Posts Tagged ‘Travel’


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August 5, 2010

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Victoria’s Hen Weekend in pictures

May 18, 2010

We got the train here:

We found the Sea

And went to the Sea Life Centre

Check this Sea Horse out!

We found Nemo

I hung out with Henrietta’s long-lost cousins for a while

We walked along the Seaside

Victoria was not impressed by her mother’s pranks!

The T-shirts!

We ate lots of food 🙂

Some of us danced the nights away!

We had Champagne breakfast!

I met up with my cousin, Keith

We had a picnic in Peasholm park

We went on the Dragon Peddle boats

We hung out

We played Crazy golf, which got a wee bit competitive towards the end!

Victoria and I were crowned Queen of the Special people!

We made an awesome Sandcastle

Scarborough Castle was our inspiration!

We were kids!

The tide destroyed our creation 😦

We went out for more food

We had Barry Ice Creams!

We got up at 4am (after getting in at gone 1am) to watch the Sunrise!

Which did not fail to leave me in awe of creation

All in all, we had a fantabulous weekend. I completely forgot about work and LST and much fun was had.


Manic weekends and decision making

May 4, 2010

This weekend has been crazy, especially as I still hadn’t recovered from Wednesday. For those of you who haven’t seen the photos, they can now be found here, thanks to the wonderfully talented David Marriott.

On Friday evening, Steve, a fellow W3 class mate had his Jazz dissertation concert at Fairfield Church. I’ll be honest, and confess that I went more out of duty than will. But it was good to get out for a bit! I had to make a swift exit, as I knew I needed to get to bed early-ish to survive the weekend!

Fortunately the 10-6 rehearsal with All Souls Orchestra on Saturday, was reduced to just the afternoon (as on Thursday it was decided we didn’t need the Strings only morning rehearsal). I drove to Finchley in the morning, due to some interesting logistics! I got into London and met friends for lunch on All Souls steps.

Again, as soon as we started playing, I just felt so different, so natural, so enjoyable, so in love with music. I picked up 25 FREE tickets for the Arena on Saturday, to give to LST folks.

I had to leave the rehearsal at just gone 4pm in order to meet Dave at Euston for him to ‘cello sit for the weekend… and let him have the tickets, too, to offer to folks from his church, which ended up being much more popular than he thought they would!

I got the train from Euston to Wilmslow, during which time I battled with God over this job; since last Wednesday I don’t want it, really! But if God wants me there, then… I also called Dad and Ed, (the NSGSO cello tutor in Birmingham) to catch up, as I haven’t filled him in since November, when I was really ill!

I was met by Simon, the Vicar when I arrived at Wilmslow station. He seemed nice enough, but I was initially intimidated by him. I had dinner with him and his wife, Dede, we chatted about various things, they seemed more interested in my parents narrowboat than my musical interests! Later that evening, I met Sarah, their daughter, she is currently working in her gap year before going to Cambridge uni, she’s lovely!

The vicarage was so cold, I was glad I’d had to pack my only clean PJ’s, which were my ‘winter’ ones! When I woke up on Sunday morning, I wanted to go home, I don’t want the job! How could I get through the day like that?

I must have dreamed that Simon said that the Bible used in their church was the New Kings James Version and that their main source of music was the English Hymnal! So, I was somewhat relieved to find they use the NIV and Mission Praise!

