Monthly Archives: August 2006

Greenbelt

So, Greenbelt. It was good – I enjoyed myself. I didn't get to go to lots of things – as ever there were items on the programme I wished I could have gone to. Like the Taize worship in Centaur, which we got into, but had to leave almost straight away to get to my shift on the SCM stall. But we made up for it by ensuring we made it to the Sunday evening Taize night prayer. Other highlights include Martyn Joseph, when I got very excited and jumped around lots, and Cara Dillion who really does have an amazing voice. I also enjoyed Jonny Baker's call for more creative and inspiring sermons and the Othona community's singing workshop.

The communion service was good, but I did miss having everyone in the one area. It seemed silly to split us up, when as the logo shows, we're all one. Having said that, I was impressed with John Bell's efforts to link us, by asking each group to shout over to the other group. And, generally, having the main stage situated where it was seemed better – it made it more accessable for people who wanted to just sit back on the grass and listen to the music and I often felt claustrophobic listening to music in the crowded stage two. Although the new mainstage was more open to the elements, it did feel more welcoming somehow.

As I mentioned earlier, I helped on the SCM stall. This year we were making peace cranes out of paper. This took me a while to get the hang of, but one or two Christmas trees later, I eventually managed to do them myself! This activity seemed to attract a large amount of primary school aged children! I quite enjoyed teaching these children how to make the cranes, though I was very aware that it did seem to deter other (slightly-more-interested-in-SCM) people away from the stall, which was a shame. SCM released their new book over the weekend, which was very exciting (or at least it was when the bookshop eventually put the copies out for sale!).

I was also camped with fellow SCMers, which was great fun. There were about 20 of us altogether, camped in a circle around a gazebo – which unfortunately didn't last very long. It was nice to see people gradually emerge from their tent in the morning, and to stay up late singing silly songs into the early hours of the morning!

Overall though it was a good weekend. Having the opportunity to meet up with old and new friends was as good as going to the music, worship and talks.

Yay!!!!!! :D :D :D

I am *so* excited! Its Greenbelt tomorrow!!!!! Its a big occasion – only happens once a year! I heard quoted once on some GB publicity that a young Greenbelter stated that Christmas and Greenbelt were the best times of the year. And I know the feeling. This may sound silly, but there has been a ‘Christmas eve’ kinda feeling about today. The build up of excitement and anticipation. The preparations, ok, so I haven’t been preparing for the birth of Jesus or for a Christmas dinner, but I have been buying food and packing. And I am going to be seeing a lot of friends (and some family) that I haven’t seen for a long time, just like at Christmas when our family reunites.

As I’m on holiday at the moment, I’ve had the whole day to get my stuff ready and make the last minute arrangements, and now I’m all ready to go. I still have to make my parents house slightly more presentable, so that when they come back it isn’t a complete tip! I’m back-packing it there this year, for the first time without any access to a car, but I’m camping with a group of friends and we have shared out the necessary camping equipment. I have to be leave the house at 7.30am tomorrow, and haven’t woken up before 9am this week*, so an alarm will definately be needed!

I am definately looking forward to the wibmeet and generally meeting up with friends I haven’t seen for a long time, as well as all the music, talks and general atmosphere you find there. I will be helping on the SCM stall in the pulse again, so come and say hello!

*This excludes the morning when I woke up at 3am due to the mouse in my room and didn’t get back to sleep again.

Parallel Worlds

Its strange. The way you can grow up with people, have known them all your life, and they now seem to live a completely different life to you.

I met up today with an old friend. We’ve known each other all our lifes. Our mums went to the same mother and toddler group, we went to the same playgroup, nursery, primary school, secondary school and sixth form college. I can remember being friends with her in primary school and although in secondary school we each found a different friendship group, we reunited at sixth form college. And I always thought we were relatively similiar. We came from similiar backgrounds, both from Christian families, and both had similar educational experiences. But now she seems so different to me. She’s going out with a guy she met over the internet, who lives in America. She has just come back from spending 3 months out there and now says she hates England and wants to move out there. When I knew her in sixth form, she was very involved with her church, but since meeting this guy she has left all of that behind. Shrug. Its her life and she can do what she likes with it. Its just amazing how much someone can change in 2 years.

Its like that with many of my friends now. Just because we’re all moved on, all leading different lives. At the moment they still cross paths once or twice a year, but mostly they are completely different. Another friend who I’ve known for a similar time, is currently in India with her boyfriend (what is it with people having partners aboard?!). We’ve all grown up. Grown apart.

