Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Laying Down

I sat next to a lovely guest at lunch. It's my day off. I don't go to meals with guests on my days off. I did today. This lady that I sat next to is a Quaker. One of about seven we have here with us in the Abbey for Christmas week. Inspiring.

We were chatting away and I was being asked all of the usual guest questions about what brought me to Iona, what do I do here, what do I want to do next, how old am I, what do my family and friends think of me being here, what is good and what is bad about living in community... However, although these were the normal questions I've got so used to answering this year, this conversation was different. She cared, massively. Not that other guests don't care, but this was deep down care. She was interested in all I had to say, and would put a new twist on my life for me. Not a twist that annoyed me like some, but a twist that intrigued me.

When discussing my job as Hospitality Team Support Worker and the trials and joys that it has brought in 2010, and then discussing moving in to my job as Abbey Housekeeper come January for 2011, she said something that made me smile, that reassured me.

She said something along the lines of "it's all about laying it down, not throwing it away or dumping it or forgetting about it, but laying it down gently and moving away and moving on as you can".

Just what I needed to hear. Laying Down. That's what I need to do.

I don't need to put 2010 behind me or put Hospitality Team Support Worker behind me; I need to lay them down. The handover of my job may take some time and it may cause some personal trials along the way, but if I gently lay it down I will be able to do it. I will be able to comfortably hand my beloved job over to a completer stranger and take over a job from an amazing friend. I won't throw away this job and shake the new one. I will lay this one down and carefully pick up the new one.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

'It never snows on Iona'

'It never snows on Iona' is a very well heard phrase. Because, it's true. NOT! I thought it was true, that is pretty much never snowed on Iona, mainly because I've only ever seen one picture of the Abbey in snow and the Abbey isn't even a complete building! However, even I have been proven wrong...

 St John's cross got snowed on - on one side!
The Cloisters - untouched

Where there was only one set of footprints...

I never thought I'd be sledging on Tor Ab outside the Abbey





























So, there you have it - Iona in snow! Way more pictures on facebook if you want to see. There are some hilarious videos also, but they may be private viewings only! I'm off to bed now because all of the cold air and sledging injuries have worn me out...

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Lullaby

"Close your eyes,
Get some sleep,
It's too late now to change anything,
But it's alright,
Get some sleep.
It's so dark outside,
So close your eyes,
And feel the world turn round.
If you're not lost,
I guess that makes you found"

Newton Faulkner

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Beauty is within grasp... open your eyes and you'll see it

 View from the north side of the Abbey, looking east across the snow covered Burg and Ben More on Mull
 The Abbey from the south east corner, in breathtaking morning sunlight on my way to Bishops House for communiona
 The sunrise over Fionnphort, Mull
 St Oran's chapel, the oldest of the Abbey buildings, with a dusting of snow and low winter sunlight
 Amazing shadows from the high nunnery walls
Edinburgh Castle at the end of November, looking majestic with the bright blue backdrop

Monday, 6 December 2010

God's Small Voice

I've just returned from our evening service in the Michael Chapel that Ian was leading, and it's made me think... (worrying, I know!)

Listen to God; listen to his small voice within.

I totally agree. God does have a small voice within each of us, and we need to be able to hear that voice. We also need to be able to hear his voice in other places and ways too.

Yesterday, for the first time in a long time, I spent the majority of my afternoon off playing my guitar - old songs, new songs, my songs, Sue's songs, Naughty Niece songs and even writing a song. "I don't have time to play my guitar" I say - but when I thought about it last night when I'd put my guitar down, I thought "that's a lie". I do have time to play guitar, but I don't make that time in to guitar time. I use it to write, to read (I know, shock!), to listen to music and have a nap, to go for a walk, to email, to call people, to chat with my housemates, to drink tea and eat biscuits (rich tea's, of course!)... All of which are great and really useful for me (yes, especially the tea drinking!).

But, why don't I make time for guitar? Because it takes effort to tune, to get my music out, to find time when my housemates aren't in so I don't annoy them? Because I get annoyed because I'm not as good as I used to be? Because I don't have the energy to be creative? Because it involves sitting still and I'm not good at that? I honestly have no idea!

So, along with listening to God's small voice within, are there other ways we can listen to God?

Yesterday I found time to be with God, to listen to God, to experience God through my guitar and through singing and it has encouraged me to do this more often - not only because I do actually enjoy it when I make the time, but because it's a faith strengthener.

What faith strengtheners do you have? Do you use them often? Do you listen to God's small voice within, in whatever form that takes?

Friday, 3 December 2010

Do you ever wonder...

...why people always talk about technology being so much better than it used to be? If that's the case, then why can no trains or planes or cars cope with the snow?! I'm sitting listening to BBC Radio2 (coz I'm cool like that...) and after I had a wee mini rave to some cheesy 80's music, the traffic and weather information came on - and it sounds as though the whole of Britain is stuck because of the snow. Come on people, we must be able to deal with snow better than this somehow - and we're gonna have to improve cause it's going to keep happening now, let's face it.
Strange thing is, just a few hours ago I was on the phone to Becs who's out in Australia and she's talking about being in shorts and a vest top. Isn't the world a confusing and totally fascinating place? One side of the world is stopping because of some snow, and one side of the world is enjoying summer sun... It's going to be Christmas soon... and I just can't believe how different the world is. I'd love to go and celebrate Christmas in the sun one day. And I bet some Australians would like to spend it in the snow. Odd...
Anyway, just my wee ponderings of the day :) My mind likes to ponder. Most of which I won't share here, just now anyway!
Wherever you are and whatever the weather, don't be fooled by it - just do what you can and enjoy every moment of today because today won't last forever!

Monday, 22 November 2010

End of the 'season'

So, this picture here indicates the end of the 'season' for us here on Iona. It's the light at the end of the tunnel - the beautifully sunny, calm, chilled days of the winter season ahead of us. This was taken from the ferry on my way back from the Keel Row pub in Fionnphort on Mull on Saturday. It was a lovely afternoon off with lovely friends, a nice pint and lovely food. That's what winter is about - enjoying yourself, and your precious time with others that can be lacking during the summer season. The thing is, though, that there is just as much work to do - if not more because you've got lots to catch up on that you didn't manage to do with the guests around - yet you still feel that you have more time.
I've discovered that the time you have free is found in the precious evenings. The evenings that during the summer are taken up with services at 9pm and after service teas sometimes till gone 10pm. Those evenings are now either unplanned or service at 7.30pm and back home by 8.15pm. Having the evenings to yourself, to do whatever you want, is such a wonderful thing. Time to relax, to enjoy a nice glass of wine, to phone and email friends, to write letters, to play music, to watch films, to walk and enjoy the scenery and to spend time with the people here that you love so much. I really appreciate these evenings.
Here's to winter season and catching up on some, what I reckon to be, well deserved recuperation time.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Wind!