The morning service aided the idea of the job to grow on me. I met another candidate and his fiencee who were lovely. The church are thinking of having two Ministry Trainees this year, so we weren’t in competition with each other :o)

I went to a couple’s house for lunch, which was a little strange as the husband would interject a natural conversation with slightly awkward questions! I was explaining my testimony and he was jumping ahead the whole time! When we got onto the subject of female preaching we had some nice awkward silences! They explained how as a church, they believe that women have different, not lesser, roles in the church, and that this is very clear in Scripture. To which I thought maybe they should update their NIV’s to TNIV’s!
They were very enthusiastic about the North West Ministry Course, explaining how in the mornings the course goes through the Bible, puts everything in context in the ‘big picture’ to which I thought, ‘so, first term at LST, then!’ The afternoons are more practically orientated, giving opportunity to preach (I need to check where they stand on the women thing!) and how to lead small groups and deal with pastoral issues. All of these things I would gain from, as doing the Music course at LST I have missed that side of it…

I then met with the two church wardens, which was a much more natural conversation. I asked them about the role of women thing, they affirmed what the other couple had said, but insisted that I would be able to teach the woman’s groups and suchlike, it’s just that I wouldn’t be allowed to preach to the whole church family.

It was then time for my official interview with the Vicar. 10 minutes in, he asked me about the 4 theories of Atonement! My mind went blank and I somehow managed to waffle about not having come to a firm conclusion yet myself… but I do remember thinking ‘eek, potentially another hour and a half of this!’ It wasn’t all bad, we chatted more about my degree, about worship, about sexuality and how the church can respond to these issues. We talked about music and although he confessed he isn’t a musician, he encouraged me that I would be able to have time for cello lessons and maybe an orchestra. We too talked again about the women in ministry issue!
He explained to me how the training would work, and although it’s not an accredited course as such, he recommends it. The current Ministry Assistant is an Oak Hill graduate, and he gained a lot from this course, even though he’d been to Oak Hill (to which Dave Marriott reminded me that Oak Hill isn’t LST… so…!)

I then had chance to chat with the current Ministry Assistant, Paul, and his wife, who was very heavily pregnant, due last week! It was nice to see the flat, but if the church decide to have two Ministry Assistants for next year, it’d automatically be given to the guy and his wife-to-be! Which, in all fairness would be better for me personally to be lodging with people, rather than being in a flat on my own! Paul said how excited the church were when they found out a female was interested in the post, as it would mean that I could potentially mentor some of the girls in the youth, which Paul has been doing with the guys…

The evening service was more relaxed than the morning. There was a larger music group, including a cellist and a violin player. I feel the music group has much potential!

Wilmslow is beautiful, I cannot deny that. And it’s position in relation to the Peak District, and even North Wales and the Lakes is desirable. It only takes 30 minutes to get into Manchester, where I am sure I’d be able to find a cello teacher.

My attitude towards the job actually made the day bearable, in that I wasn’t really nervous, or checking everything in my head, I was just myself!

Interviews are just as much for the interviewee to see the place, as to be interrogated by the interviewers!

I want to play the Cello.
It’s not London.
I have no connections in Manchester, bar one.
I don’t know how hard I’d find their view on women in Ministry?
Do I want to be their first female Ministry Trainee?
If the other guy didn’t come, would I be happy living in a flat on my own?
I wouldn’t be paid enough to save towards pursuing Music College later, especially if I were to have cello lessons and still be on the amount of Nutritional Therapy supplements I’m on now!
I want to go to Music College, or do a performance masters.
There aren’t many people in the church in the 20-30’s age group, but I’d probably get over that.

I feel so incredibly torn. If they do offer me the position, I’m going to have to do some serious thinking.

On the train home on Monday morning, I began to get a migraine, which was horrible. By the time I got into Finchley, where Dave met me at the station, I was feeling rubbish and needed to sleep! Dave is incredible, he let me sleep on his bed again, and woke me up to eat food. I cried; I felt so crap. I am so torn about the future. I’m so scared about the next few weeks at LST; how am I going to survive them? He held me and let me cry. I felt bad as I couldn’t stomach a bacon sandwich which he’d just made me, so he made me soup and ate the bacon sandwich himself! And then he sent me on my way home to Northwood, after going via the church to pick up my cello, at which point he complemented my driving, which was lovely!

I received a phone call on Wednesday from Simon, informing me that they want to take up my references before making a final decision, which I guess is a good sign?

