Posts Tagged ‘QSWP’



November 18, 2010

When I first joined the QSWP, we had conversations about a recent invention, the ‘sheewee.’ A plastic device enabling women to spend a penny a little more easily in the outdoors.

Today, Facebook advertised them to me.

Click Me.

However, I’m still not convinced I shall get one.


We will remember them

November 13, 2010

When I was in primary school I was always so moved by the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ by John McCrae;

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.



I also remember so well being told the story in assembly, during the first world war, how over Christmas the Allied forces and the Germans brought a truce and played football together in no-man’s-land. I love that story. I always wished it hadn’t just been that one day. I wish it would still be now. That we could live in a world of peace and harmony.

Today, I had the privilege of serving at the Royal Albert Hall for the annual Festival of Remembrance with the Queens’ Scout Working Party. For the matinee service, myself and James (with whom I was on the Readers’ team for the National Scout Service of Queen’s Scout at St Georges’ Chapel, Windsor for the Centenary of Scouting in 2007) were wheelchair pushers, which involved meeting the less able people at the security entrances, helping them into a chair and taking them to their seats. It was really great getting to chat with some really incredible people. And helping those who’d got lost back to their coaches at the end!

In the evening, I was on duty in the Grand Tier, ‘selling’ programs. I say ‘selling’ because they were free, but a donation was requested. It was interesting, because many of the boxes are ‘owned’ by certain patrons, who host a select number of guests. And there is A LOT of money on that level! It was interesting to watch how a lot of people who came to the evening performance were there ‘to be seen to be there,’ in contrast with the sincerity of some of those who had been at the matinee.

I was stood about 6 ft away from the box David Cameron, his wife and other important people entered. It felt somewhat surreal! Ed Milliband almost pushed me over as he entered the Grand Tier – I wouldn’t have minded, but it wasn’t as if the corridor was heaving with people at that point (it was empty)! As the service began, Karen and I hung around to wait for the Queen to arrive a few minutes in to the event. A lot of the Royals were there, we counted everyone except William and Harry.

I remember watching the Festival on the television most years with my parents while growing up. I know it’s a very moving occasion. And yet, I still struggled with it’s intensity, of being in the auditorium during the service. Clapping as the Chelsea pensioners and widows etc. entered the arena just doesn’t cut it. This annual festival doesn’t pay for the loss of any person. Nothing we can do or say can ever make up for even a single life lost in conflict, however just or unjust. And that’s what I know some internationals struggle with; Remembrance Day isn’t about endorsing war or conflict, it’s about paying respect to those who have fought and given their lives for the service of others. To enable us, British citizens, to sleep safely in our beds at night.

The famous stanza from For The Fallen (1914) by Laurence Binyon left me holding back the tears.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.



We will remember them.


The week that was…

November 8, 2009

So my week visiting LST didn’t quite go how I’d envisioned it… Here’s a kind of [unabridged] diary from my week;

Meeting Hazel was all good. She had her nephew with her, Matthew – he’s grown so much since I last saw him! Hazel is good… she’s moving to Sussex on Saturday to be nearer her man… she has just found out she has a job (always helpful) which starts on Monday!
I hung around at LST for a little while… didn’t even attempt the library. But I’m just finding it really tough… I was talking to Marriott about this earlier… Because I want to be there. I want to do things. I want to see everyone. And I can’t. I know that I know, and I know it doesn’t make it any easier, but it’s still emotionally draining.
And it’ hard work trying to find out what things have changed that I need to know about… apparently Formation has changed so that there is no longer a book review thingie… which is frustrating, in that I’d finished reading DeSales and made notes to write the essay from. Ah well. I guess I need to find out from Sonia what I need to do etc. but she’s not around this week either.
I was meant to be meeting Geoff Gale and a few others from church this evening for pub food at the Greene Man, but I’ve had to cancel that and meeting Lizzy Salway tomorrow morning in the name of pacing myself for my Cello lesson at Eton tomorrow evening.
I have been fairly productive with work for Jubilate… working at about 10-15mins per song. Could be worse!

The good news is I didn’t crash the car…
I am, however, otherwise inept.
And in need of a hug.
So when I checked my diary this morning…
I saw my Cello lesson was at 7.30 at Eton school… so having pottered around all day taking it easy etc in order to pace myself, I was going to set off from Croxley around 6.15 to allow plenty of time to get there.
At 6.10 I got a call from my Cello teacher asking where I was… my hour and a half lesson was actually due to start at 6… and I’d read the finish time in my diary…
So I jumped in the car, avoided the M25 and finally got there at about 6.50.
She was, understandably, very annoyed with me. I was annoyed with me.
We had a very intense half hour lesson.
I had to pay her for the full hour and a half, understandably, it was completely my error. Thus I lost £70 today.
I am so beyond annoyed with myself.
Not only have I not had a lesson with Sarah since Lanzarote, because of Ear infection-ness. And then had to cancel my lesson with Sue on 24th because of Flu..
And I cancelled stuff last night and this morning for it.
And I am so not feeling ready to do my diploma.
And I swore so much in the car today. I don’t normally do that.
And physical stress has come to play… my back is hurting like it’s not done in AGES… well, August, I think. And I’m feeling all crappy.

