Thursday, September 30, 2010

This is sparta......

In the past couple of weeks I've found that I've been reading even more then usual and that my attention has been firmly focussed on history books. With the best English Civil War, the Tudors, Military history and 20th Century history books all throughly read I have been in search of new topics.

And I've found that my attention has been going further and further back towards ancient times. I've been reading books on the romans, greeks and the Spartans. Although I was only able to find one book on the spartans and I have to admit that it was bit dissapointed in the book as a whole and the content as the writers style was obivously intended for those people who unlike me can't devour history books in one go and prefer to get things in (Very) small bit sized chunks.

I'm now on a book about Spartacus a very good read as it turns out despite the limited historical material there is on him, plus of course that most of the evidence that does exist comes from the victors side. Grumpy was actually surprised that Spartacus existed as he thought he was a myth.

I simply told him that he was mythtaken.

he, he, he..

Work was it's usual busy self today but the whole day I had the feeling that there was something I was forgetting, that there was something about this date that I should be remembering. A quick look through last years blog posts and I suddenely remembered what it was. It was precisely one year ago today that I left for work at 7,45am and was back home by 9.45am. Yes it was one year ago that I was taken into a room and told that I was being made redundent.

I guess it's probably a sign of how things have moved on that I couldn't remember it! It made me consider what had happened, am I angry about it? No. Am I bitter? Not about what happened as a whole, a couple of things that happened afterwise still sting a bit but not as much as I'd thought they would now. Do I miss it? Sometimes. But sometimes a outside view can make you see things clearly rather then through rose tinted glasses.

Time moves on. They moved on and so have I. My current job is very different but it's a lot of fun not to mention very challenging sometimes, always pushing me and testing my strengths.. Plus it's given me a lot of opportunties, I've had a ton of training courses, I have my next one next week where I will be away for two days and will come back a Certified International Specialist ( don't know what the training involves but you have to admit it sounds cool) plus I figured out that I've had more pay increases in the past 11 months then I had in the previous seven years. That coupled with the significantly shorter travel distance means I have a few more pennies each month shall we say then I used too.

anyway, enough dwelling on the past, only one more day until the weekend.

Later folks!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I have a what now??

On Sunday we had a gathering of the stake YSA presidency and advisory council at the presidents house where we had dinner and had informal discussions about some upcoming bits and pieces and of course few decisions which had to be made.

Over dinner as tends to happen when people are gathered together for a meal random conversations started. I can't remembered exactly how it came up but people started talking about different kinds of milk ( told you it was random). Some people were talking about the old style cream milk you used to get when there was still lots of milkmen around and they actually delivered milk in glass bottles. Bro H, the couple assigned to the YSA and the presidents mum started talking about sterlized milk at which point one of the girls on the presidency looked at me with a straight face and asked me what sterlized milk was as she thought I would know as it was from my era not hers.

Sorry............ My what now????? Am I considered old enough not only to have a Era but one different to the rest of the YSA?? When did this happen, when did I get that old? Shouldn't I have at least got a memo, a card or something? to say " congratulations on your birthday, your now old enough to have your own era, here's some brochures for OAP homes in the area!"


Later folks.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

He's baackkk

Well thanks for bearing with me folks and putting up with the complete lack of blog posts for the past couple of weeks. As you may have guessed it's been a bit of a stressful time for me recently.

Good news first however, Speed Demon is now home after spending over a week in hospital. She has been pretty lucky, if I remember it correctly the charming little phrase the Doctor apparently used to describe things was that " By rights she shouldn't still be here".

Of course if having to worry about your Sister wasn't stressful enough, all this happened whilst Grumpy and TapDance had gone on Holiday to spain. So there was a lot of calling back and forth between mobiles and then TapDances phone decided to go on the blink and not work anymore! Fortunatly my manager at work was very nice through out this time and let me keep my mobile on whilst I was at my desk in case I needed to be contacted urgently. Fortunatly as it turned out I didn't need to be. Although when TapDance called me back initially when I tried to get hold of her to tell her what happened, she managed to call when I was on a call. One of my team mates who was aware of the situation answered the mobile for me, but answered it is in his very prim and proper professional phone voice, which almost gave me a fit of the giggles.

With them being away we had to put Owen in the kennels as it wouldn't have been possible or fair to leave him on his own all day. Of course for obivous reasons I hadn't mentioned in a blog post before as it would have been akin to posting a bit note on the front door saying " guess what no one's in the house all day and there's no dog to guard. Please feel free to come on in!"

I am starting to wonder if we should ban Grumpy and TapDance from going on Holiday or at least ban them from going on Holiday at this time of year. Why? Well lets see last year when they went on Holiday around this time of year I lost my job, this year they go roughly the same time and Speed Demon ends up in hospital and you know what they say about things happeing in threes! Multi-task might want to watch out next year!

So just to recap that's my sister in hospital with a potentially lift threatening illness and my parents are in another country. That's stressful enough right???

