what would jesus drive?

he'd drive this, of course!This article was published on thesheepdip
Feb 07

It’s a daft question. Still, we’ve got a minute or two to spare; let’s ponder it for a while. Biblically, we can say with full assurance that He drove a Honda Accord, but had the humility not to boast about it. He himself professed: For I did not speak of my own accord… (John 12:49). Modern-day critics would dispute this, after all, Robbie Williams was so insistent that Jesus drove a Camper Van that he made it the title of one of his songs. While the Rev Clive Jones of Staplehurst in Kent says Jesus would opt for a car “despised and rejected of men – a Skoda”.
Politicians, the media, your next door neighbour, the people on the next table in the pub… everyone’s talking about climate change. We complain about the lack of snow when we want to go ski-ing (if we are rich enough to enjoy such holidays) or we stress about the idea of a future where people struggle to survive a world that’s gone to pot, due to our behaviour in the here and now. Most people know what puts CO2 into the atmosphere and what doesn’t. Maybe a few less people are re-thinking their lifestyles and making changes, radical changes, to make sure they’re not part of the problem. Or at least, that they’re less a part of the problem that they were before.
Jesus says we should love others (Matthew 22:39). In fact, He goes so far as to say that we should love others in the same way that we love ourselves. So if we don’t really fancy having all our worldly possessions, house, and perhaps even family members and friends swept away by floods, or be hit by freak tropical storms, or suffer from long term drought that causes our crops to fail… then perhaps we ought to think again about how we’re treating the world’s poorest people, and even our own descendants.
One easy-peesy way that we can take action is to give more thought to our transportation. As well as flying less (or preferably not at all) and taking public transport where possible, we can all focus on our car usage. Here are several suggestions that will help reduce those CO2 emissions – take your pick!

Drive Less:
Only make journeys that are totally necessary.
Walk or cycle all journeys of less than a mile.
For longer journeys, use the bus or train.
Take a car-free holiday.
Organise a car-sharing scheme in your local community.
Get food and other goods delivered to your home.
Work from home, if possible.
Ensure you do as many jobs as possible in one trip.
Avoid congested areas (and rush hour) to reduce travel time.
Drive Wisely:
Inflating tyres to the correct pressure cuts emissions by 5%.
Control your speed – travelling at less than 15mph creates the most pollution. (Increased speed up to 50mph means your level of pollution decreases. Over 50mph increases your level of pollution again.)
Get in the right gear – top gear is most energy-efficient.
Avoid drag – e.g. remove the trailer or roof rack, shut windows and the sunroof. Remove any excess weight.
Avoid unnecessary revving, idling of the engine, harsh acceleration and braking as this uses more fuel.
Avoid overfilling the tank as spilled fuel evaporates and releases harmful emissions.
Convert your current car to LPG, or even to run on biofuels!
Put pressure on your local Council to give priority to people rather than vehicles: traffic calming schemes, cycle facilities, pedestrian crossings, and lorry restrictions.
Continue to press the government to give higher priority to an integrated public transport system: simplified ticketing and easily accessible information.

Your church…
Hold a ‘No-car Sunday’.
Organise Lift-sharing for services.
Organize a church outing/weekend away using public transport!
Find out whether your church leader gets an allowance for cycle mileage as well as car mileage.
Check if your church has a cycle-rack as well as a car park.
Give out local bus timetables out church.
If purchasing a church mini-bus choose one which is fuel efficient.
Raise awareness in your congregation – download CEL’s Green Transport Leaflet, print out, and sneak them into copies of your Sunday notice sheet when ‘they’ aren’t looking! [www.christian-ecology.org.uk/green-transport.pdf]

What would Jesus drive if He were on Earth today? Who knows. Perhaps He wouldn’t drive at all, or he’d become a keen cyclist (although He’d have to take care that His flowing white robes didn’t get caught in the wheel spokes). As far as we’re concerned, to consider the above ideas would surely be the most ‘loving’ gesture to others, whether we drive a sanctified Honda Accord, Camper Van or Skoda… or just some far-less-holy common ‘other’ car. If the car is ours, the choice is ours also.

Top of the Shops

shops in paris
This article was published on ‘thesheepdip’ website , Nov 06.

