Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Easter Weekend Adventures

I have been very blessed by the generosity of my good friend Sammy's family these last five days. They took me to Spring Harvest in Minehead, and treated me like one of the family, which I love.

I had also been invited to as wedding which was over the same weekend that Spring Harvest covered, and, not liking to do things by halves, I went to both. I got up bright and early on Saturday morning and travelled for 5 hours to get from Minehead to Truro. The journey itself didn't actually take 5 hours, but to avoid any risk of missing the train I had to get from Taunton, I caught the first bus of the day at 7.15, which left me with a 2 hour wait at Taunton station. When I arrived at the Monkey Tree caravan park, where we were staying for the weekend, I had a lovely surprise - my friend Nommi, who moved out to America a year and a half ago, was there! I had been told she wouldn't be able to make it, so it was wonderful to see her.

The wedding was absolutely amazing. After a beautiful service in a very old chapel in the middle of the countryside, we went to Kate's (the bride) family home for the reception. We were greeted by the soothing tones of a jazz band, and a champagne reception with delicious canapes. I was incredibly grateful for the canapes, having only eaten a croissant for breakfast, and it was 3.30pm by this point. I spent a considerable amount of time during the champagne reception dancing around the garden with Hope, who is perhaps the most beautiful 5 year old I've ever seen - she's one of the leader of my church's five children, and is just delightful.

Easter morning saw the cooking of breakfast for 15 people, followed by the easter egg hunt which I had organised with my two housemates-to-be. Due to the boys' tactics of locking the caravan's doors to hinder the girls' progress, a lot of jumping through windows happened. I definitely had as much fun watching the frantic searching, as the hunters had searching for their prey. As soon as we'd finished the easter egg hunt, I had to go to the station to go back to Minehead. I caught the station with a few minutes to spare, and that's where the fun started. I went to text Sammy to let her know I was on my way back to find that I had lost my
phone.

I've been realizing that I am quite good at planning how to get somewhere, but tend not to work out how I am going to get back. When I went travelling, this tendency characterised pretty much everything I did. I knew how and when I was getting to Australia, but had no idea what I was doing when I got there. While in Oz, I drove some friends from the Bible college to someone's house in a suburb about an hour and a half from where I was staying. It was fine getting there, as I had someone navigating, but didn't think twice about how I would get back. Somehow I managed to find my way back in the pouring rain at night (thanks God). Pretty amazing as I have the navigational skills of an ox -actually, that's probably an offense to oxen!

So, the same was the case with getting back to Minehead, I hadn't massively thought through the fact that I was travelling on Easter Sunday, so the probability of a limited to no bus service running was quite likely. This was going to be a major problem if I got to Taunton (which is an hour away from Minehead) to find there weren't any buses, and I didn't have my phone. I started wracking my brain for friends' mobile numbers, and the only number I could recall was Mum and Dad's.

Thankfully there was a bus when I got to Taunton, and when I got back to Butlins, I found a note from Sammy to let me know that Jo had texted her to let her know I'd left my phone. Praise the Lord! She informed me that they would be playing mini golf at 4pm so I could find them there. As I didn't have my phone and I don't own a watch, and my sun-reading skills are not up to scratch, I could only estimate the time. I thought it was nearly 4 and the first person I asked thought the same. Great. So I waited a while - no idea how long. No sign of sammy and her family, so I went into the skyline centre and saw a clock saying 3.20. Hmmm. Asked someone who said it was 4.20, but I thought the watch said 3.40. Hmmmmmm. Giving up on accurate clocks and people's ability to tell the time, I headed back to our chalet to write in my journal and wait for sammy's family to come back at 5 when we would go to dinner. I still have no clue what time I arrived back, or how long I waited for - it was very odd not knowing the time and not being able to contact anyone.

On the last evening at Spring Harvest, we went to the cinema to see Amazing Grace. I have wanted to see this film since it came out, so was really looking forward to it, but when sammy said that 9.30pm was going to be the best time to go so we didn't miss any of the things we wanted to go to, I knew there was a risk that I would not manage to see the film in its entirety. Surprise surprise, the inevitable happened - I fell asleep. It caught me completely unawares - I had been doing so well, feeling totally awake, then Bam, I was out for the count. To add insult to injury, I then proceeded to start sleep talking at a really serious point where someone says, 'Conscience is everything', then there is a prolonged pause. So there was no disguising my sleep talking from the rest of the cinema.Ah well.

Little sister's coming to visit today - first trip to Bristol, so that's exciting, although I'm feeling a bit sick from eating too many yoghurt coated raisins - hopefully I'll be feeling better by the time Sarah gets here. On Friday I'm heading to the Bay to see my wonderful family which I'm looking forward to a lot.

Just for my record, as much as anyone else's interest, last week my running buddy and I ran our fastest yet - 8.47 minutes to the mile, and that was with a chesty cough.

Monday, 2 April 2007

how to overcome 'man-flu' the female way...

As you all know, I have not been particularly well this last week. But, because when I get a cold, I do not classify it as 'man flu', which seems to warrant spending at least 36 hours in bed, incapacitated, unable to do anything for oneself other than groan every now and then in the hope that someone will give some sympathy, I have continued life as normal.

Instead of spending time in bed, I went tobogganing with the kids from church, which I would highly recommend as an effective alternative remedy to all the males out there who think that bed-rest is the only way to rid yourself of a cold. Rather than keeping your cold-germs to yourself, you get to share them with everyone else, thus removing the selfish aspect of having a cold. Even better, follow my example and spend time with children, who are guaranteed to pass the cold around not only their own families, but all the children at school. So, not only are you not selfish with your cold, you are eliciting generosity.

I have just been on the phone, and my friend totally re-emphasised the ridiculousness of man-flu. Her fiancee has apparently suffered from a 'health breakdown', (female definition: common cold), which is the physical alternative to a mental breakdown, according to her fiancee. Absolutely hilarious. There were tears of laughter involved when she recounted to me the seriousness with which her husband to be had described his 'health breakdown.'

So the rest of my weekend continued as such...Saturday evening was spent planning an easter egg hunt for easter sunday morning, which will be spent at a static caravan park in Devon. My future housemates and I had great fun planning ways to make our friends look as ridiculous as possible, providing entertainment for everyone else at the caravan park. Upon returning home, rather than going to bed, I proceded to peel 40 odd potatoes and enough parsnips and carrots for 9 people for sunday lunch. Goodness knows where this stroke of genius came from - cooking a roast for 9 people when you have to be out of the house by 9am, and not knowing quite how many extra people might get invited at the end of church. Anyone would think I like a bit of a challenge.

Of course, the meal preparations could not go by without a near death experience. Well, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but I did have vivid images before my eyes of the house burning down. I'd popped up to Helen's flat upstairs to check on the roast potatoes (not enough shelves in our oven for everything), and managed to tip the tray of roast potatoes and burning oil over the back of the oven shelf, plummeting them towards the flames. Fortunately it was all ok as the potatoes decided that they liked the safety of their roasting dish far too much to risk jumping completely into the flames. So nothing was burned, and the house still stands in one piece, but the potential for a fire was definitely there.

By the end of lunch, we were incredibly full, to the point of not being able to move from our seats for a good while. This might have had something to do with the rather extravagant desserts, consisting of chocolate souffles and lemon squares (hence the photo), of which, everyone had both, but managed to leave plenty to provide for our breakfast and lunch today.

So, to recapitulate, in order to overcome man-flu the female way, simply fill your time with tobogganing, egg hunt planning, parsnip peeling and potential fires, and top it all off with a good amount of sugary desserts, and you'll be cured.