Monday, December 21, 2009

It's a Corsa adventure

Not quite a Mini adventure but my escapades in my car over the last 48 hours will go down in history.

Like my sister has said tonight 'everything halts for the snow' and quite literally, it has. Today, I spent 2 hours in my car, not getting even half way to Chelmsford and back. There were no buses for my Dad to get home, so I was charged with collecting him from Galleywood.

It took me ages. I was in the car for longer than it takes me to get to Luton. It was crazy, the problem with the road to Chelmsford is that you don't often know why it it's backed up. It's only a B-road, so gets missed on traffic reports, but crosses an A-road at a crucial point, so if that's closed, it does get blocked up.

The cause of the queue was a crash, from someone turning round by the looks of things. So the police had closed the road.

My adventure also consists of travelling down an ungritted road. My road, which is a steep enough hill, means being really careful and in 2nd gear on the way up.

It's been tough getting around since the snow came down, tomorrow doesn't look any better. But I have managed to do everything I wanted to, I've just got to make sure that as I leave the house tomorrow, I've got everything I need for a day out!

The good news about this week is that, yes it is almost Christmas, but that we've also got a new projector being fitted at church. It's been a long time coming, but I am really excited that we will be able to do a lot more now!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's sNOw good

It's snowed today. Only very lightly, but of course it's on eveyone's lips. We're in below zero conditions (Celsius) at the moment and I am certainly feeling it. I retreated from my office this morning, not really wanting to spend any time in the cold. I'm not 100% again, so being semi-warm (at least from the waist down at the moment) and not completely cold, is better for me. I'm eating porridge and lots of warming foods to keep my core warm and working.

I'm heading towards a very busy Thursday evening... We've got the uniformed organisations carol service, which I'm talking at and then the SMB Christmas party incl. Secret Santa!

The hard work in the cold conditions is taking it's toll. Hopefully I'll be well enough for Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2009

All by myself

This week has been punctuated by my parents being away. The headed to Barcelona for a few days and they are currently in Kent. This means I get to cook for myself and Chris on various occasions, which I always enjoy when I've got the kitchen to myself.

I'm still in an ongoing battle with the council over the painted line on my road and the lack of parking attendants. Here's an all too familiar sight

It's not good, it means I have to wait to leave my house. I know that these people need to park, but there are restrictions now, so you can't. Find somewhere else, please!

This weekend I'm heading to cheltenham to see my house mates from uni. it's the first time I've seen everyone in 2 years almost so I'm a little excited!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Am I the only one?

I was watching Ugly Betty... which is something I rarely do, but with all things global, it will inevitably catch me (like Gavin and Stacey has). I only watched for 5 mins and the ads came on...

Yet another tv ad about contraception. The full proof way of not getting pregnant, or getting an STD is simply to abstain. Eveyone can do it, it's free.

I've been thinking this for a number of years... but in the last six months, it's hit me like a ton of bricks that teenagers don't hear it any more. It's a simple truth and easy to remember.

Happy New Year!

No, I'm not a month early. It's the start of the liturgical year for the Church of England.

We celebrate the new year by inviting the community to the Advent Carol Service. We decorate the tree and invite choirs from the schools to join us. The picture is of the church and the dance group.

This year we told the story of the visits of the angels. It was a really good service again. It was well attended and very well laid out. The story is always good, and when you take it from a different perspective you can get a lot more out of it. So I'd challenge you to look at the story from a different side this year.

Warner's message was really good and part of the reason why I'm blogging today.

Unfortunately, I'm really not very well today. I'm full of cold, which really affects my sense of balance and general well being. I've been putting off being ill for quite a while...if I can say that. You know when you just know you can't be ill, but the moment the event that you're building up to is over, you just let it that's what has happened. This weekend was a big one for so many different reasons. Now I'm taking the time out to recover.

Youthwork: The conference was tough. A lot to take in, more to listen to and lots of resources to read through and use. I love the playing cards and will be using them in school and youth group soon.

Here's to a fruitful start to the year... and a get well soon mentality...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Time away

Today sees the return to Youthwork: The Conference in Eastbourne. We're heading to the whole of the conference again. Retreat day and main conference.

I'm looking forward to the drive down with Alice and Phil, and then spending time with Karen and the lot from Luton, as well as catching up with the Billericay guys and girls.

I'm apprehensive, I know what happened last year, and I hope that this year I will be able to get the same out of it.

One thing I'm disappointed about already is that there's no party! Last year's was so much fun...I don't know why hey aren't doing one...

Yesterday I spent a whole day in Luton with people from the St Albans Diocese, learning about working with boys. Lucinda Neall is very good, I would recommend her for training to anyone. I got a lot out of what she said can be applied to working with young people, but it's particularly good for working with boys.

I'm going to see if I can get her to come to the Chelmsford area!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Into The Box

This is a picture of the space that we were in at the end of half term, during darkness to light. I love this window. I'd quite like a closer look at it on day. Being at work I didn't get a chance to buy a postcard with a better picture, but Andy and I did spend some time trying to figure out the Latin inscription around it, but neither of us being Latin speakers, we found it a little hard!!

My second picture is of shoeboxes. Rather more colourful and heavier than if they had shoes in them! If you haven't heard of Operation Christmas Child, where have you been? (living in a shoebox perhaps?) It's a brilliant scheme that gets presents to children who don't have very much and often live in war torn countries. I have loved doing this with the students from Mayflower High School, its a shame that it doesn't run for a little longer, but there's a lot to do, once we've done our bit, to get the shoeboxes to the people that deserve them the most.

I'm praying that there will be a lot of shoeboxes arriving at church on Sunday.

I'm looking forward to Shaken Up tonight (last week we had 18 young people) and then on to Saturday and the weekend! Firstly though I have to write prayers for Sunday!

If you click here it'll take you to a post with the opposite name!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Loose Ends

There's a Guinness ad that shows men creating a world... I'm not quite sure I agree with that, because that's not how it happened.

I still haven't found the Catholic prayers I went to in September, so I don't know their names to tell you... I will keep looking... I don't want to get it wrong.

I've got my phone back. It's been upgraded and the problem was the proximity sensor, which I knew, so no big surprises. I'm sure that the Proximity Callibration wasn't there before, so I've done that, but I'm yet to see how this reacts when I make a phone call or receive a call.

Sorry if you can't get hold of me... Please leave a message after the beep and I will get back to you as soon as I can!

It's been a bit of a strange couple of weeks. Chris was told he had swineflu last week so things have been centered around him getting well again. So I've spent a lot of my time with him. He's better now and will be going back to work on Monday.

Before that though, we're heading to Watford to finish...yes...the Christmas shopping. I've never been so far ahead of myself. I've even booked the day when I'm going to do all of my wrapping, and I've got a box to store everything in once it's wrapped. It's absolutely crazy, but it means that December won't be as busy. I have got a lot to do this month and into December, day's off and free time are rare, so for me the sooner the better.

I'm looking forward to it all!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A night out

Friday night was spent in a building that I've never been to before.

If you're ever in St Albans, take the time to wander around the cathedral there. It's huge - possibly one of the biggest spaces I've been in (I haven't had time to check the cubic measurements of St Albans and Notre Dame) - the high ceilings and huge windows are amazing. You get the dizzy feeling from looking up!

Alice, Andy and I were there for the Darkness to Light themed lock in. We were running the labyrinth - which is going on a journey though different stations, some practical, others more contemplative, but all themed.

It was tiring, but a lot of fun to do, a learning experience and a chance to see how a different diocese does events.

I got home at 5am on Saturday morning and slept through til 11am.

Saturday evening came around all too quickly and I found myself in charge of Christ Church's Bowl and Bite at Eddies on Radford way. We had about 50 people during the course of the evening, families, young people and adults all bowling and eating together.

I really enjoyed the evening and am looking forward to doing it again. Hopefully we'll get more people along and have a chance to get to know some of the other people in our church family and town.

Sunday came round all too quickly as well. I lead Pathfinders at church, trying to teach them that God wants us to be nice and polite to our friends and family to make the world a better place.