Let’s face it: we all love to shop. Now, perhaps more than ever, to shop is to ‘express oneself’ to the max. It’s the subject of films and novels. It’s the nation’s favourite pastime. From malls that give you that ‘American Dream’ feel, right through to the ‘online’ experience… shopping will never let us down. Or will it? Quite possibly not. But will it let others down? Yes, yes, and… hang on… oh, yes again.
Every time a single penny of ours leaves our (piggy) bank, and gets handed over to a person or company, in exchange for a product or service, there are hidden consequences. Often we are totally oblivious of them… far too oblivious. “But wait up!â€? comes the cry, “we’ve been buying Fair Trade coffee and bananas for ages now – you can’t teach us anything – this is old news.â€?
Fair Trade products are very ‘in’ at this present time. Sales of Fair Trade goods in the UK have grown by 40% during the past year. In fact, the UK fair trade market is now second in the world only to Switzerland. Still, let’s examine being ‘fair’ when we shop. We are some of the world’s richest 20%. We do a whole lot of shopping… we therefore have a huge responsibility to consider God’s command to ‘love each other’, every time we part with our hard-earned wad.

Let’s ’start again’ with regards to how we spend our money. It’s God’s money, not ours. If we have a roof over our head and food in the cupboard, however basic… we ARE rich! The Bible has a whole lot to say about the dangers of being rich… reading it could change our shopping habits… forever! We are told not to neglect the poor; not to take advantage of one another; not to treat our employees with anything but dignity and respect. Much of the Old Testament speaks of this [1]. The book of James is also quite clear on the topic, and fully backs up what Jesus said. The theme of God’s heart for the poor and oppressed is mentioned over 800 times throughout the Old and New Testaments; once every twelve verses!

Although the Bible doesn’t say too much about the issue of ‘shopping’ directly, we can assume that if God thought it was wrong for an employer to treat an employee badly, then it is wrong for us to give money to that employer; to help support them and enable them to continue with what they are doing. Likewise, if God told us to look after his planet, which He did [2], we can assume that it is wrong for us to allow our money to contribute to spoiling the planet, so that present and future generations will suffer… suffer badly.
When we buy stuff, be it food or clothes… a holiday or a pension plan… here are the questions we should probably ask of ourselves:

‘Live Simply, so that others can simply live.’ (Tony Campolo). Ask: Is this item/service something I need, or just want? Could I live without it, and still remain alive and well? We all like to relax, to be entertained, to have nice things, and so on… but how much money actually needs to be spent in the process? What about the craze in our culture to ‘re-decorate’ rooms, just for fun? Or to splash out on an all-inclusive holiday abroad, when we could go self-catering in Cornwall, have just as much fun, and save shed-loads! Could we ‘make-do’ with a home-made alternative? Greeting cards spring to mind, as an obvious example. And what would someone starving in Africa make of us when they watch us buy coloured fancy paper, to wrap up gifts with, just so the recipient can rip it off and chuck it straight in the bin? We have odd habits, us rich people!

What about expensive tools that don’t get used very often… or DVDs… books… CDs… toys, etc. It would be good if we were all more willing to share our possessions [3]. We can stop buying novels, and instead borrow ones off friends… or get them out from our local library (if they haven’t got it ‘in stock’, it is possible to order it for around 80 measly pennies).

Think charity shops, think eBay, think free-ads. Ask: is there anyone at work or church who has one of these, and might be willing to sell it to me? Kids’ things come into their own here… kids so quickly grow out of their clothes/toys/games/DVDs, etc. Forget reaching for the Argos/Ikea catalogue… let’s reach instead for our mates… they might surprise us! Perhaps we’ve got something THEY quite fancy… those Saturday-Swap-Shop days (as per Noel Edmunds/Keith Chegwin) could be coming our way again – hurrah!

If we’ve decided that none of the above apply, and we definitely need/want to buy something, then let’s shop with ‘loving others’ at the forefront of our minds and consider the following…

Ask: how far has this food/toy, etc, travelled to reach me? (Such unnecessary transportation means unnecessary CO2 emissions.) Why would I want to buy apples from New Zealand when apples are grown in the UK – isn’t that a bit mad? When apples aren’t in season in this country, how about trying plums instead! Let’s go wild at our local farmers’ markets or farm shops. In most parts of the country there are also local and/or organic food delivery services. Buying locally-grown or produced goods is also more ‘loving’ to our local community. Check out local craft fairs or shops… they probably won’t meet all of our needs, but we might be able to buy gifts and household items there, instead of from abroad.