How many forms on wind are there in the world?
Here on Iona I believe there are many different kinds of wind.
The kind that invigorates you when you step out the door.
The kind that chills you straight through, no matter how many layers you are wearing.
The kind that stops the ferry from running and delays your exciting post.
The kind that makes the waves crash in a satisfying way.
The kind that occurs after too many bananas and baked beans.
These are the wind lessons I have learnt on Iona in the last few weeks. May I add that the last form of wind mentioned was not a personal problem of mine, but of one of my fellow housemates!
I love Iona and all of it's windyness!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

3 things happend to me today... well not me, but my friend Eilidh Ceilidh

Hello, hooray, hoozah!  Hmm, it's funny being asked to blog on somebody else's blog, especially when you have no idea what to write about and you know that you are following several meaningful blog posts which will have touched many people in many ways.  I don't think that this will really be on that similar a vein, but hopefully it won't be anything less than the normal Eilidh Ceilidh splatter of words.  For a start I titled this 3 things that happened to me today... and yet haven't actually worked out what they are.  The last time I wrote for this blog it had something to do with accounting for a rather odd meal with warm pear and stiltonyness.  Since then, nearly a year has passed and although my lunch today was probably as odd a concoction of food stuffs, it so far isn't one of the three things I think I'll go into detail about.  However time will indeed tell... 

Number 1... Oh this was actually quite lovely and hopefully in no way seen as neglect.  I look after a four year old who knows what anxious is and who I would probably pop the word perpertual into conversation with.  We were walking to lunch talking about the lovely smells that we could smell (beef pie and roast potatoes) when I got ahead of her for just a few minutes less than 20 metres from our destination (see how I'm justifying my actions).  We'd been talking as we walked but perhaps our conversation lapsed.  When I popped back from just around the pend to hurry her along, she saw me and came running towards me quite upset.  Thinking she had somehow injured herslf I started looking for the usual falling over scratches or sore hands.  To my surprise she said "I thought that I had lost you..."  "I would never go anywhere further than you could find me," I replied. " I was just around the corner and I came back to get you.  We were just talking about lunch.  You know I would never disappear."  She was sad that I had been away for just a few minutes, if that.  In 3 days I leave this job and head home again for something...  I know that I will feel exactly the same as she did when that time comes.  It's nice to know that people need you in their lives... it just makes it all the harder when suddenly they seem far away.  People always say that my relatationship with this little girl is about her looking after me.  As much as we joke about it, yes, I admit it sometimes it's true and on Tuesday it will seem all the more so. 

Number 2... Oh, Lorna and I went to the Spar this moring to buy a bottle of wine.  We went for something a little over a £5 for so it wasn't too nasty and then based our purchase on the prettyness of the lable.  I think it has a dead fish on it.  When we came to open the bottle (I will remark this moment came after my shift today) we realised that it was a corked bottle.  How well we thought we had done!  On closer inspection of the bottle we realised that it had been "hand chosen by wine experts for Spar."  I can only assume that they used a similar choosing technique to the one we managed to come up with.  Perhaps this could be my next job opportunity.  The wine doesn't taste too bad, was only a little over a fiver, has a dead fish on the lable and ooooh, look, it has a cork in it too.  What's not win win about that?

Number 3... Three things isn't that many when you are not that literary skilled and are trying for something between meaningfulness and amusement.  I discussed the word ambition with my four year old friend today. It was in the context of something being over ambitious.  This, I suspect is same.  Nevertheless I shall rattle on and hope to finish before Lorna gets back from service and we can go lay on the cold, windy jetty.  Number 3... Oh yes, I was hug tricked into a tickle attack today.  Damn you Sarah Squarah, you win again.  But hah, I poked your nose and you still haven't got me back... and Becki, good rave mix.  I like it.  Mellow but nothing that you can't do the after service tea dance to.   

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Defying Gravity

I've told many people lately that I'm going to try defying gravity and I have had many 'smart' responses. I'm not literally going to defy gravity by jumping from the top of the Abbey tower and praying for my life, don't worry.

"Something has changed within me
Something is not the same...
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes, and leap...
It's time to try defying gravity
And you can't pull me down!...
Ev'ryone deserves the chance to fly!"

Surely, if I want to and if I'm able to take the chance, I should fly?

So, "look to the western sky" and I'll be there, flying.

I'm going to try to defy gravity.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye

'I love you more than songs can say
But I can't keep running after yesterday
When all we ever do is say goodbye
All we ever do is say goodbye'
- John Mayer

It sometimes feels like that. Like all we ever do its say goodbye. Living in community here on Iona is very much like that. During the season we say goodbyes each Wednesday to volunteers and each Friday to guests. We say goodbye to residents throughout the year, some who have been here for up to three years. We say goodbye to the seasons, and lately to the daylight. We say goodbye to the ferry, our only means of 'escape', at 6.30pm every evening. We say goodbye to the seasonal workers from the pub and hotels at this time of year. We say goodbye on Saturday to one resident. We say goodbye to all of our volunteers on Tuesday. We say goodbye to another resident the week after. We say goodbye to two other residents the week after that. We say goodbye to another resident the week after that. Goodbye... goodbye... goodbye. 'All we ever do is say goodbye'. It feel so much more true at this time of year than it ever has done before. There is a massive staff change over at the end of this year and the beginning of next year.

But, you know what all of those goodbyes mean? Hello. Nice to meet you. Good to see you again. To say goodbye to something or someone, you must have known them first. Surely knowing them can take over the pain of saying goodbye? Knowing them and becoming part of their lives, and them part of your life. To say a goodbye, you must have had a hello.

What's the most important? It's only human to find goodbyes hard, but they are only hard because you care, you love, you share life. Don't stop caring, loving and sharing life just so you don't have to say goodbye anymore. Life would mean an awful lot less. Nobody would be important to you. Say hello, and allow that hello to continue for as long as you need it to.

Say hello and, when you say goodbye, be thankful for the hello.

Care, love and share.

Monday, 1 November 2010

The Importance Of Light

This picture was taken on the way up to the Mac for one of my first morning shifts in the kitchen after Fran had left Iona. It was a tough time for me; not only taking over the 'run' of a kitchen that was so unknown to me, but more so 'letting go' of somebody so close to me. Each morning on my way to work, the sun made my walk beautiful and it made me feel like all was ok, even if I was stressing and didn't think I could cope. Fran always said I'd manage, and with the help of the sunrises each day, I did. Thank you Fran, you're great and I love you lots xx
This photo was taken last night after somebody had asked me - how easy is it to connect wit your mum, with someone so far away, with someone you love but can no longer be with? Well, it's easy. This cross is a memorial cross on the road just beyond the Abbey on the way to the North End. I find it a very spiritual place where I can go and 'be still' for a time. I can meet anyone there that I want to meet, that I need to meet xx
There are times when light is needed to guide the way - and this light was lit today especially for Becki as she travels the unknown and enters a new experience in a different country with new faces and unpredictable ways of living for the next few weeks. Let the light guide you on your journey, always xx

I Would Change Your World

"And I know that it’s been rough
But your patience has to pay
And it can’t be soon enough
And if I could have my way
I would change your world
I’d change it right away"

There seem to be quite a few people in my life right now who seem to be in a rough patch, seem to be running out of patience, seem to need their world changed. I would change their worlds if I could, and I would do it right away. But how can I do such a thing? I can't just click my fingers and change someones life. As much as I would like to. So, instead, I'll just stand by them, hold their hand, let them cry on my shoulder, walk with them, listen to them, pray for them and pray with them, care for them, and more than anything; love them.

After all, the people who have helped to change my world have loved me, so the least I can do for them is love them to change their world.

I'm with you.

Monday, 25 October 2010

One Day...

