Thursday, June 29, 2006
Tonight N, my colleague, had a fund raising evening at her house, called 'The Pampered Chef'' which is a do like a tupperware party where someone cooks nice food, and we all get a bit, and also admire the kitchen equipment and buy some. We were all crammed in N's dining room and me, Rosemarie and Mary Anne were on the back row, which just encourages naughtiness. I have bought an expensive chopper. I'm sure it will be very useful. We also had a raffle, and I'm sure we will make some money for the charity, so it's all for good.
Went to the Noke hotel this afternoon to meet up with Nicky and DC for a cup of tea, and gate crash their 'meaning of life' conversation. After N left, our business papers were signed, and headed paper designed, and our informal business of the last 10 years or so has become formalised - after two meetings with our accountant (RA) when DC and RA talk important business jargon and I make tea and try and look intelligent, and not give business women a bad name. Want management b*ll*x, training, assertiveness, stress management, facilitation, dramatherapy, sound or lighting, event management - we're your man.
The strange timing of the day, and early morning blogging meant I had no breakfast, lunch or dinner..I am sitting up in bed with a coffee and a large packet of Minstrels. How naughty am I?
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
You know where this is leading don't you? The phone bill I have been dreading just came in..you know what? (No?) Less than normal. Thanks, whoever took my phone, you're not as bad as I thought.....
Came home from work slightly early last night - a meeting I was at ended early - and L who is leaving bought us all Green & Black chocolates, so not such a boring meeting, and I got a tissue out and pretended I was going to cry (see earlier blog for explanation) which made us laugh, so then I thought, go back to work or go home and watch Wimbledon, so I did, but via a shop which sold M&Ms, so I came home, but sad person that I am, checked blogs and e-mails first, then made a cup of tea, then sat down to watch the tennis and caught the last two strokes of the Agassi match, which upset me, as I lvoe Andre to bits and would have his babies, even without the pony tail and earrings he is gorgeous - those eyes - sorry I missed it, so I drank tea and ate nearly a whole family packet of M&Ms and felt sick and went to sleep and missed Andrew young Scottish guy winning his match, then at five to seven Clive came in and woke me up and said 'What's for dinner?' and I went to walk the dog cos the thought of dinner made me feel unwell again, and I walked and rang someone I knew driving in a car so they wouldn't fall asleep, and said I had all this energy and I couldn't sit still - I even kicked a football back to a gang of lads and they cheered! and I explained to driving friend - who was trying to drive in peace and listen to nice music, tough - about the M&Ms and he said it sounded like a sugar hit and I said he was probably right, so I walked home and Clive had cooked the chicken stir fry with black bean sauce cos he was hungry and tired of waiting, so I sat and ate most of it, but couldn't finish it so the dog got some nice bits of chicken..and I said thank you for dinner that was very nice, and Clive said would I like a yoghurt, and I said no thanks but you have one if you like, and he said I will, so that was the conversation over for the evening and we watched TV and I fell asleep til it was time for bed.....
Bed time is for reading the paper, doing Sudokus, reading blogs, playing the marble game and generally enjoying my own space until 1am which is silly cos then I am too wired to sleep, but then I read my book for a bit, which is by Nick Hornby, can't you tell my writing is inspired by him, only not so much bad language..bloody hell, I had better get up I will be late for work now....
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
But it's funny how in other areas I feel so undervalued, and misunderstood..I mean a certain organisation asked for help in managing volunteers a few years ago. I responded, went to the office, had a meeting with the Volunteer Manager, discussed volunteer management, wrote a report after making some suggestions of changes they should make..and heard nothing more. In some ways, I was ahead of my time...three years or so later, they set up a Volunteer Development Group..but am I asked to be part of it? No. They hold Volunteer workshop days and pay an outside facilitator lots of money..and come up with strategies I had suggested three years earlier.... am I bitter? You bet! Cos it feeds into the bit of me that is so insecure, and the feeling that some people don't 'get' me. (Katie, you haven't met me, it's ok not to get me!!!!)
Stupid things..I wasn't going to mention, but now I have set off down this self destructive path....looking at a certain blog of pics of a crowd of beautiful people in a pub in London...you can see everyone as clear as a bell..except me..you can see the back of my head behind Laura...is it just careless photography..or is it deliberate?????