Ask: have the people involved in growing/harvesting/packaging this food/cotton, etc, been paid a fair wage? What are their working conditions like? Does the shop/company I’m buying from have an ethical policy that I know about and respect? If we want goods from other countries, let’s support the fair trade movement. This encompasses a whole range of foods, clothes and other items– far more than just bananas and coffee!

Ask: what is the packaging surrounding the products I buy made from – can it be recycled? What chemicals have been used, and what CO2 emissions have been given off, so that this product can be made? Have GM ingredients been involved? Opt for organic or ‘eco’ products where possible, that are sensibly packaged. This means less harm to our God-given soil/rivers … for us today, and for those who will inhabit this planet in the future (our great-great-grandkids perhaps?!). It’s said that climate change will be caused by us, the rich, but will be paid for by the poor.

Yes, shopping in this way WILL cost more money. There’s no point in denying that when you pay the ‘real’ price of things, it costs more than the ‘pretend’ price… the one where people, environment and animals get exploited. This ties back into the idea of ‘living simply’; the question of ‘Do I need this?’. If we cut back on what we don’t need, and use the money saved to shop as outlined above, we will probably break even! Consider the ‘luxury’ items we buy… could we spend less on these, so we can re-direct the money to be spent on shopping in a more loving way: CDs, DVDs, clothes, eating out (coffee shops/restaurants), kids’ toys, adults’ toys, make-up, magazines, alcohol, holidays, decorating, etc?
Yes, this does raise all sorts of sticky dilemmas for Christians: Is it OK if I work for a bank, or for Tescos? What about the dishwasher I just bought? How on earth can I stop buying ‘branded’ clothes for my teenager? And so on. These are things that we could all be giving more thought to, challenging as it is.
This isn’t about being all gloomy and feeling like martyrs. God wants us all to enjoy life – to have a blast – to live life to the full! But this is all possible, with or without vast collections of material possessions. Let’s heighten our awareness of the fact that many others in this world don’t get to live life to the full, and in many cases, this is our fault. Let’s show them God’s love through how we choose to shop.

1] Isaiah 58 and Amos 5, for example
2] Gen 1:26-30, 2:15,19
3] see Acts 2:43-47

what would jesus blog?

This article was published on ‘thesheepdip’ website, Oct 06.

One new blog is born every second. In fact there are currently more than 14.2 million blogs, which is up from the March 2005 count of 7.8 million [1]. While America is in the lead (as always) blog growth has more recently been spotted here in the UK, as well as in Japan, Korea, China, France, and Brazil. In case you’ve been locked in a garden shed/confessional box/Big Brother House for the past year or so, a ‘blog’ is a ‘weblog’… in other words, a ‘log’ (record, account, diary) that’s available to read on the ‘world wide web’. Simple!
This ‘blogosphere’ is immensely varied, with blogs being used for both personal and professional purposes/pleasure. Blogs have the potential to contain text, images, film, audio… it’s endless really. You can use your blog as an ongoing list of links to other websites you think are worth visiting, including a brief comment about each site mentioned. Or as more of an online diary: ‘Yesterday we went to tea with Auntie Agnus and had some fabulous rock-cakes’… that sort of thing. The reality is that most blogs are a mixture of the two. Blogs have been used as campaign sites, as art projects, online magazines and as places for community networking. ‘Moblogs’ are blogs to which people with camera phones automatically send pictures and text.
Blogs tend to reflect the personalities, imagination and wit of their owners and it’s probably this personal touch which has made them so popular. They are free and easy to set up and use, allowing for the instant publication of ideas and for interactive conversations, through comments, with friends or strangers. Much of their appeal has been boosted because readers can subscribe to them, for free, to stay updated of any new posts automatically.
So what of Christians and blogs… a useful tool for evangelism, discipleship and beyond… or a complete distraction, waste of time and a potential danger?

