Why surviving a Jason Donovan concert could be compared to first-time church-going.

12440415_1590906334569186_5213224540840071213_oYes – last week I went to a Jason Donovan concert. If you’re younger than me you might not know who he is. Lucky you. He’s the bloke who was Kylie’s ‘Neighbours’ counterpart way back in the 80’s. He was also a ‘pop star’ – the Bieber of his day, sort of. Personally, I’m not a fan. Not at all. However, one of my bessies truly is, so another bessie (yes, I have two – go me) and I treated her to the concert for her birthday. Whilst there, surrounded by screaming Vans (is that the name for his fans? It sure ought to be) it occurred to me that perhaps our experience could be likened to those of our ‘un-churched’ mates, when we drag them along to church…

Not knowing the words.

Song after song, and all those around us sang along with untamed gusto… yet we knew none. Well, a couple of songs sounded vaguely familiar (I am a child of the 80’s, after all) but most were a total and utter mystery to us. The fact that everyone else (bar my non-Van bessie and I) could participate and we couldn’t felt proper naf. Granted – we didn’t particularly want to join in, but it would have been peachy to have had the choice. Our options were stripped down to:
Guessing the words
Humming
or
Faking it – opening and shutting our mouths like goldfishes, in the pretence that we were indeed singing along.

Idea: Church services could cut down (or cut out?) songs altogether? Or sing ones that might be at least familiar to any guests, to save them from the cruel fate of ‘goldfishing’.

Not being sure whether to sit or stand.

Lots of standing was going on, but it appeared acceptable to sit for some of the time, although no one announced this in any way; they all just seemed to know the rules. Mimicking the Vans was the only way to go. If everyone was standing (and swaying, for the record) then so were we. If we could spot a sprinkling of Vans sitting, then we gleefully jumped at the chance. (Waving one’s arms in the air was a similar issue. One arm? Two? All the time? Some of the time? A chorus-only activity?)

Idea: Announce at the start of the service that during songs and suchlike, either standing or sitting is fully acceptable.

Not getting the in-jokes or Jason-related jargon.

Jase said a lot of stuff in-between songs that we simply didn’t get. We assumed it referred to:
Him
His songs
His past
His hair (?)
His Vans

etc
But we’ll never know for sure. Not a single Van looked as confused as we felt. They nodded along and even laughed hysterically in places. We were just relieved that we’d visited the bar before the concert and were still clutching our little (though wildly expensive) plastic cups, taking a further sip every time we felt left out and ‘other’.

Idea: On a Sunday morning, perhaps we should remember that not everyone attends every week, and that ‘being washed in the blood of the lamb’ could easily be de-jargonised to make sense to normal human beings. (Secondary idea: install bars in churches.)

Marvelling at unabashed and unrestrained enthusiasm of those around us.

And you thought I was only here to mock. Shame on you! The energy, passion and sheer commitment from the Vans was admirable. They loved him and they weren’t afraid to show it. Now and then a particularly wild one yelled “We. Love. Yoo. Jay-sun!”. Their behaviour clearly demonstrated that they were downright thrilled to be in a place with other like-minded Jason-worshippers, and their only aim was to show him, and each other, how they felt about him. As I watched my bessie light up every time he spoke, jig to every song he sang (she knew every single word to every single one) and generally have the time of her life, I knew that for her, despite my apathy, this was real.

Idea: (Self-explanatory, I hope.)

P.S. Keep it to yourselves, but I did, in actual fact, sing along to the very last song: Especially For You. I found, with horror, that I knew all the words – yikes! I did it for my bessie, and for Scott n Charlene and for all the memories.
But remember… Sshhhhhhhh.

Londinum (solo)!

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I’ve recently ‘done’ London: 6 whole days… by myself!
It was my 40th birthday present from my fab family, who aren’t quite as bonkers about the place as I am.
Stayed in a new Travelodge (Wembley Central) that had the added advantage of being situated directly above a tube station!

[Click on pics to enlarge.]

