Yet Another Holiday

Candles spell out the traditional English birt...

Candles spell out the traditional English birthday greeting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I seem to be making a habit of travelling lately! Tomorrow (well, technically today) I am off to London until Thursday. It is my birthday on Friday, so when I was moping around a bit, missing my friends, mum kindly said she would pay for me to go and stay in a hotel as a birthday present. I’m excited to be seeing everyone again and apparently my friend Peter remembered that it is my birthday, and he and my other great friend from there are going out with me to the West End and we’re gonna party!

I’m actually quite pleased to be staying in a hotel rather than at my friends’ flat. I don’t actually like staying with other people, mostly because I have to be very cautious about behaving right (not that I am normally a rampaging loon, although I was rather rude last time and I am still embarrassed about it) I also tend to feel like a burden, like they feel they must entertain me, when mostly I just want to bum around. I prefer being on my own in a hotel, I can, for instance, go and have a nap if I feel like it, leave all my stuff strewn across the floor, whatever. I’ve never really been a stayer-over at people’s houses! That isn’t a reflection on my friends, who are lovely, its just a personal preference.

I’ve been having a slightly…odd time with my moods. I was quite down a few days ago and then, with mum buying me a holiday that switched into a slightly high mood. It seems to have settled though, so I am not too worried at this stage.

One of the downsides to the slightly high is that that, combined with copious amounts of alcohol, led me to tell someone at the pub that I have bipolar disorder. Now I’m hoping he doesn’t spread that around and that others didn’t hear me, because I have experienced discrimination in the past and I am not sure they will understand. They might, and it has been bothering me that this big part of my life is hidden – and so is my blogging. It actually came out when he asked what I blog about.

More than anything I would like my church family to know (and I have only just started thinking of them as my family). The local baptists do, as I see them quite frequently, but my own church do not. Part of that is because I need to tell the vicar before others, as I don’t want him to find out second-hand, and it is important that he hears in the right way because I am currently questioning whether I have a vocation to the priesthood and he knows about that. I don’t want to play into any prejudices he might have and I don’t know him very well. But I hate keeping secrets, particularly something that is as important to my life, and I feel like I’m being deceptive, somehow. It is a difficulty.

In other news I am to be given the church website to look after and I have a meeting the week after next between me and the vicar, and also the person who has charge of the website right now. I’m planning to make it a WordPress based website rather than what it is now, where you need Dreamweaver to edit it. I need to do some listy things and figure out ideas, mostly because the man who currently has the website is a dear, but tends to ramble and wander off mentally. He needs a secretary to organise him really! I went to his house to offer my services web-wise and was there for three hours and felt like I dragged out of him a small piece of work! I shall have to try to gently steer the conversation. Hopefully the vicar (who was an accountant and therefore super-organised) will do that too.

So, I’m off to London, and I am very much looking forward to that!

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bit of a block

Been a while since I posted here. A few things have been a bit “off” lately. Firstly, I’ve been spending a lot more time in the pub, I think mostly because I am feeling the lack of company. I haven’t really made good friends yet, although there are people who I drink with, and the only time I see people is in the pub. That said, I shouldn’t go so often because I know the blog is suffering, and I don’t want to be known as a drunk. Because that is the other problem – when I do go to the pub I tend to drink an awful lot.

The other problem is the blog, really. I was warned this might happen but since I won the award I’ve been finding it harder to write. It is difficult to think of things to write at all and my brain doesn’t seem to be functioning correctly. I find it hard to concentrate on the writing, to think clearly enough to work out what I want to say, and everything I do write comes out feeling half-hearted and wrong. I did do one decent post, something like a stream of consciousness recently, but I cannot rely on that because that is not the normal way I think.

I don’t know whether drinking is hindering me, or whether I just need to try to concentrate more. It is really frustrating, because I had in mind that my next move was to contact some of the Christian magazines and see whether they would run pieces from me, but I feel my writing isn’t good enough to try that at the moment. There are lots of things I could be doing with the writing, if only I didn’t feel intellectually lazy and incompetent.

Oh well. Perhaps it will come back to me. I don’t know if anyone else would understand me but it feels sort of hot and sticky in my head, a confusion of thoughts and an apathy I don’t like. Hopefully that will blow away at some point.

Anyway, enough about me. Just using this blog to vent in really.