Suzanne Elvidge,a freelance writer, comments:
“The world now really is technology-driven – Internet, mobile phones, email, blogs… the list goes on. As Christians, we need to grasp these opportunities or risk being left behind. More than this, though – these are all things that
can boost our Christian lives by improving communication, expanding our
knowledge, creating otherwise-impossible opportunities for outreach, and
just giving us life in all its fullness. As with all of life, there are
risks and dangers, both technological and personal.�

She also advices that bloggers don’t put photos of their children on their blogs. Others go further and suggest you don’t even mention their names, but just use their initials. Some bloggers, out of respect for other people, try to hold back from putting photos of anyone (child or adult) on their blog, and give the full names of people who have given their consent to do so.

Keen blogger Richard says:
“I think it is a key to ask yourself : Why are you blogging? My blog is in part a resource, in part a journal but hopefully a conversation. It gives me somewhere to air ideas and get feedback. As someone committed to mission and often on the edge of mainstream Christian evangelical thought it is good to bounce ideas around. It’s a group blog… essentially there is a community element, and people blog about anything and everything, some are focussed posts, some are broad, but people comment as they wish, how you respond and what you do with those comments is down to you and God. I have a good accountability structure through work and friends but blogging is another avenue that helps in my journey with God.â€?

It must be noted that nearly anything and everything can become a complete waste of God-given time if we end up obsessed, absorbed and out of control: TV, novels, sport, knitting (!)… you name it, it’s a potential hazard in the making. Spending hours on end either writing or reading/commenting on blogs could cause you to neglect your spouse/children/friends in need/church, etc. That said, in its defense, at least blogging is an interactive ‘sport’. Watching endless hours of Friends re-runs or BBC News24 might be relaxing/educational, but we are a mere passive observer. Commenting on your blog about the latest world news, teen fad, or even about those Friends re-runs puts you in control, and you can decide: Is this thing I’m discussing positive or negative, when viewed at with ‘biblical’ eyes? What can Christians do regarding this issue? How can we respond to each other, and to the un-churched on this matter? And so on. This is not to give the impression that Christians who blog do, or must, give ‘on the pulse’ theological comment on any and everything they blog about… just that there is the potential to do so, as and when one desires. Often, blogs are just a bit of fun – a more pleasant and interactive way to spend a Saturday than in front of the box/vegetable patch/ironing board, etc (for a good ‘Christian’ laugh, see www.wibsite.com).
Another issue is that of our treatment of our fellow-bloggers. As Christians, ‘loving others’ is paramount, whatever our career, hobby, sport, etc. According to the Bible, it’s non-negotiable. This isn’t to say that we need to agree with everyone’s views and opinions, but that we need to show respect and empathy, and not disrespect or out-and-out rudeness. This applies whether we’re adding comments to any posts on any blogs – Christian or otherwise. One disadvantage of web communication in general is that you loose the face-to-face aspect: no body language to read, no knowledge of whether something is said with a hint of sarcasm or slightly tongue-in-cheek, and so on. Therefore, our best bet is to take our time when posting on our own blogs, or putting comments to others’ posts… stay calm, stay respectful even if you disagree, stay in control of your anger and emotions in general, stay loving. If the ‘discussion’ doesn’t seem to be going anywhere and you really disagree strongly, perhaps it’s time to move on to blog-pastures new!

Political blogger Paul warns:
“There are a lot of extremist bloggers about and by that I mean that as a blog-reader you should be aware of the relevant dangers of the chance for extremist views to be aired as much as they are on Websites and on radio! As a blogger, one has to be careful about voicing opinions so speedily and off-the-cuff because of the quickness of getting those views on line. In other words, don’t be near your blog when in a towering rage about some issue! Blog pros – Faster information (the Bagdhad Blogger was an inspiration, as he was a unique source of information during the Iraq war). Blog cons- Less time to digest that information… can easily rely on unconfirmed and second-hand information.â€?

As Paul comments, Christians must be aware of whom they are allowing to influence their beliefs and worldview. Granted, this can be said for all forms of media – what we watch on TV, read in magazines, listen to on the radio, etc… but blogs are very ‘immediate’, uncensored and unedited! Journalists aren’t too bothered if a newspaper won’t take their exclusive story, due to their ‘facts’ being slightly dubious… they’ll just stick their ‘scoop’ on their blog.
At the same time, as Christians we can opt to take advantage of the potential influence of our blogs… the ‘Technorati report’ [2] has highlighted the fact that some blogs are actually read by more people than read mainstream media websites. For example, the ‘boing boing’ blog is more influential (has more visitors) than: The Times, The Economist, Fox News, MTV and USA Today!