Well obivously not for the universe at large as it decided to throw in several church meetings, two activities, two weeks of early shifts running, lets not forget the building work which is currently being done on the bathroom which means a large part of the house is currently occupied by materials and tools and then having to deal a work with a angry Austrian, a sarcastic spainard, a iriate italian and a crabby czech in rapid secession ( no I'm not making these last few up, they really were that stereotypical) and a couple of other things as I was pretty much as close to flipping out as I have been in a long time.

Still they were the weeks that were, we are now in the week that will be and things are improving and after several early nights I am feeling much better all round. Plus next week we're having a raft of fun activities at work before I will be going to Northampton to attend a special two day training course in order to gain a new qualification.


Later folks.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


(best Dr nick voice impression) Hi everybody!

Sorry for the sporadic posting this week. It's been mainly down to two things, one I've been very busy and having been getting home until late and once I've had dinner, sat down and generally decompressed the urge to turn on the computer and do anymore typing after a day of doing so hasn't really been there.

The second reason is that my Sister Speed Demon is currently in Hospital with a recurrence of a condition she has had before but is a bit more serious this time round. The prognosis is good but no matter how much your told that it's hard not feel at least a sliver of worry when a relative is in hospita and so I haven't been feeling my usual grumbling self writing mood.

If she continues to improve she should be free to come home in a few days but until then I probably won't be posting much if at all. I hope all of my regular readers will understand that my mind will be occupied with other things other then blog reading.

Later folks

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I wonder if Nemesis has one of these?

Recursive Irony Is Recursive
see more Friends of Irony

Did no one check that?

Fragrance: The Great Cleanser
see more Friends of Irony

A different kind of chess

Never Liked Chess Anyway
see more Friends of Irony

Friends of Irony 2

We Tried Fixing The Bell, But It's Not Anything
see more Friends of Irony

Friends of Irony

Self Fulfilling Prophecy Is Self Fulfilling
see more Friends of Irony

Ducks in Heaven

Three women die together in an accident And go to heaven.

When they get there, St. Peter says,
'We only have one rule here in heaven:
Don't step on the ducks!'

So they enter heaven, and sure enough,
There are ducks all over the place.
It is almost impossible not to step on a duck,
And although they try their best to avoid them,
The first woman accidentally steps on one.

Along comes St. Peter with the ugliest man she ever saw.
St. Peter chains them together and says,
'Your punishment for stepping on a duck is to
Spend eternity chained to this ugly man!'

The next day,
The second woman steps accidentally on a duck
And along comes St. Peter,
Who doesn't miss a thing.
With him is another extremely ugly man.
He chains them together
With the same admonishment as for the first woman.

The third woman has observed all this and,
Not wanting to be chained
For all eternity to an ugly man, is very,
VERY careful where she steps.

She manages to go months
Without stepping on any ducks,
But One day St. Peter comes up to her
With the most handsome man she has ever laid eyes on
.... Very tall, long eyelashes, muscular.

St. Peter chains them together without saying a word.

The happy woman says,
'I wonder what I did to deserve being Chained to you for all of eternity?'

The guy says,
'I don't know about you,
But I stepped on a Duck

Saturday, September 11, 2010


It's been a busy day. It really has, I'm not making that up. There was plenty of potential material for bloggage fodder but yet my mind couldn't help but be drawn back to the events on this day nine years ago.

It's a cliche when people say they always remember when they were when X historical event happened but it's a cliche because it is true. You do remember when something big happens, and I remember exactly where I was that day.

I was at home, during the holidays between my second and third year of uni. The place where Tapdance was working hadn't needed any sumemr workers this time and without being able to secure other summer work I was getting throughly bored waiting for the new university year to start even if I was going to be stuck in catered halls having to share a toilet ( as it would turn out it would be the best hall I stayed in but I digress as usual). I had been watching neighbours and was then waiting for Diagnosis Murder to come on, yes the show with Dick Van Dyke in and no I don't know how I got hooked on that show, when a news report suddenly came on the TV, it was on BBC one and I remembered watching like most people with a growing sense of disbelief. I remember I called TapDance at work to tell her what happened and I even went to wake Grumpy up to tell him because at the night he was working night shifts as a security guard. Although at first he didn't get up, he got up about ten minutes later and we spent the rest of the afternoon glued to the TV watching what was happening, knowing that things would never be the same again.

The strange thing is I can't tell you anything about the day before, the day after or even the morning of September 11th. But I remember that afternoon clear as a bell. and probably always will.

Later folks

Friday, September 10, 2010

Not the kind of water cooler talk they were expecting

Well the BBC had spent weeks advertising it, probably a whole lot of money went into that and the shooting of the episode and burning down th Queen Vic of course one of Britains most iconic images but I'm sure they thought it would all be worth it if would get people watching and talking, in their ole cliched " Water cooler" style talk at work. And talk they did, although probably not in the way they expected. I think the general opinion could be summed up by the conversation I heard between two girls at work.