Sunday afternoon was abandoned to sleeping and watching the Grand Prix - which was almost a parade, apart from the last lap, which was a little exciting.

The rest of the day was spent travelling to Luton, seeing Karen and holding Guinea Pigs, eating good food and discussing various parties and anniversaries that are happening in 2010.

The sad news this week is that I can't currently work in my office because of a leak. It has rained quite heavily recently, and the water seems to have found it's way onto my desk. It's a flat roof above my head and the water is coming in through the light, so it's not safe for me to work there.

Also I'm trying to sort out my phone. Phones 4 you have been useless, and Orange have been more helpful. Though not as helpful as I thought they would be. It seems that I'm going to have to send my handset to LG to get it fixed. So I may have a different number, but I will definitely have a different handset as of tomorrow.

The news is that I'm going to get £20 0ff my next bill. It works to ask the question. So if you text me and it takes ages to reply, it's because I'm learning how to text!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Always get a second opinion

Yesterday, I was driving home from Colchester and I realised that my odometer wasn't working.

This morning, after Jazzercise and collecting some apples for various people from one of the congregation, I headed to the place where I brought my car and asked them to fix it for me. Initially the receptionist said that they couldn't fix it because they didn't have the right tools. I kicked up a little bit of a fuss, because I'd brought it from them, and the guy (who was in the showroom but kept well away) said that if I had any problems I should bring it back and they would fix it. I was also told that because they didn't have the right equipment I would have to go to Dunton to get it fixed. So I insisted that they should at least have a look, but they wouldn't unless I had a warranty. I said I wasn't sure if I did and the receptionist asked me to go home and check my paperwork.

(Now I realise that they took a copy of everything and could easily have checked instead of me driving two miles, urgh! I've only just started)

I do have what I thought was a warranty, but I was told that it didn't cover the problem I had. They had a mechanic look at it for me, who simply hit the top of the dashboard and the display reappeared. The problem was a bulb apparently, and yo replace it would cost money and take time. So I would have to pay for the labour, an hours work to replace a bulb at a cost of £85. I told them that I would be seeing my own mechanic to get a quote from him before I went ahead with anything.

So I headed off to Phil's at Gooseberry Green to see what they could do for me, and if what I was being told was right.

Car + regular Jo(sephine) = Always get a second opinion

Malcolm at Phil's was great, he discussed the issue with me and said that he would ring the Vauxhall help centre to get a proper idea of what needed to be done. He also said that warranty's are useless unless the car blows up whilst being carefully driven and even then the company who sell the warranty can dispute the claim. So there really is no point in having one, but chin up and he would give me a ring when he'd discussed it with the right people. He did, very promptly and explained that it was the bulbs filaments that cause the problem, a bulb is £1 and the labour for an hour is £48 (potential saving of £36). It doesn't have to be done now, so I will give them a ring when the bulb eventually dies.

Always get a second opinion.

Especially if you feel like you're being treated unfairly or being pressured into something. Especially if you know nothing about cars and don't like dealerships who try to charge you too much money.

Monday, October 26, 2009


"Default option - an option that is selected automatically unless an alternative is specified."

My default option after this weekend seems to be singing. I was with Chris on Saturday night, at a Harvest Supper in the wilds of North Essex, and found myself singing a lot of the time to the music that was playing. It seems that whilst I'm concentrating on something else, if there is music playing in the background, I will sing along to it. Of course, this is made easier by the knowledge that all the songs were really well known to me, but still, when I woke up the following morning and realised I had a sore throat, I had to think as to why that was. Strange. I sing a lot of the time. Some times are better than others, but mostly I do it for my own amusement/to worship God.

Anyway, like I said, I have spent most of my weekend with Chris and seeing family that I haven't seen for a very long time. Catching up with news is always good, it's nice to hear that things are moving on, but the way that it happens doesn't change very much...

This week is half term and I will be preparing for Christmas with my free time and preparing an essay for CCS. This will be my first attempt at writing such a think in more than three tears, so I'm a little apprehensive to say the least and I'm trying to figure out exactly how I'm going to fit it in whilst working, because the last time I had to write the only focus was the essay. So time to read up and answer the question! I'll tell you what it is when I've got some idea of where I'm going, because I haven't got the piece of paper that's got the exact title in front of me... but it's definitely something to do with the story of the Exodus and Christians today.

So here's to spending a week reading and planning!

P.S. The links are different for Chris' name because he now has a photography website and a blog!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Gathering together...

Yesterday was a busy day and started with a late arrival for me at the 8am service. I some times forget how quickly a spoken service can go, so before I knew it, it was time for breakfast and then time to start preparing for the next service.

The third Sunday of the month is always a little strange. The children are in for the whole of the service, it's shorter and more interactive. I do enjoy it a lot as I'm often at the front doing something or helping with an activity and this months service was no different!

We had Peter Hylton and his team from St Mary's take the majority of our service. They were launching Operation Christmas Child for our church, which went down really well. We had a fuller congregation that normal because we had over 50 children from the uniformed organisations join us. It was great to see so many faces and hear from people who had been out to places to give out shoe boxes. (We sang Father Abraham, which I haven't sung for ages)

After that it was time to head home for some serious rest. To watch the gymnastic world championship (well done Beth Tweddle on your gold) and the Brazilian Grand Prix.

That period of time went far too quickly and I found myself willing Jenson Button on (He won and became the 9th (?) British F1 champion) as Mum and I walked the short distance to the Catholic Church for the penultimate CTB pilgrimage service. I've never been a part of a traditional Catholic service so it immeadiately caught my attention as something that I'd like to go to.

I found it intriguing that nearly everything was sung and there was Latin as well. I missed some of the bits of the service because I was reading the Latin, but I got the gist of it and found singing Latin really easy! I would recommend going to a Catholic service if you don't attend a catholic church regularly when you're giving the opportunity. The last service is at St John's so I will hopefully be going there in November.

When I find the piece of paper I'll tell you what the service was called.

Then it was quickly home for a bite to eat and out again to see the Baptist church in action. We've joined forces to help with the leader situation and to see how our youth groups can work together. It was good fun. I was definitely ready to go to bed when I got home!

Friday, October 16, 2009

National Chocolate Week

We're coming towards the end of National Chocolate week and to celebrate I made cakes for the Shaken Up lot. So if you weren't there, or have been on my facebook recently, here is photographic evidence that they turned out really well and didn't all get gobbled up by the boys...

Decorated and tasting gorgeous. I would really recommend the recipe from Divine if you've got an afternoon to spare. They got the thumbs up from everyone at Shaken Up and my family liked them too... I've just got to see what Chris and his mum think!!

On other chocolatey matters - have you seen these

I love popping candy, I'm not so fond on Chocolate Orange and I don't know if they are fair trade but the box and the idea is just amazing!! I hope I get one of these, either for Christmas or sooner...

What!?! Why!?!

I'm sensible about my driving, I do a lot more of it than I ever imagined, so I look after my car, because if I don't it will cost me a lot of money in the future. I hope that the price of petrol will continue to fall, though I don't know that we will ever go back to the 79.9ppl!

Of course, free is the best price so I was shocked when I realised that Tesco have started charging for air! It's 20p for 5 mins. I guess air only costs when it's being pumped through a pipe... It doesn't break the bank, but it is another cost that we really don't need, and that Tesco really shouldn't be doing.

So the plan is to change my pattern ever so slightly and foot pump my way to success! I get fitter and not nearly as much money is spent!

This week has been an interesting one, I've been into school 4 times, which is a great encouragement to me. I do love that part of my job.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Giving Blood

Is a different experience every time. This time Chris and I headed to Christ Church to share the experience.

Strangely, I enjoy giving blood. I love that I can do it, and do it as regularly as possible. I have a rare blood type, so I know that it is important to give. I'm A RH Negative so I'm already in the 16% of the population that are negative.

I got in first and it took about 8 mins to fill the bag up, with some pain, but I thought I was going to be ok. Chris took about half that time and although it's never a competition, he was pleased that he was quicker than me.

I got a bruise that was quite painful. I normally don't bruise so I was a little worried, but I think it was just down to not applying pressure in the right place after the needle was pulled out.

