of this in Christ.

Its easy to worry and get fearful.  The scriptures says “Do not fear” at least 45 times.   39 in the OT and 6 in the NT


Flight purchase blues

Ordering flights online isnt usually too bad of an experience, just this week its be fraught with gremlins 😦

I am trying to get some plane tickets to go home and see family, lately I have been disappointed at airline web sites.  I avoided using Easyjet this time make a quick journey back to my house rather than go to Luton, I am using them to go back as I need to visit Wales on the way back to Israel.

First is Jetairway an airline I am not familiar with but wrote about their new route between Liege, Belgium and Tel Aviv, I bought my ticket, then Google Chrome came up with an odd error message towards at the end of the purchase that some parts of the web site are missing and asked if I want to display the non-secure parts.   I clicked yes.   It then took me back to the first stage all over again!!    Thinking I had not had my payment go through, I did it all over again and then realised I had bought two tickets.   I regret not hitting ‘printscreen’ and getting a shot of this error now to prove this issue.

My fears were confirmed by this message I had a short while later,

Later I called up and was told nothing could be done by phone and I would need to email back, responding back to this specifically, which I thought was an automated generic response.

I got this message.

Ok, I got my funds back, but “contrary to your claim”???? the tone of the email lacks any kind of empathy or customer service and forces me that its my fault and not a technical issue with the site 😦     It doesn’t make me think about using this airline again afraid.    Wouldn’t of hurt to have a spell checker as well!!

As they have my name and title, its normally common courtesy to refer to me to as “Dear Mr Hayward” I think, and give the name of the person dealing with the complaint, you know, those usual business type traditions that show respect.

I looked at another airline Flybe to get the 2nd leg of my journey, to go from Brussels to Southampton.   I wasnt sure if this combination was possible.   Rather than a simple message why, when clicking on this link….

I was choosing different options between using Eurostar between Belgium and the UK, or flying.

So when ordering a ticket to go from Brussels to Southampton, I got this this rather oversized blue screen which means I have to scroll down to see Belgian airports that is inconsistent and vague to the user’s simple request to find out if he can go that combination of cities to fly is possible.

So why is it asking me to go flippin’ Dubrovnik?? (which is in Croatia)

Its most annoying that airlines don’t provide a simple method of seeing which combination of cities are possible, and this blue window has the bottom cut off, as the web seems poorly thought out.

Eastern Airlines could take me from Brussels to Southampton but at nearly £200.  Hmm.

I looked at one of the ‘best price’ type sites called ‘cheap flights’, with some odd results:

In other words, you have to use a German site, even I am using this on a computer in my flat in Israel!!    I guess the web site made a guess at my IP address and tried to give a page better for my location but got it totally wrong!

So next trying Eurostar….

Heres the ticket I wanted…..

Payment declined, oh man…

I called my bank who told me theres nothing wrong with the payment method, I called Eurostar to be told I could buy the leg of the trip that goes from Brussels to London, but not the bit for going home, I got on the phone to Eurostar’s customer support, with a nice friendly chap called Peter said it was simple to get Brussels to London bit booked.   I was told ring someone called ‘Bob’ who could give me an explanation for the rest of of the journey, which was largely unknown why this part wasn’t possible to order online or on the phone (engineering works or something maybe)

Later I got this email….

This below also seems like a poor job of doing the emails out to customers as it seems some part of the formatting or any logos and branding are all messed up.  Might be Gmail sometimes screws this up a bit, something that ought to be tested given how popular Gmail is.

Should say “we¿re sorry for these grammatical problems as well!”

I don’t want to put people off booking journeys online as it still is the best form of commerce the internet does best at, but I hope these odd problems could get notice but the airline and railway PR people maybe.

Does anyone want to hire me to test usability on your airline’s retail system from a customer perspective?   Whether you offer a free flight or a financial payment, I could do with something like this to help me with the big costs associated with travelling for the volunteer work I do.   Feel free to contact me on jp.hayward A T

Cheap flights to Israel from Belgium

Found out today there is another budget airline from Europe to Israel, Jetairfly (which I guess are owned by Thomson, given their logo looks the same)

They only go from Liege, in Belgium.  Given you could get there from UK or France via high speed down the Eurostar tunnel in less than 2 hours from £39, this might be a good deal if Easyjet doesn’t appeal, or indeed for travellers from continental Europe.

The other nice thing about this, some Belgian Christians told me there are lot of Jews that live in Antwerp but they don’t seem to be interested in Aliyah (immigration to Israel)  maybe this is good to give them a taste of what living here is like.

Flights to Israel from Belgium start at 79 Euros each way but there is a 15 Euro admin fee and usual annoying credit card fees too.

Heres a map I made:-

You can see the annotations I made closer.

I assume its simple to get a bus or train from Brussels to Liege, but not been to Belgium in a long time.

Visit back to the UK – Hindhead tunnel opens

Well, after the end of the summer it was time to have a break and fly back home to the UK It It was time for a well needed break to fly home and see family and church.

Seems quite a bit has changed whilst I have been away, quite a few shops have come and gone, and bits of Portsmouth looked little different in two years I have been mostly away.

On the way home from Luton airport, I saw this:

This was quite exciting, the new tunnel in Hindhead was now open!

Later on, I passed this place a week later, as I was getting a bus up to London.   The usual trip of going from Portsmouth to London Victoria the quickest route is normally 2 hours and 15 minutes, now its 1 hour and 45!

I remember this tunnel was rumoured in the early 1990s, now after something like at least 4 years of construction and £370m later its now working!  Heck in 2003, I did a sales job selling products to people in construction, and this was a juicy deal we wanted to get.

However, the old method of driving through Hindhead has a lot of memories.

One of my close friends lives in Hindhead which is only a few minutes drive east of this junction.

The new tunnel is certainly quicker and convenient, having said that, I quite like driving to the Devil’s Punchbowl in Hindhead.  Its a place I have been walking with my grandparents, there’s some interesting antiques shops by the traffic lights and businesses selling ride on lawnmowers and jacuzzis, and you can stop there to get petrol, so it makes a good halfway point when going to London.  Sadly the Little Chef got flattened and replaced with flats around the late 90s,  the Punchbowl has a place for some epic walks which I have done a few times.

This petrol station is the one and only place where I picked up a hitchhiker who told me he was driving a bus to Glastonbury (or another similar music event) as he worked there with the music industry, and the bus broke down getting him stranded so drove him to Havant.  I kicked myself later for not asking if I could cheekily get some free tickets for an event of some kind.

Driving past this point go round the steep bends is a little scary but fun, there has been quite a few accidents, which means sitting in long traffic sometimes, the sharpness of the bends further on meaning you are constantly changing between 2nd and 3rd gear, and makes it demanding and hard work but enjoyable driving especially with some good tunes in the car.

Photos date from 2009.  Silly Google, why didn’t you get your cars to overtake the blue truck which blocks the whole view of the road? 😀

Just like car ownership hasn’t completely eliminated people like riding horses, in post-volunteering life, when I get a car again and need to go this route, I think I will opt to alternate between the new and the old ways of driving. 🙂

Driving through the town of Hindhead and the old main road with its tight bends and hills is truly made of the stuff good road trips are all about I think 🙂   But heck, the new tunnel may become a legend in its own right, apparently the 1.9 mile stretch is used for people in high performance cars to race at night!