Wednesday, 30 January 2013

sound and silence

I’ve been to the panto this evening. A friend, well the Dad in the family that has kinda adopted me was Will Scarlet and his eldest son had a fab little role too. I haven’t been to the panto in a few years, me and Boyfriend went to see John Barrowman in the one in Cardiff one New Years Eve –probably 2009/2010. For our 50 month anniversary we decided on date afternoon to go see Les Mis at the cinema (well on our actual anniversary being Methodist Geeks we went to see the President of Conference then had burgers at Spoons). Anyway I bring up Les Mis as like the panto people sing rather than talk and tonight’s blog topic is music.

On a slight tangent if I was ever on Room 101 I would put songs with siren noises hidden in. These are the ones on the radio that you have to turn off when driving just to check it’s the music not a fire engine, ambulance or police car.

I think I listen to music a lot less than some people. Maybe that’s not right, what I mean is that I don’t intentionally listen to music as much as some people do. (Not that I compare myself to others often).
I don’t own an iPod, my mp3 player is rather old, and to be honest I don’t really like head phones. During the day when I’m driving I have Radio 1 on (so that's music!), and in the evening (after 7) I choose between Radio 2’s music (must be getting old) and Radio 4’s chats (turning in to my mother), or sometimes I have a specific cd in my car; the Disney blog came out of that time of driving and cd listening. When I’m at home I sometimes put the music on my laptop, but often I just sit in silence or relative silence anyway.

Something that music does is help us recall certain memories, I’m reminded of a fellow steward whenever I hear the Yfriday version of Strength will rise, I can no longer sing And Can it Be without thinking of Boyfriend or One more step without getting the giggles from old Exec days. For everyone Born will always be a MWiB / South Africa song. Some songs have negative memories though. The other day I was on a train that was packed between Huddersfield and Manchester and at Hudds two lads, one very drunk and one not quite so drunk got on and sat one next to and the other opposite me in a four seated bit – like the table seats but without a table. They were boasting the fact they had been kicked out of 4 out of 5 clubs in Huddersfield, still wearing yesterday’s clothes and were on their way to Liverpool, or maybe Manchester. After the first stop many in our carriage got off and I had the opportunity to move seats, but believing it would cause more agro stopped where I was and had an interesting 30-40 minutes being asked if I thought they were attractive, if I could tell they were wearing yesterdays clothes and the more drunk one singing over and over again “I want to scream and shout and let it all out” This song is now in my bad books for two reasons as when it came onto the radio the other day it took me back to that train ride, but it also has siren like noises in the background.

There is one type of music I seem to listen to a lot, and obviously this goes in peaks and troughs, is on hold music. It reminds me of my grandparents and Radio 3, it reminds me of placement in 1st year when I spent ages calling a bowling alley and each 20 seconds of song were disrupted by an advert. I don’t know what the answer is to decent on hold music, but I’ve not heard it yet.

Yesterday’s issue with music was that of a facebook game. This particular one where you have to fry or grill different types of chicken had a rather annoying sound track background, however if you turned it off you also lost the sound effects, the bell as a customer came through the door, the click of the frying pan saying it was done and the ring of the phone for take away orders. So the choice was include the annoying music or lose the detail that made the game easier.

Now I’m not about to burst into song when mid speech but I do talk a lot, so it may come as a surprise to you that I’ve booked a mostly silent retreat. The idea is at meal times I can chat with the Nuns and others who are staying at the Monastery but the rest of the time is for me, my thoughts, my questions, some books and God. I’ll probably take paper to write on, pencils to sketch with, my camera (rather than my phone) all to help me find God

Like I’ve said I don’t intentionally seek out music often, right now all I can hear is the ticking clock and the sound of the keys on my keyboard as I type. But silence, that’s something else altogether. 

Monday, 28 January 2013

Money Money Money

Before I start I should say that I blog about things I think about. This one might not say much, but blogging is the best way I know to get my thoughts to make sense. So this is a selfish blog for that reason. But if you are nosey and want to know what I’ve been thinking about money then please read on.

