Monthly Archives: August 2005

Emotional moments and weight loss

Don’t worry, the Greenbelt review will be continued, just felt like I needed to blog these current issues.

This afternoon I went to visit V&G. Over a year ago, V was diagosed with cancer, that had spread so much already they couldn’t treat it and he was told he had very limited time left. I don’t think they excepted him to survive the year. But he has done. G isn’t exactly healthy either, and is struggling to care for her husband at home. My Mum and I spent some time downstairs, talking to G and helping her in whatever way she would allow us to. Then we went upstairs to see V. It was a shock for me. I had last seen him at Easter, and he had steadily worsened since then. His face was much thinner and his general appearance had changed vastly. He was very pleased to see us, and was holding tightly onto my hand. When he was speaking, he was doing so as if he wouldn’t see us again. I struggled to hold back tears, especially when he said a blessing for us. This couple have been doing God’s work their entire lives and it doesn’t seem fair that it should end in this way. He has refused medical intervention, like drips, despite not having eaten for a week – he wants to slip away quietly when God chooses. Please keep them in your prayers.

Another thing I have done today, is worked out how much weight I have lost in the past year. I knew I had lost some, but with varying scales and not knowing exactly what i was before starting university, I didn’t know how much. It turns out I have lost 20lbs! Which is much more than i orginally thought. I don’t know whether to be happy or worried. I haven’t been trying to loose weight. I suppose my diet has changed since i’ve been away from home, but I don’t think I’ve eaten lots less. I probably have been doing more exercise – cycling up the big hill to my old flat several times a week. And I think at lot of the weight I have lost, I put on during my Alevels, when I was sat still revising a lot. But still, 20lbs. Seems like an awful lot. I hope I don’t lose the same in this next year – I’ll be reduced to nothing! It is a pain, losing weight – most of your wardrobe simply falls off you all the time. Except I did find a pair of size 10 shorts, bought several years ago, when I was a size 10, that I haven’t been able to wear during the past year or two, that now fit me! Ummm, still can’t decide whether I should be happy or worried.

Greenbelt: Part 2

I began Saturday by going to see John Bell’s talk on ‘God’s funny Bone’. I thought this was good, he cleverly pointed out humour in the bible, including examples of Jesus being sarcastic! And he managed to get a number of his own jokes in there as well, including a very funny story about a dead dog (honestly, I don’t usually laugh at dead dogs, but this story was funny).

Looking back, I realise that I didn’t actually go to lots of specific events on Saturday, I spent most of the day meeting up with friends. I met up with friends from uni, friends from school, my sisters friends, friends from SCM, friends from my church at home and wibsite friends. It was rather amazing that I knew so many people at Greenbelt this year. And to be able to see everyone was fantastic.

I made an appearance at the wibmeet, although my shifts on the SCM stall meant that I could only come for an hour. It was great to meet everyone especially Tractor Girl, Jack, Neil and Dave. I have to admit though, I think my shy side came out rather than the excitedness, at the wibmeet. I didn’t arrive until 6ish and everyone else was already there and had met each other before – it was slightly scary. But I can assure you that I am usually easily excitable, and if you’re still not convinced, just ask Sarah for confirmation! I did make sure I wore my rainbow hat – I could have also worn a rainbow top, scarf and socks, but decided that would be too much rainbowness.

That evening we sampled the organic bar. I was very impressed with their organic cider, although was disappointed to be given Tescos apple juice later in the weekend. You would have thought they could have had organic soft drinks as well. Generally throughout the site I was impressed with the amount of fairly traded and organic products for sale, although it did mean that food and drinks weren’t exactly cheap (certainly don’t fit in a student budget).

Quote of the day:
Jen: “I’ve got everything except my legs*, I don’t know where they are”
(* zip on trouser extentions).

Greenbelt: Part 1

Wow – Greenbelt was so amazing!!!!!

As you can probably gather, i intend to do a series of posts on the weekend, which will probably be posted fairly frequently over the next few days. Photos will hopefully follow, but some patience will be needed for them, whiles i figure out the technology!

I was, of course, excited on the train journey to Cheltenham on Friday, but the excitement really kicked in when we arrived at Cheltenham Spa station and I could see lots of other Greenbelters, some of which I knew, getting off trains and making their way to the racecourse! The fact that I was carrying a big rucksack on my back didn’t prevent me from jumping up and down in the middle of the station!! (Apologises to Sarah and Alice for any embarrassment caused!)

