A Curious Girl

The musings of a girl who is curious in both senses of the word. Life, God, and York. Oh, did I say York? I meant Bradford!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

To Greenbelt!

I'm going to Greenbelt tomorrow (to help set up, and to laugh at all those people who arrive later than me :) )

So, obviously, I'm not packed yet. And I'm nervous about Friday, when my church actually leads a service.

And our hamster, Ginny, the beautiful and supposedly intelligent hamster, has escaped.

I've been sitting in the kitchen all day with a trail of sunflower seeds leading to her cage, surfing the internet and reading fun blogs. It was quite nice, in a way. Then I came upstairs, ostensibly to pack, and when I went back down again, the seeds had gone.


Sophie, who technically owns her, told me not to worry, though I suspect she was rendered more sympathetic by the fact that I'd spent all day having a Hamster Vigil.

But Greenbelt. Thank goodness for Greenbelt. Far too much goodness for a bank holiday weekend, you have to return the next year just so you can hope to do some of the things you missed last time. This year, I intend to go to Beer and Hymns, even though I don't drink beer. The wine isn't bad though, if I remember correctly.

I was going to say it will be nice having the break, but I've been on one continuous break (the agencies will get back to me, I am optimistic), in truth it'll be nice being busy and having something to do. And seeing if there is any faith left under this crusty and skeptical shell. Well, I spent a lot of time today praying for the hamster to return. Expect a bit of "Come, rejoice with me, for I have found the hamster that was lost..."

I want to find God, but, in the words of Andromeda Veal, I fear he "won't be getting a very good deel"... I want truth, but I admit, I want it to be a nice truth...

Well, we shall see. I'm going to pack. No, really.

Edit: still haven't packed, but found the hamster.
Oh, and my friends James and Lizzie are engaged! Squeeee!

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I am starting to get the unemployment blues (surely that could be a song?) although hopefully now I've signed up to three (count 'em, three!) agencies, something should come up soon. And I'm going to Greenbelt at the end of the week, which will be good. And the landlord still hasn't sent me my deposit, grr!

I've been down to see my parents for the weekend - it was Dad's birthday, although alas the traditional barbecue didn't take place due to the weather. We did, however, play a couple of games of Articulate. It was good to see my family although I find myself strangely confused with how I should relate to them, now I'm a proper Grown Up (TM). It is all very odd.

I went through the things I had left in my old bedroom. Some very random bits. Old certificates that don't mean much (I was most bemused by the Girls' Brigade camp certificate for "Best Washer up"), notes from various people, the little book I got people to sign when I left primary school. Rubbish, basically. So I did what anyone in my position would do - I very carefully put them in a box.

OK, I actually did throw some things away, even some sentimental things, and I'm sure that some of the books that I've saved will end up getting sold to the Barbican bookshop or something. And I hope to get some kind of scrap book that will transform the random bits of paper to something resembling some sort of art.

Memories are funny things, aren't they?

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Monday, August 06, 2007


It's been an interesting couple of weeks. I've finally moved out of York - all that remains is to give my keys back and request the return of my deposit. And I've been on holiday, to the Buxton 14th International Gilbert and Sullivan festival. Yes, I am a geek.

It was a good week with four of my closest York friends. The days we spent roaming the Derbyshire countryside and eating tasty lunches. The evenings we spent watching operettas. The nights we spent in deep and lengthy conversation.

They sing choruses in public. That's mad enough, I think. - Ruddigore

It's surprising how exhilarating in can be to burst into song and not only find that other people join in, but that they join in singing different parts. We must have sung dozens of different songs walking about the hills. We got a few funny looks. I'd swear that when we started singing in the pub next to the Opera House, other people around actually started to be quiet, probably wanting to find out what that racket was. We also went to a couple of organised sing-alongs, although alas I still don't know Iolanthe well enough.

The five performances we saw were all very good - a professional production of Yeomen of the Guard - annoyingly, at the end I was hoping for an encore and instead the artistic director of the company gave a rather long speech. Sigh. I didn't know Yeomen - we've done "Tower warders" and "Night has spread her pall" at concerts but I didn't really know the plot. It's set in Henry VIII's time and is more serious than the other operettas - it doesn't quite have a happy ending and seems to have more dialogue, to the extent that I was occasionally surprised to hear the music start because I thought I was watching a Shakespeare play or something (yes, I'm terrible if I can't distinguish W.S. Gilbert from Shakespeare, I know!).