I am so glad I have friends who do get me. The good things to have come out of the last couple of years of hard times is sharing and opening up to people, in person, via text, e-mail and blog, is that I truly feel I have made new friends who really like me and 'get' me, and that means so much to me...
I didn't share a whole lot of the Iona experience, except that I cried a lot, but friends were really there for me, specially my room buddy, thank you,and new friends too, like P and E, and Martin - now there's a new friend worth a mention - Caroline and I nearly had a date with him in Bristol, but maybe next time.... then S, once I had got to Cheltenham, and shared the lvoley John Bell's talk with me (I asked him where my mum and dad were. asking JB is the next best thing to talking to Jesus in person...) and S was able to his caring, student minister thing, and try and answer my questions and heal my hurt....it has helped so much..then after my recent 'where are they now?' blog, K has sent me some lvoely lvoely long e-mails with her thoughts..and even spent time on her retreat praying for me - now I feel Guilt about taking up time on Her Retreat...). I am very, very blessed and should be always grateful...
The plus side is that people turn to me for help in difficult times. I am great for organising distant emergency accommodation in times of stress!!!
Monday, June 26, 2006
But this week I have had an Eeyore week. Definitely. Not Much Smiling. Cold, lonely field. Sadness and such. Not Much Fun. (A comment on the state of mind more than anything.) Lack of self worth. I know, I shouldn't rely on other people to give me that, it should come from within....but it doesn't help when you go to a guy's gig - twice in a row - and it's not worth a mention: then you promote it to a friend, she turns up and hey - it's special! And I even bought a CD. TTch. Self esteem - on the floor. With the thistles. And Tiggers don't like thistles.
Have tried some deep, searching talking today, with a Good Friend. He was late which really p*ssed me off, why does the optimist in me expect otherwise? Because to make the effort to turn upon time would really do my self worth good. Do you know, there are no answers, only more questions?
Anyway - good stuff. Saturday - lunch in the sun with Jacky and Peter - I can't believe what I texted Peter on Thursday and offered to give him for his birthday - good job he knows I was joking - and Jacky. Sunday - another morning pottering and cleaning for Laura and Mec coming over, and James bringing a friend from work...he texted me today to thank me for behaving and not being embarrassing..what can he mean?? We watched the footy, shouted at the telly, ate and drank loads then had a barbecue after. Hey, let's do it all again on Saturday!!!!
I know some people say if you don't have anything meaningful to say on a blog then don't blog. Say less, reflect more.
Believe me , I spend my every waking moment reflecting. Sorry the results are not too brilliant. I am only sorry I had my good phone pinched - at least then you got good pictures. Oh, I'll find a random one to put in to break the monotony.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Have been on a bit of a downward spiral this week, struggling with thoughts and feelings which are quite difficult and I think use up a great deal of mental and emotional energy, leaving me tired and a bit removed from the planet, hence my (brief) blog silence.
Friday saw me and Clive, Jill and Ian head up to Sloane Square to see the new Tom Stoppard play, Rock and Roll. I knew I was not in the mood, and was unsociable I know, and slept on the train on the way up, and a bit during the play it has to be said! And on the way back. The play was good, hard work but with amazingly good music to take us from 1968 to present day, and to provide the atmosphere of changing political and social climate, both here and in Czechoslovakia. If only my mind could have connected with it a little more....
Spent some time alone pottering in the house today, and realised I need a bit of solitude, thinking and processing time. I am processing sadness, anger, confusion, wandering in the wilderness....I feel very angry and let down... but that is for me to deal with, and not for this blog..and it's half one in the morning. As usual, just me in bed with my laptop....how sad is that......
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Anyway, as I was saying (can't believe I'm doing this...) I'm Sally, who are you? (To answer, copy and paste into comments).
01. Who are you?
02. Are we friends?
03. When and how did we meet?
04. Do/Did you have a crush on me?
05. Would you kiss me?
06. Describe me in one word.
07. What was your first impression?
08. Do you still think that way about me now?
09. What reminds you of me?
10. If you could give me anything what would it be?
11. How well do you know me?
12. When’s the last time you saw me?
13. Ever wanted to tell me something but couldn’t?
14. Are you going to put this on your blog/journal and see what I say about you?
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
I went out to the kitchen just before the end to make coffee and missed Sweden equalising. It sure annoyed Clive but doesn't make a huge difference re the next round. Having Michael Owen injured will. Oh am I sounding like someone who cares???? Nearly Wimbledon. Now you're talking.....