So 17 weeks from now, I will be donating again unless I get ill...which hopefully I won't.

I'm starting to get into a routine, not all of the pieces are in place yet, but I am trying my hardest to make my week flow so that I know where I am and what I'm doing without having to think too much!

Thursday, October 08, 2009


The Course in Christian Studies is a course for those who want to find out more about Christianity. It is plugged as a discovery course, and so far so good, though the Christian element is a lot stronger than I thought it would be. (With a lot of things recently I haven't really known what I was getting myself into until the day/course/service/activity has been over with, so I find myself saying 'I don't really know what to expect' a lot!)

So when we got to talk through an actual passage like we were there, it became really interesting for me... I'm sat with a group of Christians, who know Christ personally and there's no worry about saying the 'right' thing, so the conversation is very honest. I haven't done that sort of thing for a very long time, so I listened intently and found myself as spokes person for the evening for the groups that I was involved in. The questions that the worksheet asked were really helpful for the groups, it directs the discussion, but also keeps it on track, it's intense and once you get into the stride of it, it can be really rewarding. In all my years doing a degree, I never looked a bible passage like this and I have a feeling that the New Testament module would have been sooo much more fun taught in this way!

So it is going really well, and our tutor told a story that really spoke to me about why Jesus joined us on earth, I'd never heard it before, but it is plain and makes proper sense!

"A boy decided that he was going to collect ants, and the colony grew quite large. The boy's parents decided that the ants were causing too much trouble, so they went to boil the kettle, so as to kill the ants. The boy heard their plan and ran to the ants, because he wanted them to live, he was shouting at them, telling them to run and save themselves. The ants didn't understand, they stayed in the colony and were killed by the boiling water. Of course the only way that the boy could make the ants understand him was by becoming an ant."

Really short, and if I ever get to use it at church I will embellish it to make it sound a little more dramatic! I love stories and I wish I could tell them more often. I miss working with pre-school!

There is a lot more, but maybe for another day... as the thoughts unravel I will blog and share my thoughts!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


The response from our Harvest service has been really good this year. We spent a lot of time preparing and chatting through what would go in the service.

And the congragation seemed to like seeing the young people actively involved in the service. It was wonderful to have so many young boys in church, all of whom are more than willing to be a part of the family. So it was nice to have a lot of people saying thank you and well done.

We shared lunch together - which whilst being like every other gathering we've had, was ever so slightly different, with a lot of new families joining us and different types of food on offer. We even sang happy birthday to a little girl in our congregation.

The rest of the day was spent, for me, preparing for the week ahead, thinking about communication and labyrinths, doing my reading for CCS and resting as well after a bit of a busy month.

Tonight were meeting as youth and childrens leaders to have a look at nativity and the future of the groups that we run as a church.

My count of nights out in a row continues to grow...I've not done a top up, but I know there's only one night where I was confinded to my bedroom because of the start of a cold that never really materialised (I think that's due to going to Jazzercise and drinking plenty of water, plus some paracetomol!) the rest of the time I've been working or with Chris but on balance, my days aren't too busy, so I'm resting sufficently during the day.

There are some exciting plans in the pipelines, so keep an eye out for details!

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Secret Life of Twins

I've spent a lot of my time thinking about what it means to be a twin in the last 25 years... if you hadn't cottoned on to it, or don't really know me at all Karen is my other half.

She's my best friend and although we don't live together any more, we do still have a very strong connection and quite quickly get back into being really similar when we're together.

There have been times in our lives when other people have confused us and there was one moment that I won't forget for a very long time, when my boss couldn't tell the difference between us, because apparently we sound exactly the same.

Being a twin is unique in nature, so I think that I am really lucky to be a twin, I am also intrigued by it, by what science says, by what the bible says and by what other people say about Karen and I.

So I payed close attention to The Secret Life of Twins, a BBC programme over two nights, exploring nature and nurture, and the science behind it all. Why twins exist and the sort of things they can encounter in life, from being separated at birth to spending their entire lives together doing exactly the same things. If you're interested in multiple births, its a really good programme to watch.

I certainly want to find out more about whether Karen and I are identical or fraternal and if the things we do are nature or nurture...there is a really interesting point in the first programme that suggests our choice of profession is a genetics thing... Karen and I are both youth workers, so it could well be genetics, but we came to it by different courses, so it could just be God's helping hand??

Still, intriguing for me and for those around me... it's a push in the right direction to be a member of the database and find out some scientific stuff about being a twin!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What a disappointment

Essex County Council have been disappointing in the past... yes I know they gave me a job, paid my wage and still let me walk around their offices on occasion (if I was a terrorist...) but in the last 6 months since they employed someone to paint the town yellow and put up some restrictions (see March of this year), I have not seen one traffic enforcement officer (traffic warden in old money) in Billericay. The only day I saw a little yellow pouch on someones windscreen was the day they painted the lines.

Now look at what has happened

Complete disregard for the law and not a person in sight to tell them that they can't do it. Part of my would like to apply for a job to patrol my estate (say once a month) to see how much money I could earn from issuing parking tickets to parents who have decided to park in my road during the restrictions.

How much did the council spend on line painting and how are they recouping the money? What's the point of having the lines but not issuing the fines?

On other news, we've been preparing for harvest with the young people in the church...praying and painting

Come on Sunday to Christ Church to see what else we're doing... 10am!

Friday, September 18, 2009


Is something I really recommend after an hour of Jazzercise...though I seem to have really failed in keeping my liquid levels up after exercising! Hydration is key for my brain to work and I learnt this very quickly in second year after having too much of the stuff I'm going to talk about in the next paragraph...

Beer, particularly the Chappel Beer festival, which I promised I'd talk about when I found the one that I really enjoyed drinking. Chris and I had more than a couple of beers between us, a few which we really enjoyed and some that weren't so great...the two outstanding beers were the first ones we'd picked to try. I had a Raspberry Wheat Beer from the Milestone Brewery which was really enjoyable and I could drink a lot of, it wasn't too sweet and the flavour was at the back of your mouth rather than the first thing you taste. I liked it as an amateur, though if you type it into google the reviews are less favourable. Chris started with a beer called Bodger from the Idle Brewery which was really nice.

The rest didn't quite have the same impact (Brewer-Beer)

Stonehenge - Pigswill (not much better than it's name)
Green Tye - Union Jack (Meant to be biscuity, but wasn't)
Brentwood - Chockwork Orange (Very dark, very strong)
Cathedral - Eight Bells (a little too lemony)
Red Fox - Hunters Gold
Oakham - Warped

Being at Chappel was a little strange. I felt like I'd been there before and when I had a conversation with my mum she thought that we may have been there too. It's a railway station with a footbridge and there's a museum too. When my grandad was alive, he worked in the train industry and one summer, my younger brother drove a steam train with my grandad. I can remember the experience really well, and I think there are some photos somewhere of it. But other than that, here's not much else to go on. I might ask my Nan if she remembers it, because I can't imagine that she would've missed a day out with her grandchildren! If I get any more info, I'll let you know.

Talking of families, my mum continues working on finding out what the members of our family did for a living and where they've come from, she's been clearing out the loft, slowly and has come across literally hundreds of photos of my great grandparents (we think), grandparents on my dad's side and auntie, and of course my dad when he was a lot younger. So the saga goes on, we're not sure whether we're of German decent with an Anglicised surname, because my great grandad's birth certificate isn't in England, and he married a servant girl.... Interesting! I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Finding the time

It feels like ages since I last blogged. But I look at the post below and realise that it's only a matter of days.

It's a bit strange, because I don't really know what I've done with my time to be able to blog about anything significant.

Monday was the beginning of Everybody Welcome at Church, which Dad has blogged more in detail about here. I'm looking forward to Everybody Welcome, I have been since I went to a launch night for it, way back when (again it feels like absolutely ages, but is probably not more than 3 months ago), and when Warner decided that he was going to run the course, I decided that it was something I should try to fit into a schedule that is busy at the start of term.