Feeling Rather Good

Heart of Midlothian on the Royal Mile in Edinb...

Heart of Midlothian on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. Shows the mosaic and one of the brass markers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, I went up to Edinburgh for the conference. I wrote about it here: mental health + faith conference. I had a good time. Went up on the Friday, stayed at the Travelodge on Rose Street (nice and central, but somewhat noisy. Not too bad though. Could have done without the couple having noisy sex!) That first day I had a wander, went to the B. McCall Barbour bookshop (link takes you to a page on their history, they are not online). I love that shop, even though I vehemently disagree with many of their books. I first wandered in when I was a divinity student in Edinburgh and I was told of this fundamentalist bookshop. And they really are fundamentalist – they believe that any other Bible than the King James Version is wrong, and of Satan! They sell a range of books from highly conservative authors on the inerrancy of the Bible, the dangers of the occult, Islam, gay people and women in leadership. So, you see, not quite my style.

You may wonder why I go? The answer is simple: the brother and sister who run the shop are absolutely lovely. Really sweet elderly people who are genuinely interested in the people who come to their shop, always pleasant, never ever preaching to me even though it must be obvious given the trousers and piercings that I am not wholly in agreement with them. They always ask what I’m up to and we talk about God – because despite our differences we are all Christians, and they do love the Lord. I once got what I consider to be my greatest compliment from the lady in the shop, when she said she thought I would make a good minister (I think she thought I was a candidate for Church of Scotland ordination). Coming from someone who thinks that having a female minister is the road to hell, this was quite a compliment! I always try to visit them when I go up there, and I do actually like some of the books they sell. I buy the extreme stuff (and the Jack Chick things) for amusement, but many of their books are fine – highly orthodox and usually written for a popular audience. I may not agree on the hot button issues but they have some excellent books on grace, on faith, on the Bible, and I have just bought a book on Christian counselling from them which I think might be interesting.

Anyway, after going there I went back to the  hotel, put my stuff away (I also bought a rather fetching tartan bag) and set off for a wander. After a detour to Pizza Hut (very friendly staff) I went up to the Royal Mile again for a drink. I went to the Scotsman’s Lounge, a place for which I had a strange obsession when I was a student, but it was very busy and there was no where to sit. I tend to get paranoid that I will fall over if I am standing with a drink and there is nowhere to put the drink down, I don’t know why, so I just had the one and moved on.

I went to the Jolly Judge, up near the top of the Mile, which was a delight. That was my local pub when I was a student as New College (the divinity school) is just beyond it. It had changed a bit but still recognisable so I had a few in there. I didn’t talk to anyone, they probably thought I was peculiar because I sat with a smile on my face remembering the fun times I had in there. I played a pub quiz, we were called Stackroom 2 (because that room looked like you could get murdered in there) and once my friend Drew came and unfortunately had brought his work with him. He was a taxidermist so him bringing out a dead bird was a bit odd. I also remembered the time that Simon, a ministerial student, was writing his first sermon in the pub and got us to help him!

Then I went to a slightly dodgy pub next door to the hotel. It wasn’t that bad, just a bit of a sports bar so I wouldn’t normally have gone in. Had the slightly amusing experience of sitting there and having a girl come up and say “Are you gay?” which I thought was a bit rude…it turned out she was actually saying “are you OK?”

Then to bed, and up early the next morning. As I said, I wrote about the conference itself on the other blog. After the conference I got the bus back to Princes’ Street, dumped my stuff (had a little rest in the hotel) and went to meet my friend Shirley and her mother. Because I had a little sleep I didn’t meet them for dinner (I went to McDonalds, which wasn’t very nice) but found a nice pub. Well, it was lovely, we sat and chatted, and I had a great time. I was a bit concerned to find that Shirley is under the weather physically, and also depressed. Her mother said that that night was the first time that she had admitted having it, so I tried to persuade her to go to the doctor, but she hates doctors so I don’t know whether she’ll go. Hopefully.

After they left (both a bit knackered and haven’t been 100% recently) I went back to the slightly dodgy bar and stayed there, chatting randomly to people for the rest of the night. Then sleep, and back off to where I live in the morning.

So I have a bag full of interesting literature (there was some at the conference) and no money, for I have spent all my benefits money in a few days. Which is a bit unfortunate, but there you go.