Nick Page, perhaps better-known for his many books (mainly Christian) than his blog says:
“The great things about blogging is that anyone can do it. And the worst thing about blogging is that anyone can do it. Like all the internet, there’s no quality control. So you get great blogs… and then you get some woman in mid-west America talking about her cat or something. Good writers will find an audience. In fact, with the internet, good writers really will find an audience because they can always get published. I tend to use my blog (www.nickpage.co.uk) to share enthusiasm for something – a place I’ve visited, a film I’ve watched, a book I’ve read. I actually think that’s one of the best uses of blogs – for us to talk about the things that excite us. Those kind of things bring people together and maybe that’s what a blog is really all about: bringing people together. It’s not a diary in the classic sense of the word, because it’s not private. It’s more like a conversation or a chat on the phone. Except the phone in this case happens to have about a trillion other people on the end of the line.â€?

So take heart, all you bloggers, blog-readers… and those who are reading this thinking: I really must get me one of those. Undoubtedly there are dangers to be aware of and pitfalls to bear in mind. Essentially though, the age of blogdom brings with it many gigabytes of opportunities, possibilities and enjoyment.

1] http://news.bbc.co.uk, 2/8/05

2] www.technorati.com

Doing December Differently

xmas tree (in case you didn't know!) this book has very recently been published by Iona Books… Doing December Differently: An alternative Christmas Handbook (by Nicola Slee and Rosie Miles). These ladies kindly did a talk for the ‘generous zone’ at Greenbelt when I asked them to on this topic… my link with them is that they had already asked if they could quote me in their book! It’s not every one gets quoted in a book, so I was quite excited, but the bit they extracted (from my Church Times article on ‘generous xmas’ last year) was v boring… anyone could have said it imo! (p153, re xmas trees)

Still, I am happy to have been a small (if boring) part of the book… and I have since found quite a large chunk of stuff that was also ‘extracted’ from that article (and been altered just slightly and a few bits added, but not much) pp 134-135, in case anyone’s got the book in front of them, which is highly unlikely!

there’s an awful lot in it; i haven’t digested it all yet, but am working on it.
Highly recommend if for anyone disilusioned with the whole commercial side of the season.

clay-dream believer

oh happy clay

yes, the greenbelt piccies aren’t finished yet… here is Tilly, v involved with her clay sculpture for the ‘city of clay’ thingy. They loved doing this… did a similar thing last year i think. And i love it that greenbelt has this sort of thing on offer… so random… so fun… and sorta meaningful too!
Fraser behind her, with his back to us… his sculpture was a more private matter, clearly!

(the title of this post was supposed to resemble ‘daydream believer’ by the Monkeys. i am telling you this just in case you are not a big a monkey’s fan as i am!)

radio ga ga

un-generous wine-hogger (i am) just been interviewed on this radio station, about generous.

the presenter found generous at GB this year and wanted to do a ‘piece’ on it.

went OK – v hard to summerise something like generous, but i prob got all the relevant info across to the masses (!)

the more coverage generous can get the better… must ask tony blair to mention it in his next/last (?) speech.

PS the piccie of me and the gang @ GB… i’m sure i was sharing our (biodynamic/organic) wine, but it looks as tho i’m hogging it, or showing off that i’ve just finished the whole bottle on my ownsome! (The Pot Noodle tub was not bought or brought by us, as we’ve not bought for eons, as you can’t get local or organic varieties (!) but friends had one their daughter started and then abandoned… hubbie and i descended on it like half-starved vultures and consumed within seconds, making those kinds of noises that they make in those rude pot noodle adverts, proving that the adverts really do know what they’re talking about! those babies really are scrumptious…!)

festival daze

festival dazehome sweet home… or more urgently.. bath sweet smelling bath!
greenbelt was fab fab fab.


food – this vendor just near mainstage that sold crepes, and also had these 2 HUGE woks full of fried potato. I had a ‘grande royal’ which seemed to be fried pot, sweet carrot with a fab sausage on top, that had been cooked in white wine… it was SMASHIN.

