Posts Tagged ‘Keswick’


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!


It feels ages since I’ve blogged

February 3, 2010

Partly because I’ve been feeling numb. Doesn’t feel like there’s an awful lot to share, yet there is.

I spent the weekend in London, visiting the wonderful David. It was nice to spend time with him, even if he did beat me at Scrabble, but I say that was only because I skipped four goes waiting to get my first 7 letter word on the board!
I got to hear Dave’s band for the first time, which was good. And meeting his friends, I now have faces to put to names 🙂
I spent Saturday with Keswick Kids team in central London. Was nice to see people again, and pray lots. Although I found it hard, considering where I was last year at Keswick. We’re also praying Keswick returns to some sort of normality by the convention, following the floods. The building we use and live in was gutted, but on the plus side, we hope to have newly renovated accommodation and showers etc!
Sunday I returned with Dave to Finchley to play at a commissioning service for their new Children and Families worker – Ro Willoughby. It was lovely to see Dave’s church in action, and also to play my cello in worship – it’s been too long. I got to do some nice practice in the freezing cold church before others’ arrived, which was fun. After the service there was a tea in the church hall, most of the stuff I shouldn’t eat, but I did anyway. Then I crashed. To the point of someone from Dave’s church asking him if I had M.E.; she could recognise it from the way I wasn’t able to hold myself sitting down! Dave took me back to have a nap on his bed before we had to head towards St Pancras for my train. Bless him, he carried both my cello and my suitcase all the way. The guard saw me as soon as I got on the train, and offered to put them in the guards van for me. Such a blessing. I was in so much pain the whole journey, it was horrible.

I helped Victoria and Matthew with their Wedding invitations. Writing gift lifts, cutting and folding. We got them all done in one afternoon, which was nice. Bridesmaid duties are fun.
Mum and Dad have been invited, which is really sweet, so they were the first to receive their invitations! They’ve also given me an invitation ‘Elizabeth and Guest’ Hmm.

I saw the Nutritional Therapist again on Monday. She’s pleased with progress I’m making, but agrees… there’s still a way to go yet! We’ve made a few alterations to things, and she’s writing a letter to LST.

On Tuesday I had the last appointment with the CBT man. He read me the letter he’d written to Dr Brown. It was a strange session. We wrote ‘rules for living at LST’ to get me through, essentially.

  1. It’s okay to say ‘no’ in order to preserve energy, or if the demands are unreasonable.
  2. It’s okay to ask for help when I need it (including friends and staff) I’m NOT wasting their time – including if I need to call Graham.
  3. It’s better to stop and take time out before I feel rubbish.
  4. It’s okay to feel rubbish – I’m not always going to feel like this.
  5. Remember I’m on the bus! (Allow my thoughts to pass by).
  6. Listen to relaxation tracks and/or watch DVD’s to wind down before going to bed.
  7. It’s okay to have a social life (but no building snowmen!)
  8. It’s okay to feel lonely at times; it’s not forever.
  9. Pacing activities and plan rest. Protect rest times.
  10. Be honest with how I’m doing, with myself, friends, lecturers, GP etc.
  11. Avoid Boom and Bust or Rest and Rush.
  12. A flare up is not a catastrophe.

I need to put that up on the back of my door to remind myself regularly.

I saw Dr Brown this morning, she was lovely about the whole letter thing. I felt bad for not being able to tell her. But she understood it’s not the kind of thing you can just slip into a short GP appointment. She printed off a copy of the letter and put it in a sealed envelope (so I won’t read it again!) in case of emergency when I’m back at LST. She’s given me enough meds to get me through till Easter. And we decided it’s not worth me re-registering with the Eastbury GP’s, but rather go as a temporary resident…

It’s been snowing here today!

It better not get bad again and delay my return to London. I will not be impressed!

I’ve started packing for LST. My room is a tip! Books and clothes all over the floor… well, no books anymore, now they’re in 5 boxes, which I filled with clothes so they’re not too heavy.
Mum and I did a food shop yesterday, so I have plenty of supplies of things I can eat to get me through!

It’s less than a week until I return to LST. I just want to be back, now.

Except now it’s getting close, I’m getting really quite anxious about it too. Which doesn’t make sense; I’ve been looking forward to returning to LST this whole year. I can do this.

Why do I feel so numb?


Flooding in Cumbria

November 21, 2009

This is where I first lived.

It’s horrid what they’re going through, not just in Burneside, the village where we lived, above the Post Office and village store my parents ran until I was 2 and a half. But the whole of Cumbria is just in devastation. Kendal, where I was born, just a few miles from Burneside is also badly hit. As is Keswick, seeing photos’ of the water level’s outside Booths is shocking. And elsewhere around Cumbria.

Last night, Dad and I watched news night(?) They were talking about this photo which was on the front of many of today’s newspapers. And comparing it to a C17 art work of Christ being raised on the cross. It’s frustrating I can’t seem to find out any more details about it today. So if you’ve seen it online, please let me know 🙂
It is a fantastic photo, though!


‘Where you treasure is, there your heart will be also’

July 10, 2009

Matthew 6:21. Simple huh?

“If you esteem recognition, then ambition will take charge of your life. If you esteem money, then greed will take charge of your life. If you esteem pleasure, indulgence will take charge of your life. But if you esteem heaven, service of others in Christ’s name will take charge of your heart.”

“The best thing about being a missionary is the spiritual blessings we receive from doing the work of the gospel. This is measured by the fact that we live in a community that loves and supports one another. It comes out in people’s lives as they live to serve, rather than accumulate a whole lot of stuff. Imagine what benefits we gain from living in such a community, being with a group of people where serving God is more important than getting a good education, where serving people is more important than a career or a bigger house, where our children live in an environment where it is normal for people to spend their whole energy working for God’s kingdom.”

David Cook, The Unheeded Christ; Jesus Demands Serious Obedience, Fearn, Christian Focus Books, 2008. Chapter 5.