Easter

I actually managed to stay still this easter which was refreshing. Saw quite a bit of my family and some friends who blog here. Vegged in front of Chicken Run and Groundhog Day (great films). All in all it was really good.

Love Alice

God is healing me from a few things at the moment. Nice to get to this place after a few years. I am so glad that God is with me through everything and particularly over the last few years.

Travels

This New Year I was in a country where parties had been banned out of respect for the dead in the Gaza Strip.

It is not so easy to stop some people from dancing, however.

The locals drew down the blinds, the food was good, the drink flowed and the music played. It was probably the best New Year’s party I have ever had.

I hope this year is going to be like that for many people amidst the economic crisis. People will inevitably shut themselves away, but still manage to have fun.

Happenings

o.k, I felt like creating a ‘random things I have experienced’ post

1.  Met a wildlife photogropher in Tabasco, Mexico

2.  Had a purse stolen on a beach

3.  Received presents from home while abroad

4.  Been in two coaches that broke down in one week.

5.  Enjoyed her Granny’s butterscotch ice cream

6.  Cried when Princess Di died

7.  Made a Pisco Sour

8.  Had ear infections

9.  Had a cream tea with friends in Verdi’s

10.  Read lots on Elizabeth 1

11.  Swam in a lake in France

12.  Kissed in the back of a car while the driver was being stoped by police

13.  Been a cadidate in local elections

14.  Been ice skating with her mother

15.  Managed to always lose at bowling and scrabble!

16.  Had her younger sister read her a fairytale

17. Had her father read her ‘The Hobbit’

18.  Spoken Spanish in Russia

19.  Been baptised twice

20.  Been sacked for being hopeless at using a photocopier

Communities

Wiblog is bright and new, Obama has swept a wave of change accross America and something may be changing in my community too.

There used to be a nursing home around the corner from where I lived. It was in the middle of a city which was too expensive for the residents and probably not the nicest building for them to live in. However, there was some protest when it was closed five years ago as many people had called it their home and some felt that it was generally disrepectful to the elderly to shut it down.

My GP has been serving me well in fairly cramped conditions for 12 years now. There is no disabled access, it is hard for mum’s with pushchairs to get in, and he has been unable to conduct blood tests on site as he would wish because of the building he is in. He has now managed to find funding to renovate the nursing home into a super duper surgery which should help the people of the area, even if not (arguably) to the same extent as a nursing home.

At the consultation about the project everyone was imnensly supportive of it, except one lady who loudly and at some length said it would just cause parking problems. This is despite the fact that a) it is pretty impossible to park near me anyway, and b) it is a local surgery that is moving three minutes down the road, so everyone will continue to do what they always have done, and walk to it. You will be pleased to hear that I resisted asking her to sell her car.

However, I was glad that we were both able to have our say about the proposal, and we will have to wait and see what the council decides to do. Communities are strange things.

Cat fights are over

When you are studying history you have to develop a sense of detachment and an appreciation of the rediculous or you will go insane with the brutality of it all. One of the easier bits of history to laugh at is the cat fight between the good cousins Elizabeth I of England and Mary, Queen of Scots. These two ladies never met, but were linked by blood, by being among the earliest female European leaders and ruling country’s within a few days horseride of each other. Instead of supporting each other in sisterly love they spent their reigns manipulating each other to marry someone who shared their political ideas. Elizabeth I resisted marrying a Catholic despite Mary, Queen of Scots pleading but Mary ended up marrying an English noble, just not one in Elizabeth I’s top ten of people for Mary to marry! However, Mary had the last laugh as her son inherited both thrones, which meant many people at the time considered her the winner even though Mary ending her days in an English prison. One of my favorite ‘what ifs’ of history (these are pointless, but as long as never passed off as the truth, fun) is what if the rumors of Elizabeth visiting Mary in prison are true, what would they have said to each other?

At school, like most people, I felt like a bit of a misfit. I also had a cat that was always getting into cat fights. Over the last few weeks I have bumped into all sorts of people, some from school. A few friends from outside london have come to visit me and some are about to arrive. I miss my cat, but am glad he no longer has to fight for a patch of London to call his own. I feel like I have moved on a step from where I was ten years ago and the cat fights are over for now. It is a good feeling.

The news seems to be full of people getting into new cat fights, however, over money. Iceland vs Uk seems to be the toughest one so far. I am working in the charity sector which one would think was relatively unaffected by all this, however, NGOs do not keep the donations they receive lying around in the office. Every institution holding funds for charities has been affected by the current crisis and charities will have less to give out in the short to medium term as a result. Lets hope a new spirit of co-operation, sharing and wisdom about financial matters grows out of these current cat fights.

Hope

In my current job I get to talk to people who are incredibly excited the work they are doing in their community. They know exactly how they are going to carry out the project they intend to do and can produce all the relevant documents to prove their accounts are legit and they have thought about everything employing a community worker involves. You come away from talking to these projects with a feeling that there are people trying to make a difference in the world.

There are other communities who we have to call to ask why they haven’t provided the paperwork the Trustees require in order to decide whether to award a grant. Sometimes they say that they don’t have the skills to put the application together properly, that providing what we want is out of the question. They reel off a list of organisations they have tried to get funding from and failed. You know that you will be photocopying every application and sending a wad of about 1000 (I kid you not) pieces of paper to each trustee and that most of hte trustees will not notice one missing bit of info. You also know that one of the Trustees will and the project will, therefore, not get the grant. Both you and the community are left feeling that there is no hope for that area, that they will not be able to do the project they feel they need.

Then at greenbelt I helped out with a similar charity. They got loads of people and especially children to write to Gordon Brown about inequality in Britain. Gordon Brown may not listen, but I believe a seed was sown in some of those involved that will bear fruit. One lad who wants to be a lego designer said he wanted the government to give each child lots of lego. It sounded a lot less crazy than some schemes that have happened! It gave me enough hope to get me through a lot of conversations with the disheartened.

Oh and truthsign’s meditation was really moving

Holidays

I’ve had some great holidays, nothing particularly blog worthy to communicate about them but I am feeling sun kissed and well socialised! And…… there’s still greenbelt to come. Hope to see many of you there.

Synod

I got to go to a certain synod that just may have hit the newspapers last week for work. There was a bit too much concentration on one particular topic for my liking, both sides argued their case well and I ended up with a spinning head although my general opinion has not changed. However, a lot of other good stuff was going on. The Archbishop of York addressed the issue of gun and knife crime that is currently terrifying young Londoners. The ecumenical work the Church of England is doing took a mini step forward. I met some very interesting people and heard the Archbishop of Cantebury say that he wants young people to take a leadership role in the Church. My charity may now have to process many more applications for grants as well, aach well!