Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’


Protected: Cancer

January 22, 2011

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:


Holidays are coming…

November 29, 2010

This still has to rank as one of the best Christmas commercials


Weekends in the country

November 11, 2010

I’m pretty sure I’ve said it before, but I need to make sure I escape London town and make for the hills every few weeks or so. Else I’ll go insane. I’ve had a lovely couple of ‘weekends’ of late with friends and family, and I feel really blessed.

The weekend prior to my birthday celebrations, I went to stay with my cousin, Mark, and his family in Leamington Spa for the weekend, which for me was a new thing; I’m the youngest of all our cousins, and they’re between 20 and 16 years older than me. So, when we (my brother and I) were growing up, for one reason and another, we didn’t really see our cousins that much.

Mark is ordained working as a vocations adviser for CPAS, where he runs LifeCall events. After conversations, he finally twisted me into coming along. As it happened, Dave went too.
I found LifeCall a really helpful day, despite being exhausted by the end! And I will explain more about this, specifically, in a separate post.
But it was just so nice, to get away from London for the weekend. To hang out with my cousin and get to build ‘adult’ relationships with him and Cathy, and mess about with their kids. We ate Chinese, we watched TV, we played games, we talked, we went to church… Just plain chilled out fun times!

During the school half term, I put on my new boots and went to Burgess Hill to visit Hazel and Tony for a couple of days. I’ve not had chance to see them both properly, other than their wedding day, for ages! It’s the first time I’ve visited their house (which Hazel lived in prior to their marriage and Tony moving in), so it was really great to see them settled in. We went to the seaside, we celebrated birthdays, we went bowling, we ate lots of food, we played Monopoly; Tony won!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This weekend, I traveled up to Liverpool in style; a First Class ticket was only £2 more expensive than the Standard one, so I figured it was worth it for the cup of Tea and internet! Cousin Heather and her husband, Alan, met me at the station, and again, it was great to spend time with them. Again, we had Chinese; it must be a Norris family tradition!
On Sunday, I went to Liverpool Cathedral, where I met Jules, ex LST lecturer, who was to be installed as Canon that afternoon. He showed me around the Cathedral, bought me lunch, I went up the tower as I waited for the Minibus with the LST contingent of supporters to arrive for the service. It was so Jules. It was wonderful to see him so happy in a job which is so much who he is! Jules took us out for dinner at a local Indian before we set off in the Minibus back to London!

I’ve really appreciated the opportunities to get out of the ‘big smoke’ for a couple of days each week for the past few weeks; probably should try to make it less often, but I know that getting out of town really helps me put life in perspective 🙂



August 18, 2010

… is the name of All Souls annual summer holiday, which in previous years has been in Wales. This year, however, the venue was changed to Monkton Combe School, just outside Bath. Dave, our boss, told us last week that we would be going to visit Cornerstone for two days this week. So, on Monday Hannah caught a train from Paddington to Bath, while Dave drove John, Oscar, Maw and myself to Bath, picking up Hannah on the way to the school, which made for a very cosy last leg of the journey! Whilst on the M4, the 5 of us in the car had an entertaining Alphabet game which caused much hysterics, which were also fueled by Dave’s music, and driving :p

We arrived in time for lunch, and the afternoon was free time, Hannah and Maw went for a tour of Bath, the boys went on a bike ride and I had a much needed nap, which made me feel much better for the seminar before dinner, which was on the reliability of John’s Gospel, led by Mark Meynell. After dinner we went to another seminar, led by Hugh, on ‘gossiping the Gospel.’ Hugh encouraged us to talk more about God’s work in our own lives to each other, and also to our non-Christian friends. Dave and I later went to the evening talk and concert by the Psalms Project, before heading back to the ‘bar’ for card games. I took myself off to bed and the others went on a midnight walk in the countryside!