I just want closure on it, though.


Aeroplanes and Iceland

April 15, 2010

Prior to my visit to Iceland in 2002, I remember being a little anxious about Volcanic activity. At that time, the volcano’s weren’t really active, but still, amongst the glaciers, they were an impressive sight. [I would share my pictures with you, but they’re all on slides… back in the day… before digital photography 😉 ]

So, the recent eruptions have caught my attention. The pictures are pretty impressive.

A group of school children from Loughborough have been evacuated from their accommodation in the early hours as they were in a vulnerable position in relation to the active volcano. That must be pretty scary! Especially as the British air space is closed until the ash cloud clears, so their flights home tomorrow are unlikely.

Read here to find out more.

One article said ‘It’s not just tourists who have been affected, but British sport, too.’ As if sport is the most important thing it’s affecting?! [Sorry] But seriously, what about the Icelanders who’ve been evacuated from their homes?



April 10, 2010

I’ve been content with the amount of trips I’ve had abroad. Other than school trips and Orchestra tours, I’ve only been to Tunisia (aged 3 and a quarter), Iceland in 2002 representing Girl Guiding Midlands at the Icelandic Jamboree, and Lanzarote on holiday last Autumn. I have had small desires to go to America or Australia someday, but nothing specific.

My neighbour has been telling me for ages to go abroad when I’ve finished exams etc and go travelling. I’ve always ignored him; travelling is one thing that really does mess up my body, who would I go with? and I’m scared of being in an unknown place.

Yet the last six weeks or so there has been a desire growing within me to visit India. I don’t really know where it’s come from! While I was at my parent’s for Easter, we watched a couple of programs which visited India to demonstrate something, and a program about the Indian Hill Railways. While I was watching them, I was blown away by the beauty, the diversity which is found in this country. I really want to go and experience it! To live, eat and breathe it.
I also have some friends who have been to India a fair number of times, and am currently following the blog of someone who has gone out short-term to work there.

I want to go to India!

I went back up to my room at home, and was trying to figure out if there were mission agencies I could work with in India, which I still need to investigate. But then I remembered, one of the WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) World Centres, Sangam, is in India! My friend Sarah, from home, spent some time at Our Cabana, the WAGGGS centre in Mexico as a volunteer and later working there. So I thought there must be similar opportunities at Sangam and looked on their website. [Sangam is located near Pune] They run a Community Volunteer Programme (CVP) which, after an extensive two-week orientation programme, participants are placed with an Indian community organization to volunteer for three months, including; Teaching English and computers, Care of infants and toddlers, Assisting teachers, Leading songs, games and crafts for children, Helping with general office work, Sharing your culture, Other activities depending on the skills you bring in.

I want to go to India!

Features of the CVP: Participation in international events plus CVP orientation, Placement and support at a local non-profit organisation, Weekly language lessons, Weekly cultural learning and debriefing sessions, Support of international and experienced staff at a well-established World Centre, Time off for exploration and travel.

I want to go to India!

The whole thing looks very exciting! I am in the process of applying to be a volunteer next year from January to March. Which should hopefully give me time to save enough money between the summer and December.

I want to go to India!

It’s incredible for me, to even be considering this possibility, never mind actually applying! Just 6 months ago, I’d have run (well, not so much run, but hidden away) from such an opportunity. It scares me that I’d be leaving Europe for the first time since I was 3! And that I’d be away from home for so long. But the excitement and enthusiasm far outweighs these fears currently!

They say that Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) would be advantageous, so I’m looking for opportunities to do some training in that. However, I’m pretty overwhelmed by the range of TEFL options. I’ve found a course you can do completely online, but surely there must be some practical assessment at the end? And I’m struggling to find a course that is officially accredited by a reputable institution…

I’m also going to research other volunteering opportunities in India, with Christian mission organizations 🙂

I want to go to India. I really want to go to India!!!

