Category Archives: SCMing

Thoughts from life and travels while working for SCM.

Oops I forgotted to blog again

I think I meant to write something before now. Oh well, that’s the problem when life gets in the way. It’s been something of a busy month and I don’t intend to go through it all but it’s been good.

In my last post I threatened to tell you a little more about when Jen and Sarah came to stay. They came to stay about 5 weeks ago now and the date of the Sunday is somewhat imprinted on my brain. Jen recounts the weekend in this post. As she said, we had a good weekend and went to the science museum. She was suitably entertained that I could do about as well with the mechanical digger as my reputation (at times) would suggest. Digging is certainly one of those things in life that I’m quite good at, at times. It also appears that i’m not to bad at mending & fixing either at times but I’ll come on to that.

The reason that the Sunday 20 August 2006 was somewhat imprinted in my brain was that it was the date of my trial service to go from ‘on note’ to ‘on trial’ as a local preacher, should I be successful. Those are the first two stages of training and I had to do the whole service myself. It was a challenging weekend because I was so nervous and was so grateful to Sarah and Jen for keeping me sane. When we got as far as Sunday morning, we went to leave my flat but couldn’t get through the gate. It took 5-10 minutes before we could get the padlock to open. That didn’t exactly help with nerves and when we got to the church I realised I’d not printed the order of service for the organist, then she wasn’t up to playing so one of my assessors ended up doubling up to do that too! I was so grateful to her too. My mentor introduced me at the start of the service and was really lovely about it all. He said a few words to the congregation and I could feel the tears just welling up inside me. I decided that the start of the service wasn’t the best time to burst into tears and fortunately managed to hold onto them but I was so, so nervous. I think it’s probably fair to say that the feedback was rather good for the service and I am now ‘on trial’ following the local preachers meeting. Now I have to do lots of study. It was really great to have Jen and Sarah around though to give me lots of hugs. I think that’s probably enough said about that really.

The week after that something rather exciting happened at work. Richard has already discovered what I’m talking about and Wood wrote for it (as did I, a little bit). We made a book and it’s great. Check out Richard’s review if you don’t believe me but it really is fantastic. It’s so amazing to have been involved with it since the beginning, before I joined the staff, and now it’s real. It’s so exciting.

I went to Greenbelt too and it was great to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. I went to my first wibmeet despite being on here for nearly 3 years now. Doesn’t time go fast. Greenbelt was great and I think that it has been suitably reviewed by everyone else so I’ll leave them to it. 😉

So eventually we get to this month and things are as busy as ever – hence the lack of blogging. I went to a brilliant conference and it was great to catch up with people I’ve met over the last couple of years. I also got to spend some quality time with a good friend during the week and we agreed to teach each other new skills. Scary eh?

Speaking of teaching. I understand from Jen that my teaching of relaxation techniques has been quite successful. It’s really reassuring to know that it’s been successful and now I think I probably want to take some of my own advice. This is where the fixing (of Jen, a little bit) has been coming in.

The mending is in relation to my teaching. I’ve been teaching a friend to knit, and she’s teaching me guitar. This is a rather scary concept but exciting too. I’ve never tried teaching knitting before and it was a little daunting but my friend did very well. I was dead impressed and she learned to knit and purl, and cast on. She did really well and put me to complete shame because it took me about 15 years (not continuously, I hasten to add) to learn to purl. :$ At one point, as is perfectly understandable with newbie knitters she went wrong a little bit and I managed to fix it. It’s the first time I’ve tried actually fixing it properly. Normally I’d just unpull it if it was mine, but it wasn’t my knitting which meant I got to learn a new skill too. The guitar playing is a little more interesting. I’m not a very good student at all and I’m very nervous about it. She taught me 8 different chords and I need to practice them but the guitar went out of tune over night so I need to learn how to tune it too. My friend left me a tuner so it shouldn’t be too hard but I’ll give it a go when I get home. I need to practise more but hope to get there eventually. I’ve never been very musical so this is quite an undertaking! Oh well… if she’s going to be doing so well with her knitting, maybe it’s the incentive I need to practice my guitar playing. Wish me all the best with it.

Finally I should provide a little update on my knitting. I went to a knitting and stitching exhibition at the weekend. It was very good and I found some cool yarns made out of such exotic things as Bananas or at least their leaves and stems, Hemp and containing Soy Beans. It was very cool. I also got complimented on my knitting which was fantastic. The people who complimented me do the most exciting things and I’ve decided I want to go off and join them. They do giant knitting and recycling and it’s so, so cool. I texted a friend saying that I’d fallen in love after seeing that stall – she seemed suitably entertained by the concept! I’m still going on with my second sock. I’ll be done before I retire. I had a good crack at it last night but I think the tension might be a little tighter on this one. I’ll have to have a look later and see whether it’s too tight but it’s good to be making progress. Hmmm… maybe I should be counting rows though. I’ll show you a picture of my new bag (which was what the compliment was about) and my sock progress if I can.

