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Monday, 29 July 2013

Chapter 17 (Part 1) - A story about the Tube and catching up with friends


Welcome to the first half of Chapter 17 everyone (see a theme developing with split chapters here?). I’m going to start by pre-empting a somewhat inevitable question by continuing on from a theme in the first part of chapter 16 about films and what I’ve seen since then. So – Despicable Me 2  was thoroughly enjoyable (my favourite scene is the one with the fire alarm). The World’s End had very funny moments but unfortunately was a long way off the standard of the other films in the Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) and Pacific Rim was, well it was Pacific Rim - possibly one of the best looking films of all time with some very average acting thrown in for good measure. I wasn’t expecting that much of Wolverine – but if I’m honest I was pleasantly surprised (I was also very happy that they didn’t make a complete balls up of the source material)

Anyway - I want to paint you a little picture. So start imagining being on the tube at 11pm on a Saturday night.
The hustle, the bustle and the poker moments of working out whether someone is simply just looking at you awkwardly, or looking at you awkwardly because you are their vomiting target. Last Saturday night – the person being looked at was me. Now if anything I find the tube funniest in the evening (because you see a set of completely different characters than in the rush hour) and this was completely confirmed for me in a single moment when the train pulled into a station and a bunch of teenage ragamuffins jumped on. You’ll be able to picture them in your head as they are in every city (with just different accents). They come in all shapes and sizes, they have their joggers tucked into socks (still don’t understand that), they speak a language that only they can understand (which sounds suspiciously like it is just made up of noises), they wear some form of Nike Air MaxX 598 Max Maxes that are spotlessly clean (and look like they have been cleaned as some form of ritual) and a baseball cap that still (for some bizarre reason) has it’s sticker on and looks far too big for the little scallywags head. Can you picture them?
 Well – last Saturday night - 5 of them got on the train. And all was fine until the next stop.
The train pulled in (to one of the busiest stations in Central London) and one of the group jumped off the train and stood in front of the doors like a starfish with the intention of blocking people off from getting on (and just generally being a bit of an asshat). One of the group shouted at him to stop doing it (fair play to that one) – but he kept on going and the rest of the group just kept on laughing whilst the general public started dropping F-Bombs, and getting into the other doors. This teenager was making a bit of a nuisance of himself - but he had not managed to stop anyone getting on the train. People had got annoyed yes (especially a really small man who looked like he could be a Geography teacher), but everyone had got on ok. The next few seconds flew by – but what I witnessed was absolutely priceless.


The group started shouting at their “fearless leader” to get on the train. Meanwhile the chief scallywag either ignores their bleats - or has become so caught up in his own wonderfulness that he hasn’t been listening. The doors slam shut and the teenager turns around looking exceptionally gormlessly at the train. The only person he has stopped getting on is himself. Which in itself is an exceptional feat considering that he was on it in the first place. As the train pulled away from the teenager, his friends starting pointing and laughing at him (a brilliant turn around of events). But the best thing? The geography teacher man had placed himself into a starfish shape for the teenager to see as the train left the station. Payback complete.

Ok so In warning this is going to be a bit of a different chapter. I’ve done a lot of stuff over the last couple of weeks and I’ve come into contact with loads of people (some of whom I haven’t seen in ages). So what that actually means in context is that I’m going to mix this chapter up a bit - and my cast list is going to be the basis of the chapter and I’ll fill in some extra details about my activities along the way. It will make sense….I promise. (but that should also explain why the chapter is split). Anyway....

