Monthly Archives: April 2008

Steve, Phil, Billy and Kate

So I had my mini-festival last week with Show of Hands, Billy Bragg and Kate Rusby three nights in a row. And in short, it was amazing!

Show of Hands was in Pontardawe Arts Centre, and I went with Mountain Boy, YC, B, Ramblin’ Folkie and Mr Folkie (and we found P&P there). The venue has everyone sitting round tables on the ground floor, and the 8 of us were sat together on a table of our own, which was cool, especially when it led to some timely giggles. Show of Hands were on top form, with an impressive 10 instruments between the 3 of them (Miranda Skyes came on for the second half), all of which were played with fantastic skill.

Next was Billy Bragg. Its a long story, but basically A and I got complementary tickets courtesy of the venue. And very good tickets at that – right in the middle, about 8 rows from the front, in a large hall. Billy was great. I’m used to hearing his songs at silly am, on a friend’s guitar, at SCM events. But he was right there, with his music, political views and anecdotes – and the hecklers weren’t in short supply! When starting with The World Turned Upside Down and finishing with A New England you can’t go far wrong!

Finally was Kate Rusby. I’d never heard her live – I listen to her music regularly from my itunes, and heard she was something else live. But wow. She was absolutely amazing. It was in the same large hall, but this time we were sat in the second row from the front!!! She really was right in front of us! I went with a KateVirgin, which was cool because she thought she was great too. She had a very good, natural rapport with the audience too – although unlike the previous two nights, there weren’t any hecklers (coincidence or difference in audiences??). The best bit was the encore when she sang The Village Green Preservation Society and Sandy Denny’s Who knows where the Time Goes.

Why I am moving house again?

I’m sat in the middle of boxes, piles of crap and general half-packed stuff, trying to work out how I’m going to fix X about of stuff into Y boxes/bags. I’ve discovered I’ve still got a freezer half full of stuff and my new place doesn’t have a freezer (yet), so will have to find a cool bag and smile sweetly at someone with a freezer. I’m not actually moving till a week today, but tomorrow I go to Manchester for 6 days. Yeah, I know, great timing. Its a coincidence, but it means the whole packing thing has had to be done a lot sooner. And to top it off, I woke up today (my main packing day) not feeling 100% with a sore throat, headache, backache and sore feet*.

Anyway, I decided to remind myself of why I’m going to all of this effort:
* To get away from the Stupid Busy Road, which almost gets me killed everytime I cross it.
* To have somewhere that feels like Home, instead of just a room where my stuff happens to be.
* To have housemates that I can socialise with and actually say more than ‘hello, how are you?’ to.
* To live the Other Side of the city, where most of the friend’s I’ve made here are based, so I don’t have to cycle for half an hour in order to see anyone.
* To live in a house (which has stairs!!!) rather than a flat.
* To have a garden – which even has a compost heap in it!!! (I got quite excited about this, so I’ve been put in charge of it! 🙂 )

I just which I could click my fingers and have moved! On a brighter note, I’ve been lucky enough to have a Mini Festival of gigs this week. I’ve seen Show of Hands and Billy Bragg on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, and it finishes tonight with Kate Rusby! What this space – I’m planning to blog a review of all three when I’m in Manchester.

* NB: Sore feet are due to going out in silly shoes, rather than the virus that causing the other symptoms.

I love church connections!

Not only has it sorted me out with the house, which got 100% confirmed yesterday, we’re also being given 2 double beds and a couple of other bits of furniture from a mutual friend at church! 😀 Will just have to make sure I take down any pictures before transporting them!

Kimya Dawson

Went to see Juno last week and loved the soundtrack so much that I bought it when I got home. It arrived this weekend and I’ve discovered that my favourite songs on it are all by Kimya Dawson, an American folk artist, and after browsing her website, I’m even more impressed. Shes worth checking out.

Am I turning Anglican?

When I moved to my New Home, I was taken to a Methodist church by a friend who had been brought up in that church, but has since moved away. It was relatively similar to both the church that I was brought up in and the church I attended in Swansea. Within a couple of weeks of going there, I met for the first time, someone who I had known for a long time, via small world connections. He told me about an alternative worship church which meets on Sunday evenings in a parish church up the road. So I went along, and found myself settling in quicker than I could have settled in the Methodist church. The average age is much lower, with most people being in their 20s and 30s, and they still have their regular elderly members. We meet at 8pm for a hot drink, the service starts at 8.30 and is led by members of group, and afterwards we all go to the pub. There is instant socialising incorporated around worship, which meant that I made friends quickly. One friend there nicknamed me ‘Trouble’ within 2 weeks of meeting me! (I don’t know where he could have got that impression from… (A) 😉 )