Anyway, having not blogged for ages I think I’ve now written an essay so should call it a day. I’ll try and write slightly more frequently, but I do say that worryingly often.


I’ve been thinking about driving a lot recently as it appears to be the main activity during my week off (this week), Rambling Folkie and another friend have passed their driving tests.

I took my mother on holiday to the end of the country today – or at least it felt like it. Okay – the journey there was fine. We stopped in the Eden Project on the way and it was really cool. Last time we went, all 5 of us (family) visited but we couldn’t really go round the humid biome for very long, so we started there… It was a really lovely.

After dropping mum off, and getting her settled in a bit I turned round and came back. About half way through the journey I decided I was too tired to keep going and needed to find somewhere to stop. It took me an hour and driving over large chunks of Dartmoor before I found somewhere sensible. In the end, the journey was only about 30 miles longer on the return than the outgoing journey. It did, however, take twice as long as the original route seemed to. It was also interesting the effect that Dartmoor, a couple of days worth of reminiscing, darkness, and driving on my own makes. I suddenly remembered all the myths and legends (well – probably not all of them) that I learned when I spent huge amounts of my childhood exploring the moors. It was a little spooky and that seemed really silly! At least the recollections of the moor also provided me with enough knowledge to get back to where I wanted to be… without the use of maps.

Anyhoo… I’m tired now and need to sleep. Tomorrow I’ll be taxi service for my grandmother and on Monday I’m going to another fair city – about as far away from where I am now as mum’s holiday location but in another direction.


Strange the way life takes you

I realised today that I should have graduated this month. If I had completed my degree I would have graduated on July 4 with a BSc. When I mentioned this to a friend earlier, he said something along the lines of ‘so that part of your life is over’ and I replied that it was three years ago. In the last three years I have lived in 5 different places in three different parts of the country. I spent 6 months in a convent and discovered blogging. I developed some of the best and strongest friendships I have. I have held down 4 paid jobs and two voluntary ones, been on different styles of retreats which I had not done before. I’ve been a member of three churches – sort of and even started Local Preacher training. I started a job that terrified me and is one of the best jobs in the world. 😀 I’ve traveled round more of the UK than I could possibly imagine and even been to abroad! I’ve put myself together and even worked out what might be worth exploring in the future. I also discovered that planning the rest of your life away is an interesting game when you don’t know what’s around the corner.

I’ve proven to myself that I can live on my own, survive and even enjoy it. I have also proven to myself I can live with a fantastic collection of older women, live by rules, survive and even enjoy that.

This time three years ago, I made the decision not to return to university to complete my degree. Considering what I’ve done in the mean time I certainly think I made the right decision – no doubt about that. Even so there was a little twinge when I realised that I could have been Never Conforming BSc this month. The thing is, ask me to make the decisions again – the ones that led me both to and from uni, even with the intervening steps – and I’d do it again. No hesitation. Hopefully I won’t be asked again. Been there, done that, didn’t buy the t-shirt but still have the memories.

Who’s been stealing my post?

This is most certainly not an accusation at any of my readers. Unfortunately as my mailbox has been broken into it is something I need to ask.

Also I need to ask what might have been in my mailbox? If that includes something to make me a little WISEr, please could you let me know somehow (possibly via Deeleea if she’s okay with this). Also if you would like an alternative address I can certainly provide one of them.

Hey ho. I’m off to see the police to see what they can/will do.

Holiday reports again…

Yesterday was the second full day of my holiday in Swansea. We had much more of an informal day as the grown ups had responsibilities like work to do. I spent the day on my own and embraced chilling out. At the end of the long hard day of nothing, the others returned and Sarah cooked for a gaggle of us. This, slightly larger, group enjoyed supper, a fair amount of icecream and a glass bottle or two four of wine.

I performed a little favour and fixed a broken dress. It was a little entertaining to be trying to fix a pale and delicate dress after drinking much red wine and having more in the glass. I’m not daft enough to try mixing both completely and the dress ended up much better for it’s little surgery. It also meant I could enjoy a little wine without worrying. And I certainly enjoyed a little wine. 😉

Speaking of surgery – it’s amazing what happens during an evening with friends. Having mentioned in yesterdays post that I hurt my foot, I ended up having it assessed, prodded and poked by a more than able friend. It certainly feels better for the erm… examination.

It was a really lovely evening and it finished rather early this morning. It is so lovely to spend time with such a great group of friends and a wonderful last evening of my visit.

I have to go and pack my stuff now as I’m due on a train in an hour. It has been a really good trip and I hope to be able to catch up with folk again soon.