I thought Tuesday was bad.
I went into LST to meet Robert W about my dissertation. He asked lots of questions about how I was etc and the subject of my project didn’t even enter the room; hilarious!
I met DP after a rest, to talk about what I need to do to complete W3. Some of the modules are exactly the same. He’s going to ask Chris Grey, who’s now taking Arts and Worship to email me all his notes! Ace. Arranging is changing from having all 4 projects in the folder… to handing in your best three. So DP suggested I needen’t do Orchestral Arranging if I wasn’t up to it. Except I’m actually gutted – I’ve been looking forward to this one since first year!
Pete and I went out for coffee which was lovely to catch up 🙂
I met up with Emmanuel people for food at the Greene Man… which was good… they did the whole ‘you’re looking really well,’ thing… I didn’t tell them how I was feeling, and that I had cried as I woke up from a nap right before I’d left LST to meet them… but I couldn’t cancel again after cancelling them on Monday… I got back to LST and went to Deeper… my legs were hurting so much with fatigue pain that I couldn’t stand up… so I sat down… then it was hurting SO much to sing… ye olde chest pain… which got me upset and angry with God… and I couldn’t join in the sung worship… and I was annoyed I wasn’t even feeling the words of the songs… and I started to cry… and I turned around to look for someone like Lizzie J or Helen Cr, but all I saw was a sea of faces I didn’t recognise. So I was aiming to remove myself from this situation and take myself off to the ladies in reception (nearest ones without tackling stairs) But I got half way down faculty corridor and my legs gave up… and I cried uncontrollably for a while… no idea if Robert heard me or not, but I saw his light was on, and plucked up the courage to knock on his door… and he does that thing of not turning round to see who it is straight away, so he was pretty taken-a-back when he saw me crying hysterically I think! He made me tea, offered me chocolate, tidied up his stuff and we chatted for a bit… but what’s so frustrating, is it’s nothing new.. same old… I’m frustrated, fed up with being in pain, no energy etc. He was really lovely… and I was so glad he was there, cause no one had realised in Deeper… even when Robert sent me back in to collect my bag and coat… I felt a bit of an idiot… having got to the point of Robert insisting on driving me back to Jon and Rachel’s cause I was too ill! But it was certainly the safer option – my legs were spasming a fair amount :s
It was a mixture of my trying Dan Joy’s push through philosophy. Me so desperately wanting to worship, but proving I’m not up to it… another one to tell Rhydian next time he challenges me… and testing the waters I guess… but obviously, I wasn’t up to it.

I saw Babs today, which was good. But she was really firm, and thus it hurt. Not what I needed right now. So I was a bit gutted Robert wasn’t in today to thank him for last night… and Conrad was doing study day stuff. And I rescued the car from LST!

