Monthly Archives: August 2012

Phillip, Caroline & Jessica enjoying the Paralympics

Where has the month gone? I started with good intentions of trying to journal and blog but lost track of time.

Since I last wrote we have been to Greenbelt Festival, but I will write about that again.

These are the last few days of this strange month of moving and holiday. I have been meeting people and preparing to start working tommorrow. So today was the last day off.

This morning we took the park and ride bus from Thurrock to the Olympic Stadium for a morning of Athletics. (£10). I was blown away by the stadium, and the athletes.
Watching the club throwing, where the guys had to be strapped in and bolted down; seeing the girls in the 5000m wheelchair races falling out and having to get back in with no help and still finishing the race! What a fantasticc spirit of endurance!

The thing that touched me the most though, was the visually impaired, running with their guides. Perfectly in sync.

This afternoon we went to Excel with a day pass, and dipped into Seated Volleyball and Judo for the visually impaired. Mightily impressed.

I remain a fan of the Olympics and Paralympics, and so glad that those who where busy writing articles about how badly we would do, have well been proved wrong!

Must finish the book I bought on Eril Liddell…..

I’ve worked out that this was the 27th time I’ve been to Greenbelt Festival. (Went for the first time in 1984, and had to miss 2), Would not miss it for the world.

This year was the last time that the Methodist Church sponsored a venue, shame really, it was good having a Methodist presence at Greenbelt.

I did try and reflect why I need to go to Greenbelt every year, and I think it is a “thin place”. Thin places occur in celtic spirituality, and they are talked about as places where heaven and earth are very close together. Heaven, or the kingdom seems a lot closer at Greenbelt. It feels like sanctuary, a safe place, a place of friends.

What’s more, there was some wonderful talks, and music.

The Proclaimers were amazing! Despite the Mud, and rain.Image

Bellowhead were the icing on the cake!

Outside our hotel in Amsterdam We had a wonderful break in Amsterdam. A chance drive past Southend airport during our visit in February, and having spotted the easyjet flights, I thought it would be good to have a holiday. Having done a tremendous amount of flying as an Engineer, i'd been to Schipol countless times, and never seen anything of Amsterdam. So I booked on the easyjet website including the hotel. Jessica drove us to Southend Airport, and it was like catching a bus, less than 20 minutes between arriving and being in the terminal building ready to board the plane. The place is so efficient, we left early. Amsterdam was easy, just bought train tickets and we were at the Centraal Station in 45 minutes. A short tram ride later, and we were able to drop off our bags at the hotel On the first afternoon, I'd booked timed tickets to go around the Anne Frank house, and that was chilling to see how they had lived, and another awful reminder of the capacity of humans to extreme cruelty and evil, but also the humanity of those who put their lives on the line to help their friends. We had a lovely lunch by the canal, and met one of the canal buskers, who went on to tell us he was in Bristol the previous week. We had a lovely steak in an Argentinian steak house. I'd booked 2 tours, so the next day we set off for a bus tour of Amsterdam, seeing canals by the score, dutch houses, windmills, the Hague, Delft and Moduradam. Exhausted after this we resorted to Burger King! The second day of tours was to Floriade, the once every 10 years flower festival. Very good, but walked my feet off. Caroline took 1000s of photographs. On that evening we went to an Indonesian Restuarant and sampled all the little plates of food. Fantastic. There was a little downer on that evening, as we plucked up courage to take the walk through the red light district. Lots of tourists and their children were quite merrily walking through. But Caroline and I were saddened by the sight of the desperate young girls behind the windows. Also saddened by the large groups of young men (boys really) who were there as customers. Reflecting on this, how sad that anyone has to resort to selling their bodies for money. One small consolation was that there is a Prostitutes information centre run by the churches, not to condemn these young people, but to try and offer them the love of God in the midst of their situation. Remember Jesus did not condemn the prostitutes that he met, he offered them a way out. If you are reading this, say a prayer for all those caught up in these situations that they can find freedom, peace and love. Our last day was a canal ride, dutch pancakes, and a train ride back to Schipol, a short hop on easyjet, and a single short bus ride from the airport to home. (A lot easier than Bristol folks!)  


We are off to London for a day out. Hopefully catch some olympic spirit and maybe treat ourselves to a show. (This is meant to be our holiday as well as moving…..) More later….


Note that Jessica never looks happy in photos.

We had a lovely day in London the truth be told.

Picked up some of the Olympic vibe, but missed the Triathlon, we got to Hyde Park in time for the Gold Ceremony and to sing the national anthem.

Managed to get reduced tickets for Phantom of the Opera, but nearly got scammed on a £10 booking fee. Walked to the theatre and bought direct! Phantom was good, but not as good as the first time we saw it in 1987!

The transport system here is brilliant, just over £10 each to get into London with an all day ticket thing. But you have to travel in 4s.

Had 2 interesting experiences….

A chat with a lady giving out Gospels – I asked, why are you giving out KJV, and not a version that people can understand. Without batting an eyelid she told me the KJV was closer to the original words of God!