 "I'll need a boat with a good strong sail
To weather all the storms and the gales
I'll grab the bottle, grip the rail and say my prayers
And then I'll throw that bottle out
Into the deep blue sea
And then I'll sail away

Yeah I'll throw that bottle out
So far it can't hurt me
One day, one day, one day
One day, one day, one day"

- Polly Paulusma - One Day


A special person said this song reminded them of me... me and my box. I'm known for doing quite a lot of random scribbles and bits of writing, especially at the more tricky times of life. And earlier in the year I decided that it wasn't good to re-read any of these as it brought back things that maybe I didn't need to bring back. So I made a box, a box of 'things to hand over and forget about'. One day. One day I'll hand them all over. Individually I've handed them over as I've put them in the box, but one day I will hand it all over. All of the past 'stuff' that's now kept tightly in that box. 
One small enclosed space can hold a lot of truth about life. One small enclosed space is where I live. On a remote, small Scottish island. Can you get any more enclosed than community life here on Iona? In an odd way, community makes you very enclosed. There are a lot of introverts in community. There are a lot of extroverts in community. How do the two merge? How do they get on? How do they communicate? How do they work together? How do you hand things over? It's been a fascinating few weeks here on Iona and these are the kind of things I've been looking out for. It's amazing. People are fascinating. Emotions and feelings. Words. Body language. Behaviours. You can think you know someone very well, and then you share community life with them...
The afore mentioned person introduced me to a lot of music lately, and these words made me think about relationships in community life, that go on no matter what...

'Did you ever lay your head down on the shoulder of a good friend?
And then have to look away somehow? Had to hide the way you felt for them?
Have you ever prayed the day would come you’d hear them say they feel it to?
Did you ever love somebody who never knew?'
Community life is great. But it's hard. So stick your hard bits in a box and mark it for God. Continue as normal.
One day...

Sunday, 10 October 2010

"Show Me How Pretty The Whole World Is"

Do you ever have a day when one artist is singing at you, to you?
Do you ever have a day when the words being sung ring true to you?
Do you ever have a day when the tune, the harmonies, the voice rattle through you?
Do you ever have a day when something is talking to you but you don't know what's being said?
Do you ever have that day?
If so, say hello to God.

Hello God!
Today has been that day for me. That day often happens but sometimes that day passes me by without me realising. Why don't I realise when it's oh so obvious? Because I'm a human who gets caught up with life and who isn't always on the look out of God (although I likely should be). But, God is always on the look out for me.
 ~
"I can almost see the sky. When I need to I close my eyes. You're the only things worth holding on to."
 ~
Today it feels like there is more than just God to hold on to. I know, deep down, that holding on to God is more important that anything, but there are also other important things to hold on to; important people, memories, moments, words...
~
"I miss the sound of your voice."
~
Isn't it nice when your phone rings when you're sat at your desk at work and it's a special person ringing? A special person ringing just to hear your voice; to hear your voice to help them to know that life is ok.
Such a simple thing as hearing a voice can make us feel so much more comfortable with our life and it's an unexplainable feeling when you've found someone who can do that for you. I'm not saying that only one person can do that for you, but to find someone who can do that is revitalising. It's precious.
How would you cope without friends, without your chosen people? How would you cope if you couldn't hear their voice, see their face, feel their touch? Friendship is so important and it's at times when life is stretching you to your limits that friendships are that bit more obviously important.
Important.
Treasured.
Loved.
Love = a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection.
Realise love. Feel love. Appreciate love. Love in return.
~
"I miss the still of your silence."
~

Monday, 4 October 2010

Too Long

It's been too long. Too long for many things.
First off, too long since I posted last. I don't do this communication thing well and I apologise. Life on a small, remote Scottish island is very busy and there isn't often time to sit and write, especially on a computer. Paper and pen, on a rock, by the waves, in the sun...yes. Computer and keyboard, in an office, not working, out of the sun...no.
Secondly, too long since a good chunk of time off with nothing planned and time alone. This also adds to point one. But it also adds to point three.
Thirdly, too long since a lie in, a solid nights sleep and enough time in bed to function at full capacity. My body is tired and becoming weak. My mind is tired and my knees are sore. This is not a good sign.
Isn't is good that we have a new Hospitality Team Leader arriving on Sunday? An extra pair of enthusiastic hands to hopefully take some of the work load. A smiling face around to hopefully lighten the air. A person to be interested in the well being of the staff. It will hopefully be a good change for us, to introduce a new member of the resident team at this tired and weary time of year. Especially this year. Especially this week.  Everyone is stretched and now more so than normal.
Life is an odd thing and I fully believe that everything happens for a reason, but sometimes those reasons are hard to find. And at the moment that is the case, that reasons for things are hard to find. Why the hurt, upset, anger, loss, judging, criticising, blame, tears....? The list could go on. What is the reason for the whole situation, and for the individual situations surrounding it? It's fascinating to think about. Maybe I will never know the answer. Maybe I will never know what good has come of this. At the moment the good things to come out of the recent changes hasn't yet become apparent but I'm going to keep searching. The good things must be there, somewhere. Becoming closer to those you really do care for and love from the deepest part of you? Working out who your true friends, support network, family and God-given angels are? Being made to smile because of the little things and realising how important the little things are?
"Be still and know that I am God..."
"We have not time to stop and stare..."
"Close your eyes, get some sleep, it's too late now to change anything but it's alright, get some sleep. It's so dark outside so close your eyes and feel the world turn round. If you're not lost, I guess that makes you found."

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Day 5 – 6.7.10 – Tuesday Vancouver – Pemberton

Started off the day heading over to Granville Island to visit the market. I’ve never seen so many different types of fruit and veg in one building, and also bagels, pancakes, pastries, snacks, flowers... Wandered some of the touristy shops and some of the more expensive arty shops, enjoyed lunch at the sea wall and watched the many taxi boats go back and forth.
From there we dropped of Maurice and Heather and continued on out of Vancouver towards Pemberton. We stopped off at the Shannon Falls which were stunning, water falling from glaciers... the water was pretty cold! Stopped off in Whistler and planned to go up in the cable car thing but it was already closed so we wandered around, dodging the hundreds of boarders and cyclists.
Made it to Pemberton and found the worlds dodgiest hostel where the people were totally drugged up and a wee house was held up by a slide. Thankfully, we had the wrong hostel! Had dinner out in a nice restaurant on the balcony overlooking the mountains. They look somewhat like Scotland has taken steroids! Back to the hostel where Alma (one of the owners) gave me a book of pretty Canada pictures and gave us advice on what to do if you encounter a bear. She also made us empty the car of food or the bears would rip the car open to get to it!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Canada Trip 4.7.10 – 15.7.10

Day 1 – 2.7.10 – Friday
Iona to Edinburgh

After a few tricky goodbyes, many hugs and a rush to the jetty, a rough ferry crossing was the beginning of much travelling. Woozy stomach was settled by listening to music and sleeping on the bus to Craignure. A few harsh awakenings with braking later and I hopped off the bus in the rain to hear an announcement that the ferry was having problems with its main engine. Oh, great! While sitting in the ‘Craignure Tunnel’ as I like to call it, I enjoyed people watching...mainly American’s with bizarre hats and German couples arguing! So, now that the train has been missed, Cal Mac set up travel back to Edinburgh for me in the form of a taxi with an overly anxious American woman and two German guys, one of whom tried to eye and feel me up most of the way...



Day 2 – 3.7.10 – Saturday
Edinburgh – Gatwick

Who would have thought that such a short leg of the journey would take 5 ½ hours?! Delayed plane never helps. Interesting turbulence... stunning sunset. Roasting hot hotel now!



