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.