Squeaky Things

A couple of nights ago, I was sat up on my bed at about 12.30 doing something on the internet before going to bed. Suddenly out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something dark move quickly across the carpet. I shrugged it off, assuming it was a spider. But it wasn’t long before I noticed this movement continued and at a closer look I realised it was a mouse. Argh! Was my spontaneous reaction. I watched it run around my room for a minute or so, before I jumped off my bed and ran into my parents room. My Dad stumbled out of bed, picked up a walking pole (!!!) and went off in search of the beasty. On my way out, I had purposely left my bedroom door open, so when we couldn’t find it, we naturally assumed that it had run away. Due to problems in the past with mice, we have ‘squeaky things’ downstairs which are plugged into a socket and let out a high pitched sound which, apparently, mice don’t like. So they don’t go near it. Before going to bed the other night I plugged one of these in outside my room in the hope that it would deter any other visitors in the night.

This was all very well, but last night at 3am I was woken up with a rattling sound amongst my stuff in my room. As I gradually woke up, I realised that this was the same culprit as the previous night. As my parents were going away this morning first thing, and had to be up at 5am I hesitated before waking up my dad again. I left my room with the door open and went downstairs for a glass of water. I think I was hoping that it would find its way out, but downstairs in the kitchen I could clearing hear it running around above me. So I went and woke up my Dad again (sorry dad), who stumbled out of bed again and picked up a metal pole (the hiking pole was now packed for going away, and I think the pole was part of our old shower rail). He went into my room and heard it run behind my chest of drawers and then no amount of searching in my room could find it. We did realise though that because the ‘squeaky thing’ was outside my room, then it probably didn’t want to leave. It probably hadn’t left since the night before. We then moved the ‘squeaky thing’ into my room, in the hope that it would then leave. But it didn’t. I went back to bed, but didn’t sleep and certainly didn’t hear it again. Since then I’ve left the ‘squeaky thing’ on and my door open. And hoping.

I don’t want to harm it, but I just don’t want it in my bedroom. And now I don’t know if its there or not. Just the idea of it sends shivers down my spine. I’m fine with spiders, insects, bugs, anything. But my mum has always screamed everytime she saw a mouse in our house, and so I think I learnt this fear from her. And the worse thing is that my parents are away for a week now. So if it happens again tonight I can’t wake up my dad. I think I might sleep on the sofa. Thankfully I’m going to Greenbelt on Friday – I’ll be so glad to only share my sleeping area with a few spiders and bugs (oh yeah, and Sarah).

Birmingham

I have just spent the weekend in Birmingham, visiting a friend and on Saturday evening another friend joined us. It was a much enjoyable weekend – lots of laughs and chatter.

When we finally woke up on Saturday morning, we needed to go to the local shops to stock up on food. I was very impressed that every single item which I purchased was Fairly Traded! Earlier this week I had been getting frustrated at my local shops in Manchester because none of them sold Geobars. So when I finally found some in Birmingham, I decided to stock up! And we had to have a supply of Fair Trade wine and biscuits for Saturday evening.

Yesterday afternoon we went to visit the think tank – which had a ‘Medicine Matters’ exhibition currently on, which I enjoyed. It was all interactive, so it was amazing to play games which demonstrated in simple form, all the anatomy and physiology I have to know. They even had videos of eye surgery – which Jo said she couldn’t watch for swirmish reasons, whereas I didn’t watch it because its not the same when you’ve seen it in real life! After the medicine section we had time for a quick overview of the rest of the interactive museum and for Jo to prove she really is good at digging! 😉

On Saturday evening we opened the bottles of Fair Trade wine and enjoyed a nice relaxed evening. In fact so relaxed that when our brains were too dead for the film that we tried to watch, so we just chatted instead! Sunday morning wasn’t quite so relaxing, but I’ll let Jo tell you about that if and when she wants to. Afterwards we enjoyed a meal in the local weatherspoons and then had great fun painting PVA glue to waterproof a banner for Greenbelt next weekend. Which as you can imagine, reminded me that GB is only 5 days away!!!! 😀 😀 😀

Childhood

I have spent an hour or so this afternoon sorting out a cupboard with many of my childhood toys in. Board games from when I was younger, which my sister used to thrash me on. All of my playmobil and Brio train set, stacked up in boxes. Craft activities I’d been given for birthday presents, many of which were only ever half completed. My Dad’s weird and wonderful Christmas presents – exciting and unusual presents which were played with for a week or so, and then put away in the cupboard. I had great fun going through it all. Most of it I decided to hold onto, partly for sentimental reasons and partly because children in our house are quite common and games are very useful. But it certainly took me back a few years. Remembering all the hours of fun I had with everything in there.