Day 3 – 4.7.10 – Sunday
Gatwick – Vancouver

5.30am alarm... zzz! Quick shower, watch some Wimbledon highlights on TV (what’s one of them?!), hop in a van and end up at Gatwick South Terminal at 6.40am. Yawn! Straight through security, pick up a massive chunk of money, grab some breakfast and start the 15 minute walk to the gate! Now on the plane deciding what to watch on the TV... and ‘I’m Yours’ by Jason Mraz is on... yay!

First ever trip to an airplane toilet – interesting experience! Enjoying the entertainment thingy, watching some film about a country singer, but I can’t remember what it’s called! May be tie for some in flight games soon, after I finish my hot chocolate...

Ice bergs over Greenland! Free chocolate mini ice creams! Declaration card filled out!

Only an hour of the flight left and I’m sore and tired and ready to get off now. Dum deed um. Hopefully going to have some nice views on the way down.

There were lovely views on the way down to Vancouver and it’s the strangest feeling coming in to land when the runway begins in the sea! There’s no being sure you are going to land on dry land!

Found luggage and off we went to find the hire car. I was so relieved when Martha hopped in the driver’s seat first! She’s at least driven on this side of the road before. Watch out for dad trying soon...

Drive in to the city and saw my first yellow school bus – they do exist! Also saw a few electric buses and other bizarre things. Walked up Granville Street, hunted out Heather and Maurice and continued to wait for Heather to get her costume on to then run around the street carrying a fake kite and wearing a blue wig. Fetching! Back up to Heather’s flat where Maurice cooked us dinner and then I crashed out by 9pm... 23 ½ hours awake!



Day 4 – 5.7.10 – Monday
Vancouver

6 am and wide awake. Toast time! Loaded some photos on to Facebook and then went back to bed till 9am. Silly jet lag!

Nice lazy morning including maple syrup and brown sugar porridge with a nice cup of tea. Waiting now on dad and Martha to arrive and I think we’re then off to Stanley Park.

Drove down to Stanley Park and parked up next to some Mounty horses, very cute! Saw some eagles flying, many ducks and swans, quite a few turtles and some raccoons, including cute fluffy baby raccoons! Had to laugh at a heron landing, it looked so unstable and certainly not as elegant as it is whilst in flight! All of this was around the Lost Lagoon which is just an amazing place. Went over to the totem poles next, via the yaught club and the beach wall, passing by the naval base and Canada Place too. Wandered back to the bar & grill to have lunch (including poutine!) via a lovely beach and kiddies water area where Maurice got a tad wet!

After Stanley Park we headed off up to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Wow! It had been recommended to me by some guests we had in the Abbey last week and I’m glad they did so coz it was stunning. Very expensive mind you! Amazing views from the bridge and it was glorious sunny. Enjoyed the tree top trail too. Can’t even begin to imagine the work that went in to the park as a whole, it was so well put together. Apparently the bridge can hold two 747 planes! Enjoyed a cup of tea with some tiny black squirrels running around. Cute!

Quick stop in to IGA store before a brief sit down at the flat. Out to dinner at Earls around the corner next which was lovely. Pretending to be Heathers birthday...although it’s still 12 days away! Back up at the flat now, loaded a few more photos and now watching TV before bed. I’m knackered with this time difference thing!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Adventures...

So this whole blog thing is clearly not a success! I've discovered that life is a bit too busy here, and time is tight... time off is tight, more to the point. And even in that time off, my internet connection is in my office... it is not tempting on days off to be in the office!

Life has been busy and adventurous, to say the least. Having been one team member down for the whole season so far, I'm so glad to be back up to a full team - in hospitality at least. Carol who used to be the Hospitality Team Leader (HTL) in 2008 has returned to help out for 6 months, and to be the extra team member that we haven't had lately. Interviews for HTL are happening this week though - 2 via Skype, and 1 here on island. Here's hoping that one of them is what we are looking for, and we can officialy be a fully staffed Hospitality Team in the not too distant future.

I've had some amazing times here, to say the least. The people still amaze me each day and I love them to bits. My life would be so difficult without my extended family here around me. I have the best housemates! All 7 of us don't get together very often but when we do we have a total blast. We are all meeting up this Sunday night for a potluck pudding gathering (yes, life does revolve around food here!)... Laura is leaving in just under a month so we thought we should have a leaving do type thing for her. However, Julie and Fran are both going on holiday this week for a fornight so we decided this week would be good. Really looking forward to all being together :)

I'm wondering how the next two weeks will pan out... Julie and Fran are my two buddies who help me majorly with work things more than anything, but I also spend an awful lot of my time with them in the evenings, out for walks etc. So, I have a feeling that to have them both on holiday at once will be quiet a challenge for me. Soon find out!

I have a feeling that an awful lot has happened in the last month since I last updated... but I have no memory at the moment... maybe I should get my diary! But that is nowhere near me right now... so you'll have to deal with not knowing!

For now, the kettle and Arrested Development are calling me... I'll try to update again soon, honestly... Bug me if I don't!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

The Right Place

First off, apologies for not updating you in a very very long time. Holy Week, Easter, Edinburgh, Orthodotist, Travelling, Guests, Work, Meetings, Volunteers, Illness...

Sadly I still don't have much time just now to update as life is still very busy, but I shall leave you with a nice song for now, untill I have time to update on what's actually going on here.

I decided the other day that, although I was totally knackered and needing some rest from everything, that The Right Place by Eddi Reader was song of the week...

The lights are on our side, driving out of town tonight
This night the colour of blue glass
The warm wind is in our hair, summertime is everywhere
It's funny how today just flew past
I've been in the wrong place, I've been in the wrong place
Long enough to know I'm in the right place now

Five or ten lifetimes ago, there lived a girl that you don't know
She walked about and answered to my name
But let's not talk of strangers now, of where and when or why and how
I've turned around and I'm looking at a new day
I've been in the wrong place, I've been in the wrong place
Long enough to know I'm in the right place now

I've been waiting so long, I've been waiting so long
I've been waiting so long
Now I don't mind if the sun goes down
The night can't hurt me now
The summer's young and the road is clear
I thank whatever brought me here
I've been in the wrong place, I've been in the wrong place
Long enough to know I'm in the right place now
I'm in the right place now

Sunday, 21 March 2010

'Once I was a stranger...'

