A quiet Wednesday morning…

Well, I’ve taken today off on leave because I’ve quite a bit to do.

So I may start by telling you what’s happened since I last wrote here.

Friday night was really good in the end, although I had a very scary moment when I realised that most of the team couldn’t make it… but we were fine in the end staffwise, and the event made enough money to cover most if not all of the loss from Andrew Flannagan – an added blessing to just how good Adrian and Bridget were.

We found out that my press release made the early edition of the Belfast Telegraph on Thursday, but by the time I got my own copy it had got shunted to make room for something else… ah well…

Saturday was Lifespring, and a new low for the event – four people came along. We’ve committed today to pray and stuff, and that’s part of the reason I’m off. It was a real pity, because Soul Purpose were really good – but Doreen (yes, Claire’s mum again) talked about encouragement, which was timely. Caroline’s very discouraged, and by Monday, when Infectious Word looked like breaking up altogether, Claire was too… Thankfully though, IF:W is together for now. Lifespring is of God, though, and nothing will stop it if we can just keep going, trusting and listening. During Saturday evening, I texted about 100 people to get them praying for it…

Last two days have been pretty routine, just getting stuff done at work and so on – I’m up to date there, which is useful. The snow on Monday night was a real nuisance though, as the trains were delayed – but my boss took two hours to get in from Carrickfergus. I suggested he let the train take the strain – the roads were terrible apparently!

I forgot to mention that we’ve had a slight water problem at work – they’re building a fifth floor, and something happened in the tank room so that for a while, every time it rained it came through the ceiling. The leak is now resolved, but the parquet flooring under our carpet tiles was all swelling and lifting – but at the weekend they laid some floor covering to provide a safe walking surface rather than the wee jenga blocks (for want of a better description!) which were sticking up all over the place under the carpet tiles and making things a little dangerous. Should now be resolved, but they’ll have to lay a new concrete floor in the end – and replace a few more ceiling tiles.

So today… I pray (more updates later, but they’ll be on my friends only filter), I do a little work on www.andyboal.co.uk, and I think carefully about the layout on www.xtremeevents.org because I’m not happy with it at the moment…

Dear me.

Ho hum. So what have I done since Sunday?

Well, I’ve been to work, I’ve caught a cold, got sound sorted out for Adrian Plass tonight, and now I have to have my breakfast and pack to stay overnight at my grandma’s.

Last night the Radio team had its first meeting for a while. The next three programmes will be produced by Peter Boyd, myself, and Claire Preston in that order. Scary, but it should be good due to the way we delegate things… but can we make it properly mad? Good question… but Claire should have no problems, seeing she’s mad herself!

Hope loads of people come tonight. The newspapers didn’t take the Press Release at all, which is really disappointing, but you never know!

Back on Sunday.

Happy Birthday to me!

Yep, I’m 32 today. And I got e-cards from Trevor Girvan and Ruth Strong.

On Thursday I was out on my lunch when my boss rang. Two cupboards had arrived in bits, he wondered did I know anything about them. I’m still waiting to see the guy I think ordered to say “George, thanks for the big meccano set you got me for my birthday, but you forgot to get me screwdrivers!” *hehe*
All good fun. Anyway, Friday afternoon I had a meeting with my minister, first we’ve had in a while due to one thing or another – we’ve been supposed to be having monthly meetings but they kinda died out a while back with so much else happening. It was worthwhile, and we had a good look at Romans 8:28-39, which funnily enough he preached on this morning.

So Peter and Kate King, Lois, Alex and Emma Kane, Mark Railton, and Claire Preston joined me for dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s on Friday night. Noone else could make it unfortunately, but it was great craic anyway. Peter and Kate got me a new fleece in what I’d call a Peterish colour (beige – he likes wearing stuff including beige for some reason) and a box of Celebrations, Lois and Alex got me a box of Matchmakers which I demolished this evening after church, and Claire got me a box of expensive looking Butlers chocolates (a brand from Dublin). She told me the next night that she’s not allowed chocolate due to irritable bowel syndrome, so I suspect unusable Christmas present syndrome… Claire, if you read this you can pull me on it later! I’ll take it into work tomorrow as I’ve no idea what each chocolate is and I’m fussy about what chocolates I like (I’d say poor Claire, but for what happened last night!)