Presenting my findings list-style… bitesize… so it’s easier for your (exceptional) brain to digest…

Fave free stuff

  • Refreshing bottle of Lucozade (Caribbean) on arrival at Waterloo station
  • Entrance to Westminster Abbey (courtesy of my minster’s parish pass)
  • Entrance to Houses of Parliament (courtesy of my local MP)
  • Ice cream sundae (courtesy of friends’ daughter, who didn’t want it)
  • National Gallery/Portrait Gallery – especially using the audio guide to learn about Jesus/Tudor paintings
  • Somerset House
  • Music concert in St James’ Church, near P.Circus – Beatriz Boizan (pianist)
  • Tour of Toynbee Hall, Whitechapel (to assist me with my current essay)
  • Bridge-walking (a new London activity I invented, whereby you walk from Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge, crossing over any bridge you come to, if possible)
  • Wandering aimlessly around P.Circus/L.Square/C.Garden… being a total tourist
  • Taking copious photos – took 978 in all – yikes!

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Cool stuff I got for a reduced price, due to my student card (yay!)

  • Buckingham Palace (the State Rooms)
  • Temple Church
  • The Shard
  • Bus tour (open-top, in amazing sunshine, complete with banter-tastic tour guide)!
  • Walking tour – Changing of the Guard
  • Audio-guides at the galleries

(And on the final day, realised that said card had actually expired a week ago… good job no one noticed!)

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Fave stuff with friends (1 day only)

  • River cruise (London Eye to N.Greenwich)
  • Lunch in the O2 (Harvester)
  • Emirates cable car
  • Lolling around Canary Warf, pretending to fit in (not easy when you all come from Somer(cider)set!
  • Chilling out on the steps by the Tower (of London)

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Fave amusing moments

  • Loo with a view (Shard)… crazy grateful that no helicopters passed by while I took advantage of these particular facilities
  • Having THREE parliamentary assistants (all in suits) show me (just me) around the Houses of P, for an hour and a half!
  • Being ‘escorted off the premises’ by a police officer at end of Houses of P. tour, due to the Victorinox (swiss army) card in my rucksack. All routine stuff, apparently!
  • Changing rooms in a clothes shop (Oxford St) generously offered me a choice of lighting: Evening, office or outdoor
  • Finding the room next door to me (in Travelodge) had ‘Police – do not enter’ tape across it. Fun times.
  • On day 5 of my stay, finding that housekeeping had awarded my commitment to their hotel with one pink, patterned, increased-ply loo roll

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Other stuff

  • Abbey Rd (Beatles)
  • Little Venice (boat along the canal, to Camden – v pretty. The canal, not Camden.)
  • Chinatown (never been there before – quite interesting)
  • .

Best read (on the tube)

The Great Fire of London, by Samuel Pepys (purchased from Foyles, Charing Cross Rd… for just 80p!)

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Top food

  • Camden market chips – cooked in duck fat, with a truffle sauce mayo!
  • A lamb kebab I had in cafe in P. Circus, where they baked their own pitta bread
  • An iceream I had from Covent Garden… two amazing flavours… can’t recall what they were though
  • .

(No pics available – quality grub requires instant scoffing, not posing for the camera!)

If you’ve got this far down the page (well done, by the way) and are still even the tiniest bit interested, feel free to check out my top 20 pics via Facebook (that you can view whether you’re on Facebook or not):

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153523112042510.1073741865.507357509&type=1&l=257f593ceb

Amazon wishlist? Good!

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At seven and a half weeks away from hitting 40, I often find myself unable to focus on everyday life, as I take time to contemplate…

… what pressies I want!

I know that for some, Amazon is practically the Anti-Christ. I concede that there is some truth in this, for various reasons. Still, I have decided that their ‘wish-list’ feature is one of the ‘greenest’ ‘fairest’ ‘loving’ (etc) ways to make a list of what you want for either Xmas or Birthday.

Why? Ah, glad you asked:

 

New or used? – I find myself adding books and DVDs that I’m keen to read/view, that I’d be quite happy to receive second hand.  By asking for it ‘used’ (put a note in the comments box) not only am I making the gift cheaper for the buyer, I’m ‘recycling’ something that is already in existence, as it were.