Girl 1: Did you see Eastenders last night?
Girl 2: Yeah, it was boring. Nobody died, what a let down!

The award for Celebrity of the week with the firmest grip on reality goes to Boris Jonhson Mayor Of London who when asked if he would challenge David Cameron to become Prime Minister responded " 'I'm more likely to be decapitated by a Frisbee or locked in a disused fridge."

The award for the celebrities who really really need to stop merchandising goes to JLS who have just launched a range of items called Just Love Safe, seen what they've done their aren't they clever boys. This range of items come in a series of boxes each in one of the boys "colours" and a picture of their faces on. And the items?
Why a range of condoms of course.
were boxes, folders and cups just too ordinary?
The boys justified their decision to release the range ( againist the unsurprising howl of moral outrage from certain groups) by saying
"For us we're in positions of power and we can influence a generation of young people and therefore we are trying to use our position in the right way. We recognise we have a responsibility" and to be fair the proceeds will go towards a charity, the rather modestly named " JLS charitable foundation" but their somewhat moral sounding stance was undercut by one of the boys attempt to talk "Street "it's important to put your love in a glove".

It makes you wonder what other merchandising opportunities their are for other bands out there. Go deep see fishing with Britneys new line of spears! Fill your dinner plate with the Black Eyed Peas! There's probably a lot more suggestions out there. Ideas anyone?


Later folks!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

In between the cracks

It's been another busy day at work. I also completed the employee opinion survey and got a free pen! I know, I know I'm easy to please ain't I?

Although the shine on that was dampened by one very difficult customer I had to deal with. Although they were nasty, they didn't shout at all, they were just very cold and calculating and said the nasty personel comments about me in a very neutral way like they just knew they were fact and that they didn't have to raise their voice to make them any truer. I have to admit that's the first time I dealt with a customer like that and it shook me as they slipped right through a crack in my defences as it were.

But if I'm honest I'm probably more mad at myself for letting the customer get through like that. I'm old enough and experienced enough that I shouldn't let that happen. However as the saying goes once bitten twice shy. I'll know better in future.

Anyway, tomorrows Friday which means only one more day to get through until the weekend and it's a dress down day as well. The early shift pattern at work is okay but I do tend to find that I started to feel very tired by the end of the week! Still it could be worse, it could start a heck of a lot earlier!

I'm back on the late shift next week which means I'l lget a nice lie in :-)


Later folks.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

It's all a matter of perspective

It was one of those frustrating kind of days at work today. One that comes along every so often and make you want to bang your head up and down on your desk in complete frustration.

Although I suppose this is true in any job, no matter how good it is, occasionally you will always get a day that makes you yearn to be at home, in bed wrapped up nice and snuggly in your duvet!

But whatever else work will certainly be interesting tomorrow as it's my "turn" to take part in this years employee opinion survey at work. It's basically as it's sounds everyone takes an anoymous survey to rate the company and their jobs. To say the company takes the result seriously is a understatement, the survey is held every year and all of the major changes in operating practise, organisation, equipment and facilities was all prompted by results from last years survey.

I started just after last years survey had finished so this is my first chance to have my first real "say". It also made me realise two things, firstly that in just over a month and a half I will have been there for one year ( doesn't time fly) and secondly I no longer have to see what 5am on a Sunday morning looks like once a year (unless I want to of course but who would want too if they had a choice ? :-) Mind you after doing it for so many years on the trot it will seem some what weird not to do it this year!


Later folks

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Ummmm.... ripe!

There's a saying " There's something in the air", I can't remember who said it though. It may have been a great philospher, it may have been Homer simpson or it may just have been something I thought up of to try and justify a very long rambling opening piece to todays blog post.

Well this saying ( regardless of origin) certainly proved to be true this morning when I got out of the car this morning to wait for the bus. All around the airport there are a lot of fields and sometimes farmers need to put a certain rather smelly substance on the field and they had done. Rather a looooootttttttttttttt of it if the smell was anything to judge by. And of course the wind was blowing in off the fields as well. So to anyone driving past it must have seen a rather comical scene, a load of people seemingly standing in a line in the middle of a car park for no reason with nearly all of the girls holding their sleeves to their faces.

Still ripe starts aside the day went pretty well as things are almost back under control. Now I saw almost because if I sadi anything else I'm sure some ironic and unforeseen would come along tomorrow.

Although my mood for tolerating stupid things today was somewhat lower then normal as I managed to bang my hand on the wall, meaning my wrist was hurting most of the day, of course the way day I had left my ibuprofen at home!

Say with me everyone, D'oh!!

I don't know if I've mentioned it before but I have received my 2nd letter from Elder Engineseer. He seems to be having a fantastic time and enjoying his time on the Isle of Wight.


Later folks,

Monday, September 06, 2010

Not so smart

You have to wonder what goes through the mind of some celebrity men sometimes. They get married usually bagging themselves a nice wife in the process, sometimes they might even get married several times ( where as some of us have trouble getting married once! or even dating for that matter but I digress) and what do they do, they decide to go and have affairs, risking their marriage and the condemenation that will come when it inevitably comes out into the open.

