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.

Woman-flu

Downtown Edinburgh

Downtown Edinburgh (Photo credit: Extra Medium)

Well, I had a nice trip up to Edinburgh, spent several nights chewing the fat with my old university friend. Talked about everything under the sun and drank enormous quantities of lager. Quite impressed I managed a conversation at all, really!

However I am back in the North East and have come down with a cold. Now I remember, Shirley was getting over a chest infection when I saw her! So now I am grumping round the house complaining bitterly about feeling ill.

I am a wimp when it comes to (physical) illness. If I strain a muscle there is much groaning, when I have a cold I sit around looking sorry for myself. Right now I am feeling ok though – I followed my mum’s advice (mums are useful) and had a bath, which seems to have temporarily resolved the achy muscles, and the rest is lemsip!

As for what I’m doing now…I didn’t make it to church on Sunday, because I felt absolutely shattered after getting back from Edinburgh on Saturday. I did think I might go to Evensong, but the only time I’ve been to that I felt completely bewildered throughout and had no idea what I was supposed to be doing/saying/singing at any given time!

I’m doing a course on Thursday evening with the local Baptists – my church doesn’t do that kind of thing, unfortunately, but the Baptists do (and their courses are full of young men!) Apparently it is a Jeff Lucas one – so was the last one and I enjoyed that so it should be good.

I am still prevaricating about going to London for the award ceremony – I would like to go, but lack the funds. I could use my savings or my credit card, but I think the parents would be less than pleased about that! I might ask mum if she could sub me some money. The trouble is that it is £119 for the train ticket, then about that again for every night in a hotel. I would like to go for 2 or 3 nights, so it will be expensive! I have friends in London but it seems the height of rudeness to ring up and say “I’ve been invited to an award ceremony, for something you are not interested in and only one of you could come along anyway, can I come and stay with you?” My friends are not a hotel! (Also, it would be really cool to just walk into the old pub and surprise everyone!)

We shall see. Need to get a move on though, as if I’m not going I need to tell them sharpish.

In other good news I randomly won a Bible through the Woman Alive facebook book group thingy. I am being lucky at the moment! I like winning things. I am also slightly obsessed by Bibles (I have many many many different types and have a disconcerting habit of feeling and smelling the bindings. I have found that people are embarrassed if you do that in public, for some reason)

My room in my new house is now almost ready, I now have an absolutely massive desk! And a filing cabinet so I have somewhere to put my degree/A-levels and whatnot in.

On the subject of ideas, which I was opining about recently. I have discovered that my fancy new Bible software is so good that I think I could produce at least a few blog posts about more general Christian subjects (i.e. not mental health related). I think I might just do that, I think. Though Believer’s Brain would always be my priority.

Anyway, that’s that. Apart from one thing – why does no one comment on Believer’s Brain? I see in the stats that people are reading, but no one says anything! Or presses the “like” button! Am I writing crap and no one has told me? Am I boring? I need feedback!

*walks away grumbling*

Woo-hoo and hoorays and stuff

English: An IKEA Billy bookshelf, 80x106 cm, f...

English: An IKEA Billy bookshelf, 80×106 cm, finished in birch veneer and with the optional CD rack at the top. A extra shelf is leaning against the right-hand side of the bookshelf. Svenska: IKEAs bokhylla Billy i dimensionen 80×106 cm i björkfanér. Inkluderar CD-insatsen som var tillbehör. Ett extra hyllplan lutar mot hyllans högersida. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m going to Edinburgh! I’m visiting my friend there from tomorrow for a few days. A few days of drunkenness, no doubt!

My friend Shirley has been my friend since university, in fact she is my sole remaining friend from my time there. She was with me when I developed bipolar disorder, when I was suicidal and self harming and taking overdoses, and when I was a bit manic and talking nonsense. And she is still my friend. Even though I piled the crap on her by being so unstable, even though I was undoubtedly a royal pain in the arse who hurt lots of people, she is still my friend. I cannot repay her for the friendship she gave me then – and the fact that we have maintained a friendship since, when I’ve been well as well as ill.

She is my only friend who is a Christian, although becoming less orthodox than I am now. Not that that matters to me! She is my only friend who I can discuss spiritual matters with, and she knows a great deal and holds a lot of wisdom about God. I really like that I can talk about that kind of thing with her, and I don’t need to watch my words in case I offend her, or accidentally speak heresy, because we are comfortable enough with each other to disagree, and still be friends.

I’m excited! It’s been a while since I last saw her. Last time we went to Amsterdam, which was good except that she was quite tired and slept a lot (after some pot-taking) which was not ideal. I think next time we go away we will go to an all-inclusive resort somewhere sunny, and pootle about doing whatever during the day and drinking at night. I think that will suit us both.

In other news I have been building flat-pack furniture with my dad. Sadly I am very bad at this. It is really frustrating because, although I understand how to build the furniture, I simply lack the wrist and finger strength to actually do it in a safe way! Like my mum says, she wouldn’t trust any car that she had changed the tyres on because she is not competent to tighten the nuts up properly.

That’s about it. All excited now, and I’m going to have a lovely time!

See you when I get back.