This busyness means that tonight is potentially 10 of 19 nights out in a row...granted not all of them are work related, but most of them have been. That shocks me a little, but the ones that haven't been work related have been a lot of fun! ;-)

Last night we joined forces as the youth and schools workers of Billericay to discover what it means to be stronger with God. Gary spoke about the need to be in a situation, praying and worshiping all the while, whether good or bad, but he particularly focused on the more difficult situations that we find ourselves in, and giving in to Jesus as the best way of dealing with it, letting Him take over and take the lead to find a way through. I always hear this message loud and clear, though following it up is always difficult.

I'm about to start a two year course, that has a requirement of reading the bible in 48 weeks. I'm going to find it really tough to keep the discipline going, especially if I'm away or particularly tired. I've never even tried to embark on what I consider to be a great feat, but rather that this time, it's being thrust on to me. I guess that I was going to do it at some point, and I suppose that sooner rather than later can only be a good thing. I really do just wonder if I'm going to get anything useful from it (though I'm being negative about the most transformational book in the world) and whether I'm going to fall asleep at the boring bits and be tempted to skip over the bits I already know! Any tips for reading the bible in less than a year? I've got a reading plan to stick to, but still, a little help would be great!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dates for your diary...

Ok, so I don't blog about dates. I do however blog about events.

So head to to find out more about The Bill Ledgend Band at Christ Church on Saturday 26th September.

And pop along to to find out about The Riding Lights Theatre Company Tour that is hitting Billericay in November!

Woop...other dates to be released shortly. And I'll blog about the Chappel Beer Festival once I've found my favourite online!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Apparently, according to Cake Wrecks, it's the unofficial day for the Emergency Services, with the date being 999 and all! Quite a funny blog to be fair... Just thought I'd point it out, cos I don't really blog about other dates!


Today, more like last night as I was falling asleep, I decided that I was going to start doing some exercise... not Wii fit exercise, because as much as I love it, I've pulled muscles from not warming up properly, but proper class exercises, ones with warm ups and warm downs. Ones where I can push myself in a safe environment, where there are people watching what I'm doing and I get a lot of different exercises.

So Jazzercise, which happens in the church hall just behind where I live, is the perfect combination of aerobic exercise and weights. So I can burn calories and build up some muscle tone as well. It should also help me sleep a bit better.

I went for the hour long session this morning for the first time and didn't find it difficult to keep up, some of the moves are a little more complicated and not very well taught, but done so many times that you can easily get into step. I enjoyed it, and will go again, hopefully it will get better as I get to know the steps and get to know the instructors.

I hope that I won't get lazy about it!!!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Here it is...

The email that was promised has been delivered, so here is a photo blog with captions and photos by Chris...and the rest by me.

The weekend just gone was spent with numerous people, some whom I haven't seen for a long time, others I have spent a lot of time with recently.

We started off with a trip to the pub, for my youngest brother's birthday. Like my Dad said, there are no more teenagers in our family. It's shocking to think that he's two decades old, when I remember him being just two days old. A lot has happened in the last twenty years. I'm glad our family keeps growing. It has changed shape quite a lot and that's a good thing. We had a full clan, all four siblings together, plus significant others. It's weird to think that we could potentially be ten strong, if we were all together in the same room. It's nice to be able to share and know that everyone gets along. There aren't any pictures of this event as far as I know, it would've been nice to have one of all 10 of us though.

So that was Friday, and Saturday started earlier than I ever imagined. Chris and I were out of the door at 7:20am heading to Brands Hatch to see the DTM Qualifying. We were there as part of Chris' birthday present. So spent the morning watching the free practice and the support races. In the afternoon we walked around the pit lane (the surprise part of the birthday present) and paddock, and the photo's tell the rest of the story...

Sparks fly as Alexandre Premat exits Paddock Hill bend.

Me and British Driver Jamie Green who finished fourth in last seasons DTM Championship. (Jamie was lovely, he must've been out signing for ages)

Johannes Seidlitz's sponsored Audi sits in the Garage. (So excited about the sponsor for this one!)

British driver Katherine Legge blasts through Graham Hill bend.

Pole sitter and race winner, British driver Paul Di Resta heads round Druids bend.

Ralf Schumacher signs autographs after borrowing Chris' pen. (Chris was super excited)

Me on the Brabham Straight with the grid behind.

Brit Susie Stoddard in her bright pink Mercedes. (I want this car)

Winner of more Le Mans races than anyone in history, Tom Kristensen exits Druids followed closely by Christian Bakkerud.

Aren't they all brilliant pictures? Chris spent a long time taking photos and I think he's done a really good job of picking out some great photos for my blog. Of course you can visit his website here.

Sunday started early too, Chris went to race day and i had to be at church for the start of term. Then I went over to lakeside to be a bridesmaid for the afternoon.

It's been really busy, and I am really still recovering, but very happy that I get to start the year doing so many wonderful things! long may it continue!


Waiting on an email, before I blog about the fantastic weekend I had.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Back to School

It's September. It's time for everyone to head back to the classroom. For some, it's today, for others they've got a little longer to wait. It means for me that things are now going quickly and before I know it, it will be a week on Friday and I'll be faced with Shaken Up restarting. We'll be back into school and thinking about how we can effectively minister to all of the schools in the town.

I'm at home now, back from a long weekend in Bristol, staying with Kay and her family for the last time, since Kay is moving in with her brother on the other side of the village. So hopefully when I go back at some point, I'll stay with Kay instead!

I really enjoyed going to Bristol, there are so many things to do, and we always find something new to do. I didn't get a chance to see some of the tourist attractions when I worked there, so I get to do some of that. This time we went to Cabot Circus, which was only opened this year and we went to Salsa lessons, which was a lot of fun!

I'm hoping that plans for the new term will slot into place soon!

Karen is coming to stay for a couple of days so we're going to do some catching up and have a look at some Africa pictures!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Heading to Bristol

I'm half way through my holiday, so it must be time to head back to the other side of the country to see my surrogate family. So it's off the see Kay and Jenny, and visit all the old places. I can't believe it's been 2 years since I left, some times it feels like only yesterday, other times it feels like it's a whole other life!

Today I have set up the Wii Fit that I got for my birthday. I soon found out that my Wii Fit age was 36. So I spent an hour and got it down to 26. Practice makes perfect, now I've just got to start losing a little bit of fat and turning it into muscle. I love running and hula hooping, plus the step class! So I'm looking forward to the next couple of months, unlocking all the activites and getting fitter...then perhaps I'll move outdoors!

Tonight I'm going out for a few drinks, to catch up with a couple of people I haven't seen for a long time!

Then it's back to work and back to school all in one heavy rush!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife

Chris and I went to see The Time Traveler's Wife last night at the Odeon in Colchester.

I've tried to explain the storyline to Chris, with very little success, purely because it is really complicated to do so, without giving huge chunks of the story away. So we went to see the movie, I went out of pure curiosity to see how the director would play it out, I think Chris went just for the clarification!

The movie has some of the elements of the book, but for me the book is far more exciting and fills in the characters a bit more. So I was a little disappointing that we didn't get to properly meet Alicia (Clair's sister) and I imagined Gomez to be taller and skinnier. I will still imagine them this way, the movie didn't have a great effect on my imagination that has been building characters for a few years now.

Still I cried. And passed comment. And knew how it would end. And enjoyed every moment of it. Although sometimes the characters seemed a little cold, and shallow.

There are parts of Claire's and henry's life that you just don't get from the movie, that to me are important in the story.

Read the book first, please.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Critial Fail

If you've never come across the FAIL blog...take a look, by clicking here, and I'll explain why I've started with it...

I've spent a week meandering towards putting together a term programme for Shaken Up! And I'm pleased to say that after a week of umming and ahhing about what we should do for the first term, I've finally come up with a plan and will be posting on facebook shortly about what's going on!

As always though there are paper copies of the programme to be had to.

This term they are slightly different though

They are printed on green paper, well half of them are. Now can you see why the fail blog is linked? This was my second attempt at producing said publicity, and I didn't check the photocopier of white paper, so got green half way through. FAIL!