"Once I was a stranger to the sky
I'd look up from the ground
and block my eyes
Like black smoke in thin air

Tried to be content with what was mine
But my heart was aching all the time
And the scars are still there

And hey, every angel has its time
And hey, I'll write when I arrive
Hey, I've come to claim what's mine

In an elevator to the stars
take a long hard look at who you are
If you're unfamiliar

'Cause one day comes
when you must face yourself
Such a waste pretending someone else
Can still fulfill you

And hey, every angel has its time
And hey, I'll write when I arrive
Hey, I've come to claim what's mine

If your motivation's just to win
That's a handsome trap you're standing in
And its jaws can break you

I would never claim I've seen the light
But I heard the truest song tonight
Whose tune can change you

And hey, every angel has its time
And hey, I'll write when I arrive
Hey, I've come to claim what's mine

I've come to claim what's mine
I've come to claim what's mine
I've come to claim what's mine

Once I was a stranger to the sky
I'd look up from the ground
and block my eyes
Like black smoke in thin air"

Every Angel - The Push Stars

Do you ever think that there's a day when suddenly you aren't a stranger? To the sky, to the world, to people, to a place, to work, to nature, to conversation, to God, to yourself. This last two weeks have been a test of that. How much of a stranger am I to all of these things? "Once I was a stranger to the sky"
 
Our volunteers (vollies) arrived on Tuesday 9th and then our Work Week guests arrived on Saturday 13th. After spending all of staff training with just the 20 or so residents, this was an overload of people. 25 extra staff members and 22 extra guests joined us to live and work in community, so within a week we had over tripled in numbers and suddenly we, as residents, had become the minority. Odd feeling. "Cause one day comes when you must face yourself" This sudden amount of people made me face myself. This may make no sense to begin with, but I shall try to explain how... When you have to work 12/13 hours a day to get the work done that needs done; to cover days off, to organise and oversea the work week jobs being done, to look after 4 vollies in a kitchen you aren't familiar with, to open two centres for guests, to go to services, to do the orders, to go to meals, to build community and get to know those around you; you have to learn to take time to yourself wherever and whenever you can. In your office (until the phone rings or someone comes in), in your room, in services, in your home space (shared with 6 others), in the small time gaps you have to go walking... What do you do with these times to use them to best suit you and your needs? "Tried to be content with what was mine"

I found this challenge tough, but I found it useful. The hardest thing about all of this for me was that time with friends was less than normal and less than I would have liked. My friends here are amazing and I wouldn't have them any other way, so not getting much time with them has been very strange for me. But I've also realised that if I want to appreciate them and have the best relationship I can with them, then I need to have space for myself also or I will be tired, worn out and probably not the best company. A hard lesson to learn, but one that is invaluable. "Every angel has its time... I've come to claim what's mine" My friends are my angels, but I have to claim my own time too. This is a lot easier when those angels are always there and when they realise that you need your time and help you to keep to that. My time with them is more treasured this way, and treasured is how I like it. "I would never claim I've seen the light, but I heard the truest song tonight, whose tune can change you"

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Yarg!

After a few days in Glasgow doing the last few bits of our staff training we all got the rest of the week off. I took this week as an opportunity to spend some time with my awesome friends...

A quick stop over in Edinburgh Sunday night to Tuesday afternoon spending some time with friends and family, and then Tuesday evening to Friday afternoon in a youth hostel. We drove down to Boggle Hole youth hostel which is about 7 miles south of Whity, close to Robin Hood's Bay. It's an awesome hostel! It has been made to look and feel like a pirate ship (hence the 'Yarg!') and it's really welcoming and cosy. And the best bit is that Auntie Sue starts work there tomorrow (she always wanted to be a pirate) and so I can hopefully stop by there again at some point this year to say hey! We had a day in Whitby being tourists, eating cake, drinking hot chocolate, shopping and taking silly pictures and we spent a day trying to walk to Whitby along the cliff edge from the hostel (don't worry, there's a path!) but we failed at that as we didn't quite realise how far the walk was.... So, after a few aches and pains and very very muddy boots, we made it back to Robin Hood's Bay for toasties, ice cream and a wander along the beach before dinner in the local hotel. Very nice :)

Now I'm back up on the wee isle and straight back to work. I placed a few orders before I left and came back yesterday to discover just how big the orders were... it's quite hard to move anywhere in the burrows just now! So, I'm slowly working my way through unpacking that, cooking meals, getting the centres ready for the volunteers who arrive on Tuesday (YAY!), preparing for work week guests arriving and the rest of the job bits also...

But, for now, I must go to my room and enjoy the warmth (unlike this room!) before a nice long snooze :)

Monday, 1 March 2010

Nearing The End Of Training

We have been in Glasgow for the weekend, as a Resident Group, to attend a Committe Meeting in The Iona Community's Glasgow Office. We also enjoyed dinner at a Community Members very nice flat at the top of a very steep hill with very lovely views across the city, some time with the Youth Development Team, a spot of shopping, staying with various Community Members, lots of eating, church services with our hosts, Holy City event and a very cold but informative pilgrimage around Glasgow. We started our pilgrimage in Govan Old Church, which is the church that George MacLead, founder of The Iona Community, was minister for many years. It was amazing to go inside and see this place that I had heard so much about.

Our Pilgirmage was led by Alison Swinfen, a Community Member, and I also attended a session last night at Holy City that she was running based around Refugees and Asylum Seekers... Her story is so real, so honest, so terrifying... I would love it, and I'm sure she and her husband and their foster daughter would love it even more, if you could go to any of the below websites to have a look at what is happening to them just now, and to do what you can to help  them...

Online Petition: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/rima/
Official website: http://www.letrimastay.org.uk/
NCADC: http://www.ncadc.org.uk/NCADC-Campaigns/rima.html

Last week during staff training we did a days First Aid course, run by a guy from Inverness. I understand now why at the start of our weekly pilgrimages around the island the leaders always say that they have basic First Aid training and that you don't want to be the person to find out how basic.... One day isn't a long time, and I know now how basic that training is! Was a good day though, and quite a giggle... Especially when a question was asked as to how we know what the signs of hypothermia are, and wondered what you should do if the majority of the people in the room at the time are displaying those signs... it really was a cold cold day!! Here is a photo of us on our training pilgrimage, stopping for a quick bite to eat and to catch our breath...


Last week we also spent a day down at Camas, the Iona Community's outdoor adventure centre on Mull. It was a beautifully crisp day, and was a very nice change from being in the Abbey all day long. They have two little kittens there just now, one of whom loves attention...



There is a massive amount of work to be done before our vollies (short for volunteers!) arrive on the 9th, and before our work week guests arrive on the 13th... and we are now all on holiday until going back to Iona on Saturday... So, this does mean that I am doing lots of work today, back in Edinburgh... but, I shall (try to) put that to the back of my brain tomorrow as I will travel down to Whitby to have a few days holiday with Eilidh, Sarah, Sue and Becki :) Can't wait to be out and about and enjoying the company, good food, outdoors and relaxing and refreshing before a busy season begins.

And a few more photos for you... 

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Busy Times On The Wee Isle

This week has been busy, very busy. With morning worship at 9.30am, training in common room 10.15am - 12.30pm, lunch at 1pm, back to common room 2.15pm - 4.30pm, kitchn 4.30pm - 7.30pm and then service/social at 7.30/45pm .... each day has been busy, very busy.

It's great to be so busy, and to have so much time with everyone, but it does cause problems. Like not having time to get to grips with and do your job!

We had two days of worship training and skills, which were pretty useful but also quite tiring. Many good ideas came out of those days, and some usefull hints and tips also.

The Agape Table Space service in the Michael Chapel was amazing. Linda was leading it, and we had grapes, apples and pineapple for all to share, on wee cocktail sticks... the service was very well put together and thought through. The passing of the fruit caused quite a few giggles, and it fitted in perfectly with the song that mentioned fruit bringing joy. It was great!

On Friday night some of us made our way around to Dunsmeorach (staff house, that George MacLeod used to live in) to what we call 'The Dunsmeorach Cinema' which is basically a dvd played hooked up to a projector and projected up on to the big end wall. This week we watched Wall-e, and it was great! Last night myself and my lovely housemates watched Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. All I'm going to say is that if you haven't seen it, watch it! It's such a brilliant film, about friendships and how people come in and out of your life just at the right times. If you're anything like some people here, though, you may need a tissue or two for the tears!