The Dedication
Nearly 7 months have now passed since the first chapter of 10 Resolutions and that means that my gorgeous nieces have now reached 7 months of age. It’s completely amazing (especially considering their journey into the world) and the best thing is that against all odds Charis and Joey are fine. You might be able to tell that I’m very proud of both of the little girls and their parents - but I also had no idea of simply how much I would fall in love with them. Yes that’s right people. I’ve become soppy (or soppier). But that’s all good.
A couple of weeks ago we went to Naomi and Sam’s church to see the twins get dedicated. Now before you ask what a dedication is compared to a christening – the very simple answer is that it’s quite hard to explain…..so I’ll duck out and suggest that you check this link out to explain it instead. But the service was great and I found that throughout the course of it I found myself being increasingly thankful about how everything with the twins had worked out. Personally - I find that it’s quite easy to forget the other routes that a situation could have taken once it has been resolved (by perhaps even convincing me that the alternatives were very unlikely). But the truth in this situation is that it could have worked out very differently – and I think that I almost needed to be reminded of that. I know that it sounds odd – but sometimes when you do look back and see some of the (sometimes desperate) situations (that we’ve all been in at some point) it’s amazing to see how they have worked out now. 
Oh – and at this service it was also a really nice surprise to catch up with someone who always has some amazing stories and testimonies to tell – Simon Guillebaud who is a missionary in Burundi.

Apryle’s Birthday
A couple of weeks ago we went to Apryle’s Birthday party. We had a great night and spent the evening listening to loads of old cheesy music, hanging out with Apryle, Wayne and the kids, drinking random drinks and spending some time with Apryle’s brother Dean and his wife Louise (as well as having magic tricks performed to us – but more on that at a later date……..). Anyway….

Dean Newbery
I met Dean on exactly the same day that I met Danny Clack many years ago - and he has known Cass for the vast majority of his life. There are a number of amusing stories about Dean drinking and it going wrong - but as I haven’t been present on any of those occasions* I feel it would be rude to tell those stories… (*as a small confession – I have been present at the start of one of those nights - and there is a small possibility that I could have assisted in the end result……) but what I will say is that I have never met anyone so powered by tea. It’s completely astounding. Anyway though – I’m digressing. I love spending time with Dean. He is blunt, funny, kind, caring, and is really protective about those he loves. And in my view – they are great qualities for a friend.

Louise Newbery
Now it’s fair to say that I don’t know Louise that well yet and that is something that I hold myself accountable for. Apryle’s birthday was the first time (I think) that we have had a proper conversation - and it was lovely. If I’m being honest - It’s funny how you can build up ideas about what someone is like before you spend proper time with them and Louise is someone that I had done that with (I’ll clear that up a bit as it sounds bad). The traits that I had tagged to Louise in my head weren’t bad ones (they were actually pretty good) by any stretch of the imagination – but they were nowhere near as prominent in her personality as I was expecting them to be and different aspects of her personality (that I wasn’t expecting) kept appearing to catch me even further by surprise. We all had a great night that night – but one of my highlights was definitely properly meeting Louise for the first time – and I hope that we can all hang out together again very soon.

Chris and Sam’s wedding
Now I’m sure that I have said this before - but there are very few things that I enjoy more than weddings. I love them. And I love them even more if there is a chance of reconnecting with people that I might not have seen in a while (Phil and Rachel for instance). Last Sunday was the wedding day of one of my childhood friends – Chris Cox – and he got married to the lovely Sam. The day was brilliant and I was uncontrollably pleased (and possibly a bit smug) that I was wearing a short sleeved shirt considering that is was one of the hottest days of the year (and let’s be honest here – the sight of someone’s pits soaking through their shirt is not a nice image.) But without any further ado… let me introduce to some of the people that we came across.