Never mind. Tired and hormonal. Go to sleep..yes, am sleeping the sleep of the blessed these days, just pass out til morning, lovely..then tomorrow evening, the Steve Lawson gig. Yay! Can buy his new CD. Yay! Um....referring to my blog a month ago, when I went to his last gig, think I was in a bad mood then... and the month before...regular as clockwork. Please don't let it put you off, Darren, I'd lvoe to see you. David has a church meeting to go to. Ttch. Can't get the friends......
Monday, June 19, 2006
All ceremonies done. Check.
Off the anti-depressants. Check.
End of bereavement counselling. Check.
Old mobile phone working and old phone number restored. Check.
Friends all around who lvoe and care for me. Check.
Had some good times over the last few days. Talking and eating and gossiping with Caroline. Trying out her new wet room shower with the most scary hole in the floor with a chomping, snarling vacuum pump which I swear will eat my toes if I'm not careful...... meeting Caroline at the Mall after the visit to my aunt, to while away the hours and delay the journey home. I sat with a smoothie and waited for C to join me after work, and was fast asleep at the table when she got there....we ate and drank and shopped and she bought nail varnish as well as lipstick!!! and I bought Converse trainers and nail varnish and flip-flops and earrings and I helped C choose earrings, deciding I would buy them for her as a present when she had chosen..so I took them off her, saying I was stealing them, and she said, give them back, I want to buy them as a present for you. Oh, no...now I have two new pairs of earrings!
Had a brilliant day on Sunday. Went food shopping with Laa-laa and Mec-mec - it's great to be around young love, isn't it! We had laugh, I do so lvoe my daughter, and they came over and helped do a barbecue, and Clive's mother came too, and we sat in the garden and ate lvoely food, and christened a chocolate fondue. Which tastes better dipped in melted chocolate? Strawberry or banana? Oh, banana every time....
We talked house move, wallpapering (will I wallpaper a wall in their bedroom with the very expensive wallpaper Laa-laa has set her heart on? You bet I will..sorry Mec..), weddings and wedding dresses and we read the copy of Living magazine Laa had bought and admired a H*bit*t stool designed by one J*mes P*tterson.....oh love him..I knew getting him to colour between the lines when he was little would pay off....
Tonight, when I left bereavement counselling for the last time, I gave Viv a bunch of flowers and a hug..and she was crying. I wasn't. Now there's a thing!
Sunday, June 18, 2006
I go to Bristol and back phoneless. I hate it. I have become so dependent, I admit it. I miss the texts arriving, the calls, though when my phone is with me, I get sad when no-one texts or calls, how sad am I. Anyway, I get through the days feeling bereft and not complete without my phone.
I get home at 10.45 pm on Friday night (why? shopping and drinking coffee and having fun with the lvoley Caroline..the only way to end the day) to find the sim card in an envelope with an invoice and nothing else. No helpful information. I stick the card into a hopeful and freshly charge phone. The message comes up: 'Sim inactive.' How dare it be inactive? I smack it. Nothing. I look in the envelope for helpful info on How to make Your Sim card Active. Nothing. My anger and frustration grows. I go on-line to the 02 website. In the meantimeCliveie, who has waited up anI supposeoe thought I might talk to him, gives up and goes to bed. SorryI i just don't feel like talking right now, it's been a long emotional day and I can't replay it right now. I know I am tired and taking it all out an a defenceless phone.
I search the 02 webite. 'Sim card.' 'Inactive Sim card.' 'How to activate your sim card.' Searches bring nothing. I can't believe the lack of customer information or care. I want to ring someone and shout but it is now 11.30pm and all their lines close at 8pm. How dare they?
I eventually give up and go to bed, and wake at 8am sharp and sit up in bed and ring 02. After pressing various buttons and losing the will to livI i get through to a young man who listens to my ranting and says, 'Oh yes, you just ring us and we activate your card this end, no problem.' As I thought, I say, but why does it not tell you that somewhere? Lack of info in post and on website. If I ran 02 it would different, I can tell you. He listens and tells me he will pass on my helpful comments to his manager.