Take Wayne Rooney, centre of the latest sex scandal. Not only was he married, his wife was also pregnant when he was apparently seeing this prostitute. And how did this role model, this national figure, this big brave man apparently break the news to his wife about what was going to hit the headlines?

By text message whilst she was having her hair done.

Words on this occasion really do fail me.


Later folks.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Breaking the bike.... no wait that's no right, cycle I mean cycle

Well after the conference I took, Tuesday off mainly as I made the mistake of not doing that every conference for the past four years and ended up having a throughly exhausting day at work.

But not this year, oh no. I had one whole day to make sure I was fully rested up and ready for work the next day.

Although if I had known what was going to have been waiting for me I would have taken the rest of the week off as well.

Basically due to the bank holiday we had been totally swamped by files, and with myself and some else off on holiday, somebody ill and our team having a vacant postion anyway, well I'm sure you can imagine the result. For the rest of the week we were stuck in a bit of a cycle, we all had tons of files, we would clear all of the escalated requests, but by that time new requests which had come in had hit the point where they escalated, so we cleared them but then the new files which had come in while we had cleared them had...... etc, etc. You get the idea.

Not that it was a bad thing over all as to be perfectly honest I started to throughly enjoy myself by the end of the week as it was proving to be one of the most interesting challenges I've faced in a while.

anyway hopefully we can get out of the cycle this week. I'm on earlys as well which although means a early start at least means getting home when it's nice and early.

I've spent a large chunk of the afternoon trying to be reative by creating posters for some forthcoming YSA events we have going on. Of course the need to creat posters would only come when I don't work at a company with a design studio and access to top of the line publishing software wouldn't it? Still I don't think I've done too bad a job. I guess I'll find out on Tuesday at the meeting.


Later folks

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Manchester conference 2010: P.s

One last thing, regular readers may have noticed me mentioning the request we had received to take a Woodern spoon, sunglasses and a touch to conference but we hadn't been told why or what they were needed for.

As it turned out we didn't need them for anything, it was just the committees way of testing how many YSA were paying attention to the instruction emails being sent out

Manchester 2010 conference Epilogue: In the hands of the little black box

As I had already packed the car I could head pretty much straight out, although I made sure as ever to make sure I said goodbye to people. But this year the list was pretty small as Miss T had left and my friend E ( who I had met in the massage class and had spoken to last night, if you've been paying attention you'll know who I mean) had left as well.

I made sure I said farewell to L and his new friend although when I went to shake his hand he surprised me with a crushing bear hug that almost sent me flying!

I also did a final check to make sure everyone from Leicester and Nottingham were okay for lifts home. Partly just because I wanted to make sure no one would get stuck and partly in the hope asking might just yield some who did need a lift so I would get someone to talk to on the trip home!

Although I might have actually started talkign to the satnav when I approached Geektown as I couldn't figure out how to shut off the sound and she was starting to sound really impatient.

I had barely left the university campus when the satnav warned me of traffic jams so I hit the red button and put myself in the hands of the little black box anticipated that it would take me back the same route I had come.

Errhhh no..................

It in fact took me on yet another magical mystery tour of the countryside, including taking me through a place called Butt Lane ( no I am not making that up!)

The trip home gave me time to ponder the weekend. No it wasn't the best conference I had been too, yes it could have gone better and yes there were some things I wished could have been different. But it could also have been a lot worse and the bits I enjoyed I realllyyyyyyy enjoyed. It gives me such a spirtual boost like nothing else and always fills me with energy.

In fact so much energy, I was buzzing so much it was nearly 7.30pm long after I had got home that I suddenly realised that I hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast.

I was pondering that night the bubble effect conference has as well. When I got to conference I always stay away from TV, newspapers or anything else that could tell me what's happening in the world at large. It's nice just for a few days to get away from it all and recharge your spirtual batteries. These chances don't come along very often and we should take them whenever we can.

And that folks is that, finally the end of this years report on the national YSA conference.

Manchester conference 2010 Monday Morning part 2: Cliches and stereotypes coming right up

This year there were a large choice of projects. For those of you who are not long term readers of just haven't been able to spare the time to read through one of my long conference reports for the past couple of years Monday mornings have traditionally been when they have held service projects.

After some contemplation I decided to try the Bottle bag workshop. Basically it was project to create bags that kids in gambia could use to carry water bottles while they are doing work. What we had to do was plait several pieces of string together to form a "handle" for the bag. Thread it through the head of the bag, tie it off and voila one bottle bag. Seems simple right?

Well it might have been if most of the people in the project didn't seem intent of living up to gender stereotypes. By that I mean all of the girls knew how to plait, the guys didn't have a clue. Muggins here included

However YSA are nothing if not inventive, so the guys and girls quickly paired off in well pairs if you hadn't guessed. The guys held the string while the girls plaited. Yes it meant the guys didn't do too much, but more bottle bags were probably done then if all fo the guys had been trying to plait! A couple of girls found themselves without partners but in a burst of inventiveness actually tied the ends of their strings to their shoes so they could main tension whilst plaiting the string.