Things are not going my way today! But it's done, and will be given to members of schools and youth groups over the coming weeks, to entice them through our doors!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Memories

I've been looking at my blog really quickly to see if I ever mentioned my interview for St Michael's, Stoke Gifford, that I had dinner with the founder of and his family, and I don't think I did. The actual post didn't say very much about the day, but was more a couple of photos.

Anyway, the founder of is at a showing of The Time Traveler's Wife, which happens to be one of my favourite novels. Once again, I don't think I've mentioned it before now, which is a little strange, considering that Henry introduced me to it and that was a long time ago! Col is at a showing of the movie, which comes from the novel and I am dying to see it. (Ok, so on further investigation, it turns out I have mentioned the release of the movie before now!)

I'm like a die-hard Harry Potter fan about this. Extremely jealous that there's someone I know seeing it before me and wondering all of the time what it's going to be like, whether the characters are going to be just how I imagine them, or whether the director is going to give me a greater insight to what the characters are like. Which bits are going to be missed out (because we all know you can't fit everything in) and which bits are to be deemed central to the story (though I will tell you that all of it is equally important).

I would go to the premier of this one, if I knew when it was!


My talk on King Josiah went really well on Sunday - lots of people commented on it, though as always, I think I could've done better. Soon I will set up a blog, like those before me (my dad and sister), for the sole purpose of publishing talks and essays etc!

Last weekend was spent with Chris on Saturday, in London, looking around the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum. I had a really good time, looking at the history of the earth and the technology that has come from F1 cars. We both got to a point where we just said 'enough' and headed home. London was crazy busy, but we got home ok and in time for me to fall asleep before we had to go out again for drinks and dinner with Chris' friends. We spent Sunday sat in Chris' garden, in the wonderful weather, eating some of the best BBQ food!

Friday night was another Shaken Up summer party. I BBQ'd with an instant BBQ for 16 young people! It was a lot of fun after spending Thursday with the older members of the group at Adventure Island.

This week is recovery and preparation for the new term before holiday!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A quick rant

Dad and I both got really angry yesterday, as the news told us that the names of the couple who killed Baby P were to be released as the restrictions on the reporting of the case were lifted.

Several questions ran through my head and out into our conversation over dinner as the BBC reported on the news.

Why does the public need to know the names? What extra information are they going to get from it?

We know that these people have been given their sentences, we understand that it's been done in the fairest way possible. So having their names and their faces on our tv screens just makes people even angrier and they go looking for relatives.

The only thing that is now certain since the names have been released is that the governemnt will spend money protecting these two (if) when they are freed from prison.

I don't care who they are, I care more about what my tax money is being spent on and am rather annoyed at the press for making so much of this.

Seen as I'm in a generally angry mood, I'm also upset that every programme on a weekday morning from 9am until 1pm on BBC1 at the moment is about money. Particularly the programme 'Trash to Cash' - where families literally get to turn junk in to money by selling it to friends, neighbours, family and other traders, for their own gain. It's the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen. Whatever happened to saving your wages and giving things to charity shops or properly recycling the object?

Why does everything have to be about money at the moment?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Shaping the future

So I have had time to sit and think about various parts of my life over the last three weeks or so, and am blogging that the request of several people who think it is rude for me to leave you all waiting for the next installment. (I'm sure that blogging every day would serve me better as well, sorry everyone).

Firstly, before I reveal my thoughts, I'd promised to do something for someone very special. Well, it could probably be classed as a shameless plug, really, but I think, in my humble opinion that you should all click on the link below

Just because you know you want to spend some time looking at some amazing photographs! And possibly buying one that you really like.

Chris is really talented and I'm a very proud owner of two of his pictures.

This is one of my favourites

This is the original photo, but I've got a copy that's got my surname in place of the drivers surname, and it's framed, and hanging above my bed! I wish I had a Honda Civic, and I wish I could drive it properly!

Ta da, Chris, you're famous!

How do I know Chris? Well, glad you asked, we've been in a relationship for a month nearly, but it seems a lot longer, and I'm not shy about telling people that we met on, I will recommend it to you. I was at an event that Chris was photographing last week and one of the mum's said 'We've probably got one of the fittest photographers in East Essex' - I can tell you that I didn't disagree with her!

So, I have thought more about being on a boat for a little shy of a week and will probably do it again. I had an amazing time, and had completely forgotten what it was like to be involved in the run up to and being on camp. I do love it lots and am grateful that the team Andy and Alice pulled together worked really hard and made camp lots of fun! Despite being constantly put down for my complete lack of skill when it comes to card shuffling and not knowing the first thing about boats, I think that Falcon is a unique camp and a great chance to work with young people full time. Again something I would highly recommend, if you like working with teens!

So this last week I have been running head long into preparation for doing the talk at next weeks 10am service. I'm preaching on King Josiah, who, at the age of 8, found himself a king of a ruined country. A country that didn't believe in God, didn't know what the rules were, let alone follow them and was just plain messy... sound familiar? So my question for the week is what are you doing to change your world? King Josiah was just 26 when he started to rebuild the main temple in Jerusalem...kinda puts my generation to shame really! He turned a whole nation around and honoured God wholly... quite an example for the church to follow!

It's not all been work though. Chris took me out for my birthday shopping trip, and we spent lots of money on many wonderful things, plus I 'helped' him (stood and watched) with an event and met some of the young farmers in the area. I also spent time with some friends from school and my last job, when we celebrated another 25th birthday. As well as spending time with the ladies who help run shaken up, we went for a meal to celebrate the summer holidays and the work that has taken place over the last year. It was a lot of fun but a very busy day!

I also saw my sister before she heads off to Uganda for a couple of weeks, next Sunday. I spent 7 hours in my car the Saturday before, after getting stuck in traffic both ways! It was not fun, but made better by good music, good food and a proper chance to catch up!

I then spent a further three hours in my car the next day, as we had our annual trip to a theme park! Tough going, but well worth it. We managed to get on the Saw ride, which totally panicked me, but was so much fun by the time the ride came to a stop. Quite a lot better than oblivion! I was exhausted the following day as I sat down to review the last couple of months with my line manager and the head of my management committee.

In all my tiredness and excitement though, I am seriously happy right now. With my job and the other parts of life. I am eternally grateful for the church that let me do my first year out...which has lead to so many opportunities!

That's all I have to say for now! I have planning and writing to do this week, plus a couple of events that might happen, but I will write about that when the time comes!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Back from the boat

I did have a wonderful picture of the boat, but in my tiredness at the end of camp I deleted it. so no picture of the boat, but rest assured I will find one and show you all where I lived for four days.

It was my first experience of living on a ship, so I was a little apprehensive to say the least. How often do you get to stand on a ship that is purpose build for Christian Mission, but doesn't sail anywhere? I don;t get the chance that often, but I would recommend it to everyone.

My prayers were answers a hundred times over and more. I started the week with a migraine, but that disappeared soon, I had already been away for two days at the start of camp, but by the time the young people arrived, I felt no different than if I'd have started the same day as them. The leadership team worked perfectly together and the FACT team just fitted in amazingly! The young people as well were fantastic. I got to spend time talking to all of them, and the questions that were thrown in the leaders direction were the tough ones that some adults don't even consider asking, or the answer has been debated for hundreds of years! I felt blessed for meeting so many wonderful people by yesterday evening when it came to debrief time!

Also I feel incredibly fortunate that I have a wonderful boyfriend, who helped me to relax, yesterday and today! There's nothing stressful about being allowed to catch up on all the TV I've missed!

Tomorrow I'm going to visit my sister and continue the start of the summer on a definite high!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Since you asked!

Never one to turn down a request (unless it's really strange!), Here's a picture of what my engagement ring has been turned into

You can see what it used to look like here.

I've had a tough time, knowing what to do with this ring. I was trying to find a blog entry about it, but it seems that I didn't initially blog about the receiving of it.

It was a gorgeous ring and now it makes me even happier that it's a cross, something that I can wear to show my faith and with the knowlegde that two people love me very much, firstly to take it away from me and secondly to change it into something that can only be positive. I love my friends very much!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Give us a break!