 

Fair trade/ethical/organic – Use Amazon’s ‘Add to Wish List’ button feature to add items from other websites to your wish-list. For example: Traidcraft. Or just something you found on ebay that you fancy.

 

Goats are cool! – If you run out of ‘stuff’ that you fancy, why not add a gift that benefits others, like a goat for Africa, or bees, or school books, etc?

 

Use your friends! – Got talented mates? I have! Remember that you can add things to your list ‘free-style’:  ‘Jenny’s amazing chocolate cake’.
Or: ‘Babysitting voucher’, ‘Poem about me’, ‘Painting – just for me’, etc. It makes it cheaper (or sometimes even free) for the buyer, and let’s face it – 100 times more meaningful (for both giver and recipient) than an Oil of Ulay/David Beckham smellies gift set!

 

I am not quite the determined eco-warrior of a few years ago, and I’m not even sure that I’m in any sort of mourning over this. But what I do feel I’ve retained is the overwhelming sense that we all have far too much ‘junk’, and that the whole issue of gift-giving can be viewed as the main culprit of this tragedy, especially as we consider how rich we in The West really are.  And I fully appreciate that tiny gestures such as this don’t single-handedly save the planet, or make me the most loving Christian who’s ever lived… but hey – it’s a start!

[If you are interested in having a greener or ‘alternative’ Christmas, please check out this book below, which I have contributed to. Ta.]

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Doing-December-Differently-Alternative-Christmas/dp/1905010230

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greenbelt 2013

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Just one day this year, as per last year.
Really must get our act together and get back to camping there ‘for real’!

A bit different this year, as my day at Greenbelt occurred during my 4-week TESOL course, in Cheltenham. Most odd.
Also, it was planned (to the nth degree) that the family would come up to Cheltenham to join me for Greenbelt, but due to ill health, that didn’t work out.

So it was me on my little ownsome, for the whole of Saturday. But not really on my own, as had plenty of friends to meet up with. As well as spending some time with me bessies (who were doing talks about detached youthwork in The Kitchen) I managed to catch up with the talented Dave Walker, with whom it was a pleasure to sneek into the Contributors’ Area, for coffee, illegally! Also the lovely Penny Culliford (Chai in Tiny Tea Tent) and Darren Hill.

In addition to extreme socialising, I was also being a reviewer for the Church Times. This role gave me my own press pass, which totally rocked and got me into venues/talks without queueing! As soon as it was around my neck, I was inflicted with very un-Christian boastfulness, insisting that people I met ‘oohh’ and ‘ahhh’ with gusto by way of a response. If they weren’t convincing enough, I made them repeat the noises, until they were unto mine satisfaction. Good times.

I reviewed: Adrian Plass (my hero), Catherine Fox (novellist) and Richard Coles (vicar, used to be in the Communards.)
Adrian was awesome, naturally. Catherine was interesting, and her talk reminded me that I really ought to get back to novel-writing, and Richard was… well. He used to be in the Communards. I know I’ve already informed you of this, but still. Back in the day, ‘Don’t leave me this wa-a-a-ay’ was my top song ever. So I wanted to enjoy his talk, but it was a bit dull. But then I am not a vicar, and his topic was vicar-ing. He was the inspiration for ‘Rev’ (comedy on BBC2) don’t ya know. I think if he’d ended his talk by singing ‘Don’t leave me this way’ (not that he sang it in the first place, I believe) I might have been more interested. But he didn’t. And I wasn’t. Shame.

Church Times review supplement can be viewed here, if you’re interested…
If there’s nothing good on telly, or you’ve just finished your novel, or your PS3’s broken.

(The actual supplement in CT was far more flashy, but this’ll do for now.)
(Also, the first 2 paras re Plass are mine, whereas the 3rd, that includes typos and a tense change, isn’t!)

[More on my previous 12 years of GB, here. You’ll need to scroll down.]

TESOL course – in the bag!