After service at Bishop's House this morning we (Fran, Julie and I) had a hilarious half hour of moving furniture. Seeing as Natalie arrives tomorrow (yes, tomorrow, yay!) we thought it was about time we removed the old wardrobe from her room and got the new chest of drawers in to the room. However, that would be a simple task if the green van didn't have a flat tyre, we were stronger, there wasn't a distance from Bishop's House to the Abbey to be overcome (with said flat tyre), and a spiral staircase involved.... It was hilarious, but hard work! I then went in and gave it a dust, hoover and got the linen on the bed. Anyway, the room looks a lot nicer now and we are all looking forward to having Natalie here with us :)

I think it's time to go now and aquire a cup of tea and some biscuits to keep my little stomach happy untill mac 'n' cheese tonight :)

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Oopsie

I realise that at the moment I'm not very good at updating my blog. Oopsie.

Training has been very busy and full on this week. Learnt some really useful things about social styles, team work and consensus. I really enjoyed doing all of the sessions, especially Resident Group Meeting when we started our storytelling, where each Ressie member has up to 20 minutes to tell us about their life. We had 5 people share their story with us on Friday and it was fascinating. I'm really looking forward to hearing the rest, but not so much doing my own!

I will try better next week to keep you up to date, but time is disappearing before my eyes at the moment!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Life Goes By Too Fast!

Have you ever thought that life goes by way too quickly? Well, this is the case with staff training on the wee isle so far for me!

Had a nice weekend off, with various treats like bacon and sausage brunch, tea with Ben in Bishops House, guitar playing with amazing friends, many giggles and great conversations, a few long nights in bed, a service at Bishop's House, banoffee pie and many cups of tea to stay warm!

Back to work on Monday morning including time in the Mac kitchen debating what needs ordering, what sizes, how many, how much we can spend, and generally getting really really cold - I think the kitchen up there is colder than outside just now! Had yesterday and today as department time which has involved a few meetings to see what's going on, time sat at the computer doing various odds and ends, and some other odd wee jobs - overall has been a pretty busy two days! And from tomorrow morning life will get busier because the woman who was here to cook for us (covering the fact that Fran, the cook, is doing staff training) left today - which leaves Fran and I to do the cooking as well as do staff training... early mornings and long days for now then!

Anyway, it's so so cold up in the library tonight that I won't go telling any exciting stories for now! But, life is fun and full of laughter up here just now, even if it's long days and cold outside (and in!)...

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Training so far

Training began officially on Tuesday, with a Welcome and Essential Information morning... all those thing you never thought would be useful - oh, and that you already knew! We learnt all about who would be what colour and why, and all about food supplies/sacristy resources/ethos/reception/social times/hospitality/wee sings/where things are... you get the jist!
We then had some department time, which basically meant time for me to wrestle with my computer to make it work - I failed on that task!

On Wednesday we had a session with Peter MacDonald (leader of the Iona Community) and Norman Shanks (convener of the Iona Committe) entitle 'A stop sign - how did I get here?' where we spent the morning discussing 'What Did Jesus Do?' which came out with many interesting points. We then, after tea and scones, went on to discuss how all of the things that Jesus did fit in to certain groups, and how we as a Resident group and as a wider community fit our work and our lives in to these groups. Some of these were: hospitalit, challenge, acceptance, relating, spiritual discipline, non-violence, and the list goes on...

Today, we started off in the common room with a briefing from Ian and Hilary about Pilgrimages, why we do them/when we do them/who does them/safety/equipment etc.... We then set off in a wee bit of sun and ended up getting soaked half way around - a good test of all of our new waterproofs! After a treck to Columbas Bay, flapjack and The Machair and a wet walk back, we were greeted with tea and scones in the refectory before drying ourselves off in time for a little bit of work time... And I have heard rumours that we are having haggis, neaps and tatties for dinner, and chocolate puddle pudding for desert, what a happy happy day :) It was lovely to get out of the common room and in to the wilderness today, and I can't wait to get going doing the pilgrimages more often (when I buy some better gloves!).

Anyway, hoping that you are all well and enjoying whatever life is throwing at you. Off to do some work now! Oh, pictures to follow at a later time!

Monday, 1 February 2010

Some Iona Photos...

Here is what you do to amuse yourself on a train... but I forgot to show you my iPod too!
The view from the train with the snow topped hills... stunning!
Ben More on Mull, snow topped
Me, Sarah and Fiona - 3 happy new ressies on the ferry!
The Trinity picture that was in my room when I arrived - very cool!
My room in the Warren of the Abbey. Don't you love that the curtains don't fit and are horrid?!
My new home, the morning after my first sleep in it!
Iona Parish Church on my first morning here.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Arrived and unpacked...and cold!

Arrived safe and sound on Iona; unpacked all of my luggage, shuffled some furniture around, made my room look lovely, drank lots of tea, ate lots of food, went to the parish church, and generally tried to keep warm... coz we have two days off before training begins, and it's cold!

Seeing as it's so cold so need a cuppa tea and I'm sitting on the floor in my office (I don't have a chair yet!), I shall leave it at that for now... just thought I'd let you know that I'm alive and well and feeling right at home :)

Friday, 29 January 2010

No days left to go...

It's now Friday, 29th January... and I move to Iona on Saturday, 30th January...  that makes my move date, oh yeah, tomorrow!

Been out getting a new passport, sending cards, doing washing, packing last bits, washing my car (Chris is very shiny now!), tidying up my room, leaving notes around the flat for my sister...

And now, it's nearly time to go! One last chinese takeaway tonight up at Sarah's house (mainly coz it's her birthday tomorrow also, and you can't get takeaway of any kind on Iona, certainly not chinese), and then a train through to Glasgow to spend the night at Eilidh's before hopping on the train at 8.21 am tomorrow morning :) Hopefully this plan will involve a wee bit of sleep and also plenty of good food and good company to remember my last night of being a 'bum' by!!

Untill Iona, goodbye for now...

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Being A Bit Busy

The last few days have been rather busy for me, with packing up everything in sight to store away or to post up to the wee isle, with seeing old friends and enjoying meals and drinks with them, with birthday celebrations, with Burns dinner, with secret planning of special events, with trying to fit in sleep, with passport renewing, with music finding, with driving here there and everywhere, with being addicted to the film 'Once', with going to amazing concerts and gigs, with spending time with the family in various forms, with getting my hair cut, with, with, with...

So on to today, when I pop to see my cousin and kiddies, and have my leaving dinner and see my dad for the last time before I go (no, I'm not getting up at 7.30am tomorrow to say goodbye before he goes to work and then goes away for the weekend!). Oh, and I guess I should squeeze in doing my washing too! And then tomorrow the last pack up (if my clothes are dry!) and a birthday celebration for Sarah before heading through to Glasgow with Eilidh to stay the night there... it means I don't have to get up as early for the train!

So to conclude, lots of things to do and only 2 short sleeps to go before the adventure begins.... YAY!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Boxes, boxes, boxes

I have discovered today the joy of boxes. Or more to the point, the joy of packaging tape. Brown tape.

After slowly but surely sorting out my room; packing up things to leave behind, packing up things to take, chucking things in the bin, sorting things for recycling, sorting things for charity, buying things I still needed, updating guitar folders; I eventually had another box to send to myself complete.