I met Mr Gallop. He wasn’t having such a good day; not making it to lectures and the like… He told me I’ve got to come back in February and not to do anything stupid in the mean time as I’m not allowed to mess his degree up; he’s doing a good enough job of that on his own…
Then I went to meet Mr Marriott… which started off hard… cause I spoke to Dave last night, and he said that Scott had asked if Sarah could come too… Dave told Scott he’d ask me… and Dave kinda picked up on the phone I wasn’t overly comfortable with it… inviting Scott along too was a way of cutting down two appointments into one… Scott and I had hoped to go into Watford for coffee at some point this week, but failed. Then I went to find Scott and he said he wasn’t coming… so I didn’t know if it was me upsetting him not wanting Sarah to come too?
Then I’d arranged to meet Dave at 3… he didn’t show up till gone 3.30 cause the bus took longer than normal, or something? I was beginning to think he was pulling out too… I’d have been SO ANGRY with him if he had… Turns out Scott couldn’t come for other reasons…
Anyway, we went into St Paul’s with Dave’s special ‘I work for you’ passes… and up to the top of the dome, which was fun… but unfortunately the weather wasn’t so nice, so our plan of being up there for sunset didn’t go quite so well… and we got quite wet… but it was fun to go all the way to the top… my Dad’s jealous… he’s only been up to the whispering gallery or something? All the exertion made my legs quite shaky, which was fun going down!
We went to a pub which was nice… apart from the part where Dave squirted acid, from the Lime in his Lemonade, into his eye… I couldn’t help but laugh, but it must have hurt SO bad…!
Then we had the dilemma of going home… I’m SO glad Dave decided he’d come with me on the tube to Baker St. to get his bus… and then decided to stay to Finchley Road… because I had a panic attack on the tube… cause we were stood up, crushed in rush hour on both Central and Jubilee lines… I was feeling dizzy and wobbly stood near the edge of the platform at St Pauls, so removed myself to the back of the platform… I was *okay* until about St Johns Wood… by which point I realised how fast my breathing had got and I was only still standing cause there were so many people around… we got off at Finchley Road and although there was a Watford train waiting… I couldn’t get on it… or the next one, which was also a Watford train… then I started to slide down the pole I was leaning against, so Dave got me to a seat and we sat it out… for what felt like ages… Trains came and went… Then another Watford train came, which I got on, and he left… and I got myself back to LST, where I chilled out for a bit… although there weren’t many folks around… and then I drove back here to Jon and Rachel’s…
So my day was good, till it was bad… and blurred in with the rest of the weeks’ rubbishness..
I rang Mum and Dad… Mum didn’t answer her ‘phone, Dad did… I said I’m not doing great… and that I wasn’t sure if it was wise for me to attempt doing this weekends QSWP stuff… I said how the tubes are down this weekend, which is gonna make things hard… and he was doing the bravado ‘you can cope with that’ thing… I was like… seriously, I’ve been through all that myself, by the time I ring you I’ve tried to ‘push through’… grr… ‘silly man’ as Colette said when I told her. He did however say he’d get train down and meet me if I needed him to drive me home… but he wants me to try the whole Scouty / Remembrance stuff first… erm… help.
I can’t believe I’m going to be going home this low… cause I’m not confident I’ll not be any less low when I get home… meh.

I didn’t wake up till gone 12.30 or so. But it’s not as if I felt any better for it either.
FINALLY got through to Dad.. he’s getting train down tomorrow lunch time to drive me home… I feel so bad… both that he’s having to rescue me, and physically and emotionally.
I spoke to Liza, briefly, which was ace. I miss that girl so much. I’ve been watching video’s of her dissertation concert all day. So many parallels between that weekend and this; that concert was the last time I played my Cello at LST, Dad came and rescued me to have a weeks rest at home in the Spring term…
I feel like I’m just going from one place to another, crying… possibly because I am.

I managed to talk to Dad about last week… I omitted being late for cello lesson and wasting £70, and the panic attack on tube thing… but I did manage to tell him about Wednesday and legs giving up and ‘Uncle Robert’ ness… (followed by going the scenic way home after Watford Gap… and we went through a little place called ‘Willoughby on the wolds’ not far from home… and Dad also told me about a book he’d just bought called ‘Sir Francis Willoughby of Wollaton’ [Dad’s very into history stuff] – Wollaton having a big hall/stately home thingie… Can’t escape the Willoughby’s in this area, apparently!)
Also talked to him about my fear of learning to drive which I had before I was about 16 + 3/4 .. he never realised… I just did what he’d tell me to do; get on with it…
Yet, he is being incredibly supportive re not doing dip and LST and me being so ill… I thought he’d be mad at having to spend a day picking me up, and at me being a general failure… so something’s changing there… 🙂

And Happy Birthday, Dave 🙂


QSWP and Hallowe’en

November 1, 2009

This weekend has been one of the best weekends away in a long time;

We met in a lovely traditional pub in Chalfont on Friday evening where I met lots of new people, who rescued me from the one member of QSWP I already knew..!

On Saturday morning, we lit a fire too cook on at lunchtime and made use of the high ropes course. Okay, so it wasn’t as good as Go-Ape! but it was still good fun, despite the wet wood being rather slippy! We did back woods cooking over the fire; casserole, kebabs, and chocolate cakes cooked in orange skins… yummy!

I have to say, I did have slight reservations about visiting Hell Fire Caves in West Wycombe. Not only on the pacing myself front; I realised how tired I was getting a lift there, but also because of the hype they made over Hallowe’en. They had taken the opportunity to create scenes throughout the caves that were, honestly, unnecessary. As a rational adult, I was able to ignore all the hype I guess. And when the little men/women in costumes jumped out from the dark, it was more funny than scary, especially when one of our party lost his footing on the gravel after ‘jumping’ and ended up on his backside! But, I certainly don’t endorse the needless scaring of children. And there were some who, at the end, were scared witless. Honestly. What is the deal with this?