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Finally – it’s all over.

These second two weeks have whizzed by. That is, if you can truly consider 9 and ½ hour-long days learning/teaching, followed by a further 4 hours (at least) working at home, every single day, to be a fitting definition of ‘whizzy’.

Diet – My ‘soon-to-be-an-international-best-seller’ TESOL Diet has rid me of… HALF A STONE! That’s not bad going for four weeks. Forget fiction-writing – this is where it’s at. Just need to work on a natty book-cover, and I’m pretty much sorted. I’ll make such a huge income from this book that I doubt I’ll ever have to teach English or use my PGCE ever again.

Course – But despite my imminent role as insanely rich and knowledgeable diet guru, I do indeed now WANT to teach English (to speakers of other languages). The course has been amazing. Very challenging/stretching – sometimes to the point of being painful. I don’t recall breaking down in tears under the pressure of vast work-load, but some days I wasn’t too far from it. Overall though, the professionalism and expertise of the tutors has been super-smashing-great. I love to learn, and love it even more when those in charge are as control-freaky as I am, with regards to presenting everything in a logical and orderly fashion, yet at the same time keeping the learning engaging and useful. The teaching practice was a constant pressure (to plan, deliver, meet their needs, meet the criteria, etc) and yet much fun, and always rewarding. The lessons were given free-of-charge to locals, which was a bonus as it meant we were doing something worthwhile with our time, as well as learning-on-the-job.

Highlights – Phonemic Chart, Learner Profile, the session in the IT suite, burgers in sunny Pittville Park, The Swan.

Family/sister – Staying with my sister has been fantastic. Although we’ve both been busy studying in the evenings, we’ve usually engineered some time in which to chat, hang, and even to jog. Thanks again Zoe – you rock!
My better half and kids appear to have coped fine without me. Naturally, this makes me simultaneously both happy and sad. Thanks guys – your support has been invaluable. And the house doesn’t even look too bad, all things considered!

Mates – Predictably, the ten of us didn’t take long to gel. We had started out as eleven, but sadly, one left the course, about half way through. In some ways, I’m amazed that the rest of us all made it through to the end. It’s a HARD course, in case you hadn’t picked up on that already. But yes – the ten of us all got along well, which was crucial to succeeding, I believe. For example, we were in small Teaching Practice groups of four, and relied on each other for support, encouragement and general assistance… continually. A few pub visits occurred, but less than you’d imagine, again – due to huge workload. When they did though, they were essential for ‘letting one’s hair down’. Thanks guys – it’s been… /kreɪzi: ɔ:sʊm/ !

TESOL course – halfway through.

Inlingua, Cheltenham

Inlingua, Cheltenham

Currently halfway through a four-week TESOL course.
A what?
Well, you may have heard of TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)… this is one of the two more advanced TEFL-type courses you can study for at degree level.
Why?
Well – where’s the fun in spending four of your precious six weeks summer holidays at home, sunbathing and ‘hanging out’ on Facebook? The truth, though – I love learning, have considered this course for several years, and now consider it a useful addition to my recent PGCE (post-16 education).

Casa de Sis – Part of the adventure is that I’m taking this course in Cheltenham (Inlingua) and so staying with my awesome sister, who lives but a twenty minute brisk walk away. This means I’m torn from my three bessies from Mon-Fri (hubbie plus two teens). In our nineteen years of marriage I’ve never been away for so long, but we appear to be coping. Mark has taken to cooking a meal from his student days… the kids are off at camps anyway… and I’m having a bit of ‘me-time’.

Course – Did I say ‘me-time’? Ha! And again for emphasis: HA! Before starting the course, I was aware that it would be… intense. In fact, the word ‘intense’ is liberally flung around in connection with this course on almost any website or literature pertaining to it. Naturally, I assumed that I would somehow be exempt from this, and would find the course more manageable than some; after all, I have much experience with juggling heavy workloads/deadlines – how hard could it be? Sure – I’d need to do SOME work outside of the (long) days there, but as I’d be away from all my other responsibilities and activities (housework, cooking, study, etc) it’d be easy to a bit of work at my sister’s of an evening, before settling down to read the novels I’d optimistically packed in my suitcase, enjoy some Netflix, or spend time with my sister, etc. But no. The course is as intense as it suggests. I have had about an hour’s free time each day, perhaps between 10-11pm. Thus, novels unread, Netflix left wondering where I am and sister’s eyebrows often raised in response to my insane workload.

