Monday, December 29, 2008

on the other side

Christmas is over, new years prep begins.
The shops are manic with bargains and things.
Christmas forgotten amongst the piles of clothes
Is this it? Is this how it goes?

I hope not.

We sat in Wagamamas today, sharing our table with some lovely people and chatting to a woman and her grandson. She was from Lebanon. We got to talking about teenagers in the UK and how there is a huge lack of respect, hope and general politeness. She asked how it had come to this? I would say that I hadn't a clue how it got this way. She was impressed by us though. We were polite and engaged (her granson a little less so). Definitely lunch time chatter going on.

I've lots to think about as the new year arrives.

Monday, December 22, 2008

In the run up

We are on the final sprint towards Christmas, in case you hadn't noticed!!

St Mary's had their Christmas Ball on Friday. Was expertly done, by too many people to mention and there was a fantastic atmosphere in the church. It's amazing to think the amount of work which went into it! I hope it continues for many more years. Here's me...

The weekend saw the end of Strictly Come Dancing on the BBC. Many opinions shared about the final result and one interesting one here. It was very good to watch it with friends, I feel that's what it should be about. Reality TV is no fun by yourself!!

Sunday was a little bit random, Church services at different times than normal. Christmas tradition at St Hugh's is great. Carols by Candlelight was amazing. then we watched Scrooged and The Snowman afterwards. It was very christmassy.

All in all it's going well. And I've just agreed to preach on the first Sunday of the new year... Epiphany. Should be very interesting.

A very happy Christmas to everybody out there!

Monday, December 15, 2008


To completely and utterly rip-off Apple... oh well, they might never find out.

Anyway, I spoke at St Mary's Luton yesterday, as part of their Movie@Mary's series. It went really well. If you are interested at all in what I said, the script can be found here.

If you haven't seen Disney's Enchanted, it really won't make much sense. But I hope this will entice you to borrow the film from any 4-11 year old girl you might know. I didn't feel like a princess whilst I was speaking it, that's reserved for the ball I'm going to on Friday!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas Traditions

Oh it's all change this year, scary stuff! My mum is about to take over thr role of head chef on Christmas Day, it had previously been my Nan.

For longer than I can remember we've always gone to my Nan's for Christmas Day. It's a long standing tradition to gather around her table after church and hang out with my mum's side of the family. But having 10 of us for dinner for the last few years (my youngest cousin is 4, maybe) has obviously take it's toll! So this year she's going to hide at my auntie's new house in London and mum takes of the mammouth task of cooking christmas dinner (something Liz, the boys and i will fight over in years to come!). Mum does have a new kitchen and a family full of cooks to spoil the broth...

It'll be very strange to be at home all of Christmas day. And God only knows when I'll actually see Nan.

The religious bit of christmas is coming along well. St Hugh's has it's Nativity play on Sunday. All the other christmas seervices are coming along.

I'll share a little bit of Farm joy too... broken back windscreen wiper! Christmas lights are out though, so that's proper joy!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Auf Deutsch

oder auf englisch?

I've just returned from Germany or more specifically Paderborn, which is north west Germany. Just an hour on the plane from Stanstead.

We landed on Tuesday morning and had German breakfast, meat, bread, cheese and coffee (fleisch, brot, käse und kaffee). Before heading to our accommodation in Borchen about 7km from Paderborn. Stephanus-Haus is a youth centre, much like any youth centre in the UK. Lots of room. We headed to Schloss Neuhaus to visit a school and chat to the teachers about exchanges. We went to met Uwe (oo-ver) and all the paid and volunteer youth workers in the region of Paderborn (but Paderborn is a town as well, following me?) in the evening.

Our hosts, Volker and Konni head up the team and were leading the meeting. A long day and the meeting was long too, but everywhere we went we received a warm welcome and food.

On Wednesday we had breakfast in Wewelsburg, a village with a castle which was taken over by Himmler in WWII. There was also a Concentration Camp just outside the village. It was a very tough day, to face the past and to know that I have learnt nothing much from the history books. When it is in your face, it's hard. If you ever have the opportunity to go, do it. It's very educational.

In the evening we went to a youth service and visited a Youth House, an actual house with lots of space for young people to hang out. More coffee and stollen, so much cake. On to Uwe's for dinner and more chatting. Pictures are on the website. He lives miles away in the east of the region, up in the hills. Oh and it snowed!

On Thursday we spent the day in Paderborn, meeting the Superintendant of the KirchenKreis for breakfast. To the Town Hall (Rathaus) for a meeting with the head of the Youth Service in Paderborn. Two very important ladies in leadership. Then back to Wewelsburg for observing an afterschool project, where some very brave 6-8year olds spoke English to us.

We had 2.5 hours in Paderborn for the Weihnachtsmarkt. I really enjoyed the feel of the Market. We ended our trip back in Wewelsburg with dinner in Ottens Hof. Lovely dinner, great company and it's so lovely to be family across the world.

My love for Germany, for the language and the people has got stronger throughout this trip and I was sad to say goodbye this morning at 5am british time.