For a little while I was attending both churches. But around my shifts, this grew increasingly more difficult. I can go to the alternative worship church after a day shift in work, and even after some weekends away. The only time I tend to miss services is when I’m on nights. Whereas the Methodist church service not only requires me to not be working, not be away, but also awake! If I’ve worked several long shifts in a row, and then I have a day off on Sunday, I’d often not wake up till after 10am, making getting to a 10.30 service (20 minutes walk) interesting! Consequently I haven’t been there since Christmas. I do feel a little bad about this, like I’m going against my roots and all I’ve previously known. But on the other hand, it doesn’t feel like my church. It never has done.

This alt worship church, although separate to the parish church its held in, is part of the local diocese and its official ‘leader’ is one of the vicars from the parish church. In practice the vicar doesn’t do a huge amount to lead it, I’ve never known him to lead a service and he even delegates the job of chairing the recently formed church council meetings. And services don’t bear any resemblance to traditional Anglican services. Its kinda ecumenical, although most members could be classed as ‘post evangelical’.

Because of the close connection with the parish church, we’re often invited along to events and special services there. The alternative worship church didn’t have a service on Easter Sunday, so I went along to the Anglican service instead. Being a Methodist, I’m not used to the ‘bells and smells’ (as a friend puts it) of traditional Anglican services. But my friends were going, so it felt the natural place to go, rather than the Methodist church which I haven’t been to since Christmas.

And its just a bit odd. All my life I’ve been involved in the life of a Methodist church. Except now. On the other hand, the alt worship church feels right for me at the moment. As much as I love a traditional Methodist service, they can get to the point where they rarely stimulate you. And around my shifts, both spiritually and physically, the ‘God time and space’ that the alt worship church provides, is often just what I need. Especially after a Difficult Week in work. As well as stimulating me spiritually, its also provided me with a friendship group, a boyfriend and a house (which has just about been confirmed!).


I realise I haven’t posted very much recently. Lots is happening in Real Life. Lots of changes. But mostly good ones. Having found a fab man and an almost house, its looking good. But I thought I’d tell you about my adventure the other night…

I was visiting the Almost House on Sunday and had gone out for dinner with the Almost Housemates before we started making our way separately to church. I was on my bike and they were in the car, so they agreed to take my bag for me, and meet me there. I set off on my bike, with my map, before realising that my big thick cycling gloves were in the bag that was in their car. I thought I’d be ok…. until it started snowing. And my hands went numb. Changing gear with your arm muscles is interesting… Then I got lost. My map showed clearly a cycle path coming off the road, and towards the town, but I couldn’t see it in real life, at all. After a quick phone call to my new guy and he told me you had to cycle through a block of flats car park to find it, I got over that hurdle. Don’t ask how I managed to use a phone with numb hands, I’m not sure myself. Then it went ok for a few minutes, I didn’t know exactly where I was going, but I could work it out. I reached the outskirts of the centre, and was just negotiating a Big roundabout (thankfully via the pavement / subway), when my bike stopped. Completely. It made a clang, and then refused to move. I clambered off, and soon realised that one of my elasticated spider things which secure bags on the back, had come off and wrapped itself around the back wheel spokes. I flipped my bike upside down and tried to remove it, but with numb hands and in the snow and dark, it wasn’t going anywhere! I rang my boyfriend back (I was also meeting him at church, supposedly within 5 minutes by now) and after talking about it, we figured the best thing to do for me to lock up my bike where it was, and for me to go straight to the pub next to church and warm up.

So I left my bike at this roundabout, and walked the 20 minutes or so across town to the pub where I warmed up with hot chocolate and cider (not together!). Thankfully I happened to have a spare, although muddy, set of clothes, in my bag. So as soon as the service finished, I got my bag back and was able to get some dry clothes on. My hands had impressively warmed up before I made it to the pub, thanks to my fleecy jumper, but my jeans were soaked through with freezing water. With the dry jeans, lovely friends and a bit of jumping around, I soon got the circulation going properly again.

My bike was slightly more interesting. Its booked in for a (complementary) service in the shop it was bought from on Wednesday. So I figured that they could fix the back wheel. If I could get it across town, with a disabled wheel. And when I was working 12 hour shifts Monday and Tuesday. Theres a reason I called my new guy fab – I gave him the keys, he retrieved it, removed the elasticated spider thing, cycled it to the bike shop, booked it in for the service, and even remembered to tell them about the slightly dodgy second gear! 😀 So all I have to do tomorrow is collect it.