Three months on…

Must be that long since my last proper entry. Or longer, probably, not counting Memes.

Summer Madness was interesting. Joining the tech team was a good move, although I had trouble with the minidisc recorder for the first two seminars – thankfully fixed for the Darrell Scott seminar. Johnny Foye, being stuck outside the venue he was managing, got me to do the crowd control for the 500+ people in and around the tent…

Recording the seminars was good. I also did a pile of photography, including in worship, which I really ought to send to Phil Anderson, who also advised me to forget about my flash. Good move – longer exposures without a flash gave me far better pictures. They won’t get into Total Recall though…

Worship itself was really good. The way that God drove things, Kathryn Scott did the rocking in morning worship, and we mellowed out with Johnny Parks in evening worship. Andy Hickford and Tré Sheppard complemented each other well (if you don’t already know, Tré’s back next Summer Madness, with Mike Pilavachi and the non-musical Phil Collins – I’m probably not supposed to tell everyone, but all of the staff from this year have known for the last few days… Tim Hughes and Johnny Parks are confirmed for worship)

Streetreach in Sandy Row was challenging at the best of times. The kids are wild, very hard work to deal with, and we observed them time and time again gratefully (genuinely) accepting what we gave them in time and friendship and in what we did for them generally, and they always wanted more and more, to the point of abusing our time and good nature. But God loves these kids, and I plan to go back, hopefully for Streetreach 2006. These kids need people who will show them better than they already know, that Jesus is the solution, and that life with Jesus is more wow than anything ever known, that there is more to life than being yet another steek, spide or millie (or chav for any English readers).

After that, I housesat for my Grandma for a few days. I was very glad I had the 12th and 13th of July off anyway, and I took the 11th off to complete my recovery… it was a long fortnight, and one I’m unlikely to repeat next year, because I’ll need my leave for other things. I’ll still do the event, and Streetreach, but I don’t see myself going down early to help set up.

The 30th of July was The Big Praise at Lifespring, and also my last night there. I took over the organisation at a stage where all we had sorted out was that Bluetree were coming.

A pile of phone calls later, and we had Ryan Mitchell and Andi Topping doing an acoustic set, the use of the data projector from Gary McMurray‘s work, my laptop half working, Richard Clarke doing sound (that was arranged by Claire as Richard was suddenly able to get to Lifespring – left things rather awkward with Jonny Farrell, though), and Dave Watt (guitar), Pete McNally (drums) and Jonny (bass) (all formerly of Infectious Word) doing an electric worship set with me on keys and lead vox. We played Be Thou My Vision, Beautiful One, Consuming Fire, What a Friend I’ve Found, Be Lifted Up, In the Secret, and Let Everything that has breath praise the Lord. It was great practising with the guys and then playing on stage, worshipping all the while, but it did result in a major fallout with Claire Preston, and ultimately in my quitting. It does however mean that I have my Saturday evenings free to relax and chat to Becky 😉

Talking of which, Becky was over from the 24th to the 31st of August. We had a great time – I met her and her friend Helen at the City Airport, then went back to work – after work we went to see Bewitched, which is very funny. I’ll summarise the plot for anyone who really wants to know, but in case anyone wants a surprise when they see it on DVD, I’ll not do it here.

Thursday Becky and Helen went off to Dublin – apparently they headed towards Yorkgate instead of Central Station (doh!) initially, but did make the 8am train just in time. They came back on Friday in time to watch Ulster beat the Earth Titans (formerly Rotherham) at Ravenhill and meet my boss, who gave us a lift back to the hostel.

On Saturday, we saw Helen off to the airport, then Becky and I went back to my grandma’s where I was housesitting (again!) for lunch and back here to Bangor for the afternoon. In the evening, Lois, Alex and Emma Kane came round to my grandma’s for a while, which was good. We’d hoped to see more people, but given that it was a bank holiday weekend…!

Sunday we went off to the Church of the Res – or at least I did. Becky went off to Botanic Gardens to walk and rest for a while while I practised with the music group – but found she couldn’t actually get up, and she couldn’t text me because her mobile phone was beside her (my grandma’s) bed. She reckons it was all the walking she and Helen had done in Dublin.

Anyway, eventually her knees decided to behave, and she got breakfast in Botanic Avenue and met me after church. We had lunch at decentbloke‘s house with Les McKinstry – we all met up on Fusion originally. Later that night we went to CFC, being literally up the hill from grandma’s.

Monday we had a nice outing to Newcastle – picnic lunch in Donard Park, and nice walk (yes, even after Sunday) on the beach. Mauds Ice Cream got more business, as we both like our Poor Bear’s Delight – we got some on Saturday too. I’ve managed to forget what we did in the evening…

Tuesday we took the Antrim Coast bus to the Giant’s Causeway! It was fun going together, although the steps at the end were hard work for an asthmatic Becky without her inhaler (oops!). We enjoyed it though – and I bought Becky a nice Claddagh ring. Last ring I’m buying for a long time, honest! After we got back, Paul Rowden picked us up and took us to his house for dinner where we met Pauline and Jack.

Wednesday was a rather slower day. We got up late, watched bits of the Chronicles of Narnia, and then went to play Pirate Golf inbetween thunderstorms. After a bad start, I just about caught up on Becky, but she won easily on the last hole. After that it was time to head back to the airport via tea at grandma’s (and, on the way, stopping at Connswater shopping centre!) and a goodbye kiss.

There’s been little to tell apart from that since. I went over to Woking the weekend before last to meet Becky’s parents Barry and Gill – that went absolutely fine in the end, and I met the grandmothers on the Sunday afternoon after we came back from a nice 2.5 mile walk in Alice Holt Woodland Park. We stopped by the lake to do our Bible study – we’re up to date on that now, which is good going – a full month now doing the right reading on the right day apart from the Friday night I flew over!

Not much else to talk about really. I need a new job.

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