Got home on the last train, and so I’ve now managed two Fridays without being online in a row. Strange.

Yesterday afternoon my parents and I went to my grandma’s for birthday cake because today was going to be too crazy with Informal Worship at my mum’s church. She gave me my present, but I was very good and didn’t open it until this morning *polishes his halo*. She also gave me her contribution towards my main present, of which more tomorrow.

So last night I went to Craigavon to Lifespring, which Claire helps run with girls called Caroline and Helen. It’s held in Craigavon Civic Centre, where the Cleft Christian venue used to be until it stopped (some readers might have been, I never went). A guy called Matt Cameron was supposed to have been playing, but he had to pull out so Infectious Word turned up two weeks early to do a short set, and a guy called Mark Justin opened the night before Claire’s mum, a Methodist Lay Preacher, spoke. It was a good night, although Claire decided to scunder me by getting everyone to sing Happy Birthday to me on stage… Can’t complain, because on the way to leaving Caroline back to Lisburn, she drove me to my grandma’s in East Belfast, and then drove home to Omagh. Yes, she is that mad.

So today… I woke up, opened grandma’s present to find a small stick of Blackpool rock which I ate this afternoon, and a box of After Eights which I should have no problem eating – although I will take my time, honest! I then cycled to church into the wind the whole way – not too easy, as it was quite strong, but doable.

Church itself was good. Peter, who played acoustic guitar last week was playing again today, and with Seth (drums), Nathan (Tony’s son – electric guitar) and Blair (pipes and whistles) back it was good. The band really is improving, and Tony’s style is loosening up quite a bit. I’m at the stage personally where what I sing bears some resemblance to what’s on the page – reasonable enough since what’s on the page tends to bear a very loose semblance to what is sung on the CD… I do relax more when singing now.

So Graeme Kerr and I cycled away from church, he going down Castlereagh Street while I went down the Albertbridge Road. On a whim, I turned down Templemore Avenue, but although I could see him ahead of me on Templemore Avenue, I didn’t catch him up again. On to my grandma’s, where I had a quick choc ice, more orange, and got the train home for lunch.

Soon enough after lunch it was time to head for Ballyholme to set up for Informal Worship. Those of you who have dealt with the 4:3 ratio projection screens will know that it is a nightmare to get the skins attached to the frames, but Nigel Mansley are at the stage now where we can get it attached, the screen hung, the projector rigged up, the cable run down the church, and the computer set up for powerpoint in about half an hour. We’re getting too good at this… maybe one day the skin will stretch enough to make it a bit easier.

The pianist didn’t make it to the rehearsal, so I filled in for a wee while, but he made it to the service, which was good. I had very little to do, apart from a little reformatting on the powerpoint, so for much of the service I just sat at the back and relaxed or sang or stood or whatever.

After the service there was a bit of deja vu as Alan Abernethy, my mum’s minister got everyone to sing Happy Birthday (when has that happened to me recently?)… Katy Purvis asked us to set up her DVD player so she could show the Youth Fellowship a movie, which I did, in return for her putting the screen away and so on (sounds like a good deal!), so Rory Wilson dropped me home and I got online again.

Ah, tis good to be 32! Or something.

New pic!

Yep, I’ve given up using that pic from July 2001 which had hair (shock, horror!). I’ve lost a lot of hair since then, and as you can see from this pic, I now cut it down to a #2 – using the clippers I bought just before Christmas 2003.

So yesterday I got all my stuff into neat piles on the floor for me to sort onto my shelves so I could sleep in my own bed, go me! It’s always good…

Then tonight I touched up my Communion Setting, including the scripture quote – “A light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel” from Luke 2:32. I also downloaded 90-odd pics from my digital camera, from the Summer Madness reunion in September, Andrew Flannagan, the first run of the new trains, and three pics I took of myself the other day. At arm’s reach.

Might as well talk about what I read, which includes the Beano. They’re trialling three new strips, two by new artists… Christmas Carole is gorgeously drawn in pencils and inks, and is about this girl who wishes it could be Christmas every day. Problem is who would be able to draw that every week and so well?

Zap Zodiac is about this miniature humanoid space explorer who lands on earth – not very impressive, but well drawn.