I’m also looking at other jobs closer to home and church based. I received an email from St James’ Muswell Hill, who I visited a few weeks ago, the very kindly forwarded me the information of a Lay Assistant/Ministry Trainee internship post in Wilmslow, Cheshire. It looks a really good opportunity, and more likely to be given more responsibilities, as it’s a smaller church than Muswell Hill.

Although, I’m slightly confused by the job description when it says;

Sharing in the preaching ministry, both Sunday and midweek services, as appropriate (i.e. male trainee – according to experience, this could be monthly for any given service).

Erm, so are female trainee’s not allowed to preach?

One of the other roles is to develop the 18-30’s ministry, of which they admit there are few currently. So I might find that a bit hard, especially being so far away from London, where the majority of my close friends reside.

I have been singing along to Longview’s song, I would as a prayer… ‘I would go anywhere for you..’ Somehow, going to India to volunteer for three months, as much as it scares me, I can cope with it; it’ll be an adventure and I know I’ll return to the UK and again consider living around London. But to move to Wilmslow, with which I have next to no connections, seems a wee bit more scary; not being close to friends especially, and for one or two years, is a bit longer than a few months. On Wednesday evening, when I first got this email, I cried myself to sleep. I don’t want to live in Wilmslow, it’s so far away from my life as I know it. But the last day or two, I’ve come to the conclusion that if it’s right, if it’s of God, it’ll be fine. Right?

Wilmslow (for those of you who don’t know) is just south of Manchester, west of the Peak District, so good for walkies 🙂 and not far from Liverpool and Chester, where my Auntie Sue and Uncle Dave live. I also need to think about ‘cello things.. would I be able to get into Manchester or somewhere to have lessons? Would there be an orchestra nearby?

Other than that, though it looks pretty good. I sent off my application yesterday, so we shall see?

I still want to go to India!


National Express

March 26, 2010

Today I embarked on my journey back north along the M1, to Robin Hood country.

As I set off, I prayed, as I always do. As I’d finished praying and I joined the M1, the rain began! To be fair, it wasn’t a bad journey, especially considering it’s Friday. It took about 3 hours from leaving LST to get home, including filling up with fuel in Watford on the way.
But one thing that really upset me was a National Express coach driver. Around Northampton area, I was overtaking a convoy of lorries, and thus was in the middle lane. There were three or four lorries on my left, cars ahead of me, and many cars in the right-hand lane. Oh, and did I mention the weather? I was trying to keep a sensible gap ahead of me, but most of the time other drivers would fill it for me… But essentially I had no where to go, other than keep up with the flow of traffic. Then the National Express coach pulls out behind me, also over taking the lorries. He was so close to the back of my car, I was actually scared. Like, inches away from me. I felt incredibly intimidated. And then, he starts flashing me, as if to say ‘get out of my way!’ As I said, I had no where to go! I couldn’t pull out into the right hand lane, there were too many cars! I couldn’t go faster than the car in front of me, and unlike the coach driver, I was leaving a gap. He got closer and closer, flashing me and flashing me. I felt so bullied. Eventually, a gap appeared in the right hand lane and I went for it; I just wanted to get out of the way of this coach! I got to Watford Gap services and had a little panic and called Dad.
I just don’t get it. Lorry drivers, on the whole are legends. I love lorry drivers! The majority of the time I’m doing a long journey, I almost feel protected by them. Wherever I can I let them out in front of me, on the grounds that they do similar at times when I’m joining a motorway.
I would have thought coach drivers would be the same? Apparently not. But then I remembered a couple of years ago when National Express coaches crashed at Newport Pagnell Services and on the M4.
I think I’m going to continue travelling on the train when I’m using public transport!
I’m left doubting my driving skills. But, I know I’m not a bad driver! (I even got the Miles per Gallon thingie to the highest it’s been certainly since Matthew crashed it, if not the highest we’ve got it?!)