On Tuesday, I wasn’t feeling fantastic, so slept in, unfortunately missing the morning meeting. I got up and took myself outside to read until lunch. After lunch, Dave took us CA’s on a Canoeing trip on the Kennett and Avon Canal. He bought us each a badge; Dave was ‘Pirate,’ John was ‘Cabin Boy,’ Oscar was ‘General Dogs Body,’ Maw was ‘Galley Slave,’ I was ‘Deck Scrubber’ and Hannah was ‘Miss Chief,’ which cause some hilarity. We three girls paddled off in front along the canal, after a while we just drifted, enjoying the peaceful countryside, until, we heard the boys chasing us..! At this point, Dave wanted to demonstrate how to do a deep water rescue, and wanted a volunteer to be with a capsized boat. No one else volunteered but me! So, I jumped in and it was fun! We swapped the crews around for the return journey. Oscar, Dave and I made great speed ahead which was fun! At the last bridge before we returned the boats, Dave and Oscar hid behind the bridge, while I paddled around the corner with the boat. They waited for the second Canadian canoe with Hannah, Maw and John in, to come through the bridge, Oscar and Dave jumped in and capsized their boat as a surprise! Dave had said that he didn’t think it fair that I was the only person who’d got wet, and thus, for ‘team building’ he thought everyone should get thrown in the canal! The girls were not impressed; Maw said to me that I needed to find somewhere else to live! However, I did point out that I came back as the rescue boat! John took himself off and walked back along the toe path, while the rest of us paddled! Dave showed Hannah, Oscar and myself to the river, where we went for a swim in the cleaner, yet colder water! While Maw and John headed back up to the school to go to the 5pm seminar. After tea, I went along and watched a game of Capture the Flag with the kids, and bigger kids on the field. I didn’t join in initially as I’d hurt my back getting back into the canoe when Dave was demonstrating his rescue! But I decided I would join in for the second match, I was on Rico’s team. We won! We headed back to London in Dave’s car after a fun-filled 2 days; It was a really good opportunity to get to know members of the church family and build relationships 🙂


Keswickian Adventures

July 24, 2010

I headed up North, on my way to Keswick via Newcastle, to stay the night at Cam’s wonderful house, in order to break up the travelling. Before heading over for the Keswick Convention and the Kids work that we would be doing. Here are a few things I want to share with you:

I caught the train from Newark on the old GNER route, and, whilst in Doncaster, there was an announcement made: ‘we apologise for the delay to our service, this is due to a new windscreen wiper being fitted to the front cabin.’ That has to be one of the most genuinely brilliant reasons for a train to be 8minutes late! Or, it’s just me?

When I arrived at Durham station (where Cam had arranged to meet me), we got in the car, and Cam got out two plastic cups and a bottle of Sprite, as Champagne to congratulate me on my new job! Wonderful. Absolutely amazing. I love Cam.

The journey back to his house was fully of laughter and giggles, I was so glad to be with him, to have been made happy by his presence! I discovered a large trampoline in his back garden, which, obviously, I had to go on! I can’t really wonder why I was tired after that… la la la

We arrived to a dull and drizzly Keswick, but this would not prevent us from having fun!

On the Tuesday (I think), Keswick had both a Hose-Pipe ban AND a Flood Warning in place!

Bearing in mind it was somewhat of a miracle that we were able to use the building we used last year, as in the November Floods, Rawnsley Hall was under water! Ironically, the only room not to be flooded was the basement, the anti-flood pumps were working, pumping all the water up, into the main hall, sigh.
We have a brand new industrial kitchen, with industrial cooker and dishwasher, a vast improvement on the old domestic ones. We had temporary floors, a new girls dorm which, in my opinion, was much better than being upstairs in the old creaky science lab! And we had porta-cabin loos outside… as the downstairs loos were somewhat unusable! It was all an exciting adventure anyway 🙂

Because of the school holidays being slightly earlier than usual this year, we had about twice as many kids in the 5-7’s tent as we normally get, which was exciting, but manic! I spent the whole of the first morning doing registration and admin! It was my role for the remainder of the week to be on the door as the kids arrived and showed them their groups, by the time this was finished, it’d be time for drinks and biscuits, and loo runs…! So, I didn’t actually get that much hands on time with the kids this year. But it was all good, we all worked well as a team 🙂 But, I was really surprised when one of the kids brought me a leaving present and thank you card on the last day! It is a little blue bracelet 🙂

This year was also exciting because their we’re three new additions to the team, all born within 6 weeks of each other. Fun times 🙂

We had a visit from Simon, from Scripture Union on the first day! But I didn’t mind, as I got to play with SU’s DSLR Camera and show Simon how to use it in the process, teehee.

When I was at my interview last week, Monty mentioned that Oscar Selfridge, who would be another Church Assistant alongside me next year, was also at Keswick, but he didn’t know what he was doing in Keswick! I asked around a few folks, and found him in the Skiddaw Street Stewards team. We exchanged numbers and met up later in the week in Costa, which was lovely.