comedy – jude simpson and rev gerald ambulance were both, as always, totally stupendous. Rev gerald’s act was the same as it was 2 years ago, but this didn’t stop my enjoyment of it… sometimes it’s even funnier when you know what’s gonna happen! Jude was wonderful… good to bump into her on one occasion and catch up… that gal got talent! saw Paul Kerensa at last Last Orders.. made me laf. A line he used was so funny i still keep thinking about it now and chuckling to myself, but this is a family blog, so i’ll not tell you what it was! I wouldn’t put him up their with the Rev or Jude, but that’s prob coz i’m such big fans of theirs, for various reasons.

music – kids loved daniel beddingfield; it was great to see their faces! i liked a band on last night of Last Orders, a bloke and a lass, can’t remember their title but it had the word ‘lightening’ or ‘fire’ in it. they were amazing. also enjoyed ‘folk on’ that was in the same show. (sorry – i don’t really go to GB for the music, so can’t really comment!) hubbie loved candi staton… he has all the remixes of ‘you got the love’, and that’s a whole lotta remixes.

talks – well, i sat in on several ‘generous’ talks, which only seemed polite seeing as i had ‘commissioned’ them to do them! I wish i could have made it to more of them tho, but couldn’t due to other commitments and due to having kids! I have just realised that i didn’t get to any talks other than generous ones and the FT panel i was ‘producing’. Never mind. i don’t feel like i’ve missed out.

my stuff – interviewing Janey Lee Grace went well – she attracted a big crowd. She was v honest and open… i didn’t have to do much really!
The whole generous talks programme seemed to go smoothly, and the bits that didn’t will be used to improve things next year, no doubt! It was good to meet Katie who heads up ‘Frank water’… what a vision. Also good to meet David from Day choc company (who delighted my kids by giving them 6 Dubble bars each, just coz they are Dubble agents!) and Paul, chief exec Traidcraft. Mark who has just started up Clean Slate Clothing company was also quite inspirational. Jo Rathbourne of Eco-congregation was great to hook up with again… she also held her own at the last Last Orders, and was a star on my Fair Trade Panel! My own talk went OK… quite a good turn-out… difficult to fit it all in the hour tho! It was good working with Jerry, Sue, Peter and Claire in the generous ‘zone’… we all worked hard, which seemed to make things tick along pretty well, imo.
The Fair Trade panel was cool. Crosby was packed out, which was a good start. It was great sitting at the back, watching it all happen, knowing that i had sorted it out… what a rush! (as in ‘how exciting’ as opposed to ‘i was rushed). Again, they found it hard to fit all they needed to say in the hour, but Esther (from the Guardian) managed to let them each have their say… shame we ran out of time and could only take a couple of questions from the floor.

social-ness – it was so so cool to camp with friends this year… two families from our church that have kids same age as ours. It meant we had our own little party going on, alongside the festival, which was so good for us and kids. Likewise, it was wonderful to bump into so many friends and familiar faces this year… i admit that on several occasions i recognised a face, but didn’t have the courage to say hi… i’m sure I’d remember how i knew them if only i asked!
also good to have my sis ‘on tap’, as it were. she lives in Cheltenham so useful to go to hers during communion for showers/hot meal! (sshhhh, don’t tell anyone!). she is so gr8.

kids – our kids had a great (must think up more original words other than ‘great’ fab’ etc!) time, as per usual. Also as per usual they went to the 1st kids session, then refused to go again. I think they do enjoy it (all looks great to me!) but they’d rather hang out at the rest of the festival with us, which is fair enough i guess.
Tilly braved the YMCA climbing wall (as in the background of this piccie) and got a certificate… not bad for £2!

purchases – got smashing new bag and wallet from the ‘hemp’ stall (now everyone will think i’m a weed smoker, rather than understanding that i buy these products for environmental reasons!). Got some reduced price FT clothes. But best of all was the muddy books! the bookshop had a box of muddy books that said on it ‘make us an offer’. I took up a book worth £13 (i think) and another one worth £8. She said: £15 for the 2 books together? I said: how about £3 for that one and £2 for that one, and she looked glum and said OK! They were books i really wanted too – the 7 plots of stories, and ‘soil and soul’. Then i went back later, approached Steve who runs the bookshop, and asked him how much for 2 copies of that v popular ‘1st year with baby’ book, that were in muddy box. I said ‘ how about £2 each’. He laughed and said he needed to make a profit. I pointed out that he couldn’t sell them for anything back in the bookshops, and this was during the last few hours of the festival. He reluctantly agreed… and they were worth £8 each (and i have at least 2 pregnant pals at the mo). Oh hurrah hooray…i was so chuffed with myself! I nearly got carried away and considered spotting books i liked and dropping them in the mud when no one was looking… but stopped myself before things got too heavy.

well, there’s prob more to say, but if i try to think of it, will be here all day.
how was it for you?!