Happy? Oh indeed! I’ve always had a desire and to formalise my interest in the English language. I’m well on my way to understanding tenses, sentence structure and suchlike, in far more depth than before. Also, I love the learning specific to teaching English to speakers of other languages. For example, the phonemic chart, used to aid them with pronunciation. Fascinating stuff. Most afternoons we teach a class, whilst being observed. This is oddly reminiscent of the past two years of teaching practice, observations, lesson plans, etc, as part of my PGCE. But in a good way. There are eleven of us taking the course, all of whom are friendly, supportive, keen to learn and up for a laugh. We even have our own little Facebook group, via which we can support each other at 2am, when the lesson we’d originally planned just isn’t working out…!

Diet. I am utilising these four weeks to lose weight. The logic of this is that I’m not at the mercy of social occasions, where overeating is practically mandatory for me. Neither am I cooking for the whole family, and picking at the left-overs, etc. My method (as always) is to stick to reasonably low-calorie, low-carb meals, which is a doddle due to shopping/cooking for me and me alone. I’m walking two miles each day, very briskly, to and from Inlingua, and this week even went for a two mile jog with Zoe (sister). Result? I have lost four pounds during these first two weeks, which is good-going. If this continues, look out on the shelves for my next book: THE TESOL DIET. It will doubtless become an international best-seller. I’ll have to start planning what outfit to wear when I’m invited onto Oprah…

I’m sure there’s more I could add, but must end here as it’s the weekend and I have a hot date with several bulging A4 ring-binders.
More to follow…

The Sacred Review of Adrian Plass, by Annie, aged 37 and 3/4.


In five days time I will be the very age that Adrian is in his famous diary (famous if you’re a Christian over a certain age)… The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass, aged 37 3/4.

I first read (devoured) this book when I was just 14, on Christmas day. It was given as a present to my Mum, and somehow I got hold of it and read the entire thing that very day. Being surrounded by an abundance of relatives, food, presents, games, the Queen’s speech, etc, somehow did nothing to tear me away from one of the best books I’d ever read. (And it is still one of my few very favourite books of all time.) I laughed, I cried, I cried with laughter, I giggled, chuckled and snorted… in short – I loved it.

Why? Because he held a truth-telling microscope to my world: my uber-charismatic church. Like a Christian Caulfield, he exposed the phoney-ness. But unlike Caulfield, he did it in an amusing and readable manner. His sheer irreverence was deliciously shocking to me at the time, yet oddly comforting; I wasn’t alone in my scepticism. It’s not God he mocks though – not once. No – it’s the church and the people in it, along with our idiosyncrasies, hypocritical tendencies, and all-round batty behaviour.

Recently I read it again, from start to finish, in one day. It’s not that I haven’t read it a few times between those teenage years and now, but I wondered if reading it while being his actual age would alter the experience in any way…

DOUBT: Adrian has moments of doubting himself, doubting others and doubting God. Aged 14, I thought I had it all sussed. In fact I knew I did. I rarely suffered from paranoia (now a constant companion, as it is for Adrian) and I never doubted God (because that would be a sin). Nowadays I wouldn’t recognise myself if I wasn’t frequently churning over conversations in my mind, worrying about what people think of me. And it turns out it’s not a sin to doubt God at all – my 20th year was a bit ‘iffy’ in this respect, but it all worked out in the end, for the better.

DEATH: At 14, thoughts of death were not high on my agenda, as they are on Adrian’s. Now, they sneak up from time to time. A bit like grey hairs.