One of the things I love about Greenbelt is when you are stood in the middle of the racecourse, surrounded by thousands of tents. It reminds me of the thousands of people who travelled with Moses from Egypt to the Holy Land – seeing such numbers, camping, with similar beliefs and intentions in mind. The main different being, that our journey is spiritual and theres was more physically moving from A to B.

After settling in on the campsite, we went into the village and the highlight for Friday night has to be seeing Jim Moray. He was good, though I’m not entirely sure I would classify him as folk. I suppose ‘folk’ covers a wide range of styles and just because his music seemed different to most other folkies, doesn’t mean it can’t still be classed as folk.

I was slightly annoyed with myself though, because I spent a lot of time reading up on the Greenbelt website about artists who were making an appearance this year, and I made a note of those I wanted to see. I took the piece of paper with me, bit forgot to refer to it when deciding how I would spend my time. I know, just a bit silly! As well as Jim Moray, I had also noted Martha Tilston and Iain Archer for the Friday night stage one line up, and I missed them. But never mind, we spent the time looking around the site, familiarising ourselves with the layout. It was really confusing because so much had moved, in comparison to last year – I kept on saying “but that used to be there and this used to be here”! I can see how this isn’t particularly helpful for people who are Greenbelt virgins and are trying to simply figure out where things are this year – sorry guys! It was, however, obvious that although physically many tents had moved around, the unique, Greenbelt atmosphere was most definitely still there.

Quote of the Day:
Jo: “Turn right at the Jesus flag and carry on, if you get to the tomato flag you have gone too far”
Great direction giving there from Jo! It did get us to the SCM crowd, eventually!

My Grandparents House

Written on Monday 22nd August.

I am currently, as part of my tour of the country visiting family, staying in my Grandparents old house. Dispite missing Swansea lots, this house always gives me strange feelings. Its hard to describe. Its full of reminders of my ancestory background. Every painting or picutre on the wall has a sentimental significance, which as I grow older i understand more and more. The trophys my grandad won for growing various prize winning flwers and vegetables still stand on the cabinate. It was good, I felt this year that another local grower used their old kitchen garden to grow vegeatbles, that, continuing tradtion, won several cups in the village flower show this year. The piano, sat proudnly in the corner of the front room, with old, yellow stained music sheet on it. My Dad will still play in the evening as we sit round reading books or knitting (being v.civilised!). The open fire lies central in the front room. Now only used at Christmas, but the traditional impliments stand polished around, patiently waiting to be used.

Its strange being in this house without my grandparents, especialy Gran, who only died last December. This house was built for them to retire in, so they have always been here. And now they’re not.

It was even stranger, when later in the day, I was asked what I would like to have from the house. I had not given it any thought previously, so i wondered around, no longer thinking about how quaint this house in the country was, but thinking ‘what could i have…?’ Most bizzare.

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I’m now back in Swansea!!!!!! And Greenbelt is in 2 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW!!!! I am SO excited. I couldn’t sleep last night. One half of me way saying: “Jen, calm down, you need to sleep” and the other half was jumping up and down and saying “WOW! GREENBELT IS NEARLY HERE! You’ve come back to Swansea to get stuff organised for it! Wow!” I finally went off to sleep, but then woke up at 6.30. I think I’m going to have to calm down slightly before GB, because otherwise I might just colapse when I get there!

Ambulances, Star Gazing and Car Crashes

Yesterday was so surreal, it was unbelievable.

It was my last day at work (YAY! i’m now on holiday!) and I managed to arrange to go on a transfer, in an ambulance to Aberystwyth! It was great – I spent most of the day driving around narrow country lanes in an ambulance. On the way back they missed a turning and we ended up going via Cardigan! – tow sides of a big triangle, basically! The driver, though was going rather fast round incredibly windy and bumy lanes, and in the back of the ambulance we were getting thrown around all over the place, and myself and the other nurse were feeling a bit sick! Luckily we were alright.