One full cardboard box (from the recycling dept. in Dobbies Garden Centre, of course!) and one roll of brown packaging tape... If only I could spell the noise that the tape makes as you pull it off the roll, coz I find it extremely satisfying (yes, I am sad, I know)... Across the top, down the sides, across the bottom, back up the sides... So much satisfaction from some tape and a cardboard box, knowing that it's part of your life that you are tightly packing inside it...

I enjoy packing, luckily, but I do realise now that it isn't such an easy task when you are moving to a room even smaller than the one you already have, and with even less storage space... My new room has nowhere near enough space for my stationery addiction!

Anyway, other than packing I'm doing the rounds of those people I must be saying tata to for now. Went to a great gig that Andy did the other night, and loved every moment of it. He knows Kris Drever, how cool! Whizzed my car about quite a bit, to and from the shops etc. Listened to lots of newly found music, and also lots of music that I knew about before. Had many takeaways and unhealthy things that I know can't be accessed on Iona!

For now, bed time!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

'Scottish Songbook' Causes High Pitched Noises

For all of you who do not know, 'Scottish Songbook' was a concert as part of 'Celtic Connections', a night with a cross-genre collaboration of Scottish music, put together by Karine Polwart and Brian McAlpine, with the house band being Session A9. More info at http://www.celticconnections.com/

It just so happens that I, along with Eilidh (when I say along with, she was across the hall from me!), had tickets to go to said concert. And, overall, our impression of the night went something along the lines of *high pitched* "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!".... Sadly there is no way of me describing the action that went along with the said sound, but I can post a picture... the picture may remind you slightly of Wallace and Gromit...



Overall, a BRILLIANT concert, so brilliant that I won't even try to explain it but tell you that if you are quick you will be able to download it on BBC iPlayer and watch most of it for yourself. It was on tonight (Monday 18th Jan) on BBC2 Scotland... Go watch it!!

Friday, 15 January 2010

Back in Dunedin

After 4 days, one familiar place, one new place, 7 trains (only one delay!) and many great conversations and memories made, I am back in Edinburgh.
Had a brilliant time in Suffolk with Stewart, Mandy and Rob.... I've written about that in my previous post.
Also had a brilliant time in Lincoln with Sue. The Cathedral... awe, wonder and majesty... If you ever need a wee break, and a reminder of how amazing our world, our surroundings and our God are, I suggest a visit to Lincoln Cathedral. When the top covers over in mist and the lights shine bright on it's mighty walls, every stone is visible beyond belief and it's stunning.
We spent many hours in bars, cafes and the cinema. 'Nine', the aparent award winning film, is not the best film I've ever seen... it's interesting to see what a 'musical' is these days... the music wasn't the best bit in it, that's for sure...
We discussed life and all it's ups and downs and generally had a great catch up.... and planned ahead to what adventures we can get up to for the rest of the year.
Now that I'm back, it's back in to packing up for me. I'm off out tonight to meet up with Aniko for a drink and then going to Glasgow tomorrow to go shopping with Eilidh before meeting Gen for dinner and going to Scottish Songbook, a concert as part of Celtic Connections. It will be on BBC on Monday, so watch out for it, it should be good...
For now though, my stomach calls...

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Revisiting

Yesterday, after quite a long journey, I arrived in Hundon, Suffolk, to spend a few days with the Aldermans, and ever since have been revisiting...

I revisited this house, finding many new things here, including a 50" HDTV and a gym!

I revisited roads that twist and turn through stunning countryside, now covered in snow.

I revisited Bury St Edmunds Cathedral, with it's new cloisters and chapels and ceiling.

I revisited the Prayer Garden of the Cathedral, looking a wee bit more worn.

I revisited pictures of many times spent with this amazing family and mine, now a changed group in many ways.

But, most of all, I have revisited amazing memories and have found all of these things I have revisited to be enlightening in some way and I am extremely glad to have made the journey here to do so. These things I have revisited have changed, in many way, but they are still in ways as I remember them to be from 5/6 years ago, and they still hold very special moments and memories in them.

I wondered why I hadn't been here in so long but now I can accept that maybe I wouldn't have noticed these changes if I had been here more often, and these changes are ones which have amazed me. We live in a world of surprises, delights, memories, sadness, joys (and the list goes on...) and I am happy to say that I can thank God for these each day, and for those people and places around me who keep surprising me, delighting me, making memories with me, sharing sadness and joy with me... who are themselves.

Monday, 11 January 2010

On a train...

At this moment in my life I am on a train where there is free wi-fi, nice East Coast rail company!
I've just been texting Eilidh and we have decided that we are very odd (ok, so maybe we already knew that, but we have just confirmed it!) coz when people get on train, what do they do? They read magazines. That's just what you do on a train.
But, no, not Eilidh and I! We get in to text conversation about looking after God's creation, start looking up Bible passages about it and then I allow her to write about it for work while I carry on looking at Bible passages, this time about justice between the rich and the poor.... What is with us?! Not only is Eilidh working on the train instead of reading a magazine, but I'm helping her instead of being the annoying person who falls asleep and snores...!! Did I mention that we were on seperate trains going to opposite ends of the country?!

Anyway, I really came on here to give you a wee update of what I've been doing. Ok, so we all know now that it's unlikely to be 'wee' as I just am not capabale of writing things quickly and, also, I need something to amuse me that isn't looking up Bible passages for a while! See, I spraff!

Saturday morning, I crawl out of bed at about 10.15 and look like a zombie, and feel like one too. I was planning on lazing around and still being zombie like until I needed to go to town at about 3... but something odd happened. I ate my breakfast at my usual slow rate and then, bam, I was bouncing around my room tidying, chucking things out, listening (ok, and rather loudly singing along) to music, doing my washing, writing wee notes.... I was like a wee house elf with loads of energy suddenly! I have no idea what that was about! So, after I calmed down from that I headed in to town and had coffee with Robert who'd just arrived off a bus from Aberdeen to go to a birthday party that night. Was great to catch up with him after not seeing him in like a year, even if it was brief. I then hopped on a bus back to the flat and collapsed like a zombie again for the rest of the evening, and booked train tickets for the train I am now on - which excited me rather a lot!

And then Sunday, yesterday, came around and there I was, up early (well, 9.15!) and heading for the 11am train to Glasgow to meet Eilidh for lunch and go to the Iona Community Youth Consultation Day. After munching our way through sausage, beans and chips (healthy, I know!), we headed out towards Renfield St Stephens Church ... or where we thought it was! After a bit of walking up hills not knowing where we were going we did look at a map and found it in time for a cuppa tea before the meeting! Eilidh made the mistake of coming in for a cuppa tea and ended up staying for the whole 3 and a half hour meeting! Many interesting discussions came from the day, and a lot of things to think about but I'm not gonna go in to detail now!

So at the meeting we met up with Jamie and Hilary who invited us back to have a chinese takeaway with them (exciting for them after being on Iona for so long!) and so off we set through Glasgow, picked up a chinese takeaway and sat down in John Bell's flat to have dinner ... yes, John Bell's flat! How cool, I can say I've had dinner in John Bell's flat! Anyway, was great to have a catch up with them and hear some of the stories behind some of the amazing things in his flat from Jamie (she used to live there so knows all the stories). I then legged it back across Glasgow and just caught my train back to Edinburgh where I got picked up and headed back to pack for todays trip ... and after a student coming in at 1.56am coz they got locked out their room, the lift going up and down, doors opening and closing and somebody repetitvely playing an annoying as hell bass song, I eventually got to sleep at about 2.30am ...

