Winning at Friday 13th!

I woke up this morning with a pain in my back – it’s still there, since I wrenched it on Tuesday.  The sunshine this week made me do silly things – like mowing the lawn, cutting the brambles back, scrubbing the ramp outside the church – midsummer madness, and it’s only May! My back is letting me know that I’m not as young as I used to be – but never mind, I have pain killers and it will get better!

I WAS feeling sorry for myself though – whinge, whinge, the sun has gone, it’s drizzling, it’s cold and a bit windy, I have a bad back, I have to be in work bright and cheery for 9am and it’s Friday the 13th.  Nothing daunted, I made my way to work, passing others on the way who were equally glum about the change in the weather.  The first group in this morning were a group from the local JET (jobs, education, training) – they work with the BME community and have a small group of young mothers who come in on Friday mornings.  There was lots of laughter (as well as babies crying) coming through the walls into my office and I guessed they were having a really interesting session.

While they were busy, the scout leader came in to sort the scout cupboard and fill his car with camping equipment ready for taking the cubs to camp this weekend.  We had a lovely chat about the increased numbers in scouts and how well it’s all going – thanks in no small part to the enthusiastic leadership.

And then it was lunchtime, and the place was empty, I felt lonely and my back was hurting and I thought I’d just go home and have some painkillers and be ready for scouts at 5.30.

“Just a quick visit to the loo before I go” (I talk to myself regularly when the building is empty!) – and there they were – 3 empty toilet rolls – gah – not a scrap left anywhere.  So I knew what was coming – I’m either going to have to leave the new rolls on the back of the cistern, or I’m going to have to fight with those blummin toilet roll holders again.  I almost went with the former – but then I remembered that a couple of weeks ago someone had removed the old toilet rolls (possibly they had run out at home?) and left the holders open so I replaced the rolls and got some kind of clue how the mechanism works.  I have to say, I wasn’t confident, but I set to with a will.  and it worked!!!!!! I did it – after 7 years of NOT being able to work the flipping toilet roll holders – I did it – not just the once, but 3 times!!!  I was moved to take photographic evidence in case you doubt my prowess:

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Hah! I win!!

They don’t teach you how to do this at Northern College, though possibly they should – and it always seemed to be such a complicated thing – or maybe I wasn’t doing it properly?  In my defence, there are very few people in church who can do it – only the caretaker’s husband seems proficient in toilet roll changing.  But today, I did it – after 7 long years of not being able to, I did it – yaay!  Only goes to show that given time, and patience, everything is possible 🙂

Chow for now!

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An Angel in the north

Last Tuesday I helped with a school outing.  Armed with my list of young people who were my responsibility (so I couldn’t lose any of them) and 4 sheets of paper with the risk assessment on it – I boarded a bus full of excited “year ones” and we set off to visit the Angel of the North.

I like the angel – though many don’t – and I have to say it took me while to get used to it, but now? well, I love it, although I don’t see it up close very often – this was only my second visit!  I find I have this in common with lots of people around here – we see it regularly, drive past it often, see it from the train – but almost never get up close.

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It was a cold day, and while this photo looks quite sunny, it was freezing cold; not long after I took the photo, it started hail stoning so hard that it stung the children’s faces.

Their task was to draw the angel – and they did their best , with freezing fingers, to do the angel justice.  And while the children were busy drawing, I had time to wander around and take in the sights.

It’s a special place up on that hill. The angel has become a focal point, not only as a landmark, but as a special place; a place where people bring memories and prayers.  At the bottom of the hill there is a small area of newly planted trees, some with ribbons and teddy bears tied to them.  Many with prayers and cards attached.  I had heard that not long after the sculpture was finished, it was discovered that people were writing prayers on pieces of paper and tucking them into crevices under the angel.  And it seems that people visit regularly, almost as a pilgrimage?

While a relatively new addition to the northern landscape, it appears that this has become a very special angel for some visitors.  They have no need of a church, or a pastor – simply a focal point in a special place with the open sky over their heads, and to be left alone with their thoughts.  I don’t know how many of these visitors would call themselves “religious”, but somehow they are finding comfort by bringing their concerns and spending time with the angel.  Would you call that God working in their lives? I might!

As we left it seems that the gigantic figure had made an excellent impression on the children too – as we walked through the snow to the bus, they all turned around and waved and shouted “goodbye angel”  I was touched – I had a lump in my throat – and I don’t even know why!