I calm down and say, ok, now just activate my sim card, thank you. Oh sorry, he says, all are systems are down for maintenance and won't be up again until 8am Monday morning. Would I care to ring back then?
Oh my blood pressure, the stress, I don't believe it..he doesn't know he is risking his life even from a distance. Excuse me while I go and knife something.....
Saturday, June 17, 2006
'Did they find him?' I ask, as we order sandwiches. 'Yes, I've got him in a carrier bag in the car!' my brother is jolly and laughing and sharing with his wife, it is his way of dealing with this and I respect it totally. It is one way of dealing with it..I wish I could..I try a bit.
We talk about the children and fill the time, then we have to drive to the crem to keep our appointment. We sit in the sun waiting for the man to come and do his bit. My brother takes out the carrier bag and shows me the purple plastic urn with my dad's name on. He keeps talking to it. 'Ok, dad, you alright? nearly have you there, back with mum, not long now...' It is totally bizarre, talking to a jar. He is not there.
As we prepare to follow the man t the small hole prepared in Lawn E, my sister-in-law gets two small bunches of flowers out of the car. I am gutted, I meant to but flowers on the way this morning, but competely forgot. My thoughts have been elsewhere. What kind of daughter am I? I have come empty handed. How could I forget?
There is a small hole on the edge of the lawn, nowhere near the tree where we buried mum's ashes. I suspect my brother forgot to tell them about that. The man, who is a gardener, stands next to the hole and asks us if we want to say anything. 'Some people read poems and all sorts.' We have nothing. We haven't talked about it. It's not his funeral, I don't know what you are supposed to do. We are not in tune, my brother being chirpy and matter-of-fact, chatting to the gardener, chatting to the carrier bag, while I am still and silent.
We ask him to do it. He tips the urn of ashes in to the hole. We stare in at the small heap of white ash. My brother leans over and talks to it. 'There you are, dad, you're ok now, mum's just over there by the tree.' He is pointing. I stand with tears falling down my face, sobs welling up, I cannot talk to a pile of ash in the ground, this is not my dad. I want my dad here. My sister-in-law gives me one of the bunches of flowers and I try to hand them back, saying, no, you bought them..but she makes me have them for my mum.
My brother walks to the tree and talks t the bit of lawn where we put my mum's ashes. 'Ok mum, dad's over there, you can call him, he'll probably pretend not to hear like he always did.' I smile through my tears, that's true. I go over and silently tell my mum that she has a nice place under the shade of the tree. We put the flowers in a little vase built into the little wall round the lawn, where we are going to have small plaque.
'In loving memory of Peter & Betty Bacon, 1925-2005.'
I think I would like to sit on the bench in the sun and think awhile, but no, my brother is thanking the man, and we are off, time to go. I am crying and my brother briefly puts his arm round my shoulders, and says, 'Come on, they are ok, together now.' I nod. Inside my head comes the constant question..where are they> Where are they now, if anywhere? Or are they just the ash, buried in a lawn. I hoped this day would bring closure, but there is still a way to go.
We drive to my aunt's, my mum's younger sister. The other two go in, smiling and chatting, my aunt hugs them. Then she turns and hugs me, holds me tight, and says, 'Oh, Sal, I miss them so much,' and she cries on my shoulder and I cry on hers. She holds me tight, and I think, thank you, thank you for understanding.
Goodbye. Always in my thoughts. I love you.>
Friday, June 16, 2006
So something made me buy a sandwich, go back to the office and make tea for the others..trying to stop crying...suddenly the door opened and in came L, a lovely guy who is a manager for anther organisation round the corner, I like him very much and he is always up for a cup of tea and a biscuit. I told him the jettle had just boiled and his eyes lit up. Oh, what timing, a chat with L is just the thing I need, thank you God for that, so I grab the chocolate biscuits and our tea and take L into my 'inner room' for a chat. We sit down. He is smiling, bless him he is always smiling. 'Glad I caught you, I just popped by to tell you in person I am leaving.' 'Oh,' I say, 'Oh, you're leaving.' I try to say something else, but the tears, only just held back, start to fall, and I am crying so hard...poor L, I start to laugh at the same time at the look on his face, and explain about my dad and the day...fortunately as we sit on a lot of committees together, he had been aware of all my absences over the past year or so and knows what has been going on, and he is the kind of lvoeyl person not to be phased by tears, and he just says, 'Oh your poor thing, you've had a tough year,' and we just chat and end up having a good bitch and generally being politically incorrect about life and people and organisations and funny things, and we have a good laugh.