And, now, here I am, spraffing away coz this train is quite long! Sorry! Maybe my next one will be a little less gobble-dee-gook and more blog-ness!

Friday, 8 January 2010

Inspiration of the day by Heidi Talbot

I decided that my evening task was to find myself some new music to listen to. After spending the afternoon sorting out paperwork of various boring forms while listening to music, I decided I needed some more... So, I began my hunt on youtube and whenever I found a song I liked I would then grab a selection of their music off Spotify and plonk them there waiting to listen to later. Genius. Free music.
I, of course, also got distracted by artists that I already know of - how else am I meant to get inspiration of others but to see who my favourite artists have played with. So, after finding all of this new music, my song of the day is one by Heidi Talbot, someone I heard of quite recently and whom I saw just last month in Glasgow. The video can been seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haFgm3IhNm0 and I have posted the lyrics below. Such a brilliant song; great composition, great lyrics, great voice.... Enjoy. x

In the window down the meadow,
A path of silver moonbeam,
Slips through winter snowflakes,
Like a dream.

Our small hearthfire,
Warms the world tonight,
And I get to thinking you and me,
Maybe we could better make our way,
If you stay.

I need your simple healing touch,
Need your power need your love,
Inside me to guide me,
I know it won't be easy,
But I promise to be with you,
Come what may.

If you stay here, there'll be no fear,
If we bend we'll never have to break,
We'll work things out and it'll be ok,
If you stay...

Thursday, 7 January 2010

It appears I have my flat back...

This week has been awesome. It's been hard. It's been busy. It's been a wee tad expensive. But it's been filled with amazing friends, so it's been awesome.

I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to spend my New Year with - a selection of my Iona extended family and Tim, who made himself at home in the Iona group :) And, of course, dad and Martha were with us too - they were being the 'responsible adults' among us!

But, however amazing it was to have all of these amazing people to stay was, I am still very tired from it. Hosting is fun, but tiring.

I now have my wee room back to myself, and Heather is in London for a few days so I don't even have to fight over it with her! So, what does this have in store for me? Well, so far it proves to have been a day of chucking out - old clothes, old jammies, old shoes, old odds and ends that I didn't have a place for in my life any more. Also, a time to look through my drawer of notebooks (yes, a whole drawer) and get rid of all those random notes I no longer need (mainly lists of things, you know what I'm like for lists) and to file away those notes that I may still need or wish to read through. But, this still somehow leaves me with a drawer full of notebooks... maybe coz I had more than one drawer full before *embarrassed face*!

I also spent a wee while of today writing one of those silly letters to people to tell them that I'm leaving Edinburgh and going to Iona for a year (as if people didn't guess!) and to let them know how to contact me - so, if you recieved that letter and have bothered to look at this blog that I gave you the address to - hello!! Welcome to planet 'I'm gabbering'!

So, seeing as I'm hungry, I will stop gabbering for now! Tata! x

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The Western World

I was lying in bed listening to my iPod (through my new magical pillow that has speakers built in!) and many songs came on that I hadn't heard before (as I have been aquiring music from various places lately and I am still making my way through it all!).

But this one song in particular jumped out at me, due to the distinct lyrics more than anything, and it got me thinking... I've put the bits that hit me most in italics...

All across the Western World,
Second hand, second skin,
The rain comes through where the roof is thin,
All across the Western World.

All across the Ocean wide
With brothers, neighbours at our door,
Our banks are full but our souls are poor,
All across the Western World.

So melt your wings like wax to fire,
Let yourself fall out of time,
From ashes we rise.

The broken down are on the mend,
Blessed are those who have no voice,
You're only free when you have no choice,
All across the Western World.

All across the open sky,
In my career of broken wings,
Redemptive ends from tragic means,
All across the Western World.

I feel as though I should be writing some profound statements in reply to this, but I don't know what to say if I'm being honest. Maybe I'll just leave it at that, and allow you to have your own thoughts on what the lyrics say. For now, may the Western World not take over your soul, until we meet again...

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Eilidh wrote this blog. Lorna doesn't want to be given credit

I like food.  It is yummy and well yummy.  Today we ate a lot of food.  Let me tell you about the food that we ate today.

For breakfast we ate chocolate cake.  It was yummy and so very chocolatety.  It was moist too but not in a weird way.

In the car Eilidh Ceilidh and Auntie Sue ate Haribo star mix.  They were on the way to the supermarket to buy lots of ingredients for the night ahead.

At the supermarket, there was lots of food.  Eilidh Ceilidh, Lorna and Auntie Sue did not buy all the food because if they ate it all it would make them so very stuffed.  They did have to buy secret ingredients for Sarah as she was ill and in bed at home. 

Because it had been a whole half an hour since the Haribo and a whole number of minutes or so until lunch, Eilidh Ceilidh decided to eat a dark chocolate minty bar to keep her going on the long journey home.

For lunch we had cheesy pickly toasties.  They smelled a little bit like salmon but did not taste like salmon.  They tasted like cheese and pickle toasties.  The reason that they smelled funny was because they were made in the George Foman Grill which was last used to cook salmon - we thinks...

Then came the exciting bit.  Lorna, Auntie Sue, Eilidh Ceilidh and Sarah had all been chared with responsibility for a dinner course.  That was why they went to the supermarket. 

Lorna was first.  She had to make the first bit which I don't think that I can spell the name of so I shall just call it the first bit.  It was very yummy.  A salmon and chive pate with bread and oatcakes. 

After that was the strange concoction from Auntie Sue.  Spinich, bacon, stilton, pear and awesome dresseing with Auntie Sue special Sherry.  Eilidh Ceilidh thought that it was very, very yummy.  Lorna didn't really understand it. 

For mains it was Eilidh Ceilidh's turn.  She made pineapple moosh which she served in a pineapple.  She also made garlically and chilli-lili prawns to go with it.  Lorna ate all of hers even though there was pineapple in it.  This made Eilidh Ceilidh rather happy.

Sarah made dessert.  She melted choclate and served it with banana's, toffee fudge sauce, ice cream and scoooshy cream.  Oh and the best bit... hundered and thousands.  Everyone now has a bit of a sugar high but all is well as today is a very happy food day, intersected with numerous custard creams!      

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Welcome to 2010

Is that 20, 10 or 2000 and 10? Who knows. But anyway.

So, first off. Happy New Year to you all! I hope that Christmas was full of joy, laughter and love, and that New Year celebrations were fun and emcouraging for the year ahead.

I was in Iona over Christmas and had an amazing time. Amazing. As a group we came to the conclusion that even if the guests didn't 100% have a great week, we, as staff, certainly did. There appeared to be some grumblings from the guests about the week, for various reasons, but I hope that they still were thankful for the week that was and took good things away from it.

After a wee bit of a slow journey back, stopping in Dunblane to drop of some of Gen's stuff at her new house, we made it back to Edinburgh. 'We' being a group of amazingly awesome people that I've met throughout the year on Iona... a group of people that have made this year so special for me.

I thank each and every person I have met this year for just being them and for appearing in my life, whether for a short while or for a long while. 2009 wouldn't have been the same without each and every one of them.

Here's to a 2010 full of love, laughter, joy, challenges, adventures, low points, high points, God filled moments, many new friends, many old friends, and a whole new start for a whole new year.