Greenbelt ahoy!

wallace... lookin' good!whoops – been an entire month since last posted anything here… been busy enjoying summer hols!
Off to the far off, exotic, sun-drenched, wildy tame and tamly wild (?) Greenbelt... today!

Going a day early coz helping in the GENEROUS area (see last post).

If you’re a fellow camper (one of the chosen 20,000) then check out this link for a special greenbelt weather forcast.

Last night i was swotting up on Janey Lee Grace, as I will be interviewing her. She sent me her book… started it; ought to finish it on the hour and 1/2 journey to the belt of green. Trying to remain calm as, for a start… she used to be in Wham!! (2 exclamation marks needed there; one belongs to the band, the other is me expressing amazement). She’s toured with the likes of George Michael, Boy George and Kim Wilde. Not many people can claim they’ve done that… and even less people can say that they have actually really truthfully done that!
Not only has she been interviewed numerous times, but whilst googling her i discovered that she even tutors on ‘how to be interviewed’. Whereas little ole me has only ever done a couple of interviews… and most have been via email. I guess Adrian Plass would be my biggest ‘name’, but email interviews are a whole lot easier, imo. (hubbie’s biggest name would have to be Anita Roddick, just to name drop, but again – email interview, not in front of real live breathing people).

Just about finished preparing my talk called – Simple Minds: 103 and 1/3 easy peasy ways to live more generously.
Think it will go OK. It’s a bit of my forts, mixed with quite a bit of ‘en masse’ brainstorming (hey – i can’t be left to do all the work). I am bringing several dubble bars to give out as prizes for some of the best ideas, so that should help.
For yr info, it’s on Sat, 3pm, Generous (Pulse). Oh, and Janey’s interview is on same day, same place, 2pm – if i can keep her talking, my talk can be nice and short… (thx 4 coming everyone… do remember to live simply and generously… here, have some chocolate!).

If you’re at all interested in generous living, then DO call in to our ‘area’ in the Pulse on Fri eve, 8-9pm… pick up a programme… loudly ask ‘is annie here?’ and then i can say a big hi (and bombard you with fliers and the like).

Read several books recently that haven’t got round to reviewing on this site… might try to do that after GB, might not… don’t hold yr breath.

but i digress… kids are v keen to see daniel beddingfield (bless) and i’m quite interested to see nick park (talking, not singing). Always been big wallace and grommit fan.

oh, and kids have been making ‘festival chairs’ with cardboard boxes (it’s all we can afford for them to play with… the poor little mites… please oh please give generously to the porthouse fund… large cheques or visa accepted). Do check it out… v funny! (the link actually takes you to richard’s blog, and you need to click on the link from there. It was hubbie who took their play to ‘the next level’… he’d like us to think he’s been working really hard recently, as he works from home, but it’s things like this which make me wonder…).

well, here’s to another year of wondering if we need to take our wellies with us when we make the long long hike from our tent to the ‘village’, or if our well-worn trainers will keep our tootsies dry if the heaven’s open… oh, and lots of fun n deep Godly stuff too…

GB…Best Bits

if i don’t write this tonight i’ll never get it done as 2moro am all back to normal (ish).

i think what i enjoyed the most this year was the social aspect. We camped alongside good friends (richard and lori passmore) and Rich came in useful when a group of loud persons decided to party outside our tents around 2:20am one morning! My sister (Zoe Stephenson) also came each day, as she lives in Chelt, and several of her friends were around also, so we got to know them a bit. Oh, also i went to hers one day for a shower… that was a real highlight! Hanging out just in front of the yurt, near the TT tent was one of our fave pastimes… the kids loved playing on those white bars that surround the arena, or hanging out in the yert with unknown teenagers, or playing with the ‘poi’ I bought them (those balls on strings that everyone was throwing around!).
So yes, it was v sociable, more so than last 2 years, and perhaps even more so than when i went as teenager, way back when.