I am so grateful for his visit, and apologise for bursting into tears at the news he is leaving ( he has a posh job in C*mbridge lecturing on a new course about partnership working..) and he giggles and says he thinks he will e-mail everyone else, and not tell people in person in case everyone cries...he will invite me to his leaving do..off he goes, and he has cheered me up.
I manage to settle down and do some work, but all day, as with the anniversary of my mum's death, I feel alone as no-one close to me seems to have remembered. I hear from no-one. I suppose not having a mobile phone doesn't help. Oops, sorry, double negative. At last it is 3.30pm and I head off home early to get ready to go to Bristol. I leave at 4.30pm. I listen to Chris Evans and follow the England match on his radio show, which is the best way to do it. There are traffic jams. It is bloody hot. Should I trade up for a car with air con? I stop at Reading services for a sleep as I am falling asleep on the motor way. Not good. I buy family pack of M&Ms as it is now compulsory on family-linked trips to Bristol. I stop at Membury for shopping. Forget milk. Blast. Road works. Arrive at Caroline's at 8pm. Bliss. I so need to be here.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Anyway, on the music front, isn't Radio 2 a gem? Such a rich tapestry..woke up on Tuesday morning and listened to Wogan as I got ready for work. Chilled ballads, singer song writers, and he does make me laugh. Driving in the afternoon for a visit to a family and I catch Steve Wright who also makes me laugh, has fun guests and the best, the best Ask Elvis. Go listen to a pod-cast..... then driving home, Chris Evans - yes he makes me laugh, he makes me want to join in and I want a radio show again to have fun and play good music...
Then later, I drive to Highgate to take boxes to James who is having to move out of his flat. I turn on Radio 2: it's smooth voiced Desmond Carrington who is playing stuff from the 40s and 50s and suddenly I am listening to the amazing music my parents loved, stuff I was brought up on. I imagine the audience between Chris Evans and now has changed considerably!
Then at 8 0'clock, a new programme comes on..and the car is filled with the sound of the Mighty Wurlitzer from Blackpool..not Sandy whoever it was in the 60s, as I imagine he is now playing the great organ in the sky..but Richard someone..but the sound is the same, and so reminiscent of times gone by, I can't believe Radio 2 still has this programme!! But yes, Richard is reading requests from Brian and Edna..and I listen to an old recording of Mr Lloyd Webber (dad of J and A) playing the Mighty Organ from the Westminster Central Hall.....actually very beautiful.....
On my return from Highgate, a bit of packing done, and a visit to a lvoely Indian restaurant called.. wait for it..began with K..Kipling? No......it's gone..stunning restaurant, recently refurbished, wonderful food, staff, surroundings and the musical theme continued by a gentleman in full evening dress playing the grand piano...all songs I know and I diced with death by James if I started to sing along...... oh one of his designs, Spiro has just been awarded the Grand Designs Annual award fro the best garden piece...James missed the ceremony where it was announced or he would have picked up the award from Kevin in person!!! Look out for the publicity in a Style magazine near you.....do you think any journalists would be interested in interviewing his mother? I can show them some of his drawings from when he was 2, you can see then how talented he was.....
I was saying, on the way back, on with trusty radio 2, and it's mark radcliffe (I think..) with some amazing world music..it is 11pm, it is a warm but rainy night, he plays some good rocking music to drive home quite fast by..I find it hard to keep an eye on the speed cameras on the way home, as the roads are quite empty and I just feel like driving very, very fast.......only 2 more years to go before I get rid of my 12 points.....
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
More images for you..this time of the Wychwood World Music festival in Cheltenham. The big regret for me is that, having only stopped on the way back from Oban for two half hour breaks, which is not unreasonable, DC and I shared the driving made it by 7.30pm - it would have been quicker but we got stuck in traffic jams and road works, you know how it is - so we missed Seth Lakeman who was on at the unreasonable hour of 6.30pm - bother bother bother, I really wanted to hear him.