Half way through this clear out I was reminded of just how much I’ve grown up. How much things have changed. Or not, as the case may be. The doorbell rang and I got up to answer it. There was a boy and his bike on our doorstep. I didn’t recognise this boy – there was a time when I knew all the children in the road, but since being at uni I don’t. He looked at me blankly and said ‘isn’t he in??!’ I replied ‘yes, he is – he’s just busy. Give him a minute’.

The boy was referring to my Dad. Who, ever since he used to fix mine and my friend’s bikes, has always been the resident bike fixer. His expertises have kinda been passed down through generations of children in our road. It always has been like that, but at the moment it seems to be more than ever. They’re always knocking on our door with flat tyres, dodgy bike fittings and even flat footballs. He seriously does have a little fan club of children!

As I said, hardly any of the children really know me anymore. Since I’ve been in Swansea there have been loads of new children on the street. There used to be a time when all the children looked up to me. I was the older, more responsible one, looking after the younger children. They all used to come calling at the door for me. Now children who call at the door only ever know and want, my Dad. I mean, its ok, because I’ve got my own life in Swansea now. Swansea is home. But it is just weird. How things change.

Limits

In an ideal world, it would be great to be able to support everyone. Great to be completely objective. Listen to everyone. And offer everybody a shoulder to cry on. But unfortunely, as I have realised recently, there are limits on these things. In difficult, complicated situations, it is impossible to give everyone involved support. It simply ends up messing with your head, which means you can’t give anyone support. Hence I have decided who I am able to support, and I apologise to those who I have had to say no to. And I hope everyone can be sufficiently supported somehow.

Watch out boys!

One of the good things about being home is that we get a chance to retell old family stories from when I was younger. Like the time my Grandad was up staying and in an attempt to take me out on my bike, climbed over all the junk in our garage to get to it, and then carried it back over all the junk. Only to be told my a 7 year old Jen that I’d grown out of that bike – my current one was even further towards the locked front garage door…. Oops. After the effort he had gone to get me a bike, whether the right size or not, I didn’t have any choice but to ride it!

The story that always surprises me the most is also about a bike, but not my bike. I was bought up in a cul-du-sac which had very little traffic, so all the children in the street would play together in the road. I think I must have been about 4 or 5, and I had decided to take Nicola, my precious doll out to play with me. At some point, I must have been distracted by a friend, and I left Nicola out in the road unattended. Also out playing, was an bigger, older boy. He was playing on his bike, and he had built a ramp in the middle of the road and he was seeing how far he could jump from it, on his bike. When he saw Nicola left unattended, he took her and placed her just beyond the ramp, and used her as an obstacle. I suddenly spotted him doing this to my poor, baby Nicola and was *not* impressed. According to my Dad, I picked up the nearest big stick and started hitting him with it. My Dad had to come and stop me from injurying him!

Anyone who knows me now, knows that this behaviour is completely out of character. Nowadays I would generally have to know somebody very well, before I would allow myself to display any anger – physically or verbally. And what I don’t understand about this story is that when I was 4 or 5, I was incredibly shy. I wouldn’t say boo to a goose. This boy I did know from the street, but I didn’t know him very well. I’m just surprised that I let my anger out in that way. I think it must have been a kind of motherly instinct. I really did treat Nicola like my child – except I suppose, leaving her in the street on her own! I was just enraged that somebody could have so little respect for my ‘baby’. Within my family, Nicola was usually treated with respect, and I wasn’t used to anybody putting her in ‘danger’ in that way.

But, in a way, part of me is quite proud of that 4 year old Jen. Standing up for her rights. Not being afraid to tell this bigger boy to leave my ‘baby’ alone. It is probably a good job my Dad intervened – as he says, his mum would have been after me, if I’d injured him! But I like to think I’d do the same now – not neccesssarily hit them with a stick, but if a boy mistreated myself or a good friend, then I would stand up for what is right. So watch out!

Tips on how to wash your hair in the kitchen sink

• Ensure the sink is clear of all food remains and washing up
• Make sure the temperature is reasonable
• Wear something which you don't mind getting covered in water
• Don't use excess soap – it makes it even harder to get it all out
• Ensure eyes, mouth, ears and nose are closed – soapy water leaking into all 6 holes at once is NOT nice. (not entirely sure how you could close ears, but never mind….)
• Have someone nearby to help when you realise that without them you will NEVER get all the soap out
• Preferably this person shouldn't be your dad….

Please note: Kitchen sinks are NOT designed for washing hair.