I got a message from Monty at All Souls, saying that he’d need me there from the beginning of the contract, so I can’t go on the Guiding Tall Ships Trip, which I am gutted about, but my new job is important. I was more disappointed when I got home to discover that Guiding wont give me my money back, so I’m down £475. Rubbish.

I wound up heading home from Keswick 18 hours early. I was ill, tired and stressed. I know my priority is to start my new job fit and well, not ill, so I didn’t mind. It was strange to think that this year I did not go to the Lake, I didn’t go on a boat trip, I didn’t play crazy golf, I didn’t go to Java and eat Chocolate Fondu, I didn’t climb a hill. But, I was content with what I did do 🙂



July 16, 2010

Firstly may I apologize for the considerable lack of blogs published over the last 6 weeks or so…! I have them all in draft form and aim to get them published soon-ish [I shall publish them in chronological order to keep some kind of continuity, so you may have to go back a bit…] but I can’t make any promises! I presumed that once I’d finished exams, everything would calm down somewhat, but it’s been quite the opposite, if I’m honest! Hence I have a fair amount I want to share with you!

For now, the most exciting news of the week is…

[drum roll please…]


Under two weeks ago, my friend Shirin, from All Souls Orchestra sent me the link for a job at All Souls Church, for the position of Church Assistant. Initially my brilliant lack of self-esteem said ‘why would they employ me? they know me, I did my first year placement with Langham Arts, I play with the Orchestra, they know how pathetic and rubbish I am…’

But, after some prayers, I decided it was worth a shot, and, after rejection from Southwell Minster for a job which I had done during my gap year, I figured I could take rejection from All Souls and still be happy to play with the Orchestra.

So, whilst on my parents narrowboat, Coriander, with Dave, I wrote my application and emailed it off to them, due to the lack of printer on board!

The deadline was published Saturday 10th July, with interviews the week beginning Monday 12th July.

Having not heard anything on my return from the narrowboat by Monday evening, to be honest, I was a little despondent. However, on Tuesday morning, when I checked my emails I had a message from them inviting me for an informal interview the following day and then a formal interview would follow the next week.

I ‘phoned them to confirm that Wednesday was fine, but I explained that I’d be coming from Nottingham and that I would be in Keswick the next week, so I asked if it would be possible to have the formal interview in the same trip, either an evening, or I was happy to stay over to the Thursday. I was told this would not be possible, but we’d arrange a time for the formal interview while I was there on Wednesday.

While I was on the train from Nottingham on Wednesday morning, I didn’t have much phone signal the whole journey, so I received a voicemail message from Monty, the Church Manager, saying he was aware I would be in Keswick next week, and would I be able to stay that evening for a formal interview with the church wardens. Obviously I said I could, and then began to seek somewhere to stay the night!!!

I was dressed in smart jeans and a pretty top, and just carried what I needed for the day! So I began to worry if I needed smarter clothes for the formal interview!
Shirin said I could borrow some PJ’s and stay at hers for the night, which meant I just needed to buy a toothbrush!

I arrived at All Souls and met with Dave Miller who oversees the Church Assistants. He showed me around parts of the church I wasn’t familiar with, so mainly Church House! Dave told me lots of information about the job, and asked me some basic questions. When he said about the start date, 8th August, I told him about mine and Colette’s plot to go on the Girl Guiding Centenary Tall Ships Adventure, leg 7 from Portsmouth to Falmouth between 9th and 18th August. Dave didn’t seem too impressed by this! As the first month, August is intense training and team building, which is fair enough! During the course of the meeting, Monty found us to change the time of my formal interview to 6.45pm, which meant I had more chance of getting home that night!

Initially I had no idea what to do for the afternoon, especially as it was raining, and I didn’t like the idea of having to eat lunch and dinner on my own. David Marriott suggested going to a gallery, which I was about to do until I met up with Shirin and we went for a McDonald’s lunch, which was lovely to spend time catching up with her and chatting about lots of other things too! I went back to Shirin’s work to check the train times that night on the internet. By that time I’d had a call from the wonderful Cat White, and so we met up at Marble Arch and sat in a coffee shop, catching up and things. During which time we laughed about her pending audition for a part in a Zombie movie, and decided that she is Barbie’s Plus-Size Friend! I wandered back down Oxford Street at a leisurely pace, popping into John Lewis to look at Digital SLR Cameras!