This is probably the final 30 mins I will get to myself for the next week or so, so I'm blogging! Having caught up with all my regular blogs, I realise that I'm falling behind on the news reporting side of things, so here's a miniture update before I have to leave in 20 mins!

Firstly, here is a picture of me, dressed in my finest for my birthday, which happened in the weekend just gone... I spent a lot of time with friends and family this year, which is not unusual, but more so than I can remember. I started my birthday celebrations nearly two weeks ago, so I was really raring for things to get going when my actual birthday came around. Unfortunately some of my plans were scuppered by 'flu sypmtoms, but hopefully I will be able to see those people soon (Get well soon Lou!)! I went for lunch with Heather on my actual birthday and then for cocktails with some others on Saturday evening. (I would really recommend the southern comfort based cocktail!) Mercifully, Sunday morning was spent painting with the children, in church, we're creating a stained glass window that reflects our Heroes and Heroines series over the summer... no-one pulled me up to the front to sing happy birthday... phew! I will post a photo when we're done!

SUnday afternoon saw the arrival of family and friends for a BBQ. We expected to feed 40 people, and I think we got about 30, but mostly in the form of boys who could eat for two, so most of the food disappeared really quickly. My thank you's go to every member of my immeadiate family and to Chris for all their support over the weekend - apparently a stressed Liz is funny! They all did an amazing job!

I received a really special present on Sunday... my engagement ring had been sent away by Heather and Helen, and was returned into my possession in the form of a necklace and a cross pendant. I will treasure it forever.

There are more things that I want to write about, like the week of work away from home that I am about to embark on, but I've run out of time! I will blog when I have thought about afore mentioned 'holiday' and see you in August!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Something to get you thinking!

I bet you're thinking now!

Well, more like wondering why is there a picture of a badly drawn sheep on Liz's blog...

It's for the weekend away that I am doing next weekend... we're doing the Lost Stories, from Jesus' ministry, so this is the sheep... looking happy that he's been found... but guess what? he's lost his tail! So we're going to play pin the tail on the sheep!

Now you're really thinking!

This is just to give you something new to ponder on, because I don't know when I will return... It could be Monday with news of turning 25 (yes, it happens on Saturday!) or Friday morning, in a panicky moment... and then after that I'm away for a week...

I have a lot of preparation to do, so we'll see how it goes!

I hope to see you all soon!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It's been a while...

A lot has happened recently, so forgive the lack of blogging!

A couple of main things that have been keeping me from my online writing, namely Torchwood, Take That, Solid and my social life! Obviously that is not in any order of importance, it's entirely random, so I'm going to talk about them in a random order too!!

Let's start with Take That. I was going to dedicate a whole blog entry to the day I spent in London, with Kay, but I feel that it would be a little of an over kill, and really my effort would be lost on many of you! The concert was astonishing, it was a show, a performance. We thought about it a bit while we were waiting for the boys to appear on stage, and realised that it's 15 years since I last saw Take That on stage. I was 10 and it was at Earls Court. I don't remember the whole thing, but the bits I do remember are really vivid and this time it was no different, my emotions however were hugely different. I was surrounded by people who have shared a lot with me and after a long day, I just couldn't wait any longer. I'd brought the tickets 8 months ago, I'd spent 9 nervous minutes waiting for the website, the phone, everything, and when we got the tickets, I lost my voice from screaming so much... all that waiting to hear them live again got the better of me, and I still don't think I've really recovered yet.

The two hours that they were on stage was just so amazing, you can see that they really love performing. It was better than Girls Aloud and Boyzone put together, and I think now, every time they tour again, I will be there. Every time I turned on the radio, someone was talking about how good the concerts were and the hour Radio One gave to it last week made me cry again. I just hope that I don't have to wait 15 years to see them again. The only thing that would top that show, would be to meet them. Words can not really describe it...

What's next - Torchwood! If you haven't seen it, I would ask that you get iPlayer up and have a look. I really enjoyed it, though we got to the middle of the week and I started to complain that they were drawing the storyline out a little. But I watched the final episodes yesterday and am now wondering if Captain Jack will ever return to our screens! Here's hoping that he will do in the future. Russell T. Davis is so good at creating iconic characters, it would be a shame to see Captain Jack disappear, but I know that everything has it's season.

Solid was good this year, for my first year in charge, I've learnt a lot of lessons, I understand how it works now, what to do, what not to do, how to deal with some people, better than others. I gratefully adopted some young people over the weekend too, and I think spending time with them, chatting about difficult issues and talking though some theology, has been really good for all of us. It's a shame that some of them are moving to college in September! Still the future is rosy and their are already plans in my head for next year as to how we can get everyone involved!

Finally, a brief word on my social life...this weekend sees me turn 25 and I feel immensely blessed that I get to spend a lot of time with my friends and family chatting, eating and generally being surrounded by wonderful people! 2 of my best friends took me out for drinks last week to celebrate being 25, and being a youth worker for a year!

Yes, I've been Christ Church's youth outreach worker for a year now... maybe over the summer I'll do a review for you!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Fix up, look sharp!

I've got a new car!

So this vauxhall corsa is the car I will be driving for the next 5, 6, 7 years... who knows what will happen between now and tomorrow for that to change, develop, etc. But this is the plan. Keep the car for as long as is possible and then change it again.

It's slate grey and the interior is black. If i give you any more than that I'll get in trouble.

Not a lot else is happening...i'm waiting patiently (hint) for tomorrow, so I that (hint) I can take (hint) all of my friends to the concert of the year (hint)!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Weekend activities

I wanted to use the word frivolities, but then I checked the definition and realised that the weekend holds more weight that I could every imagine, and I haven't spent the weekend being silly in the slightest. So activities it is, because before 9 on a Monday, there is little in my brain, other than, when's the next time I can eat/sleep?

These activities were certainly important for all involved, it seems I have spent the weekend helping, in some form, to raise money for various projects, doing things from just attending, to organising and shopping.

Firstly, was shopping for the food for the Summer Party, with Heather, who has been great at not letting me panic and always had a back up plan! It doesn't take much money to feed 100 people, really, we did a basic BBQ for £30 this year and quickly sold out (two hours!)...a full report of the party will appear further down this blog.

Secondly was a Viz-a-Viz Ministries fundraiser. Liz and Katey, who I have known since they were 10/11, decided that the best way to raise some money towards the £1000 that Liz needs before September for her year out, was to put on a concert. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the publicity, but I did know that it was going to be loud and a lot of fun! The event was called Out of the Box.

So here's a quick band review for you...

First on were 'Adrenaline'

This is them, plus the girls who were leading us through the evening, they were singing living on a prayer. The lead singer is incredibly good, for such a young boy (I think they were all early secondary school children) he did amazingly well, firstly to get the crowd going and then vocally, they are all really talented and could go so far. They are on the Kings of Leon side of pop, they are covering songs and writing their own.

Time between the bands was filled with questions from 'The Box' for the audience to get to know the bands. Some of the answers were really funny, some were inappropriate for the audience.

Secondly was 'Was Broken', made up of slightly older people, these guys are lead by Katie, who I did my year out with and they are a Baptist Church members.

I love Katie's outfit! She looked and sounded so good, and their version of American Boy went down a storm! These guys are also writing their own songs, and they are very good, despite that it seems they are only doing it for fun.

Then we had a break, for tea and cake...a ploy to raise more money and a chance to catch up with some of the young people who had made it to the gig. Half an hour later and we were ushered back to our seats for the second half.

The third act for the night was 'Platform Location' - which is a band, but the other band members couldn't make it, so it was just a singer and his guitar... I didn't catch his name... but here he is anyway.

Again, he was brilliantly musically, I don't know where Katey and Liz found these people - but they found a couple of gems.

Fourthly was 'Name is Renown'

(just for real time effect - I have just pressed play and am now listening to La Roux's debut album for the second time - it's good!)

The were the 'heaviest' band of the night.

Again really good musically. All their own songs, which had a really good structure (I've heard some amature bands like this that have difficulties with this), but the balance on the sound wasn't quite right, so the voice was a little lost, shame really, because I would've loved to hear what they were singing about!