Anyway, the first pic is of Eliza Carthy with her Celtic Salsa band - they were amazing, what a brilliant set. Unsure who the evening pic is.....brain fade....but the weather was good, and being as how Front Desk was amazingly quiet, and main stage was only 30 seconds walk away (hooray, looking forward to GB!!!) I spent most of my time sitting on the grass enjoying some good music - or dancing of course! Peatbog Faeries were brilliant - Scottish rocky folky bagpipy meets Riverdance - I now have one of their CDs - good to drive to, didn't go down so well in the office, you can't get the staff, really.....I think my team should respect the boss's taste in music......
The last photo is me enjoying a bit of the late night silent disco..a wonderful event where you hear the music through headphones, so everyone is dancing and singing along, but to a mere observer, it all looks very strange. Not much atmosphere, could benefit from some ambient lighting like a real disco..you can see I took care dressing up for the occasion.....
Oh did I mention my friend Stuart..oops run out of time, more tomorrow.....
Just an aside..I nearly had my picture on pip's blog, caught drinking at a pub in london, unfortunately I am obscured by my lovely daughter, Laura, but I was there..I wonder if you have any more photos Pip? Cos it was about that time, a bit later, when DC and I swopped places and I was deep in conversation with Pete, that I think the b****** who bumped into me from behind took my mobile phone from my handbag. I now am without. I have lost all my names and numbers, having not backed up (ok, stupid but who does???) I have lost little meaningful texts I was keeping, not to mention special photos.... did I say b*******d? So, Pip, check your photos in case you case you caught it on camera!
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Three more images of Iona....the first taken from Mull, I think of the ferry coming to get us. Not the ferry DC and I were booked on..famously, we took two days to get to Mull, stayed in a hotel one minute from the ferry, and still managed to miss it.....I kind of take responsibility..I had the tickets and was being the time keeper..not very successfully it turned out..but the bonus was it meant catching the next ferry with with our friends....one friend may tell of playing a little joke on us but not choosing the moment well. 'Not funny, apparently,' she was heard to observe drily.....
The second photo was writing found on the beach,,the interrupting cow had got there first....
Another tale to tell of the week, was the night I decided to down DC's whisky as I was growing tired of the adoration, worship and time this drink was taking up..I mean, it;s s drink for goodness' sake..I wondered what his face would look like if I just downed it when he wasn't looking and left him with an empty glass......it certainly had the desired effect..I just hadn't thought through the consequences of my actions.....
anyway, the last pic is of the fair isle and the Abbey as the ferry bore us away, early Saturday morning, to Mull, and a 12 hour drive from there to Cheltenham..more of that later...I must blog about Wychwood, because I have actually had complaints, especially from one Stuart who feels he merits a mention. Patience, Stuart, is a virtue.......
Sunday, June 11, 2006
The little puffins on the island of Staffa - so gorgeous, so funny, they are called clown birds - I had never given the creatures any thought, apart from the fact that they are the image of Puffin Books - I had never seen one face to face, so to speak. I will await the far superior images from the superior cameras of friends (I keep being promised..story of my life...) and when I get them, you will be the first to know...
The second picture was taken while I was sitting and thinking, or not thinking, rather just 'being', in the lvoley little garden at the front of the Abbey..the view is across to Mull. I had one or two conversations with a close friend about the merits of 'being' as opposed to 'doing' during the week. I thought it would be good to spend time without the distractions of work, a mobile phone (no signal) or a laptop, and spend time walking, talking, sharing, or just 'being' in the peace of the island. Wrong!! All other distractions were replaced with top of the range digital camera, so he was darting about taking pictures every ten seconds from every angle: during the pilgrimage, when the whole point is to walk, think and 'be', especially at the stopping points when there would be a reading, song and meditation: when I looked round for someone to share these precious moments with, he was gone, snapping at the view....now I know I will be grateful when he shares the resulting photos with me..but such a manic disposition did make me question (and so I made him question!!) could he ever, ever, for the good of his soul, stop doing, and just 'be'?
I discovered that Iona, for me, was a place to stop and 'be', away from home, work, family; a place to try and find myself, and God, if that is not much of a cliche.