The next night we saw Pirates of Penzance which we all knew very well having been in a production in February, but what a hilarious production! Afterwards it was judged by the festival adjudicator... We didn't really agree with her negative comments and spent the rest of the week relentlessly parodying them. After The Gondoliers the next day we didn't bother staying, but she seemed to have lightened up by the time we saw The Sorcerer. Finally we saw a youth production of Trial by Jury and HMS Pinafore - both were excellent and I thought the particular highlight of Pinafore was the rather small boy playing Dick Deadeye... he was probably the youngest cast member with a principal role and he played it brilliantly. I also liked the bit where Captain Corcoran said, and I quote, "This Gilbert and Sullivan teatowel, which you can buy from the Portacabin, should be an adequate disguise."

How thoroughly delightful it is to be so entirely alone! - The Pirates of Penzance.

I am trying to cure myself of my more hermitish tendencies. The trouble is, I do enjoy solitude. On the second day, we had some time until dinner without really time to go far from the campsite, so I decided to climb the hill and see the view. There was something quite wonderful about being able to see so much, yet being unseen. Is that strange?

A lot of our conversation seemed to centre around human nature and why it's so jolly frustrating. I wonder, in my analytical way, what it is that makes me introverted, whether it's some experience in my past or just the way I am. And I wonder, in my analytical way, whether all this self-analysis can really be healthy anyway. I do often have a hard time trusting people... I assume, often, that people are only going to be interested in what I have to say if they make the effort to dig deep and find out. Or bother to read my blog :) I started writing a story with an attempt to explain the differences between how we are in real life compared to on the Internet. It never finished because the character was a Mary Sue, but never mind.

It was good but actually a little strange to spend so much time with other people for the week. I am always amazed how suddenly people can switch to being vulnerable, usually under the cover of darkness, as if that somehow makes a difference (or else under the influence of alcohol, as so often happens at after-show parties!). I felt strangely unable to join in with the soul baring, even under such tantalising statements as "It's quite interesting to see how you've changed from how you were when you first back from Cambridge." In other words, "Helen, you used to be a raving Evangelical and now you quite obviously aren't." I wanted, so badly, so just let it all out and confess all, but I find crises of faith hard to deal with and didn't really want to subject anyone else to it. Although one of my friends wants to be a vicar and so maybe I should help her get some practice in :)

I guess the other problem is that I've left York now, and I think part of me is convinced that my York friendships won't last, or at least will never be the same. When we left Buxton on Friday, even though we'd had a lovely time, all I could really feel was sadness. Why does it have to be that way? It had been brilliant, so why did I have to mope all the way home? It was probably, to be fair, mostly due to being tired and having to lump some heavy bags home with me.

Live adventurously. When choices arise, do you take the way that offers the fullest opportunity for the use of your gifts in the service of God and the community? Let your life speak. When decisions have to be made, are you ready to join with others in seeking clearness, asking for God's guidance and offering counsel to one another? - Advices and Queries, 27. (Quaker Faith and Practice 1.27)

It's all very well, you know, and I'm fairly convinced that moving to Bradford was the "right" thing to do. It meant that I would be moving in with friends who wouldn't be content to just be passing acquaintances, dropping a smile passing in the hall; embracing a sort of very untraditional family unit. Their activist values challenge me, their honesty is rather therapeutic if also frightening at times. Moving meant testing my values of equality, meaning that I would be forced to mix with people different to myself... Moving meant, hopefully, pursuing the career in social work that I've become interested in. Moving meant being adventurous, trying something new, and learning new things... But it also means, potentially, losing some of the great friendships I have in York, just as my old schoolfriends aren't nearly as close as they used to be. And it also means the end of all those relationships I had as a community carer - it's the very nature of the job that they will never be the same once I've left. I wonder if I've really done the right thing, if sometimes it might be better to pick the unadventurous thing and play it safe. After all, I've been told I'm a good Carer.

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