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RIP Papa

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My Papa (Grandad) holding me as a baby in his back garden. He died peacefully this afternoon.

Here’s to his 89 years of life. Here’s to his 62 years of marriage. Here’s to his contribution in the second world war. Here’s to the two children he lovingly brought up. Here’s to the towns he was postmaster for. Here’s to his four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, who have always looked up to him.

He had a wonderful life. The only thing I’d change is the last 6 months. But his suffering is over now. RIP Papa.

Photo Problems

I bought a fancy new camera with my birthday money and I enjoyed playing with it when we went to see all the balloons from the Fiesta, as they sored across the sky. I wanted to upload some of them here, but whenever I try to, it comes up with ‘HTTP error’… :S It does it when it’s ‘Crunching’ the image, so I thought that maybe the image is too big for it to crunch properly? Has anyone had a similiar problem?

Happy

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So yesterday evening it finally felt like my birthday. 🙂 Many of my friends from here and a couple from uni, came to have a BBQ at our house. Anna’s present to me was that lovely hand painted banner, you see above, which I’ll be able to use every year now!

For complicated reasons, we were storing an event shelter in our flat, so we decided to make the most of this and put it up in the garden. We then put old rugs and a blanket out on the ground, with our coffee table and cushions on top. Our hammock was also under the shelter, so people enjoyed sitting there, as well as on a few chairs. With the fairy lights, outdoor lanteens and one other lamp when it got dark, it made for a cosy evening. Everybody said they really enjoyed themselves and I know I certainly did!

Facebook

Facebook profiles are normally filled with the latest quiz’s people have taken, or birthday wishes. Shaun’s currently has messages from dozens of friends of comisseration, thanks and RIPs. I somehow wasn’t expect that, and it moved me to tears. Oh, and his wife posted on there too, with the date of his thanksgiving service – next Thursday, my birthday. The day that Shaun so carefully made sure that I still had off, when he was changing my shifts around the other week.

Bike Worship

So it was my turn to lead our alternative evening worship, again. Well no, it was my service partner’s turn to lead (and mine to be a helper), but she was away and nobody else was free to lead it, so I offered. At the time I offered I had a v.free week. This was before my shifts got changed around, and with one thing and another, I suddenly had a v.busy week. When Mr B was looking in my diary last Wednesday and pointed out that I was leading the service on Sunday, it came as a surprise as I didn’t have any time left to plan it!

Given that this week is bike week, our town held a Biggest Bike Ride, and I’ve just finished reading a book about The Man Who Cycled Around the World, I decided to have a bike theme. I’d seen a bike blessing service via Richard a few weeks ago and was inspired, but logistics meant that it wouldn’t be possible to carry out a replica. So I took a different angle – I realised that I connect to God more on a bike than I do in most other places. So I decided to speak about these feelings, through a reflection, and encourage people to think about where they feel they best connect to God. Then people were asked to write this, or something connected to the bike theme, down on a peice of material and tie it onto a bike tyre. Aside from a introductory bike presentation and song, I didn’t really have the time to sort out anything else for the service. So I stuck our candle lighting ‘tradition’ and the Lord’s prayer at the end, and hoped it would be ok.

Everything went wrong. The people with the keys to the church turned up 20 minutes later than expected, giving me 20 minutes less to set up the laptop, projector, music system, chairs, candles, etc. I’d kindly borrowed a friend’s laptop, as Mr B’s is elsewhere and mine can’t cope with ‘high pressure’ situations. This friend was setting up the laptop and projector for me, when it decided it didn’t want to turn on. It would come on, get half way through loading up, and then decide it couldn’t do it, and try again. Not what you want 10 minutes before you need it. Thankfully some bright spark fixed it. Then, at the time the service was supposed to be starting, I realised I didn’t have my copy of the order of service, which I’d typed up and printed before coming out. And then left it on the printer. Doh. I could remember what happens when in the service. The only problem was the reflection I’d written was on that paper, and I couldn’t remember it word for word. I didn’t really have any choice – I just did a short talky bit during which I summarised the reflection. Put that together with the fact that I’d prepared the presentation in Open Office and my friend’s computer only had Microsoft Office, which decided it didn’t like some of the photos and slide timings, then I wasn’t in the most positive frame of mind.