THEOLOGY: Adrian sums it up with ‘God is nice and he likes me’. When I was younger I was too quick to judge other Christians, declaring that what they were doing was wrong or, at best, ‘quite dodgy’. Now, I can see that we all mess up, at least 34.6 times per day, even me. Especially me. I now feel that if we can only cling on to the fact that God is nuts about us, we’re far more likely to live our lives as he wants us to.

The image below is my all-time favourite snippet from the diary. I’ve never been able to hear anyone talk about placing a ‘fleece’ in the same way since reading this, and never will. Which is a good thing.

It’s no secret that I used the diary as inspiration for my novel: Dear Bob (and the sequel: Love Jude). Perhaps with a dash of Adrian Mole (coming of age) and a sprinkling of Bridget Jones (singleton) slipped in with it!

Yes, I remain a true fan, and no doubt will be until I’m 99 and 3/4, and rely heavily on the audiobook version.

Sainsbury’s Rewards

Sainsbury’s Rewards.

I arrive in the car park, unsure as to where I should park… myself.
Where I’ll best fit.
Squeezing out of the car and instantly, I’m baffled.
Too much to absorb, I admit.

Soon enough, I’m settled in.
Attuned to the bright lights, the colour… the echoing din.
The noisy people.
Like bees, but less busy… with less purpose.

I marvel at the fruit and veg – a deluge of innocuous shapes.
Such aroma… I’m tempted.
I spot a mate. We have a bit of a laugh –
Some of the misshaped sweet potatoes remind us of mutual friends.

Coconut organic yoghurts stare back at me, unimpressed.
But it’s OK – instructions are included: a list, to aid me pass this test.
To help select essentials for the week ahead
(And puddings. And snacks. And wine. And…)

Barely into the tinned goods aisle and I’m hit by enthusiasm
(And a bit later, by a rogue trolley.)
If I want it, I reach out, it’s there. If it’s not, I merely have to enquire
(Or mumble a brief prayer)
I’m guided straight to it. Instant gratification.
Survey the shelves: what you see is what you get.

Later on, in a frozen realm, Confusion reappears.
I swear he’s messing with the PA,
Inserting mis-information – an assault on both ears.
Is this trip a mistake?
What seemed so effortless a few aisles ago
I now declare to be onerous… I ache.

The till’s in sight, though there’s a queue.
But standing just the other side – a guy.
I swear that he can see right through… me.

He beckons, without a single word.
But trolley’s now so laden down, with all the ‘stuff’.
And here’s what’s worse: I’ve have no purse.

He’s smiling now, and mouths: “I’ve paid… just come”.
Reluctant hands release their grip from all they’ve picked.
But somehow know that what’s ahead will far transcend the list they penned.

I’m running now – I ache no more.
He takes my hand. We leave the store.
Content that he, is my reward.

——————————————-

For a few more attempts at poetry, including some pie-winning efforts (!) visit here.

Greenbelt 2012

Last year I blogged that we attempted ‘Greenbelt lite’ as we went for a mere two days.
But this year we just went for one.
Yes – one.
So even lighter than lite.
I wonder what the technical term for that is…?
Up at 6am, arrived at 9am… left around half past midnight, home at 2am.
Fifteen and a half hours of pure Greenbelt!

Highlights, of this, my twelfth Greenbelt?
Well, kind of you to enquire.
Let’s see…

The Rising – I’d never been before, but have a friend (the lovely Lori) who goes every year, so thought it was high time I accompanied her. Was a big fan of Martyn Joseph back in the early 90s, and he didn’t disappoint, even now. His ‘mates’ on stage included a reasonably angry/political lesbian (Grace Petrie) a disillusioned (yet highly talented) American (Willy Porter) and the woman from the band Paper Aeroplanes. I know nothing about music (or less than nothing, if such a thing were possible) but favoured the latter, hear her here. Also enjoyed Willy’s clever ‘How to Rob a Bank’.