Enjoyed hanging out with guys from ‘between the lines’ venue and also from ‘generous’ project… my 2 areas of interest. My workshop with Penny (Culliford) called ‘finding your inner bridget’ (re chick lit) went well… had a fairly packed venue… got lots of positive feedback, etc. Our signing was busier than last year… altho I use the word ‘busy’ in the very loosest of senses. Still, our bookshop ‘escort’ (i told her she really needs to ask for a less dodgy title) made us tea, which made us feel like divas, so that was cool.

I was thrilled to meet Nick Page, as i am a big fan of ‘and now let’s move into a time of nonsense’, that i have reviewed on this blog somewhere (and a fan of some of the other 3 billion books he’s written) and Rev Alistair McCollum (whom i 1st met on an SU holiday many moons ago, and then again last year at GB) and Conrad Gempf (I have added all these guy’s blogs to my blogroll, for yr info).

I was also happy to meet some lovely Subway-ers (Christian writers e-list) who were involved with some of the BTL sessions. Met Jude Simpson (i am huge fan) briefly… missed her show tho, but bet it was good – i went to it last year, nearly wet myself (in a good way!) . Also good to meet Generous-ers (Greenbelt ‘year of living generously’ project)… would have gone to every session in the generous zone if i’d been able to!

My ‘generous’ session went well. Neither Bob, Bono or Leo turned up (see my ‘fantasy men’ post a few days ago!) but it went ok nevertheless. I was helped by my fab friend Lori Passmore who was v ‘generous’ to help me out, even tho i only asked her a few days before GB! We had about 50+ people, which wasn’t bad for an area which was only really designed for 10-20 people to attend a session in. Main message was: buy less stuff in general, cut down, cut back… use money saved to shop locally, fair trade, organic, eco-friendly, all that jazz. Lots of nodding heads at the end was encouraging, and people afterwards coming to me and telling me that they agreed with everything i said, can’t be a bad thing!

I also helped with a couple of other sessions and was on a ‘blogging’ panel, but i don’t think it much compared to the ‘spirituality of blogging’ by the great blog-gods: TSK, Maggie Dawn, Jonny Baker, et al.

Penny and I found ourselves yet again spending eons of time doing interviews. We went to the GB FM area at 5pm on the Fri, as we had been invited to come then… only to be told that they couldn’t ‘do’ us then but could we come back at other times. We spoke to a BBC Radio lady (who was ‘helping’ the GB FM team…!) for a while… we must have been there for about an hour in all. Then I went the next morning to be on air talking about my ethical shopping session, then penny and I met up with some nice ladies at the Mocha coffee cafe, to do an interview which was taped and used later (re our chick-lit w.shop). I mustn’t complain, it’s all good publicity, etc, and I am fine doing interviews (not nervous, like with w.shops, etc)… but it meant poor old hubby had to have the kids for even more of the time… whoops!

We (Pen and I) also got invited to be interviewed at ‘last orders’ on the last eve. This was one of the best things ever, not just coz we got interviewed, but coz we got to BE there… soooooooooooo funny! Really enjoy comedy and stuff. LOVED ‘Tent TV’… such a shame so many GB-ers prob don’t know what this is… it really should be played from the main-stage! Rev Gerald Ambulance also there… I was just a few metres away from the gr8 man… i have been such a fan since his 1st writings in Disclosure, eons ago. Kept meaning to go and chat but chickened out, and also he was quite busy… err… changing clothes and stuff! Still, one day…!

Leo Hickman interview was good – fab guy.

The Proclaimers were worth it.

Oh, and Fraser getting awarded one of the ‘tree’ pictures by the artist was amazing… see ‘visual greenbelt’ post for a pic of this… he is only 6, and the artist read his poem in the ‘tree poem’ book published at GB and loved it, and decided to award him the picture, publicly, at the end of his interview in the BTL tent. It was a gr8 moment… hubby has just hung it on his wall… it’s framed and everything!

I’m sure there’s more, but that’s all i can muster up for now (“hurrah for that!” they all cry)… oh, the pizza was also nice, as was the pistachio flave sheep’s milk icecream!