This week has been a week of doing, back at work, lots to catch up on, bereavement counselling, where I took time to reflect on the experience of Iona for me - much needed time - and on Saturday, a long hot day on a stall on St Albans market, and supervising volunteers with collecting tins, for our annual street collection day. While everyone else was watching the football, I was selling second hand books and talking to people....did I mind? No, not at all. It was a peaceful if hot afternoon, until the match ended and the pubs emptied, and quite a few young men appeared to need to shout England's victory to all and sundry, while at the same time wave their sweaty t-shirts above their heads and reveal their sweaty bodies and tattoos to me. Too much information, really.
The day was wonderfully finished off by a summer's evening outing, with a friend with an open top car, DC, plus Chris E (front desk colleague) and Dave Sh (Info booth and good mate) for a long overdue evening out in a local pub garden, complete with river and geese and goslings wandering around, followed by a Chinese, and hairy ride home (I knew the sober person should have driven) with a few laughs along the way. Perfect.
Friday, June 09, 2006
A few more images of Iona... the lvoely sandy 'town' beach next to the main 'town' complete with shops, pub, tea room and ferry port... someone taking a very serious photograph of a pebbly beach... then, on the last day, a list of words that summed up the week for the temporary residents of the Abbey commmunity...
I am finding it hard this week, I must confess, trying to readjust to normal life without my good friends around me to talk to and share and laugh with... I know the theory of handing it all over to God, and I am trying.... as a good friend put it yesterday, 'I just want you to be happy.' Oh, that's alright then, I'll just be happy then. Of course I want to be happy too.... Iona is somewhere where I felt times of peace, but it was also somewhere I could express my pain, and the tears flowed freely..sometimes too freely, but I just couldn't stop them... but friends new and old were there for me..people I knew put their arms around me, but also people I never met before, who just cared and lvoed me, not even asking what was wrong, but just recognising pain and just being there.
One powerful moment was at the end of the healing service on the Abbey on Tuesday, when D and I were the last to leave because we had been talking and sharing with Simon, the lvoely Iona community member who had helped to lead the pilgrimage that day, and the service. It was 10pm and we were leaving not to go to the pub (!) but the Taize service in the small chapel next door. As we walked through the Abbey, sitting there in the middle of the nave, on her own, was the lovely, lovely lady who had sat next to me in the first Communion service on the Sunday..the Abbey was nearly full and I had been separated from all my friends, and I felt alone and vulnerable. Don't forget I have not done church for a long time now, because I am really struggling with it, my faith, and not finding my church very helpful.....
Well, I just cried through the entire service, was absolutely in pieces, didn't know what to do, except I knew I didn't want to leave, what made it worse was I was on a bench in the choir stalls facing the other choir stalls, so I felt extremely visible and very stupid. As the time for sharing the peace approached, I was despairing, what could I do, I couldn't face anyone...As they announced the peace, the lady next to me just turned and put her arms round me and held me and I sobbed and sobbed into her shoulder and she cried too, and just held me until it was over. Then she held my hand for the rest of the service, and hugged me at the end and prayed for me.
I didn't know her at all, but D did as she was staying up at the McLeod centre where he was.
Anyway, on the Tuesday there she was sitting alone in the middle of the Abbey. We were hurrying to get to the Taize service, and I wanted to say hello, but not stop. But as we drew alongside, I looked at her face.'Are you ok, would you like some company?' Of course she wasn't ok, and yes she needed company, so D and I sat either side of her and put our arms round her. She cried, we talked and shared and just sat together, hugging each other and feeling God in us and each other. After a long talk where she shared her situation with us, and her tears, she asked if we could pray for each other. I was silent for ages. It had been a long time since I have prayed, I realised. But I eventually found the words to thank God for this lovely, warm, generous, lady, who had been right there for me when I needed her, and she thanked God for sending me and D when she needed someone.
She came with us for the last five minutes of the Taize service, and we sat for another half hour, with a few other people (including the lvoely Emma!! who I hope is a new friend) just sitting on the floor of this beautiful stone chapel, surrounded by tealights, singing the most beautiful songs, filling the chapel with four part harmony, and feeling the peace of God with new friends.
We were late to the pub that night. Very late. Now the pub is a different story, a different fellowship....a time of laughter, rudeness, laughter,drinking, talking, eating, more laughing and the walking home in the still not quite dark at gone midnight...... any wonder this week is a teensy weensy bit hard....??