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!!