We stood and watched a young man evangelising the crowd in the style of Cliff College, with the old fashioned word square painting. He was good, but the 5 letter word, of what we needed was not, as we anticipated JESUS, what we needed was the Truth, that the Christ died so our sins could be wiped clean. Amen brother. (He even explained what sins were!) One of the best bits of street evangelisation I’ve seen in years.

Anyway off to bed now

The next few days are a blurr……

More boxes emptied an lots of trips to the mini-tip in Rayleigh. It is so close and no huge queues like mangotsfield.

One evening we went to Lakeside for the shops. (Following our second trip to Ikea to get the bits we forgot the first time….) Lovely pasta in an everything is £4.99 Italian.

Another evening we went to the Southend seafront. Promenaded, eat fish and chips, went to the ‘musements and haf ice cream as a treat. It’s just like WSM. Not made it on the pier yet.

Only 2 ikea units to go then attack all the boxes in the study……
We did not make it to any church on Sunday, it had to be a working day.

I declare tomorrow as a day off.

Started the day with a prayer, in the busyness of the last few days, prayer seemed to have got pushed out.

Well more unloading of boxes and building of Ikea stuff ….. Well so i thought.

Theresa checked her email yesterday and had an interview on Friday. So back to Bristol Thursday night, arriving in the early hours of Fri. Strange to be back so soon. Made up a bed, slept till 5:30am, head buzzing. Got up and started sorting out stuff from the garage fot Theresa and let the house rabbit have a run round.

Theresa had her interview, and got the job! Praise be!

Drove back to Rayleigh. More boxes and Ikea furniture. A good day.

We’ve slept our first night in the Rayleigh Manse and survived…..

Up bright and early, and ready for the removers to come.

Ding-Dong – is it the removers, no it’s Ikea delivering the new furniture. (We had fitted wardrobes in Bristol, and there is another bedroom and the “spare lounge” to furnish).

All in all they have done a wonderful job on the manse, comparing it to what it was. There are a few niggles, but I’m sure they can be easily resolved.

Ding-Dong – is it the removers, no it’s a new microwave from the Co-op. (We’ve had to leave all our white goods in Bristol for Theresa).

Ding-Dong – is it the removers, yes, it’s 9am, so on goes the kettle, more tea, more stuff to carry.

Why has the settee got grass on it? – No idea, we saw it covered up in the house, we saw it carried into the van (nowhere near the lawn), we saw it carried out of the van! Out comes the hoover, all is well.

The moving guys have been wonderful, really friendly and helpful.

All unloaded – now the real work begins. We can’t unload some of the boxes until we’ve built some Ikea furniture. By 3pm we’re exhausted and missing some bits – let’s go to Ikea,….(for a rest!).

In the evening we had a meal with Muriel & Mike from Hockley, more hospitality, thank you.

Caroline posted this photo on Facebook – wondering if we have too much stuff! (No comment!)




So we are in to day 2 of the move. Bacon sandwiches all around to start, and yet more tea.

We all helped to carry stuff into the van, and after many hundreds of trips up and down the ramp into the van it was eventually loaded, and we waved bye bye to the van.

Caroline’s Mum & Dad were a bit upset, and so was Den at the parting, and around 2:30pm we set off in 2 Cars and a removal van to Essex. Jessica drove in the small car, as she wanted to drive all the way. Theresa and I shared the driving of the Touran. A short stop at Reading Services for a picnic, and we arrived at Rayleigh at 5:45.

We were met at the Manse by Marion, one of the Rayleigh Stewards with a welcome pack, tea, coffee, cups, milk, biscuits, sweets and flowers. What a lovely welcome, a good start. (Oh – hospitality again!)

The removal van arrived at 6pm, and we were joined by another remover to start unloading. We got the beds out first, and then we all realised that the bedding was amongst the first set of boxes loaded! Duh! Never mind off to Tesco Extra to buy some more bedding!

Unpacked the new Garden Furniture and had a lovely Chinese Takeaway in the new house.

Built the beds, put on the new bedding, collapsed exhasuted into Bed. The Lord has cared for us and provided for us.

Picture of new house…….


Well, we’ve packed as much as we can now. They were supposed to arrive at 11am, where are they?

Slight panic has set in!……Wait, trust…….

2pm, 2 have arrived, and the packing and making tea has commenced. They are staying in the van tonight, so I thought it would be good to feed them, and Den found them somewhere to park up with access to a toilet. Reminded that in the Bible those that did not offer hospitality were punished. We are meant to be hosptitable

For the last year, I have been working 70% as a Student Minister in the North East Somerset and Bath Circuit. It was only ever going to be a year, but I grew very fond of the people in the 3 Churches I worked in. So performing the last services was quite different.

Farrington Gurney Methodist, is a small country chapel, with a small membership, but there is potential. So in the last year, we have put in Central Heating, a new PA, and the Community Payback have re-decorated. For my last service using words and video from Chariots of Fire, we looked at Eric Liddells comments – “where does the power come from to complete the race” – it comes from within, from God.

After the service, we all went to the pub to have lunch. (Is this allowed, do I need to check CPD?)

Horizon last service was good, espescially sharing with the worship leaders, Julia on the Magic Piano, and Steve on “Mission Control”