To celebrate finishing my last shift on my placement, i went to the pub last night with some friends. It was good to see people again, even though i made a complete foul of myself by tripping up and landing on my knees in the middle of the pub floor! At closing time we went home and we realised how amazing the stars were looking – it was a completely clear night and you could see loads of stars. Becky suggested that we drive out to the Gower to get a better view, away from all the street lights. Tom and I declared we were up for this adventure and quickly put on some warmer clothes – I put on long rainbow coloured socks and picked up my rainbow coloured fleecy blanket! We drove out to near Cefn Bryn, parked up and walked across to Arthur’s Stone (a local landmark). We spent the next hour or two lying down on a big rock, gazing up and the stars. It was amazing! We saw loads of shooting stars, which I had never seen before. Unfortunately – because I had been up since 6am – I drifted in and out of sleep quite a lot – Becky made a very comfortable, warm pillow!, so i missed quite a lot, but it was still incredible.

After realising that it was now 1.30am, we decided to head back to the car and go home. Using Tom’s torch we made our way back to the car (i discovered climbing down off rocks isn’t the easiest of things to do when you’ve just woken up!). On the way home, I was again enjoying the time to have a little snooze, when I heard Tom say to Becky “was that a car?…..i think we ought to stop”. I opened my eyes and realised we had just driven past a scene of a car crash – there was debris all over the road and the remains of a car on the grass at the side of the road. I woke up instantly. My first thoughts were something along the lines of: “there might be a car full of injured people and we’re the first people on the scene…….CPR – two breathes, five compressions, i think…….argh! really don’t want to do CPR for the first time at 2am in the middle of the Gower…..my rainbow fleece will be ideal for anybody suffering from shock…..” As soon as the car stopped, Tom leaped out and ran back to the scene with his torch. I decided to wait for Becky to secure the car, as I didn’t want to leave her on her own. We made our way after Tom quickly to the wreckage. Thankfully Tom quickly confirmed that the car was empty, though it was still warm, so it had obviously occured recently. Half of the car was completely compressed in, all the windows were smashed and there were various parts of the car and clothing scattered around the wreckage. The car was a complete rite-off. Becky pointed out that it could have been joyriders and they could be in the proximity, so we decided it would be wise to get back in our car and head home. We were all completely shocked by it. Its really not what you expect to find in the middle of the Gower at 2am. When Becky and I got back we stayed up talking about it – debriefing ourselves – and even then I couldn’t sleep for ages.

I’m going away for a couple of week, with limited internet access, so may not be able to post at all. But I will be back before Greenbelt (2 WEEKS!!!!!) and promise a detailed account of this years Greenbelt afterwards. Talking of which, all my travelling plans for the weekend seems to have fallen through all at the same time! I did have everything organised and now I don’t have a clue what im doing. But i will be there – even if i have to walk!

Quiet Time

I was sat just a few metres above the sea as it gently lapped against the rocks. Various sea birds were bobbing up and down on the surface of the water, which glistened like stars in the night sky. Mumbles lay peacefully in the distance and Devon was a faint blur on the horizon. The sky glowed with beautiful tints of pink and orange as the sun slowly set.

I sat ……… thought ……. prayed.

Thought about friends in need ……. world problems ……. the beauty of creation …..etc.
The water being so close reminded me of God's forever presence.
So I prayed.

Desperation and Excitment on the Balcony, twice

In the past 24 hours two eventful incidents have occured on the balcony at the back of my house, and I sincerly hope that they were not seen by any of any of my neighbours, particularly anyone I know – it could turn out to be rather embarassing.

The first was yesterday afternoon. It was a nice sunny, but surprisingly windy afternoon. i had decided to read my Harry Potter book (which i finished this morning!) on the new table and chairs we have on our balcony. After half an hour or so, the wind got a bit chilly, so i decided to go inside. I picked up the book and my bookmark – given to me by a friend from home – blew away, onto the flat roof of next doors house. I stood there for a few moment, going ‘ohhh, but….. i really liked that bookmark….’ It was then that I decided it was hopeless just standing their looking at it, so I started to think about how i could get it back. It was too far away to reach with a long stick and I couldn’t think how else I was supposed to retrive it. I had just about given up and was heading inside, when I realised the solution was obvious – I could simply climb over the fence. After checking there was nobody obviously in the back room of next door, and moving the chair over to the fence to help me over, I quickly started to climb over the above-waist-level fence. I got half way over, when it suddenly stuck me that not only was I barefooted, but I was wearing a short, floatly skirt and it was still rather windy. I paused slightly, but decided it was too late to go inside and change into jeans and trainers, and continued climbing. I successfully retrived my bookmark, hopefully without flashing too much! I was quite excited when i eventually made it inside, after my little adventure!