But as I mentioned earlier ours wasn't the only workshop going on. Another workshop was creating nativity scenes for under privilaged families

Another workshop was involved in putting designs onto T-shirts that the same school in Gambia that the bottle bags were going to would use as a school uniform.

The next workshop was creating quilts for underprivilaged families. And finally and by no means least the last workshop

was YSA writing their testimonies in copies of Book of Mormons for missionaries to hand out.

The only issue with the workshops were that they finished much too quickly! They had obivously forgotten that many hands make light work and with nothing to do some YSA started to get bored. Like this chap who apparently asking them to help test the theory that it was possible for someone to stay stuck to the wall using duct tape when the chairs were removed.

However the guys who were manning the sound system saw that people were starting to get bored and quickly stuck on some music leading to a few unexpected and unofficial dance starting in the main hall!

Once the dancing had subsided it was time for the closing event. YSAs got talent. We only saw the finalists as the auditions had happened on Friday night. One girl from our ward was one of the finalists and sang a fantastic song and I think she came very close to winning. There were some other acts involving singing and dancing which got everybody quite hyper.

and then one girl came on playing the harp and the effect was amazing. It was such beautiful music and you could really feel a sense of the spirit fall on the hall of peace and tranquility.

However neither the girl from our ward or the harpist won. The title went to a group who performed the dance routine from Cheryls coles " fight for this love" which I was half expecting when they started because they got the " crown on side" the same as last years winners.

We were then were treated to some videos of photos that had been taken over the weekend before the karaoke sing off between the guys and girls. This year the guys got a much better song to sing to as last year we had to sing " Angels" by robbie williams which is a bit hard to get energetic too. This year we had Bon jovi's Living on a prayer, so just like the girls all of the guys rang to the stage to sing, jump around and generally go a bit nuts with lots of bad air guitars moves.

The guys lost unfortunatly but that might have been down to just a small bit if biase ( as the person who called it was a girl who freely admitted the fact that she was biase!)
The committee then gave their thanks and the chairman gave a beautiful testimony. Then the conference as a whole sang " World in Union" and then with that sudden abruptness that I've got to know so well over the past four years but can never get truely used to that was that.
It was all over.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Manchester conference 2010 Monday morning part 1: A unquiet awakening


I literally jumped awake at the sound of the first bang. I had a moment of struggling incomprehension as I tried to figure out what the heck had just happened. The first bang was swiftly followed by several more and somewhat surprisingly the sound of female voices asking " Is he awake yet?"

Which made me wonder why were people knocking on my door? And why were there girls in the guys hall?!?!

As yet another round of banging commencing my sleep disorientated brain finally woke up and shifted into hear. The girls weren't pounding on my door, they were pounding on a door at he other end of the corridor, they were just hammering so loudly that it sounded like it was my door! The pounding went of for nearly a minute and I was just about to get up to open the door and yell at them when they gave up and went away. Obivously unsucessful in their attempts to wake up their intended target but probably more then successful in waking up the whole rest of the hall.

I looked at my watch and stiffled a groan. It was 6.30am!! Which lead me to the conclusion that the girls must have been among the younger YSA.

Still the early wake up call meant I got to breakfast early, if not too bright. The resturants unsurprisingly were almost deserted which lead me to guess that the previous nights activities had probably gone on a bit!

Well the early start also gave me time to pack up my stuff and take it to the car so I wouldn't have to rush later. I timed it, so I could drop the stuff off on the way to the armitage centre.

I got there just before the scheduled start time and the place was almost deserted. Gee I wonder why?

In fact the devotional got started almost 25 minutes late as YSA Gradually started to trickle in! The long weekend and late nights were catching up with all.

With the devotional out of the way it was time for the last mornings activities

Manchester YSA Conference 2010 early Monday morning: unexpected answers

I like to think that no matter what your beliefs, no matter how much you might now believe in religion, that at some point in your lifes everyone says a prayer, whether it's on your knees with your arms folded and projected your hopes skywards, or even if it's a internal monologue in your heart where you hope that maybe something in the universe may hear you and affect events in your favour.

We all have problems that can seem insurmountable, problems that you feel you can't solve with your inner resources and you just need some direction, a way to skirt the problem, or just an answer when you need it most. Sometimes this answers can come in the more unexpected way.

After the end of the choir practise there was a short time before the official " end of the sabbath" i.e the stroke of midnight and then it was time for one of the main traditions of conference. The dash across the road to the Fast food shop! Of course the YSA found ways to keep themselves occupied waiting for midnight. As always there were games of Ninja!