Food – This is of paramount importance to me, in life in general, but also quite specifically at Greenbelt. In this one day, I managed to stuff in: fried potato and sausage stuff (my absolute fave) from French stall ‘The Grande Bouffe’ (The Big Nosh), a freshly-cooked doughnut, a smoothie, a Shmoo banana milkshake, steak n stilton pie with mash and gravy (Higgidy pies, as no Pieminister there this year), a posh hot chocolate from the Tank (while waiting for phone to charge there) a flapjack from Pru’s cafe (woman in front of me had the last of their famous brownies, but I wasn’t outraged… not one bit) and finally a mug of ‘chai’ from the Tiny Tea Tent, which was divine. So divine, in fact, that I’ve just purchased the Twinings version, and am sipping at it now. It’s not QUITE Tiny Tea Tent-esque, but hey.

The God Particlethis was a play, and a most superb one at that, written by James Cary, who writes for the TV show Miranda (as well as for the only slightly lesser-known magazine – Third Way). Such a fantastic fusion of faith and science, all presented with much hilarity. I particularly liked the extended reference to ‘The Prisoners’ Dilemma’, which I’ve been studying very recently, as part of some general philosophy stuff I’ve been ‘consolidating’ during the Summer holidays, in preparation for forthcoming teaching practice.

Wandering around – Considering the 15 and a half hour restriction, I managed to clock up a satisfactory amount of this activity. The VAST amount of rainfall meant I was glad of my wellies, and that yes… I threw superior looks to those in flip-flops, who clearly weren’t cut out for festival life. G-source suited my wandering tendencies, although I fear there were less freebies than usual this year. Invariably, I ended up at G-books (bookshop); I shop (well, browse) books like other woman shop for shoes and clothes. I’m well-aware of my unhealthy obsession with books, which I suppose is something, but it doesn’t prevent me from attempting to find a cure. Why would I? Books are ace! About 15-20 caught my eye and yelled “Annie – buy me, buy me now!” (Dr Dolittle heard animals talk… I hear books shout). Finally left with just two, a Dietrich Bonhoeffer (bargain at £3, down from £12) and the brilliant Dave Walker’s new book of cartoons, one quick glance at which produces instant LOL-ing, even in those far too old to be throwing around the acronym (me).

Last Orders – New presenters, but just as good as ever. Managed not to fall asleep (which I have done there in the past, due to extreme tiredness combined with the late hour, and not to boredom)! Loved Mike Wozniak’s stand-up re ‘conception’ – hilarious! Rev Gerald Ambulance always deserves a mention – he shared some profound thoughts re church student youth workers… and I chuckled. There was a bit on ethical wedding dresses, which really ought to be ‘my thing’ (due to the ‘ethical’ bit, and not because I obsess about wedding dresses) but really wasn’t. There was also some ‘magic’ that was clever, but somehow not as entertaining as I felt it ought to be. Ruth Gledhill (Religion correspondent for The Times) got a bit of a grilling (from presenters and audience alike) which was awkward and unpleasant, I felt. It ended with ‘Folk On’, who, in the past, have annoyed me rather… but clearly my day had gone swimmingly well (perhaps due to torrential rain) as even they seemed ‘fun’ and a jolly way to end the day, bless ’em.

Had they not clashed with The God Particle, I had very much wanted to see/hear
Rev Richard Coles (ex- Communard: Don’t. Leave me this wa-a-a-ay!)
Frank Skinner
and Sir Diarmaid MacCulloch (Church history bloke).
Never mind.

Finally (yes, almost about to pull the plug) it was great to spend time my own fantastic family, with good friends (from our church) and to catch up with some ‘Greenbelt’ friends.

Only took a very few pics, but if you’re interested (or just very bored) you can view them here.

I do wonder if the fact that I wasn’t ‘doing stuff’ (as part of the programme) contributed to a more ‘chilled’ time at Greenbelt. I wasn’t stressing about where I had to be when, and whether I ought to brush my hair one last time, etc.
For more about my ‘stuff’ during previous years, see here, and scroll down.

‘Dear Bob’ giveaway on Goodreads!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Dear Bob by Annie Porthouse

Dear Bob

by Annie Porthouse

Giveaway ends September 10, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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