I know that, like Christmas, many people just want to use this time to have fun, to enjoy the holiday, and, like Christmas, they don’t really get what is at the bottom of it all. But I find it so frustrating that people do celebrate Christmas, in a way that is about them; what things they are to receive from an old red fat guy named Santa Clause. And with Hallowe’en there is the sense of ‘what can I get out of this?’ what with the old Trick-or-treating… which I have always hated. Not only do some children scare old folks witless, it’s completely self-orientated; ‘give me sweets, or else…’ I remember as a child, our house being egged… and there are stains on the outside wall to this day. The following year we went one up; instead of answering the door, we poured a bucket of water over their heads from my brother’s bed-room window! Yes, they got the trick, not the treat. It worked well, we never had any ‘trick-or-treat-ers’ for a good few years after that!
Then there was the year when I was lone working at the hostel for homeless people in Loughborough on Hallowe’en. One of the recently evicted, arson convicted, residents started to light fireworks and set them off in the direction of the building, aiming for the air bricks to the cellar. That was, err, fun?

I have always been a bit anti-Hallowe’en. I guess my parents have never approved of it and it’s not something the Church appreciates, either. So, to return to the hut where we were staying, to find the wonderful caterers from GLMW who were providing the food for our official dinner had, not surprisingly decorated the room extremely well with Hallowe’en tac. I mean, yes it is October 31st, but do we have to do it like this?
I was honoured, however, that the Chairman of the QSWP asked me, a newbie, to say grace.
And I think what I’m trying to say is that much fun was had and no-one took the Hallowe’en thing seriously…

I have met some amazing, lovely, fun people this weekend.

And, not only did I not feel self conscious about needing to pace myself throughout the weekend. But, no one else thought any differently of me either.

Scouting has proved itself better than Guiding once again on this occasion.

And so, thank you to Conrad, Rachel and Dave for encouraging me to give it a go when I really didn’t feel up to it on Friday afternoon 🙂


Visiting LST; day one

October 31, 2009

I am wiped-out.

I have been looking forward to visiting LST for so long. And today I; went to short chapel, met up with Lizzie J for lunch and Dave for coffee.

Yet, it’s not that simple, is it. It’s not just the plans I make. It’s what happen during and inbetween these things that I can’t control. The library caused me to have a panic attack and none of the people I could go to were around when I needed someone to calm me down. But I can’t say it wasn’t lovely to see all these people, it truly was.

I am way past overwhelmed.

I have had a wonderful day, but I just can’t cope with it.

I cried on the way back to Jon and Rachel’s.. and I so cannot face going on a weekend away with QSWP of which I know one person, who, if I am honest, isn’t someone I’d like to spend my whole weekend with… I haven’t got the strength to explain M.E. to a bunch of people I don’t know. And I know I’m not well enough to do everything and meet lots of new people.


I think I thought being at LST would solve everything, and thus I forgot to protect M.E. today… hmm

But, I hope and pray, that a weekend with Scouty people will actually do me some good, right?


Regaining Life

October 27, 2009

Over the last month or so, despite various virus’ I really feel like I’m regaining my life. Redefining what I’m passionate about and who I am.

It’s exciting, each time I step back, I can see it.

Last night while I was lying in bed, I realised that, despite my year group from LST having moved on; I have not left. I can legitimately be there. They’re ‘ex-lst;’ I am not. I am not ready to be ‘ex-lst’ just yet.
My dissertation is exciting. I have just found the book of a guy Lizzie and I met coincidentally while buying a Blue John necklace to go with my ‘dissertation dress’ in Castleton last Christmas. He’s written a book called ‘The Harmony of Heaven’ which has an ace section on Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis – one of the key pieces I’m looking at.
I have lots to look forward to with my ‘Cello; recital, diploma, dissertation, recital, Victoria and Matthew’s wedding.
The work for Jubilate, a chance to play with and get to know Sibelius 6. The forementioned author also, coincidently does work for Jubilate and knows David Peacock very well – small world, huh?
The opportunities in guiding to share who I am with the Brownies. The chance to organise the faith tent at the Knotts Centenary camp next year. QSWP – the chance to socialise with Scouty people for the first time in years.

Yet, at the same time, I cannot discern if what I’m doing is the right thing? If I’m trying to do too much? I have all these balls, which seem more like eggs, in the air… even if I do catch them; there’s still a chance they could break in my hands.

And I can’t work out why, when all day long I have been in a lot of pain and felt so rubbish, but just tried to plod along, rather than stop and seize up… that after taking night time medication, some of which is meant to help me sleep, that it is now when I am in the least physical pain and the most wide awake. And I am the most excited about various forms of work! Why not in the daytime?