Mixing with friends, and chatting. Swapping stories about the weekend so far and ........

well I'm not entirely sure what was going on here but it seemed to be a game that involved a lot of shouting and dancing :-)

I joined L and his friend to go and get some pizza and chips. We sat in the main square whilst eating our "supper", and it was quite a surreal experience as the square was pretty much empty, it was pretty quiet and the sky was clear. In fact it had been for most of the day as the weather had taken a turn for the better. However our supper didn't last long as L got a better offer from his friend shall we say and they promptly disappeared leaving me sitting by myself. With a philosopical shrug I went in search of leicesterites but my search proved to be somewhat fruitless. I was planning on heading for bed when I suddenly ran into someone I wasn't expecting.

Really, really long term readers may remember conference from two years ago when I met a friend of travellers in a massage class and who had unexpectly sent me a friend request via facebook when I returned home. Well she wasn't supposed to be at the conference this year due to other commitments which I was really dissappointed about, as she's such a lovely person. I don't think I've met a person who is always so geniunely pleased to meet new people and also pleased to see people she knows. When it turned out that she had been able to attend on the Sunday and I had seen her very briefly earlier for a couple of minutes and said a brief hello as she was going to be rushing off straight after the fireside and choir.

However she had decided not to leave and was staying over night. Anyway we starting talking and I think she knew maybe something wasn't right as it were as she starting asking some more questions and next thing I knew I was in depth "friend" conversation then I had, had with anyone in months. We went for a brief walk while we chatted, although it was more me speaking and she lending a sympathic ear. It wasn't a long time but it seemed longer and I felt so much better by the end of it as I felt a burden I hadn't realised I had been carrying suddenly lifted. I don't think I can explain it any better then that or want to, to be honest. I just went back to my room feeling ever so grateful that I had been sent a friend when I needed it even if I didn't know that's what I needed.

I feel asleep with a peacefulness to my thought which I haven't felt in a while. I had felt the spirit so strongly that day I still don't know how to describe and maybe that's because what I felt was intended for me alone. It was certainly a thought to ponder as I closed my eyes.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Tune in tomorrow

Tune in tomorrow folks for the final part of this years conference report!

Manchester 2010 Sunday evening: Singing out!

After dinner it was time for the evening fireside, I couldn’t find Miss T ( it later turned out she had left to go home which kind of explained why I couldn’t find her) and I was starting to feel like I was becoming a third wheel to L and I didn’t want to cramp his style, so I found a spot near the front and sat down. The missionary couple saw me and came to spoken and asked where L and his friend were. I explained that I was feeling a bit like a third wheel, the sister smiled the elder simply gave me a friendly hand clasp on the shoulder before walking away. Which made me wonder if I have got t to the point where people give me sympathetic shoulder grasps, I was sure I’ll be getting the "I’m sorry head" tilt next! ( it's obscure friends reference )

After the fireside we had a few moments break before the next item. I noticed the elder from te missionary couple come past before giving me another friendly pat on the shoulder. Whilst contemplating the water in the drink bottle I had a few moments later after having to take a couple of ibuoprofen due my shoulder hurting again, I was suddenly surprised by L and friend appearing to sit by me as if from nowhere. Although I had my suspicions that their sudden appearance may have been the result of a small prompt I was pleased to see them none the less.

We then had to complete a survey for the church research department which was quite interesting if a little long winded with over 60 multiple choice questions! It took a long time to do as the guy from the church research department was reading out all of the questions.

Finally following the end of the survey it was time for the last item on the calendar for the day. A performance by the choir who performed a selection of music which shall we say wasn’t the usual Mormon songs that are sung by choirs. It was still a very enjoyable performance especially when they performed a encore of one song and had the audience join in!

Maybe the day hadn’t gone perfectly but I was about to discover something that would improve thngs.

Manchester conference 2010 Sunday afternoon: Hello Uncle

I decided to attend the “ Meet uncle William workshop” first in the afternoon and I was determined to avoid the mistake I made last year and get there too late to be let in. Of course I ended up going to the other extreme and was the first there by a good ten minutes. The workshop was extremely interesting and though provoking. It raised a good point, how would you like people to remember you and is there any evidence to back it up? Grumpy wanted to know when I got home if I had mentioned that one of my ancestors was the chancellor of the exchequer and we had a ancestral home which was not used as a school. I gently pointed out that it was a bit hard to get this into a lesson when the teacher was talking about one of their ancestors!

Buy the way in case you haven't realised from the photo Uncle william was a policeman which is why they holding up policemans uniforms it's not that the YSA got outta control :-)

For the second workshop I attended the “ come and see” workshop which hadn’t been given any explanation asides from its name. So as you can imagine I was somewhat curious and as I’m not a cat it wasn’t dangerous. It turned out the workshop was about the new out reach centre program which also turned out to be a very good workshop as well.