The formal interview was with Mary, an ex Churchwarden in lieu of the two current Churchwardens being out of the country! Roger Salisbury a retired Minister with the responsibility for the pastoral care of the All Souls staff. And Monty Erskin, the church Manager. On the whole the interview went well, I thought! They asked some different, yet encouraging questions, about my faith, home life, and health. I was a little intimidated by the health questions, knowing it has been such an issue lately, and that it had potential to be a concern for potential employers. But I was encouraged by the subsequent questions Mary asked; ‘What are your warning signs?’ and ‘How can we help and support you?’
The three of them were also more encouraging and positive about the Guiding Tall Ships voyage, acknowledging I’ve had much less notice than the others, and also that it would be a really good, valuable experience in itself.

I came away feeling fairly positive, but didn’t want to build my hopes up too much! They said they’d get back to me within 24 hours. I caught the 2015 train from St Pancras, which meant I got to Nottingham by 10pm and home before half-past.

On Thursday I felt quite ill most of the afternoon, which prevented me from getting things done, like packing for Keswick next week! I was frustrated, as this week was supposed to be fairly relaxed, in order to organise things!!

The phone rang late on Thursday afternoon, it was Monty. He started the conversation with ‘Firstly I want to thank you for coming in for the day yesterday and staying for the evening, we really enjoyed meeting you… etc’ So, I was waiting for the ‘.. but…’! So was very surprised when he said that it was a unanimous decision to offer me the job!!

I shall be one of five Church Assistants, it’s mainly a practical job, preparing buildings for meetings, hosting meetings, locking up etc. but with some ministry experience, with different placements each term. There is also the possibility to stay on another year to do their Apprenticeship scheme, which is more ministry based with some practical, which I would be interested in.

The support structures they provide appear fantastic, and although they asked difficult health related questions at the interview, I was able to answer honestly and positively, and was pleased when they asked ‘what are your warning signs?’ and ‘how can we support/look out for you?’

The post also has accommodation available, which I have accepted, just off Oxford Street, between John Lewis and Debenhams, near to the LICC.

I feel so very blessed! I have been praying about where I’d like to be next, and as much as London scares me, my support network and many friends are around London, including friends from home now, too. I was worried that I would be job hunting for a very long time and having to live at home with my parents, which has been fine so far, but I did find it tough while I was at home last year.

Since first year at LST, when my placement was with All Souls Orchestra, I longed to make All Souls my church, to be involved, but I couldn’t realistically do that with the distance and weekend tube works! I will be able to continue to play with ASO, and have some cello lessons with my teacher in London 🙂

Praise the Lord! God is good!



July 11, 2010

Canals change your perspective on the world.

Everything passes you by slowly. You can appreciate the beautiful surroundings. You can stop where you like for the night (within reason). I loved that we stop in the middle of nowhere most of the time.

I spent the week following Graduation aboard my parents narrowboat, Coriander. I wasn’t sure how it would go, spending a long time with my Mum and Dad on a boat, but we had a good time! At the weekend, Matthew was around too, so he was at my graduation day. We all headed into London early on Sunday morning, as I was playing at All Souls for the Orchestral morning services. Which was followed by lunch at Pizza Express with Daniel and others, to celebrate his new job!

I went home on Friday in order to be around for Amelia’s wedding, which was beautiful! The service was perfect. Incredible. It was truly lovely to catch up with Sophie and the Teague’s – it’s been far too long!

The Teague family

(the girls have grown into models…!)

Sophie and I

The following week, Dave and I spent on Coriander. We had a really lovely time… and we didn’t break it… until we were 1mile away from our rendezvous point with Dad!! Dave let me play with his camera, and I now love photography! Here’s some pictures we both took:

Going through the first tunnel

Coming out the other side; we hadn’t lost a fender after all!

Feeding the ducks

Where we moored for the night; so peaceful 🙂

Watch out, its me piloting!

Me steering us into the dark, again!

Down the locks…

Building a new marina…

Silhouette at dusk on our last night aboard

Silhoette at dusk
As I was saying about perspective, there is a section of the Grand Union canal which runs parallel to both the M1 and the Railway in a valley. But it is only from the canal that you can really appreciate this. Driving along the M1, you would probably have no idea about the canal or railway. From the train, you can, if you’re looking attentively see the canal in fleeting moments. But only along the canal do you really notice this.

I also went to an LST reunion with my original LST year. It was a trek to drive from Nottinghamshire to Maidenhead, and I wasn’t sure if I would really be valued. But, because I promised Dave a lift, I got there. I’m so glad I went! I felt so loved and appreciated by people I didn’t think cared about me. I must make more of an effort to stay in touch with folks…