Anyway. I scraped around the problems, and it was kind of ok in the end. The silence during the candle lighting turned out to be surprisingly deep. I’d put it in to add a bit more length the service, but it worked really well. Everyone seemed to be so deeply envolved in the silence, that I didn’t want to interupt it with the Lord’s Prayer. I left it a few more minutes before quietly announcing it, and the well known prayer was said quietly throughout the circle, without a leader or particular version being used, which was nice.

Whilst clearing up I was feeling a bit low about the service – I hadn’t had enough time to prepare, it felt like everything had gone wrong and that it was all a bit too fluffy and vague. Ok, so the silence was deep but that could have been because people were glad that I wasn’t wittering on anymore! But then a friend came up and told me how much it had touched her. She’d been recently talking about how our services should have more space in them, rather than being too busy, and she said she could completely relate to the whole bike thing. I thanked her, and immediately felt better about it. I know it’s a cliche, but the fact that it touched one person made all the last minute stress worthwhile. And next time I’ll try to be more organised…

Ankle (again)

So over our two week holiday, which included a trek across Hadrian’s Wall, my ankle calmed down. Probably more during the week after, but still. Then last Tuesday I went back to work, did a 12 hour shift, and it was back to being really swollen and sore again. Sigh. After another shift and more pain, I got a bit upset about it all, and ended up re-visiting the GP, phoning work to change my shifts to short shifts again and getting an occupational health referral. At the moment I’m still doing 12 hour night shifts, because we don’t do short nights and I can’t stop doing nights without occupational health’s recommendation.

Last Monday, before it all flarred up again, I saw the physio. After an hour and a half meeting, she didn’t know what was definitely wrong, just that it was an inflamatory process which had affected the nerve, but this was likely to be secondary to the initial swelling which was probably from the tendon. She said I had v.good movement in the ankle, and the joint itself was fine. I am though, balancing more on one side of my foot than the other. So she made an heel thing to go inside my shoes, which makes my foot go towards the outside, where it seems to be reluctant to go naturally. She also recommended an exercise which stretches the tendon this way too.

I also complained that my leg, coming up from the sore area, was often stiff, so she recommended gently massaging it to get out any knots. Mr B was massaging it earlier, as he had done several times, and he noticed there was a ridge on the tendon, as it rose above my ankle. It was v.sore when he rubbed it, and having established that this wasn’t normal, we decided to stop massaging it, until I’ve met with the physio again.

It’s been 6 weeks since it initially flared up. And I’m fed up with it. I’m fed up with having to limit the amount that I can stand / walk each day. I’m fed up with having to kick up a fuss at work in order to get the shifts that mean it only swells up a little, instead of lots. I’m fed up with the fact that with short shifts, my days off are rare. I’m fed up with knowing that the more I rest it, the quicker it will get better, but that I simply can’t stop working and stop my life.

Lists and Timetables

Ever since I was old enough to write, I’ve always writen lists. I can remember being about 8 or 9 and writing out lists of everything I had to do in the coming day. And then I’d go back and fill in times beside each item. I would rarely stick to these times – everything would always take longer. But I’d still write them in. By the time I came to do my GCSEs, I had multicoloured timetables written out for the exam period and weeks before. I was slightly better, at this stage, at knowing what I could fit into a day. But I’d still run behind in my timetable and end up rewriting it. At A level I used a similar scheme. I’d spend several hours, planning in great depth which bit of my revision I was going to do when. My Mum used to say the time would be spent more productively actually revising. But, I dunno – I think it was important for me to have it all planned, even if I didn’t stick to it (or maybe I just did it because I liked writing it all out in rainbow colours! – all my revision notes used to be in rainbow colours too!!!!).

I’m still doing the same now. Except I’ve adapted to slightly more high tech versions. All my organisation stuff is on my laptop. When I’m here in my room, for any length of time, I usually have my laptop on, so that I can keep in touch with the outside world. So, it just seemed to make sense to do it on there. At the moment, I have a file in word called ‘To Do!’ and it contains a list of everything that I need to do. Most of it is work stuff, but there’s a few other things, like SCM stuff and random other bits. At the side of each item, I have written when I plan to do it. And then, when I turn on my computer, I open this file, and highlight in bold, all the things that should be done today. When I’ve done them, I have the satistfaction of changing the bullet point from a black circle to a tick. At the moment, I have several things on the list which are half done, so I changed their bullet points to a different symbol. Underneath this list, I have also written out a wider time scale plan. I’ve written the date of my exam, and split the time between now and then up into sections. For each section I have typed out clearly my work objectives for that period. I like doing it on the computer like this, because its easily editable. I can change it easily from day to day. The list is extendable. And if I completely mis-judge how long something will take me, then I don’t have to write out a whole new timetable.