Next up was the testimony meeting, which had been greatly shortened at only 45 minutes long. We were asked to stay in the room we had been in for each of the respective workshops. Now I was n’t planning to get up, as hard as it is to believe I get very nervous in front of large groups of people who I know. Now I know that might seem strange as I was a tour guide at university, but they were people I didn’t know, at church their people I know and I get so self conscious. But the longer I sat there, the harder my heart seemed to beat in my chest in that way it does when the spirit in the room is really getting to you. Finally I couldn’t stand it anymore and just had to get up and bear my I testimony, which I did. I can’t remember exactly what I said but I remember Elder Engineseer say that, that’s a good thing when it comes to spiritual things as it means that you’ve spoken from the heart, guided by the spirit. Later on during the day several people did come up to speak to me to tell me how much they had enjoyed my testimony which to be honest I found a little embarrassing. When your used to be at the side of things out of sight, it can be difficult to realise people are actually paying attention to you.

I was invited by L and his new “friend” to join them for dinner. We went to the restaurant which is harder to find then the others, so it tends to be less packed. We were the first there and so we got the pick of the tables. We had barely sat down before L’s friend went to get us some cutlery and some napkins. She then asked if we wanted drinks and then went to get us some. L smiled and said she’s pretty awesome isn’t she? I think my response was too simply tell him to marry her, marry her now.
It was nice to have a good meal with friends, something I don’t get too do near often enough. Of course with it being Sunday and everybody in white shirts and nice dresses what food could be better then roast dinner with GRAVY!

and of course I couldn't have a nice meal like that without getting a picture for Nemesis as always.

We had a married missionary couple join us at one point and we started to get a pretty good conversation. There were a pretty good couple and the Elder spoke a lot of sense. So much so I wished we could get them to come to Leicester stake! I would like to say that a lot of the conversation was spirtually deep and meaningful but at least half of it was trying to explain monthy python to him because he used to be a scout master, had heard his scouts quote it but never knew what they were talking about!

Manchester conference 2010 Sunday Morning : Are the days of summer over already?

I woke up feeling very cold, but that was probably more down to kicking my duvet half off the bed more than anything else. It made me contemplate seeing if the heating in the room would work which made me realise that when they said it’s been the coldest August in quite some time they weren’t kidding! You shouldn’t have to be contemplating turning heating on in August!

Breakfast was okay, but to be perfectly honest it was a little forgettable, as nobody was around and the few YSA in the restaurant all seemed strangely subdued.

First up was the priesthood session held as ever in Owens park. It was a ok lesson but no really inspiring, maybe that was down to the teacher, maybe down to my mood, or maybe due to the twits sitting behind me who seemed to have a genetic inability to shut up.

Once the lesson was over it was time for the annual mad dash across campus as we only had 15 minutes between the end of the priesthood lesson and the start of the main conference session.

Still after the priesthood lesson the main conference session was pretty good, I could feel my spirits start to lift slightly after the disappointing end to the previous evening. And if that wasn’t enough I managed to get to the restaurant early enough to actually get a packet of crisps with the packed lunch . Yes I know I'm easy to please aren't i?

I was also determined not to fall prey to the temptation of sneaking off for a afternoon nap this year. I simply turned it into a lunchtime nap instead :-) don't judge me, I'm getting old :-)

Manchester conference 2010 Saturday Night: Coke habits die hard

So after the afternoon activities it was time for Dinner. If the lunches were a gamble, the Saturday night dinners are even more risky as they were either good, or very very very bad. Unfortunately this year it was the latter rather then the former as I discovered that the evening meal would be Mexican! Which I don’t like. But no fear I could go for the alternative...... which was chilli con carne. Which I also don’t like.

There was some strong language muttered under my breath when I saw this. You know words like Gosh, darn and blast it ( writers note actual words used may have differed). So I had one choice if I wanted anything to eat.

It was time for a trip to Elder Engineseers former employer, a certain generic high street restaurant. This also meant that it was time for yet another coke glass, as this restaurant chain always seems to run the same promotion at the same time as conference. Still, it’s cheap way to keep the glass cupboard full.
Walking back to the campus I ran into some other YSA who informed me that I wasn’t along in not liking the evening meal, as apparently a large amount of people who liked Mexican didn’t like the meal either!

Now there was a little time before the ball, in fact there was a lot of time before the ball. Now it did go to prove the old stereotype that the girls needed a lot of time a lot of time to get ready, where most of the guys spent the large amount of time goofing around before spending ten minutes getting ready.

I had decided to go all out and had my suit, a nice shirt and even a bow tie. It probably wouldn’t have mattered either way but hey it was worth a shot.

I managed to get across to the armitage centre before it started raining yet again. I’m fairly certain that we had, had more rain in this one day in conference then we had had in the past four years worth of conferences. This years fairground ride was a spinner thing, which I’ll admit isn’t a technical phrase but then again I’m not up on the full fairground technical terms and I’m sure someone will correct me as to what the spinner thing is actually called.

I ran into Miss T in the foyer who was still worrying about her outfit being too revealing. As I suspected she had nothing to worry about as compared to some of the tight fitting dresses which were on display she might as well have been wearing a tent with a duvet wrapped around her underneath it.