Holiday Reports

Woo and yay. I’m currently on holiday. Having decided that I wanted to get away, I called on some Swansea friends to see if they were willing to put up this poor, tired, resident of Birmingham who had a hankering to see the sea and catch up with some friends. They willingly took me in so I arrived here on Tuesday night after a day in the convent and it has been great to see them all here.

Yesterday all three of them, one of me and toddler blonde went off exploring Gower and Mumbles. We ended up playing with kites on the beach. I only flew one but thought it was the best sized one…
Jen’s was much, much bigger. Toddler Blonde seemed to really enjoy the trip to the beach and managed to walk for miles and miles. It was really great to see the sea again and even get to go paddling. As is usually the case when I go anywhere near a beach in my flipflops I hurt my foot. Typical but have taken the advice of my elders and betters so soaked it to make it better. Poor foot. Eh well – I have to get my souvenirs somewhere.

It’s really been lovely to spend time with Toddler Blonde. Last time I saw him was at Greenbelt and that wasn’t for very long. Before that I last saw him when he was about three months old. Now he burbles away to himself and is a complete charmer. I decided to pinch his hat for a while on the beach and he came to get it back.

Fortunately it fits him a little better than it fits me.
To give the little star a chance for a nap in the car, we went for a drive round Gower to show me the sites and allow the boy to rest. We stopped on the top of Cefn Bryn and indudged our love of beautiful countryside and group hugs. It really was lovely.
After that we stopped just in Mumbles for some luxury hot chocolate and a wander along the prom. As we left the cafe, I heard what really must be the quote of the day:
“No, boy. Don’t chase after the girls. You’ll never have a car that long.”
The little chap seemed both interested in the limo and the teenage girls who poured out of the door.

All in all – it was a really excellent day, rounded off nicely by girly gossip and a glass of wine. It’s been such a lovely time so far. Tonight we’re going to have a slightly larger get together and all I need to do before then is write my church service for Sunday. 😉 I’ll get there by then.


I’m not often angry but today I heard a story that made my blood boil. I’m originally from a sleepy little backwater and my family still live there. I generally am a little condescending about it but love it really. Anyway, it always disappoints me when my condescending remarks are proven to be justified.

My family have lived in the same house for, ooh, 30 years… almost since the house was built and my sister and I grew up there. There are very few families left from that long ago and we’ve seen the area evolve – not necessarily in a bad way but evolve nevertheless. It is normally quite friendly and until a few years back, everyone knew everyone. Today I hear that one of the residents (identity unknown, probably in more ways than one) called the police on my sister! What was she doing? Drunken debauchery, dealing from the front garden, making excessive noise, threatening to kill people? No (to the best of my knowledge she doesn’t do any of those things) – she parked her car. On the pavement. Yes it’s annoying. No it’s not the end of the world. She currently works shifts and gets in at I don’t know when in the morning. Occasionally she discovers that the antisocial neighbours appear to have randomly discarded their cars all over the allocated parking spaces and there is nowhere left for her. At 3 in the morning, even in a sleepy little backwater, I wouldn’t suggest wandering around on your own, having dumped your car miles away. It’s not even that someone had a gripe that bothered me. It’s that someone had a gripe and took it to the police. What happened to, say, leaving a note under a windscreen wiper, or waiting to see who owned the car and coming and talking to them? Well, I suppose in order to do either of those you need to have at least some semblance of a spine! So the police phoned my sister, she tried to explain *why* it had happened, got told if she does it again she’ll get fined.

What happens to the neighbours? Well, not a lot. They can wallow in their self-righteous, ‘superiour’, cowardly, shallow selfishness. My sister won’t kick up a fuss but is deeply upset at what happened – and understandably so. I’ve threatened to do all sorts of things – the more serious of which includes dropping a note through each letterbox on the street asking people to park considerately. If everyone used their drives (where they have them and are safe), and parked considerately there would be no problems. Or at least considerably less. Another plan is getting in touch with the councillor. Maybe if there are viewed to be enough problems maybe people would agree to paint (or at least somehow mark) parking bays on the road. I doubt it though. If those don’t work, I suggested that she writes to the local press. If that doesn’t work, I will! (And so many of the locals (and for that matter my new locals) wonder why we leave ‘such a beautiful part of the country’ – oh let me count the reason!) It should be admitted that there were a fair few less sensible suggestions like getting my sister and mother to see how much of the road they can legitimately park over. I’m guessing the equivalent of 5 spaces with their two cars. I also think that the situation would not be improved by that.

Anyway, should the stupid neighbours accidentally happen upon my blog (and stranger things have happened), I would like to suggest that next time they have some consideration. Also that talking to my sister generally doesn’t kill anyone 😉 and she’s more than willing to listen to complaints and serious suggestions about ways to improve the situation. She’s lived on that road, and in that house for over 20 years. She’s a considerate soul, which is more than can be said of you!

Disgusted (formerly) of Devon – Ottery St. Mary.