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?!


  1. Reply

    It was a pleasure to finally meet, and both Dear Bob and Love Jude are great books! And I wish you all the best with the new projects… keep typing!!!!!

  2. annie.porthouse


    Gee, thanks Daz!

    Yep, it was cool to meet up and multitask with you (chat, laugh, whilst drinking tea, whilst watching the world (of Greenbelt) go by from the Grandstand.

    Without getting too gushy, please note that I really will be forever grateful for your support. (Sorry if you’re still receiving hate mail in response to my books. Perhaps change your name? Or move?)

  3. Reply

    It’s amazing that every single one of your highlights are things I didn’t get along to – but I had a fabulous Greenbelt too. There is such a broad and diverse programme! Best bits for me included seeing Daniel Bye’s world premier of ‘The Price of Everything’; the dazzling performance of Okham’s Razor; hearing the Unthanks play a favourite King Crimson song; hearing Prof Richard Wilkinson presenting the evidence from his book The Spirit Level; The Methodist Modern Art Collection; Mavis Staples’ band; Meryl Doney’s practical advice on art curation; John Bell’s winsome wisdom – and the one thing we appear to have in common – Pie Minister Pies!!! Love Greenbelt!

  4. annie.porthouse


    Hi Peter – nice to meet you! Yes, the programme is so broad… if it was put end to end I suspect we’d all be there for several weeks! We saw Okham’s Razor last year and thought they were ace. I attempted to download the Methodist Art commentary as an MP3 from the GB website before the festival, but failed. Then when I went to view it I couldn’t be bothered to use one (naughty me) so perhaps that’s why I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I know nothing about modern art (and it’s probably not even called ‘modern art’ but I know nothing about it, so I don’t know what it’s called!) but had heard good things about this collection, but felt a bit let down, and didn’t stay very long. I suspect it was all very clever and oozed talent; I just don’t ‘get it’! I like the ‘drawings’ page on your site, especially the coke can.

  5. Reply

    Thanks so much for coming to the talk, Annie – sorry we didn’t get to chat afterwards (Penny did explain!). Good photos – who is that woman whose books were on the shelf above yours in the bookshop?
    And oh yes, wasn’t Gerald Ambulance brilliant?

  6. Pingback: On Having Dreamt of Home « Website and blog of the Scottish poet Andrew Philip

  7. annie.porthouse


    Yes Ruth… it genuinely was a matter of ‘woman wets herself during talk on crime fiction’ (and you can bet there would be an official GB photographer to hand, during such moments… not pretty) or me rushing out as soon as you ended the talk and started the question/answer session! And then I couldn’t return as had promised to meet up with the family for pizza.

    I enjoyed your talk, especially as I have little experience of crime fiction. Not sure it’s anything I’ll ever dabble in, although what I’m working on now would probably be defined as some sort of ‘thriller’, I imagine.

    I wondered if you’d spot that I’d tagged your books in my GB pics… how nice of the bookshop people to put our books so close together… wonder what they found to talk about…!
    Yes, Rev GA was fab. Not that I’d expect him to be anything less.

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