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

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


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 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.