Finally, 'Showerhead', a mishmash of all the bands across the night and a really good way of ending the concert.

Here's their best shot (ANTM for you there - culturally relevant or what!?!)

They really enjoyed themselves. We had about 10 minutes of thank you from the girls, you never quite realise how much work goes into one of these events - you certainly can't do it on your own!

So that was Saturday....and now for Sunday (we're almost there folks - because I'm getting cramp in my left hand!)

Sunday started with a couple of hours in the office for me and then to Praise in The Park. I was volunteered to do a notice for the Summer party, and as I love a challenge I gave it the nod, and spoke to the relevant people before the service. I wasn't us on the trailer for very long, but came back shaking so much! I didn't sit down for another hour - I couldn't. I get such a kick from being in front of people, nervous energy has the same effect as an espresso! To see a better review - and a picture, head over to my Dad's blog for a look.

Then I headed back to church to wait for the Bouncy Castle to arrive. We started setting up at 2 and opened the doors at 3 for the party of the season. Two bouncy Castles, one big BBQ, face painting, cake, ice cream, cards and games. It was busy, and all in aid of Christ Church's link school in Kenya. We raised £100 after expenses. I am chuffed! We can help a school buy more books, or pay for their electricity! Thank you to everyone who help out, organised and worked really hard on the day!

We headed to the pub for a celebratory drink and then I went home. I thought it would be quite relaxing, but we managed to find ourselves watching last nights Top Gear. About 5/10 mins in - when the gang are talking about car insurance in the offices, you can see The Stig, behind Richard Hammond, photocopying his face, obviously he's got his racing helmet on, it was just something that made me laugh...The whole episode did, the adverts do, Top Gear has definitely got it's sense of humour back...they even 'killed' Richard Hammond at one point!

I have loved this weekend very much. It has been fulfilling, tiring and a lot of fun. I'm hoping that the summer will continue in a similar vain!

One some slightly more selfish notes...

I'm getting a NEW CAR! Saturday morning was spent talking to the lovely man at Essex Ford, so the monies are being sorted out and the car will be mine by the the time we head to SOLID, hopefully!

My best friend is back in the country after a week away, and I can tell you that I am grateful just knowing that I can call her again if I need to!

The end of this week will be another huge high - after 8 months and a week of waiting, Take That will be graced with our presence on Saturday evening... I am sooooo excited. We are right at the very back of Wembley Stadium...but I will still take photos!

Friday, June 26, 2009


2 famous people have died within a day of each other...that doesn't happen much really.

Me winning tickets to a gig and not being able to go doesn't happen that much either.

If you're wondering what on earth I'm going on about...HMV were giving away tickets to see La Roux, who is my new favourite artist, and to get these tickets you had to pre-order her new album. I thought that loads of people would do this and I wouldn't stand a chance of getting tickets, I just wanted to hear the rest of the album. I love Bulletproof (so much that I can't get it out of my head!) so it's only natural that the rest of the album would be of the same quality (yes, I know that sounds slighty too hopeful, but I haven't learnt my lesson yet!). So I pre-ordered and didn't think much else of it, until I got an email, literally 40 mins ago telling me that I'd got two tickets.

Sadly, between wednesday of this week and Monday 13th July, I don't have an evening free and the gig is on 1st July. I can't get the organisers to change it, so I'm having to give my tickets to someone else, if possible. It's truely rubbish, I never win anything...

And if you really have had your head stuck in a sand pit of the last 24 hours, you won't know that Michael Jackson has passed away and so has Farrah Fawcett. Both very famous. I don't have much else to say, but then I didn't know either of them personally and will just sit back and watch the worlds emotions unfold for the next few days.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Costing an arm and a leg!

I got my car back... after being told that it would only take an hour and cost a little over a hundred pounds, I was a little annoyed that at 6pm, I had to collect it and was charged nearer £150 for the privilege for not having a car for the whole day.

To be fair the garage have replaced a part that was split (I would be clever and try to tell you what they replaced, but fishing out the piece of paper is too much work!) so that I won't have problems with it for a while.

The next step is changing car now. I would like something a little bigger and better looking. And sturdier! So I'm going for a VW Polo.

Scool was good fun as well this week. It's been such a blessing to be allowed to go into St John's and then be invited to everything that is going on there. I got to sit in on a PHSE lesson for lower 5th. I haven't been in a PHSE lesson since lower 5th (year 10, 14 and 15 year olds) so it was fascinating to be an outsider. They are taught by the head of R.E. who has taken a very serious view that Christian teaching should come first. So the students attentively listen to the Bibles teaching on relationships and then teaching on STD's.

As always there are silly question and some serious, but the teacher dealt with it all really well.Then she asked me if I wanted to add something, and I did. My heart was thumping, but I know that when it's going like that, God wants me to say something, and will lead me, speak through me and help everyone to listen.

Young people get told most of the ways to avoid getting pregnant or std's but they aren't told (without being preachy about it) that the 100% proof way that you'll never get anything is by not having sex at all outside of marriage.

It's just something thats not taught, it's full proof though and it's what God's plan is! And if we ignore it, it costs us and arm and a leg emotionally.

Anyway, I've got to get ready to go to Viz-a-viz's fundraiser and then I'm saying goodbye to Stu, as well as seeing Heather!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Out and About

Yesterday I had the privilege of spending time with the year eights from St John's School. They were visiting different places of worship to compare and contrast for R.E. It was good to spend time with them and other members of staff.

We headed to St Mary's, Little Burstead, which I must confess that I've never been in, in my adult life. It's a wonderful church and I can see why many people want to get married in it. Margaret, the Church Warden, and I were discussing church history. I find it interesting that there have been churches or places of worship for hundreds of years... why that particular spot? How did it become a church? Questions that I can't possibly answer, but I'm grateful for the people who said yes all those years ago and continue to say yes today when it comes to keeping buildings and congregations going.

We travelled through Chelmsford to Chignal to the URC Chapel - which is again in the middle of nowhere but really a great place to go to for some quiet and being away from everything. That's only been there for 169 years in comparison to St Mary's which has records of vicars dating back to the 1700's.

Finally we visited a Greek Orthodox Monastery, which I didn’t even know existed, but it’s a great place, again, in the middle of nowhere, out towards Tiptree, I couldn’t take you there if I tried! It was amazing though, the orthodox part of Christianity focuses on icons, which are paintings of bible stories and saints. I sat in their main chapel with everyone else and just felt the presence of God, it was totally different to what I have felt before. It was a shock, but a good one, in awe of what was going on around me and having so many young people excited about being in church.
We headed home to the best and longest thunderstorm I’ve seen in a while, and news that both comprehensive secondary schools would be closed for a day due to flooding and no electricity.

That’s probably the most exciting thing I’ve done this week. I’m back into school later on this week and my car is being fixed so that it won’t back a horrible noise when I drive it at low speeds!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Under Canvas

This week I have been mainly living in a Tent...

Ok, so that's not strictly true, but the week has been punctuated by being under canvas, at the Bishops House, listening to everything he has to say and speaking to people from various parts of the diocese about their projects and where they feel youth work is going.

The Bishop is totally at home with everyone, through all the ages, and of varying importance, it's great to see him answering questions with a story rather than a one word answer (though that makes it difficult to keep answers short!). This is the man that put his back out at the beginning of the week and thought that he wouldn't be able to be at any of the events... faithfully, he was at every one, chatting and sharing, seriously or not, his life and why he puts on these events. His wife is wonderful too, you can see their partnership and how grateful they both are for all the people in the diocese!

The funniest picture by far of the weekend has to be this though...

A picture of the Bishop eating ice cream!

Not something you see every day. I have been assured by his wife that he has eaten very well this week!

The food was amazing and the company was great. Two of the church's young people joined me and we served drinks for most of the evening.

It was great to see a lot of Billericay people there as well.

If you ever get invited to a do by a Bishop, I suggest you go to it! You (hopefully) won't be disappointed... I will be taking a full quota in two years for the next one.

This weekend has been really busy for me personally.