Finally, there’s Hugh Dunnit about this boy detective. I like the idea best, but David Mostyn has rushed his drawings exceptionally – they’re just not his style.

And to annoy everyone who thinks I’m too old for the Beano (if you do, HARD LUCK!), why have they changed Sid’s hair in the Bash Street Kids? It’s nearly as long as Dennis the Menace’s! (That’s the real Dennis the Menace, American folks… not your blonde kid!)

So there you go. A little off-beat today, can only be good.

Ho hum…

So I’m tidying my room. And when I tidy my room, my bed’s usually out of action due to being where I put stuff on its way onto my bookshelves, other storage etc.

So I have to sleep downstairs. Only my dad’s got an objection… well, he wants it tidy so he can put up with it.

In other news… yesterday went well at church with playing and leading. Couple of guitars, drums and another singer to go with me on piano and lead vox… Fortunately there wasn’t time to do Away in a Manger during Communion (not sure why we had to have it anyway!) because we ran out of time, since I hadn’t had a chance to practice it.

Last night I was at King’s Fellowship as usual on the first Sunday night. Was prayed over, and told that God’s got gifts and stuff for me – it’s not what I’ve expecting, which will come in time (and I’ve to be patient), but there is stuff. Interesting…

(PS: I have an Adult Christian filter which I use to talk about stuff I want to go really in depth with and/or just don’t want everyone to see. If you’re over 18 and want to be on it, drop me an e-mail or a comment or something…)

Happy New Year!

So here we are, and it’s 2005. I need to make a couple of posts on the Summer Madness website, I think.

There’s not that much to talk about before yesterday really. I got a lock for my new bike because I was going to have trouble getting the lock off my old bike due to rust on the screws on the bracket…

So Thursday I was working on the XtremeEvents website again. I now know 95% of what I need to know to make it all work properly, but I need to get a little more advice from a couple of websites… but it’s going to look quite funky. I also e-mailed Dixons again about my own laptop which they’ve been doing nothing about – needless to say I am not impressed.

Friday I was back at work, to discover a small pile of stuff to do from my bosses, half of which I need to talk to them about on Tuesday… there were enough other odds and ends to be done to keep me going until 3pm when we all disappeared. No phone calls all day, which was great.

So I went to my grandma’s, where I put my head down for a while, then went off on my bike and got some messages in Tesco’s. Got a phone call from Lyle in Tesco’s to say he’d just found out they wanted the stewards at the Ulster Hall early, so I got back to my grandma’s and onwards to the Ulster Hall by 6.30pm. A quick 15 minutes down the bypass…

The night was good, distributed a few business cards (well, you have to!), chatted to fishgill. lkactually, and assorted others including Infectious Word (I now know who they are, and not just Billy…), and stuff. Heard a bit of the Whitewell Youth band and saw most of the YFriday gig – about an hour or so around midnight. First time I’d ever seen them live.

Cycled back to my grandma’s by 2am to have some supper, watch Dangermouse and go to bed. *hehe*

This morning I got back on my bike down to the Europa Buscentre, and got the bus to Carryduff for some Clay Pigeon Shooting with Phil Maxwell. Managed not to give myself any scars (very good idea, considering what happened to my nose last year), and hit five out of 20 clays (better than my usual four out of 35!) before rain stopped play. It was great, saw loads of people I hadn’t seen in ages, and met a pile of others. Phil’s girlfriend Debbie is not pleased that I think she’s the spitting image of her mother – should have kept digging myself into a hole and pointed out that it meant that in twenty-odd years she’d still probably look the same as she does now… *hehe*

After we were rained off, Phil and Debbie gave me (and his dad) a lift back to his parents’ house where all but a few of those who were clay pigeon shooting had lunch. One of the other guys left me and my bike on Montgomery Road before he went off to watch Ulster beat Connacht 23-14 at the Rugby – very handy, I just had to cycle down to Grand Parade and down the North Road back to my grandma’s, largely in the dry before it started raining again.

And now home. Playing in church tomorrow, which should be good. Meantime, I’m going to record the Vicar of Dibley, and watch Casualty and Tom Brown’s Schooldays – and it’s staying cold and wet. Just as well I know how to stay warm!