Post-Greenbelt waffle

My attempt to sum up this year’s Greenbelt, using that often overlooked, yet hugely loveable number – 4.

Gutted that I missed:
1] Adrian Plass (I’m such a fan, but wasn’t at GB on the day he spoke).
2] Jude Simpson (but at least I managed to bump into her for super brief catch-up).
3] Dave Walker‘s calendar (it had sold out by the time I got around to attempting to purchase).
4] Tea towels (Greenbelt branded ones. Again, they’d run out. Must try harder next year. Not sure I’m actually ‘gutted’ about this, more ‘slightly annoyed’).

Dead chuffed to have heard:
1] Ruth Downie (interesting talk on crime fiction).
2] Simon Morden (part 2 of his thoughts on Christian publishing, etc).
3] Andrew Philip (poetry reading that I actually understood, and enjoyed). Pic of his session, with me in attendance, here!
4] Rev Gerald Ambulance (his profound take on the current state of the Church, and some insightful comments regarding the role of women in marriage).

So glad I consumed:
1] Pie Minister pie – Heidi (goat’s cheese/sweet potato) with mash and groovy. (Read my ‘award-winning’ pie poem here.)
2] Bowl of fried potato/wine sauce and sausage, from Le Grand Bouffe.
3] Hot choc, that I managed to persuade them to add brandy to, seeing as they clearly had some as they sold coffee with brandy.
4] Pizza from the posh pizza place, as this time I went wild and paid extra for ‘all’ the toppings.

Got stuck right in:
1] Attended a ‘Student Focus’ session, (SCM). Did a creative book plug for Dear Bob, involving volunteers, weird props, jogging, masks, Pringles… you get the idea!
2] As per the past few years, did the Generous session, this year on ‘local activism’. Plugged Living Generously .
3] Donated some Dear Bobs to The Hub, for eventual distribution to teenagers at GB. (See Ben’s plan here).
4] Wrote out some Bible verses in monk-like fashion (assuming ye olde monks used i-pads with i-pens). It’s going to be presented to the Queen, no less – see my verses here.

Thrilled to natter over a cuppa with:
1] Darren Hill (after 8 years of knowing him only via phone/email/Facebook, finally met up – hurrah! He was instrumental in inflicting ‘Dear Bob’ on the general public.)
2] Jo Swinney (after knowing her… a couple of months via Facebook, finally met up)!
3] Penny Culliford (it wouldn’t be Greenbelt without at least one chatting marathon with this lady, some years we’ve managed several).
4] No cuppa, but SO pleased to grab a quick hello with fellow Subway-ers (Christian Writers’ Group): Tim R, Tim S, Jules, Paul B, Veronica Z… and those already mentioned above.

Swapped several pennies for:
1] The Insatiable Moon (Mike Riddell).
2] Paradise Now (Jari Moate).
3] A greetings card with some Christian artwork on it (with intention of framing it at some point – perhaps in the year 2017, when I’ve got a spare minute).
4] A FRANK sports water bottle, that I could then re-fill during the festival, for free!

We (family and I) were also a-weeping and a-wailing that for the first time in six (ish) years we didn’t get to camp/hang out with our buds Lori and Richard Passmore (and kids). Boo and double-boo.

Overall though, it was simply superb to wander around the site and soak up the oh-so-familiar (yet ever ‘fresh’) GB atmos with my gorgeous family, including my fab sis – a real live Cheltenham local.

A few pics can be viewed here.

So how was GB11 for you?!

Greenbelt (lite)

I’ve opted for ‘Greenbelt Lite’ this year. Not because I’m opposed to the full-fat version… in fact I’ve been, with the family (from Thurs—>Tues) for the past eight years! But this year I’m there for the Sunday and Monday only.

On Sunday evening (8pm, Galilee) I’ll be at a ‘Student Focus‘ session: University Survival Skills, plugging Dear Bob, naturally, but also hopefully participating in the promised chocolate brownies. If you’re a student, get your-fabulous-self on down there… 6 copies of Dear Bob are being GIVEN away as prizes!

Then on Monday, I’ll be involved with the Generous talk: ‘Get Down Your Local’, about local activism (The Kitchen, 2pm) where, just to be consistent, I’ll be plugging another book (one I co-authored): – Live Generously.

You are probably unaware that Greenbelt have changed their policy this year, and on the ‘talks’ page of their website (listing all this year’s GB speakers) the MOST important speakers are at the very bottom of the page, rather than at the top. The fact that Rob Bell is at the top is clearly some sort of admin error.

I aim to see: RS Downie, Simon Morden, Andrew Philip (all on this page) Jo Swinney and Rev Gerald Ambulance. This also appeals to me. Gutted I’ll miss: Adrian Plass/Milton Jones. Am I sad that I’ll miss the workshop ‘Parenting Teenagers’? Not sure. If you’re there, please take notes (include a few pictures – I get bored easily). But mostly I’ll just be wandering around the site, with various friends/family, soaking up the fabulous GB atmos, wondering if I can afford a trendy fairly-traded organic t-shirt with a bible verse printed on it… then deciding that I probably can’t, and ending up in the queue for pies.

To bee, or not to bee…

What have I been up to recently?
Well, it’s most kind of you to enquire, especially without any prompting – clearly, you were brought up to have impeccable manners!

The last few months before we broke up (from school) were ridiculously busy. At times I reminded myself of one of those insanely industrious bees in ‘Bee Movie’. Here’s why:

PGCE – After many, many years of saying: Well, I really ought to do a PGCE… but I don’t think I can handle it, I’ve finally caved. Still not sure if I can handle it, but I’ll soon find out. This Sept I start a two year PGCE in post-16 education. Worlds away from the primary school surroundings I’ve been oh-so-used to over the past nine years (teaching assistant). My teaching placement is teaching Skills For Life, Literacy. This involves teaching literacy to adults, from very basic skills through to GCSE level literacy. But I’d love to get involved with teaching Religious Studies at AS/A2 Level also. I’ve prepared for and attended two interviews, which both involved lengthy Numeracy/literacy tests, and attended a SFL lesson, just to see what I’m letting myself in for!

GCSE marking – I have become an Assistant Examiner for OCR, and have now marked 700 GCSE Religious Studies papers for them. Hard work, more time consuming than I could possibly have anticipated… but surprisingly stimulating!

SPREE – we took our Church youth group camping at SPREE, jointly run by Urban Saints (formally known as ‘Crusaders’… so pleased they changed their name!) and SWYM. Again, a lot of work, but well worth it. It rained nearly the entire weekend, but FReD (our group) appeared to enjoy themselves no end.

Now it’s the Summer hols (6 entire weeks off work – HURRAH for jobs in education) I’m feeling very chilled out; laid back to the point of lying down, as the expression goes… and I have been (lying down) in the garden to catch those few rare rays and boost my Vitamin D levels, on several occasions.

My third novel (Christian, Chick Lit, adult) – is currently still a mere file on my computer (and would be gathering dust, if a computer file had the ability to do such a thing) and not sitting pretty on the bookshop shelves, where I’d much rather it took up residence (before being bought by millions, obviously). I am starting to get it ‘out there’, and believe me, you’ll be the first to know if/when I get an offer. Meanwhile, I’m doing the most sensible thing… starting on a fourth novel. Yes, non-writery types would substitute the word ‘sensible’ with ‘insane’, but it’s just something I feel compelled to do. Who knows when I’ll have the time to write, as I’ll be working/studying every day from Sept, but where there’s a brain full of ideas, and a computer… there’s a way.

And what about you? What ‘bee’ going on with you right now…?