As it was the ball it meant it was time for the inevitable taking of pictures. And as the theme of the ball was the Oscars there were plenty of cutouts to take pictures against. The most amusing thing I noticed was that whenever girls had a picture take against the Twilight cut out they always stood in front of the girl blocking her from view!

And now I don’t know what the girls called as I’ve not read the books, seen the films or plan to read the books simply because a mormon wrote them!

The music was up to it’s usual high standard and the refreshments were good too. There was popcorn, pick and mix and even a candy floss machine.

The only downside was that I was left pretty much on my own all evening as the Leicesterites were off in their groups, Miss T went off with some other friends she had made and even L who had I met two years ago ( the guy who had half strangled me accidentally in the self defence class, look it up in previous posts ) was busy with a very nice new friend, ( can’t begrudge him that as he was having considerably better luck then me) and the few attempts to talk to new people failed miserably. There’s nothing worse then being alone in a crowd and being alone in a group of several hundred people is not so good.

The evening devotional was okay but I’d be lying if I said I felt entirely happy when I went back to my room. Maybe it hadn’t been the perfect end to the day but I still had another day and a half of conference to go. As the saying goes, there was still everything to play for.

Manchester conference 2010 Saturday Afternoon: Rolling the Dice

Okay so where was I? Oh yes I was in my room whiling away the 10 minutes until Lunchtime, lieing on my bed looking at the ceiling. Which was a big mistake as I caught site of what must be the biggest spider ever scuttling back and in the ceiling light ( it was one of those long plastic ones that you often get in schools) which made me very nervous about spiders scuttling about in the room for the rest of the weekend.

Rather unmanly fears of spiders aside it was time for lunch.

Lunches at conference are kind of like playing Russian roulette with out the bullets, or the gun but probably twice of the tension. For every good year of plain sandwiches and chocolate cakes you get another year of ripped bags , Tuna and onion and Crayfish and rocket ( one of these years I’m going to have to look up what that is). In a major difference we had to go and collect our sandwiches from one of the restaurants. However for some strange reason we had to give tickets for lunch, but not for breakfast or Dinner, for those we had to only show our security pass ( this year a rather spiffing photo ID you wore round your neck as opposed to one around your wrist.) Early signs were good, nice plain sandwiches, fruit juice, water, and a not just a chocolate muffin but a double chocolate muffin!

I sat for lunch with some of the Leicesterites, which was interesting as we caught up on what we had been doing. I was on the way out of the restaurant when I ran into the girl I had met the night ( who shall be known as Miss T) before who invited me to sit with her and met some of the new friends she had made, as it had started raining rather heavily at this point. Like me she didn’t know many people at conference as she was one of the oldies as well but unlike me, she was a lot better at making new friends.

Miss T was also freaking out about her outfit for the evening ball as she was worried about it may not meet church standards as I think somebody had said something. She went on quite a musing rant about what was wrong in looking feminine, and why should she be expected to wear a tent with a duvet wrapped underneath. I assured her that she was probably worrying about nothing.

For the afternoon sesson we wondered back over to the armitage centre and we discovered the first unfortunate breakdown in organisation over the weekend as there were plenty of activities to do, but they hadn’t told anybody where they were. So it was very much a case of wondering back and forth to find what was going on and where.

First up in the hall there was a ice skating ring. I know it sounds bizarre but they had hired a ice skating ring for the afternoon. In hindsight not as bizarre as the pile of snow they got gor last years snowball fight!

Outside they had a paint throwing game. Pretty much self explanatory really,

whichever team got the most paint on their opponents. They started off at first wearing boiler suits, but pretty soon they decided to go all out and just have a full out war without the boiler suits as it didn’t seem that many people wanted to do it. However this turned out to be down to the massive bollywood dance class

which was underway which had taken a lot of attention and did lead to some disappointed YSA who turned up after the paint had run out. And by that I mean run out of the containers and spread across a large chunk of the car park.

There were the usual football and rounders games on the fields. Although there were no games on the astro turf as the selection trials for the national UK female hockey teams were underway.

A large chunk of the field however had been reserved for the giant toboggan run which was apparently the largest one in Europe. As you can see the pics it was rather tall. And as you can imagine it was rather popular as the queues attested.

I heard a rumour that there were some other activities on, but I never found out what.

Fortunately the rain held off for most of the afternoon otherwise the organisers would have had to deal with a lot of very bored YSA coped up in the Armitage centre.

Although some of the activities did interest me and I had a go at a couple most didn't, so I spent the afternoon wondering around soaking up the atmosphere and generally trying out action shots with my new camera. I have to admit though this was the first saturday outside of the year I hurt my knee where I did find myself at a bit of a loose end on the Saturday afternoon

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Here's some music to go with the interval

A montage of one of my favourite series set to my favourite piece of music


Sorry for the short interlude in the conference report folks. I was planning to post the rest of the report tonight but unfortunatly a couple of other things have come up which meant I didn't have time too.

The rest of the report should appear tomorrow. Be sure to tune in then.