Chris & Sam Cox
So…..I’ve known Chris for years and I met him through Dan who not only went to school with but also lived on the same road as Chris and his twin brother Lewis (more on him in a minute). For years and years we were really close and we would do so much together - but then I moved away - and me not pushing hard enough for our friendship to carry on at the same level is still a big regret of mine. If I’m honest - I don’t think that I valued our friendship enough at the time. We kind of lost touch and in a lot of ways I guess kind of drifted away from one another. We would still see each other when I came back or for friend’s birthdays and stuff like that and when that happened it was great to see each other again – but it wasn’t really the same. Now don’t get me wrong here – I know that if I wanted to talk to someone or if I needed help with something that he would be there for me – but the everyday “click” had gone (probably because we didn’t see each other every day). But when Dan moved up here a few years ago I started to see more of Chris again – and gradually I think that our relationship (after playing some Call of Duty) is growing again. It’ll be different this time around obviously (for starters we are both now married) – but we’ve got a lot of time to make up for and I’m really up for it. I’ve been realising how much I’ve missed having him as part of my life and I’m looking forward to him (and Sam) playing a major part in both mine (and Cass’s) lives in the future. 
I’ve only known Sam for a couple of years (is that right? I might have messed that up?) and even though I don’t know her that well (yet) – I can see the massive impact that she has had on Chris’s life and that they have developed an amazing partnership between them. Relationship part aside though - I’d just like to mention a few of my observations about Sam……
She has a great, strong, selfless and quite cheeky character, immense inner strength and on first meeting her you can tell that very simply – she cares – and that it isn’t because she feels forced to. She doesn’t mock people when they gain wine moustaches (or at least she doesn’t to their faces – thankyou!) and she just seems to have an ability to make people smile and laugh when they are around her. I think she is great – and I can’t wait to get to know her more.

Lewis Cox & Lucy Bartholomew
Lewis is the twin brother of Chris - but I didn’t see as much of Lewis when we were younger. Obviously we were friends and stuff but I think that my friendship with Lewis probably started kicking in properly when we were about 15 - and believe me when I say that we have had some great times along the way (and I’m sure that we will continue to do so)…….Lewis is a man of integrity, he’s loyal, a fantastic friend and a great father to Skye.
I’ve known Lucy now for years - because in honesty I can’t really remember Lewis and Lucy not being together! Lucy is great. She’s funny, friendly, genuine and caring – and on top of that she is also a great mum to Skye. We love Lewis and Lucy (and Skye) to bits.

Rachel Slatter
Way way back (many centuries ago…..) in Chapter 7 – I said that I would tell you more about Rachel Slatter (Phil’s wife). As it turns out – I forgot (Sorry Rachel – my bad). But in a better late than never theory here we go….Rachel is without question one of the most supportive people I’ve ever come across. She will do whatever she can to help you and she will always try and push you forward. She’s always been great to Cass and I - and she never fails to make me laugh when I see her. Family means the world to Rachel and you can tell that in her actions. She’s a great friend and we love having her, Phil and Caitlin (their daughter) as part of our lives.

And Introducing……Paul Bradley & Sophia Drury
Now normally I wouldn’t mention people that I’ve just met in my cast list. That is very much true. My cast list is generally for people that have been in or around my life for a while or have recently announced themselves with flashing lights and explosions. But the reason I’m bending my own rule is because I’ve just met Paul Bradley for the 2nd time in my life. After the first time we met - we spent quite a lot of time together alongside Chris, Lewis, Dan, Phil and a ginger chap called Rob and I always got on well with Paul – so I’m now really looking forward to getting to know him again (and his good lady - Sophia). We had such a good time with them at the wedding – and I’m really looking forward to spending some time with them. I’m obviously not going to be able to go into a massive describing session about what they are like and stuff – so I’ll give you an initial word for each of them….I’ll let you know how accurate they turn out to be! Paul = Honourable, Sophia = Joy. 



Last Monday morning started for me with a very simple prayer and that prayer was “Thankyou for placing so many amazing people in my life”. You see prayers don’t have to be about asking for things. I had spent Sunday at a wedding with some fantastic friends – and then first thing on Monday morning I received a message from someone with a simple encouragement. But it was an encouragement that was so timely that it brought a tear to my eye. Timing is everything. But I’m sure that there will be more on that timing in the 2nd half of this chapter – and why it was so relevant……

The 2nd part of this chapter will probably emerge around the weekend and it will be featuring one of my old teachers, some colleagues (who are also friends), and news on a massive birth….(that isn’t Prince George) but for the time being can I just sat that I’ve actually run out now of your questions for me to answer about life, the universe and everything inbetween – so please feel free to ask away on Twitter, Facebook, over email or by commenting on this chapter. You can also subscribe to 10 Resolutions by putting your email address into the massive white box at the top of the chapter.

Thanks for reading. God Bless.


P.S - Only Andy Howson would celebrate passing his drugs and alcohol test - by drinking Cider......

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