Now, tell me. Is this excessive and silly or organised and sensible??? Those who know me well, will know I like to have things planned. And this is one way that I can. My Dad would never dream of doing anything like this in a million years – I mentioned it to him briefly on the phone, and he just laughed at me!

Exploring

I had the day off today and decided to stay in the area, and go exploring slightly further a field. I caught a bus from A, where I’m staying, to B. At B I got off the big bus I was on and (by 2 seconds) made a connecting second, smaller bus, which took me to C. When I got to C, I explored the small village, and set off walking to D. I had 4 hours before I needed to catch a bus at D, and there were a variety of routes I could take depending on the weather, time and my leg (which hasn’t been particularly liking the ward work). The weather was pretty reasonable which was good – it was very, very windy, but hardly any rain and a few sunny patches. Some of the views were absolutely breathtaking. I made it to D in plenty of time (without any major problems with my leg) and explored D a little before catching a bus up to E. This journey was over an hour, but was definately worth it – the minibus is specially designed for use of hikers and winds its way round country lanes and tiny villages. When I arrived in E, I had an hour to explore it and do a bit of touristy shopping (found fabulous, organic, homemade icecream and chocolates!!) , before catching another bus back to A. Overall I was quite impressed I managed to arrange, navigate and successfully carry out the days exploring. It was perfect because I saw an amazing amount of the surrounding area, have time for a ramble and at the same time, not push my leg too much. And I didn’t get lost!!!!

What has also struck me whiles I’ve been here, particularily today when I’ve been getting out and about more, is the country life. The way that everybody seems to know everybody else. And the way local, small shops are so friendly, welcoming and will do anything for their customers. For example, in D I desperately needed cash, otherwise I’d struggle to continue with my adventures. There was a post office/general store there, which I went into to ask if there was any way I could get cash out. The post office part of the shop was closed, but they were perfectly willing to open it all up again, just for me. Earlier in the week, I went into a local, organic farm shop and asked if she sold Geobars (they did Green and Blacks chocolate, so I thought she might do). She said no, but if I gave her some details she could order them in for me!!! And the bus drivers today were perfectly happy to take their customers to wherever they needed to get off, within the villages. For a long time on one of the buses, I was the only passenger on the bus – I was there, winding through the countryside and Show of Hand’s Country Life came into my head. It seemed quite apt.

Mixed feelings

I’m missing Swansea lots. Last week, I decided I was going to stay here this weekend. I want to explore the area and am hoping to find the local Methodist church too. And im also meeting my mum’s friend (who just happens to live here) for Sunday lunch in a local pub (typical Methodist – church followed by pub! 😉 ). So it should be ok. But, several of the other students have got nearly a week off, because of the way there off duty has worked out and so they’ve gone back to Swansea for the next week. And I’m stuck down here till next Friday.

My placements going alright. I get on well with the staff on the ward and the students I’m living with. I’ve settled into the ward, so I no longer feel like I’m walking around like a headless chicken, trying to find everything. But our shifts aren’t as flexible as I would like. Its arkward because the person who writes the student off duty works part time in the community, so she comes in, states what days we should work, and then goes again. I can make requests on the bottom of the off duty, but the form there at the moment only goes up to next week, so there isn’t any space for me to make requests after that. Next time I’ll look, the new sheet will be there, and all filled in. Not giving us any choice over when we would like our days off to be. And she’s not the easiest person to approach. Everytime I’ve said anything to her, politely, about our off duty, shes snapped my head off. Not very encouraging for me to approach her again in the future. There are some staff members who i can sweet talk into changing my shifts for me, but firstly this does not include my mentor and secondly they will only make small adjustments. There are things, like the next SCM gathering, that I’d like to get to, and I think its going to be difficult to sort out. All the students are supernumary, so they don’t need us to make up numbers on the ward, but we are supposed to work with our mentors, so my shifts largely depend on what my mentor is doing. But I don’t have the same social life as my mentor – she’s requested different times to me off. And shes not the best mentor either. Oh, grr!!! I want a real live hug.