I spent the whole of Saturday at a planning meeting for a holiday camp during the summer, which was a lot of fun, an opportunity to make new friends and talk about what we're going to do for three days with twenty young people and one boat!

Being away all day Saturday meant that I missed the event of the year in my home church.

My contribution* to the afternoon event for my sister. She has now reached her target of £11,000, way before she even sets foot in an airport to go to Uganda. We are hugely thankful to everyone who has given to her and for her presence at the weekend.

On Sunday, I went on my first ever church walk, which was great. Spending time with family, young people and friends. We headed to Remus Horse Sanctuary, Buttesbury. It's not that far from where we started, but it was through fields that held horses, over stiles and through quite a lot of mud. I am the sort of person who doesn't do that countryside really well, I don't own a pair of wellies, or a set of waterproofs, so I was laughed at for much of the way for holding up my jeans, I'm also suffering from being outdoors for most of the day this morning, my hayfever is the worst it's been for a long time.

But when the world looks like this...

How can you refuse?

The rain held off until the evening and the horse sanctuary was packed, even though it had been really wet in the morning.

So on with another week of planning and thinking into the next academic year, plus finishing off this term.

*This chalk board and artist are available for free to anyone who needs a temporary sign...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Another Week

Yet another week has gone past and I've not blogged.

That's probably because nothing of much significance has happened... well, actually, I had my best friend from Bristol visit me and she attended her very first concert, so quite significant, really*.

Here is a picture of what happened when we went to see Boyzone at Wembley Arena

Proving that they had the same stage management crew as Girls Aloud, by flying over the audience, except, Boyzone were far more stylish about it, though Mikey Graham looked like he was going to throw up!

It was a really good concert, punctuated by the boys dressing as Queen, Stephen Gately replicating Beyonce - almost perfectly and hearing the songs that have put the boys in the limelight for 16 years (so Ronan Keating kept reminding us!).

Kay and I have already agreed that we're doing this again, that we have to go into London more often and Bristol too... any suggestions for nights out?

The two things that spoilt the night for a hardened concert goer like myself, where the support act and some over zealous fans on the way home. Egg-on Quigg (pronounced Owen Quigg, I'm told), that wonderful** X factor finalist, who cried when his then girlfriend got voted off the show, performed a couple of covers to backing tracks, namely Busted and Michael Buble. This boy over sang everything, everything, and was far from any thing I ever imagined in a support act for Boyzone. He ruined ever song he tried, even John Lennon's Imagine, and that's hard to do, cos I really hate that song. He wouldn't ever win SingSTAR if he sings like that all the time.

The over zealous fans, bless em**, were singing Boyzone tracks from Wembley Park to King's Cross tube station, badly, loudly and repeatedly, that's half an hour of a 2 hour concert being ruined, and guess what? They were Irish!!! What is it with these people?? You'd think they'd give their countrymen some respect by not tarnishing their wonderful music and perfect image, with atrocious singing late at night when people are trying to relish something so wonderful or get home after a long day, or fall asleep!

Any way, well done to the oldies for staying on stage for two hours, much better than GA (as much as I like them, they don't understand how to keep a crowd going, yes, that's a lost art!), I really enjoyed the evening and I know that Kay did too!

The rest of the weekend was spent recovering, shopping and sitting in my cousins sun-trap of a back garden, eating and chatting with family.

I love this weather, but I found out yesterday, that it's no fun to do exercise in it, though I need to be out during the day... walking, running, whatever to get my wii fit age down to 24 (it's 26 atm) and to generally get fit after finding out that I wasn't. I walked to church this morning, I will be walking back, this time with my bags! I'm currently aclimatizing myself by sitting in a boiling office... it was freezing cold earlier and people think at its a good idea, but I will keel over when I go outside if I'm not ready for it!

*I need to think before I start typing!
** Can you hear the sarcasm? No? Well thats what astericks are for!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Catching Up!

A bit of a catch up post for everyone tonight... so much has been going on that I've not had time to blog or breathe. So here goes a rundown of the last five days, with a couple of pictures!

So last week was a major time in the calendar for the year 7's and Religious studies department at Mayflower - they spend a day out of the classroom (two for staff members) at Canterbury Cathedral, learning about the differences between a cathedral and a church for their church project. The last time I was in Canterbury, I was visiting someone, and I’ve never been there specifically to see the Cathedral , so last Thursday it was great to spend time with the staff and students, learning something about where the Archbishop lives! I won’t bore you with the facts but I promise that you won’t be bored if you head to Canterbury and take a tour. The funniest thing I remember from the day was making the connection between sermons and stained glassed windows – they used them as sermon prompts! Made me laugh... what didn’t make me laugh was the coach breaking down and it taking four hours to get home!

The place where Thomas Beckett was killed

Friday was spent recovering in part, but spending time with the Baptist Mission Society people, who have started a four week tour. I love hearing about Africa, so it was good to talk to them about their time in Uganda. Then in the evening we said goodbye to one of our members of staff at Shaken Up! She’s worked with the young people for at least 5 years, so we are sad to see her go, but very grateful for all her help.

Saturday was extremely busy, I went to Chelmsford to sort out my eye situation – I’ve been wearing glasses for nearly 10 years, so I thought that I would try contact lenses... thankfully I took to them really well and now I’m on the lookout for a pair of sunglasses. Then I raced back to Billericay to get in my sisters car and head to The Hoop in Stock for their beer festival, for dad’s birthday, we were joined by everyone in our family who lives in Essex which was wonderful! I loved the food and the beer. After four hours there, we rushed home, for me to get ready to go out again. Jen and I headed towards the 02 Arena in North Greenwich to see Girls Aloud in concert. It was a really good though not the best concert I’ve been to. We eventually got home, just past 1am and quickly fell asleep. (National Express are going to get an email once I’ve taken some time to think about what I want to say)

A bad picture of Girls Aloud flying over the audience

Sunday was spent getting ready for and travelling to Cambridge for punting fun...a little exam time fun, I’ve seen how hard these young people work and I know that they need time out, so seven of us got on the river and shared some food, and the tour guide did a good job of not getting us hurt, and telling us about the different colleges. We got an ice cream afterwards and headed home. After that we headed as a family to stock Brook to celebrate Ryan’s 21st birthday party... he’s my brother’s friend and it was a great chance to see everyone and have a bit of a dance.

Monday was mainly spent sleeping – as I tend to do on my day off. I managed to stay awake enough to see Star Trek at the cinema – after seeing Wolverine last week (which was really good, though a tad of a pointless movie, still nice to see Hugh Jackman back in the role!) – it was great, I don’t think I’ve ever felt like crying right at the start of the movie and the humour was spot on, as well as the casting. And I wasn’t disappointed by Sylar from Heroes – he plays a good Spock, though I really would still like to see him when he’s not being serious!
Today I have given blood, been on the radio and been Go Karting. I do enjoy giving blood, it makes me happy that I can, and that there are regular donating opportunities in Billericay. Being on the radio is wonderful too, it’s nice to be taken seriously by people, and for the voice of my generation to be heard. I’ve been on BBC World service before, talking about R.E. in the curriculum and today I was asked to comment on Scientology, the little I know about it helped me to make some very good points, including talking about taking money from people. It makes me really nervous, because I know so many people are listening, and I don’t want to mess up. Dad has put the link for the podcast on his facebook, I’ll post it here tomorrow for you to listen to!

Go karting was so much fun, I love driving and I love watching F1, so getting to do some racing was really quite a lot of fun! I came third in both the races that I drove in, and was the second fastest leader. We were with the St John’s youth group so I’ve got stories to tell about them and an experience that we will be talking about for a really long time! (Mainly because all the boys thought that the leaders were cheating – we’re never going to get rid of some peoples pride!)
So it’s now Tuesday evening and I’ve just watched the funniest episode of CSI in a long time... bless Hodges! (Mum’s just made a comment about CSI Miami – she’s watched it too much!)
Tomorrow I’ve got a planning day booked (SOLID, Summer party etc!) and then Kay arrives in time for us to see Boyzon in concert! Fun weekend!