This morning though the excitment and desperation came the other way round. My bike has been broken for a while now – the back tyre is bent and after consulting numerous friendly bike experts, I concluded that i needed a new tyre. Earlier this week I eventually braved it into a bike shop and managed to, hopefully, purchase the right tyre. With great excitment and antistipation this morning, I decided to attempt to change the tyre. After yesterdays success of climbing fences in short skirts (which I think is a lot harder than in jeans), I decided i was up for the challenge and became excited at the thought of it. Throughout my childhood my Dad has fixed my bike, and always attempted to show me how to do it, in the hope that next time I could do it myself. But it never quite worked like that – he was always there to fix it. Since I’ve been at uni my Dad has been a phone call away for bike troubles and Richard has also proven very useful (thank you!). But both my dad and Richard are on holiday at the moment, as is a housemate who seems capable of fixing bikes, and my sister was refusing to answer my texts. So i was all on my own. And it wasn’t good. I fished out some tools my Dad had given to me before going to uni, in the hope of creating an independant daughter who can fix her own bike, and had bash at it. It wasn’t a complete disaster. I managed to deflate the inner tube, lever the old tyre off the rim of the wheel and undo some bolts in the hope of being able to remove the wheel, but couldn’t. Its seemed to be impossible to change the tyre without taking the wheel off the bike, but I couldn’t get it off. In the end i was sat there, in the rain, with oil ALL over my hands, staring at a bike that looked completely recked. It was at this point that i gave up and decided to have another go, after finding someone who can offer some helpful advice. Anybody got any suggestions?

Its not possible to be excited 24/7

I fell asleep last night, in the pub. And no, I hadn’t drunk any alcohol. I’d just got home from a 12 hour shift and discovered my friends had gone to our local, so went over to join them, but was so tired that i fell asleep. People often seemed surprised when I’m not excited and hyper, but as i have often tried to explain – its impossible to be excited 24/7. Even I need some time to flop and recharge, like the duracell bunny ;). There were, of course, points last night when I was excited, but I was also lacking in energy – hence falling asleep. Recently i seem to be flopping more than normal – it could be because I’m working full time in a stressful job, was writing essays (yay – they’re done!), and keeping up with a hectic student social life. Or it could just be old age ;). Anyway, hopefully, as I only have 3 shifts left before my holidays (YAY!!!!!), I’ll be able to recuperate and be full of life again by Greenbelt! – ONLY 20 DAYS TO GO!!!!!! – see, just the thought of Greenbelt gets me excited again!

Its a Mini Adventure!

I’ve just spent the day out in the community with a health visitor, on a short placement for a day, away from the hospital. I met the health visitor in the hospital this morning and after numerous phone calls we went outside to her car. I couldn’t believe it when she walked towards the convertable Mini in the car park and unlocked it! When I got inside it did seem to resemble a space ship (rather like a people carrier I travelled northwards in, earlier in the year) – it had huge dials showing the speed and petrol levels and there were lots of mysterious buttons that I resisted the temptation to press! As we set off round Swansea, I began to wonder why on earth this lady needed such a car. It seemed silly that she had this fabulous convertable mini, when so many people don’t even have enough money to buy essentials like food and water.

I had just finished having a rant in my head about this car, having decided I just had to accept that that was the way the world is, when we started driving out of Swansea, into the Brecon Beacons. With beautiful scenary all around, I suddenly realised I was driving through the Brecon Beacons in a convertable mini!!! WOW! The sun had come out, the wind was rushing through my hair and we were surrounded by amazing hills! It was rather difficult to not show my intense excitement, as I continued a civilised conversation with the health visitor!

I’m not entirely sure what caused my change of opinion about this car; whether it was the change from urban to country scenary or simply my acceptance of the vast contrasts that exist between the Western and developing worlds, i’m not sure. What I do know is that it was a mini adventure riding through the Brecons like that, especially as we finished early, so was home by 2pm!