I went to see Mamma Mia in London, and the programme confused us as the songs were written in alphabetical order rather than order of performance in the musical, and I remember being very confused during the interval as I’d heard Money Money Money but not Gimme Gimme Gimme (a man after midnight).

Anyway, silly story aside, I’ve been thinking about money a lot recently. My Church is having a month on finance, and I’ve been having some money issues of my own. Now I must state before I start that I’ve never been without money, I just happen to have most of my savings hidden in an ISA and am loathed to have to remove them. As you may know I had a couple of car accidents last year which has meant paying out excesses, though the first one I’ve had back and the second is currently waiting on next month’s credit card bill. I’m also loathed to use said credit card but at the moment it seems to be a necessary evil, and as long as my expenses come back from work – which I banked today, I can get it paid off straight away. The fact I’m owed an increment in my pay is another story all together and that’s all down to HQ far away so that adds to the fun.

What I have currently is a cash flow problem, its stopping me from doing some of the things that I usually take for granted – trips to the chippy for example. I’m not poor, but my savings are there so I can hopefully and eventually buy a house.

Yesterday at my youth group we were talking about tithing, the act of giving 10% of income away, whether that be charity or the church. I’ve recently stopped giving to some of the charities I support, though know I need to increase my giving to my church – I go to circuit meeting, I understand the budget, and I know how much my expenses are.
’ve always been someone who prefers an extra jumper to a heater, but I think at the moment – and since Dad set me up a spreadsheet so that I can forecast months into the future I’m a bit more wary of how I spend my money. I’m nowhere near poor, this is totally a 1st world problem, but these are big decisions to make. One activity the Minister is doing as he goes round the House groups (spoiler alert) and the Youth Fellowship was if you were leaving your house for good in an emergence / disaster what 10 items would you put in a carrier bag. Some of them would be practical, torch, radio, others are sentimental – teddy, poems, and a further third category for me were about keeping control, every plan may have changed in my diary but I’d still like to know what day it was and also to mark off key events in my journal.

When Boyfriend and I started dating I paid for a lot of the stuff, I was working and he wasn’t. Sometimes I’d hand him the money and he’d pay, other times we would split the bill. It never bothered me paying more than him. Now it’s strange, with both of us working full time sometimes he treats me, especially when it’s something that needs small change – those tips really help when you need money for parking.  I’m getting used to being the one not paying all the time. Though I earn more my house is more expensive, my bills are on top and his are included. Though one day we’ll have a joint bank account and only 1 set of bills, but that’s a different issue altogether.

I don’t have answers, just thoughts. I want to use my money wisely, I don’t want to save it for the sake of saving. Big questions.

PS - this week did a couple of guest blogs at 

Friday, 11 January 2013

5 years of inspiration

My little Methodist sister gave me a really fab birthday present last year –a five year journal. It has in it 366 questions and 5 gaps to answer each one. Brother and Boyfriend were discussing how long I’d last, and Brother was wrong – I got past Wednesday night. I’ve got into a routine of filling in the question when I get in to bed, before ringing Boyfriend for our nightly chat. I also read the next day’s question, in case there is something I need to look out for the next day.

Yesterday’s question is "what inspired you today?" So I tried to keep a look out for inspiration. I picked up on people’s courage, the kindness of companies and helpfulness of friends.

If only it had been today!

Today I’ve realised that I’m not grateful enough for what I have. Yes I’ve had a few interesting days with swapping hire cars – long story, tell you another day! But tonight I’ve had a very exciting email asking me to go to Europe for a planning meeting!

Life is good! Sometimes it's not, but let's remember when it is that we need to realise how special and exciting it can be.

Also, this week I’ve made a cake by myself – I kinda burnt the topping but managed to just cover it in buttons – see the photo! I also made chilli – not that that is a new thing. Tomorrow I’m planning on learning how to make soup! Wish me luck.

Hope 2013 is going well for you.